Name: Jay Harland
School: P.J. Hobbs Senior High School
Hobbies and Interests: Soccer, creative writing, folklore and the occult, rollerblading.
Appearance: Jay is somewhat short for an eighteen year old at 5'6”, weighing in at 140lbs. His body is noticeably toned, if lithe in build.
Jay wears his ginger hair up in a short spiky style. His face is quite chiselled and square in shape, with a strong jawline and a sharp nose. His blue eyes are rather small, and his forehead tends to have quite a few spots at any given time. His mouth is thin and slightly narrow. He also has a lot of freckles on his face, notably more on the lower half than the top.
Typically, Jay wears hoodies or jackets over t-shirts with artistic designs on them, along with blue jeans and black sneakers. On the day of the abduction, he was wearing his letter jacket from soccer over a white t-shirt with a tiger emblem on the front, along with his blue jeans and black sneakers.
Biography: Born to his parents Linda and Tony Harland in Monroe, Wisconsin, Jay Harland is the youngest of two children. He has an older brother, Seth, by two years, who is currently studying film at Boston University. The family lived off a middle-class income for much of Jay’s childhood, his father working as a manager of a large cleaning company, and his mother working as a teaching assistant.
From a young age, Jay was an active child. Physical Education was his favourite class, and soccer became his true passion. He has played in teams since he was old enough to do so, loving soccer for its competitive, fast paced nature, demand for fast decision making, and the fact that he could continuously improve his own skills. The fact that it was less reliant on a huge physique also worked to his advantage, as he remained slight of build throughout his adolescence. However, Jay has little interest in spectating soccer, preferring to participate instead.
Growing up, Jay was a fairly average child. He performed adequately at school, maintaining B’s and C’s on average, and had his share of friends throughout school. However, it became apparent from an early age that Jay had issues with managing his temper.
Whilst he was generally affable with other students when calm, when provoked he quickly turned aggressive and, at times, violent. This led to a lot of counselling and discipline, and over time he did learn to moderate it. He still suffers from bouts of explosive anger when pushed far enough though, which has gotten him into trouble more than once.
It didn’t help that Jay also developed a huge ego as he grew older, generally refusing to acknowledge putdowns or consider the possibility that he was at fault. He also had difficulty listening to authority figures, which got him into trouble at school on more than one occasion as he tried to argue his case rather than follow blindly. Unlike his anger issues, he has yet to make any real effort to curb this side of his personality.
Because of this, his circle of friends tended to rotate fairly frequently throughout school, and he often drew the attention of antagonistic personalities who enjoyed provoking him. He also gained a rather negative reputation due to his tendency to argue out loud in class, and this led to him becoming distanced from his peers.
Despite his average performance in school, Jay did take an interest in creative writing after being properly inspired by his sixth-grade teacher. Part of it stemmed from him enjoying having control over a narrative, but he did find expressing his pent-up frustrations with the world that caused his anger to be cathartic. Generally, he works on horror and macabre writing, and at times has vented his anger at people in the form of revenge fiction. He does care about people’s opinion on his stories, though, and maintains a Deviantart account where he puts the stories he deems appropriate. It doesn’t tend to receive attention from more than people he badgers into reading, who generally know better than to give actual criticism: his writing is generally considered mediocre due to unsubtle language and heavy-handed messages; characterisation tends to be his best strength, though.
Researching for his horror stories turned into an interest in the occult. Whilst Jay had never had a spiritual side, he became fascinated by different cultures versions of monsters and paranormal beings for how unique each one could be, as well as the stories that went with them. This spilled over into more modern horrors created on the internet, such as creepy pastas, and Jay has spent many hours up late at night reading these stories. He has written some of his own, but these tend to recycle plot elements from other stories he’s read.
When his parents announced their separation in Jay’s last year of middle school, due to distances in the relationships caused by Tony’s overworking habit, Jay opted to go live with his father after finishing middle school. He believed that moving to New Jersey, where Tony had set up his own cleaning contracting company due to his network within the area and the perceived opening in the market caused by other businesses failing, would give him a fresh start away from his poor reputation. He also was drawn in by P.J. Hobbs attractive sports program, which tied into his love of soccer. In addition, he correctly anticipated that his dad would be preoccupied with his work, giving Jay plenty of free time to do his own thing without much parental supervision. His brother opted to remain in Wisconsin, since he was already in the middle of high school at the time.
In an effort to fit in at high school, Jay has worked to make himself the centre of attention through a combination of a brash, larger than life attitude, and using his house as the hosting ground for numerous parties whilst his dad was away at business seminars. This has led to a rocky relationship between the two, as Jay has not always been able to hide the evidence of the house parties. At times Tony has even threatened to hire a babysitter, though Jay continues to act in defiance as these threats have yet to be made good on.
