Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A Box of Red Apples

   I have to keep an eye out for my aunt, Sophie. Every time she sees a box full of red apples she gets very excited. She'll be consumed by giddiness. There's nothing wrong with getting very excited, but sometimes in this state she'll get dizzy and fall over, or she'll make an extravagant purchase that she'll regret later. People who specialise in selling things you'll regret buying have figured out that they can sell almost anything to Sophie as long as they show her a box of red apples first.
   There are a few things she can do to calm down. One is to go to see Trevor, who whispers tuneless songs with indecipherable lyrics, occasionally gently strumming a guitar. Sophie closes her eyes as she listens to these songs and she imagines flying through the air over mountains and forests. This doesn't always calm her down because sometimes she imagines flying over an orchard with trees full of red apples.
   She can also go under her bed to calm down, but this doesn't always work either. The drunks hiding under her bed will promise to take her to Switzerland, but the last time the drunks went to Switzerland they just went to the other end of the bed. In fairness, it is an exceptionally big bed. There's a casino under there, but it's run by drunks. They love watching the red snakes of light left behind by the rolling dice.
   The last time she saw a box of red apples she went into a cathedral. She put on her favourite gloves, and then she danced, a dance enhanced by her hair, which seemed to have a life of its own. The man who invented a leaf-tester expressed his disapproval. She unleashed a vicious tirade against his leaf-tester. She spoke about all the monkeys it must have killed. The only appropriate response he could think of was to hire people who could fit entire cabbages into their mouths. He got them to stand in front of her, open their mouths as wide as they could, which was very wide indeed, and then scream. Unfortunately, the scream was nowhere near as impressive as the capacity of their mouths. She laughed at them. She thanked him for providing so much entertainment. He tried to pretend that he had intended to provide her with entertainment. He offered to take her to the theatre to entertain her further. They've spent a lot of time together ever since then.
   "Can I have a word with you?"
   Yes, of course.
   "I was concerned when I heard you mention the drunks under your aunt's bed. I don't think you should leave them on their own under there. A security guard is needed, and I'd like to apply for the position."
   What experience do you have?
   "For ten years I worked as a security guard in a storeroom full of crockery and English men determined to break every piece of crockery in the place. You'd need nerves of steel to last a day in that job. I lasted ten years."
   That's very impressive. Of course, I'll have to ask my aunt first, but I'll certainly recommend you for the post.
   "Thank you very much indeed."
   You're welcome.
   The man who invented a leaf-tester won a lifetime's supply of cooks. Before he won this prize he used to get through a cook a week. It was difficult to know how many he'd need for the rest of his life because there was always a chance that a cook would poison him instead of walking out. But his life expectancy improved greatly when Sophie started cooking for him. She cooks for his cooks as well, and now they stay around for much longer.
   Do you think I should catch one of those cats who scratch Mrs. Hooley's bin and put it in the cupboard where the builders are hiding?
   "Absolutely out of the question. What you need is a security guard. Obviously I can't do the job myself while I'm under the bed, but my brother could do it. I took him under my wing in the storeroom. I showed him the ropes, and how to get around the law if you want to use the ropes."
   "I'll say it to my aunt. I've heard some strange noises coming from under her sink. Do you know anyone who could investigate?"
   "You should definitely consider getting a security guard for under the sink."
   There are artists under there.
   "Then it's absolutely imperative that you get a security guard for under the sink. I have another brother, he's a bit strange, but he'd be ideal for the job."
   I have some artists in my attic.
   "Well now, I have another brother, but... Let's just leave it at 'I have another brother'."
   Do you think I should go home to check on the artists?
   "That's exactly what you should be doing. And if anyone asks, I don't have another brother."
   I'll go now. Feel free to say whatever you want to say while I'm gone. Goodbye.
   "Say? To say whatever I want to say?... I don't know if I could say anything. Have I ever really said anything in my life? I mean, I talk and use words and all that, but it's not exactly the same thing, is it? I drew a picture of a cowboy last night. I could show you that but... You probably wouldn't like it. Now that I think about it, I really should be going as well. I was showing my brother how not to use the gas cooker earlier and... I really should go."

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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