Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Questions of the Day

   Is this a dagger I see in my back? Do I have eyes in the back of my head? What happened to the eyes in front of my head, the ones right in front of my eyes, hanging from pieces of string attached to my hat? Those bits of string used to hold corks to keep the flies away, but I replaced the corks with eyes to stop people from standing too close to me, and then I put a tiny hat over each eye and hung tiny corks from the brim of the hat to keep flies away from my eyes. But now I can't see my eyes.
   I spent an hour considering these questions, and then I asked Jane about what happened to my coffee maker. This was her answer: "There was this bear, and then there was this bear, and they started kissing and cuddling, and I know someone called Martha who told me about her bear and I said, 'You're lying, Martha. Martha, you are a liar.' She said she'd hit me. And then she tried to decide what she'd hit me with and I helped her decide because I thought she'd end up setting the kitchen on fire, and the milkman would have to run around in circles because he's a bit wrong in his ringing head. She tried to answer his head when it was ringing but there was no one there, and I was going to say, 'Maybe you should ask for the fire brigade,' but she'd just say, 'Oh yeah, I was trying to decide what to hit you with,' and I'd have to help her decide in case she stuck her finger into something. She had a dream about getting her fingers stuck to piano keys, and she was married to the man who inserted himself into the ground near the river. She wanted to wear disguises and spy on him, so I said, 'I'll be Laurel and Hardy, and you can be... the air.' And she didn't want to spy on him then because she was happy just being the air. Are you still here?"
   I didn't know how to answer that.
   Perhaps I lost my hat. The eyes hanging from the hat are made out of glass, and the kids have often asked me if they could use them to play marbles. Perhaps the knife in my back was thrown by the one-eyed knife-thrower. His aim has been poor since he lost his eye when he looked at his watch and forgot he was holding a knife. Or he forgot he was holding a knife and looked at his watch. He remembered he was holding a knife very shortly after looking at his watch. He may well have been aiming at the target next to me. Or perhaps he was aiming at my back because I stole his glass eye.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When Sally Met Sally

   When Sally met Sally they drove to the coast. In a field overlooking the sea they saw a balloon. Dave said, "That's not a balloon," trying to sound knowledgeable about balloons. "That's a shoe." He said that with complete confidence in his knowledge of shoes.
   Sally said, "Well what is a balloon?" She tried to sound up-yours-Dave.
   He said, "I will demonstrate that... forthwith. I don't know if 'forthwith' is the right word, but it's the only one that came to mind. I like the word. I must find out what it means. I hope it means what I think it is. I'd be disappointed if it meant something else, like green, or a vampire."
   He was trying to buy time so he could think about what a balloon is, but he couldn't think about that while he was talking about 'forthwith'.
   "You're just buying time," Sally said.
   "Yeah Dave, you're just buying time," Sally said.
   "I'm not," Dave said. "If I was buying time I certainly wouldn't be talking about the word 'forthwith'."
   "Well then show us what a balloon is."
   "I will. Follow me."
   They followed him. He pointed at things and said, "That's not a balloon." When he pointed at a pin he very nearly made the faux pas of saying, "That's a balloon." But a pause followed 'That's' and it ended with a 'not'. When he finally saw a balloon he recognised it straightaway. He pointed at it and said, "That's a balloon."
   Sally and Sally nodded because they knew he was right. Dave got out a list with the heading 'Things I really shouldn't forget'. He added the words 'What a balloon is' to the list. He married Sally and he added the words 'Which Sally I married' to the list.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


A Red Rose in a Vase

   Colin bought her a single red rose. He put it in a vase, but the vase was really a skeleton. She didn't like this because her father was a skeleton. He used to spend a lot of time in the pub. He'd order a pint and put an empty glass in his stomach. When the glass in his stomach was full he'd go to the toilet to empty it. One evening when he finished a pint of Guinness, he took the full glass from his stomach and he replaced it with the glass he'd just emptied. He started drinking the one he'd taken out of his stomach, but the other customers were horrified. He was told he'd be barred if he did that again.
   So when Colin gave her the rose in the vase, she just saw a rose sticking out of her father's eye socket. The fact that the skeleton was more muscular than Colin didn't do much for his chances either.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The Woman in the Doorway

   This case was starting to take up all my time, but it had its good points. I saw her in the doorway. She leaned against the frame and she lit a cigarette. She asked if that was a gun in my pocket or was I just pleased to see her. I was going to ask her the same question, but she answered it when she shot me. In a way, I'm glad it really was a gun in her pocket.

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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