Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Fire

   Darcy and O'Mara were stuck at a wedding. The groom was the most boring man in the country. This had been scientifically proven in an experiment conducted by a man with no eyebrows. He was conducting tests on the bride to see what she was. She must have been the ___est woman in the country if she agreed to marry such a bore, and the man with no eyebrows was determined to fill in the blank. The other option was that she wasn't really a woman.
   The wedding ceremony took place in a woodland clearing. It was conducted by a druid who hid in the trees. The reception took place in a field next to the river. Just as the groom began his speech, a huge ball of fire emerged from the river in a deafening noise, the sort of sound you'd expect a living being to make as it breaks free from its antithesis. Relief gripped the wedding guests when the groom's speech was cut short, but they soon began to wonder if they were facing a greater danger.
   The ball of flame flew over their heads and landed in a tree. The tree exploded in flames, and within seconds it fell over, scattering the wedding guests in the field. When it landed on the ground a cloud of smoke and ashes rose from it. A man emerged from the cloud. He was coughing and his clothes were singed. The man with no eyebrows would have regarded him as the luckiest man in Ireland for emerging from such an ordeal with both of his eyebrows still intact.
   Most of the guests considered him to be lucky too, because they thought he must have been in the tree when the fire struck it. But he told them that he had been in the river, and they started to wonder if he was the fire. This interpretation seemed to be confirmed when a mouse caught fire (the mouse emitted a sound of relief when its fire came into contact with water). But he insisted that he had nothing to do with the mouse's misfortune. "I'd never hurt a living creature," he said.
   "Well then why are you holding a stick and creeping up behind that rabbit?" O'Mara said.
   He suddenly realised what he was doing. He dropped the stick and backed away from it.
   "It seems to me as if you're possessed by something that has an aversion to animals," Darcy said. The man threw an apple at the bride. "And to all forms of life," Darcy added.
   The man's name was Thomas. After he had apologised to the bride, Darcy and O'Mara led him away. They said they knew someone who could help him, and they were glad to get away before the groom recommenced his speech.
   Thomas killed two birds and a squirrel on the way. He cried after killing the squirrel. They reached their destination before sunset that evening. The man they wanted to meet was called Peter. He was smoking his pipe in front of his cottage when they arrived. Darcy said, "We have another patient for you. He's having trouble with animals. Or they're having trouble with him. He's developed a knack for killing them."
   "What's the problem with that?" Peter said. "He'll never go hungry."
   "He doesn't want to kill them at all. There was a squirrel..."
   Thomas started crying again. The tears began to dry up as he choked a magpie, until he realised what he was doing.
   "I think I see the problem," Peter said.
   "And do you see a solution?" O'Mara said.
   "I see something. We'll try something, and whether or not it's a solution, we'll just have to wait and see."
   Peter's idea was to tempt whatever was possessing him back outside, and if he was full of fire, they'd need something highly flammable to tempt it out. "The spirit seems to have an antagonism towards animals," O'Mara said. "What's the most highly flammable animal?"
   "We'll need something much bigger than an animal," Peter said. "The library in the monastery would be just the thing to tempt an evil spirit."
   Darcy, O'Mara and Peter went to see the monks. Before they left, they locked Thomas in a room in Peter's cottage. He wanted to be locked up so he wouldn't harm anything, but when they returned a few hours later he was cooking a pig on a spit and crying. "I'm so sorry," he said to the pig as he turned it around.
   "You can dry your tears," Peter said. "Soon you'll be rid of the thing that's taken up residency inside you. We're taking you to the library in the monastery."
   "What happens if it burns all the books?"
   "Obviously the monks weren't too keen on that. That's why we'll have to break in there at night."
   "I can't burn down a library in a monastery."
   "It's the only way. Do you want to be hurting animals for the rest of your life?"
   Thomas reluctantly agreed. They took him to the monastery after midnight, and they broke a window in the library to get in. As soon as Thomas stepped inside, the fire emerged and covered all of the shelves in flames. The monks arrived shortly afterwards. They doused the flames in holy water, and they could hear the spirit dying a painful death. It started as a deafening noise that faded to silence. The fire was gone, but all of the books had been burned, and for Thomas it felt worse than what he had done to the squirrel, but they explained to him that it was just a fake library. The real library was underground. Invaders would arrive every few years with a need to burn books, and the fake library satisfied that need.
