This is the 40th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
A Father’s Love, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 10th January 2012
Word count: 725
Theme: accident, victim, purpotrator, father, son, protection, facing up
“Calmly tell me what happened,” Leo’s father Brian asked pushing his son firmly into the chair next to the kitchen table.
“It wasn’t my fault Dad, it wasn’t,” Leo said.
“Start from the beginning, tell me how you came to be in the car,” his father said from the other side of the kitchen as he gathered the first aid kit. Leo sat gathering his thoughts as his father started tending to the cuts and bruises on his face and arms.
“Me and the others,” Leo started finally.
“Which others?” his father interjected.
“Craig, Dave, Eddie, and Francis. We met up to have some drinks and stuff,” Leo said looking up, knowing he was forbidden from drinking, he was still only sixteen, and his dad was uptight about that kind of thing, but Brian wasn’t bothered about the drinking just yet. “We were trying alsorts, Eddie got served at the offie.”
“Which off license?” Brian asked.
“The one on New Gate,” Leo answered, “Does that matter?”
“It might, I need to know as much as possible Leo, the more I know the better I can help you,” Brian said.
“Okay, so we went down the park,” he thought for a second then added, “The one just off Mulberry Avenue. I had a bottle of beer, and then another, and I had some of a mixed drink that Dave made with a few different bottles.”
“That all?” Brian asked, not believing.
“That’s all I remember drinking,” Leo said, “Honest.”
“Okay what then?”
“Well I was a bit drunk by then, but I think we got bored with the park, we headed away, I think towards Rumbold Street,” Leo said.
“Who was leading?” Brian asked.”As always. We only set out to find something fun today. There’s not that much round here.”
“Eddie,” Leo answered.
“Go on,” Brian said, choosing not to comment.
“That’s the last I remember, I think,” Leo said.
“Hmm…” Brian thought it over, “You can’t remember anything at all after that?”
“Not until I woke up,” Lee said.
“And when you woke up?” Brian prompted.
“I was strapped into a car seat, hanging upside down,” Lee said.
“What car?” his father asked.
“I think it was an astra, silver,” his son said, “I was on my own. The car was pretty beat up, and there was blood on the steering wheel.” His father nodded as he spoke. “It took me a while to release the seat belt, and then crawl out. Then I came home,” Lee finished.
“Okay,” Brian pursed his lips as he thought it all over.
“I’m so sorry dad,” Lee said pleadingly.
“Now’s not that the time,” Brian said dismissively, “But believe you me, that’s going to come later. For now, we need to phone the police.”
“Yes dad,” Lee said neutrally. He’d hoped there would be another way, he didn’t want to get in trouble.
Twenty minutes later the police arrived.
“Sergeant,” the uniformed officer greet Brian soberly, “Where’s Lee?” he asked.
“He’s just through there,” Brian said.
“Anything you want us to know before we question him?” the officer asked.
“I’m here as a father, not a sergeant,” Brian said, “But do me a favour, and arrange for him to have a blood test.”
“How come?” the officer asked.
“Just a father’s instinct,” Brian said, “Maybe I’m right, or maybe I’m just being over protective. There’s no harm in checking.”
“Okay, you going to be present sir?” the officer asked.
“It’s my right, and responsibility,” Brian said as they walked into the room.
Three hours later they Lee was taken by police car to the station. Brian stayed behind, to arrange legal representation for Lee. Brian knew, regardless of Lee being his son, he’d be okay. As long as he was honest, and didn’t shirk his own responsibility, he’d get a slap on the wrist, and he’d have to testify to who was responsible.
Eleven weeks later, on the steps of the court house Brian hugged his son, who was in tears. His best friend since childhood had just been convicted, and sent to juvie. The cocktail mix had contained roofies, an emulation of the film.
“It’ll be okay son,” Brian said.
“I honestly didn’t know,” Lee said.
“I know, I know. But you do realise you’re grounded for life right?”
“I’m sorry,” Lee said.
“Come on,” his father said.