Fantasist, push-over and all-round crap father: Jeremy Adler’s an inspiration. For scandal, treachery
Fleeced by his ex-wife, oppressed by a narcissist boss and ridden over rough-shod by a two month old infant, Jerry might have thought he’d been keeping the peace but, the tide of
resentment is turning against him.
Fighting for his job, control of the bank statement and, ultimately, his life, Jerry’s got problems and they’re about to get a whole lot worse.
Breakdowns and break-ups,
manipulation and thievery, green-eyed phoneys and unscrupulous deals. Pretending to be someone else just won’t cut it this time and featuring on the late evening news as: missing, presumed murdered, is only the beginning.
With adult themes, ‘It’s Killing Jerry’ is the head-hopping tale of Jerry’s desperately funny demise.
THE IMAGE OF A CRISP-UNIFORMED police officer filled the TV screen. Bathed in sunshine, his features were rounded and friendly, but said more hopeful puppy than hardnosed detective. He
ducked his head, cleared his throat and gazed down the lens.
“My name is Detective Dinwiddy,” he began, speaking slowly and carefully, “and I am investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of one Jeremy
Brian Adler, a British man.”
Three pairs of eyes widened on the sofa and snapped to the screen.
“Do you have any suspects, Detective?” barked a voice out of shot.
I am still conducting my investigation.” He nodded deliberately to someone beside the camera, then back to the lens. “But there are certainly some individuals I would like to interview.” Dinwiddy held up a photo and the camera zoomed in.
The line of people on the sofa recognised it as Jerry’s passport photo, but only two jaws descended in a gape. The newscast had arrived out of the blue and with such authority: a nugget of truth beamed over the airwaves
and into their living room, a living room that hadn’t seen much honesty for a while.
In the short lived hush that followed, Isabell’s heart beat so hard she wondered if the people to either side could hear the pounding
in her chest. Jerry being dead changed everything. It meant she didn’t have to pretend.
Jeremy dear, can you come over on Sunday to connect my new computer to the dangle - Daddy doesn’t understand it. Thank you. This is your mother.
Jerry lounged against the kitchen counter, new green jogging bottoms pinching
up a roll of flab at his midriff. He surveyed the text and tapped reply.
No need to tell me who you are Mum. To the dangle eh? Are you into something kinky? No wonder Dad’s a bit flummoxed
send and smirked. Jerry’s mother was not a woman to be trifled with and wilful misinterpretation of her words was guaranteed to get her hackles up. Jerry knew she’d be forced to restrain herself as she was looking for a favour. Almost immediately
it beeped in reply.
Don’t be so puerile Jeremy. You know perfectly well what I mean. What time shall I expect you? Mummy.
Of course, Jerry’s attendance was never really in question, so he angled
for lunch in his reply. Decent food had been in short supply since Rachel had returned from the hospital with their first child in tow a couple of months ago. One of Mum’s Sunday roasts would go down a treat.
Jerry slid the
phone into his back pocket, put his hands on his hips and pursed his lips. “Jeh-remy!” he called out in impersonation, “Don’t mock my dangle! Daddy doesn’t understand it!” He minced over to the table, right arm held tightly
cocked to his chest, fingers bent over, “Jeh-remy, really!”
He let his eyes trail across the spread of unopened brown envelopes on the table and settled instead on the paper, flicking it open from the back. The Blues were
dicing with relegation.
“Nearly ready?” Rachel appeared in the kitchen doorway, crumpled t-shirt hanging limp over faded grey jeans.
“Hmm?” Jerry turned in another page, looking for news
on the Gunners.
“The bottles, Jerry. Is the steriliser running?”
“Steriliser?” He looked over his shoulder at her, tapping at his bottom lip with a stiff forefinger. “Was I meant to…?”
“Yes, you were meant to. Of course you were meant to. When I say: It’s time for a feed, could you put the bottles on? What else could that possibly mean?”
“Oh. Um. I thought maybe put the bottles
on the counter, ready, you know?”
“Well, ready to the put the milk in.”
Rachel looked up and down the kitchen work surface with exaggerated sweeps of her head.
“So where are they then, these bottles that you’ve put on the counter, ready?”
“Um.” Jerry turned, perched on the table’s edge and pushed back a floppy mouse-brown curl from his eyes. “Hey, well,
I had to get changed, of course, ready for the gym. Leaner, meaner, fitter husband and all that and then there was the, er, message. Very important one actually. One’s expertise is required.” He wobbled his head in feigned pride, but Rachel didn’t
want to hear it. She raised her palm to stop his flow and let out a warbling laugh that rattled a little too high. “Don’t tell me any more. You haven’t done it. Why am I surprised? Why should I be surprised? I’m not surprised. You never
fucking do anything.” She started sorting through the waiting crockery at the sink, dismantling bottles and tossing them into the bowl. “I’ll do it, shall I? Yeah, why not?”
She cranked the hot tap on full
and shoved through the clutter to reach for the detergent. A displaced dirty coffee cup slid from the counter to the floor, where it chinked off its handle and rolled to rest in a puddle of grey milky liquid. Rachel closed her eyes for a beat then plunged
on with the bottle washing, banging each soapy piece down on the drainer as she went. “I’m amazed you can even get yourself to the gym.” She turned to look him up and down. “Although of course, you haven’t yet, have you?”
