Story: Dear Daddy
By: Michael C. Keith
Revenge is a kind of wild justice.
–– Francis Bacon
Doug Barren pressed his mother about the identity of his birthfather for months before she very reluctantly told him. It was the most devastating revelation of his young life.
“I was raped at work . . . in the parking garage. You were born 9 months later. I didn’t want you to ever know that, but you’ve been insisting I tell you. And I can’t lie to you about what happened.”
“So my real father was a rapist? Oh my God! Who is he? Did he get caught?”
“Yes, they arrested him, and he was sent to prison for 5 years.”
“Five years for doing that to you? He should have been hanged.”
“Well, you’re here because of it, so a really bad thing turned into a really good thing.”
“I can’t believe it. I was born because of a violent crime? Jesus, how do I wrap my mind around that? I feel creepy . . . dirty. My whole life seems weird now. Like I don’t deserve to be here . . . shouldn’t be here.”
“Look, honey, it has nothing to do with who you are, so please try not to dwell on it.”
“How can I not do that, Mum? You just told me that I’m the result of a sexual assault.”
“You wanted to know who your natural father was . . .”
“Natural? Ha! That’s a good one. A sick crime and I’m here. Great legacy, huh? Where does dear old Daddy live now?”
”Why? It happened nearly two decades ago, and he paid the price. And I’ve got a beautiful son. Please be at peace with it. I am, Doug.”
“So tell me his name. I have a right to know that.”
“If I do, I want you to promise me you’ll forget about the whole thing and never do anything silly.”
“No, I can’t promise that, Mum.”
“Then I won’t tell you. I don’t want another tragedy on my hands.”
“Fine, then don’t,” fumed Doug.
* * *
Doug stop pursuing details with his mother and set out to find the name of his biological father on his own. It was not long before he discovered what he was searching for. The newspapers told the full story. The first published report from two decades earlier conveyed the following:
A young woman was attacked in the parking facilities of the McCoy and Franklin Company in Beresford. The victim sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment. The suspect is still at large.
Three days later, the local broadsheet revealed that the assailant had been caught.
Lamont Gilmore, 21, of Covington has been arrested and charged with the rape of Lucille Caufield in Beresford last Tuesday. The accused has no previous arrests and was an exemplary student, according to his solicitor. A trial date has been set.
Continuing his search, Doug found this statement in The Daily Echo:
Lamont Gilmore of Covington has been sent to Oxfordshire Gaol to serve out his sentence for the rape of a Beresford woman, who has since moved to London.
Lamont Gilmore, muttered Doug, as he searched the telephone directory for the name. There was no such person listed in Covington now. He then checked the Beresford directory and again found nothing. Finally, he went through the phone books of adjacent towns. With only one directory of the surrounding communities remaining, Doug came upon the name he was so desperate to find in the Brixham directory.
We’ll have to pay 14 Wollington Lane a visit, he thought, tearing the listing from the White Pages and placing it in his shirt pocket. Bet you’ll be glad to see your son . . . or maybe not. I’ll be really glad to see you and maybe get a little more justice for what you did to Mum.
* * *
On his day off from his new job at Alphagram Technologies in Trowbridge, Doug drove to Brixham and located Lamont Gilmore’s address. He parked across from the small, well-groomed cottage and waited. After an hour, he saw a woman and child approach with bundles and enter the house. Who are they? Your family, Daddy? Did you rape her, too? Maybe the little girl as well? Doug angrily mumbled. Another hour passed and then he spotted the man he instinctively knew must be his natural father.
The plan he had devised involved confronting Gilmore with a tire iron and smashing his knees after revealing to him that he was the child conceived in the rape of his mother. As Doug was about to execute his plan for revenge, however, an alternative idea occurred to him. It was an act he thought might inflict even more pain on his subject––something that would last as long as his mother’s dark memories of her horrible day 19 years earlier. What if I raped your wife, dear Daddy? How would you feel about that? Doug slumped down in the car to keep from being noticed.
After a few minutes, he sat back up when he thought the path was clear. I’ll break in when they’ve gone to bed. I’ve got rope in the trunk. Tie up Daddy Gilmore and make him watch while I put it to his wife. When I’m done, I’ll tell him who I am. He’ll never forget that. “In the end, the love you take . . .” you lousy bastard!
While Doug waited impatiently for darkness to arrive, his mind buzzed with a vast array of thoughts about what his father had done to his mother and how he would avenge the terrible act. But by the time night had arrived, he realized that he could not carry out his plan. The idea of raping someone disgusted him, and he was ashamed he had even thought about it. I’m not you. I’m far better than that. But you deserve to suffer. I’m not done with you.
Doug slowly drove home, deep in thought. On the way, he decided to return the following week and take up his original plan to smash the knees of his mother’s long-ago tormentor.
* * *
By the time the day came for Doug to drive back to Brixham to execute his plan, he had considered a host of new ways to inflict pain on his rapist-father. However, in the end, he felt that destroying Gilmore’s knees would guarantee that he would always be reminded of his disgusting crime. Every time you try to stand or walk, you’ll be punished for what you did, and I’ll make sure you know who did it to you . . . your little sonny boy.
Again, Doug parked across from Gilmore’s house and waited for his prey to appear. He did not have to wait long. As soon as his mother’s offender emerged from his house, Doug clutched the tire iron and went to confront him. He concealed his weapon behind his back as he moved toward 14 Wollington Lane and the object of his loathing.
“Are you Lamont Gilmore?” asked Doug.
“Yes, can I help you?” replied Gilmore.
“I have something for you from Lucille Caufield . . . remember her? The woman you raped 20 years ago.”
Just as Doug was about to strike with the tire iron, a young girl ran from the house screaming and pleading.
“Don’t hurt my Daddy! Please, don’t hurt him!”
And suddenly all of Doug’s determination and resolve dissolved, replaced by an overwhelming sense of sadness.
“No . . . no, I won’t hurt Daddy.”
For a moment both men stared into each other’s eyes. Then Doug turned and walked away, dropping the tire iron as he moved. A split second later, he sensed a figure descending on him from behind and prepared to defend himself. But when he swung around, the pathway leading to Gilmore’s house was empty.
Michael C. Keith writes fiction and teaches college. www.michaelckeith.com