Terry (Edited)

Terry was a typical Aussie bloke. Woke up early, spent a long, hot day in the sun laying bitumen, and then kicked back with his mates and a carton of beer. He was always good for a yarn, my man Terry. Get a few beers in him and he’d be on about some time his sister’s husband’s brother hit a kangaroo in the middle of the night, and they cooked it up for brekkie the next day. More than a few beers and he’d tell you just about anything. But his wife wouldn’t, nor his daughter. They learnt long ago that when Terry comes home drunk, you shut up, or you clear out.

Writing Prompt: a photo of a man in a construction uniform beside a road. Give him a backstory, describe him and his job, how would he speak, how does your description of him show your tone or voice?

An extension of this character in a surprise setting-

Terry’s hands were shaking. He couldn’t have been nervous, he wasn’t the kinda bloke to get nervous. And yet they shook. I wonder what would happen if we put a beer in his hand? Would the tension go out of his shoulders? Would he look at ease in the $20 Salvos suit his mum had bought him for the trial?

His time in County had sallowed his cheeks. Even his hair looked limper. Terry had been sucked dry of his main life force – alcohol, and it looked like it was killing him. His wife Daisy sat huddled against her daughter behind him in the pews, staring up at the judge with a trembling lip. She had a white cast stretching from her knuckles to her shoulder blade. When the judge proclaimed him ‘guilty’, she wept. She lurched towards Terry and hugged him, sobbing hysterically. He pushed her away. The bailiff took him away and he didn’t look back. Not even a glance at his wife or his daughter.

The door slammed closed. The courtroom was silent, but for Daisy’s sobs.


(Got these prompts from a lecture this time! I loved experimenting with voice in this piece. Putting on a solid, Aussie carelessness is super fun. I expected to go in a different direction with the original piece, but I’m so much happier with the deep implications we’re left with. I’ve extended the second part a bit, though I feel the strength lies in my description of him on the trial, gotta work on that!)

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