|Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.||
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Maurice collects buttons. He has a story about each one. Thankfully he only has three buttons, so if he shows you his collection you won't have to endure it for longer than an hour.
One of the stories involves his rowboat, which he keeps in his shed in case he has to use it during a flood. He only had to use it once. He rowed down the street, nodding to the men who looked out at him through windows, doffing his hat to the women (he kept a bowler hat in his wardrobe just in case he ever had to row down his street).
He met a woman called Donna who was walking barefoot through the flood water, and he asked if she'd like to step into his boat. She accepted his offer, and he rowed her around the neighbourhood. "It's like Venice," she said. "Except Venice probably doesn't have a grocery shop where you can buy a dead crow stuck in a bottle."
He told her he was fascinated by ships, even though he feared the sea. He was convinced he'd drown if he left dry land. He was always falling down holes on dry land. This would have been enough to convince most people that they might have better luck on the sea, but he clung to his belief that the ocean was a huge hole waiting to swallow him up and spit him out with seaweed. "I enjoy rowing in the flood water," he said. "It's too shallow to drown in."
"What if you fell overboard and then fell down a hole and drowned," she said.
He was terrified when he considered this. He was paralysed by the fear. She rowed the boat to her house, which wasn't too far away. Her garden sloped down to the street. Only half of her lawn was under water. She rowed through her front gate, and they stepped out of the boat and onto dry land. She took him inside. She told him he was welcome to wait there until the flood water receded.
It started raining again, and he knew he'd have to wait until the following day before the water receded. She told him he could spend the night at her house. He was worried about the scandal this would cause, but he was more worried about falling down a hole and drowning, so he agreed to stay.
They spoke about a lot of things that evening. He told her about his button collection, but he didn't mention that there were only two buttons in it. She gave him the third button when she pulled one off an old teddy bear. The button had been an eye on the bear's face. He noticed that there were pins sticking out of the teddy bear. "This is a voodoo doll of my ex boyfriend," she said. "His name is Byrne. Using a voodoo doll might seem extreme, but it's the only way to convince him that it's over between us. He's still insanely jealous. He hates seeing me spending time with anyone else, even though he knows I'd rather spend an afternoon touching an electric fence than waste another second of my life with him."
Maurice didn't get much sleep that night because he was afraid of what would happen if Byrne saw his boat parked in her driveway. The water hadn't receded in the morning, but he decided to take a chance and row home anyway.
As he rowed away from her house he noticed that he was being followed by a man who wore an eye patch. This man was in another boat, and he looked furious. Maurice assumed that this was Byrne. He'd be angry because Maurice had spent the night in Donna's house, or else he'd be angry because of his eye. The only other explanation was that the man with the eye patch was a pirate.
Maurice didn't put much thought into this at the time. He just rowed for home as quickly as he could. The man with the eye patch couldn't keep up, so he got out of his boat and ran after Maurice, but he hadn't got far before he fell down a hole. The stream of obscenities that followed told Maurice that his pursuer hadn't been consumed by the hole. He didn't look back until he was home and his boat was safely hidden in his shed. The boat has never left the shed since then. Someday he might show it to his grandchildren, after showing them the button and telling them the story of his naval adventure when he was lured by a Siren, chased by pirates and nearly swallowed by whirlpools in the sea.
The Tree and the Horse
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.
More blogs about Storytelling.