Five Things That I Can or Cannot Do
by Jack Byrne
Five things that I can do, that have surprised people I know in real life.
- Read and write
- Use a computer
- Play the piano
- Tie a bowtie from the front. I can’t tie my own because I’ve always had someone to do it for me; father, brothers or boyfriend.
- Have children.
- Drift a car and do a hand-brake turn.
- Connect with animals (rehabilitating horses, rescuing birds, having them fly down and land on my hand, having lizards and snakes come up to me).
- Archery. But I can’t hit a live target because I can’t bring myself to hurt an animal or bird.
Five things that have surprised people I know on-line that I can do.
- All of the above
- Ride a horse, not just write about it.
- Understand German (mostly – with the occasional confusing and hilarious exception)
- Track (I don’t honestly understand how people can’t track)
Finally, five things people I know are surprised that I can’t do:
- Concentrate on boring stuff… I have ADHD. If you try to engage me in a conversation which I find boring, I will change the subject and you will rapidly find yourself in a deep discussion on whether the sex lives of albino squirrels differ from bonobos and how this affects the European stock market. If you find THAT boring I will fall in love with you.
- Sit down before I was 30 (same reason – ADHD. I have met people who didn’t believe in ADHD and after five minutes with them, they BELIEVED LOL. As evidence, I point you to the headings and numbering on this post ☺ which I have just noticed).
- Tell my left from my right, or tell if something is written in mirror writing or not. I just can’t. I’m dyslexic. I have socks that say ‘left’ and ‘right’ and only another dyslexic would know how totally annoying and useless those socks are, and how evil the person was who gave them to me.
Please feel free to ask any questions. I may respond with stories about kangaroos.
About Dingo Run
New South Wales, Australia, 1876. As captured outlaws, Jim Kelly and Mark Turner face the gallows. Help comes from an unexpected quarter, but their hasty escape goes wrong and now Jim’s life hangs by a thread. Mark is driven by desperation to form an alliance with an infamous bushranger who may hold clues to his mysterious past. But as Jim and Mark’s relationship intensifies, it is also tested. Their secret is discovered, tempers fray, and jealousy flares.
An Excerpt from Dingo Run
New South Wales, 1876
Mark Turner sat shivering in the rough ironbark jail, in a tiny town about twenty miles west of the Snowy Mountain foothills. It was about two o’clock in the morning. He had no gun, and in his arms he held a blond man, who was, against all odds, sleeping. How Jim Kelly could sleep when they were facing the gallows in the morning, Mark did not know. He was relieved, though, that Jim would spend a few of his last hours in peaceful slumber.
Mark looked down at the rough blond hair and dusty face of the young man he’d rescued from certain death a year ago. Jim’s usually mesmerizing blue eyes were closed, and Mark could only see the edge of his handsome face. He reached down and stroked Jim’s face, pressing his fingers lightly into Jim’s skin. Instantly he felt a wash of daydreams rise up about him, like a shifting cloud of images invading his mind. Strange how he could never recall dreaming until the first time he lay wrapped in Jim’s arms. That night in the tent by the billabong on Jim’s selection, Mark had awoken from a terrifying memory of horses and cattle and laughing children being swept away screaming into a pit filled with snakes. It had shaken him to his core, until he’d realized it was not an actual memory, but a dream. Mark hated it. The feeling of loss of control and reason, of being swept away, terrified his rational mind and left him sweating and afraid. It had taken him many months to get used to the fact that when he slept in Jim’s arms, the dreams would come. Perhaps something related to the way he felt about Jim freed his mind to wander. Mark decided dreaming was a fair trade-off for lying in Jim’s arms every night and having ownership of Jim’s body, and he said nothing to his lover.
