Father Jay, shattered

My upcoming Christmas novella, The Boys Upstairs, will be an ebook but nevertheless have a cover. I’ve been contacted by the artist, who wanted me to do things like refine what I meant by “house.”  (Because, as it turns out, I can say “house” and an artist then visualizes fifty different kinds of house without the slightest difficulty.)

While deobfuscating my non-artistic scrawl on the “cover suggestions” sheet, it occurred to me that the artist might want to illustrate one of the actual characters. Fortunately for me, Wendy had drawn one long ago, when the story was in its first incarnation.
FatherJay

Meet Jay, former wild youth on the rocket train to a lifetime in jail, injured during the war in Iraq, converted while in the hospital (a la St. Ignatius Loyola, whose feast day is tomorrow) and afterward ordained a priest. His injuries left him legally blind and with several physical disabilities due to nerve damage.

His brother, formerly his partner in crime and now a cop, is estranged from him. The story opens with Jay’s brother bringing three homeless kids to the rectory. For more than that, you’ll just have to wait.

Our scanner is kaput, so I photographed the drawing in the frame and emailed that to the artist. Afterward I displayed it on one of the book shelves in our library. (It should be our formal living room, but it looks like a Barnes and Noble vomited all over it, so we just say “the library.”)

The next day, while I was upstairs with the baby, Kiddo#1 came into the room and said, “I have a paper cut.”  He got a band-aid and went back downstairs.

A few minutes later he returned saying, “I need another band-aid.” This time I took a look, and he’d sliced two of his finger tips. Okay, I said to myself as I patched him up, this ought to be good.

Somehow, Kiddo#1 informed me, the picture of Father Jay had toppled off the bookshelf — he had no idea how, and it certainly had nothing to do, not even a little, with their game of BalloonBall taking place in the library — and the glass had shattered. Ever the brilliant kid, Kiddo#1 stated that “Mom will be very, very imaginative in coming up with a punishment for this” and reached the only possible conclusion: he should try gluing the shattered glass back together.

His IQ is something like 350, you see, but he comes up with the same kind of Patented Brilliant Ideas as his mother.

I threw out the big pieces, vacuumed up the rest, and then surgically extracted Father Jay from what remained of the frame. How could I be angry: it was merely a case of life imitating art!

I have purchased another frame for Father Jay, and he has received an honorable discharge from the book shelf. I have not been very creative in punishing the kids. This story, however, has gone onto the internet, something Kiddo#1 will find more humiliating than the most humiliating punishment I could possibly devise.

I’m such a mean mom.

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About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
This entry was posted in kiddos, The Boys Upstairs, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Father Jay, shattered

  1. philangelus says:

    A note to my regular readers: no F-words in the comments. I’ll remove them. 😉

  2. Jason Block says:

    I never say those things. 🙂 I know this is a clean blog. But Kiddo #1 was brilliant. And the fact he knew he was busted was classic. This is the best punishment 🙂

  3. cricketB says:

    I look forward to reading the published version!

  4. Barbara says:

    So how old is this brilliant child? I’m guessing between six and ten–old enough to know he will get in trouble for breaking something while playing Balloon Ball, young enough not to know that you can’t glue glass together. Of course, I have known many even older (and also brilliant) kids who would try to glue glass together if they thought it would save them from the wrath of Mom.

  5. Barbara says:

    Whoops, misspelled my email address in the last post; and ALMOST misspelled “misspelled.” Is that funny, or what?

  6. Barbara says:

    Ahem. This is what I was trying to say before the computer ate my “first” message:

    So how old is this brilliant child? I’m guessing between six and ten–old enough to know he will get in trouble for breaking something while playing Balloon Ball, young enough not to know that you can’t glue glass together. Of course, I have known many even older (and also brilliant) kids who would try to glue glass together if they thought it would save them from the wrath of Mom.

  7. Pingback: I can’t take it. I can’t even dish it out! « Seven angels, four kids, one family

  8. Diinzumo says:

    It’s funny, I forgot I had done that piece and now I see you framed it… 8-o And reframed it… <8-o I'm blushing here. I'll be interested in seeing what the cover looks like when it's done.

  9. Ken Rolph says:

    House is one of those slippery terms that we believe we have in common. Across the English speaking world there are a number of simple, everyday words which mean different things in different places.

    I’m always amused when visiting Brits don’t believe I live in a house. For them, a house must have two storeys. They say I live in a cottage or bungalow.

    There’s a good book on this: Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions, Making Sense of Transatlantic English by Orin Hargraves. He demonstrates just how many words are deceptive between the USA and Britain. He does hint at other Englishes, but didn’t seem to have too much of an understanding of those.

    I was recently involved with a recipe website where I discovered that even the humble tablespoon is deceptive. The American tablespoon is 15 ml and the metric tablespoon is 20 m. Not particularly damaging unless you are cooking in bulk.

    It’s a wonder we are able to talk to each other at all. Perhaps we only believe we are communicating anything.

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