Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
Click here to buy the paperback or download the ebook for free.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The Wrong Place

   Dennis had a habit of putting his foot in the wrong place. He always took great pleasure from putting his feet down on the ground when he was wearing his enormous boots, but his enjoyment would be diminished by the sound of something breaking, squelching or shattering into pieces. This would often be followed by an angry tirade from the owner of the item flattened by his boot. He thought it was unreasonable of them to admonish him for putting his foot in the wrong place. If only one step in ten resulted in a smashed vase, a crushed flower or a flattened cake, people would focus entirely on that one step and completely ignore the others. No one ever praised him for the countless occasions on which he put his foot in exactly the right place.
   One of his friends suggested going for walks in the fields because he was less likely to break things there. If he stood on something that went squelch he probably wouldn't upset whoever had left it there.
   Derek enjoyed walking through the fields. He could freely put his foot down wherever he wanted to until he crashed into a gate or a ditch. He was able to overcome obstacles like these, but his walk was brought to an unexpected end when he put his foot down on what seemed like solid ground and he fell through it. He landed in an underground room. He sustained a few cuts and bruises in the fall, but he wasn't seriously injured. A timber box had broken his fall and he had broken the box, but if he hadn't landed on it he might never have discovered that it contained gold coins. There was no one there to admonish him for the destruction of the box, and no one to claim the coins, so he took them home.
   Finding gold seemed like an enormous stroke of luck, but after his discovery he was breaking more items than ever with his boots, and the reactions of the owners tended to be more extreme. The owner of a broken flower pot wanted to stab him with a piece of the broken pot, and she might well have done so if he hadn't smashed it into tiny pieces. Dennis decided to get rid of the gold after he stood on a cake he was looking forward to eating. He was almost certain that this was the only time in his life he had left a cake on the ground, and its destruction seemed like extraordinary bad luck, which he blamed on the gold. But off-loading gold wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. No one wanted gold coins that were cursed. Gold coins on their own would have been easy to get rid of, but the curse made people reluctant to take them.
   When the local police force went on holiday they left the local superheroes in charge, but they're even less likely to prevent crime than the police. Amongst their number are people like Dean, who collects paper. This is his special power. Harry's special superhero power is pretending to be dead.
   When the superheroes were in charge it was a good time for stealing and for having things stolen. Dennis thought that the best way to get rid of the gold would be to let a thief take it. He wanted to advertise the fact that he'd found the gold, so he paid his brother to dress up as a butler and push a wheelbarrow around the town. The wheelbarrow contained Dennis and a treasure chest full of gold. Dennis was smoking a cigar and doing his best to look pleased with himself.
   He had no trouble getting to sleep that night. His mind was at rest because he was confident that a thief would break into his house in the middle of the night and steal his gold. He thought it would be like Christmases from his childhood when he goes downstairs in the morning and sees the empty space where once there had been a treasure chest.
   Shortly after three o' clock, Dennis heard the sounds of crockery and glass being broken. At first he thought he was dreaming. These sounds often featured in his dreams, just like in his waking hours. But when he heard voices he realised that a scuffle was taking place in his living room. He went downstairs to investigate, and he found that a thief had broken in to steal the gold, but he'd been overpowered by the superheroes. They had heard about his gold and they were sure that someone would try to take it, so they joined forces to catch the thief. When they combined all of their powers they were just about capable of catching a single thief, although Harry hadn't been much help. He was pretending to be dead behind the sofa.
   While the superheroes were describing in great detail the plan they used to catch their prey, the thief managed to slip away through the window. When Derek realised he was gone he looked to where the treasure chest was kept, and he was disappointed to find that it was still there. It felt like the Christmas when Santa brought him a teddy bear that wet itself when he really wanted a train set that caught fire.
   Things took a turn for the worse when he realised that the thief had stolen his boots. Derek felt the sort of despair only a disastrous Christmas Day could produce. He didn't think he'd ever wear his boots again, but he decided to go outside to see if the thief had left any foot prints.
   He found the thief and his boots in the garden. 'Garden' isn't really the appropriate word to describe the area around his house. 'Garden' would suggest that the place has been subjected to gardening, but Derek just lets it grow wild. A snare had been lost in the long grass until the thief found it, and he was stuck there. Derek had left the snare there a few years earlier because he wanted to catch a fox who had killed some of his chickens. But after Derek had stood on all of his chickens the fox stopped coming, and Derek forgot about the snare, until the thief found it.
   Derek helped the thief out of the snare and retrieved his boots. He then lectured the thief on how a life of crime will never pay, and he sent the man away with the gold. He put his boots on and walked back inside, breaking a brush handle and an old fish tank on the way. He never considered the possibility that it was actually his boots that were cursed, but if Derek was into considering things he'd probably look at the ground where he plans to plant his boots to make sure it isn't occupied by something likely to break.

The Tree and the Horse
Henry Seaward-Shannon
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises




May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   May 2010   June 2010   July 2010   August 2010   September 2010   October 2010   May 2013  

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

More blogs about Storytelling.
Technorati Blog Finder

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?