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Tall And True Short Reads - A New Jack

Tall And True Short Reads - A New Jack

  12+   Episode 91 (18 April 2024): Less than forty-eight hours after receiving her online order, Third Age Cybertronics delivered Jack to Daisy, a sprightly centenarian who purchased the Advanced Companion Droid to help her with household chores and carry her bags when travelling.

A New Jack should have been my entry for the Australian Writers' Centre's January 2024 Furious Fiction challenge. The brief for the story was:

  • It had to take place on a character's FIRST DAY OF A NEW JOB
  • Include something being stolen
  • And the words TRIP, TRIANGLE and TSUNAMI.

But I was holidaying in Perth on the weekend of the challenge in January, and I couldn't find the time or space to polish the slightly futuristic draft I'd written about Jack's first day on the job as an Advanced Companion Droid for Daisy, the sprightly centenarian.

Writers' Centre Showcase

When the Writers' Centre published its showcased stories at the end of January, it inspired me to revisit and finish my story. The tweaked and polished final version is similar to the draft except for:

  • The ending—which I hadn't written 
  • Something being stolen—which I'd overlooked in the draft
  • The story title—the draft was untitled.

I flirted with having Jack steal something from Daisy's house, perhaps a ceramic Jack Russell. But the simplicity of Jack computing that dogs had stolen Daisy's heart was perfect for the story and gave me its sweet ending.

As for the title, I was editing a penultimate printout of the story on an evening walk when the idea of A New Jack popped into my head. And like that shiver up the spine moment when I've written a final sentence, I knew I had the title for my story.

Furious Misses

January 2024 was only the second Furious Fiction I've missed since April 2020. I was also in Perth the first time I missed the challenge, for a family wedding in October 2023.

As with A New Jack, I finished the outlined story later in the month back home in Sydney and shared it on Tall And True, The Lonely Moon. I also narrated it as Episode 87 of Tall And True Short Reads.

Other Writing

I hope you enjoy the tale of Jack's first day on the job. You can read A New Jack and my selected short stories, blog posts and other writings on Tall And True.

You can also buy the Tall And True Microfiction anthology and my short story collections from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores.

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You can listen to A New Jack on Acast (player above), the Tall And True Short Reads website, or find it and my other episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and all popular podcasting apps.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website, TallAndTrueShortReads.com, for earlier episodes from all four seasons. Also, follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

Finally, please share this blog post and podcast episode with family and friends and tell them and random strangers about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers' website.

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

N.B. You might like this blog post introducing Tall And True Short Reads - Season Four.

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Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

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