Costello's Daughter

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Father's reaction to tragic accident

Costello’s Daughter


The police car with siren blaring screeched into the driveway. Two cops jumped out and ran across the hard frozen ground to the back yard, as more patrol cars arrived. Right away the first cop yelled, “Officer Schlosberg, what’s going on here, Costello?”

There was Costello’s ten-year-old daughter standing about five feet from her father, their heads thrust forward as though they couldn’t quite hear each other.

The girl was sobbing, her words ran together; “Don’t blame me, Daddy. I just went upstairs to the bathroom. I saw that kid from next door out the window.”

“You let that retard kill my son!”

“He must’ve gotten away from his mother and sneaked into our yard. He grabbed Joey and threw him in the aqueduct. I screamed, Daddy. I screamed and screamed for him to stop. He was holding Joey’s head under when I ran outside.”

“You just watched him drown my son?”

“Joey is my brother, Daddy; I’d never want him to get hurt. When I saw him floating down the aqueduct, I jumped right in and tried to get him.”

She stretched her arms toward Costello, begging her father to hold her.

He shrieked hysterically, pounding a fist into the palm of his hand. “The god damn town—putting that aqueduct right through my yard. I told the bastards to fence it off.”

Turning toward his daughter, he squinted, eyes black and menacing, “You were supposed to watch him ‘til your mother got home. You might as well’ve killed Joey yourself. My only son.”

“Please Daddy,” she begged. “He sunk. He disappeared. I couldn’t find him.”

Schlosberg tried to put a blanket around her shoulders, but she threw it off as she ran after Costello while he paced across the small yard, back and forth along the edge of the aqueduct.

Costello glared wildly at the group of on-lookers who had gathered, silhouetted against the bleak December sky. “Where’s my wife? Why isn’t she home from work? She’s supposed to be here.”

“Daddy. Listen to me. It wasn’t my fault. Please, Daddy.” His daughter’s shrill, insistent voice pierced the late afternoon air.

“Someone, take her away,” he barked.

“I didn’t want it to happen. I was only upstairs for a minute. Don’t hit me, Daddy.” Schlosberg tense his body when Costello raised his fist.

“I said to get her out of my sight,” Costello bellowed at the other cops who were standing motionless.

“I love Joey. Daddy, you know I do. It wasn’t my fault. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Costello suddenly jumped into the aqueduct. The four feet of icy water was flowing rapidly. He extended his arms deep into the numbing rush, feeling for his son’s body, pushing his legs against the flow as he stumbled forward. He screamed Joey’s name again and again. His daughter plunged in behind him, grasping his shirt, trying to hold on, her feet slipping over the smooth round stones that lined the aqueduct.

Schlosberg and his partner reached into the freezing water and grabbed her. She fought them, kicking wildly as they lifted her out. “Stop it. Let go. I need to help my Daddy.”

“Shut her the hell up and get her away from me,” Costello shouted.

It took four cops to drag Costello out of the water. He stood there, lips blue and clenched, breathing hard through his nose. They formed a loose circle around him. His short, solid body, tense, shivering uncontrollably.

“Now listen,” Schlosberg said, “I want you to calm down Costello, while we figure out the facts. And you and your daughter need to get into dry clothes. We’re real sorry about what happened here, but it isn’t the girl’s doing. You shouldn’t put it on her. She’s just a kid herself. Everyone feels real bad.”

Costello threw a punch at Schlosberg. And then another. Soon he was pummeling anyone who came near. The cops closed the circle around Costello, forming a human fence, protecting him against his rage.

When Schlosberg tried to put his arms around the girl, she lunged out of his grasp, wanting to break through the barrier and reach her father.  “Don’t hurt him,” she begged as she pounded on the back of one of the cops.

“I wish it was me instead of Joey,” she screamed through chattering teeth. “Daddy, are you listening? I wish it was me.”

“I wish it was, too,” Costello yelled back. “I wish it was, too.”



Submitted: August 31, 2019

© Copyright 2020 JBVz. All rights reserved.

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