I am a Dad

tower

© Jilly Funell

“All I want is to see my son, Constable.”

“I perfectly understand. However, you must understand that scaling the tower is a dangerous. I must ask that you come down with me.”

“I’ve made my point and appreciate your compassion.”

Timothy Briggs looked as four men pulled the banner stating “Equal rights for fathers. Change the law Mr Blair” up to the platform of the Millennium Tower. It had been three months since the courts determined that his ex-wife could cut off his visits with two-year-old Ian. His eyes filled with tears at the thought of his only child.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a flash fiction piece no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

Upon seeing the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, I looked it up and discovered that:

during the final construction phase a protester from the rights group Fathers 4 Justice scaled the tower wearing a high-visibility jacket and unfurling a banner in the process.

This incident was covered by the BBC News in this 30 December 2004 story. At the time, the tower was still under construction and called the Millennium Tower.

I also looked up Fathers 4 Justice and took the title of this wee bit of fact based fiction from their slogan “I am a Dad.” The names and dialogue used in my story are fictitious.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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41 thoughts on “I am a Dad

  1. I can understand the father’s wish, as a father myself I can’t imagine not being able to see my children. However, Fathers4Justice became quite a controversial group, constantly breaking the law and organising intimidating rallies and protests. I can agree with their point, but not their methods.

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  2. Dads are definitely treated unfavourably. The real difficulty, though, is how bitter most break-ups seem to become. As soon as you get adversarial positions the kids’ welfare is at risk of being overlooked. You tackled a big and emotional topic this week, James, and made your point effectively.

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    • Thanks, Penny. My son is divorced, and while things can get tense from time to time, he and my ex-daughter-in-law seem to have fallen into a pattern. Currently, I do the pick up of the kids on Sunday, and then the children’s Mom comes to my house to pick them up the following Sunday. My wife and I are on friendly terms with her. It’s best for my grandchildren if they can see the adults being peaceful with each other over the long haul.

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  3. Your story may be fiction, but the situation repeats itself endlessly. Interestingly, as more women judges appear in family courts, more fathers are being given more custodial rights than when it was always a male judge.

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    • I think the legal system and society in general is slowly coming around. Historically, men have earned more money than women doing the same job because men were perceived as the primary breadwinner. Historically, women have been given primary custody of the children in a divorce, because it was perceived that they were more nurturing and that a Dad’s role in a child’s life was more ancillary. However if equality is truly equal, then both of those perceptions need to change.

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  4. I need to come back these flash fiction challenges, I have become quite lazy. Nice piece James in my country majority fathers don’t fight for their kids, they just happy to not spend money.

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  5. You did well to allow readers to form their own ideas about the characters involved in such a controversial situation. In my working life I dealt with too many people (often parents) who were very keen to complain about their rights not being recognised, while they were only too happy to overlook their own failure to have fulfilled their obligations over a very long period. Your protagonist’s tears might have been genuine, but they could equally have been prompted by guilt and self-pity. Thank you for leaving us to ponder on that question.

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  6. Well done for pulling this particular thread from the image, James. I wasn’t aware of that particular Dad’s exploit. However, having worked closely alongside a father who was being denied access to his children because his ex-wife had a new man in her life, I can understand desperate measures – even though I would never recommend them.

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    • It sounds like the stunts this particular men’s advocacy group pull off are kind of sketchy, but it does get them in the news, and I’ve heard that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

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