Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


A Rose

   Eugene won a year's supply of cheese and he celebrated in the pub with four of his friends. They sang all through the afternoon and into the evening. They left at nine o' clock and they sang on their way to Eugene's house. They sang in a telephone booth when Eugene decided he needed to go into a telephone booth and the rest followed. He wanted to make a call just because he hadn't used a payphone in years. He put the coins into the phone and he tried to think of who to call. The others kept singing, but they stopped when a man called Andy reversed a car up against the door of the booth and they were trapped inside. Andy got out of the car and walked away.
   "This is like being buried alive," Dara said. "With people you hate."
   "Ten minutes ago you were saying you loved us," Eugene said. "Being stuck in a phone booth with a man who's just said he loves you is worse than being dead."
   Eugene decided to phone his brother, James. He asked James to go to Andy's house and convince him to remove the car.
   James went to the phone booth first. It was a sight he didn't want to miss. They were fighting when he got there, and a crowd had gathered to watch them.
   James walked to Andy's house. It was surrounded by trees, at the end of a long twisting driveway. Andy was sitting on a metal garden seat on the front lawn. James sat on another seat and they talked about a hurling match where the ref spent most of the second half trying to light his pipe, but Andy's mind seemed elsewhere.
   When James asked him if there was something on his mind he said he was in love with a woman called Rose. He knew she'd appreciate something artistic, so he wanted to write a poem or just a line about her name, but his efforts always paled in comparison to Shakespeare's 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet', or the poem that started with the line 'Roses are red' and ended with 'That's why I sniff glue'.
   James said he knew a poet called Lenny who could help. Lenny was always being asked to compose poems for various occasions. He once wrote a 'get well' poem for a greyhound. So James and Andy went to see him.
   Lenny wanted Andy to write most of the poem himself because it would sound more heartfelt. At first he just offered hints and tips and encouragement, but after half an hour all Andy could come up with was 'I see a beautiful red rose. I'd love to handle one of those'. So Lenny wrote the whole thing for him.
   After they left Lenny's house Andy said he was going to see Rose straightaway. James reminded him of his car at the phone booth, and Andy said he just did it because he thought it might cheer him up, but it didn't. He had wondered how long he'd have to leave it there for before it started cheering him up, but he didn't need that when he had the poem.
   They went to the phone booth. Love had replaced hate on the inside. The people watching it wished they had a remote control to change channels until the fighting started again.
   Andy drove away in his car. It was just a short trip to Rose's house. He parked on the street outside. He rang the door bell and when she opened the door he started reading the poem. But he'd only read the first line when he heard the sound of people running down the street. It was the phone booth's former captives. They had followed the car, and all of the spectators were following them. Andy said to Rose, "Just excuse me a minute."
   He ran towards his car, but he wouldn't have made it there in time, so he jumped over the wall into the next garden.
   Eugene and his friends had clearly gotten over the love phase and they were hoping to get into violence again. Andy ran down the road. He knew there was an empty cattle shed in a field nearby, and he saw his chance to delay the chasing pack. He ran into the shed. Eugene and his friends followed him in, and they were followed by the spectators. Andy left the shed through a small door at the other side, and he was able to bar this door from the outside. He thought he'd gain a bit of time as they went back to the front door and ran around the shed.
   He ran on again, expecting to hear Eugene and the others following him, but that sound never came. He stopped and looked back. There was no one behind him. He walked back to the shed, and he met Rose at the front door. She had followed the spectators, and she had locked the front door after all the others ran into it. There were nearly forty people in the shed.
   "I wonder how long it'll take before they start fighting," she said with a smile. Andy got the impression that she was more keen on the prospect of violence than that of love, so he decided to scrap the poem Lenny had written. He used the 'Roses are red' poem instead and she loved that. They went back to her house. Andy thought it'd be safer to get someone else to open the shed. It took half an hour for the singing to start, and the fighting started shortly after that.

The Tree and the Horse
Henry Seaward-Shannon
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises




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very slight stories

They Met a Bear
  They stopped in a small seaside town and they went for a walk. They met a bear.
  This is one version of the story. In another version, they met a sailor, and in this one they ended up being held at gunpoint on a speedboat and becoming unwilling participants in a diamond robbery while disguised as a cow, and sharing in the proceeds of that crime.
  So when they tell the story they just say, "We met a bear. He waved at us."

The Story of the Fortune Teller and the Alarm Clock
  A fortune teller threw an alarm clock at me. This story is deliberately lacking in details to mock the predictions of the fortune teller. Although she was right when she said she'd throw an alarm clock at me.

  One. Two. Three, the study. Four, a candle stick. Five. Six...
  Seven is missing, presumed dead. One has taken up the case, and two is helping him in his investigations. They both suspect six. Seven was last seen next to six in the garden.
  But seven isn't really dead. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and he's currently in the orchard, talking to a rabbit. "One of us is as boring as a gate post," he says, "and it's not..." He stops to count on his fingers. "No, actually it is me."
  Eight nine ten.

Debbie and his dog
  Debbie was sick of people mistaking her for a man.
  "Is your dog my parole officer?"
  She was sick of people asking her that too.

Very Slight Stories: like short stories, only shorter

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