Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Strangers and Waiters

   Tommy was walking past a bus stop when he met Laura. She said she was going somewhere on a bus and she asked him if he'd like to go with her. He said he would.
   When they got there they got off the bus. They were alone. They watched the clouds pass by above them. They agreed that they were enjoying each other's company. The clouds, it seemed, were not enjoying each other's company. A cloud shaped like an axe attacked a cloud shaped like a fly.
   Tommy and Laura went on another bus that took them to another place. They enjoyed being at this other place. Other people were there. Strangers. They enjoyed being amongst strangers because it was half-way between being alone and being with friends. This is where they wanted to be. They'd go on enjoying being where they wanted to be until they began to want to be somewhere else or until one of the strangers produced an axe.
   They had to wait two hours before this happened. No one produced an axe, but Tommy and Laura did begin to feel a desire to go somewhere else. Most of the strangers had already felt this need and had gone somewhere else. Many enjoyable hours could be spent wondering where the strangers went to. These hours would be reserved for later in the day or at night because they had something else to do in the meantime: going somewhere else. When they left, there was only one stranger still there. He was looking out over the sea. They wondered why they hadn't thought of doing this before. They considered staying behind to attempt looking out over the sea, but the lure of somewhere else was too great, and they left.
   When they arrived somewhere else they found that they were in a restaurant. This made sense because they were hungry. A waiter appeared. Many pleasant hours could be spent wondering where he came from, but the likelihood is that he came from the kitchen. When he left, he almost certainly went to the kitchen because when he came back the next time he had food with him. It was more or less what they had ordered from the menu. They said they were pleased with their food. The waiter went away again, but this time he went up a stairs. Over dinner they discussed where he might have gone to. They came to the conclusion that he had gone to tell someone else that they were pleased with their food. When they had finished their dinner they went up the stairs to tell this person that the waiter wasn't lying. They were afraid that the waiter would get fired for lying.
   They came to an office that contained the waiter and two strangers. The waiter had his hands raised over his head, and so had one of the strangers. The other stranger was holding his hands in front of him. One of his hands was holding a gun. The other hand was holding a wad of cash. Tommy and Laura said they really enjoyed their meal. The stranger with his hands held over his head apologised to the waiter for accusing him of lying. The waiter accepted the apology. Tommy and Laura waited until they felt a need to go somewhere else. After half an hour of waiting in silence they were still carefully examining themselves for the slightest spark of this need, but there was nothing. Laura remembered the stranger looking out over the sea. She suggested looking out over the sea from the window. She did this with Tommy. The waiter and the two strangers joined them.
   The sun had just set. They discussed where strangers might go when they leave somewhere to go somewhere else. The stranger with his hands held over his head said he was planning on going to a boat when he felt a need to go somewhere else. The stranger with the gun said he was going to his cottage. He expected the need to go there to hit him within the next few minutes. He told them they were welcome to follow him there. He stood completely still as he looked out over the sea, waiting for the need to strike. The others watched him closely, hoping to see signs of the need taking effect.
   The first effects of the need could be seen when he turned around and walked towards the door. The others followed him. The journey to somewhere else was a two-mile walk. They went into his cottage. He closed the door and turned on a light. They could hear the sound of waves. It seemed as if this sound was coming from outside. The stranger with the gun told the waiter and the stranger with his hands held over his head that they could lower their hands to whatever height they normally kept their hands at in circumstances such as these, and he asked all of his guests if they'd like a drink. The waiter said he'd like a whiskey, but the stranger who used to have his hands held over his head accused him of lying.
   When drinks had been poured for all of his guests they looked out over the sea. They knew they were facing in the right direction because of the sound of the waves, but a wall was blocking their view of the sea. They wondered how many other strangers were looking out over the sea at that moment, like they were. This thought occupied their minds for many hours, and it kept out the slightest hint of a need to go somewhere else. It was dawn before the thought started to lose its grip. Tommy and Laura felt a connection with the strangers and the waiter. There was a danger that they'd become friends and they'd have to start talking to each other, so Tommy and Laura left to find more strangers and waiters.

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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