Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Home is where the artichoke heart is

   Holly and her brother, Peter, had been dreaming of their home planet since they were kids. In their teens they started collecting the parts they'd need to build a spaceship for their voyage home. Many of the parts were very hard to come by, and in collecting some of them it was difficult to avoid attracting the attention of anti-terrorist agencies. When Holly and Peter were in their early twenties they still had a lot of pieces to find before they could even begin assembling a craft capable of going all the way to Grambelmorne, the planet of their birth. Their search took them all over the world, and they were beginning to wonder if it was all worthwhile. On their way home from a fruitless trip to Russia, Holly said, "Have you ever considered the possibility that we're not really aliens? What if it's all a lie, all an invention of Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary? What if Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary are really our parents?"
   "Why would they lie to us?"
   "I don't know. A bet?"
   "Humans do like betting."
   "Perhaps it's time to face the prospect that we're humans as well."
   "But we have hearts made out of artichokes. Humans don't have hearts made out of artichokes. Their hearts are made out of hearts. I haven't found a single medical journal that says otherwise. I've never dug up a human corpse that had an artichoke heart, or showed any signs of being tampered with before I tampered with them."
   "When Mrs. O'Leary showed us the x-rays of our artichoke hearts, she only let us have a very brief glimpse of them. I have a feeling that if we looked closer we'd find that the artichokes were painted on."
   "Are you saying that we don't have special powers, and that we're not better than everyone else on this planet?"
   "I think we have to face the possibility that we don't have special powers, but we're obviously much better than everyone else."
   "The success of our business empire and educational institutes depended on knowing that we could have used our special powers if we had failed in our endeavours."
   "No. We could never have failed. Your error stems from seeing other people fail, but we're better than other people. Nevertheless, we still need to consider the possibility that in essence we're the same as them, and that this planet is our real home."
   It didn't feel like home. This is what made them continue their quest to build a means of conveyance back to Grambelmorne. It took another seven years to complete the craft. They both felt as if they were coming home as they descended towards the surface of Grambelmorne and they saw the forests of trees higher than the tallest buildings on earth. This feeling intensified when they emerged from the craft after making a safe landing, and they took their first breaths of Grambelmorne air. They were greeted by an official. They explained the reason for their arrival, and they asked to be taken to see the emperor.
   Their stay on the planet didn't last long enough for an audience with the emperor. The official was able to provide conclusive evidence that they were in fact earthlings. He informed them that, like the majority of earthlings, they had one head, whereas most of Grambelmorne's inhabitants had two heads. A small minority had three heads and a few had none.
   Holly and Peter took a short walk to consider what to do. From the vantage point of this alien planet they could see that earth was their real home because it was where they were smarter than everyone else. On their journey home they felt a sense of contentment when they considered the prospect of living the rest of their lives on earth.
   Peter said, "Do you think Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary doctored those photos to make it look as if we had two heads?"
   "Mr. O'Leary probably painted the extra head on. For many years I've suspected that I only had one head."
   "I've had my suspicions as well, but I've always been able to convince myself that I have two and that it was my good head that was coming up with those convincing reasons why I had two."

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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