Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Darcy and O'Mara

   Darcy heard about a river where the fish could whistle, and if you put your head into the water you could hear the beautiful harmonies they created. Darcy was too refined to put his head into anything. He set out for the river one morning with his fishing rod. O'Mara stayed behind. He had fallen in love with a beautiful woman who used to walk through the woodland and meadows, talking to the wild flowers and birds. He was going to spend the day following her, waiting for a chance to meet her.
   After she left the woods she came to a hole in the ground. She couldn't see the bottom of it, so she knelt at the edge of the hole to look down into it. As soon as she peered over the edge, her head felt weightless. She put her hands over it, and they felt as light as feathers. She dived into the hole, but instead of going down, she went up, floating away, heading for the sky.
   It was a beautiful feeling at first, but then the thought crossed her mind that she wouldn't stop, that she'd disappear into the sky, just like the earth that had once filled the hole. She longed for gravity, and she tried swimming through the air to get out of the glare of the hole with its anti-gravitational force. She was exhausted by the time she returned to the safe arms of gravity, but she was happy. This feeling lasted until she realised that she was falling at an alarming speed.
   O'Mara saw her falling, and he knew he had to act quickly. There was a French man on the road nearby. He was leading a pony who was pulling a cart, and on the back of the cart there was a mattress. The mattress had been specially made for a woman who could throw her own hands away. Her arms would always follow the hands and then retract to return the hands to her side, like a dog fetching a stick. She spoke in extravagant gestures, unwittingly throwing her hands away. She was always accidentally hitting people who stood too near. She used to talk in her sleep, and her hands would be thrown all around the room. She had often hurt them when they hit the wall or the floor, so she started sleeping in the centre of a huge room with a soft carpet. This protected her hands, but she thought there was something living in the carpet and in the mattress. Whatever it was, it used to steal the rings from her fingers. She demanded that the carpet and the mattress be destroyed, and her French servant was taking the mattress to a cliff to throw it into the sea.
   When O'Mara asked him if he could use the mattress to save a woman's life, the French servant said he'd have to get his mistress's permission. He took a small cage from the back of the cart, and from the cage he took a pigeon. He said to the bird, "I need you to go back to the castle. This is very, very important. You need to ask if I can give the mattress to a young man who desires to save a lady's life. Do not laugh. You must try to remember this. Do you understand me?" The pigeon stared back at him. "Good. You must try to express this using the system of blinks I taught you."
   The pigeon left for the castle. O'Mara and the French servant sat by the side of the road as they awaited its return. They smoked pipes and spoke about strange growths they'd seen on people's heads.
   It was nearly dark when the bird returned with a note. The servant unfolded the paper. "It says 'The pigeon said something about camels'." He turned to the pigeon and said, "You stupid bird!" He read the rest of the note. "'The mistress agrees to your request'. Ah! I knew you would not let me down." He kissed the pigeon.
   O'Mara and the servant took the mattress from the cart and ran to the edge of the hole. They put the mattress on the ground just before the woman landed on that spot, but she just bounced back over the hole and started floating away again. O'Mara reached out and caught her foot, but he floated away with her. The servant caught O'Mara's foot, and he was four feet in the air before he realised he was floating away with them.
   It was at this point that Darcy returned from his fishing trip. He saw the three of them rising to the sky. He cast his fishing line into the air and the hook caught the boot of the servant. He reeled them in, and the three of them landed on the mattress. Something in the mattress said 'ow!'. When they got to their feet, the woman went straight to Darcy and kissed him on the cheek. O'Mara wasn't happy with the way she was giving him all the credit for her rescue. The pigeon didn't like it either.

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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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