Hurricane Jack

Hurricane Jack

Vocals, Guitar, Percussion


Hurricane Jack was Born Jack Stetson May 12,1978 in Montana. After the death of his father he had his last name changed to Faolan, his mother’s maiden name. His father Jack Stetson, met his mother Eva Faolan, a beautiful Irish dancer in the winter of 1973, while stationed in Paris in the army. Eva was a magnificent ballet dancer but dropped out of the Paris Opera Ballet School when she met Jack Sr. to move to the U.S. in the summer of 1975 where they were quickly married and relocated to Jack’s home state of Montana. Over the next year and a half Eva became frequently ill and spent many weeks in and out of local hospitals. But, in September of 1977, Eva and Jack were elated to discover Eva was pregnant with their first and what would be their only child. Jack Sr. was overcome with joy and pride when they found it was to be a boy. Jack decided he wanted his son to grow up the way he did, in the country away from the modernized ways of society and technology, so he built a small house on a piece of land he bought from an uncle tucked away in the Rocky Mountains near Glacier National Park. On May 12, 1978, Jack Stetson Jr. was born in his own bedroom, in the house his father built. Sadly, do to complications with Eva’s already poor health and Jack Sr.’s refusal to have the birth in a hospital, Eva died of obstetrical hemorrhaging and infection the doctors later told Jack Sr. in the E.R. where he finally took her just hours after the birth of their son. She knew her son only 4 hours before she passed.
Jack Sr. did not take Eva’s death well. He became a heavy drinker and was wrought with guilt and depression. But not until Jack was nearly a teenager did his drinking and depression get in the way of his boy’s upbringing. He was a great father and loved his son dearly, though distant at times he never let his demons get in the way of his raising Jack Jr., Little Hurricane as Jack Sr.’s uncle Johnny called him. Sr. taught the boy to read and write and even throw a baseball, as Jack Jr. loved baseball. They had no television, but there was always a radio on in the house at any given time and Jr. loved music. His father also taught Jr. to be a cautious and weary young boy, always telling him things like, “…don’t ever let anyone get in here…” poking at Jr.’s little chest, “…cause if you do boy they will rip you apart and take you for all you got..”. Jack’s Uncle Johnny (known as Too Drunk Johnny to the locals) was also a big part of Jack’s upbringing. After Eva’s death, Johnny became a regular visitor to “The House Of Jack” as Johnny liked to call their little home that Sr. bought from him years before. Uncle Johnny was a vulgar, loud, heavy drinking, and sometimes awful smelling man who lived in a small trailer about 2 miles up the road from the Jacks‘. But he was a good man none the less and both Jacks always enjoyed and appreciated his frequent visits. One day, on Jack Jr.’s tenth birthday Uncle Johnny brought Jr. an old Harmony six string acoustic guitar. It was a decrepit piece of junk to most but to Jr. it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen,(besides the old photos his pa sometimes showed him of his mother) and Jack instantly became infatuated with it. Neither his Father or Uncle were musically inclined-though his father loved music and radio-so Jack read the old how to book his uncle brought with the guitar and taught himself his first guitar chords and fingerings at the age of ten. The guitar never left his side and Jack Sr. found it more and more evident how gifted and talented his young boy was. Sr. could only assume it came from his mother Eva who was very artistic and a gifted dancer herself.
As Jack became older his lack of a social life, friends, or outside influence made him a very reclusive and shy young man. Most of the time he played his decrepit Harmony, learning new chords and styles and eventually began writing his own songs. He also gained a deep appreciation for nature, wondering through the woods and mountains that were his back yard and he often visited his Uncle Johnny, if Too Drunk wasn’t in town “raisin’ hell and livin’ the wicked ways of the Devil boy!” as Johnny put it. His father, now completely consumed by his guilt and the blame he held for the death of his beloved wife Eva and leaving Jack Jr. without a mother, became more distant and was often gone drinking in town with Uncle Johnny or already drunk and passed out somewhere. Jack could do nothing but watch his father slip slowly away into a drunken, depressive hole, all the while Jack plucked away and tried to ignore his once great teacher, father, and friend. Finally, on May 10, 1996 Jack Jr. awoke to Uncle Johnny rapping at his bedroom door telling him to get up and get dressed. Jack did so nonchalantly, walked into the living room his father built, radio playing in the background , and saw Uncle Johnny standing there in his long johns, hat on, boots on, cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth as it always was as long as Jack could remember. There was a strange look on Johnny’s face Jack had never seen before. Strained and sad, but still stoic as it were. “Jack, son, put your boots on, grab your knife and start the truck” Uncle Johnny said sullenly. Jack did as he was told, put on his boots, grabbed his bowie knife Pa gave him for Christmas some years ago, and grabbed the keys to the truck. As he climbed into the truck a sudden feeling of nausea, anxiety and fear came over Jack in a way he had never felt before. “Drive up past my trailer and take the old river road, you remember boy, where me and your pa took ya fishin’ last week?” uncle Johnny said quietly. “Sure, I remember, what’s this all about Uncle Jon?”
