Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Monday, October 25, 2010


Guitar Lessons

   Jeff got guitar lessons in exchange for teaching Don, his instructor, how to cook. It only took two weeks for Don to become as good a cook as Jeff was. After two weeks, Jeff was as good a guitarist as Don's cat would have been if it had started scratching the front of the guitar instead of the back. Jeff felt inadequate. He wanted to show Don and the cat that he wasn't completely devoid of talent, so he got lessons from another guitar teacher, a man called Cliff. He taught Cliff how to draw in exchange for the guitar lessons. Before the first lesson, Jeff was afraid he'd be outshone by his new teacher/pupil, but thankfully Cliff was abysmally bad at drawing, which wasn't very surprising, because so was Jeff.
   Jeff was much happier being taught by someone as inadequate as he was, so he gave up the lessons with Don. He told Don that he'd decided to give up the guitar and take up the trumpet instead. "I think it's probably for the best," Don said when Jeff broke the news. "You're bound to be better at the trumpet than you are at the guitar. At the very least you'll be better than the cat. At least I assume you will. I've never heard her play the trumpet. She got stuck in a tuba once and the noise she made was appalling. If you can make a more pleasing sound than that, you'll be able to put this whole guitar business behind you."
   But Don found out that Jeff was still learning the guitar from another teacher, and he was furious. Jeff tried to convince him that he was still as bad a guitarist as ever, and that he'd abandoned Don because he held his former teacher in such high esteem. Don didn't believe this. The story sounded even more far-fetched when Jeff started talking about being intimidated by the cat. Matters were made worse by the fact that Don and Cliff hated each other. They used to be friends. They had made a lot of money busking together, but they hadn't spoken since undertaking another job as a duo, when Cliff's aunt Louise asked them to make a delivery to a friend of hers in the country. She promised to give them a hundred pounds if they successfully conveyed an antique chest of drawers to an isolated farm house. She supplied a bottle of whiskey and a van to help them on their way. Either of these things on their own would have helped them on their way (though not necessarily the right way), but taken together they proved to be a hindrance.
   They returned to Louise without the van, the whiskey or the chest of drawers. The chest of drawers and the van were on an isolated farm, far away from any house. Far, far away from their intended destination. Louise blamed Don, even though Cliff had been driving. Cliff was happy to let Don take the blame, and this is what brought about the end of their friendship.
   Jeff wanted to do something for Don to get back in his good books, which was why he stole Cliff's favourite guitar and tied it to the branch of an oak tree on an isolated farm. Don was touched by the gesture when he saw the photo of the guitar in the tree. All was forgiven, and he agreed to take Jeff on as a pupil again.
   It was Cliff's turn to be furious. He arrived at Don's house in the middle of a lesson with Jeff. He was convinced that Don was behind the theft. Don felt sorry for his former friend after witnessing Cliff's display of despair when he saw the photo. The three of them agreed to set out straightaway to retrieve the guitar, even though it was nearly ten o' clock at night.
   It was nearly ten o' clock on the following morning by the time they found the guitar. Darkness and a bottle of whiskey hindered them in their search, but the whiskey helped repair the damage done to Don and Cliff's friendship. They agreed to go busking together again, and they vowed to turn Jeff into a competent guitarist, but this didn't seem likely even when they were drunk.

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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