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.

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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