'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Summer started after it was over and now it's well and truly gone. The wife's uncle says he once went through a marriage like that. He can't remember the name of the woman he was married to, or not married to -- he's not entirely sure (probably 'not' if he can't remember her name). All he remembers about her is that she didn't like one of his legs, and he thought that one was his best leg.

My cousin Albert was standing in the park, just admiring the sights and sounds and smells of a beautiful August evening. He noticed that there were some women behind him. He estimated that there were three of them, but he didn't count them. They might have counted themselves. There's safety in knowing how many of you there are. One of them was standing on one leg. He knows she has two legs because he counted them to make sure.

When they were in a kitchen twenty minutes later the place was packed. Albert estimated that there must have been over fifteen women in there with him. Some of them were drinking tea. Some were standing and some were sitting, or standing on no legs. There was a painting of a clown on the wall. He had three eyes. One of them was in his mouth. He was holding reading glasses with three lenses.

One of the women started singing. Her legs automatically responded to the song. Albert didn't count her legs, but she must have had at least four to perform the dance she did. When she finished the song and dance the other women applauded. They must have had at least forty hands to create such a sound, though some of them probably had more than two hands.

By the time they got to the lake there were over fifty women with Albert. He thought it was time to whittle down the crowd, so he ran away through the fields. He loved running through the long grass as the sun set. He was so caught up in it that he paid no attention to the women, and when he finally stopped and turned around there was no one there. He felt lonely. He walked on with his head bowed. After the sun had gone down he found two women in the middle of a huge field.

The women were Vicky and Amanda. Vicky was grateful to her clothes for the way they always followed her around, but she was afraid that one day she'd take a right turn and they'd go left. This is why she never made any sudden movements. Her best friend was Amanda who was bored of her toes so she decided to get snails to be her toes instead. She trained the snails to move in formation and she followed them around. This suited Vicky because Amanda moved very slowly after her toes.

When Vicky's handbag was stolen they chased the thief. It took about two seconds for him to disappear from view, but they kept moving slowly onwards. They were still chasing him when Albert found them in the field. He promised to help them catch the thief. He enjoyed following them around. Fifty women was too many, and zero was too few, but two was just about right.

They never caught the thief, but he did return the bag. His dreams were haunted by the thought of the two women moving slowly yet inexorably forward. Vicky and Amanda were glad to have Albert's company because he gave them a sense of protection from thieves. He felt safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't multiply, though Amanda's toes probably would.

The moose's head over the fireplace doesn't seem terribly interested when the wife's niece shows him her favourite snails. One of them is called Bertie. She says she found him when he was stealing tomatoes from Japanese tourists.