“Sidetracked”, the novel

A few weeks ago, I posted a bit about Mari from “Sidetracked”, the novel, not yet published.  Here’s how Jack first appears in that book, just before his mom kicks him out of the house and he takes off hitchhiking the country. The short film, also titled “Sidetracked”, due out in September, is adapted from the novel and is an excerpt of the whole story.


When he was 17, Jack loved Muffy, a doctor’s daughter, and had to run away. Afternoons, skipping school, Jack’s muscles hugged his back and hips as he drove into her. Muffy’s long brown hair spread across the hay. She arched her back, moaned blissfully. He held her hands over her head, thrusted faster, called out, collapsed. He rolled off and his elbow knocked the strings of his used guitar lying next to him into a discordant twang. Spent. She got up quickly, brushed hay from her hair, drew on panties, a short dress, cowboy boots. This was the third day in a row they skipped geometry. Equations did not come naturally to either of them so they both faced failing the class.

“Dad checks on the mares at 3,” Muffy’s North Carolina accent was thick.

“I can’t move.”

“You better.”

Jack stood, brushed hay from his back end, flexed his arm muscles in the sun stream from the haymow window. To be young and handsome, with dreams to travel the world was all he needed at age 17. He picked up the guitar strummed, and sang:

“I’ve seen all good people turn their heads

Each day so satisfied I’m on my way.

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of the line.”

“You think you’re somethin’,” Muffy interrupted.

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“Dad says yur poor white trash.”

Jack’s muscles collapsed, like a punctured lung. But he drew himself back up quickly.

“You don’t understand. You’re a doctor’s daughter. I make my own way and I’m going places.”

“Not according to my father.”

“According to me.” Jack pulled on jeans and grabbed his guitar. Muffy started down the haymow ladder.

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