Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
Click here to buy the paperback or download the ebook for free.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008



   When I woke up this morning, people were waiting outside my house for me to say something, so I said 'ant'. Journalists called around later and asked me to expand on my remarks. I expanded 'ant' by putting a 'the' before it and an 'is' after it. This satisfied their curiosity, but when I looked at one of the newspapers on the following day the headline was 'The Ant is Dead'.
   I was being blamed for the ant's demise. I spent days searching the countryside for the ant. I knocked on every door I came across and asked everyone I met in the fields, but I couldn't find it anywhere, so I got a dog to pretend to be the ant. The journalists were impressed when they saw that the ant had learnt how to sit, but the dog's cover was blown when the real ant returned and exposed the impostor. The journalists were very impressed with the way the real ant was able to expose an impostor by pulling the dog's wig off. I pretended to be shocked, and I was able to deflect all of the blame onto the dog. He was angry with me for a while, but I made up for it by setting him up on a blind date with a Yorkshire terrier. I just hope he doesn't find out that she's really a hedgehog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Plan

   The Plan: Let's all go to a casino and make a lot of money.
   The Outcome: Complete success.
   The Question: So what do we do now?
   Sean's answer: I'm going to buy a house in the country.
   An estate agent called Jilly shows Sean and his wife, Veronica, around an old farm house. They've brought their dog, whose name is Rumba Dum. While Jilly points out the period features in the kitchen, the dog sings this song:
   I'm Rumba Dum and my head is numb from the constant hum of a rumba song.
   Jilly, Sean and Veronica all jump in surprise. A surprise-fuelled jump might as well be rocket-powered. Their heads go through the ceiling and get stuck there. The dog sings his song again, which makes the flailing legs dance. The eyes in the heads are above ground level on the floor above, and Jilly tries to carry on with the tour, despite what her legs are doing downstairs. She talks about the period features in the master bedroom.
   Rumba Dum doesn't like to jump. It's the 'P' he objects to. He's replaced it with a 'B' to give the softer sounding 'jumb'. Jumbing normally puts him to sleeb.
   They eventually break free from the clutches of the ceiling, and they go on to the next house. The owner of this house has recently re-decorated his medikitchen. The room is full of colour. The TV has been painted onto the wall. On the screen there's a painting of a scene from a TV show called Night Frog. The scene never changes, but everything else in the room seems to be moving. The forks are slowly making their getaway. The tap sings a deep bass hum-song, with lots of lovely 'umb' sounds. The clock on the wall has fifty hours because the owner of the house often goes that long without sleep.
   The woman who owns the next house is there to show them around. Her hand has just given birth to a litter of glove puppets, and they're starting to get a bit annoying. They never stay quiet and they make a noise with too many 'ing' sounds for Rumba Dum's liking, not enough 'B's.
   It's night now and they still haven't found a house they like. They stand in a garden and look up at the sky. Sean says, "How many nurses does it take to screw in a star?"
   Jilly thinks about this and in the silence you can hear her brain tick-tocking. Sean finds the sound depressing. It was meant to be a joke, but people always think he's being serious when he jokes. She eventually says, "I'll have to ask Alan about that."
   Veronica builds a mental image of Alan. She sees him as a sort of a god.
   Before they go home, Jilly shows them an old castle and they both fall in love with the place. They come back on the following day to see it again. It's covered in creepers, and the interior needs a lot of work, but they know it would make an ideal home. Sean has to go back to the casino to get more money before they can put in an offer.
   They buy the place and renovate it. Sean grows a moustache that covers his face, like the creepers that cover the walls. He trims around his eyes so he can see out, and he cuts the creepers around the windows too.
   How the others spent their money: Gary funded a musical called 'The Prison Ship Lies Waiting in the Bee'. Scott got lots of things he didn't need, including a tiny hearse for cats and an illiterate personal assistant. He taught her how to read.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Darcy and O'Mara - Chapter One

