Friday, January 17, 2020

Jack and the Jamaican Jerk: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: afraid ~ clipboard ~ pantry ~ sweepstakes
They were submitted by Rena of Wandering Web Designer.

Hailey clutched her clipboard as she paced the lobby of marketing firm where she worked. She had only been there a short time and this was the first campaign she had successfully pitched. She was proud, nervous, so many things all at once. She didn't need the clipboard of course, she knew all of the rules, the provisos, the plan for the day, but it felt good just to hold it, know that everything was at her fingertips.

Her proposal for the client, a food company ,was now reaching fruition. They ran a sweepstakes appealing to home cooks. Winner was picked at random and would do a series of commercials and social media spots featuring their own personal recipe highlighting one of the company's products. So far even the contest itself had been successful in putting the spotlight on the client's business, and because of that, Hailey felt that her future looked bright.

But today was the day. Jack, the winner, was coming in to discuss the particulars. Hailey was "point man" on her own campaign, so she would greet him, show him around and take him to the conference room to meet Angela, Hailey's boss.

Distracted by her own thoughts, Hailey didn't even know Jack had arrived until she heard him present himself at the desk. A little surprised at first, Hailey walked over and introduced herself to the peculiar looking man. He was short, a dwarf most likely, with long hair and wearing odd looking clothes.

As Hailey showed Jack around, she found him to be funny, personable, interesting, and with a clear love of food and recipes. Exactly what she'd hoped for. She was smiling as she and Jack joined Angela in the conference room. Jack talked about his recipe, a Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend that he'd had some success selling on his successful social media channel. 

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend can be used as a dry rub on pork or fish, mix it with vegetable oil to marinate chicken, or add to soups and stews. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend can be used as a dry rub on pork or fish, mix it with vegetable oil to marinate chicken, or add to soups and stews. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Surprisingly, the campaign was not discussed at length as planned, Angela cut the meeting short. As soon as Hailey walked Jack out, Angela stopped her.

afraid this will not do. What a disaster. You got us into this, get us out of it. Now." Angela angrily addressed Hailey.

The bottom line was that Angela didn't like how Jack looked, insisting he wouldn't be right for the campaign. The runner up was a sweet looking grandmother, that's the look Angela wanted. Hailey argued, Jack may be a little different looking but he is well spoken, has an enthusiasm for food and most important of all he had won. In the end, Angela found a way out, the seasoning blend does not entail cooking, it's a mixture, and although Jack would use the blend to cook pretty much anything the client wanted, Angela was adamant that it made him ineligible. Hailey was  to tell Jack his recipe was disqualified and to get that grandmother in and up to speed immediately.

Hailey dreaded the call to Jack but he was gracious, more than she deserved. More than she would have been.

And the grandmother was . . . well . . . bland. She did fine, but she had no sparkle and the whole campaign was not the success Hailey had hoped for. Worst of all, Angela was putting the blame squarely on Hailey's shoulders.

It wasn't Angela's blame that weighed on her though. It was how Jack was treated. She waffled back and forth between wanting to quit her job and chiding herself for being so naive when it came to business. If you want a career in the marketing world, you have to be willing to put yourself aside and do what's best for the company, right?

The place this whole situation had taken her to emotionally was unrelenting. She continued to weigh the pros and cons of her chosen career, remained embarrassed at having sacrificed her morals for a paycheck and wondered if a change would mean throwing away all that money spent on college. And what career would she change to anyway?

Ultimately though, it kept coming down to this: she was not a bigot, but she was the instrument of one. Could she live with that?

One night after a particularly trying day at work, sitting on her couch with nice strong drink, she turned on the TV to find some "shark" show. She hadn't seen it before but easily got the gist of it while watching. It seemed as though entrepreneurs pitched their products and business plans to a wealthy panel and if any of them found the proposal worth pursing, they'd make an offer for a percentage of the profits. 

As the next "contestant" walked in to make his pitch, Hailey's eyes widened, almost popped out of her head. Was her guilty conscience playing games with her? Did she need to look at that whiskey bottle in her pantry to see just how much she'd added to this cocktail? Because his looks are quite distinctive, and that definitely seems to be Jack talking about the successes he's had with his Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend, and about building a company around that and the other blends he's developed.

Jack and the Jamaican Jerk | Graphic designed by and property of | #humor #MyGraphics

Yes, it was Jack. And he got his funding. He hadn't taken the rejection hard, he'd taken it as a challenge. For Hailey, it had now finally all come together. She'd had a great idea for the contest, the winner was a charismatic man who deserved a chance, her instincts were right. But Angela's intervention resulted in a disappointing conclusion to the campaign, one that Angela was holding Hailey responsible for.

The success of this seasoning blend could have been, should have been tied to Hailey's campaign and the client's food company. Hailey started writing up a synopsis of what happened on this show. She'd be sure that Angela knew what her myopic attitude had cost the company. The synopsis would be included in Hailey's letter of resignation.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend

2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper 
2 TBSP dried onion flakes
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp paprika 

*Gently whisk together all ingredients. Store, covered tightly, in a container.
*Use as a dry rub on pork or fish, mix it with vegetable oil to marinate chicken or add to soups or chowders.


  1. Damned be the Angelas of the world! At least Jack won in the end, I think it's a good lesson to go with and trust your instincts. I have never tried a "Jerk" blend before! I'm guessing it's time. Have a great weekend, hostess with the mostess!

    1. Yes, trust your instincts, especially if those instincts include not judging others.

  2. Bravo!! I do believe this is my favorite story yet from you. Great from start to finish and you really grabbed my attention.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

    1. Those words just spoke to me, so I went with it. So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I can relate so, so well!
    Hate it when the higher-ups chicken out, and hate it even more when they blame other people for failures, but are quick to take praise for other people's merits.
    Good for Jack not to give up :-)

    1. Yes, there are bosses like that everywhere, I think we can all name the ones we've come up against.

  4. It's hard to make the choice between your principles and your bank account, but I've always hoped that I would make the same decision. Great story and that blend sounds amazing!

    1. I hope I would too, although sometimes there's no choice but to go with food and a place to live.

  5. I absolutely loved your story. I pinned the recipe, too. I haven't eaten much food with jerk seasoning because I heard these seasonings are spicy, but back a couple of weeks ago my husband (we were in Florida) ordered a jerk rubbed grouper sandwich and it was heavenly. Now, I don't know if the seasoning was like yours but yours sounds wonderful. Alana

    1. I hope you try mine, it's warm but not terribly spicy. And I have to tell you, I love fresh grouper, it would be delicious prepared any way.

  6. Excellent tale, and i do enjoy jerk spice.

  7. love your words challenge. I'm thinking of coming back and joining y'all.

    1. You know how to get in touch with me, we'd love to have your voice back in the mix.

  8. HA! Take that Angela. YOU’RE the jerk!
    Well done, Karen!

  9. This was a great discussion about morality and not immediately disqualifying people based on looks! love it

    1. Glad you enjoyed the story. It was fun to write once I got started.


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