Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Mabel Hobbeloe's Circus Truck

   Mabel Hobbeloe's circus truck will come to town. You'll be sorry if you're not there for her arrival. Mabel has no time for losers who feel sorry for themselves. Are you a loser? Are you a monkey? (I have to ask that question for legal reasons). If not, come to Mabel Hobbeloe's circus truck, where you'll see mechanical animals and clowns with hair that moves of its own accord. Bring a friend, even if you have to tie them to a trolley and wheel them there. You'll be able to exchange that friend for a gift, which will be presented to you by Mabel herself.
   I don't want to work for Mabel Hobbeloe anymore. I want to leave, to walk away through the fields and keep walking. I'd live off the land I travel through. I could survive on berries, as long as they don't kill me. Mabel keeps belittling me. Her husband, Gordon, never takes any notice. He wears a smoking jacket and smokes his pipe all day long. He only speaks to give dispatches from the world in his head. Yesterday he told me there were rats in the map room. Today he told me the rats had been taken care of with the appropriate amount of bloodshed. He would have known if the amount of bloodshed was inappropriate if the soldiers (they're really just his cousins) were crying. They get very upset when there isn't as much blood as they had been expecting. Mabel is abusive most of the time. When she gets very drunk she gets very abusive. Before her level of drunkenness reaches 'very' she isn't abusive at all, but I have to listen to her talk non-stop about things I have no interest in. Last night she spent hours telling me about her rivalry with Glory Baffelsack. She hates Glory Baffelsack because he has a bigger truck, even though it's only slightly bigger. He should have a much smaller one because he keeps crashing it.
   I want to leave Mabel's employment, but I don't know how to tell her. I came close to telling her once. It was when Gordon came to me one afternoon and said, "The pilgrims eat all the lettuce in my garden. I left out poison for them, but it only makes them drunk and they start mating. I've tried throwing beans at them, mainly for my own amusement. They bought me a coconut, or at least they said they bought it, but I think they probably stole it."
   He didn't have a garden, so I went to see what he was talking about. I found his cousins unconscious on the ground. They were covered in beans. I had to clean them up, and listen to their drunken rants when they became semi-conscious. This was the last straw. I went to Mabel with the intention of quitting, but she must have sensed what was coming. She started talking before I had a chance to say anything, and her voice was very gentle. She said, "I'd be ever so grateful if you'd sweep the rugs before the evening crowd arrives. And perhaps you could fold the brown paper bags as well. Empty them first. Put their contents into the red suitcase and leave it outside for someone to steal. Thank you once again. I'd be lost without you."
   She walked away. I didn't have the nerve to say anything. I looked to my right and I saw the open fields. Part of me wanted to run away and not look back. I came very close to leaving, but I didn't. I got the brush and I started sweeping the rugs.

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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