99 Word Flash Fiction: The Drummer

Susanne Gervay - I am Jack

Susanne Gervay – I am Jack

Writing about bullying I found very difficult. Although I didn’t feel as though I fitted in at school I wasn’t bullied. My brother tells me that he was but has yet to tell me the way which he dealt with it. It has become a huge problem however, for many children (1 in 4) with more than a few suicides as a result.

Australian author, Susanne Gervay, does it very well. She writes of her book  “Jack didn’t understand how he ended up targeted, isolated, bullied, until it wasn’t funny anymore. He was afraid, powerless, victimised.  When the parent of Anna, Jack’s friend rang to tell Susanne that her son was in deep trouble, she could hardly breathe with the pain of it.

It was a hard journey to win against bullying, but Jack did because the secrecy was broken, because his mother stood beside him, his family, his friends, his teacher and school were there. His mates came back and he found himself again and Jack fought for who he was.”

She has also written a one man play which can be watched below.

“I’m sick. I can’t go to school.” 

“You have to Charles. This is the third time this week.”

“No. I’ve got a tummy ache.”

“Okay.” They heard him banging on the drums as they left.


“He’s behind with his school work, he doesn’t mix”

“He’s being bullied.”

” Leave it with me.”


“I’ve heard  Imagine Dragons will be at assembly today.” The words and excitement buzzed around the playground and the hall filled quicker than normal.

” Charles Smith please come up and help Andrew out.” said Dan Reynolds.

A hush settled. Charles smiled. The children smiled back, at their hero. 


Why this band? Dragons have had a fairly large impact on my life in the last couple of weeks (see here) so when looking up teenage bands where it features with the 12th song in top of the hits with Demon I had no choice but to choose this band.

In response to Charlie’s 99 word flash fiction prompt:

March 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows the bully mentality countered with a different, unexpected or kind action. Bullies can be known or incognito; Goliaths or small-minded; in-person or online. Think of ways to unplug a bully’s power. Show characters with strength and dignity and even humor.

Respond by March 17, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation.Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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26 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: The Drummer

  1. This was great Irene. We need to pay more attention to childhood bullying. It can carry on into adulthood. I have a post ready for tomorrow on the subject.


  2. noelleg44 says:

    Great job, Irene. Bullying has always been around – I remember standing up to a bully when I was in fifth grade. But it wasn’t too hard because I was the tallest kid in the class. Of course now we have cyber-bullying, which is awful because it’s anonymous.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is getting a lot of well deserved attention. Bullying is unacceptable, full stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. MythRider says:

    What a great way to end bulling. Make him a hero. If only all parents could be so creative.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M-R says:

    A wonderful topic, no doubt about it. But not your best effort, because you so abbreviated the ending. Do better again next time ! B+

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s great to see creative ways of addressing social issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bkpyett says:

    Irene, this inspired me to buy the book for my grandson Jack, thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are great books Barbara. Although I haven’t read it all I looked at it at a writer’s festival she spoke at and I thought it looked great. All the Jack books deal with different issues kids face written in a way they understand. Hope your grandson enjoys it and gets a benefit from it if ever he needs it.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Sherri says:

    This is a hard subject for me, and you handled it beautifully Irene. Your flash melted my heart and what a wonderful book, dealing with the pain of bullying from both the mother and the child, which gives hope that happy endings to the hell of bullying are possible. Perfect song…and very timely with the dragon theme…

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Charli Mills says:

    You bring up a good point which seems obvious, but just hit me — secrecy. In a way, it feels like “everyone knows” because it feels so public. Bullying at school often happens among peers. And that’s when it occurred to me that peers behave just like an incestuous family. That sounds harsh, but the dynamics of power and control, denial and suffering silently are the same! And yes, breaking the silence breaks the cycle. Yet triggers and shame need to be dealt with in ensuing years. But getting to be a hero for a moment can ease the suffering. That you selected the teen band because of dragons makes me laugh! You have such a subtle sense of humor. “Impact of dragons” leads one to think you read a great fantasy novel or commissioned a statue for your garden — not that you nearly had your eyes scoured out of your head by a fire breathing beach dragon! This is a great, uplifting post. If you don’t already have something planned for 3/20 #1000Speak, you should repost this and link on their bloghop.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Charli – even more so as I really struggled with this one. Not so much the topic but fitting such a subject into the 99 word limit. Secrecy I think is the key. Once the secret is out it becomes much more difficult for the bully to maintain a hold on his victim. But you are right – usually the victim is too frightened to say anything.
      If I don’t manage another one I will definitely put this forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Circling the Bullies « Carrot Ranch Communications

  11. Norah says:

    Great flash, Irene. I’m pleased Charles had something good in his life. I see you heard Suzanne Gervay speak at a writers’ festival. I wonder, do you belong to SCBWI? Suzanne is the Regional Advisor for Australia and New Zealand. She is speaking at an afternoon tea meeting in May in the hinterland of the other (to you) coast. The performance of the play “I am Jack” is on at the Gold Coast Arts Centre in May. Let me know if you’d like any more details (if you don’t already have them) and I can let you know. Suzanne is a pretty inspiring and impressive speaker, isn’t she?

    Liked by 1 person

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