THE “CRUEL” FATHER
Fiction Short Story
A man – in his mid-40’s – he is working in his office.
It is around 6 PM
The man is focused on the screen of the workstation in front of him – and his laptop is also open on the side.
His mobile phone is switched off.
The landline phone-cum-intercom receiver is off the hook.
His secretary opens the door and comes in.
She walks to the landline-cum-intercom phone instrument and keeps the receiver back in place on the hook.
The man looks angrily at his secretary and he shouts at her.
“I have deliberately kept the phone off the hook – I am working on something very important – and I told you not to disturb me – why have you come into the office…?” the man says angrily to his secretary.
“Sir – a woman wants to speak to you urgently – she says it is an emergency….” the secretary says to the man.
“A woman…?” the man asks, curious.
“The woman said that she is your wife. I told her that you are not married – but – she said that she is your ex-wife. I didn’t know that you were divorced, Sir…” the secretary says.
“You mind your own business…” the man shouts at his secretary, “And – no phone calls – I am working towards a deadline – I have to complete it today – do you understand…?”
“Yes, Sir…” the secretary says, “I will tell that woman…”
The secretary leaves the office.
The man looks at the screen and starts working.
Three minutes later – the buzzer on his intercom rings.
It is his secretary.
The man picks up the handset.
“What is wrong with you…? I told you not to disturb me…” the man shouts at his secretary.
“Sir – it is that woman again – your ex-wife – she is saying it is a serious emergency – a matter of life-and-death – I am connecting her…” the secretary says – and – before than man can say anything – the secretary connects the call.
The man hears his ex-wife’s voice on the phone.
“Hello – Manish – is it you…?” his ex-wife Monika says, her voice full of anxiety.
“Why are you disturbing me…? From where did you get my number…?” the man named Manish says to this ex-wife Monika.
“Please, Manish – I need your help – our son is in trouble…” his ex-wife Monika says.
“He is your son – I have nothing to do with him…” the man says, angrily.
“Please listen…” the woman pleads, “our son has been arrested – in your city – please go and save him – I will tell you all the details…”
“Arrested…? For what…?” the man asks his ex-wife.
“Drugs…” the woman starts speaking – but the man interrupts her.
“Drugs…? You bloody bitch. You denied me custody of my son saying that I would not bring him up properly – and – what have you done…? You have made our son into a drug addict – or worse – is he a drug peddler…? the man says to his ex-wife – with disgust in his voice.
“This is not the time to discuss all this – please go and save him – get him out on bail – please…” the woman says, in a beseeching voice.
“Why don’t you come and do the needful…?” the man says to his ex-wife.
“I am stuck here in COVID Quarantine – I can’t come for at least one week – and the flights are getting cancelled too…” the woman says.
“Then let him stay in jail till you come – bloody “Druggie” – he deserves it…” the man says.
“Please don’t be so cruel…” the woman says.
“Cruel…? I am cruel…? Don’t you remember what he said about me in court…?” the man says, angrily.
“He was a small boy…” the woman says.
“Small Boy – My Foot…!!! He was 12 years old – he was old enough to understand what he was doing. He said that I was cruel – that I violently abused him – that I indulged in inappropriate behaviour – he even uttered unspeakable things – all disgusting falsehoods and lies – because of which I was branded a pedophile – disgraced, ostracized, humiliated – I lost my job and had to relocate…” the man says to his ex-wife.
“I am very sorry – but – he just said in court what he had been tutored to say – the lawyers told us that it would be easy to get custody and a restraining order…” the woman says – when the man interrupts her.
“Then tell those lawyers to go and save him…” the man says, mockingly.
“I know we were wrong – please forgive us – at least forgive him…” the woman says.
“Forgive him…? Don’t you remember what he said in court….? When they asked him with whom he wanted to stay – he said he wanted to stay with his mother – he also said that he hated me – that he was afraid to stay with me because I abused him – all filthy lies…” the man says, with contempt.
“Please listen to me – I beg you…” the woman says to her ex-husband.
“Just shut up. You filthy whore. You cheated on me – it was you who committed adultery – and then – you filed false cases of dowry, cruelty and domestic abuse against me. I was the victim – but all of you – your entire clan – you mercilessly gaslighted me – you made all sorts of fake allegations – and you tried to portray that I was the perpetrator – when actually – it was you who had sinned…” the man says to his ex-wife.
“Please forget all that – and go and save your son – at least go and see him – I will tell you the details – please write them down…” the ex-wife is saying to the man – but – the man interrupts her.
“I haven’t seen my son for 6 years – and – I don’t intend seeing him ever in my life – because of what he has done to me…” the man says, “I am not a Saint – I am a normal human being – I can never forgive my son for the disgusting way he tarnished me forever. Let him suffer for his wrongdoings – I don’t care….”
“Don’t be so cruel…” the woman says to her ex-husband.
“Cruel…? Me…? It was you who took full custody of our son – it was you who got the restraining order against me and prevented me from meeting him – so – now – it is you who will have to save him. Good Bye. Don’t contact me again…” the man says to his ex-wife – and he puts down the phone.
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Sounds regular. Most people would behave like this
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