'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I stood in the glasshouse and looked out at the trees, the branches moving in a gentle breeze. The shadows slowly crept across the lawn as the sun went down.

My cousin Jane lived next to a man who said he could make people give up smoking through hypnosis. All of his neighbours went to him, even the ones who didn’t smoke. Jane went to him too and he said to her, “Don’t think of anything but red paint… red paint…” She was suspicious of this because on the previous week a friend of hers went to him and he told her not to think of anything but building a dog kennel. To help her focus on this he got her to build a kennel for his dog. But Jane agreed to paint his fence because the paint was blue – she was confused rather than suspicious. She spent over an hour working on the fence, and then she looked up and saw the white trail of a jet across the blue sky. She looked back at the blue fence posts. There was one white plank left to paint, and the confusion faded when she saw this. The colour seemed to make more sense. When she finished painting it she looked up at the sky as the white trail disappeared. She went home and sat under the tree, looking up at the sky as the stars began to come out. As darkness enveloped the blue above, the confusion grew in her mind again. She stared up at the stars until she saw the red light of an airplane move across the sky, and the confusion slowly disappeared. She went inside to get an apple. In her mind she saw a basket full of red apples, but when she looked at the basket in the kitchen, all of the apples were green. This confused her more than ever. She took one of the apples and went to the window. When she looked out she saw the red glow of a cigarette in the darkness, and her mind began to clear once more. The confusion vanished when she remembered that she never smoked anyway. She had never smoked a cigarette in her life. She looked out the window and ate her apple with complete peace of mind. Until a desire for a cigarette started to grow.

The moose’s head over the fireplace stared blankly ahead when I walked into the room, but as I looked towards the window I thought I saw it blinking. I talked about the roses and the orchard, but it just stared blankly ahead again. I looked out the window in silence, or near silence. I could hear the sound of the clock in the hall.