Old Jim.

Bern's Prose.

Old Jim.


Old Jim was harmless; it was just that he had this habit of talking to himself. It was a little upsetting when he blared out, Merry Christmas right in the middle of the year, but then what was a year for poor old Jim? He was harmless as I say I myself smiled and said hello Jim whenever I saw him. We got on well together, no problems. At least no problems on the surface that one can see but what lies underneath the surface. Can one trust him? Is he as harmless as one says?


The sound of the fire engines bells woke me from a deep sleep. Looking at the clock it was two o’clock in the morning. I was going to turn over and go off to sleep again when I smelt smoke. Now fully awake I threw on my dressing gown and ran downstairs. There comfortably sitting on my old arm chair was Old Jim. He had made himself some toast a pot of tea in front of him and grinning all over his face he calmly announced that he was my Father. Now I thought he has really gone round the bend. Taking the telephone I saw that the telephone wires had been cut I had no communication with the outside world. Jim, come on my old mate time to go out for a little walk. I managed to get him out of the house as the Fire Brigade arrived in front of my house. I led Jim away and steered him to the Police station. I honestly did not know what to do with him. I wondered what would be left of my house. Somehow he had managed to set alight a house that I had locked and bolted myself, how did he get into the house? Now doubts began to set in was he really as daft as people said he was. Worse still I had always been friendly to him. Never ever taken the Mickey out of him so why me why set my house alight.


It did not take long for the Police psychiatrist to get it out of Jim. Jim through my kindness had changed roles. I was now his bad one. It was his way of getting his own back on me for all of what I had supposed to have done to him. To set my house alight was fitting punishment for such a bad person as me.


I now have a council house if I ever see Jim I turn and walk away. I never want to see him again. I can not help things whenever people are taking the Mickey out of him. I do not interfere, one burnt house is enough, apart from that who knows whether the council would ever trust me with a house again. No poor Jim has shot his bolt with my person he can now go to where the pepper grows. I want nothing more to do with him.

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bishu's picture

Dear Austromate.....

A short while back I read the short story "Old Jim" Now I'll muster courage and ask readers

1) why did Old Jim prefer the author's house ? [reasons are obvious to me but I'd like a second opinion] 

2) Should the author be justified if he treated Old Jim like a mad man at the very onset ?

3) Should the reader sympathise with Old Jim OR the author ?

4) What is the lesson ?


~An intriguing story indeed~ Best wishes to you & Respected Martha from indiamate and family~