Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

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


The Wrong Thing

   It's a cold December night. There are people on the streets to watch the fireworks. There's a young man alone in a room. He's thinking about a cemetery for rats because he likes the idea. He's a big fan of ideas. Practise is hugely over-rated. Theory is where it's really at.
   Outside on the street there's a man who believes in action and he's planning on seducing a woman called Amanda with a chat-up line he's been honing for weeks, sharpening this verbal arrow with a knife. He's confident of hitting the target. In fairness, it's a very wide target. He can't fail. He could say anything to her and it would work. She's prepared to move the target around to get in the way of the arrow.
   As long as theory boy doesn't inadvertently fire an arrow that hits the centre of the target before action man can even get his arrow out of the quiver.
   Theory boy goes outside to get some food from a Chinese take-away. The only reason he talks to her is because she accidentally stands on his foot. They talk for hours and she's fascinated by his theories. She wants to meet him again sometime. He agrees to meet her, but he's afraid because it seems too much like action.
   "What if I say the wrong thing?" theory boy says to himself as he paces from one end of the room to the other. "Or do the wrong thing. By the way, my name is Jason."
   This fear of saying or doing the wrong thing means that he says and does very little when he's with her, and she starts to wonder if she should give action man another go.
   "My name is Ted," action man says to a cat after Amanda agrees to go out with him.
   He gives her flowers when he meets her and she says she's tickled pink. Ted doesn't like being tickled pink because it sounds gay. He believes that smiling is a bit effeminate. It's an appropriate pastime for women and young children, but if a boy hasn't grown out of it by the age of ten, it's time to teach him how to use a shotgun. Kicking punks and hippies makes him happy, but there are few opportunities to practise this pastime. Despite these views he knows he needs to change if he's to win her heart. He's seen the way she was so interested in Jason. This is why he brings the flowers and attempts a smile, but he hasn't put enough practise into the smile and it frightens Amanda. She thinks there's something wrong with him.
   There's nothing wrong with Ken. He's made an animation of a donkey whose eyes spin. She thinks there's something sad and poetic about those eyes. She sings sad songs to Ken, and he doesn't know what to make of her, but he suspects there's something wrong with her. He starts avoiding her.
   Jason thinks he knows exactly what to make of this. He needs to start saying and doing things he'd never think of saying and doing. He needs to say and do the wrong thing, so he asks her to go to a play with him. The theatre is a small room. A woman uses her toes to play all of the characters. She uses her left foot for the story of the three pigs and the wolf (the fifth toe plays the narrator). The toes on the other foot pretend to be audience members to make the theatre seem more full. Jason and Amanda watch her perform 'Reservoir Dogs'. Amanda sees something sad and poetic in it, and she starts to think that there's more to Jason than meets the eye. She sings sad songs to him.
   Ted thinks he knows exactly what to make of this. He needs to start saying and doing things he'd never think of saying and doing. This is why he's been practising his laugh for the past few days. It still needs more work before he's ready to use it on Amanda, but he's sure this arrow is going to hit the target.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My Trip to Russia

   I had to go to Russia to see a man about a dog. I decided to walk. Admittedly, I wasn't long into the journey before I gave up and cried. I spent too long standing where I was, in the middle of a field. I watched the stars coming out, and the blue fading from the sky. In my experience, if you spend too long in one place, someone will come along and lecture you about politics. This is what happened in the field. I was lectured by a man who spoke with exclamation marks after every second word. My enjoyment of the evening was ruined by the exclamation marks embedded in my face, like staples from a staple gun. The exclamation marks became sharper when he started talking about the flag he made to express his relationship with the state he lived in. The situation got even worse when he unfurled the flag. He had to take off some of his clothes to get it out. I couldn't see it very clearly in the fading light. I remember there were gold cows in a red field on it because he started crying when he spoke about them.
   This was when I felt that I had the upper hand. If I was careful about the positioning of my metaphorical legs I could form a certain stance and pretend I thought there was something weak about a man who cried because of the gold cows in a red field on a flag he kept down his trousers. I stood up to my full height (I had only been using two-thirds of it before) and I lectured him on history. I spoke until after midnight, and I spat out razor sharp exclamation marks. His head was bowed, and he had folded up his flag, but I inadvertently used the words 'a bit stinky', and suddenly the tables were turned again. He smiled and he grew four feet taller. I shrank to half my height. He looked down on me, took a deep breath and he was just about to unleash something pointy when I ran away. I shrank even more as I ran. I had to wait a week before I returned to my full height.
   A few months later I saw him in the field again. He was lecturing a woman about politics. This time he was holding a handbag. When he took the flag out of the handbag I knew I'd be able to form a stance against this. As I grew taller my shadow reached across the field, covering the ground around his feet. When he saw me he ran away. He looked as if he was running very quickly because he was shrinking as he ran.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


My Memoirs

   I wrote my memoirs on the back of my hand. A palm reader says she can read the ending on the other side, but she won't tell me what it is because she doesn't want to spoil the story for me. All she'll say is that it involves a helicopter crash. It sounds exciting.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


The Moral of the Story

   The moral of the story is: Don't try to seduce a corpse when you're being held hostage by Norwegian dwarves who think you have the power to control the clouds. I've forgotten the story.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


The Ball

   Hugh talks in long sentences that wrap themselves around him until he's tied to his chair, so tightly bound he can't move his hands. All he can do is talk his way out, but he only makes things worse. Here's an extract from what he said to Chloe: "...I lived in a caravan with a duck, and he used to peck at my head to see if I was dead..."
   His sentence ended with the words 'so I was wondering if you'd like to go to the ball with me'. She responded with a single word and he was astonished to find that it was a 'yes' rather than a 'no'.
   As he walked towards her front door on the evening of the ball he practised what he was going to say so he wouldn't ramble on for too long. When she opened the door he told her he liked her dress. She thanked him for the compliment, and then she said she liked his trousers. He took the hint, so he went home and put his trousers on.

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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