Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Mr. Maloney's Orchard

   I'm thinking about moving into a sand castle. There I'll be king, and jesters will come up with a plan to murder me. This is what I've always wanted, to be king and to inspire a murderous hatred in jesters. As long as their plan doesn't succeed, I'll be happy. It seems a bit too far-fetched. I could probably get the murderous jesters, but I'll never be king. I'm going to have to set my sights lower.
   Once I was attacked by murderous leprechauns who thought I had the power to predict the future. They arrived at my house at ten o' clock one night. They thought I knew what they were going to do to Mr. Maloney's orchard. After I convinced them that I had no idea what they were going to do to Mr. Maloney's orchard they realised that they had just informed me of their intention to do something to Mr. Maloney's orchard. They kidnapped me, and they told me they were going to imprison me until after they'd done whatever they were going to do. They led me away through the fields. Time behaves differently around leprechauns. A few minutes for them could seem like years for me. I feared that I'd be trapped for years.
   I was rescued by Felix. He built his own airplane so he could fly to Martha's cafe for lunch every day. His airplane rarely left the ground. At its top speed it would bounce through the fields rather than fly over them. He couldn't get over gates, so he had to stop to open them. If he came to a locked gate he'd have to leave the plane there and walk the rest of the way. It would have been much easier to walk all the way to the cafe rather than getting the plane out every day, but he loved flying, or bouncing.
   One day I heard the plane approaching, and I expected to see Felix in the cockpit, but Felix was running behind the plane and his dog was in the cockpit. I joined the chase, and I was able to catch up with the plane. I pressed the brakes and stopped the plane just yards away from a stream. Felix was very grateful. He felt as if he owed me a favour, and when he saw the leprechauns leading me away he knew he had a duty to help me.
   He flew his plane towards the leprechauns and me. As it approached us, the leprechauns got scared and they ran away. Felix slowed down, and I was able to climb on board as the plane was still moving. He told me we'd make our getaway by going up a hill and taking off at the top. The leprechauns would be powerless as they'd watch us fly away towards the horizon.
   It didn't seem likely that the plane would take off at the top of the hill. The leprechauns were running after us, and they were catching up with us because the plane was moving so slowly. When Felix realised that we wouldn't even make it to the top of the hill he turned around and flew right at the leprechauns. They ran away again. We gathered speed as we went down the hill, and the plane started to bounce. By carefully timing the bounces, Felix was able to go over ditches and other obstacles that came in our way, but a house proved to be too big an obstacle. The house we crashed into was owned by my cousin Mark. A broken window was the only damage it sustained.
   Mark was at the other side of the window. When we crashed into his house he was proposing to a woman called Deirdre. He'd been seeing her for over ten years. She'd been seeing him for two. He was down on one knee with the engagement ring in his hand when we arrived. The aftermath of a plane crash didn't seem to be the appropriate time for a proposal, so he abandoned his plan. She seemed to be glad of the interruption. He was wearing a T-shirt with the words 'Hello Deirdre' on the front and 'It's me' on the back. I wanted to ask him about it, but it didn't seem like the appropriate time for that either.
   The leprechauns had given up the chase. They just went straight to Mr. Maloney's orchard and they did what they had been planning to do. They inserted a worm into every apple in the orchard, whether the worms liked it or not. The leprechauns were angry with Mr. Maloney because he had been boasting that he could make a leprechaun out of a beagle and a duck. They slowed down time so they were able to finish the job before dawn. Maloney didn't hear them working in his orchard, even though his guard dog kept quacking.

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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