Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


A nice way to spend the afternoon

   Strange creatures with seven tongues prepared my lunch. I tried not to think about this as I ate it. It didn't taste too bad, but I got the feeling it would taste much better if I could acquire another six tongues. I might have attempted to get them for dinner, but I had a better way to spend the afternoon. A trip to the museum seemed more appealing than a search for additional tongues.
   There was an extraordinary amount of guns on display, far too many for a museum of modern art. The number of guns wouldn't be considered excessive in my grandfather's study or in the National Museum. Guns play an important part in our history. They're much more noticeable than tablecloths or holes (ordinary everyday holes rather than graves with ornate markers to ensure that their representative from the past remains prominent in the present). I suppose that's because gunshots are much more noticeable than almost all of the sounds a tablecloth can make.
   I spent a long time looking at a painting that didn't have a gun attached to it, though it did depict a man holding a gun. He was standing in the background, waving with his gun-less hand, as if he was saying hello to the artist. In the foreground there was a woman holding a bunch of flowers. I appreciated the way the woman with the flowers took precedence over the man with the gun. Having said that, she looked deeply unhappy, and the man with the gun seemed perfectly content with life. If I had to hold something, I'd be happier with a gun rather than a bunch of flowers, but I'd choose neither if I had the choice. I always have a cigarette handy for occasions when I have to hold something. These occasions might arise when it looks as if someone is going to ask you to hold their baby or their gun or their flowers. You can say, "I can't. I'm holding a cigarette." I don't smoke. I've been using the same cigarette for years. It's held together with insulation tape.
   I enjoyed my afternoon in the museum, though I'd have enjoyed it more if there had been more paintings with tablecloths and holes. After leaving the museum I felt relaxed as I walked through the streets. I came to a quiet street where I could hear the birds singing. I'd heard that song on the radio earlier, and I started singing along. Two women who were walking behind me joined in. I turned around and I saw that they were holding puppies. I took out my cigarette so I wouldn't feel left out. I was happy to keep singing the birds' song because only the birds would know if I was saying something stupid. After singing for twenty minutes I noticed three birds on a window ledge. They were looking at me as if I was an idiot. I felt a need to use words again so the birds wouldn't know if I was saying something stupid. I asked the two women if they'd join me for dinner and they said they would. I avoided making eye contact with the birds as we walked away.
   Dinner was better than lunch, but there were bits of cardboard in my custard. Apparently, if you have the right sort of tongue, cardboard tastes like rhubarb.

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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