A Bad Feeling
Tonight followed afternoon, the afternoon’s argument with his daughter, Charlotte, and a back-and-forth over the length of her skirt. Every parent / daughter does it and neither side wins; resentment, looks of hurt, mistrust, regardless of which side gets their way.
He’d phoned her mobile later, left a message, said he was sorry, that he had to go into work, for her to be careful. He knew she’d shake her head, feel stifled, like a child.
Elizabeth often told him he was too soft, that Charlotte took advantage, that she was a Daddy’s girl, and she was usually right. He’d known Elizabeth half his life and it had taken half of that to have their daughter, their only child, so it was his job, like it was his job to go and see dead bodies under bridges. No other detail than that; no age, no gender, but he didn’t want to know. Know too much and you start thinking, give them a family, a life.
If he was lucky tonight it would still be clothed, intact, simple. A mugging gone wrong, gunshot wound, knife through the heart. He was nearing retirement and that didn’t suit complicated.
Slipping down the wet steps he growled and went to put his hands out but steadied. He hated that; lack of balance, of control.
Those already there, his colleagues, looked particularly grim. “Crap. It’s a bad one,” he said to himself.
No-one spoke as he walked to the bridge, to the body.
He felt the tears come and he didn’t care who saw them, then felt his phone vibrate, looked at the name on the screen. He pressed the green button hesitantly. “Charlotte. Your mother.”
Photography courtesy of morguefile.com.
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