|Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.||
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Arnold gets up in the morning and he goes outside.
Arnold read the above line many times but he couldn't figure out why he was getting funny looks from his neighbours after going outside. He asked me to edit the line, and he changed his behaviour in accordance with the alterations I made. The line became the following paragraph:
Arnold gets up in the morning and he puts on his clothes. He goes outside.
This was a powerful example of how one of my stories could have a positive impact on people's lives. Arnold's friend, Charlie, asked me to write a story about him, and I agreed.
I spent an evening following him around. I told him to act naturally, and to do whatever he'd normally do, but he was obviously conscious that I was writing about him.
He decided to take this story to the coast. As we looked out over the sea I got the impression that he was doing his best to be dramatic. He said, "An old woman once told me I'd die in the sea. She also said I should stop picking my neck, but I chose to ignore that advice."
We saw a woman and a man. They had a son and a daughter and a dog, and the dog had a balloon. Charlie told me about his childhood days when he had a dog who had a balloon.
This story was heading nowhere and he was uncomfortable with its destination. He took me to meet his friend Jason, whose hobby was breaking things with his head. We watched him break a chair, a plank, a clock and a fence. He needed to sit down after breaking the fence, but he ended up on the ground when he tried to sit on the chair.
We went to the pub. Charlie tried to demonstrate his prowess with women. He said to one woman, "I used to work in a funeral home. I practised my chat-up lines on the corpses. They were never as successful on the living." This chat-up line didn't work either.
Getting drunk was Charlie's final desperate attempt to take his story somewhere interesting. He ended up getting into a fight with a man who had the words 'loathe' and 'hate' tattooed on his nose. The following is my contribution to Charlie's story, and I hope it will prove just as instructive as my intervention in Arnold's story:
Charlie avoids getting drunk and saying 'Your ears smell worse than your feet' to a man who once punched a bear.
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.
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