Magnum Opus (a story)

Magnum Opus (a story)

Nikolai was sitting at his desk, waiting for the voices to settle down a bit till he could get back to writing. He knew this would be the book he would most be proud of. If only they let him write.
The book was about what it was like to live during a revolution. He knew it was wordy and he wasn’t sure how he could cut some of it. He also knew he couldn’t start over again. He would never begin this book again. It was too hard.
So many people had criticized his writing in the past and he was trying to incorporate their notes into this work. Writing was getting harder and harder for him to do. He kept erasing things that he knew they wouldn’t like. It was so frustrating.
Some of the voices were sticklers about grammar and spelling. And he did try his best when in the narrator’s voice, but some of his characters were back wood types. With little to no education. So how could he throw in big or correctly spelled words in their speech? How could he delete the idiom of the people and call it their story?
Some of the voices were historical critics and he kept having to remind them that this was a novel, not a treatise. And just the first draft. To set the tone. Fact checking could come later.
Some of the voices liked a certain type of person and they wanted the characters to be that. Rather than what would work best with the story. Or what came from his mind. He did try to add that in, but how would a tea drinking princess survive in rural Russia, where she had no servants to do the work? She’d literally die! if she was responsible for herself. The people did have to be plausible to the scene and the story.
And the hardest group to please, were the ones saying he should write something else. Because “the people”, “the audience” wanted to read something light and fun. Or something passionate. These people tried to keep him busy with consignments, so he couldn’t work at his opus. He did need the money and the practice…
People around him wanted him to quit writing altogether. And “get a job”. They said things like writing is no career choice “for a real man”. He should do something “manly” like farming or carpentry. It was somehow, in their opinion, more honourable work. More honourable work than writing the philosophical truth of a people? How??
And last, but not least, the priest of his village was crying over his immortal soul. And that worried his mother so. She was a very religious woman. So the priest thinking her son was evil, was breaking her heart. She asked him if she had not raised him right? She was worried about being excommunicated from her church. The one she had gone to all her life. Had been baptised in, married in, buried her husband in, and raised her boys in.
Nikolai was wasting away with his worries. The voices were so wrapped up in their dialogue, they ignored his biological needs. He skipped more and more meals. He drank less water or milk and more vodka. He was throwing up more and more. His skin was getting sallow.
After months of this inner struggle and self neglect, he threw a blood clot and died at his desk. He was there for a few weeks, before his mother and brother came looking for him. Mother brought him his favourite cookies. Brother was luckily the one who found him, and blocked hiis mother from seeing him. Poor brother was a mess though. For many nights after, he had nightmares of his brother standing up and chasing him thru the house.
His mother threw out the contentious writing. But the world is grateful that he had given a friend a copy to proof read.
His friend snuck the work out of the village and took it to the city to a publisher. Even unfinished, they published the story and it became a zeitgeist of Nikolai’s time.
They fixed the grammar and spelling, but only for the narrator;s voice. They did not add any characters or scenes. They did not add sex or flourish or make it more pop. They saw it was a story that needed to be told.
And at the front of the book, they told Nikolai’s story.
His mother blushed whenever she heard the title. But she knew they were her son’s last thoughts. And she missed him so much! His brother read a copy and burned it at Nikolai’s grave. Then drank a bottle of vodka and passed out there, crying. He stumbled home to his mother’s house a few hours later. She fed him soup and bread and put him to bed.
He felt terrible for burning his brother’s book. And bought another copy.
But it was too late. Nikolai was gone.
The voices in his head had stolen his breath. But his voice lives on.


Under the House (a story)

Under the House (a story)