But now he found it reassuring to touch Jim and remember those dreams that he’d at first found disturbing. He even found it strangely comforting that they would go to their deaths together tomorrow. Mark hated himself as the thought crossed his mind that he did not want Jim to live on without him. He told himself he did not want Jim to face such grief alone, but a dark corner of his mind knew he could not bear to give up Jim’s soul to another, even in death. Equally, the thought of living on without Jim was not worth contemplating.
Mark allowed the feeling of possessiveness to wash over him like a hot, seductive tide as he stroked Jim’s face with gentle fingers. He shuddered slightly, and Jim stirred and murmured, “Mark?” in his sleep. He leaned down and kissed Jim lightly on the hair, and Jim took a deep breath in and pushed slightly closer against him. In a few seconds, Jim’s breathing evened out into the rhythm of sleep. Mark decided he would wake Jim two hours before dawn to spend their last hours of darkness making love. So what if they got caught? They were going to be hanged at dawn anyway.
He continued to stroke Jim’s hair absently, and his mind drifted to Tart Min Yong’s killer. He should have dragged the man out of the pub and killed him gradually and painfully. Min Yong had died in agony, and Mark should have taken revenge for his father’s friend just as slowly, not killed him quickly in the heat of anger. As it was, in a heartbeat of blind rage, he had stove in the man’s skull with his fist. Mark felt little satisfaction in that memory, for the sensation had only lasted a fraction of a second. He felt robbed, as though he had not taken a full and rightful vengeance for Min Yong.
Mark remembered the kindness of the Oriental man, how he had taken in Mark as a starving, frightened child and brought him with his family to this warm, open land that Mark loved. How he had fought to protect Mark and enlisted the help of his new friend and neighbor Marshall Turner when it became obvious Mark’s differences were becoming too apparent to hide him even among the Orientals. He ran a hand over the thin scar along the top of his right ear and shivered again.
Mark surveyed his hands, pondering yet another difference. Jim was right, he should have damaged his fist when he killed Min Yong’s killer. The scene played in Mark’s mind from a few hours ago—Jim’s puzzled expression as he turned over Mark’s hand and said, “You don’t break a man’s skull without breaking your fist.”
Mark’s fist should be green with bruises by now, but it was not even painful. He sighed and remembered the whispers of the other children as he was growing up. They had been afraid of his strength, but whispered behind their hands, and his preternatural hearing caught every word: “Devil.” “Demon.” “Freak.”
He remembered the look on Marshall Turner’s face that day at the forge when the blacksmith had said, “If this anvil was a foot closer….” And then Mark had picked it up and moved it closer for him. He was ten, and he couldn’t understand why the smith had made the sign of the cross and why Marshall had grabbed his hand and cried, “Are you burnt?” And then the smith had backed away as they left, and Mark heard the great burly man grunting and cursing as he tried to move the anvil back to where it had been.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Jim asked softly.
Mark looked down into Jim’s familiar eyes. “I was remembering my childhood.”
“You had one? I thought you were born shooting snakes and riding horses.”
“No,” whispered Mark, “I was born the first night we made love.”
He felt Jim sag in his arms and whisper, “Christ! Don’t do that.”
Mark smiled. “We should make love now.”
“We should figure out a way to escape and find the horses.”
“That sounds like a better idea to me!” said a third voice quietly.
Mark stared at Jim. “What?”
About Jack Byrne
Jack Byrne is an Australian who lives and works in the Australian outback training horses, doing farm work, and trying to stay out of trouble. He writes from experience (sometimes unfortunate experience!) and has been shot at (“a case of mistaken identity”) and bitten by a snake before. He writes on a laptop with a satellite connection and likes to ride or drive out to locations he is writing about to get a real feel for the surroundings.
He is happy to hear from readers. He can’t promise an instant reply as he goes out working sometimes for a week or so, but he will get back to readers as soon as he can.
Jack has graciously offered up an eBook copy of Walkabout to TWO lucky winner!! The giveaway starts now and ends November 13, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.
Don’t forget to check out Heather C’s review of Dingo Run to see what she thought of it!