   Thomas was delighted to be free of the spirit. He felt at one with nature after this, and he became a monk. He helped the other monks re-build the fake library for the next attack.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007



   Myself, Jimmy and Chadwick went to see an opera. It was Chadwick's idea. He had fallen in love with a soprano, and she wasn't as indifferent to him as you'd expect a woman with a life to be. We met her at a party after her performance. Everyone there had eyes for her, but hers were devoted to Chadwick, which made me think there was something wrong with them. But then Chadwick introduced her to us and she noticed the thing on Jimmy's forehead straightaway. That had faded over time, and you'd have to look very closely if you wanted to read the words.
   When she had to leave us to take a phone call from her sister in Toronto, Jimmy said, "A sister in Toronto! I didn't know such things existed. I thought it was just myth."
   I said to Chadwick, "So how did you manage to get to know a woman who has a sister in Toronto?"
   "It's not as difficult as you might imagine. A task like that would present insurmountable difficulties for the average man on the street. But the average man on the street would try it because he wouldn't be capable of imagining just how difficult it would be. Many unwitting men have been lost to the sea of bitterness because of an ill-advised attempt to attach themselves to a woman with the metaphorical sister in Toronto. Many fine women have been demonised for gently pushing those men away. When they fall backwards on their ladders they blame the women, and they never accept any responsibility for climbing the ladder. But Olivia saw that I was a man of imagination, and if I was on a ladder to reach her, it was just the second step of a step-ladder. I wasn't reaching above myself but I was far above the place I came from. She saw that I had transcended the world that had formed me. I brought the two of ye along as representatives of that world. It's a place that's summed up on Jimmy's forehead. She can see that whole world when she looks at him, and then she sees me, resplendent in my transcendence. She knows I'm a man who can appreciate the transcendent sound she makes. She knows I can perceive a fundamental truth by experiencing what she does with air."
   "Did you get her drunk?" Jimmy said.
   "You didn't need to waste air by forming that question. When you entered the room you brought the question with you. She could see it when she saw your head."
   "I brought an answer too."
   "It's a sign of some imagination when a man says 'I need to alter her mind if I want to make her think I'm worthy', but only a very limited imagination would produce a plan that involves something as temporary as drink."
   "Did you get her pregnant when you got her drunk?"
   "I can see that I'll have to fill in the dark spots in your imagination. It happened like this. I first saw her on a rainy night in the city. She was trying to help her manager, who was very drunk, and I came to her assistance. He started crying because he dropped his ice cream on his trousers. We didn't know where he got the ice cream. He got the trousers in a shop in Paris. I said to him that trousers come and go, and they have a habit of going at inconvenient times. He said, 'These trousers cost more than what you paid for your car.' I told him that I didn't have a car, so my trousers cost more than the blank space in my life where a car would be, given that I didn't steal the trousers or get them as a present. He looked at my trousers and the flow of tears became a torrent. I don't think it was my trousers in themselves that made him react like that. It had more to do with a realisation of life's pointlessness. I don't know if this realisation had anything to do with my trousers. His trousers received a terminal injury when he knelt in the gutter. But I managed to sober him up and clean him up and get him on the right track again. My words provided the scaffolding for him to re-build his raison d'etre. I was a shining point of life in a sea of pointlessness. When he had been rescued from the rain I submerged her in the flow of my words. The fact that I enabled her to transcend such a situation was something she found impossible to resist."
   Jimmy said, "I once won a woman's heart after I lost my trousers."
   "Yeah, but what sort of woman was she? Did she have a sister in Toronto?"
   "No. Her sister keeps getting arrested in the graveyard."
   "At least you're not reaching above yourself."
   "The old 'get her drunk' method might be the sort of thing that would work for the likes of me, but you just have a fancy version of the same thing: 'Get her manager drunk'."
   "You should have a go at that if you ever want to reach above yourself."
   "What about getting her manager pregnant?"
   "That's entirely up to you."
   I said, "So that man over there in the expensive suit is the man you rescued from a sea of pointlessness in the gutter."
   "That's him. You wouldn't think it now. It's easier to fall off the higher ground than it is to climb it."
