Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009


George's Books

   George showed a great deal of caution in everything he did. He feared that sudden movements would cause people to back away from him. If a sudden jerk of his head caused one person to leave a room, the other people in the room would surely follow. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon he'd be sitting on his armchair, quietly minding his own business on his own, when he'd suddenly spring to his feet and do a tap dance. He put this down to being possessed by a spirit. He didn't know if it was the same spirit inside him all the time or if it was many different spirits, either residing in him all the time or just passing through and making him dance on the way. He decided to write a book because he believed there was a good chance that the spirit or spirits would take control of the writing process at some stage.
   He started writing about his bike, and after that he paid as little attention as possible to what he was writing. He wrote one chapter while he was reading a book about the Boer War, and he often wrote while he was gardening. After two weeks he started reading what he had written, and he was very surprised by what he found. There was nothing about the Boer War in it. It seemed as if there were many different voices competing to be heard. One of them had a hatred of gardening. Another was obsessed with old detective films. Sometimes they spoke to each other. They often referred to someone as 'himself', and George suspected that this was himself. They seemed to regard him as an idiot they had to endure.
   All of these voices suggested many different spirits residing inside him, but George started to wonder if this was a trick played on him by his subconscious, and if so, was there any way he could get revenge on his subconscious. He couldn't bear the thought of anyone getting one over on him, even if the other person was really himself.
   Whether it was his subconscious or the spirits, he needed to establish who was boss, and that the boss wouldn't tolerate his staff disrespecting him behind his back or inside him. He wrote another book, and this time he paid close attention to every word he wrote. It would be a re-affirmation of his own role in his life, and a subjugation of the unruly forces inside him. He found that he enjoyed writing the word 'emblem'. He used it several thousand times in the book.
   He was pleased with his creation as he read through it. At no stage had any of the inner voices taken control, or so he first believed. As he read through it for a second time he noticed that the first letter of each sentence was part of a word, and the words were part of phrases like 'George is an idiot'.
   George was furious. He decided it was time to teach his inner trouble-makers a lesson. He read the first book again to get an insight into the characters of these spirits, or of his subconscious. One of the voices mentioned a strong dislike of country music. Another one said that ballroom dancers should be exiled to their own island, or to their own planet, if this became possible at some date in the future. George started listening to country music and he went to ballroom dancing lessons. He took up line-dancing as well, just to annoy his inner foe who despised country music. He spent a lot of time gardening and he watched DVDs of romantic comedies. He found other clues about the likes and dislikes of these inner characters, and he did things to make life for them as uncomfortable as possible. This is what led him to spend more time with his brother, Eric. The inner voices regarded Eric as an idiot. George thought they were right about this, but he went to see his brother nearly every evening just to annoy the voices. Eric could ramble on for hours about stupid things or remain silent for hours as he tried to think of something stupid. When George went to see him one evening he was looking at his shoe and he had a feeling that something was missing. After hours of staring he realised that what was missing was the 'S' to make 'shoe' a plural. He couldn't find his hoe either, but that's another story.
   George wrote another book. Just like in the last book, he paid very close attention to each word, and he often used the word 'emblem'. When he had finished it he looked at the first letters in each sentence and he saw that the inner voices had been put in their place. They were very respectful towards George. They used phrases like 'George is a man of great intelligence, wit and sophistication whose taste in music is beyond reproach'.
   He gave up ballroom dancing because he agreed with the sentiments expressed by his inner voices, but he kept listening to country music, even though he didn't like that either. He didn't want them to forget who was boss.

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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