   Darcy and O'Mara were walking along the banks of a river one afternoon when they came across a woman who was crying. They asked her what was wrong and she told them a story about a man who had called to her house earlier that day. One of the maids let him in. He wore a dark green cloak, and he brought his own breeze to keep the cloak flowing behind him, even as he stood still. He introduced himself as one of her distant cousins, Corcoran 'Cloudy' Mac Giolla Mo Chuda. He gave her a card and he bowed. On the card his name was written in gold letters, just above the word 'Historian'.
   His breeze went all over the house. It confused her dog, who ran around in circles. The servants didn't know what to do. One of them was setting a fire in a bedroom when the breeze entered through the open door. He lay on his back and pretended to be dead. This was what he always did when he was confused. He thought it made him look cool-headed.
   The woman, whose name was Aishling, didn't know if she should trust this man who claimed to be her cousin. She decided to go to sleep to consult the committee that appeared in her dreams because they always gave her sound advice. After falling asleep on an armchair she asked the committee about her visitor. The chairman of the committee, who was trying to ignore the crow on his head, told her to wake up. The crow nodded to indicate his approval of the chairman's advice. When she woke, Corcran 'Cloudy' Mac Giolla Mo Chuda was gone. She immediately thought of the ring. She went upstairs to the bedroom where the servant was still pretending to be dead. She went to the chest of drawers and she opened the bottom drawer. The fake back to the drawer had been removed and the ring was gone.
   The ring had been in her family for generations. Her father once told her a story about how one of their ancestors was amongst a group of men out hunting with a king on an afternoon in August. They were hunting a famous stag that had evaded capture for years. After hours of searching for it, they saw the stag on top of a hill. An archer was about to fire an arrow at it when a hawk landed on the stag's antlers. The men were transfixed by the sight. They stared at the hawk as they walked towards it, but when they got to the top of the hill they realised that the hawk was perched on a branch of a bare tree. They looked back and they saw the stag in the valley below them, where they had just been. The stag ran away. Between the roots of the tree they found a red bag full of gold brooches, rings and bracelets. The king divided these amongst his men, and the stag was never hunted again.
   When Aishling saw that the ring had been taken she went outside and looked for her so-called cousin. She ran as far as the river, but she couldn't find him, and she feared the ring was gone for good.
   Darcy and O'Mara promised to find Corcran and return the ring to its rightful owner. They went back to her house, and they questioned the servant who had been playing dead. He said, "I saw the man looking through the drawers and I knew exactly what he was looking for."
   "Why didn't you stop him?" Darcy said.
   "I formed a plan. I pretended to be dead. My father used to do it every Saturday night when he was courting my mother. She didn't know he was courting her at the time, but that's another story. I thought that by pretending to be dead he'd do whatever he planned to do and I'd be able to observe him. And he did. When I saw him searching for something I thought he must be looking for the ring, and I knew he'd find it eventually."
   "When you saw what he was doing, why didn't you stop him?"
   "Because he'd have known I wasn't dead and he'd have stopped doing it."
   "I can't fault your logic."
   Aishling showed them the card. The only two people who had touched the card were Aishling and Corcran. They went to see a man called Brendan who had a dog with an exceptional sense of smell. The dog's name was Mullins. They got him to sniff the card, but he went straight to Aishling and started wagging his tail.
   "He always goes for the easy option first," Brendan said, and then he said to Mullins, "No, not her. The other one. The other one."
   Mullins ran off, then slowed to a canter that became a walk, and then he stopped. He lay down on the ground and he fell asleep.
   Darcy said, "That option wasn't much more difficult."
   "Just keep heading in that direction and ye'll find him," Brendan said.
   O'Mara patted the dog on the head as they walked past him.
   They spent the rest of the day walking in that direction. They met a man who was fishing at a lake, and he said he'd seen a man in a dark green cloak go around the lake about half an hour earlier.
   When the sun reached the horizon they stopped before a field full of rocks and gorse. Beyond the field there was a hill.
   "Is there any point in going on?" O'Mara said. "He might have set off in this direction, and we know he stuck to this route as far as the lake, but he could have gone left or right at any point after it."
   "He wouldn't have gone too far left or right. He'd have a destination in mind, and he'd take the quickest route to it."
   A woman with long golden hair appeared on top of the hill. Her face was illuminated by the last of the evening sun. A gust of wind blew in her direction.
   Darcy and O'Mara saw a dark green cloak rise out of the field, revealing a crouching man who had been hiding beneath it. When he saw his cloak flying away he ran after it. Darcy and O'Mara ran after him.
   As Corcran ran up the hill he tried to control his breeze with a series of commands and whistles, but the breeze seemed intent on running away with the wind. The woman waved at him as he ran past her on top of the hill. Darcy and O'Mara followed him shortly afterwards. She smiled at O'Mara.
   Corcran was looking up at his cloak as he ran down the other side of the hill. He tripped and fell, and he rolled to the bottom of the hill. He came to a halt in a stream, and before he got out of it, Darcy and O'Mara caught up with him.
   "Give us the ring," Darcy said.
   "What ring?"
   O'Mara held up his spear and said, "Maybe a hole in your head would help jog your memory."
   "Here," Corcran said, and he threw the ring to Darcy. The cloak landed on his head.
   Darcy and O'Mara walked back the way they came, and they returned the ring to Aishling late that night. She was overjoyed. She felt that the occasion called for a celebration that would burn brightly in people's minds for months to come. Within minutes, all of her friends and neighbours had arrived and they were well on their way to burning holes in their minds. Music and laughter filled the rooms. Mullins slept soundly through the whole thing.
   On the following day, Darcy and O'Mara went back to the hill where they had caught Corcran on the previous day. O'Mara wanted to meet the woman with the long golden hair. There was a village called Kilforrinne near the hill. When O'Mara told the villagers about the woman with the long hair they knew exactly who he was talking about, but no one could say where she was. She had been kidnapped during the night.
'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
It's available in paperback or as an ebook.
Click here to read the first two chapters.
Click here to buy the book.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Mr. Kennedy Went To Clonmel

