Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


A Mouse with Big Plans

   Leo was a mouse with big plans. He wanted to move into a mountain, and excavate a magnificent house in it. Mice, other animals, birds and people all made fun of him, but within a year of moving into the mountain he had created an enormous house with hundreds of rooms. He was proud of his achievement, but there were drawbacks to such a large dwelling. The biggest problem was that the kids had a limitless supply of hiding places. His house was too big for his family. There are very few mice or people with nineteen children who can say this. It's something to boast about. Moving into a smaller house wouldn't be a good solution for someone who likes to boast about things. Getting a bigger family would be a better solution, but this would raise other problems. And he'd need hundreds of kids to fill his new house, so this was out of the question.
   The solution he came up with was to hire servants and to station them all around the house so they could keep an eye on his kids, especially the teenagers who'd spend many hours in their hiding places. He was kicking himself for not thinking of hiring servants sooner. Not only would they keep an eye on his kids, but they were also the perfect ornament to a house like this. Within a few weeks he had a domestic staff that was bigger than his family, and he kept hiring more servants. All of the mice and other animals who worked in his house thought he was only hiring them to show off, but they had to admit that he was a good employer.
   Leo had a Rottweiler called Dave to guard the mountain, but Dave was really more of a pet. He slept in a kennel outside because he was too big to fit in through any of the doors. Some of Leo's kids used to take him for a walk every day. They'd cling to his lead with the same determination they showed in clinging to their delusion that they were controlling where he was going.
   The cook, Mrs. Rogers, was a robin. Her husband was the gardener. She was always complaining about all the work she had to do to feed everyone in the mountain, but she'd never let anyone help her in the kitchen, and she still didn't have as much work to do as the unfortunate mice who had to prepare Dave's dinner every day. Mrs. Rogers spent a lot of time complaining to Leo about how little time she had. He was often tempted to point out that if she gave up complaining she'd be able to make a three-tier wedding cake every day in the time she saved, and if she gave up smoking she'd be able to ice it as well, but he knew he'd only be unleashing a ferocious torrent of complaints if he said this, so he kept quiet. He had enough problems to contend with.
   His eldest son, Graham, was going through that difficult teenage phase. He wasn't in the least bit impressed by the mountain. He told his father that it was just an inanimate object. You wouldn't be impressed by a pebble, he said, and a mountain is no different. There's just more of it there to unimpress you. You could spend all day being unimpressed by a mountain, and Graham frequently did. This is why he got on so well with Mrs. Rogers. He started spending more of his time in the kitchen with her, where they could be unimpressed together. She liked him, and she introduced him to a wide variety of things to be staggeringly unimpressed by, things that inspire awe in idiots. She taught him how to cook as well. He was the only one she'd let into the kitchen while she was cooking. Everyone else in the mountain was an idiot who might break down in a fit of awe at any moment. Graham enjoyed cooking, and he was good at it. His family were hugely impressed by the meals he made, and he was delighted with their admiration because he was able to dismiss them all as idiots who'd succumbed to awe. Leo was always glad to be regarded as an idiot if it formed part of a solution that worked out for the best for everyone.

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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