Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007



   Walking was something I had an interest in, but it made it difficult to stay in the same place, which I also had an interest in. It did enable me to meet people who shared my interest in staying in the same place. Unfortunately, we couldn't agree on where that place should be. Some places were close enough for us to communicate by shouting. I never needed to communicate with the people I was close to, apart from when I had to shout at them.
   Language is the adhesive that sticks me to the world and sometimes in the silence I float away. When I was four I found the words 'Fall in a hole'. I used them to build the phrase 'Fall in a hole, y' ding'. I used the phrase at every possible opportunity. These words stuck me to the world but they kept other people away. I needed a phrase that was like fly-paper, so other people would stick to me. The phrase I chose was 'Will you marry me?'. I said it 327 times before someone said 'yes'. I had to say it another 151 times before another woman said 'yes'. But we never got married. She left me just before the wedding. We didn't make it as far as the altar, but we had written our own marriage vows. Hers sounded more like a job description. I didn't mind that, but she definitely had a part-time job in mind. I'd have married her if it was a cleaning job.
   I was alone again. I went back to the woman who had first said 'yes', and she was still alone too. I don't know if we'll ever get married, but we've been standing within shouting distance of each other for a few hours every evening, and we both enjoy it, so that bodes well for a successful marriage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


A Love Story

   They fell in love and then he went away to somewhere else and he built a house there and he got married to someone else. He lived in the house with his wife for a while and then he had to go to somewhere other than somewhere else and he met the woman he used to love before he loved his wife. They fell in love again. She told him she had a husband and he told her he had a wife, and then she got a phone call saying her husband was dead. She was happy because she had never loved her husband and as time went by she had started to hate him.
   He'd never have told her (the woman he first loved, woman no. 1) about his wife, woman no. 2, if woman no. 1 hadn't told him about her husband. He (let's call him man -- there's no need for numbers now that man no. 2 is dead, unless he's brought back to life somehow) was worried that woman no. 1 would suggest killing woman no. 2 so they could be together again. At first, he didn't know which woman he wanted to be with, but the more time he spent with woman no. 1, the more he loved her. They travelled through the south of France together. They walked along lonely beaches and went to casinos in the evening.
   Woman no. 1 was walking down the street with man no. 1 when he stopped suddenly and said, "If I'm man no. 1, then man no. 2 must still be alive."
   Man no. 2 hadn't really been killed in a boating accident. He had been washed up on a beach. He couldn't remember who he was, and he spent months working as a fisherman. When he was hit on the head by an assailant his memory returned. He went back to his home to find that his wife had left. He tracked her down. She was terrified at first, but he had changed since coming back from the dead. He told her that he had seen himself through the eyes of a simple fisherman, and he didn't like the man he used to be. He was a completely different person, and she fell in love with him.
   She arranged a boating accident to get rid of man no. 1. The plan worked perfectly, but as soon as he was out of the way, man no. 2 revealed that he hadn't changed at all. He had found out about her affair and he just pretended to change so she'd get rid of man no. 1.
   Woman no. 2 arrived on the scene wondering where man no. 1 was. Woman no. 1 told her about his death in a boating accident. They both wanted to bring him back to life, and they thought that a writer would be the best man for the job, so that's when they came to me. The idea I came up with was that man no. 1 should be washed up on a beach somewhere, suffering from amnesia and so forth. They said I was just copying what happened to man no. 2. I pointed out that woman no. 1 had copied this when she arranged for man no. 1 to die in a boating accident, but they said it was my job to come up with something new.
   I struggled with the problem for a long time. Woman no. 1 was getting impatient because she and her husband were tormenting each other. I eventually came up with the following solution: he's found by Japanese fishermen, and after months of slave labour he escapes using a tooth brush. He spends six months travelling through the jungle, completely lost, and he's on the point of death when he's rescued by French nuns, who nurse him back to health, and help him find his way home.
   Woman no. 1 and woman no. 2 were happy with this, but it was down to me to decide which one of them man no. 1 would fall in love with on his return. This was the most difficult problem of all. Both women sent their lawyers to threaten me with legal action unless their client was re-united with man no. 1. In the end I hired my own lawyers to threaten them, and I came up with woman no. 3. She used to be a French nun, but she fell in love with man no. 1 and he fell in love with her. They ran away together. I think this was the best solution for everyone. Woman no. 1 and man no. 2 would go on to lead fulfilling lives killing each other and coming back from the dead. And woman no. 2 was already married to man no. 3. He had been waiting for her at a restaurant.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


When I was Young

   When I was young I noticed other people around me. Some were big and some were small. Some of them were shaped like boxes. I was shaped like an eel.
   I used to look at the wall instead of at the TV. Most of the shows on Irish TV at the time were documentaries about walls. I don't know why my father even bothered to buy a TV. In fact, he didn't really buy it -- he just painted a rectangle on the wall. He nearly killed himself trying to adjust the aerial on the roof to get a better picture.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007



   When I was in the park last week I saw Clare. She was with her kids.

Clare and her kids:

   It brought back a lot of happy memories. I was once in love with Clare and she was in love with me, but it was never going to last. We had very little in common. I hated the music she liked, and she thought the music I liked was deranged. She liked sun holidays, but I just wanted to go to Germany. She loved cats, but she never cooked them enough for my liking. I don't know how she ate them medium rare.

Clare when she was young:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Dean's Wife

   I met Dean in the clubhouse at the golf course. We started talking about golf and our jobs and why the rugby team couldn't play their way out of a paper bag, or beat a paper bag even if they did get out. I mentioned that I recently got engaged (this was rugby-related) and he told me about his wife. He's married to a woman with a multiple personality disorder. One of her personalities is called Jane and the other is called Sandra. They dress differently. Sandra is younger and more adventurous than Jane. Neither personality is aware of the other's existence, although Jane suspects that something is wrong.
   His wife also has a multiple body disorder. Jane lives at home with him and Sandra lives in the city. He's been playing along with her delusion for years, just to keep her happy. When he goes to Sandra's apartment he tells Jane that he's been held up at work. Sometimes he tells her he's going on a golfing trip with his friends and he takes Sandra away for a weekend. He says it hasn't always been easy for him, but he's managed to keep both Sandra and Jane happy, and their marriage has been a success.

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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