Jack had a mind that was a mess. It sees the memory of 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 although he preferred proper breakdowns. Wear and tear parts and 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.
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.
I love the dirt and the grit in this, it’s everywhere and it’s marvellous!
Thanks Em and quick question, is that because the character is “real.” Life is, or can be, gritty so I try and draw on that to get readers identifying with them. Apparently that keeps them reading lol
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 😊
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…. 😊
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 😊
No it got caught, just like your last one. I have uttered oaths at the software to see if that helps! I’m really hoping to get this book finished real soon, well it depends if I start the sequel during NaNo or not. Might use that to kick start the mojo and get both done 😊
Gary, you have such an awesome way with stringing words together. I admire your writing skills and feel the heart aching pain here
Thanks Esme. It’s rather tough writing some characters. You have to almost “be” them to get the feelings right. Not sure what some of these commenters would think if they read the actual book following Jack mind lol.
Question. This new reader layout lets me share from it to sites. My last post on NaNo came up with share to mine and yours. Any idea how that comes across? I know it’s because I’m linked to you now, but does it share directly or buffer to you for approval first…and how does it share the content layout? Not seen that option before so bar doing it and seeing what happens I’ve no idea!
Gary – Have not seen it as yet. I think when you want to share, just click on my link to disable it and then share away. It does that when I want to add stuff in my ‘buffer’ and tweet as well because I can tweet and share to my Instagram simultaneously. I usually then disable Instagram if not applicable. Hope this will help
I’ll give it a go tomorrow and see what happens. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn!
Great – let me know, would love to see what happens
Will do 😊
Esme, just submitted a shared post from a friend looking for food based guest submissions. Bit of a test for me as I’ve not done a pressed post to another blog before. Hope it works 😊
Gary thank you. Which post did you press and to which blog. Let me know then I will check tonight after work. Thanks for doing this my friend.
I’ve done two; one for Michael at The Ink Owl who is seeking guest submissions on food topics for November. The other was my NaNo post. Both have the original URL’s embedded so if you preview them they should take you straight to the posts.
I will create dedicated posts too, I was just curious about how pressing something to another site worked, given I’d not done that before!
Gary – I looked at The Ink Owl and saw the post calling for foodie posts for November but not your URL – which did you use?? Sorry I am dummy dum dum here
Gary, my dear friend – I am truly stupid – I just found the two draft posts you left for me. When do you want me to publish them?????
Not stupid at all Esme, easy to miss thungs when you are busy in life and blogging! I’ve seen one go live already for Michaels food requests. I’ve supported him a few times as he tries to open up to promote other bloggers. My Nano one ought to go live before November as that’s when the event starts. I’ll leave it up to you to choose a convenient time and date.
Next time I’ll do a full post, possibly a modification of one I out up if it’s on writing. That last post got a great deal of interest 😊
Thank you yes I published the first one this morning as I noticed that I can also share it on BYUB which I did. I also pinned it and Tweeted it, me thinks, just before I left for work. Will share more tonight and will get in touch with him to see if he will let me share a post in Nov with him.
Your other post , what would be the best date for this one, please give me a date and I will make it happen.
I will do the same over the next few days too 😊 Well, weekend more likely as this week has been way too busy!
The other one can go out this weekend if you get chance. Anyone doing NaNo can get a chance to look before it starts then 😊
Perfect Gary. Will Saturday at 6am my time work?????
Sounds good to me Esme 😊 Thank you so much
Consider it done my friend. 👍
Thank you 😊
I think I wilk rather reschedule fir maybe 1 or 2am with the time difference then more people will see it. Please Share all over social media. When I wake up I will do the same.
Sounds good to me. Look forward to seeing it live and thank you 😊
Gary, how about you go to my FB page and add your pinterest handle for all members to also follow you. I have a pinterest Link-up going today
Just been there Esme and added mine. Commented on your blog post too re connecting 😊
All good my friend, no worries
Gary, your post on The Ink Owl will go out tomorrow morning my time at 6 am
Thank you Esme. Got the notification and will take a look soon. Quite exciting this collaborative blogging thing 😊
❤️❤️ it. Already left you a long note
This is such a sad piece for everyone involved. Poor Jack and Jennifer. I feel worse for Jack to be honest. He is not handling things how you expect a hero might…but it seems very real!
I’m routing for him already, but he does sound buggered.
Thank you, it was written intending to portray a real person, not a hero. I try and put ordinary folk into strange situations in the hope readers can identity with them before the sub-plot unfolds. This is just exploring Jacks psyche, he is now entrenched into a book that’s a few chapters short of finishing.
Thanks so much for the comment too.
Oooh go Gary! Just a few chapters to go!! 😀
Been like that for a while now! And NaNo is almost here! Really need to get down and sort this writing out 😱
Poor Jennifer. The bit where he lay her down on the floor got me. Great writing Gary.
Thanks Lucy; writer feedback is always useful… I guess you know those demons though yes lol.
I didn’t explore Jennifer here because the story it belongs to needs vulnerable people to work. The antagonist is somewhat grim. I’m itching to release more of it, but I rally shouldn’t lol
I think a two sided view would work well 🙂
You might be right, in fact I know you are, but I’m not sure there’s room in this one. Jacks not a big player here, but we need to know his mental state to see how it can be violated. I should not have said that!
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.
Without revealing spoilers… this is actually a scene in the book now. I created it to test Jack as a person. To see if people could empathise with him. I have seen a similar issue when my mum was diagnosed with MND way back. So there is some personal write what you know here.
Re spoilers; this book is horror. Vulnerable people in the cast list might, or might not, reach the The End.
I could write a book just on this though; exploring the psyche from what was into what is. I think a lot of people live this and go unnoticed in the real too, sadly. x
I think you’re right, they sadly do. That’s really interesting about the personal aspect of your writing here, Gary. I love the complexities this storyline might add to the book.
Not sure if you read the other excerpt…that has my favourite teen characters in, Ade and his girlfriend Rowena the Goth. In fact I think I have all the cast chunked into pieces this size here as I used the blog to test then before I started the book!
I’m pretty sure I remember Ade & his girlfriend. When will we see this book please? (No pressure) x
Good question! I have one ready to go at the moment…where is the question lol. I seem to be behind my objectives so might have to step away from machines for a few weeks. That said I’m toying with NaNo….the sequel to this one. Not sure it’s wise, but the story is sitting waiting to be written… I ought to drop some more writing onto my blog too….it helps the mojo ! X
Jackie is definitely a product of excellent characterisation. Very enjoyable
Thank you, this was part of my character setup tests a while back to see if they had what it takes to join in on the writing ride 😊
Gary, I think you need to pull your finger out, stop procrastinating, and get a sequel writing!!!
Are you psychic? I was working on a post this morning relating to that and NaNoWriMo!! Although, the post after that one will have a bit more due to a slight digression of post point lol. You’re right though, I do need to start writing again!!
😉 me too lol!!!
Are you doing it then? #GaTu
Not #NaNo…not with school… but I need to finish my manuscript once and for all!!!!
LOL; too right! Although RiNoWriMo mark two should happen again…maybe an annual one lol
I shall definitely consider that!!!
Wow. I almost feel sad for Jack, but something also tells me that if he didn’t have a good relationship with his brother in law, then he would have been long gone. I could be wrong, but that’s how I’m reading it.
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 🙂
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 🙂
Well done 🙂
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 🙂