No noise or sensory experience could completely cover the sound of the horrendous chewing below Sandringham House. Though believe me, they tried really hard. Their efforts to make noise seemed to make it worse actually. As if excess was it’s trigger.
The ragtime piano player stomped and pounded, but that didn’t work, even with 40-50 dancers hopping around to some animal dance and practically making the floor shake. Not even when they danced to some Brazillian jig did it make the sound go away. The ladies found it a challenge to listen to the wet chewing, and were often nauseous. Some to the point of needing to loosen their stays. The meals were a work in progress, when they were trying to ignore the unwelcome chewing, as if a horse or cow were chewing, chewing, chewing… Never quite able to complete their meal. Patiently working at the chew and regurgitate dichotomy of a meal. I mean, could you eat thru that?
The house parties were not only loud to have fun, with the dancing, gambling and hunting parties. But mostly meant to drown out that incessant chewing.
And worst of all, even the steam engine going by never seemd to drown out the chewing. Not completely.
As a last straw, the Prince asked a medium to come by and see what she could divine. See if they could eliminate this horrible noise once and for all.
She meditated and listened for almost a week. And finally came to tell him what she had discovered.
“Your mother was focused on the sins and the plight of women, as she should be. The spirits were pleased. This is what they are used to. But you have chosen in your own grief to focus on children and have lightened the world. The spirits are adjusting to this new tone. In their fear of the new, they have decided to warn you about excess.
Under the house is a large… um gelatinous… creature? It sits and chews. It’s made of ectoplasm.”
The prince stared at the medium. “Is there anything we can do to stop this horror? All we have done is live life and have some fun. We mean no harm”
“And that is why the creature simply chews. It’s warning of excess, not threatening any of you.”
The prince commissioned a second house to be built away from this house. He hoped changing the location of their festivities would take them away from the spirits’ notice, so they no longer had to listen to that nauseous noise.
It didn’t work…
So the Prince decided to only invite guests when it was summer and they could eat under a tent, outside. At least the chewing wouldn’t sound trapped and loud, with walls holding it in check.

The Blooded Child (a story)

The Blooded Child (a story)

Deep in the dark of one night’s sleep, a group of soldiers came to our village and stole many lives. Most were lucky enough to make it into a grave that night. But some of us were taken from one life of desperation to another.
Most of the boys were made into soldiers. They were given a gun and told they would get three meals a day and a roof over their head if they joined the army. I don’t know if those promises were made good on, but the boys chosen for that life tucked their heads in and went with the soldiers. They didn’t even think about running away. Or so it seemed. Cuzz not one of them looked back at the village as they walked away.
I heard some came back with limbs missing cuzz they stepped on a landmine. Some were left as carrion at roadside.
Some of the prettier and younger boys and girls were separated out and told they would be going off to rich lands to live with new moms or dads in big houses. Never again to worry about food to eat.
There were rumours of back lane sales of these kids to fund the war efforts. They gave their bodies till they weren’t so pretty any more. That’s what I heard anyway. Some as breeders for the next generation of soldiers, some as toys for men who could pay well for their aberrations.
Some hefty lads were sold to farmers who needed brute labour. There were rumours of whipping in fields if they didn’t move fast enough, or jump when given an order.
A few of us girls were culled out to become the wives of the generals. Barely old enough to read, yet we became a bride. We sat on their knees as they ruled the soldiers, or paid the price. We were considered the lucky ones. But our manic husbands often took their war terrors out on us. They weren’t the first generation, and probably not the last either.
In to the war coffers the money went. But they kept strictly to the rules and not one child with a gun was under 15. They laughed everytime the ranks were audited.
My husband had been abducted from the village well as he went to get water for his family. His little brother was sick and mother had asked him to go get the water. He was told his mother had sold him to get the younger child medicine. He believed them. He was 10 at the time.
He had a chance once to go to the village where he had heard his mom now lived. But he couldn’t tell her of what he had been forced to do at first, then gotten used to doing as habit. Till he got good at it.
He felt too ashamed to tell his own mother. But he now made others do it. And could package that away in his soul, as a war need somehow.
He saw me as his comfort, his prize, for doing what needed to be done.
He seemed like a grown and evil man, till he was alone with me. Then we played as if he were my own age. It was weird and sad, even though I was truly frightened of him.
When I was made to bear his child, I lost the battle and so did his child. My body too young to go safely thru this labour.
He went to the next village and picked another bride, as if I had never existed. He needed a wife on his arm to look like a man to his soldiers. My death and my child’s was my flaw. He just tried again.
The war would rage as long as there was a faith to fight against, and people desperate enough to fight for the cause. And kids who could fight or be sold for the bounty.
I wonder how long that will be?


## . . . .

UN says that use of children under 15 as soldiers is a war crime.

Factors are poverty, lack of opps in education and health care. In other words, desperation. If that doesn’t **recruit** them, then they’re abducted.

[unicef report][]

[unicef – child protection report][]
[UN’s #childrennotsoldiers campaign][]

(watch the videos)
[cub of Baghdad?][]
[boy soldiers][]
In 1977, the Geneva Convention was amended to include a new rule of war, that “children who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities”, and in 1998, the International Criminal Court was established under a statute that “enlisting children under the age of 15 is a war crime”.

