Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

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


The Adventures of Dog and Banus

   There once was a woman who played the harp and she often put people to sleep because the music she played was so uninteresting. One day a bee flew around her head and distracted her from her playing. She produced a beautiful sound that drew people out of their sleep and made them smile. As soon as the bee flew away, she was able to concentrate on the harp again, and the smiles faded as the beautiful sound was replaced by a lifeless drone.
   They started distracting her while she played so she'd produce the beautiful music again. A man called Banus agreed to distract her at a party next to a pond one night. He danced around her and he used puppets and did magic tricks. This went on for three hours, and he struggled to keep her in a state of distraction. He was mentally and physically exhausted from the effort. He started a conversation between two puppets and it ended with Banus losing his mental faculties and running away into the woods. His scream distracted the harpist until the sound faded to silence.
   He lived in the woods for months. He often used the puppets to act out scenes in his head. He came up with new dances and songs, and he made sculptures. A puppy wandered into the woods one day and watched Banus dancing with the puppets. The dance became more frenzied when he realised he had an audience, but there was nothing Banus could do to make the puppy react, and eventually his will power failed him. He stopped dancing and sat on the stump of a tree. He threw the puppets away.
   The puppy stayed with Banus in the woods. A few months later, after the puppy had become a dog, they were fishing at a stream one day when the dog said, "Do you not think you'd be better off using a bait?"
   Banus followed Dog's suggestion, and it worked. Dog provided good advice on many issues, from gathering firewood to bewildering squirrels.
   There was a famous healer who used to travel around the country, healing people with leaves and potions and the eyes of fish. He was at a nearby village one day, and Banus went to see him because of a pain in his neck. The healer was in a house. His assistant was taking the names of the people who had gathered outside. Banus had to wait until his name was called before going inside. He was waiting for two hours before the assistant came out and said, "Mr. Banus is next."
   Banus said to him, "It's pronounced Baa-nus, not Ban-us."
   "What did I say?"
   Dog and Banus went inside. The healer gave Banus some fish eyes for his neck (he had also given fish eyes to a woman who had something on her foot -- neither her nor the healer could say what it was).
   As they were leaving, the assistant said, "Goodbye, Mr. Baa-nus."
   "You're putting too much emphasis on the 'baa' now."
   "What did I say that time?"
   "No. That's even further away."
   As they were walking home, Dog said, "Have you ever considered changing your name to something simpler?"
   "Like what?"
   "'Man'. I've found many advantages to being known as 'Dog', so I'd recommend 'Man'. 'Dog and Man'."
   "What advantages?"
   "The one thing I don't do is make lists. I'll find an advantage and I'll examine it and say, 'Yes, that's an advantage.' And I won't add it onto a list. All I know is that I've found many of them during my lifetime."
   "I've compiled a list of all the things you don't do, and there's many more than one item on the list."
   "Can I see the list?"
   "No. I must have lost it."
   "If I had made a list of all the things you said without thinking, then realised that you shouldn't have said what you said and made up an excuse to justify what you said, I'd need more than one page."
   "You can't even write. You didn't think at all about what you said."
   "I was speaking metaphorically. You'd be over-reaching yourself if you chose the name 'Man'. You might be able to stand on your hind legs and have opposable digits, but you're incapable of understanding metaphor."
   "I don't like the sound of 'Dog and Man' anyway. It should be 'Man and Dog'. One man and his dog, out in the fields, herding sheep."
   "You're definitely over-reaching yourself if you think you're one man. I've been counting you and I think the figure is closer to five eights. Have you ever considered the name 'Sheep'. It's a natural progression from 'Baanus."
   "No. I think I'll stick with Banus."
   "Fair enough. The Adventures of Dog and Banus."
   "What sort of adventures are we going to have?"
   "I don't know. Admittedly I didn't put any thought into that before saying it."
   After thinking about it for a few days they decided to have the following adventure: They rescued a man who had been left on a ledge on a cliff by the fairies. Banus used a combination of smoke and honey to distract the fairies while Dog descended to the ledge and led the man to safety.

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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