Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007



   Seamus was very aggressive towards people who refused to speak Irish. People who couldn't speak Irish would be on the receiving end of a rant, but because they couldn't understand a word he said they assumed he was complaining about the government or the weather, and they normally agreed with him.
   His younger brother, Roy, had learnt Irish in school but he had forgotten most of it. Seamus thought he had forgotten it on purpose just to annoy him. Roy and his friends, Gerry and Marion, often had to listen to Seamus's rants.
   When Gerry was given a bottle of something alcoholic by a man who had a spider on his face, they needed someone to test it before drinking it themselves. So they found out how to say 'Would you like to try this drink?' in Irish. Roy repeated the Irish phrase to Seamus, who was delighted to hear the music of the mother tongue coming out of his brother at last. He couldn't refuse the offer of the drink. Roy poured him a glass, and Seamus drank it in one go.
   He felt great at first. He even agreed to go to the pub with Roy, Gerry and Marion. But after an hour he wasn't feeling so good. Objects that had remained inanimate for all of his life suddenly started to move.
   On the following morning he woke in an unfamiliar room. He had often dreamt of waking in a strange place and saying, "Is this heaven?" On this occasion he was able to guess that the answer would be a 'no'. A 'yes' would have been more disappointing because it would have come as a huge anti-climax to find the words 'Up Wexford' on the ceiling of heaven.
   He left the house and found himself in a farm yard. A woman smiled and waved at him. She looked vaguely familiar. An old man came over to him. His name was Leo. Two taller, younger men stood at either side of him. He called them his bodyguards, but they hated the thought of guarding his body. They didn't even like standing near him.
   Leo said to Seamus, "I've been led to understand that you made advances towards my daughter, and this led to a sort of a dance, and a sort of a dance is more than enough to qualify as a proposal of marriage in my book. It's a blood-stained, bullet-ridden, well-read book. So that leaves you with two options. The first is to agree to take part in a play, where you'll be a character called Mr. Fox, and we'll try to track you down. Actually, the second option is a part in a play too. You'll be the husband and Georgina will be the wife."
   Seamus looked at Georgina. She smiled at him. He looked back at her father and his bodyguards. Leo was always smiling. The bodyguards weren't. He looked at Georgina again.
   "It's a big decision," Leo said, "so take your time. Bear in mind that she's in her mid-thirties, so it's not as if you'd be spending your whole life with her. But anyway, I suppose we should get better acquainted. What's your name?"
   Seamus didn't want to give his real name. He thought of his brother. Whenever a policeman asked Roy for his name he always said 'Willy Wonka'. It was almost a compulsion. Gerry had an uncanny ability to arouse the suspicion of policemen, and then Roy made things worse by saying his name was Willy Wonka. Marion often got them off the hook by trying to arouse something else in the policemen.
   Seamus couldn't think of anything else to say, so he said, "Willy Wonka."
   Leo said, "I've heard that name somewhere before... Would you be any relation to the man who restores the vintage tractors?"
   "No. I own a chocolate factory."
   "That must be where I've heard of you. Georgina, we've hit the jackpot."
   "Yeah," she said, "I feel as if I've just found a golden ticket."
   "That's right. Come on into the kitchen and we'll have a little something to celebrate."
   On their way back into the house Georgina whispered to Seamus, "I know you're not Willy Wonka. If you want to get away, just leave through the bathroom window and head for the fields."
   He followed her advice. When he was running away through the fields he felt relieved to have escaped from the role of Georgina's husband, but then he heard the sound of the chasing pack and he realised he was playing Mr. Fox instead.
   He ran up the side of a hill, hoping his salvation would come at the other side. What he saw at the other side was a hot-air balloon. There weren't any other likely candidates to play the part of his salvation. He told the man in the basket that he needed to get away quickly, and the man said, "Climb aboard."
   The man in the hot-air balloon was smoking a pipe and wearing a sea captain's hat. He kept referring to the balloon as his ship. They ducked when they heard shots fired, but they got away from their pursuers when they entered low-lying cloud. Seamus started to wonder if he was in hell, but then he heard a woman singing in Irish and he knew that such a beautiful sound couldn't come from anything in hell. The next thing he heard was the sound of them crashing into the roof of a cottage on a mountainside. The next sight he saw was a man pointing a shotgun up at them, but then it all went dark when the balloon deflated and landed on them. Seamus was able to get away. He ran through the fields again.
   It was nearly evening when Roy, Gerry and Marion finally tracked him down. They had been trying to find him all day because they wanted to see how the drink had affected him. They took him home, and on the way he told them all about his adventures. They couldn't wait to try the drink for themselves.

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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