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.

This is the opening paragraph from my short story, A New Jack, which I shared on the Tall And True writers’ website in January 2024. Please note that the Story Insight below contains spoilers.

Story Insight

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
  • The words TRIP, TRIANGLE, and TSUNAMI (longer variations retaining the original spelling were permitted) were also used.

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.

Revisiting A New Jack

The Writers’ Centre’s publishing of the Furious Fiction Story Showcase at the end of January inspired me to revisit and finish the story. The polished and tweaked final version is similar to the draft except for:

  • The ending, which I hadn’t written
  • Something being stolen, which I’d overlooked
  • The story title – the draft was untitled.

I flirted with having Jack pocket something from Daisy’s house, perhaps a ceramic Jack Russell. But the simplicity of Jack computing that the 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 my 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.

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Missed Furious Fictions

January 2024 was only the second Furious Fiction I’ve missed since I first entered the challenge in April 2020.

I was also in Perth the first time I missed Furious Fiction, in October 2023, for a family wedding. Like A New Jack, I finished and shared The Lonely Moon on Tall And True when I returned home to Sydney.

P.S. Thanks to Dean Koorey on Twitter for his suggestions after I shared A New Jack on Tall And True. The edits made it a much tighter and better short story!

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to Jean-Paul Jandrain from Pixabay for sharing the robot man/droid image.

N.B. Read A New Jack on Tall And True.

This post was proofread by Grammarly
About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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