Tall And True Short Reads

A New Jack

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

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 91 (18 April 2024)

A New Jack is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Read the story on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/fiction/short-stories/a-new-jack

Listen to Episode 87 of Tall And True Short Reads, The Lonely Moon: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com/the-lonely-moon/

Support the podcast: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

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
  • 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.

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.

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 and shared the story later in the month, back home in Sydney, The Lonely Moon, Episode 87 of Tall And True Short Reads.

I hope you enjoyed 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 at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections, including the latest Tall And True Microfiction anthology from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores — links are available in the show notes.

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

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with family and friends and help spread the word about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.

Podcast Theme and Sound Effects

Royalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.

Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:

Production Notes

Tall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity. Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

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Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

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