From The Archives: Shadow Jack

I have an Uncle Jimmy. He is a hairy man.
He has a very long and bushy beard.
And just last week at dinner, I gazed into its depths
And—oh my gosh—a pair of eyes appeared.

“Oh! Look!” I shouted loudly. “There’s something in your beard!”
My Uncle Jim just winked and twinkled back.
“I know,” he whispered softly. “A creature lives in there.”
“He likes the dark. I’ve named him Shadow Jack.”

“Is Shadow Jack a monster? And should I be afraid?”
My mind was racing. Was he telling fibs?
“No, he is quite harmless. But when it’s dark and late,
He crawls right out and tickles all my ribs.”

My parents were not list’ning. They were preparing food.
They bought in trays of sausages and pie.
My Uncle Jim said nothing, so I said nothing too.
Besides, they’d simply think it was a lie.

I sat while we ate slowly. I watched as Uncle Jim
Dropped several peas right down into his beard,
I had to clamp my mouth shut as merely seconds passed,
Yet one by one the peas all disappeared.

When Mum and Dad arose then, to clear the plates away,
All Jim said was, “One day you’ll understand.
This sort of thing is normal. It happens to us all.
You’ll get a creature too, when you’re a man.”

I never told this story once Uncle Jim had left.
I grew up and, despite what Jim had said,
I never had a creature reside inside MY beard.
You see, I shaved my chin each day instead!

Original Illustration © Robbie Yates 2017

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20 thoughts on “From The Archives: Shadow Jack

  1. I have a beard and when you have one, you always have something else to talk to. Mine eats peas, too…

    Finished your book, Robbie. Sorry for being analytical but that’s how I read things. You handled the plot near the end nicely. The plan went a little awry, but it didn’t seem artificially added to extend the story… just a nice tension builder. You didn’t make it too long to resolve.

    You seem to have a knack. Did you read a lot of the juvenile books as a child (or as an adult)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Australia we have a saying. If you lose bits of food in your beard or your clothes, you say you’re “saving them for Ron.”

      As in, Later-ron. 😂😂

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. You’re right, I read a lot of books as a kid. But I too am analytical, and started reading books and actually tracking where the tension and chaos built up (I’m not even kidding, I used spreadsheets). I find story structure fascinating.

      I have a belief that anyone can write, however – with enough thought and effort. I wouldn’t say it even comes naturally to me. Your writing, though, is effortlessly funny – I am very envious!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, Frank Herbert, the author of the Dune series, decided he was going to be a published writer. After several rejections, he picked a hot market (westerns) and bought several from a used book store. He analyzed the plots from each book until he understood the rhythms of them and what made them the same. Then, he wrote his own and submitted it.

        And, he was published…

        Liked by 1 person

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