“Just drive boy”.
They drove past Uncle Johnny’s trailer and Jack took a right at the old river road as Johnny had asked. They drove another 3 or 4 miles up the road, past the fishing hole Uncle Johnny, Jack Sr., and Jack Jr. had fished at just a week ago.
“Pull over boy”. said Johnny
Jack pulled over and they got out and started walking into the thick woods that surrounded the small creek.
“Boy, sometimes we do things that don’t make much sense to others, sometimes we do things that make sense to only a few.”
They stopped walking and Uncle Johnny tuned to Jack.
“And sometimes, things just don’t go the way we want or expect them to and we have to deal with that whether we like it or not, cause shit just fuckin’ happens son.”
They walked a few hundred more yards when he saw it. The shadowy figure seeming to stand 3 feet above the ground. Jack couldn’t quite make it out and was looking intensely when he suddenly saw the shadowy figure was that of his Father. Not standing, but hanging 3 feet above the ground, with a rope secured round his neck.
Jack fell to his knees. Stunned, shocked, in complete disbelief. That wasn’t his Father. It couldn’t be. No. It wasn’t.
“Get up boy,” his drunken Uncle said.
“I need you to cut him down son, I cant do it, you gotta cut him down and put him in the truck boy.”
Jack slowly stood up, calmly walked up to his father’s limp body and stared for a moment. The shock and disbelief were gone now. Replaced by anger, sadness, and grim reality. His father stared down at his boy, the boy up at his father. “Don’t ever let anyone get in here, cause if you do boy they will rip you apart and take you for all you got.” Jack heard this over and over and again in his head as he climbed the tree and cut the rope that held his father 3 feet off the ground. Jack slung his father’s limp body over his shoulder and began walking back to the truck. Uncle Johnny said nothing, just smoked his cigar and stared at his feet stumbling slowly back to the truck. When they reached the blue ‘78’ Chevy, Jack gently laid his father in the bed and covered him with a blanket. He climbed into the driver’s seat and started the reliable old pick up that was now Jack’s.
Uncle Johnny finally spoke, “I’m sorry son, your Pa was a good man and I loved him very much, and he loved you more than you’ll ever know, but he wasn’t right in the head no more, and, well, he’s better off now you understand?”
“Yesir’, I believe I do.” replied Jack.
“Good boy. Now drive to town , but first stop at The Devil’s Den. I need a fuckin’ drink and so do you.”
Jack did as he was told, and drove into town. A twenty minute drive when the weather’s nice. And, as Uncle Johnny had told him, he stopped at The Devil’s Den and turned off the truck.
“Your Pa didn’t want you to take up drinkin’ till you was old enough, but your Pa didn’t want a lot of things to happen and they did. So I’m in charge of what you will and will not do for the next two days so to hell with him. Come have a drink with your Uncle Too Drunk Johnny and lets remember your Daddy the only way I know how: with a warm shot of whiskey and a sad country song.”
As they walked into the dusky tavern, Jack felt as though his entire world had collapsed around him and the vision of his father hanging from the tree kept playing over and over in his mind along with those words Jack Sr. spoke to him so long ago as a boy. His reality seemed blurry and faint, like the world was draped in a thin sheet of ice. He followed his Uncle Johnny through the bar to an empty stool and “bellied up” as his Uncle put it. The bar was empty for the most part. There was an old man on a gambling machine with his old wife next to him tapping at the screen in front of their faces. There were two young men shooting a game of pool in the corner arguing, then laughing, then drinking, then arguing again. They were loud. And at the end of the bar, sitting alone, sipping a coffee and Brandi -Jack heard her order it when they bellied up to the bar a few stools down- was a striking young woman, a few years older than Jack. He noticed her, and she was pretty, but Jack thought little of it as his mind was still consumed by what lay in the bed of his new truck, and the first shot of whiskey his Uncle had just ordered began to creep to his nose and taste buds. One can imagine how this would be quite distracting to a barely eighteen year old boy who’d never drank a drop of booze in his life and had never had to cut someone down from a noose hanging on a tree, especially if that someone were his father.
