Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007



   Niall liked machines, especially big ones, especially big ones with impressive statistics, like 'This machine has enough power to knock over fifteen cows'. He liked things that could incapacitate cows or horses in theory. He'd drink anything that was guaranteed to make a horse unconscious. His friend, Lenny, once got a drink that was guaranteed to incapacitate a Nordic skier, but Niall didn't want to drink that because he didn't like the idea of doing something to a Nordic skier. He was happier with the thought of doing something to a horse. Lenny said that a Nordic skier would be like two horses, or like Duracell bunnies, the way they keep going. Niall really wanted to punch a Duracell bunny. In his mind they were big enough to punch. He'd punch a Nordic skier too, if the skier did something to deserve it. But he still wouldn't try the drink. Drinking something guaranteed to incapacitate a Nordic skier felt too intimate, much more intimate than punching the skier.
   Lenny said, "Everyone thinks you're too scared to drink the drink and there's something wrong with you if you want to punch a Duracell bunny."
   "Who's everyone?" Niall said.
   Lenny listed out names. Niall doubted that everyone really thought that, so he asked them individually. Most of them knew nothing of his desire to punch the Duracell bunny, but when he told them about it they agreed that there was something wrong with him.
   Heather was the last person on the list. When he got to her, she showed him her new boots. He'd never seen anything like them before. He started talking about machines because he didn't know what else to say. He never took his eyes off the boots as she modelled them, and she never stopped modelling them. She kept moving and looking down, admiring the boots. She couldn't care less about Niall punching the Duracell bunny.
   The boots gave her the same feeling that Niall got from a machine that could kill a giraffe. When he saw that she had no interest in machines he said he could picture her wearing those boots in an apartment where someone's been stabbed with an ice pick. She smiled and he was happy because he'd said the right thing about a woman's black leather boots for once in his life. This gave him a warm feeling. He left her house with a smile on his face. He was going to say to Lenny that he'd checked the list and that not everyone agreed he was scared and there was something wrong with him, but then Lenny would have asked for a list of the people who didn't agree, and it would have got messy. Niall just drank the drink and hoped they'd forget about the bunny. About ten seconds after drinking it he swung a punch at Lenny, but he missed. Then he left the pub and tried to go as far as he could across the country, like a Nordic skier, only without the skis or the snow. He couldn't get very far with his trousers around his ankles. But everyone in the pub respected him for trying the drink.
   At the time he didn't consider the possibility that the Duracell bunny in their minds might be much smaller than the one in his. If they knew how big his one was they probably wouldn't think there was something wrong with him for wanting to punch it, assuming there was a good reason for wanting to punch it, other than just jealousy. They might think there's something wrong with him for picturing it so big. He thought about this years later, but when he explained it to his friends they thought there was something wrong with him.

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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