Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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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.

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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