|Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.||
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Half days are good days. Leaning to one side is a good thing to do on a good day. I used to nod to emphasise statements like these. I spent years practising my nodding. I've nodded at bishops and at politicians, but none of them were able to out-nod me. I had never lost a debate until I came up against Mrs. Maguire. Architecture was the subject of our debate. I made a point about how some houses were bigger than other houses and then I launched a ferocious nod. She was clearly taken aback, and I thought this would be the end of the debate, but she regained her composure and she unleashed a shake of her head of such magnitude that its accompanying wind blew me over. I said I had been leaning to one side when the wind arrived, but no one believed me. The debate was lost. The audience gave Mrs. Maguire a standing ovation.
This defeat left me disillusioned with nodding. I considered giving it up for good. The only other option open to me was to ask Mrs. Maguire for her help. I could have asked her to teach me how to shake my head because I needed a defensive manoeuvre in my repertoire. Relying solely on attack had proven to be insufficient.
I went to my caravan for a week to consider my future. I thought about taking up blinking after meeting a man in a nearby caravan. His eyes got bigger every time he blinked, as if he was inflating them with a pump. But my eyes did nothing when I blinked, and this wasn't as dramatic as nodding or shaking my head. I also tried raising my eyebrows, but this wasn't much better than the blinking.
I tried to forget about all these things. I spent most of my time leaning to one side on the beach. This is where I met a woman who had a natural slant. She told me she had a shed and a shovel that she used to keep in the shed. Sometimes she'd take the shovel out and she'd use it to dig holes. She'd get her grandmother to inspect the holes to make sure they'd been dug correctly. Her grandmother was two men who wore ill-fitting brown suits. They agreed on most things, but they always argued about holes, and these arguments often became violent. She loved watching her grandmother fighting. She'd gladly spend an evening looking on, and her grandmother could fight amongst herself for hours without any sign of a winner emerging. Only when they got hold of shovels did the fight end quickly. She always tried to keep the shovels from them because she wanted the fights to go on for as long as possible.
When she told me this I realised that I might find more fulfilment in arguments that lasted a long time. I practised with her. She'd emphasise her points by leaning more to one side and I'd use one or both of my eyebrows to emphasise my points. She could lean for hours without falling over. These debates proved to be much more satisfying than the short debates that ended suddenly with an emphatic nod or a shake of the head. I haven't nodded since my defeat to Mrs. Maguire.
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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