[teen thought is linear, idealistic, emo and peer driven][]


child soldierBeFunky Collage

child miners

maps of where mines are that children as young as 10 work in in ubsafe and potentially life-ending conditions for gold, silver, diamonds, minerals, coal, copper and cobalt (which is used for your smart phone).  Of course, most are in poverty stricken nations. So the 1rst world can have it’s conveniences and technology. Children who labour, instead of going to school and playing. And just plain breathing fresh air.

the invisible child (a story)

mines BeFunky Collage


The Invisible Child (a story)

Nobody thought of him anymore. They didn’t know he existed after all. Not in such a clean and affluent world. He was covered in dirt and miles under the earth. Where no one would think to look for a child. Weren’t there laws that prevented his being hired at all? Let alone working as long, hard and in as unsafe conditions. Last week, his best friend had died in his arms. Trying to protect him. When he really hadn’t wanted to be protected. He wished he could change places, to be honest. But it’s not like he could make the wish so. No one would notice if he lived or died, but his friend had had family. And now the keening of his mom was ringing thru the village. She certainly had other mothers to support her wail. Who had lost children to the mine. But what choice did they have? It was the mine or nothing around these parts. If you wanted to stay in the village of your birth. It was all the people knew after all.
Now he worked around the ghosts of his friends and the story spirits mothers and grandmothers told of their lost babies, some as young as four years old. He knew where each child had died, and stepped just there to see if the devil mine would take him as well. But so far he was still alive, even if he was buried each day for the consumption of others. Not having heard of hopscotch, he was playing a deadly game of it.
He walked in rhythm to the coughs and rawls of his pale fellow workers and it became almost music in his brain. He wondered if it would sell to the rich who claimed to need the stuff the mines had brought them? Probably not.
He had heard of something called a “smart phone” that had become a new craze and wondered if it was so important when it drew the breath from a child? Did the people who bought them know the price his friend had just paid? Was the fad worth it? His bosses thought so. They kept praying for more purchases.
He shuffled between the condemned spots, torn between being glad he had the job so if he was going to survive, he could eat tonight, and being so furious that a fad could cost the life of his friends and neighbours. His anger was the stuff from which revolutions and wars came from. Yet few of those who bought the phones even knew of the blood on them. And would blame the angry and mourning for their actions, not themselves for their purchase. Funny how that works.
One phone would make no difference, but he wondered how would a boycott affect the mine, if the rich knew that they could make changes, so at least the death their phone caused wasn’t that of a small child.
But they needed small hands, here and in the factory where the phones were made. So women and children were the first hired and the most in danger. For a fad.
He went back to his game of hopscotch, fuming. If he lived long enough, he would pass on this rage to his children. Just as other fathers and mothers were to their children. He wondered how many deaths it would take before violence rose up. And how long it would be before the soldiers came to beat down their cause when it did. It was just a matter of time.

## . . . .
[modern child mining][–en/index.htm]

the rise of the cyborg (a story)

Sometimes I look back at history and the process of inventions and I am worried about the future of humanity. Ok maybe often.

We seem to be stuck in a pattern of alienation and splintering or fragmenting people right out of existance. I can see where convenience became more important than people. I can see where independence became more important than belonging.

Which makes me wonder if there will be a day when we become more robot than human. Will we be a planet of cyborgs some day in the not too distant future? Only enough blood and guts left so any invader from another planet still qualifies us as alive? How much would that be?

Only enough bonding left to self and other, that we can be called a social being.

Will eugenics ever become more than the person who might go on to save the world? Or be the best of a school of art or philosophy? Or has it become so already?

Does the soul exist separate from the body, and if so, can it be transmitted to some other receptacle so it can have a longer life when it is deemed worthy?

Do we need to consider that production and compliance with the govt might have superceded autonomy and family in our social constructs?

## . . . .

Cyborg 25-14- 380 finished reading the philosophical questions and the treatises of earlier times and laughed at their delusions. He thought that no matter what was done, each of those people and each of those inventions were easily replaceable. It was like thinking you could chop the head off the hydra to think you could go back and eliminate one and anything would change. His human ancestors were not only superstitious, but also delusional. The world would be what it was, no matter what was done.

## . . . .

1760 to 1840.

