The Bequest – Chapter 2 scene 3

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Jack’s mind is a mess. It sees the memory of Β a girl he fell for, all those years ago, and not the tragedy that lives now.

Contrary to the Metallica tune playing on some big shots DAB radio show in the workshop, Jack didn’t build houses. He fixed cars. Vans too, in fact if it had an engine Jack Draycott of Draycott’s Autos was your man. Or at least one of his four mechanics might be if the boss himself was already greased up and cursing under his breath.

Bloody fool driver shagging the guts off this piece of engineering.

Paid the bills though, but he preferred proper breakdowns, wear and tear parts, restoration of old beasts that, but for proper TLC, would be down the scrap yard and crushed into a box of metal by years end.

Ran a line in crash repairs too. Terry, his brother in law owned a body shop on the same industrial estate which made life a whole heap easier for paint. Jack did engines, not paint. Terry painted and fettled, didn’t do engines. Worked just fine and kept family matters on a good footing. A mutual interest in restoring vintage bangers amidst the day jobs turned the in-law obligation into a rock solid friendship with sound appreciation of the skills of the other.

Underneath all this Jack had a problem. It came in a bottle. Mostly in the evenings with an excuse to close his brain down at the end of a hard days fixing things. His wife Jennifer, God bless her, was in a nursing home drifting between lucid and not so lucid.

Some days she almost knew who he was. Suffered a stroke two months back, but unlike the adverts on TV, time wasn’t there to catch it quick. He found her on the floor by chance, after forgetting his pack up lunch. By the time the paramedics arrived and stabilised the patient, her brain was some ways off optimal. It became clear real quick that her mental capacity was severely compromised.

Following the stint in hospital Jennifer was placed in a temporary home with after care until Jacks house was assessed and modifications made to allow her back safely. Options sat between rock and hard place. Have her home or spend everything he’d built up over the years on care home costs. Means testing was a bitch. Bleed you dry until you were skint enough to claim costs.

There was the rub. By then she would, on probabilities way better than winning the two o’clock at Aintree, be dead and where would that leave him?

Fucked was the word that sprang to mind.

It wasn’t like she was really his wife anymore either. He’d done his mourning when it became apparent there was no way her eyes said “Hey, Jackie babes, I’m still in here.”

She couldn’t string two words together never mind a sentence and a life sentence was exactly what Jack saw. The ultimate zombie living at home under constant care, wiping her arse and changing her clothes. Not even aware he existed never mind until death do us part. Death came and left the shell behind. If that was a faller at the races the vet would be in, shake his head and that would be that. Not people though. Jack didn’t have a drink problem back then, but he sure knew what was coming down the trail. If you asked him what that was he’d tell you straight.

Fucked.

 

Β© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

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61 Comments

      • Hi, yep absolutely he is real – you have the actual grit and the dirt of the garage, and the grit of Jack and his thought processes too. The snippet made me want to know so much about him, his life, his marriage. The whole works really. I felt true empathy for him but also a slight reluctance to get too close, as I felt there was much more going on than we yet know about. I loved it 😊

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        • Oh, flipping heck. Sorry Em, I’ve just found two replies harvested by Askimet into nowhere land… Or should that be Maggie and the Fericious Beast? I digress, sincere apologies.

          Lovely comment too. In writing I use an old technique made more famous recently in the newer Sherlock Holmes. It’s called a Mind Palace in that. I create the world or scene in my head visually and then write from there. It allows me to see what colour walls are, where the scuffs or grime is, what’s resting on a table or hidden behind it. All a bit surreal really and no, I don’t use mind altering narcotics lol

          You are quite right too. There is an awful lot going on around this scene. But I will say his journey is very sad. It was rather tough to write sections of it…. 😊

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      • Oh, I just replied but I think it got lost 😦 anyway, absolutely he is real. There is the literal grit and dirt of the garage, and the grit of Jack – his character and his thought processes. It left me wanting to know much more about him, his life and his marriage. I felt true empathy with him, but something was holding me back somewhat. I believe there is much more to know and understand and some of it isn’t pretty. I really enjoyed it 😊

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  1. This is devastating. I actually have sympathy for Jack. You can see how it is actually worse for him. He’s lost his wife, but his life is ruled by caring for her. She may live as long as him and the future he probably imagined with her has been destroyed. I assume this is a backstory for a character who sounds absolutely fascinating and in no ways two-dimensional.

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    • I do feel sad for him…especially now knowing what comes down the line. I tried to draw on life taken for granted and then suddenly it all changes in the blink of an eye. Years taken for granted as never ending and then poof.

      You are right too; the brother in law has been a rock (backstory); where we join him, things are starting to crack.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it πŸ™‚

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  2. When we coast through life and everything seems hunkydory, then Wham! Life takes on a turn we’d not signed up for and for Jack this is what’s happened! His companion is now a bottle, hidden in a brown paper bag and his wife….the ultimate zombie living at home. This is well written. It flows, it enlightens and actually breaks my heart. Why? Because this has and can happen to anyone. This reads real! And I can’t wait to read more πŸ™‚

    Well done πŸ™‚

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    • Thank Helen. I aimed to provide a motive for why characters are as they are. It pulls the conflict in them out early on. The other message in Jack is as you say. Take life for granted at your peril. At some point crap happens and that’s when the internal bomb explodes. I guess unless you’ve been there then this point will be missed πŸ™‚

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