Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The Unusual Road

   The Unusual Road has been the subject of heated debate for over eighty years. Many strange occurrences have taken place on one long, straight stretch of the road. The road here is flat, but some people who walked it claimed that it felt as if they were walking up a very steep hill. Others have said that even during heavy rain, the road remains completely dry.
   The road was deemed to be supernatural by two priests who conducted independent studies. Some say they were really the same person, and that it was a supernatural priest, not a supernatural road. This claim has been fiercely contested by those who believe the reports of the people who struggled to walk along the flat surface and the people who got wet in the rain while the road remained dry. Both sides in the argument agreed to refer to it as 'The Unusual Road'.
   A man called William lives near one end of the road. He once got into a fight with his neighbour, Conn, over a patch of land. William threw the first punch, and he connected with Conn's jaw. Conn staggered backwards. When he had regained his senses he took another few steps backwards to give himself a good run-up for his punch. But he found that he was standing in mud, so he went further back to find the right ground to begin his run-up.
   He spent three years looking for good ground. When the thought crossed his mind that people might accuse him of being a coward he began his charge straightaway, even though he was standing in a bog. Running out of the bog was exhausting, and he was still miles away from William. He had to phone William to find out exactly where his opponent was. He said his punch would be landing sometime that afternoon.
   It was late in the afternoon by the time Conn got to The Unusual Road. He was exhausted, but he didn't have much further to go. As soon as he set foot on the road he nearly fell backwards. He tried to move forwards, but it felt as if he was walking up a mountainside.
   Darkness fell and William was getting impatient, so he phoned Conn to find out where he was. Conn said he'd made a camp in the ditch to rest, and he was just about ready to make another attempt on the summit.
   An hour later, William went to the end of the road and watched Conn crawl towards him. Conn stood up. He waited for a few minutes while he got his breath back. He swung a punch at William, but he missed. William pushed him over, and Conn rolled to the other end of the road, as if he was rolling down a mountainside. When he finally came to a stop he could hear William laughing.
   William turned around to go home, but he found himself confronted by two priests. One of them said, "That wasn't a very Christian thing to do."
   "It certainly was not," the other one said. "What are ye fighting over?"
   "A patch of land," William said.
   "Where is it?"
   "It's at home. I keep it in a suitcase."
   "First things first. You're going to help your friend."
   They went to Conn, who had managed to get back to his feet again. William helped him walk down the road, but this time it felt as if the surface was flat.
   They went to William's house. The priests made them divide the patch of land into two equal parts, and they took one half each. The priests also suggested that they celebrate their new arrangement with whiskey, which they did.
   Both William and Conn insist that this really happened, although Conn says there was only one priest. William is adamant there were two. This disagreement could erupt into violence any year now.

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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