Jack Winter ( Update)

A big thank you to everyone that’s following the story. In light of recent events Jack Winter is almost a non fiction character!

It’s nearly finished and about half of it is on here. I’ll be posting a chapter a week for the next few weeks ( as well as some new short stories). It needs a good edit, which I’m working on now.

The book will be out by the end of the year. So many thanks to all the followers.

Joe.

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Who Is Jack Winter ( Part 17)

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President Victor Jackson Kennedy, was a tall, fit, athletic man. At six feet four with mid length grey hair and moustache, he was an imposing figure. He was often compared to the country and western singer Kenny Rogers, but much, much taller.  He was also an utterly ruthless politician. He didn’t care who he trod on or manipulated, as long as he got what he wanted. His politics had once been compared, by one satirical magazine as, slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. They’d also said that after his presidency it was unlikely that he would leave his mark on the world. More of a stain.

He was the son of Mary and George Kennedy. Wealthy land owners in Wyoming. They had over 4000 acres of good pasture land where they raised cattle. George had always wanted to run for office but for various reasons had never achieved his ambition. As a child, anything that Victor wanted he got. As a teenager his hobbies were bull riding and cattle branding. He had the best education that money could buy. George had always been grooming him for office. It didn’t take long. He became the youngest Governor of Wyoming and within five years, ran and then became US President.

Once elected, Victor called his politics, Progressive Liberalism. This was of course a smoke screen to appeal to the undecided voters who thought he was a moderate. Actually, he believed that America should rule the world and their slogan should be “Don’t mess with us or we’ll blow your fucking head off!”

He was aboard Air Force One and on route to the UK. He was sipping coffee and reading a dossier on someone he’d never heard of. He looked at Sandy Ashton, his voluptuous blonde haired advisor.

“So who the fuck’s Jack Winter?”

She gave a coy smile.

“That’s a good question Mister President, he seems to have had something of meteoric rise to fame. To be honest no one is really sure why. But one thing is for sure. He seems to be popular with the British people. He loves soccer. He’s a massive fan of a team called West Ham United. He played for them when he was younger but never quite made the grade.”

The President wasn’t impressed. He turned to another of his advisors. A college graduate called Nathan.

“Okay what do we know about this team? Give me something. Something I can throw at him.”

Nathan flicked through a few pages of notes and read something that he’d underlined earlier.

“Well Mr President, their hero is someone called Bobby Moore. He was the Captain of the English soccer team in 1966 and in that year they won the World Cup.”

“The World Series? He played Baseball? How comes I’ve never heard of him?”

“No Sir. The WORLD CUP. It’s a big soccer competition held every four years.”

“That sport is so fucking boring. Okay I’ll remember to mention the guy’s name when I talk to Winter. What else do we know?”

Sandy Ashton couldn’t wait to speak.

“He’s big on humanitarian issues. He’s helped to secure over 400 million UK pounds for the sufferers of a condition called Asbestosis. Apparently his father died of it.”

Victor Kennedy shook his head.

“Jesus, the guys a fucking do gooder. He’s probably one of those lily livered liberals who wants to save the world. He’s nothing to worry about. Right that’s all good news. We’ve got a Prime Minister who’ll say yes to anything, a Foreign Secretary who’s scared of his own shadow and now we’ve got a Deputy Leader who’s a fucking tree hugger. Let’s give them some ultimatums and watch them squirm. Now, what’s for lunch?”


Jack was with the Prime Minister. They were discussing the agenda for the forthcoming meeting with Victor Kennedy. As usual Harold Simpson was striding around the room barefoot, in just shorts and vest.

“He wants to discuss air bases Jack. He wants us to double the number of bases they have here.”

He looked at Jack waiting for a response.

“Well, the electorate won’t like it. But hey, so what? So if we agree we have to ask for something in return. What do we want? What can the Yanks do for us?”

At last The PM sat down. He looked exhausted.

“I was thinking trade. There are two massive contracts that we are in line for and our only competitors are from the US. If he agrees to get these companies to stand down then we give the green light for the bases?”

Jack shrugged his shoulders.

“What does that give us? Specifically?”

“It would mean at least three large factories being built in the North East of England creating tens of thousands of jobs. That’s an area that badly needs it and would do us a world of good with the voters up there.”

Jack was disappointed with Harold Simpson. He liked him but now understood what Maurice meant about him being walked all over by the US. Another 20 US Air bases in the UK would mean they could control most of Europe and the Middle East. This was far more important than 20,000 jobs in Newcastle. He had to ask for more. Much more. It was time to change tactics.

“Harold, it’s been a long day and if I may be so bold, could I pour myself a scotch?”

Without waiting for the answer Jack stood up and walked over to the drinks cabinet.

“Of course Jack. Help yourself. I’ll have just a small one. I think we’ve both deserved it.”

