Death of Robert Jack

Robert Jack was a few years older and like the rest of us he liked a drink, but unlike the rest of us he even had a girlfriend.  He lived in Trafalgar Street long before it was renovated. A few years down the line I heard he’d got slashed. His cheek was marked, but he still had that Mediterranean oily tanned skin and straight black hair and, when I saw him in the Peppermint Park later that week he still had a girlfriend, although it might have been a different one. He was lucky that way.  

                He fell out of my life, the way people do and they become scraps that have fallen away from the book of life that is constantly been overwritten, until my partner’s son said that his mate Bobby knew me.

                I thought back to all the Bobby’s I knew and couldn’t place him. All I knew was he was an alky and Robert sometimes went to his house in the aptly named Dunn Street to drink. That didn’t bother me. Robert had his own problems with a young team taking over his house and using it as a drinking den and that had been sorted. What Bobby did was up to Bobby.

                Bobby’s window’s got smashed. Denise Ross had an accident and shat on his couch a couple of times and refused to leave. Phones got stolen. The usual mish-mash of drink, stupidity, outbrakes of violence and more drink. None of it was Bobby’s fault.  You get different kind of drunks the same as you get different kind of people. Sometimes the same person is a different kind of drunk that blames a different kind of drink. That old line: ‘I can’t drink vodka…whisky…rum drives me wild…as long as I drink pints I’ll be ok.’ Bobby was none of these. Drunk or sober he was a nice guy

                When I seen Bobby I knew who he was, but now he had the shuffling walk of an old man. I heard he’d a wife and a life in Australia, or one of these far flung places, but his wife had left him, or he wanted to come home or some other story that you don’t really listen to. He’d a daughter that had a kid that wanted to meet his granddad, but only if he sorted himself out.

                There was the other stories of Bobby having no money and Bobby having no electricity and Bobby having no food. I tried telling Robert that was Bobby’s problem not yours. Not ours.

                                Bobby had made the pilgrimage to Cadogan Street and Atos Healthcare (an oxymoron) had pronounced him well enough to work. There’s a slab of evidence that says this is grossly untrue and reminds me of the epithet Spike Milligan wanted on his grave ‘told you I was unwell’.

                Robert didn’t visit him in hospital. He accepted Bobby’s death with a shrug saying ‘Bobby wasn’t that bothered if he died’. That makes me sad.  A life unmoored.


Things like this really affect me. Can I just say, putting the content of Bobby aside, that this is so beautifully written. A life in a few sentences and a web of social truths as well. This will be with me for a long time. I know it's a personal blog and it's not about showcasing writing, but this is a stunning story in itself. Sorry to just keep popping up on your blog Celtic, I hope you don't think I'm intrusive. I really get something, alot actually, from your musings.


Vera's right celt', that's beautifully written.


Mate, so well written. We both know the reality of this sort of life and how it affects other people. Hard to read but a MUST read.


I agree, "A life in a few sentences." i'd have no idea where to begin if asked to express my own life in just 500 words.