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JackHailwood

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About JackHailwood

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  1. Diligaf - Thanks for you helpful critique. Don't worry about the time I spent posting it; It was a copy an paste job from an old version.
  2. I first remember climbing this tree when I was about eight years old. I could just about reach the lowest branches and haul my self up if I leant my bicycle against the gnarled old trunk, and stood on the saddle. At that age, this tree became my castle that I was defending from the marauding hoards of enemy knights sent by the evil king in the neighbouring kingdom. Sometimes, it was my ship, sailing across the uncharted ocean seeking out new lands. Occasionally, of course, it became my hiding place when those banes of a small boy’s life – homework, bed or bath time raised their ugly head. All that was many years ago. My tree is now used as the place I can escape the stress of modern life. Problems at work, the wife’s PMT, arguing children – no problem, I just walk to the end of the garden and climb up into my tree, lean back against the trunk, and wait for things to calm down. Some men have a den to hide in, I have my tree. These days, of course, I have a ladder to help me up. I’m now forty five, with a wife and growing family. I have a good job as a teacher, a reasonable salary, a new top of the range car, and a lover. Yes, that’s right, a lover. Good old dependable boring me. Pillar of the community, upright citizen and regular church going me has a lover. We meet up once a week at a cheap motel, when my wife thinks I’m playing golf. I’m trying to remember how it all started. I know that we first met when we bumped into each other by the newsstand outside the underground station one morning. I had just bought a coffee, and most of it ended up over my raincoat. Over the next few weeks, we would occasionally pass each other at the same spot, and make some light-hearted comment about spilling coffee, or just smiling at one another and saying good morning. Then, one evening, there was a problem with the trains, and we ended up in a café, waiting alongside everyone else and moaning about the state of the transport system. We started to meet at the café more regularly, and things just seemed to develop from there. I know now that it was all a big mistake. Sitting here, high up in my tree, I can see everything that I stand to lose. My house, family, car, and all the other trappings of a, so far, successful career are all laid out in front of me. How could I have been so stupid, to put all this at risk? I never thought for one moment that it would go this far. It was just going to be a mad, wild fling. A momentary lapse, a little bit of excitement in an otherwise uneventful life. I never even considered what would happen if my wife found out. How could she? We were always so discreet. I had no idea that ten minutes ago, when I answered the phone, my whole world was about to collapse. The police officer at the other end of the line was very courteous to begin with. He checked my name and address, place of work, and then asked about my whereabouts over the last twenty-four hours. Had I, he asked, been at the motel about 20 miles south of town? At that point, I began to feel uncomfortable and I knew that he sensed it, even though he was five miles away at police HQ. He asked again, and once more I hesitated in replying. It was then that he suggested coming over to see me, and that was when I realised that the truth would soon be out. At the motel last night, my lover had decided that the time was right to end our relationship. It was also time to try some blackmail. What if my wife was to find out? These things do happen, I was told in no uncertain terms. Phone calls could be made, letters could be sent. What would the school governors think? A forty five year old male teacher, with a fourteen year old boyfriend; I could see my whole life, career, and everything I had ever cherished being thrown onto the scrapheap. Picking up my jacket, I pulled out my wallet, and showed him that I had hardly any cash on me. He snatched it from me, and checked for himself. Throwing it onto the floor, he swore that he would make me pay somehow, and ran from the room shouting more threats. I started to panic. I dressed quickly, and after checking that the carpark was clear, jumped into my car, and drove home. The police officer has arrived. I can see him walking across the garden, towards my tree, with my wife at his side. As I place the noose around my neck, I can hear her explaining that I do sometimes sit up here when I feel stressed. As I begin to fall, the last words I hear are “Well, I never knew anybody get stressed out about us returning a lost wallet”
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