“Drink up boy, slam that whiskey back and have another and I‘ll show ya how a man drinks whiskey,” his Uncle spouted loudly. “First, smell it boy, get used to it for a second, let it get into your head.” Jack smelled it, made a face and looked intently to his Uncle for the next step. That’s one thing Johnny admired about the boy, was his eagerness to learn and listen, even when he had to and didn‘t want to. “Such a good boy,” Johnny thought. “Alright, now here’s whatch ‘r gun’ do, take a quick, deep breath and as your lettin out that breath an’ it’s all out, breath in again, tilt yur’ head back, swallow, breath out and slam that lil’ glass back down on the fuckin’ bar like yur’ fuckin’ mad and take a big swig o’ that beer boy! Shit!”
Hurricane JackJack did exactly as his Uncle Johnny explained and after his ‘swig o’ beer’ and a couple of deep chested coughs Jack caught a glimpse of the pretty girl at the end of the bar giggling silently but noticeably to herself staring at him. He quickly and shyly turned away as if he had accidentally made eye contact with the Queen of England. “Two more JD’s down here Mo, and turn on the goddamn juke box woman!”, Johnny shouted, as if no one would be able to hear him unless he bellowed it in the tiny bar. It was still early in the afternoon but Uncle Johnny was still drunk from the night before and working on a new high. Jack felt a painful jab at his ribs and Too Drunk leaned in and dropped his brow, speaking in a soft voice, so soft in fact Jack quickly realized he had never heard his Uncle so soft and gentle sounding before this moment, “Jackie, that little lady over there is givin’ you the wink boy, so why don’t you go let her know who Hurricane Jack Stetson is and pinch her on the ass for me. And tell her the next one is on you.”
Johnny winked his eye at Jack, stood up, belched, ordered two more drinks, and stumbled confidently to the bathrooms in the back. Jack sat at the bar, taking heavy drags of his cigarette, trying to muster the courage to talk to the pretty girl at the end of the bar. Finally, he stood up, slammed back another shot of whiskey the same way Too Drunk had shown him, lit another cigarette,-leaving half of another one burning in the red tray on the bar-grabbed his beer, and walked slowly to the girl at the end of the bar. He sat down next to her in the only stool besides hers on that side of the bar. To her left was where the bar turned at a ninety degree angle with twelve empty stools but one filled by Too Drunk. Jack sat there for what seemed like an eternity but was actually about thirteen minutes total. Finally, after putting his second cigarette out, he turned to the girl and softly murmured, “My names Jack, the big loud fella with the beard is my Uncle Johnny, would ya like to have a drink with me?”
“I have one.” the girl at the bar said, turning to Jack. He turned to speak and turned quickly back to the inlay of the bar mirror he was trying to study.
nervously he replied, “well why don’t you drink that one up, I’ll buy you another of what I’m havin’, and then you tell me your name.”
Jack was somewhat taken aback by himself as he stared straight ahead, bloated with confidence and booze, taking a heavy drag of his cigarette. The girl seemed to be as surprised and confused as Jack was. ‘Who is this boy?’ she thought to herself. “Well, what if I don’t wanna another drink, and what if I don’t wanna tell you my name?” the girl said sounding offended. “Then what Mr. Jack?” She spoke with a tone Jack had never heard anyone else speak with before. Quickly, and with a dramatic tonality that made Jack slightly uneasy, and slightly aroused. It made him feel the way music made him feel: alive and safe. The juke box Uncle Johnny had requested whirred to life and the sound of Hank Williams’ Your Cheatin’ Heart filled the thick, smoky air of the dark tavern with sharp treble highs and deep luminous lows Jack so adamantly admired. He kept his eyes forward, struggling to keep a straight face, and took another long drag from his cigarette. He sat like that for about thirty seconds, calmly stood up, violently snuffed out his smoke, turned to the girl and said, “Then don’t.” He made sure to make eye contact with her steel blue eyes for a good couple seconds, tipped his black brimmed hat, walked swiftly around her to his empty stool next to Uncle Johnny’s, and shouted, throwing his hand in the air. “Mo, two more JD’s down here, and turn up the goddamn juke box please!” Jack shouted, as if no one would be able to hear him unless he bellowed it in the tiny bar. The girl smiled.
Uncle Johnny sat back down next to Jack. His face looked long and tired, somber and sober. “Maura, hun can I get two more of each for me and Jack here?” he said gently. His voice sounded as tired as he looked. Mo set the drinks in front of the two men, looked at the both of them and with a sincere and concerned look said, “Y’all look like your havin’ a long day and it‘s only just got started.” she turned now to Johnny and lightly placed her hand on his.
