Jamie’s Story by Tony Hillary
Every month, NWS members are invited to respond to a writing prompt in 500 words or less. We love to celebrate the immense talent and creativity in our community by featuring the work of one writer on our blog. This month, our prompt was social boundaries, inspired by Gasleak Mountain‘s exhibition, ANY OTHER BUSINESS.
Tony Hillary submitted a piece of work called Jamie’s Story. We loved the way he interpreted the prompt as a class boundary, because it isn’t necessarily one that’s spoken about very often. The ways in which people can (or can’t!) move between perceived social or class boundaries is ever-present and very nuanced. We also loved the humourous twist at the end; although the piece is called Jamie’s Story and seems to be all about Jamie, we felt that the piece was actually just as much about the narrator and how (s)he sees the world.
Of his piece, Tony says: “Salesmen are an unusual breed. We often have little education and have no choice but to go into the jungle of the world of work, making our own way, sinking or swimming. A few, like Jamie, make it big through sheer talent and hard work. They create hundreds of jobs whilst building great businesses. So you can forgive his lifestyle … and taste in cars!”
A huge thank you to Tony for sharing his work!
I remember when we walked the streets
selling double glazing door to door
a public nuisance, the wrong side
of the invisible social boundary
I remember when we sold together
food mixers at ladies’ clubs
a one hour cookery demonstration
liver pate to Victoria sponges
I remember when you had no money
no electricity at home
you needed commission to pay your bills
your family depended on you alone
you had tremendous selling skills
you worked hard, day and night
you kept going, working hard until
you put your finances right.
no contact over thirty years
one day you phoned, let’s have some lunch
I agreed, checked Linked In
no surprise, you’d made a bunch
forty million in your pocket
you’d sold a successful business
a friend told me you loved Ferraris,
Rolls Royces, Porsches and Maserati’s
apparently you have a big house
in the woods at Rufford Abbey
a chauffeur, chef and lots of staff
your long suffering wife is happy
you shoot, you hunt, you’ve made it big
a philanthropist, celebrity
a truly lucky man for sure
Jamie, you’ve an example of how to be
but did you have to arrive for lunch
in your Rolls Royce Silver Phantom?
there you were, big car
grey suit, white shirt, dark tie
I thought you were the chauffeur.