Jack picked up a glass decanter and poure two large glasses of the finest Malt. With his back to the PM he took some blues and greens from his inside pocket. He crushed and sprinkled them into one of the glasses. Within a few seconds everything had dissolved. He turned and handed Harold his drink.

“I think we’ve deserved this today sir. A toast to our forthcoming meeting tomorrow with Victor Kennedy.”

The PM smiled and raised his glass.

“Thank you Jack. For some reason I think you and I are going to get along really well. I think we’ll make a good team. I actually think we could become good friends.”

“Thank you Harold. That means a lot.”

They raised glasses and drank their scotch. Jack waited. It didn’t take long.

Harold Simpson tried once again to walk around the room and talk. He only made it to the window. He turned, looked at Jack and spoke.

“I don’t feel well Jack. Could you call…”

He never finished the sentence. He slumped onto a chair and began to twitch. Jack called Maurice.

“Maurice. Hurry, the PM’s had another one of his episodes.”

Who Is Jack Winter ( Part 16)

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Jack was bored. In front of him were two, twenty somethings from Oxbridge. They were there to advise him on American Politics and Social History. According to Maurice they were the rising stars of their generation and would one day rule the world. Jack thought this very unlikely.
The younger one was called Eric. He was dressed smart enough, but looked about sixteen. Jack wondered if he’d started shaving yet. Apparently he had a Masters Degree in American Politics and knew everything there was to know about the American President, Victor Kennedy.
The other one introduced himself as Gareth. He wasn’t quite as tidy as Eric and looked as though he could do with a good wash. Jack’s Mum would have called him “soapy.” He also had a Masters Degree in American Culture and Social History. Jack thought this was hilarious. Two words that just didn’t go together. American and Culture.
So far they’d told him nothing that he couldn’t have found on Wikipedia.
Eric was in full flow.
“So you see Deputy Prime Minister, Victor Kennedy is very much a Conservative, just as Nixon, Ford, Regan and Bush were before him. But he prefers to call his brand of politics Progressive Liberalism. He thinks that this may sway some of the Democratic vote.”
Jack couldn’t stand it anymore. The blues and greens were beginning to wear off and he hadn’t had a scotch in over two hours. He was getting edgy.
“What’s his sexual preference?”
Eric was taken aback.
“I’m sorry sir?”
“What gets his rocks off? Blondes, brunettes, gingers, old, young, slim, fat. One at a time, doubles, threesomes. Does he like it rough, bondage, you know the kind of thing. What does he like?”
There was silence. Gareth looked as though he wanted his mummy. Jack continued.
“Look guys, for the past two hours you’ve told me nothing I don’t already know or could have found out on the web. Give me something. Something that will take him by surprise. Something that I shouldn’t know about. Anything!”
Eric thought for a few seconds then spoke up.
“Well his wife is from Texas and she’s tall and blonde. He dated two girls while he was at college. They were also tall and blonde. Oh and there was that girl from Arizona that he went out with for a while before he met his wife. She was blonde.”
Jack smiled.
“Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. He likes his woman tall and blonde. Nothing wrong with that. What about his secretary, or close admin staff, advisors? Any of these tall and blonde?”
Now Eric was smiling. The penny had finally dropped.
“Yes. Sandy Ashton. She’s a close advisor to the president. She’s tall and blonde.”
“Bingo! The chances are he’s shagging her. Fuck me, she even sounds like a porn star!”
Jack stood up. At last they were getting somewhere. But if he was to make real progress he would need a little help.
“Excuse me for a moment gents. Need to point Percy.”
Eric and Gareth nodded. They hadn’t a clue what Jack was talking about. But assumed he meant he needed to pee.
Once inside the toilet cubicle Jack took his usual mid-morning cocktail of blues and greens followed by two lines of coke. Within seconds a few ideas started to pop into his head. He returned to face the two people his head was now calling dumb and dumber.
He strode round the office. Gulping in huge chunks of air.
“Okay. What does he drink? What’s his tipple of choice?”
Gareth looked up.
“He’s not really a big drinker sir.”
Eric interrupted.
“Not true. He drinks Hennessey and Ginger Ale.”
Jack stopped walking and moved in close on the person his head was calling Dumb. He was intrigued.
“And how do you know this wonderful piece of knowledge Eric.”
“His son told me.”
There was a stunned silence. Both Jack and Gareth stared at dumb.
“You know his son?”
“Not well sir. He spent a year at Cambridge when I was there. His dad was Governor of Wyoming at the time and sent him over here to study Law. He knew a few of my friends. We had a drink together a couple of times.”
Jack leaned forward.
“Now listen Eric this is very important. Think back and tell me exactly what you can remember from that conversation.”
Dumb went quiet for a few seconds trying to replay the scene in his head.
“We were at the bar. Just the two of us. I ordered a bottle of beer. He was standing next to me and I asked him if he wanted a drink. He said he’d have a Hennessey and Ginger ale. I said that was an unusual drink. I’d never heard of it before. He said that it was what his dad drank and he liked it.”
“What else did he say? Come on Eric, think.”
Once again Dumb fell silent. After a few seconds he spoke.
“I said my dad drank whisky and soda and I hated it. I said my Mum drank gin and tonic and that I quite liked the taste of it. He said that his mum didn’t drink anymore.”
“Did he use those exact words?”
“Yes. Why?”
Jack was amazed that for a kid with an IQ of gigantic proportions he couldn’t see what was blatantly obvious.
Jack waived his hand.
“Okay. Meeting’s over. You can both go now.”
Dumb and dumber stood up, thanked Jack and left.
Jacks brain was going into overdrive. Everything was kicking in. “She didn’t drink anymore.” Meant that she’d had to give it up or was at least trying. He was remembering things that he’d read in the papers or seen on the web. Mrs Kennedy didn’t like the limelight. She hated public appearances. The White House press said that she was a shy woman who would help her husband in any way she could but didn’t want to be the centre of attraction. Great spin. She was a fucking embarrassment!
He remembered something from last year. An incident where she had slipped and sprained her ankle. He was sure he could find it on YouTube.
He typed in “First lady slip” and there it was.” She was walking down some steps and bang! Over she went. She blamed it on her five inch heels. But maybe, just maybe, she was pissed.
Jack opened up his drinks cabinet and poured himself a tumbler full of his favourite malt. His mind racing.
So, here we have an American President who wants to rule the world. But he has secrets. He’s shagging his “special advisor” and his wife is an alcoholic.
He dialled a number on his mobile.
“Hi Patrick. Send a case of Hennessey to my flat and one to my office. And you know that girl, the tall blonde one, we both had a go on the other week. Call her and tell her she’s on stand by for the next forty eight hours.”

