Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Weekend Cowboys

   The Weekend cowboys sit at bars and drink all day. They get smaller and smaller until they can fit into the bottles they empty, and they wait in the bottles until someone throws them into the sea, to be taken away to some other land. Some are taken to places where people tower above them like giants. When Darren's bottle came to rest on a shore he was in a land of tiny people, and he was like a giant to them. The trees had green trunks and golden leaves, and he was taller than any of them. The little people revered him because he protected them from the trees. He was like a god to them. The chief of the little people was small and thin. He had a huge feather on his hat. To Darren, the chief looked like a quill writing on the ground as he walked.
   Darren was their only god until another cowboy arrived. His name was Paul. He used to drink with Darren before they shrank and were thrown into the sea.
   He said to Darren, "You made fun of my cake." He said those words with the menace of a cowboy accusing a man of killing his brother. They both felt a need to play this like a Western just to impress the little people, even though the little people had never seen a Western and they would have found an argument about a cake just as exciting. They wrote down everything that happened.
   If they were going to play it like a Western, there was only one way of settling their argument: a gunfight. Darren and Paul stood twenty yards away from each other. Neither moved. Their hands were poised near their guns.
   In an unforeseeable act of digression, Paul said, "Would you do a bungee jump just to impress a woman?"
   "I don't know," Darren said. "It would depend on the woman."
   "Let's say she's a woman you want to impress and you know she'd be impressed by a bungee jump."
   "I'd wonder why she'd be impressed by seeing me trying to kill myself. She wouldn't be my type. And I obviously wouldn't be her type if I could only impress her by trying to kill myself."
   "You never hear of people dying on bungee jumps. It's safer than riding a bike."
   "Why would she be impressed by that?"
   "It still takes a certain amount of bravery to do it."
   "She'd be more impressed if you rode your bike. Now there's the sort of woman I'd like to impress. If I could make her say 'ooh' by riding my bike, she'd be the sort of woman for me."
   "If only it were that easy."
   "It doesn't matter if she's impressed by a bungee jump. It's whether or not she's glad to see you come back up again -- that's what you need to be looking out for. If you successfully complete a bungee jump and it's an anti-climax for her, then she's not your type."
   "I've got to do something to impress her."
   "Who is she?"
   "Her name is Joan. When we first met I said she had a beautiful name and she wasn't even faintly impressed by that. I knew then I'd have a job on my hands."
   "And now you're considering tying an elastic to your feet and jumping off a bridge?"
   "She says she's done it lots of times."
   "You should have told her you've ridden a bike lots of times."
   "I told her about the time I fell and hit my head off a radiator, but that didn't get any reaction."
   "That's what we said about you after you hit your head off the radiator. If she's done lots of bungee jumps, how is your single jump going to impress her?"
   "It's not so much that it would impress her, but she'd be very unimpressed if I refused."
   "If you're struggling not to unimpress her, you've got to ask yourself what chance do you have with this woman."
   "And if the answer is 'none', what chance do I have of happiness?"
   "Maybe you just need to hit your head off the radiator again."
   "I've got to do something. Because doing nothing clearly isn't working."
   "You should stop thinking in terms of stunts like bungee jumps. Think of something that would show you in a different light, and that could be something small. Or try to see her in a different light. You only know her as someone who'd be impressed by a bungee jump, and that's a very limited view."
   "That's because she hardly says a word when I meet her. But I like this idea of showing myself in a different light. I've always wanted to be like Tiger Woods."
   "Any sort of light isn't going to help you there. You've got to forget about trying to be like someone else. You need to highlight some aspect of yourself that would appeal to her."
   They stood there and tried to think of something Paul could do to show himself in a different light. Neither of them had any intention of going for their guns. The little people didn't see the digression as a digression, and they didn't feel a sense of anti-climax. They thought it was all extraordinary, and they wrote down everything. They debated every line. The chief was so excited he did a dance and it looked as if he was writing again.

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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