Jackson “Jacko” Smith is dyslexic, but like many people affected by the learning disability, he is highly intelligent. His best friend Sammy Collins helps him get through school and unlocks his potential. Jacko progresses through the ranks of local government until Mother Nature intervenes and the straight boy and the gay boy become a couple.
As Jacko and Sammy start a family and challenge social mores, Jacko enters politics, horrified at the direction Australian government is taking. With Sammy by his side, he can achieve anything and rises through the ranks to the highest office in the land, driving Australia away from its British colonial roots and engaging with its neighbors in Asia like never before. Economic growth results, and while most Australians are supportive, a small group of extremists might endanger everything Jacko has built—including his life.
Through the love and the strength of their partnership, Jacko and Sammy rise above their ordinary lives. Because love is never ordinary.
With Matt’s help I found a stall selling magnificent orchids, and after explaining their purpose, the owner giggled and put them together into a stunning presentation vase.
Then I bolted for the room, peace offering in hand.
I arrived outside the door realizing I’d left my key card behind, so I rang the bell like a florist with a special delivery.
The door flung open. He’d been crying, and my heart nearly broke in two.
“Jacko, where have you been? I was so worried about you I was nearly sick.”
I couldn’t say anything much because I too was choked up, but I managed to thrust the flowers into his hand and say, “These are for you. I’m sorry I made a dick of myself.”
His eyes shone.
Sammy always loved flowers; he loved growing them, displaying them, and I knew he loved them as a gift.
“Well,” he said with a grin, “they’re beautiful, thank you, but really I’m as much to blame as you are.”
“No, you’re not,” deciding I had to ramp up the stakes. First I had to wipe away his tears, very unromantically, with my thumb. Then I did what I have should have done many years ago and kissed him, on the lips. Beautiful, full, puffy pillows they were, and suddenly the world lit up, it was like someone had just turned the lights on.
We stood there gazing at each other in bloody wonderment as we leaned in and did it again. There was love in Sammy’s eyes, but I could see the concern also, one of the benefits of some dyslexic people seeing things on a different level.
John Terry Moore and Russell Baum, his partner of thirty three years, live in Geelong, Victoria’s largest regional centre, one hour from Melbourne, Australia. Many factors influenced John in the writing of this novel, not the least of which has been Russell’s dyslexia, how it affected him as a young person and how it has played out in his subsequent life.
John’s interest in same sex partnerships, economics, politics and Asian affairs have also played a major role in the storyline.
John and Russell have travelled extensively throughout Asia for many years. Studiously avoiding western tourists, they have inserted themselves into the culture and the daily lifestyles of the local people and consequently have a unique overview and understanding of Asian nations, (ASEAN in particular), and the relationships those countries have with Australia.
John completed his education at Hobart Matriculation College, and held a number of senior positions in the automotive industry over a thirty five year period, working separately for three Asian motor companies.
He has been a civil marriage celebrant and funeral celebrant for many years, (now retired), witnessing at first hand rapidly changing Australian public opinion questioning traditional family structures and also questioning Australia’s place in the world. Australia remains tied to the British Commonwealth, yet with the fastest growing global economies only a few hours away in Asia, the messages Australia sends to its neighbors sometimes appear confusing and unhelpful.
John is a passionate advocate of same sex marriage and equal rights for same sex parents and their children, encouraging, supporting and driving the push for marriage equality in Australia. That LGBTI people should finally be embraced as an integral part of society, removing the scourge of homophobia and the risk of self harm, replacing it with humanity, commonsense and love. That only when everyone is treated exactly the same under law will society begin to heal itself.