Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A Story About a Pig

   This is a story about a pig called Earl. He always wore a blue sweater. This was a useful way of identifying him if you weren't good at spotting the distinguishing features of pigs. When Earl played the part of an astronaut in a play he wore a glass bowl over his head, and this enhanced his standing in the community. Piglets listened attentively when he told stories about his trips to space. He said he first went into space to get his red football. He kicked it into the air and it didn't come back down again, so he went into space to get it.
   While he was there he met a cat called Oscar who said he had gone into space to find his pet snail (someone had kicked the snail into space and, just like the football, he hadn't come back down again). The snail's name was Jack. They found Jack on the moon. He was angry about being kicked into space because it could have broken his shell, but on the other hand, he was glad to be on the moon. It was even more fun than the time the seven-foot-tall basketball player picked him up (the basketball player picked him up with the intention of kicking him, but he missed).
   Earl, Oscar and Jack thought they might as well make the most of their trip to the moon. They visited some of the tourist attractions. They went to where the moon's biggest wedding cake was being built. It was already over eight storeys high and people were living in the lower floors (they had eaten their way in). They watched moon cows jump over fences in a show-jumping competition.
   When they were on their way to a football match, Earl noticed that Oscar had red spots on his face, and then Oscar noticed that Earl had the red spots as well. Oscar got out a magnifying glass to look at Jack's face. The snail also had tiny red spots on his face. They must have contracted a moon disease, and if they went back to earth like that they'd be quarantined.
   They went to see a moon doctor. She looked at the spots on their faces, and she told them they had a disease called Steve Gertigum. It was called after the man who invented it. Steve had also invented a machine to measure the distance between pigs, but it only worked on the moon (this is why Earl had never heard of it). The doctor told them they'd have to go to Steve to find a cure.
   Steve's cure was a week of rest and relaxation at his moon resort. They spent a lot of time relaxing by the pool or fishing at a pond, but Steve was always nearby to make sure that Earl didn't get too close to any of the other pigs on the resort. He believed that when pigs got together they'd cause trouble. Waiters were always close at hand with drinks, and Earl believed that this was much more likely to cause trouble.
   By the end of the week the spots had cleared from the faces of Earl, Oscar and Jack. They were delighted with the results of their treatment. They told Steve it was worth getting the disease just for the cure, and they'd recommend the disease to all of their friends. But their goodwill evaporated when they got the bill. They couldn't possibly afford to pay it. "This is outrageous," Earl said to Steve.
   "Have you been talking to other pigs?" Steve said. "I always get trouble from pigs when they start talking to each other."
   "We don't have this sort of money."
   "If ye don't give me the money, ye get kicked out by Jeffrey."
   "We'll go for the latter payment option," Oscar said. Even if they had the money, he'd have chosen to be kicked out by Jeffrey.
   Jeffrey loved kicking things, but he preferred kicking things that didn't like being kicked. Oscar's eagerness to be kicked made Jeffrey angry, and his anger made him kick them as hard as he possibly could. He kicked them off the moon. The earth's gravity brought them home, and all three of them landed on something soft. Earl landed in a bath full of jelly, Oscar landed on Earl and Jack landed on Oscar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My Eye Test

   I went to an optician to get my eyes tested. She told me to read the first line on the card. The first line was 'You are'. The second line was more difficult to read, but I managed it. It was 'going to die'. I asked the optician if she knew when I was going to die. She told me I'd find out in the third line, but I couldn't read that. I decided that I didn't need glasses after all. Sometimes you can see too much. Less is more. I just hope my bad eyesight won't affect my mountain climbing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My Trout

   "Time goes by so quickly," people often say to me. I often say 'my trout'. There's a need to make a quick getaway every time I say it. The last time I said it I bumped into Deirdre while I was making my getaway. That's when I realised that she was made out of flowers. I helped put her back together again. I prayed for a speedy completion of Deirdre while passers-by re-assembled the flowers. If I'm being honest, I was really praying that I wouldn't be caught. You'd be surprised by how many people chase me every time I say 'my trout'.
   When Deirdre was completed she looked at her reflection in a shop window and she re-arranged some of the flowers. I think her mind must have been affected by what had just happened to her, because she seemed to think that we were on our honeymoon. I played along because a wife was as good a disguise as a fake beard. To prevent myself from inadvertently saying the words 'my trout' to her I kept talking about my blisters. "It was a fine summer day and the countryside was buzzing with life," stories about my blisters would begin. "My blisters were beginning to get some attention from the local press..."
   We walked through city streets. She listened to me for hours, until it was evening in the city and the streets were quiet. I ran out of stories about my blisters. We walked in silence, in the shadows of buildings. It was a lonely feeling. I started to wish that I was being chased. Just to break the silence I said, "Do you mind if I scratch my head?"
   "Not at all," she said.
   I'd never have asked that question if I'd suspected that I'd end up having to scratch my head. I put a lot of thought into where I'd scratch. I've always enjoyed scratching the back of my head, but I do that every night as I have my cup of tea before I go to bed. If I had done it when I was with Deirdre it would have ruined my cup of tea. After a lot of consideration I decided to scratch the centre of my forehead. I had never scratched there before, and it was surprisingly pleasant. I became engrossed in the scratching. I was vaguely aware that Deirdre was speaking, but I didn't pay any attention to what she was saying. I don't know how long this went on for. When she stopped talking I realised that her final words were 'when they start lobbing penguins at you'.
   I stopped scratching. I tried to figure out what she could have said before these words. As I was engrossed in this I was vaguely aware that she was talking again. When she stopped I realised that her final words were 'heavy, heavy horse'. I found this surprisingly pleasant, every bit as enjoyable as scratching my forehead. I scratched my forehead again, just to see if it would add to my enjoyment, and it did. Ever since then I've spent a lot of time scratching my forehead while not listening to most of what Deirdre says. I think we're still on our honeymoon, but I haven't asked her about this in case it makes her stop talking to me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009



   What is right today? Is that right? What is wrong? Is that wrong? What is good? Are triangles good? Is it safe to step outside? Are triangles safe? When Claudia ran into the back of a polar bear did the two become one? Am I safe from the polar bear? Am I in more danger now that Claudia and the polar bear are one? Did I call Claudia a toad? What's red and what's blue? Is that blue? Is blue red? What did I read about colours? Where did I read it? What did I read about Kant? If Kant had run into the back of a polar bear and they became one before Kant had written his major philosophical works, would he have gone on to write his major philosophical works? If Claudia emerged from the polar bear with Kant and they were holding hands, and they announced their decision to get married, would I punch Kant in the face? Would I congratulate them, then go home and cry? Would they already have achieved a union more fundamental than marriage, having both become one with the same polar bear? Would the polar bear be a fundamental part of their marriage? Would Kant be able to produce his major philosophical works if he was married to a polar bear? Or would a marriage to Claudia be an even greater impediment? This is a question I urgently need to answer.

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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