Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The Crow Man

   Myself, Jimmy and Chadwick were walking through the park one day when Jimmy pointed at a man and said, "Isn't that Vermeer?"
   "Vermeer is dead," Chadwick said.
   "Then why does he have a sign around his neck that says 'I'm Vermeer'."
   "Because either his morals or his mental faculties are defective."
   "How do you know Vermeer is dead?"
   "Because that man over there has a sign around his neck that says 'Vermeer is dead'."
   "Maybe he's the defective one."
   "No. He's right about Vermeer."
   "I think he's wrong."
   We investigated the matter further, and it turned out that the man who had the 'Vermeer is dead' sign was right. The other man was called Barry.
   When the issue had been resolved, Chadwick said, "This has been an interesting detour around the point of this day."
   "What's the point of this day?" Jimmy said.
   "I seem to have forgotten."
   "I don't think there ever was a point."
   "I'm certain there was, and I'm sure it can be excavated with the right amount of mental effort."
   We went to the pub to think about the point of the day. I started to wonder why we were all wearing disguises. I had a huge moustache and a tweed hat with a feather in it. Chadwick was wearing a top hat and a monocle. Jimmy wore a wig of blond curls and blue overalls.
   I remembered that we had been attacked by crows who flew in formation earlier in the day, and I suggested that we were wearing the disguises to fool the crows. I said, "Do you think the attack by the crows had anything to do with the man who called himself the Crow Man, who said he'd set his crows on us if we didn't retract that supposed insult about his coat, the one with the crow embroidered on the back of it?"
   "I doubt it," Jimmy said. "He didn't look like the sort of person who'd have control over his own bladder, let alone crows."
   Chadwick said, "Lacking sufficient bladder control wouldn't be the sort of thing that would cost you the respect of a crow. Only humans will perceive an unexpected puddle as a faux pas. Some humans."
   "Maybe we should apologise," Jimmy said.
   "Certainly not," Chadwick said. "We can express regret at the situation, but there's no way he'll get an apology or a retraction of the remarks. This may not be sufficient to appease him. It wouldn't be wise to go to see him ourselves and reveal our new identities. We should send an emissary to express our regret."
   There were only three other people in the pub at the time and two of them were crying. The third was a man called Dolan. In almost every sentence he said he used the words 'Ronald Reagan' as a verb. He said things like 'I'm sorry I Ronald Reagan'd that' or 'He couldn't Ronald Reagan his way out of a grand-paper bag'. He also had a habit of prefixing words with 'grand' or 'great-grand'. Chadwick bought him a whiskey and asked him to go to see the Crow Man to pass on our regrets about the perceived insult. Dolan agreed to go.
   We were expecting him to return within twenty minutes, but when he hadn't come back after three hours we decided to go to investigate.
   We crept around the back of the Crow Man's house, and we saw a light on in the kitchen. Through the open window we could hear the Crow Man and Dolan talking inside.
   "He looked as if they'd Ronald Reagan'd him before sending him out into the field."
   "I've heard that the tripping chipmunks have been ear collared by a Francie Dooganish."
   "They'll be Ronald Reaganing their great-grand-apples next."
   "It's only a certain sort of double Casey who can free a tulip buzz from a scaffolding Ascot."
   This conversation could have gone on for another few hours, so Chadwick decided to make his presence known. He knocked on the back door. When the Crow Man opened it, Chadwick said, "Has Mr. Dolan expressed our regret at the unfortunate situation arising from certain comments which were never intended to be the bearers of an insult?"
   "He told me ye've been a bit Donkey Kong since ye met the French bucket at the crooked corner. That happened my cousin once. They had to kick him out of the road Tuesdays."
   I had a feeling that what he had just said was slanderous, and an apology would certainly be called for if we knew what it meant. But he could repeat it to everyone in the town and no one would understand what it meant, so there was no point in risking the wrath of the crows by challenging him. And he invited us in for a drink too, or at least that's how we interpreted the line 'Come on in and we'll see if we can keep the huddled bishops from the battleships'.

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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