   "You could fall off too," Jimmy said. "We could easily push you off if you keep reminding us we're scum."
   "Think of the benefits of being scum to show how transcendent I am. You get to go to parties like this and meet women with managers. You could pretend you've fallen off the higher ground. There are plenty of women who'd love to help you back up again."
   This idea appealed to Jimmy. He was slapped across the face by several women on that evening. This appealed to him too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Goff Hockles

   Sam was looking out his kitchen window one evening when he saw a bird fall out of the tree at the end of the garden. It dropped to the long grass, then flew around in circles for a while before returning to the tree. He'd never seen a bird like it before. It was about the size of a robin. It was mostly brown. It had red and blue feathers around its neck.
   He went outside, and he walked slowly towards the tree. The bird was perched on a branch, along with eight others who looked just like it. A few minutes later, another one fell to the ground. As soon as it landed it flew up again and returned to the tree.
   He asked a friend of his called Jasper to look at the new tenants of his tree. Jasper was a bird-watcher and he was able to identify them straightaway. "These are Goff Hockles," he said. "They fall asleep every so often and fall to the ground. That's why they choose trees above soft ground. The long grass in your garden is perfect for them."
   Sam hadn't cut the lawn in weeks, and the birds provided an excuse not to cut it at all. They provided him with a new past-time too. He often spent evenings catching them. He bought a net to make the job easier, but they seemed to enjoy landing in the net. He thought they were only pretending to fall asleep because their falls became much more frequent when he went outside with the net.
   He had a party one evening, and many of the guests were in the back garden. His friend Vinnie was drinking brandy under the tree when one of the birds fell into his glass. It woke up suddenly and splashed about in the brandy before flying away. Vinnie screamed and dropped the glass.
   On the day before this he had accidentally stood on a woman's toes. She was wearing sandals. He was wearing boots that had proved to be resistant to fire and a concrete gate post that fell off a trailer. His apology was half-hearted, and he seemed to suggest that she should be apologising for getting her toes in the way. This infuriated her, and she put a curse on him. He laughed at it, but that night he had a strange dream. He was walking across a barren wasteland and he saw huge footprints. Whoever made them must have been at least three times the size of Vinnie, and if this giant was anything like Vinnie he'd find it easy to be antagonistic towards people who were smaller than him. The footprints filled him with a sense of dread and he ran away. The sight of a chair filled him with dread too.
   He was nervous on the following day. The dream was so vivid it had left a deep impression on him, and everything filled him with dread. All day long he had been on the lookout for something out of the ordinary. But he was starting to relax at the party, until the bird fell into his drink. He was convinced it was a sign of evil about to come his way.
   So he decided to go. He ran through the hedge into the neighbours' garden. The guests at the party saw him disappear through the hedge at the other side of that garden. Sam wondered if he should follow him, but he thought that Vinnie would find his way home eventually.
   Wisdom is something that comes slowly, like the melting waters of a glacier seeping into your head, little drops into the stream of consciousness. Knowledge that has been frozen for millennia is released once more. Of course, a certain wetness in the head area can have its disadvantages. Drops of wisdom are useless if they fall into a cardboard box. With some people, when the glacier water is added to the mix it results in theories that find expression in bizarre behaviour. This behaviour is examined by others and theories are formed: 'Josephine is going mad' or 'Joe has been drinking that stuff he found in the hole again'.
   Most people at the party put Vinnie's behaviour down to a combination of both these theories. They forgot about him because the birds' behaviour was more interesting. The other birds must have been licking the one who fell into the brandy because they were falling much more frequently.
   An hour after Vinnie's disappearance, Sam got a phone call from him. He said he had made his way through hedges and over fences, and finally he had climbed a wall with the help of a garden seat. But then he was stuck at the other side. There was nothing there to stand on to get back over the wall. He was going to look in the shed to see if he could find a ladder, but he decided to wait until the light faded before coming out of his hiding place behind a bush. As soon as it was dark enough, he made his way towards the shed, but he was distracted by the sight he saw through a window at the back of the house. A bizarre ritual was taking place inside. It involved seven women, and they were all dressed in white. It looked like a pagan ceremony. He didn't know if they were sacrificing an animal, but he wouldn't be surprised if they were. They were clearly intent on evil, he thought, and he had just jumped into their cage.