“ And you look tired John. Did ya sleep at all last night Baby?” Jack looked blankly ahead, not saying anything. After a moment Uncle Johnny took his eyes off of Maura’s, grabbed the shot glass she had placed in front of him and lied, “I slept fine honey, now quit your pryin’ and get me another shot ‘for I take ya out back and show ya what pryin’ gets ya.” As Uncle Johnny finished his lude comment , the Girl at the end of the bar had made her way next to Jack and now sat next to him; quite close to him in fact, so much so that Jack immediately felt extremely uncomfortable and the booze that had made him so confident before now seemed to only hinder him in every way. The girl leaned in even closer, making Jack sweat; she spoke intently, “Hi boy, my name is Mary. Mary Mae. Is it too late to reconsider your offer?’
“And what offer is that Miss Mary?”
“The drink, and my name.”
“Well, Mary, it would be a shame, and frankly quite rude if I didn’t offer you a drink and ask your name ma’am, and since you already knew my name and used that to your advantage to get what you want; I will use yours to get what I want Miss Mae.” Jack said sharply.
“And what is that Jack? What is it Mr. Jack really wants?” Mary asked playfully.
Mary’s form slouched suddenly and she decided she didn’t like playing with this boy anymore. He was too obvious and weak. She didn’t like this about the boy. “No fun at all” she thought seriously. She stared at him for a moment and then decided to speak again. “Who do you think you are?” she asked. Jack said nothing and puffed at his cigarette. He was only half listening to the girl now. “I told you my name and you told me yours Mary, that’s all I was after,” he turned to her now, “so why don’t I just buy you a drink and we’ll go from there.”
Uncle Johnny stood up and spoke to Jack, “I gotta run inta town son, I’ll be back in a few hours. You keep Miss Mary Mae hear company and I’ll see y’all in a bit.” He patted Jack hard on the back, “Alright boy?!” “Alright Uncle Johnny, see you later.” Jack said. He spun around and headed towards the light of the high sun at the entrance and faded away. Jack heard the thick sound of the ‘78’ roar to life as Too Drunk backed out of the lot and sped recklessly away.
“That’s your Uncle?” asked Mary in a condescending tone.
“Yeah, He’s my Uncle. What, you don’t like him? He’s a sweet man, he’s just…”
“No, he’s alright. But, I mean, should he be driving? He seemed pretty drunk.”
“Oh, no, he’s fine,” Jack lied, “he does it all the time. Right Mo?!” turning to Maura for reinforcement.
“Yeah Jackie, He’s fine.” Mo lied. “All the time sugar.”
Jack looked at Mary for a long time, with a strange glare, “You ain’t very easy to talk to ya know.” “
Mary smiled, “And you ain’t very easy to listen to so why don’t you buy my drink to make it a bit easier on both of us and tell me your story.” Her words were sharp and painful and they struck at Jack’s gut when she spoke. But, overall, this made Jack excited and made him feel very silly. Jack hadn’t felt that way since Uncle Johnny had brought him the Harmony for his birthday those seemingly many, many years ago. Jack felt young again. He began to speak. Slowly and softly, shyly Jack began.
Jack realized, after he had told Mary of his small life, that no one had ever heard his story through his voice, from his perspective before. He found this haunting and made him very nervous. But he kept talking anyway, and by the end, when he told Mary of his discovery earlier that day, not only was he drunk but he was confused and shameless. She had listened to his entire story without flinching or quick interruption. This frightened Jack. Uncle Johnny and his father had been his closest companions and the only persons he could speak plainly to, without reserve or discrepancy. This girl had allowed Jack to display himself to someone other than the people he felt most comfortable with. He surely didn’t feel comfortable, or at ease with the girl, but somehow he felt as though it didn’t matter that this stranger knew him. For the first time in Jack’s life he was able to wear his scars without fear of judgment or paralyzing shyness. He felt new and close to this girl. As he listened to her story; loss and tragedy, joy and happiness, fear and doubt, guilt and regret, he finally felt connected. Connected to something new and strange, Jack had met his maker. In a small town, in a small tavern, with a small girl, and a small guard, Hurricane Jack had met his death, his life, his beginning, and his end. Or so thought this young, proud, and hungry little wolf. In walked a young man in a top-hat, leather boots, black suit and wide grin. “Hello Mama!” shouted the stranger.
Mo swung around with haste, caught the boys’ eyes and smiled. “My boy!” she called, “Willie!”
The boy smiled.


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