Either way, this strategy hasn’t been particularly successful. Whilst Jay is relatively well known across the school, he is viewed by some as a wannabe, and by others as arrogant and unpleasant, and by others still as a laughing stock. He has managed to win a few friends over, as he does have a sense of humour and can be quite loyal towards those he considers friends, but these people are relatively few in number. In addition, he has attracted attention from bullies who like to antagonise him, but given his argumentative personality and physical strength, he can be quite intimidating when provoked and so doesn’t have too many issues with these people.
In addition to the frustrations he causes his father, Jay doesn’t have a particularly close relationship with his mother. Never really being particularly coddling as a child, since moving to another state he hasn’t spent made much of an effort to regularly contact her. When he does, the conversations are often brief and shallow, as Jay doesn’t feel a strong need to share his emotions with her.
The only family member who Jay is still close with is his brother. Seth tended to be a lot more level headed growing up, and would often make an effort to afford his brother some measure of protection from the repercussions of his emotional problems. This forged a bond between the two, Jay feeling that Seth was the person he could trust most. Being apart from him after the move was the hardest part for Jay, and he was delighted to learn that Seth was attending a college closer to him than Wisconsin. He tends to go to Boston to visit his brother more than he goes to visit his mom.
At school, Jay continues to maintain average grades. He isn’t particularly gifted in any academic area and tends to coast by in classes. He does like English, since he enjoys getting inspiration for his own stories and learning ways to improve, but other subjects just don’t appeal to him.
Athletics are where Jay’s talent lies: he has played on the soccer team since Freshman year, and is an exceptionally skilled player in the center-midfielder position. Despite this, he has failed to obtain the position of team captain despite trying, a result of his personality flaws and arrogance over his contributions. He does do well in other sports, but only does these as part of physical education, not participating in any other teams. His focus on soccer borders on the point of obsession.
Whilst Jay doesn't have many hobbies outside of soccer and writing, one activity that he has gotten into since moving to New Jersey is rollerblading. He had a pair of rollerblades before the move, but it wasn't until a friend encouraged him to break them out again that he really took to it. He enjoyed it as a means of transport because of its fast pace and the adrenaline rush he got out of it, as well as the fact that it relied almost entirely on his own dexterity and coordination rather than trying to work with a skateboard or bike. Whilst he doesn't put an excessive amount of effort into trying to perfect any tricks, he has still experimented in this area, taking a fair share of scrapes and bruises in return. Although he occasionally hangs around with the skater crowd, he doesn't consider himself a part of the circle.
Whilst he has a mixed-to-poor reputation amongst his peers, he has managed to get some interest from the girls, mostly for his confidence and athleticism. However, for reasons he is yet unclear on, he hasn’t really felt the same way about any of them. The suggestion that he might be gay does unnerve him, and so far he is choosing not to acknowledge it. There have been some rumours regarding this, stemming from when his gaze has been caught lingering in the locker room, but the last person who openly called him gay ended up with a bloodied nose. As this was his first act of violence in a long time, Jay’s punishment wasn’t particularly severe, but it did send the message across to his peers.
Approaching his graduation, Jay is not particularly worried about his future. Whilst he wouldn’t have been interested in going to college under normal circumstances, not wanting to be saddled with the debt and having little interest in academics, he has been offered a sports scholarship at the College of New Jersey. Although he is undecided on a particular major, he does think that going to college is a typical part of life for someone his age, and looks forward to competing at that level. Afterwards, he is considering moving to a country where soccer is more popular and going professional. He does not have a backup plan.
Advantages: Jay is confident and aggressive, unlikely to back down from a fight or hide. He is in excellent physical shape, possessing a good mix of strength, agility and stamina. His exposure to the macabre through his writing has given him some tolerance for grisly scenes, which may assist his coping.
Disadvantages: Jay is not regarded highly by most of his peers, and his anger management problems are no secret. It would be easy for someone to exploit his short temper, and his recklessness could easily get him in over his head. His pride may also get on peoples’ nerves, so he is likely to have trouble maintaining allies in general.
Original Profile: Jay Harland
I'll be critiquing Jay today. He's like one minor adjustment away, but for now he is denied.
In your second paragraph, you mention "the sport" repeatedly, but don't actually specify what sport you're referring to. Later on you clarify that Jay plays soccer, but I'd love it if you could smooth the paragraph out - is he talking about team sports in general? PE class?
Once that's adjusted I'll take another look.