   Sam said he'd go to the house and find out what was going on. He had met the woman who owned the house a few times before. When she opened the door he explained to her that his friend had gone a bit mental at a party and run through all the neighbours' gardens, and he was wondering if she had seen him. It felt a bit like asking about a missing dog.
   "Let's have a look out back," she said, and she led him through the house. On the way she introduced him to the other six women in white. They were her yoga class.
   When Vinnie heard the real reason for their behaviour it felt like a glacier melting and washing away all the detritus in his head. He had been led to something good, rather than something evil, and the agent of good was the bird who fell into his glass. He joined the yoga class. The whole class were fascinated by the birds. They often sat in the grass underneath Sam's tree and they caught the birds when they fell. The birds seemed to enjoy it too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007



   Agnew spends his evenings sitting by the fireplace, drinking brandy and talking. Neighbours and friends drop in to listen to his stories. There are so many digressions and diversions that it's impossible to identify where the stories start and end. They're all part of his life story, or his life story up to the point at which he started telling it. One evening he was talking about fishing at sea with a group of men who all wore red socks for some reason, or at least he assumed there was some reason, but he didn't ask because he considered questions about socks to be too personal. A woman called Melissa asked them about the socks when she met them later. This is what Agnew had to say about her:

   I think I met her in an art gallery. I really should be able to say that sentence without the words 'I think', given the fact that we got engaged so soon after meeting. But I can't be certain that I met her for the first time in a gallery because there was a lot on my mind at the time, and things from the outside world wouldn't get into my head if they just politely knocked on the door or rang the doorbell. I was having a spot of bother with a man who was known as Santa Claus because he once said, 'Who do you think I am, Santa Claus?' when someone asked him to stop hammering a car with a sledge hammer. I don't know what his real name was. This spot of bother came about because of a woman's dungarees, of all things. She was wearing them one summer day, and I thought they looked very fetching, but Santa told her they made her look as if she was having a nervous breakdown. I told him it wasn't the sort of thing you should say to a woman. He kept annoying me for months, until I eventually snapped and punched him.
   He was determined to inflict revenge, and something about the way he said 'inflict' made me want to grow a beard and change my name. But his attention was diverted when he fell in love with a woman called Sally. She was strange, needless to say, but not talking-to-her-toes strange. It was more that she'd taken a slightly different path through life, and she was left slightly different. She saw people like Santa in a different light to the rest of us. She taught him how to dance, and she told him she wanted to see him dance in the snow. Someone said, "It'll be just like Christmas. Except the real Santa won't be trying to get his reindeer drunk." She kicked that person on the shins. Santa liked that. He never had to punch or kick anyone anymore because she'd do it for him, and she had no desire to kick or punch me because I was merely defending a woman's right to wear dungarees, and she was all in favour of a woman's right to wear whatever she wanted, or to wear nothing at all if that's what she wanted. Santa was all in favour of that too.
   But she left him because he refused to give up smoking. Santa returned to his old antagonistic self, so we did our best to re-unite him with Sally. She made it difficult when she went on a date with a man called Gavin. His verdict of the date was that he enjoyed himself immensely. Enjoyment is relative, he explained. In the past he was able to say he enjoyed himself while playing football, while drinking, while rolling down a hill and while touching a champion greyhound. His date was more enjoyable than these occasions.
   To reconcile Sally with Santa we had to split up the newly-formed union between herself and Gavin, and to convince Santa to give up smoking. He said he'd try to give up, but he took up drinking large amounts of whiskey to compensate for the lack of cigarettes, and in the process he contradicted the saying 'There's no smoke without fire'. There was a fire. He was faced with a black, smouldering kitchen on the morning after he gave up smoking. Melissa interpreted it as a sign that he was right to give up smoking, because the kitchen was a demonstration of what the cigarettes were doing to his lungs.
   He said, "I think it's a demonstration of what they're doing to my head."
   "That's what the whiskey is doing to your head. You probably have a headache right now. Scenes constructed by your senses are shown in a black room, where they wither and die."
   "Are you saying I should give up whiskey as well?"
   "You could cut down on it."
   "What would I take up to compensate for that?"