   Mr. Kennedy went to Clonmel. Mr. Kennedy came back again and said, "I'm Mr. Kennedy. Destroy! Destroy!"
   The police received many complaints about the destruction caused by Mr. Kennedy. A local man had recently made a cartoon about the police, and they started to see themselves as the cartoon characters. They stopped believing in serious crime. All violence was cartoon violence, and all destruction would be un-done in the next scene. This allowed them to stay in the station, playing cards and drinking whiskey, safe in the knowledge that Mr. Kennedy's trail of destruction would take care of itself.
   Noel and Christy decided that they needed to do something about it themselves, or get someone else to do something about it. They went to see Brady, and he came up with a potion to curtail Mr. Kennedy's destructive impulses. They were afraid that the potion would kill him, so they tested it on hamsters first. The results were inconclusive. They wasted a lot of time arguing about what to call the hamsters. They did manage to prove that a hamster won't respond to its name after five hours of being called that name by a man who drank half a bottle of whiskey and started crying when he remembered losing his virginity.
   They decided to give the potion to Mr. Kennedy anyway. They put it into a pint of stout, and they gave the pint to Mr. Kennedy. The potion had an immediate effect. He no longer felt a need to destroy everything in his path, but one of the side effects was that he fell in love with every woman he saw, and many of them fell in love with him. The result of this was that many husbands and boyfriends wanted to destroy him. Noel and Christy went to see Brady again, and they asked if he could come up with another potion to help Mr. Kennedy, but they ended up performing pointless experiments on hamsters.
   Mr. Kennedy went to Clonmel. Mr. Kennedy came back wearing a fake beard and he said, "Mr. Kennedy is dead. I'm Mr. Allen." It didn't take long for all the husbands and boyfriends to develop a hatred of Mr. Allen, so he had to go to Clonmel too.

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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