It was the twilight of a beautiful late Spring day. The sun was setting, the sky golden and the water still as glass. From the deck of the seasonal home, the chairs the two men were sitting in were mere silhouettes in a painting that could be found in any New England Art Gallery. The woman leaned on the rails of the deck and watched the men for a few moments, decided that all was well and went inside. It looks like their ‘little talk’ is going well, she mused to herself. The chairs were placed in the water, several feet off of the shore just before it dropped off. Small waves gently lapped at their feet. The older man splashed his bare feet in the cool water. He stared at his pale legs, revealed by his rolled pant legs and laughed to himself.
“Can’t wait to get some sun on these legs. Been a long winter.”
The young man on his right nodded in agreement.
“Now where were we? Oh yes, respecting my daughter.” He paused and chewed on a unlit cigar and stared straight ahead.
“I had reservations about you. But my daughter asked me to give you a chance. She saw something in you. Me, I didn’t see it. But here’s the thing, son. It doesn’t matter if I see it. It’s up to me to support my daughter. So I just figured, and this is going to be blunt so I hope you’ll forgive me, but I figured she’d see what I saw eventually and dump you. With me so far?”
The younger man nodded in agreement.
“I taught my daughter, who you know means fucking everything to me, to not only insist on a man respecting her but to respect herself. Girls need to be tougher than boys and I raised her tough.” He paused to chew on his cigar, spitting a few scraps of wrapper. “And I told you when we met that you and I will get along just fine if you respect my little girl.”
The younger man on his right again nodded his head.
“Now, as a father that means that I have to stomach the idea of you sticking your tongue down her throat, and doing worse things than that, when my instincts are to wrap her in bubble wrap. To protect her from this world. Because my daughter will always, no matter how long I live, be my little girl. It’s a tough thing to let go of.”
He stopped to observe a mama duck and her ducklings paddle by them, unafraid of them despite their closeness.
“Then I saw the bruises on her arm.” He paused, clenching his fists until his knuckles were white. “She said you two were playing around, that I shouldn’t worry about it. But I knew she was lying to me. And that I cannot handle. So I pushed until she told me the truth. And you know what, I’m worried about it.”
He looked for the ducks. They had disappeared from sight on the twisted shoreline.
“I’m so worried in fact that I simply have to, I just can’t live with myself if I don’t, do something about it.” He leaned to his right, stared intently at the man and said, “You get that, right?”
The younger man frantically squirmed in his chair, rocking it back and forth.
The older man placed his unlit cigar on the wooden arm of his chair and stood up. He walked around and behind the other’s chair and made sure the ropes binding the hands together were secure. He went around to the front and checked the man’s bound feet to see they were secure as well.
He leaned in to the young man’s face, placed a 9mm against his temple and raised a finger to his own lips, shushing him. He then tore off the thick slab of duct tape that covered his mouth and stared into his eyes.
“Don’t speak. It’s waaaay too late for that. Just look at my eyes. This is the face of a father. A man that loves his child more than you will ever know. I tried to explain such a love to you but you didn’t get it. Maybe you thought I was joking.”
He walked to the rear of the young man’s chair.
“See, when I said ‘You and I would get along just fine’, that’s another way to say that ‘I won’t have to kill you’. But you hurt my daughter, and I really have no choice now, do I? After all, I am a man of my word.”
“Please don’t, please…I’ll do anything!” the young man pleaded.
The older man kicked the chair forward, plunging the young man face down into the water.
He sat in his chair, struck a wooden match and lit his cigar. He took a deep drag, marveled at what a beautiful night it really was. Despite the splashing sounds as the chair in the water rocked and thrashed frantically.
“How’d it go?”, his wife called from the deck.
“Good. Good talk” he loudly replied. “Be in in a minute.”
As soon as the bubbles stop, he grinned.