   "A hobby of some sort. Like bird-watching."
   He agreed to try bird-watching because he assumed that it was like deer-stalking. The birds would get a restraining order if they knew what he had planned for them.
   When myself and Melissa met Sally and Gavin we mentioned Santa's new hobby. Sally said, "I shudder to think what he's going to do to the birds after he's seen them. Gavin could never hurt a living creature."
   Gavin shuffled his feet, looked up at the sky and whistled a tune. He might as well have had a neon arrow pointing at his head, with the words 'I hurt living creatures' in neon letters. It would have been a flashing sign, and it only lit up when Sally's back was turned. All we had to do was to make her see those orange neon words. In other words, get her to witness him hurting a living creature.
   We found out that he was into shooting ducks at a pond on Saturday mornings. So on the following Saturday morning, Melissa took Santa out bird-watching. I convinced Sally to go for a walk to appreciate the local wildlife. The plan was that we'd all meet near the pond, where Gavin was hurting living creatures. Sally spent most of the time on our walk complaining about Santa, which suggested that he was a more prominent figure in her mind than Gavin was. At the same time, it was beginning to dawn on Santa that bird-watching was no more than watching birds. There were so many other things he'd rather watch.
   We met near the pond. Santa and Sally were shocked to see each other, but their attention was diverted by the sound of a gunshot. Gavin was happily shooting ducks. He had a cigar in his mouth.
   Santa took the shotgun from him and threw it in the pond. He said, "And I don't like smokers either." He took the cigar from Gavin's mouth, dropped it on the ground and stood on it.
   Gavin was too shocked to say anything. Sally smiled. Santa had a tear in his eye. He might as well have been standing beneath a neon sign that said 'I deeply regret injuring that shotgun and killing that cigar'. But she saw it in a different light. She read the words 'I deeply care about living creatures'.
   Santa would have wanted to hurt himself if he knew he was advertising this in neon letters. Now that he had given up smoking and taken up bird-watching, he had plenty of anger that needed venting, so he developed an irrational hatred of jockeys. She bore a grudge against jockeys too, so that was a hobby they could practise together.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Pros and Cons

   Ronan lived alone in a house at the bottom of a valley. Sometimes he loved the peace and quiet of the place, but it could be lonely too. He had never married. He didn't know how to go about getting a wife. He had seen friends of his who'd been single for years, and then one day they'd no longer be single. He had never seen the transition from one state to the other, and he assumed it was something that happened by chance. And it could happen to him at any time, he thought. He could be walking down the road one evening, and the change would take place. Or he it could happen while he's asleep in bed at night. He might get a bit of a shock when he wakes up, but it'd be a pleasant shock.
   But he was nearly forty and he'd never come anywhere near the state of marriage. He decided that if he didn't find a wife within the next year, he'd settle for bachelorhood, and he'd have to actively seek a wife, rather than just walking the roads and going to sleep. He put a lot of thought into it, and he came to the conclusion that if he wanted to find a wife, he'd need to find a woman. That's something he could come across while out for a walk, but probably not while sleeping in his bed. He spent weeks walking the roads and he never met an unmarried woman in all that time. If he was going to find someone within a year, he'd need another method. So he decided to visit a match maker.
   The match maker was called Eileen, and she was recommended to Ronan by a man in the pub. It was the same man who recommended hitting yourself with nettles as a cure for falling out of a tree. Ronan went to see Eileen and he told her his problem.
   "You've come to the right place," she said. "I just need to ask you a few simple questions to get a sense of the sort of person you are. Firstly, if you had a choice, would you go on holiday to Germany or France?"
   "I'd never go to either place."
   "If you had a choice."
   "I don't know."
   "Imagine you were someone who would go on holiday abroad. Which country would you go to?"
   "How are you going to get a sense of who I am if I'm imagining I'm someone else?"
   "I just will. Come on, fairly quickly now, which one would you choose?"
   "Right. If you had to choose between jazz or funk, which type of music would you play if you had guests around to dinner?"
   "If. If."
   He had to answer another ten questions. "I've taken note of your answers," she said as she tapped the side of her head, "and the mental computer has analysed the results already. I know the perfect person for you. Her name is Alison."
   "Right. When will I get to meet her?"
