August 2023

Jack and Jill Get Up and Go On

Diana Mullins

Play Audio
read by Meliora Dockery

art by Stephanie Eche

Jill begins to think through the lens of the nursery rhyme and wonders why the hell she had to come tumbling after. She has a friend named Anne who has taken up a similar critical lens. Anne’s divorced now, but it stands to reason that if her Henry had had a guillotine, Anne’s head would surely have rolled. Their story is for another day.

Back to Jill, married to Jack. Partly due to his head injury and interest in carrying water, Jack takes time out of his working day to guestimate the health of his employees’ kidneys. They all sit, mid-hill, around computers and conference rooms doing the sedentary business of ‘advertising technology’ while successfully forgetting how to take care of themselves.

As any CEO should be, Jack is interested in input and output. In business terms, we’re talking about correlations among investments and returns, likewise, profits and production. However, Jack goes a step farther. He tracks the liquid intake, and subsequent bathroom breaks, of his design, product, tech, and marketing teams. His current estimate is that all is well on every team except for product.

This is important to Jack. That all be well, to wit, the kitchen provides plenty of seltzer and free kombucha on tap. What you don’t know about Jack’s backstory is that he needs a kidney donor. The famous fall took out his left kidney. Poor Jack wants to live a long life of serving ads to the general public, but, alas, Jill is not a donor match. Neither is Dick, Jack’s only friend. Dick’s wife, Jane, refused to be tested, because, you see, as a marathon runner, she needs both her kidneys. Go, go, go, Jane!

Most people who know Jack think he wants to accumulate wealth for himself, and this is true. But it’s also true that he wants to distribute some of that wealth. He’s an Aquarius after all. However, he wants to distribute money his way, so he cheats on his taxes to stop politicians from redistributing his wealth. He wants to accumulate money and give a fraction of it to causes that he believes in. You’d think something related to nephrology, but you’d be wrong.

This freedom to choose, that he holds in such high regard, is not altogether disconnected from his interest in kidney functions. If he chooses where and when to piss, then he can choose where and when to be generous. Makes logical sense. No one gets to control his accumulated urine, so no one gets to control his accumulated wealth.

As previously mentioned, he’s concerned about the product team because these six men have had the lowest liquid output for two months running. Not dangerously low, just significantly less than the other teams. Makes sense really, product has been under pressure to invent three new bid features that do not yet exist on the market. No other company has these algorithmic features either, not yet; and so, these six innovators rush to ideate and create. I’d say they’ve got the same chance as that famous well water did of making it into Jack’s pail. However, I’ve been wrong before.

One particular guy on product is a firecracker and he’s close to a breakthrough despite being continually misread and mistreated by his cruel director who never should have been hired. Jack hired him, but Jack is a notoriously horrible judge of character and terrain; we already know he’s pretty clumsy. He was on his way to the well when he fell down, empty pail in hand, right?

His lack of acuity extends to his data gathering. He has calculated that the healthiest potential donors are the go-getters on the marketing team. Jack has secretly installed recorders in the men’s bathroom in order to time the pee streams. When I say he has installed, I mean, he paid an installer to install the recorders.

Said installer now has leverage over Jack. You see where this is going. He’d be sued if the installer leaked. Not sure how much difference it will make that the video camera is located on the outside of the bathroom, facing the door. The recorders hidden in air vents inside of each stall only record audio. This will be Jack’s disappointing legacy: his legal case will add to the growing field of bathroom privacy case law. Surely this is a better contribution to humanity than that one notorious CEO who will be remembered for riding an Organ rocket into space.

Jill now, let’s talk about Jill. Did she trip over Jack after he fell? The one in the nursery rhyme did, but not our Jill. She has found out about Jack’s, um, let’s call it ‘research project.’ She’s thoroughly grossed out. This Jill has got her own pail, it’s full of water, plus she’s sure-footed and knows where she’s going: away from Jack, and soon. There will be no tumbling in her future. She’d really like to pay her jointly filed back taxes and then rendezvous in Tuscany with the smart guy from product. It’s hilly there, but she’s not worried. They’ll sell all their company shares and live on wine and olives while writing new nursery rhymes. Their tales will teach children many valuable lessons including the importance of drip irrigation systems and sustainable farming practices, but, above all, why and how to avoid marrying a narcissist. Anne will write the Foreword.

About the Author

Diana Mullins’ poetry and prose appears in Ruminate Magazine, Bridge Eight, Common Ground Review, and Porcupine Literary. She is a writer, anthropologist, editor, and educator who taught writing and theater arts in public schools and universities in Maine and California. Currently, she is writing her debut novel. You can learn more about Diana and her work at

About the Reader

Meliora Dockery is an audio narrator, actor, and monologist. Originally from England, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She can be heard as the narrator for “The Longest Shortest Flight of Rudolf Hess,” available on Spotify (starting at 10:25), and she is a featured artist on The Moth Radio Hour. She has also appeared in numerous stage productions and films, most recently playing “Agnes” in a Zoom performance of The Shadow Box, and “Rosemary,” a woman with Alzheimer’s, in the indie film Pray, Love Remember.

About the Artist

Stephanie Eche is a Mexican-American artist based in Brooklyn, NY with roots in Arizona. She creates sculptures and paintings to investigate her mestizo heritage, explore motherhood, and preserve memories. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two cats. You can learn more about Stephanie and her work at