Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Iris explains why she can't help you right now.

   I'm afraid I'm busy at the moment. I'm conducting an experiment with spiders to answer a question the bus driver asked me. I thought he was finally going to ask the question everyone had been expecting: "Will you, Iris, the love of my life, marry me and make me the second happiest bus driver in town? Because obviously you don't expect me to be happier than Larry. Do you? No one could be happier than Larry. Everything always goes his way. He found a birthday cake yesterday and that tattoo on his face just fell off. He makes everyone feel unhappy. With you, I'd be much happier than all those drivers who spend their lunch breaks cultivating a veil of depression so thick you can't see them behind it. Words could never come close to describing the beautiful oceans of happiness you'd bring to my life, except perhaps to say that they're not as beautiful as Larry's oceans. I hate Larry."
   But no. He didn't ask that question. He got down on one knee and said, "How many spiders does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
   I've prepared an answer for when he finally proposes. It's a twenty-seven-page 'yes' that doesn't actually contain the word 'yes', but he'd be left in no doubt about my desire to be his wife after hearing the words 'I, Iris, the love of your life, who uncovered her true feelings while comforting the baker who worries about what happens to the moon during the day, who can't ignore his fear that bullies will beat it up, and it will rise in the night sky with black eyes...'
   But we'd be here for another twenty-seven pages if I continued with that sentence. I'm very tempted to tear each page into tiny pieces. My sister tried to set them on fire, and I might well have let her if I didn't have such an aversion to seeing my sister enjoying herself (I'm doing my best to overcome that). Thanks to his latest question I spent the entire afternoon collecting spiders. I convinced my sister to help me. It wasn't absolutely essential to get her help, but I knew she wouldn't enjoy it so I asked her.
   After collecting spiders in her garden, she suggested we go to see our uncle Ronald. His house is full of spiders. He's never bothered removing them or their webs. So we walked through the fields to his house and he was only too happy for us to take some of the spiders, as long as we didn't disturb the dust.
   After collecting another thirty spiders I thought I'd have enough for my experiment. Ronald offered to drive us home in his new 'car'. He's been coming up with bizarre inventions ever since his brain surgery. The operation was carried out by barber shop brain surgeons, who perform surgery by singing songs. Each scalpel-sharp note is delivered with precision. No anaesthetic is needed. They'll cut your hair as well, but you'd be wise to get an anaesthetic for this.
   His new car was wind-powered. He'd attached a sail to the top of it. The sail was made out of old red curtains. We were expecting an enjoyable journey through the fields, but the wind was much stronger than we thought, and the car was much lighter than it looked. We were carried away by the wind. As we spun around I saw a terrifying swirl of red curtains, blue sky and white clouds.
   The next thing I knew, we were being arrested by the wild police, so we must have landed where the wild police grow. I thought we were going to end up in jail, but as we were being led away we met Walter, and he rescued us. He told the police that he saw Richie hiding in a tree, looking as if he was just about to commit something, most probably a crime. Richie is a compulsive criminal. He walks off cliffs just to break the laws of gravity, and his will to offend is so great that it counteracts the murderous gravitational pull straining to drag him onto the rocks. Even when he's caught unawares by a murderous push from his ex-wife, he still doesn't fall.
   The wild police were excited when they heard about Richie hiding in the tree. They let us go so they could attempt to land the biggest fish of all. We were mere minnows compared to Richie. I expressed my deepest gratitude to Walter for rescuing us. He just laughed and said it was nothing. He always laughs and says it's nothing, even when it's patently something.
   He told us that he was looking forward to going home to his wife. He said he loves the way he can make her laugh simply by shaking something out of his beard. He feels as if a lifetime has passed since he'd try to impress women by talking about all the live chickens he was going to eat. Part of me doesn't want to touch him with a barge pole (I have a pole at home that I use when I'm faced with no choice but to touch someone I don't want to touch), but another part of me wants to stroke his beard. Right now, this latter part is the bigger one. I wish the bus driver could be more like Walter. I'll prepare a report on the spiders, but it certainly won't be longer than twenty pages.

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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