Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Song of the Sirens

   Jerry lived in a lighthouse. He installed the light on his roof just to annoy the neighbours, but they didn't mind. They pretended to be annoyed to humour him. The light was effective in keeping ships off his rockery, but it lured many old seafarers to his house. They'd arrive in droves on a foggy night or when a storm brought driving rain. Torrents of water would flow from their rain coats, flooding the floor in his hall, or else the seafarers would cough out all the fog they'd inhaled until he could barely see the walls. This greatly enhanced the decor. He considered painting all of the rooms in fog. Moving around the house in such conditions could be dangerous. He made miniature lighthouses with candles on top to keep his visitors from foundering on the rugs.
   The neighbours would always call, supposedly to complain about the light, but they were really there to listen to the seafarers. After five or six hours of stories and songs, the neighbours would go home, but the sailors would remain. Jerry always struggled to get rid of them. Shouting at them wouldn't work because most of them had ear plugs growing out of their ears. There wasn't much point writing a note for them because only one of them could read, and he'd have to get out his reading glass eyes, which could take a long time as he searched in his pockets. He had bi-focal glass eyes, but he never used them because he was always putting them in upside-down. Things got even worse when someone glued contact lenses to his reading eyes. He'd have to hold the note a few feet away from his face to read it, and he wouldn't be able to see it in the fog then. He got corrective eye patches to counteract the effect of the lenses, but he needed very bright lights to read with them.
   On one occasion the seafarers were there for over twenty-four hours before they thanked him for his hospitality, shook hooks with each other and left. He needed to find a way of getting rid of them at about the same time the neighbours left. He got a fog horn that was loud enough to get past the defence of the ear plugs they were cultivating, but the seafarers loved the sound. To them the fog horn's music was as sophisticated as Beethoven's. The one bright side was that it genuinely annoyed the neighbours, who had to start growing their own ear plugs. Some of them found that they had surprisingly fertile soil in their ears, and they entered their plugs in competitions at local fairs.
   He finally found a way to get rid of them when he thought of the sirens who lured sailors onto rocks. It didn't take him long to find enough local women who were willing to sing outside his house to lure the sailors out. The songs the women liked held little appeal for the old seafarers. Even the two notes of a police siren were too sophisticated for their tastes. Only a good imitation of a fog horn or a song with superhuman levels of lewdness could lure them out. These sirens didn't have rocks between them and the sailors. Some of them had stun guns, but the weapons were rarely used, and even when they were fired they were aimed at a leg to remind a sailor which one was made of wood. The women welcomed the sailors. If the seafarers' senses hadn't been impaired by the glass eyes, patches, hooks, the natural plugs growing from ears and noses, plus the astonishing quantities of rum they consumed, then they might have found that the rocks were more tempting than the women. After hearing the song of the sirens outside, they'd leave Jerry's house with a spring in their wooden steps. They'd disappear into the fog to meet their fate.

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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