   "I'll phone her right now and see what she says. You just wait outside for a while."
   Ronan was waiting for less a minute. Eileen came out and said, "Good news. She's willing to have a go at you. You can meet her tomorrow at midday near the picnic tables by the river."
   They both arrived early for their meeting. They introduced themselves, and they ran out of things to talk about when they finished talking about the weather. He said, "I suppose we should... what-do-you-call-it... get to know each other and all that."
   "Good thinking," she said. "Why don't we go to your place?"
   He took her to his house. They went to the living room, and he said, "You can only really judge the place after I light the fire."
   "Allow me," she said. She took a small piece of paper out of her coat pocket. Then she rolled it up into a ball and threw it towards the fire. A ball of flame rose up the chimney and left a roaring fire in the fireplace.
   "Where did you learn how to do that?" he said.
   "My grandmother taught me."
   "That's... That must come in handy."
   "She taught me everything she knew. Do you want me to show you how she used to milk the cows?" She took another piece of paper from her pocket.
   "No," he said. "That's alright. I got some milk in the shop earlier, so... I'll plug in the kettle and make some tea."
   "Allow me. My grandmother showed me how to boil water too, but with electric kettles you're safer just turning the switch on."
   He sat in the kitchen and watched her make the tea and some ham sandwiches. This was a big enough entry in the 'pro' column to cancel out the 'potential witch' entry on the 'con' side.
   They went for a walk after the tea. It was a pleasant walk. They were never short of something to say, another point for the pro side. But she wasn't short of something to say to the neighbours' dog either, and she could understand his responses. Ronan crossed out the word 'potential' on the con side.
   He went to see Eileen on the following day and he said, "Is she a witch or what is she?"
   "Her grandmother wouldn't have called herself a witch. And no one else would call her that if they had any sense."
   "So you knew about that?"
   "She's perfect for you."
   "What, in the name of God, I mean what in the name of God were you thinking?"
   "You asked me to give my opinion, to use my skills, and I did. I've never been wrong before."
   "What were you thinking at all? You thought she'd be ideal for the person I imagined. That's what you were thinking."
   "I could see the sort of person you are from the sort of person you imagined."
   "I don't even know what funk is."
   "Do you think I don't know that? You went for the safe option when you chose jazz because at least you know what it is. And I know you don't have people to dinner either."
   "If I went for the safe option, why did you put me with someone as unsafe as her?"
   "I know what I'm doing. She'll make a fine wife. And you don't have much choice in the matter. By conducting this business through me, you've virtually promised to marry her. She could certainly interpret it that way. And you don't want to be breaking a promise to her, do you?"
   Ronan went to the pub, where he told his tale of woe. The man who had recommended Eileen suggested that if he wanted to get out of their relationship, or whatever it was, he needed to make her decide there was too much of him in the con column and hardly any of him on the pro side.
   "Wear the same clothes in your living room that you'd wear when you're slaughtering something," the bar man suggested. "From my experience of women, that's enough to put a murderous glint in their eyes."
   "She could probably kill me with a newspaper, so I'd rather avoid the murderous glint. And I don't want to ruin the carpet."
   "It sounds like she's put a spell on you already. I've heard that wives can do that. But you've got to do something strong if you want to get rid of her. Let the dog do something."
   She was supposed to call around at two o' clock that afternoon. He'd never lit a fire that early in his life, but he made sure he had a roaring fire lighting because he didn't want her doing her trick with the paper again.
   When she arrived he took her into the living room. The first thing she noticed was the dog eating bread on the ground. Ronan said, "I found a loaf of bread on the side of the road so I gave it to the dog."
   She said, "Do you know your trousers are on fire?" Ronan was standing in front of the fireplace, a bit too close to it. He screamed and ran around the room, but she just calmly picked up some dust with her right hand and sprinkled it on the palm of her left hand. Then she blew the dust towards him and the fire in his trousers was extinguished immediately.
   She wasn't bothered by the dog's meal on the carpet. She was able to clean it up in a few seconds with a broom. He didn't know where she got the broom from. He thought he was stuck with her after she had saved his life, or at least saved his trousers. But he was willing to accept a life with her. An ability to put out the flames every time he set his trousers on fire was a significant addition to the pro column.

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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