Jack was a child of rural Western Australia. Born in Narrogin, 6312, christened John “Jack” Angus Talty, he spent a carefree farm life in Wickepin, 6370, until the age of twelve; leaving his rural confines to board at Wesley College, South Perth, 6152, aged twelve and a half. So it appeared at least.
Jack was the result of a cliché union of a twenty something year old farmer, George Angus Talty, and a twenty something year old doctor, Judy Morag Ross, two years his junior. She was completing her compulsory rural two year stint in Wickepin. His parents had met when his not yet grandmother, had invited his not yet mother to tea; his yet to be father had dropped in purely by coincidence. They married two years later, and Jack was born eighteen months after they had wed.
His mother Judy, originally from Hyden, 6359, was a farmer’s daughter. Her father, a veteran of the Second World War, was second generation to the ever expanding plot of land his father, a two time veteran of the Boer War who had ridden with the Bush Veldt Carbineers, had purchased some thirty years prior. However, and after years of internal debate, Judy’s father sold his slice of the family farm to his brothers. This specifically occurred as Judy only had two sisters, therefore no one to either aid in the running of the place, nor anyone to take the farm over when he retired. Judy was twelve at the time. From there, the family initially moved to the Perth suburb of Kensington, 6151. Two years later, they moved to a bush surrounded, river side block, measuring an acre in size; its locality, Applecross, 6153. A house was built, and her parents remained there until their subsequent passing, some fifty years later.
Upon matriculating with exceptionally high marks, Judy attended the University of Western Australia; graduating with distinction, and the ability to practice medicine. She was a pioneer in academia and profession for women of the time. General practice was her profession for the entirety of her working life. She was the most intelligent, intellectual, learned, and hardworking person Jack would ever encounter.
George Angus Talty, father of Jack and the son also of a World War Two veteran, and one whose great uncles perished in France during the First World War, was a farmer’s son. In time he would take over the family farm, a relic of war settlement land allocation.
At 21, George was called up to serve as a National Serviceman in 1966, stalking Viet jungles in 1967. 7RAR was the battalion he served through to his discharge in late 1968. He returned to Wickepin a changed man.
On his return to the farm, things did not go easily for George. His father did not recognise the Vietnam conflict as anything war like. When soon after his arrival home, the local townsfolk had a gathering organised at the local RSL Hall in town, specifically to welcome him back. A plethora of people were invited, and considerable effort had been made. Sadly, his father would not let him leave the farm to attend as he believed George to have done nothing but had a bit of a bludge in the tropic’s for a couple of years. This would be the dividing wedge between father and son for the remainder of his life.
Nocturnal hours were a place George detested. He smoked 70 cigarettes per day, and drank like a fish at night. George slept with constant nightmares of his experiences in the Viet jungles; an old .303 Lee-Enfield rifle, loaded and permanently standing beside his bed. This remained the norm for him until the late 1980’s. Jack, and his subsequent siblings, regardless of nightmare’s, thunderstorms, and any other bumps in the night, could not enter their parent’s bedroom without finding George on his feet ready for action.
George farmed sheep and cereal crops, but his heart was never really in it after his return. Jack, not realising this, spent his childhood, and better part of his youth believing he would be spending the rest of his life working, and eventually running the farm. This was not to be. George sold the farm, and Jack found himself devastated by his father’s actions, winding up utterly lost at age 15. Hence, after a long chat with a close friend, a lass named Nora St. John, Jack pulled his finger out and began to study hard with every energy he possessed. Nora boarded at PLC, Presbyterian Ladies College, Peppermint Grove, 6011; she would remain a steadfast friend of Jack’s for the rest of their lives. The love they had for one another yet far beyond the conventions of their age.
As a man of the land, George was a hunter, but one who hunted not with sport nor cruelty in mind. Everything he either shot or trapped was done for a specific purpose, and was done cleanly; the idea of abusing an animal was an abhorrence to him, he would have preferred to have shot a man, rather than harm an animal. Animals can not help being animals, it is not their fault for their instincts, where as man has the ability of choice. Never had he seen any animal carry out such horrific atrocities as he had witnessed in men. He hunted foxes and rabbits – introduced vermin; kangaroo’s – destroyers of crops, food for his pigs and sheep dogs; koonack’s and marron- freshwater crayfish like creatures magnificent from the plate; and ducks enough to feed a family. Resultant, Jack learnt to hunt. Yet his father did not just teach him how to shoot straight, nor only how to trap rabbits. George taught him about the bush. He imparted such snippets of knowledge as how to not only look at the bush, but through it. The ability to understand the wind, and use it to the hunters advantage; he taught him how to read seasons via the movement and passage of wildlife. Ornithology, or bird watching, being a deep interest of George’s, proved to be another piece of Jack’s life. Hence, by the age of twelve, Jack could shoot as well as any man. He could track and hunt and find water; he could identify bird life, as well as utilise fields of fire from points of elevation. He learnt how to hide himself in nearly all environments, breaking up the shape of his form, moving in shadows and scrub. Jack was initially taught to target the largest body mass of any animal he hunted, refining this to the point beneath the shoulder, piercing the heart for a clean kill. Head shots were considered a last resort, and only came with greater experience.
George also worked him like a man on the farm, regardless of his age or the job, making him incredibly strong for a boy of his age, and also one who could turn his hand to most things.
Jacks major down fall in life was the fire within his father. Roared at more than spoken to; detailed off, instead of asked; never acknowledging, nor complimenting on any job he did, other than to find fault in whatever task he completed. Fracturing the boy within, expressionless without. Tempering him in the fires of fury, toughening him to the point that on progression to boarding school, when Jack was rebuked for some pettiness or perceived crime, he did not understand the importance of the blasts from the Masters of the school as being anything more than meek trifles, and not responding to them in the manner they were intended to be taken. He did not get it. The boy, now sporting upper lip bum fluff, missed the point, and as a result his school reports reflected a very different picture to the one that Jack had of himself. When those same reports reached the farm in the mail, further roaring followed on the part of his father, confusing the lad further as he did not understand why he had not, as he understood it, been rebuked at school, when in the heads of the masters they had. Life was not made easy for him, and the older he got the further he fell behind scholastically, the deeper the confusion became, and unrealised depression overcame him. Something that spurned a façade of good nature and humour among his peers, and the appearance of surliness among those under whose wings he fell.
In the depths and blackness of depression, Jack’s mind failed to even cope with the most basic of tasks. It was Jack’s perceived misbehaviour that would indirectly become one of the reason’s his father would sell the farm. What was the point of keeping it when prices on everything were dropping, interest rates sky rocketing, to have it looked after by a bloody useless son?
And then, in the final term of his third year, Nora came along. By the time he completed his fifth year exams, he had received a Tertiary Entrance Exam (TEE) score in the mid four hundreds, thus enabling him entry into the University of Western Australia reading Law, graduating with Honours. Yet in doing so, his education came at a heavy cost. A debt beyond anything monetary to be repaid, his love of Nora the key.
Interpreting Law, and abiding it, become very different act’s.
Jack the killer entered the field.
This is purely a work of fiction, if there is any likeness to any incident or character, it is purely coincidental.
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