One of the most mixed-up characters in the Crossroads saga must surely be Jim Baines, who until recently worked at the motel garage. Jim is a married man with children, but his wife Muriel suffers from agoraphobia and is afraid to leave the house. While he loves the children and tries to do his best for Muriel, Jim found the charms of Sharon Metcalf irresistible and she became his mistress.
Although basically a good-hearted man, Jim’s aggressive character has got him into trouble more than once. Like the time when he was suspected of attacking Vera Downend, the motel’s hairdresser, and stealing the salon takings. Barman Bill Warren picked Jim out of a police identification parade, and for a time everyone at the motel believed that he was guilty – with the exception of Jane Smith, who couldn’t believe that he would do such a thing. Fortunately for Jim, the police picked up a housebreaker and found Vera’s cashbox in his digs; but although his name was cleared, Jim felt very bitter about the way his so-called friends had deserted him.
When he won the jackpot on the pools it seemed that his luck had changed, but the money brought its own problems. After all the publicity surrounding the presentation, Jim’s home was vandalised and he was inundated with begging letters. Girlfriend Sharon seemed to be growing cooler, and there was more trouble for Jim after a clash with Diane Parker, who had made no secret of her dislike of him.
And then there was the problem of what to do with all the money? Jim had left work, and time lay heavy on his hands. He bought lots of presents for his wife and children, but his life didn’t seem to have much purpose. Should he invest the money, or should he just give it all away? It really seemed as if he was better off without it.