Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Your Presence

   You should practise presenting your presence at doors so that when the door is opened you'll immediately convey an air of superiority, and it won't be done with smell. Even when you open the door yourself, you should remain motionless there for a few seconds to let the air waft into the room, allowing all of the room's occupants a chance to inhale it (metaphorically speaking -- it's nothing to do with smell). There are many ways of arranging your appearance to convey the appropriate presence. If you have a nineteenth century military uniform, wear it. Always bring the sword with you. A sense of inferiority will immediately make the room's occupants feel a foot or two smaller than they are. If you don't have the uniform, you'll need to practise your stance and bearing.
   I spent a lot of time working on these areas with a man called Eugene, and after much practise he was able to control his presence like a puppet on a string. He made a very successful pause before entering a room at a party, and it left a deep impression on the other guests. He was with a friend of his called Dominic, who stood behind Eugene. Because of Dominic's continued presence in Eugene's shadow, and also because of his bearing (he always looked down, whereas Eugene kept his head held high), it was assumed that he was Eugene's valet or personal assistant.
   Eugene met a man called Jonathon, who'd been impressed by the presence at the door. He invited Eugene to spend the weekend at his beach house. 'Beach house' didn't do justice to the mansion with its own private beach. He took Eugene and Dominic out on his speed boat. He kept complaining about his wife and how she was always meeting stupid people and inviting them back to the penthouse or to the estate in the country. He'd get home and find them all sitting on the carpet because they weren't used to furniture. And all the pretty ones he wanted to have affairs with looked on him as no more than a holder for his eyebrows (he'd been to doctors in Switzerland in the hope of getting something done about his eyebrows).
   Jonathon hadn't realised that Gwen, his wife, was more interested in his attempted affairs than he expected her to be. She had followed him to see what he was getting up to. She wore sunglasses with huge lenses and a wig that turned her from a blonde into a brunette with long, straight hair. She loved the look. Part of her wished she could stay like that all the time and another part of her wanted to touch a deer, but that's a different story.
   She had seen him in the bar of a hotel. He was with another woman who couldn't stop looking in his eyes and laughing, or so it seemed to Gwen. She wanted to get revenge. When Jonathon was on the speed boat with Eugene and Dominic, they were chased by another speedboat. Jonathon didn't recognise the woman on board with the brown hair and dark glasses. They ducked to avoid the bullets, and they managed to get the grenade out of the boat before it went off.
   They made it to a small beach and they ran into some trees. They went to see a man. That man had a finger in the air, as if to say 'I am that man'. His name was Paul, and Jonathon thought he'd be the ideal person to help in this situation. Grenades would do their best to avoid Paul. He'd talk the hind legs off a thing that really likes its hind legs just out of spite. After taking note of the finger in the air, Jonathon nodded, as if to say 'Yes, I've taken note of that', and then he explained the situation. Paul retracted the statement of his finger to respond as follows: "Whoever is chasing you is about to hit a brick wall capable of operating a crossbow." He had his finger in his ear when he said that (he normally kept it there when it wasn't making statements in the air).
   Jonathon, Eugene and Dominic were able to relax. They made their way back to the beach house for a drink and a sound sleep to re-live the chase in their dreams, and say 'baa' if they're a sheep in their sleep. When Eugene woke up in the morning, he decided to rein in his presence. He wasn't ready for this level yet.
   Jonathon returned from work one evening and found Paul passionately kissing a woman with long brown hair and dark glasses. He had his finger in the air, as if to say 'I didn't know she was that woman'. But Jonathon just gave him a wad of cash, said, "Sorry to interrupt," and left them alone.

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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