Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
Click here to buy the paperback or download the ebook for free.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007



   They didn't know why they called him 'Bongo' but they called him 'Bongo' anyway because they liked saying 'Bongo'. The people who played for 'they' had ordinary names like Kevin or Rachel. He didn't seem to mind the name. Very little bothered him. He didn't like getting things in his eyes, and he didn't see the point of toenails, but apart from that he strolled through life without a care, always whistling a tune.
   They didn't know why they called Mr. Clarke 'Pothole' but they called him 'Pothole' anyway because they didn't like him. But they were afraid of him too, so they never called him that to his face. He had made a fortune from his business, which, on the surface, was a tea room. Something else was obviously going on beneath the surface. Of the three tea room owners in the town, he was the only one who needed a bullet-proof limousine.
   Rachel, one of Bongo's friends and a valued member of 'they', had an unpleasant encounter with Mr. Clarke one day when he came into her book shop. He said he wanted to buy her shop and open a laundrette. He told her it was an offer she couldn't refuse, and in that sense, it wasn't really an offer at all -- it was just something she couldn't refuse.
   She went to Bongo and told him about it. "What am I going to do, Bongo?" she said. "I mean I really need to do something here, Bongo."
   He thought about the problem, and he consulted friends and relatives, who thought about the problem, watered plants, walked the dog, said 'It's in the bloody sink' to loved ones and consulted others, some of whom were climbing telephone poles. News of Rachel's difficulty spread, and it reached someone who had a photo of Mr. Clarke in a compromising pose with a woman who couldn't have been any more different to his wife, but even if she was his wife's identical twin he'd still have been in trouble. Actually, he'd have been in much more trouble if she was his wife's identical twin, and so would she.
   The photo was sent anonymously to Rachel, so all she had to do was to show it to Mr. Clarke and say, "You were wrong. There is a way of refusing it."
   He seemed to accept it with good grace, but a few days later she came home from an evening in the pub to find that her house had been broken into and the photo had been taken. She got a phonecall from Mr. Clarke to say he'd plugged the leak in the thing she can't refuse.
   But all was not lost. Rachel knew one of Mr. Clarke's maids, and she said she went into his study one day and she saw him smiling at a photo, which he put into a drawer in his desk when he saw her. Bongo came up with a plan. Mr. Clarke was having a party in his mansion, and this was the perfect chance to get the photo back.
   Rachel disguised herself as a maid to get into the mansion. Bongo was cunningly disguised as a professional tap dancer. Marco Van Basten, the great Dutch footballer, wouldn't have recognised him, although in fairness, he only met Marco Van Basten once. His mother would have recognised him, but she'd have avoided him in case he saw through her disguise as a charlady. He didn't know what a charlady was, but he knew his mother, so he'd almost certainly have said 'Hello Mum' rather than 'What's that charlady doing with the greyhound?'.
   Bongo kept watch outside the study while Rachel went in to look for the photo. Two of the waiters from Mr. Clarke's tea room saw him and they thought he was acting suspiciously. He imagined two bulls in a china shop when he pictured them as waiters in a tea room. They took him to their boss, who asked him to dance.
   Even Marco Van Basten would have said, "That doesn't look like tap dancing to me." But Marco Van Basten wouldn't have been bothered by that. He'd have walked away whistling. Mr. Clarke was bothered. Bongo would have appreciated the distraction of a great Dutch footballer in that situation, but all the attention was focussed on him.
   His own attention was diverted inward. He was knocked unconscious, and he woke up at home in his own bed. Rachel was able to get away with the photo. She left through the window in the study. All she knew about what happened to him was that he was rescued by a charlady with a greyhound.

'The Tree and the Horse' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
It's available in paperback or as an ebook.
Click here to read the first two chapters.
Click here to buy the book.

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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