Chalk And Cheese

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We were alike, him and I, but very different people.
He was a hoper, a dreamer, a romancer. He saw the world through a pair of glasses that I could never wear. He saw the good in people.
He was always smiling. That soppy smile that Jehovah’s Witnesses have even when you tell them to fuck off. The kind of grin that makes you think they’ve just found an oil well in their back yard.
Me? I fucking hated the world and most of the people in it. I rarely smiled.
He was the intelligent one. At 14, he already had “O” levels in Maths and English. My education went in another direction. I fingered Janet Potter behind the caretakers shed and smoked my first joint.
He was sporty. He liked to run. He ran for the county, even had a trial for the under 16’s England rugby team. My running was for a very different reason, and my trial ended up with me spending a year in borstal.
At 19 he was at Cambridge studying Law. I was in Wandsworth sharing a cell with a seven foot Rastafarian called Jacob. We also studied, but not Law.
He married at 25. A great looking girl called Mary who he met at University. He wanted me to be his best man, but I was otherwise detained.
He became a barrister at 30. He bought a house in Surrey. Mary had twin girls. They had a golden retriever called Rusty.
I started a “security” business. Me and Jacob looked after people. People who needed a bit of muscle. They paid us well. I bought a flat in Hackney.
At 35 he had his own Law firm in the City. He ran the London Marathon and raised over £20,000 for Great Ormond Street. They named a heart monitoring machine after him.
I expanded the business. We now supplied doormen to bars and clubs throughout London and the South East. I watched the London Marathon from my armchair with a large glass of scotch and two lines of coke.
At forty he’d semi- retired. The Law firm was making him bundles of cash and he only went into the office two days a week. He’d become a big fund raiser for various charities and was an ambassador for GOSH. There was talk of him getting an OBE.
I was busy. In my game you’ve got to be on top of things otherwise there’s always someone else wanting to take it away. I had over 100 men working in various clubs in and around London. I sold the flat in Hackney and bought a posh house out in Chigwell and fitted it with the best security system money could buy.
We met up for dinner on our 45th birthday. Just me and him. Just like old times. A posh gaff just off the Tottenham Court Road. I was late as usual and he was sitting at a table in the corner. I couldn’t believe it. After all these years we both turn up in the same clothes. Dark blue suit, white shirt and brown brogues.
We talked, laughed, ate, drunk and reminisced about days gone by for hours. He left first. Said he had to be up early for a charity gig. I gave him a kiss and he was gone.
I heard the gunshots seconds later. I heard people screaming outside the restaurant. I ran to the door and saw him there on the pavement. He died in my arms. Still smiling.
I helped carry his coffin at the funeral. He was my identical twin brother and I loved him.
No one has ever been charged with his killing.
Police suspect it may have been mistaken identity.

