Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Oscars

   They were all dressed as Oscar Wilde because he was their leader (they didn't know he was just a man dressed as Oscar Wilde). Luckily I was wearing a rabbit costume at the time (the story of how I ended up on the inside of a rabbit costume is a long and tedious one). The Oscars ran past me and I was able to get away, and get out of the rabbit costume.
   I took the next bus out of town. I got off on a quiet road, and I walked through a forest. I didn't know where I was going, but I had a feeling I'd been here before. I met a woman called Sonia. She told me she could make snow fall by blowing smoke in the air, and that seemed familiar too. She took a long drag from her cigarette (the story of how she came to be smoking a cigarette is a short but tedious one). Then she blew the smoke up towards the night sky. I watched it disappear. About a minute later the snowflakes began to fall.
   "That's amazing," I said.
   "Do you want to see what I can do with a pig?"
   "I'd love to."
   "We just have to find a pig first."
   I sensed a long, tedious search for a pig, so I said, "Maybe some other time."
   "Speaking of time," she said, "I can travel backwards or forwards through time. It's travelling through space that I have trouble with. Not space as in the stars and other planets, but getting from A to B down here. Busses. I can travel back in time but I have to spend half an hour waiting at a bus stop and there's nothing I can do about it."
   "What else can you do?"
   "I can get inside paintings. Come with me and I'll show you."
   She took me to her house. There was a long wide hall just inside the front door. There were fourteen paintings on the walls, seven at either side. She took me to a painting of a woman standing at a bay window in a drawing room. The woman was holding a small dog. The painting had a late nineteenth century look to it.
   Sonia held my hand. She told me to close my eyes and then fall backwards on the count of three. I expected to land on the ground, but the landing was much softer. When I opened my eyes we were sitting on a sofa, facing the woman with the small dog.
   "Hello again," she said to Sonia. "I see you've brought a 'friend' this time."
   I didn't like the way she said 'friend', and I was just about to object to it when the door burst open and Oscar Wilde came in. He was holding a gun and he pointed it at me. I thought about jumping through the window, but when I looked out there were another three Oscars outside. They were all armed.
   "I think you'll find that escape is impossible," the Oscar in the room said.
   "It would be if you had to rely on a bus," Sonia said, "but I have a more efficient means of travel." She took out a small metal ball. She removed the top of it and pressed a few buttons. She replaced the top and told me to put my palm on it. I guessed that this was her time machine. A few seconds later we travelled a few years earlier.
   We couldn't see anything in the white fog. We walked around, but there was nothing there. "I've never travelled back in time while inside a painting before," she said. "We must have travelled back to before it was painted. We're in a blank canvas."
   "This is a new experience for me, but I'd imagine the novelty could wear off fairly quickly."
   "Imagine this. What if we could be the artists? We could create a whole new world from scratch. We've seen the problems of the old world and we could avoid those mistakes. We'd be like Adam and Eve. Like Adam and Eve and God rolled into one. Or two."
   "I like the idea of being Adam to your Eve. And playing those roles as two people sounds a lot more fun than doing it as one. But I'm not sure I've learnt anything from the mistakes of the world. I once got electrocuted by a live wire and I touched it again to see if I'd get electrocuted again."
   "And did you?"
   "Maybe you're right. Maybe we're not the right people to be playing Adam and Eve. I suppose we should go forward in time again and get out of the painting as quickly as possible."
   We returned to the room in the painting. All of the Oscars were there, and they all took out their guns.
   "Dive behind the sofa," Sonia said to me.
   We both dived behind the sofa at the same time and we landed on the ground in the hall of her house.
   "What have you done to upset the Oscar Wildes?" she said.
   "I threw a potato at their leader earlier this evening. I really wish I hadn't done it."
   "It's easy enough to un-do it. We'll just go back in time."
   She took out the time machine again. I put my hand on top of it, and just before it sent us back she said, "See you later."
   I found myself alone in a room with a rabbit costume hanging on a hook. I was tempted to throw the potato at the Oscar Wilde anyway, but then I remembered what she had said: 'See you later'.
   I got the bus out of town and I went to the place where I had met her earlier. She arrived shortly afterwards, and then it started snowing. "I found a pig," she said. "He's willing to play the guinea pig in my little experiment, but I haven't told him everything yet. Come with me and I'll show you."

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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