Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009


The Door

   I found a silver spoon. I put it with the spanner I had found earlier. According to the set of instructions in my manual, I should knock on Nick's door after finding a silver spoon and a spanner. I needed to find out who Nick was and where he lived. I consulted my book. Before I came to the bit about Nick I had to read many chapters about a man who had spent most of his life varnishing hovercrafts. As he worked on the hovercrafts he was mentally writing his memoirs on the walls of his mind. It took him nearly forty years to complete his memoirs. To recite them, he'd have to imagine walking into the vast mental mansion he'd built. He'd start reading from the walls in the hall, where he'd written about his ancestors. He claimed to be a direct descendent of a cathedral.
   I spent all night reading and re-reading these chapters. In the morning, the police knocked on my door. They knock on my door nearly every day. I did what I always do: I ran away.
   I ran down winding roads that had no interest in ending. I kept running until I came to a door. I noticed that there was neither a frame nor a house around the door. I opened it, and at the other side I met a group of people who were doing their best to keep a party in full swing, despite the fact that it was in a field. They told me that the train drivers were hiding behind a ditch, waiting to pounce. At the first sign that the party was wilting they'd lay down tracks and drive the train right through this spot. So the people in the field had to keep the party going or they'd lose the field forever. I joined them. They were glad to have another volunteer fighting for their cause.
   After midnight, the field's scarecrow was replaced by a seacrow, and the atmosphere was lightened. No one had to put any effort into keeping the fire of the party lighting. Dozens of new guests arrived, all drawn there by the seacrow. My assistance was no longer needed, so I left the party. I tried to find the door so I could go home and apologise to the police. They'd still be waiting outside my house. But I couldn't find the door in the dark. I heard a woman say, "You'd struggle to find it in daylight as well."
   I turned around and I saw one of the women who had been at the party. She had followed me away. I asked her how she knew what I had been thinking, but she didn't answer. She said, "You shouldn't walk through doors if you don't know where they lead."
   "How do I find it? I'd like to go back."
   "Do you know what will be waiting for you on the other side?"
   "The police. I'll probably have to buy them something. Maybe cufflinks this time."
   "Never walk through a door if you know what's on the other side and it's policemen who need to be appeased with cufflinks."
   "There are other things I'd like to get back to, like my house."
   "Go back through the window."
   "How would I find that?"
   "Follow me."
   She led me to a river and she told me to dive in. "It doesn't look like a window to me," I said.
   "Why do you think there are curtains on the riverbank?"
   She had a point there.
   "If there was enough light," she said, "you'd be able to see what's on the other side of the window."
   I had to take her word for that. Jumping into a river seemed appealing anyway, so I dived in. I heard the sound of breaking glass when I hit the water. The riverbed was covered with small, smooth pebbles. When I returned to the surface, the woman was gone and the landscape was different, but it was a familiar landscape. I was in a river near my house. I was glad to be back, but I was sorry I hadn't said goodbye to the woman, or thanked her for her help.
   When I got home, the policemen were asleep outside my front door. I went inside without waking them. I had a few bottles of aftershave that I got as Christmas presents, so I wrapped these, and when the policemen woke in the morning I gave them these gifts. They thanked me, and they told me to forget about whatever it was that had brought them to my door. They couldn't remember what it was.

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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