Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009


You're in the army now

   Michelle always wore clothes that she made herself. People referred to her outfit as a 'uniform' because it looked like something a soldier would wear, but there was no one else in her army. The word 'uniform' suggests uniformity amongst a group of people. She always looked the same, but she looked different to everyone else. Some people claimed to hear the muffled sounds of animals coming from inside her clothes, but there was no obvious place for an animal to hide. The skirt and the jacket were very tight-fitting. Some people hear the muffled sounds of animals when they're sitting in a boat in the middle of a lake in the middle of the night. There might not be anywhere for animals to hide, but there are wide open spaces in their heads for animal sounds to fill.
   There were rumours that Michelle was launching a fashion range. When I heard this I assumed it was a joke. A 'range' of clothes wouldn't have been a concept she'd be well-acquainted with. But then I got an invitation to the launch of her fashion range. I considered the possibility that this was part of an elaborate practical joke. On the card it said that a local band called 'Vaticandlelight' would be playing at the launch. They were a punk band who sang songs in Latin. I went to see the band's lead singer, and he told me that the fashion launch was real. She had put up a marquee in a field near her house. The band had already rehearsed there.
   This was enough to convince me that the event was real, so I went along on the night. I was glad I went when I saw so many familiar faces. All of the neighbours were there. After we had taken our seats in the marquee, the band started playing and the first model appeared on the catwalk.
   No one was surprised to see her wearing a version of Michelle's uniform. The second model was wearing an identical uniform. When the tenth model appeared in the same uniform we started to suspect that this really was a joke. After thirty uniformed models had walked down the catwalk the joke didn't seem so funny. The models were stationed all around the marquee, and they were armed with clubs. They blocked the exits. Michelle appeared on the catwalk, and she had a gun. She explained to us why she needed an army.
   A farmer had built the local golf course on his farm, but most golfers found it too easy because the holes were too short and the course was flat. There were very few trees and no water. It would have cost a lot of money to alter the course to make it more difficult to play, so the farmer went for an easier option. For years he had been using human scarecrows because the crows on his farm had figured out that the straw ones weren't real. He got some of his scarecrows to stand on the fairways and distract the players. This made the course much more difficult to play. Sometimes the scarecrows would shout at a player in the middle of a swing. This was a sure way to anger a player, and this led to many drives being aimed directly at the scarecrows. Many golf clubs were thrown at them as well. The scarecrows wore helmets and padding.
   When Michelle was playing the course one day, a scarecrow said to her, "Your swing makes it look like you're at war. If hippies saw you they'd organise a demonstration and they'd write songs about the merits of non-violent golf."
   They'd gone too far this time. They had to be eradicated from the course, she thought, and she needed an army to do this. The army of models would be augmented by the guests at her fashion show. She had made uniforms for all of us. The models distributed these. They put up a curtain down the middle of the marquee to make separate changing areas for the men and the women.
   When we had assembled outside the marquee she gave each one of us a club, and she made us march towards the golf course. Some of the scarecrows looked terrified when they saw us coming. A few of them were willing to put up a fight, but they were left alone when the deserters fled to the hills, and they had no choice but to follow. Our general, Michelle, praised our courage, and she marched us back to the marquee, where we celebrated our victory with champagne.
   Vaticandlelight played and soldiers danced, but the party came to an abrupt halt when the marquee came under attack. The scarecrows had regrouped in the hills, and they rounded up the scarecrows from other farms to launch this attack. We managed to keep the invaders out, but we were under siege. Michelle said she feared that this would happen, and this is why she had reinforcements. She called in another unit of models, who were stationed at an old church.
   This unit surprised the scarecrows when they emerged from the night and started fighting. We came out of the marquee and joined the battle. The scarecrows were outnumbered, and they surrendered, but Michelle wouldn't accept this. She marched them into the fields. She gave them shovels, and she made them dig graves. We thought she might have gone a bit too far this time, but she wasn't about to commit a war crime. When she got the scarecrows to put sand in the graves her purpose became clear. The scarecrows added bunkers to every hole on the golf course. This made the course much more difficult to play, and there was no need for the scarecrows any more. The farmer used them to keep his cows entertained. The scarecrows performed song and dance routines, and the cows produced better milk.

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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