Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010



   Martin was convinced that someone was trying to steal his airplane. He believed that this person had been sent by a criminal gang or by an organisation with evil intent. This firm belief started out as a vague impression, and the seeds of the impression were the fleeting glimpses of a man hanging around the hanger (his garage) late at night. His airplane couldn't actually fly (it could hop reasonably well), but he never wondered why a criminal gang or an evil organisation would want a flightless flying machine. If he had put more thought into it he might have come to the conclusion that the thief was working for an organisation that urgently required a means of hopping. But if he had put more thought into it he might well have come to the conclusion that the thief was just a figment of his imagination.
   Martin didn't have time for putting more thought into things because he was too busy guarding his hanger. He was confident that he could ward off the most cunning of thieves, but matters were complicated when he fell in love with the woman who threw a stuffed fox at him. This is what almost always happens to matters when love begins to bloom. Martin had to find out more about this woman. He felt dejected every time he thought about the fact that he knew the name of the fox but he didn't know hers. He could only guess what her name was. He imagined it would be Amanda or Isobel or Beatrice, and certainly not Fifi, like the fox. The only thing he knew about her was that she'd throw a stuffed fox at a man simply because he tried to make unpleasant noises with a tuba. She was obviously a superior human being, or at the very least she was superior to a man who'd make unpleasant noises with a tuba.
   It was essential that he start spying on her at the earliest possible opportunity, but to do this he'd have to leave the hanger unguarded late at night. He wasn't prepared to abandon his plane to the clutches of the thief so he set up a security system, which consisted of a few ingenious devices. None of these were likely to kill the thief, but they'd certainly make him give up stealing airplanes for a while.
   Martin's first spying mission ended in failure. He couldn't even locate the woman. And to make matters worse, when he came home late at night he found that his airplane had been stolen. His security system hadn't worked as anticipated. It had hopped instead of flown. He was dejected. He wished he'd stayed with his plane and built a machine to spy on the woman who threw a fox at him. If only he could turn back time, he thought. He considered building a time machine, but that might not even hop. It might just fall over. He considered just falling over himself. It was the only course of action that seemed in any way appealing.
   Just as he was beginning to lean to his left he was startled by the sound of a cough, and then a woman's voice. "Sorry to bother you," she said, "but I'm afraid I may have damaged your airplane."
   Martin turned around, and he was shocked to see the woman who threw the fox at him. Her whole demeanour suggested that she wasn't likely to be throwing anything at him any time soon.
   "I was furious when you smiled after I threw the fox at you," she said. "It was almost as if you believed that I was doing you a favour, and there's nothing more infuriating than that. It made me determined to do something that you couldn't possibly regard as a favour. I saw how closely you were guarding your airplane, so I decided to steal it. If I hadn't been so angry I might have thought about it, and realised that it wasn't such a good idea. I finally got my chance to steal it when you went away this evening. My plan was to hide the plane in a hay shed. I wasn't stupid enough to think I could actually fly it. I was just going to drive it through the fields to the shed, but it kept hopping, until I crashed it into a ditch. I'm very sorry."
   Martin wanted to inspect the damage, so she took him to the site of the crash. He feared the worst, but the damage was nowhere near as bad as he thought it would be. He was certain he could repair the airplane. He was so optimistic that he even believed he could make it fly. He smiled at her and asked her what her name was.
   "Beatrice," she said.
   His smile became a beam, and she couldn't help smiling back at him. Love was in the air, and if love had complicated matters, stealing an airplane had undoubtedly simplified them.

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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