Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The Farm

   Martha wanted to know where the farm was. She wouldn't accept my insistence that it was lost forever. She thought I was a liar because of the box on my head and the things in it. Sometimes I'd put my hand into the box and take something out, like a plug or a glove. This could be embarrassing if I had lied about the whereabouts of the plug or the glove. My head always felt different after I had removed objects from the box. My head also felt different after I had lied. This is why I enjoyed lying.
   Despite my lies, people were always asking me if they could put things into the box for safe-keeping. My aunt once put a diamond necklace in there, but it was nowhere to be found when she wanted to retrieve it a few weeks later. She blamed me for its disappearance, and I had to pay for a replacement necklace. This is why I got a job holding up book shelves for a man who was devoting all of his intellectual powers to making French people. All of the books on the shelves were about the manufacture of French people. After years of research he came to the conclusion that he'd need the assistance of a French woman. He met a French woman in the park one day. He liked wearing his wig and his wig liked wearing him. Whenever he took his wig out for a walk in the park people thought it was his wig who was walking him. The French woman was wearing her wig when they met. The two wigs got on very well, and so did the people beneath them.
   He didn't need shelves or books any more, so I had to get another job. A beggar needed an assistant to hold his clothes while he did his dance because if he didn't have someone to hold his clothes he'd have to wear them while he danced, and they'd get so frightened they'd run away. It happened once before, and they caused havoc. I got the job as his assistant. I enjoyed watching his dance at first, but the novelty wore off after a few days. I was bored, and I wasn't paying as much attention to my job as I should have been. One day the clothes slipped away when I was supposed to be guarding them. They ran out of the town and into the countryside. I had to follow them.
   As I was walking through the fields I met some people who were determined to avoid being eaten by a monster. I told them I'd pray to the appropriate saint on their behalf. They felt sure that my prayers to the appropriate saint would keep the monster at bay, and to thank me for my intervention they put some coins and keys into the box on my head. When I told them I needed to continue on my search for the beggar's clothes they said they'd help me.
   I walked on through the fields, with my helpers close behind me. I saw the beggar's clothes on a scarecrow. I went over to the scarecrow and removed the clothes. My followers were amazed at my bravery because the scarecrow was the monster they were afraid of. After talking amongst themselves, they came to the conclusion that I must be a saint, and that when I said I'd pray to the appropriate saint I meant that I'd have a word with him when I met him in the pub, a special pub where saints meet.
   I wondered why I was working as a beggar's assistant when I had these people who regarded me as a saint. I couldn't go back to my job, so I walked the other way, and my followers followed me.
   I met Martha. She was still looking for the farm. Helping her look for the farm would be just the sort of thing a saint would do. When I said I'd help her she was suspicious because of my previous claims that the farm was gone for good. But she accepted my offer because she needed all the help she could get.
   We spent days searching for the farm. My followers were growing weary. I was afraid of losing them, so I suggested to Martha that she look in the one place we hadn't thought of searching before: the box on my head. She stood on a rock and she reached down into the box. The first thing she pulled out was my aunt's diamond necklace. The second thing was a short piece of rusting barbed wire. She immediately recognised this as a remnant of the farm. It was a long way short of the farm as a whole, but she decided it would be sufficient. My followers got down on their knees and prayed to me. Some people might say I was lying to them, but I never actually said I was a saint.

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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