Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Something to think about before buying a knife.

   I looked into the fridge to see what I could have for dinner, but the fridge was empty. It looked different without food. It reminded me of a room devoid of furniture, a sight I'd often seen before. I hoped I wouldn't have to start eating the furniture again.
   I closed the fridge door. I tried opening it again a few minutes later, but the fridge was just as empty as it had been the last time I checked. I must have eaten the food that was in it, though I couldn't remember doing so. This wouldn't be unusual. The food I cook is as lacking in taste as the air. I often forget the air I've been breathing as well.
   I decided to go to the shop. Fortunately, my wallet wasn't as empty as the fridge. I had recently acquired some money when I sold my wheelbarrow. It had done fifty-thousand miles and it needed a new exhaust, but I still got a good price for it. I put on my raincoat and I walked down the narrow road towards the town. There were many potholes in the road, and these had filled with rain water. The water in the holes was brown. I enjoyed looking at the brown polka dot potholes on the grey road, but I've been told that I have the fashion sense of someone who's only ever seen a bog.
   When I got to the shop I asked the shop keeper if I could buy some food. He said, "Some food, you say?"
   "Yes, some food," I replied.
   He looked at me as if I was mad. To get a closer look at me he put his monocle over his right eye. But this was all for show because his right eye was made of glass and his monocle was obscured by a black eye patch. He asked me what I wanted to do with the food. I told him I hoped to eat it, and this seemed to confirm his suspicions that I was mad.
   "To 'eat' it?" he said.
   "Yes, to eat it," I replied. "With my mouth."
   It all seemed clear to him then. "Oh right, food," he said. "You're looking for food. I might be able to help you find some food."
   He gave me a tour of the shop and he pointed out all the different types of food you could put into your mouth. A lot of it seemed too big to put into my mouth. When I highlighted this problem he showed me the vast selection of knives he had on sale. He explained that a knife could be used to cut the food into smaller pieces.
   I had never owned a knife before, but I could see the benefits of buying one. I didn't have enough money to afford both the food and the knife, so I went home to see if I had any more wheelbarrows to sell.
   Unfortunately, I didn't have any left. I've never had more than one. I wondered how else I could make some money. I thought of Maureen, who lives down the road. I had often done odd jobs for her before and she had always paid me, despite my protestations. This time my protestations might well be lacklustre.
   Maureen was always breaking things. She broke every cloud she used. When I called to see her she told me she'd broken her garage door again. The door was very temperamental, she said. It would break every time she went near it. She had to tiptoe around the garage. I fixed the door for her and she insisted on paying me for the job, even though I said there was really no need. I was going to go to the shop to buy the food and the knife, but she was cooking the breeze for dinner and she asked me if I'd like to join her. It looked very appetising, so I said I would. The breeze was strong, but I enjoyed it. We didn't need knives or forks to eat it.
   It was starting to get dark outside, and I thought it was time I went home. I was in the middle of thanking Maureen for the lovely meal when an enormous rat ran across the table and left the kitchen through an open door. If there had been cutlery on the table I might well have attacked the creature as it ran across my plate. Maureen said that the rat had been around for weeks, but she hadn't taken much notice of it because she was more concerned about the ghost who appeared after dark every evening.
   We didn't have to wait long for the ghost to arrive. If this had been my house I'd have been more concerned about the rat because the ghost had impeccable manners. He'd be the last person you'd expect to find running across your plate.
   I asked him how he'd met his end and he said, "I got into a fight with the wrong people. Actually, it's not so much that they were the wrong people -- it's more to do with the quantity of them. There were seven of them and only one of me. We said the rosary before they killed me. My hair survived and it's been impersonating me ever since."
   His hair arrived in the kitchen a few minutes later. It seemed slightly dishevelled, like a man whose wig is on backwards. Its impersonation of the ghost wasn't very good, but I didn't pay much attention to it. I realised that the 'rat' I had seen was actually the ghost's hair. If I had been within reach of a knife earlier I would have stabbed the hair. This is what convinced me that I was better off without a knife. Ever since then I've only eaten food that doesn't need to be cut. Maureen has given me some very good recipes for the breeze.

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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