She gave the bottles a hasty wipe over with a muslin cloth and wedged them into the steriliser. “Don’t wear yourself out, don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Jerry snorted out a laugh, but a quick glance
revealed Rachel not to be smiling. She stared down at her feet and scraped a stray lock of chestnut hair behind her ear. “Look, Jerry, do you think you could cover the night feed tonight?” Her tone was short and tired. Jerry rubbed at his neck.
“Um, well I’d like to help, but she doesn’t seem to like it when I do it.”
“You’ll get the hang of it.”
Jerry sucked his lips against his teeth. “There’ll be all
that crying and you’ll end up awake anyway. I think she needs her mother, Rach.”
Jerry blew out his lips in a fleshy rattle, “Yeah, but I have to go to work in the morning.
I’ll be dead on my feet.”
“Unlike me.” Their eyes locked for a moment and Jerry was the first to turn away, suddenly interested in the newspaper again. He heard Rachel trudge from the room and up the stairs. The
“Jeh-remy! Look at Daddy’s dongle!” He cocked his hand back to his chest and gave a little head wobble. “Ah, mm, yes,” he sighed and looked over his shoulder to where his wife no longer
stood. He really ought to be a bit more helpful. Wouldn’t hurt him to make up just one bottle.
With that in mind he drifted over to the steriliser, which gurgled and clicked, still busy with its business. He could get a bottle
ready, wiggle his way back into Rachel’s good books. The trouble with all this domestic stuff was that it was all just so dull. It was an endless cycle of thankless tasks where there was never any progress, only the maintenance of equilibrium. Life at
the office felt much the same. Every day he worked on PR programs to sell the sizzle of his client’s newest sausage, only for it to be replaced a few months down the line with something tastier. He was a cog in a churning machine and it was all just
so dull, dull, dull.
Jerry pulled his phone from his pocket and pressed it to his ear. “Remi here.” He spoke in a hushed tone, pretending to answer a non-existent call. “A mission? I’m listening, Aqua. Yes,
I can put together a hydro bomb. I’m on it.” He squinted out into the hallway, checking for spies and, seeing none, made his way to the furthest wall cabinet, next to the kitchen window. Snapping open the door, he scanned its contents: marmalade;
Super Noodles; SMA. “Ah, there you are, the secret formula.”
Jerry carefully manoeuvred the tin of milk powder with both hands from cupboard shelf to countertop. He pulled at the neckline of his sweatshirt and spoke into
the collar. “I am ‘go’ for formula. Commencing opening sequence.” Jerry cracked his knuckles, spread his feet apart and flexed at the knee. Very slowly he clicked up the rim of the lid and ran his thumb around the circumference to free
it. Once it was loose, he cautiously lifted the lid and placed it beside the tin on the counter.
“Clear, clear, lid clear,” he informed the fantasy Spy Master.
A quick scan of the instructions on the
side of the tin revealed the necessity for boiled water and accurate measurement using the doll-size plastic scoop Jerry had discovered inside. He lay his palm against the kettle and snatched it away again to tuck into his armpit, belatedly remembering the
cup of tea he’d just drunk. He bit at his lip and eyed the steaming steriliser suspiciously. He wasn’t taking any chances with that.
“Aqua, radiation levels are increasing, switching to thermo tongs.”
The cooking tongs hanging behind the hob would do nicely.
“Agent Remi on point,” Jerry breathed, pinching off the steriliser lid and tossing it into the sink. A great cloud of steam mushroomed into his face and up to
He found the tongs were remarkably agile, considering their culinary heritage, and picked out a bottle with ease. Jerry filled it with water from the kettle and scooped in the requisite amount of powder. The top and teat
proved somewhat more difficult to capture with the tongs and spent a brief time of the floor. Jerry checked the hallway for spies once more. “Five second rule,” he mumbled, scooping them up and giving them a blow, before screwing them into place.
Returning to the tongs, he clamped the bottle and transported it to the kitchen table, where he stood it in central isolation.
“Aqua, mission complete, Remi out,” Jerry informed his collar, “Don’t know what
all the fuss is about.”
He surveyed the kitchen counter and decided that the clutter should wait for Rachel. After all, she’d need to make up the rest of the bottles and she was bound to spill a bit too, wasn’t she?
No sense cleaning up twice.
Jerry snatched up his gym bag and bounded out into the hall. “I’m off, Rach, see you later. Milk’s done.”
“Oh, oh thanks, Jerry,” Rachel called,
from out of sight. She actually sounded really pleased: a rare response to Jerry’s activities. Amazing what a little imagination could achieve. It was rather a shame that a few minutes later, whilst Jerry bounced happily along the High Street toward
the gym, Rachel would discover his parting gift to be much less pleasing. Returning to the kitchen, mewing baby clutched to her chest, she would find the lidless, steam-free steriliser, open formula tin and scattered powder. “Lovely,” she’d
say with a sigh, “Just lovely.”