My London Eye Experience

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I’d always been a fan of the London Eye. I watched it being built during 1999. I was working in Lots Road, Chelsea, and everyday had to drive along the Embankment to get there. The journey was no more than 15 miles but could take anything up to an hour and a half. Parts of the Eye were brought up the Thames on barges and trust me most mornings the barges would be going much, much faster than me in my bright new shiny car.
When it was finished and eventually opened to the public in 2000 I was disappointed that it was so slow. The whole experience takes about 30 minutes and I always joked that it looked like it could do with a good spin to liven the whole thing up. Basically it’s a giant Ferris wheel with 32 capsules (known as Pods) attached.
I wanted to go on it but somehow never got around to booking it.
Then, in 2003 on my birthday, my wife gave me an envelope. I thought it was just a birthday card but no, it was for a trip on the London Eye. Not just any old trip. But a “Champagne Flight”.
It was called a flight back then because the thing was owned and run by British Airways.
Our booking was for two days’ time, on Sunday afternoon. When we arrived we saw a massive queue. But not for us. We were whisked to the front and greeted by our attendant for the flight. She introduced herself as Laura and was wearing a BA air stewardess uniform complete with blue hat. She carried a small wicker basket.
And so our “flight” began. We step into the Pod. Just the three of us.
Now imagine the London Eye being a clock. Twelve o’clock being at the very top and six o’clock at the bottom where you board. Imagine the wheel travelling anti clockwise.
The lovely, immaculate, talkative Laura, opens up the wicker basket to reveal a bottle of champagne and two crystal flute glasses. She pops the cork and pours up both a glass.
At 5 o’clock we are sipping our champagne and enjoying the sights of London. All is good with the world.
At 4 o’clock I look down at the Pod below. It’s crammed with 30 people all trying to get a view. One of them looks up and I raise my glass. The person is probably thinking “smug bastard.”
At 3 o’clock I ask the lovely Laura for a refill. She obliges and I start to point out certain landmarks to my wife. The Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, The Tower Of London. Then something happens between 3 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Something strange.
I take a step back from the window and feel odd. A feeling that I’ve never felt before in my life.
At 2 O’clock my head starts to spin but I can’t move. Something is wrong. Very wrong. I know what this feeling is. It’s fear. It takes over my whole body. Laura is the first to notice.
“Are you okay sir. You’ve gone a funny colour.”
The words came out slowly. I begin to speak like a five year old.
“Can you take me down now please? I want to get off. I don’t feel well.”
Useless Laura replies.
“I’m sorry sir but that’s impossible. But we’ll be landing in about 20 minutes. Maybe if you sit down…”
“I can’t sit down. I can’t move.”
At 1 o’clock. I look like a zombie. I stand rigid. All I can see outside is sky. I can’t look down and I certainly can’t look up. I concentrate on a small piece of window and stare at it. Here I am a grown man, 44 years of age and I’ve suddenly developed a fear of heights. My wife doesn’t help matters.
“I didn’t know you were scared of heights. Why didn’t you say?”
My words are harsh.
“Because I didn’t fucking know until about ten minutes ago.”
There is silence in the pod. An uneasy quiet. What started out as a nice pleasant birthday present is fast becoming the trip from hell.
At 12 o’clock although I’m not hot, I start to sweat. I fear I may wet myself. Still all I can see is sky. There is nothing around us. Absolutely nothing. I continue to stare at my little piece of window. That bitch Laura tries to break the ice.
“Can I top your glass up sir?”
“No! Just get me out of here.”
“Not long now sir, just fifteen minutes to go.”
The woman is now getting on my nerves. Surely there must be some kind of panic button that she can press, an intercom where she can talk to the pilot of this fucking monstrosity who can speed it up and get me down quicker?
We start our descent.
At 11 o’clock my wife tries to reassure me.
“We’re coming down now, won’t be long, should all be over in ten minutes.”
I feel the pod start to sway slightly from side to side. I think I might faint. In fact I hope I do faint. The evil monster wearing that ridiculous uniform starts to giggle.
“It does that sometimes. Nothing to worry about.”
I want to rip her stupid hat off!
At 10 o’clock the panic begins to leave my body. Not completely, but I don’t feel as helpless as I did just a few minutes before.
At 9 o’clock it’s like I’ve been brought out of a hypnotic state by someone clicking their fingers. I can move. The first thing I grab is the champagne bottle out of the stupid woman’s hand and pour myself a glass. I gulp it down in one go. God, I needed that.
At 8 o’clock the champagne is gone and all I want to do now is to get off of this piece of shit, find a pub and have a quiet cry.
Three minutes later and we’re back where we started at 6 o’clock. We leave the Pod. A voice from behind us shouts out. “Thank you for flying with us today. We hope you enjoyed your flight.”
I don’t turn round. I daren’t. I might just punch somebody!