"What are you doing here?" The mother of the man's children called out from the elevated pathway on the lawn above in the gathering gloom of dusk to ask why he was there.
"I’m here to pick up my minor children for our court-ordered visitation, because it’s 6 P.M. on the day before a holiday. Please send them out ready to go with me."
The man had approached his former house after parking his car up the block, cell phone in hand in preparation to stopping on the public sidewalk and calling the house to leave a message saying that he was outside to begin his visitation with his children, who lived there with their mother. On every other weekend and before every holiday for years now no one had ever answered his calls, returned his messages or sent any children out.
In the divorce wars, although children are loved they are not in fact priceless. There isn't enough money in the world, nor time in eternity, for an alienated parent to keep running to court to effectively deal with a scofflaw, dissembling and manipulative counterpart.
Always, the house was dark. This time it was too, but two adults, the mother and a strange man, were coming out of the house as the father walked up on the public sidewalk.
When he saw the father, the man shrank back towards the house. The mother stopped on the walkway above and said, "They're not here."
"Why not?" the father asked. "The visitation order is quite clear so there must have been some emergency circumstance which you didn’t communicate to me beforehand as required which prevented them from being here ready to go with me on visitation."
"I’m not going to discuss this with you," the woman said. That was her standard answer whenever the father attempted to speak with her about her extra-judicial interference with his relationship with his children.
The woman turned imperiously to the man standing behind her and snapped, "Let’s go." He sprang to her side and they swept down the stairs towards the father.
The father retreated off a few feet into the street so there could be no subsequent claim that he had" intimidated" them. He stood in the parking lane about fifteen feet behind a parked jeep.
"Get in," the mother ordered the man. He climbed the driver’s side of the jeep as she entered on the passenger's side.
The father stood still as the engine came to life, so as not to "startle" them. Suddenly the back-up lights came on and the car powered in reverse rapidly towards him.
He stood rooted in place by fear as the vehicle backed up swiftly at him. At the last instant the jeep was thrown into drive, and with a jerk it careened into the traffic lane and roared away.
As he watched the taillights dwindle and wink out down the street, the father speculated on whose idea it was to bluff running over him. He decided that it must have been a failure to follow through on a command instead.