Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Gerry's Vanishing Act

   Gerry put a lot of thought into his vanishing act. His plan was to disappear and go to a remote cottage in the country, where the grass was always wet in winter, and most mornings would be lost beneath a veil of fog. There he could be invisible. He wouldn't feel a need to sharpen his wit every day, and live in fear of being sliced into tiny pieces by the razor-sharp wit of his work colleagues. He could start a new life each day, abandoning the old life every time he went to bed at night. Sleeping in his invisible cottage would be easy because his mind would be blank. He'd still feel small, but the world around him would feel small as well. Aliens from beyond the ditch would rarely invade his world, and if they did they wouldn't abduct him and probe whatever there was to be probed. They'd just call to borrow some sugar or to give him a jar of homemade jam.
   That was the plan, but there were many days to endure before it would come to fruition, days that would linger into his dreams. He'd wake up with them on the following morning. He tried his best to get away from them. Day-dreaming about his vanishing act wasn't enough. He needed some other escape.
   He found an ideal form of escape when he discovered a tunnel in his garden shed. He crawled through it every evening after dinner. The tunnel forked off into four other tunnels, and these led to yet more tunnels. There were manholes spaced at equal intervals on the ceiling of each tunnel. Gerry went up through one of the manholes every evening. Sometimes he'd emerge in a garden. These gardens always looked as if they were tended to by devoted full-time gardeners, but he never saw a gardener as he walked down the winding stone paths. He rarely met anyone. One evening he met a middle-aged woman who was sitting on a garden seat. She told him to sit down next to her. She assumed that he was there to hear her thoughts on how to find a suitable spouse. She spoke for an hour and a half. He nodded in the appropriate places to show that he was paying attention, but he couldn't keep track of everything she said. She spoke about predators and prey, and what would constitute good manners when you're trying to subdue a potential partner who mistakenly believes that you made an inappropriate joke about their aunt's gait.
   Some of the manholes led to rooms. There were hardly ever any people in these rooms, but one evening he met a man who was leaning against the mantelpiece. Gerry apologised for the interruption, and he was just about to retreat back down into the tunnel when the man invited him to come up and have a cigar. Gerry accepted the invitation. The man introduced himself as Roy. He took two cigars from a box on the mantelpiece and he gave one to Gerry. He used a match to light them, but he couldn't put the match out, and it didn't burn out. He considered this to be a breach of etiquette on the part of the match. He put it into his pocket to deal with it later, but his trousers caught fire. He considered this to be an outrageous breach of etiquette on the part of his trousers. He went outside and took them off. Gerry went outside with him. Roy didn't seem concerned about the etiquette of wearing trouser outside. He assumed that Gerry was there for an interview for a job as his assistant. The interview was conducted while they smoked outside and Gerry had been offered the job by the time they'd finished the cigars. It would be a few hours work in the evening, three evenings a week. Roy would dictate his memoirs to Gerry, who'd type them on a typewriter. Gerry decided to take the job because it seemed like a good way to forget about his other job.
   He hasn't regretted this decision. He still hasn't performed his vanishing act because he's waiting for Roy to get to the end of his memoirs. At the moment he's in the middle of a story about a bottle of medicine his sister found. She claimed she invented it, and this lie led to many other lies. He had to pose as her agent and convince a film director that part of her leg had been bitten off by an alligator.

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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