[industrial revolution][]

[and it’s innovations][]

[the timeline][]

[first industrial robot][]
[assembly line][]

## . . . .






the spirit of the salon (a story)

It was her first time at the salon and she was both excited and nervous. Her great aunt was one of the grand dames chaperoning the night. And as a result, she was given an invitation, when she came of age.
Her aunt described the manor to her, so she would know where to go thru the evening.
Inside the front door, in the first reception room was the room where there was an instrument night. Tonight, the performer was playing a flute. So she sat for a bit and listened to it’s soft whispering tone. She had a lovely daydream of tall grass with a light breeze blowing it around.
Then she moved onto the next room. There were small tables with a small board that had pegs on it and decks of cards. She quietly asked a person just inside the door what it was. She was told cribbage. So she watched a few hands to see what it was about.
Then moved on to the next room. There was a poetry reading. She was delighted to find that the Brownings were the poets of this night. She adored their story as much as their poetry.
A bell rang and the people gathered in the hall for a cup of tea and some lovely cookies and sandwiches. By then she was ready to wet her tongue a bit. The air was quite dry.
After the tea, there was a card handed around to everyone with this evening’s discussion topic. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it wasn’t politics. But she ducked out before it awoke. She just wanted a light evening. It wasn’t that long since she’d been in school. She wasn’t quite ready for deep topics as yet.
The next room had an artist at his easel. Her aunt had said it was a youngish man named Rossetti . He was just finishing drawing a young woman he had brought with him. And as she sat watching, he wrote a sonnet on the back of the piece. He dedicated it to his sponsor of the evening.
In the last room, they had a magician who was half doing a card trick and half watching the seance which was the main event in the room. He didn’t seem to want them to know he was observing so closely. He glanced down whenever the lady at the head of the table glanced his way. At the end of the seance, he laughed and told the room every trick they had performed. The audience giggled, half in relief and half in excitement. It was still a good show. Whether honest or not. The lady performing was only half way protesting. She had only done it for entertainment, so she didn’t really care if he saw thru her act or not. She lightly patted his cheek as she walked by him and smiled.
And in the final room, there was a sloe gin punch for the ladies and a madeira for the men. Everyone was chatting happily about the evening. Her aunt made a few introductions for her.
One of whom was a skeleton covered with a cape. So she knew her aunt had been tippling during the evening.
Which is what she thought again when her aunt said the man in front of her was a mid-range demon, who was chained in servitude to the lord of the manor. She just stifled her grin by biting her cheek.
But then she looked into his eyes, and saw souls screaming in them.
She woke up in a start. And convinced herself it was a dream. Till she saw the dress she had worn in the dream was on the dummy on the corner. And she’d never seen it before this day!


## . . . .
definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate” (“aut delectare aut prodesse”). became the backdrop for a wave of entertaining across Europe.
In that vein,
## . . . .
[Catherine de Vivonne,][,_marquise_de_Rambouillet] marquise de Rambouillet developed the rules of salon etiquette.
In a time of social censure and needing a chaperone to engage in respectable contact between genders, the salon was a much needed method of socializing for both genders; and learning for women in salons like those within the [blue stocking society][] . It gave women a chance to learn more than domestic skills and knitting/crocheting. To do more than raise their children and cater to their husbands. It was a wave of feminism in a restrictive time.

the rise of Amelie (a story)

the rise of Amelie (a story)

Hello there,
I came to tell you a tale from my youth. It happened so very long ago. It’s about a night unlike any other one. Yet it began much the same as any other one.
I went downstairs to get a story and a cuddle, before the nanny took me off to the nursery.
Everyone thought I had gone to sleep, as was my wont to do. But for some reason I was restive. So I crawled up to look out of the nursery window. It was a cool crisp night. The kind where if you got snow in your land, it would be coming quite soon. You just knew it by the air and the way it moved.
The stars were sparkling, the night sky was ebony and everyone but me was asleep.
For some reason, I looked up further into the few clouds and saw some kind of flock coming toward the house. I say flock, but they didn’t seem like birds to me. So I watched.
Ok shame me for my childish imagination, but I pinkie swear what I say to be true, and the fact I still remain above ground should be enough to say something odd took place. But there was a little pale boy and a bunch of goblins! I shook my head, yet here they came toward our lawn.
And on the lawn, I saw a bunch of faeries gathered as if they knew the boy and had gathered, to greet him perhaps?
Yet he didn’t look pleased to see them. But then he cackled so, and my spine just made every effort to crawl up and hide in my neck, the laugh was so evil.
I looked for a battle, but instead I saw a dance-off begin. Much like at mother and father’s parties, when they let me stay up a bit to watch.
It looked like some dance of pride. Some bow to begin, and they began their rounds of seduction and greeting. I giggled as I always did when I saw good courting.
Then the dance began with a great step , and the one side showed the other which dance, with the music, was to begin their frolic.
They were like chickens and roosters in the yard, avoiding some areas and plucking seed from others so they would stay there for a few steps. Some territorial dispute perhaps? They seemed to be showing the edges of the battleground.
They swung each other around as if in a feud over some deep misunderstanding. Perhaps that’s the point at which greed stepped into the dance? But whatever it was, it was a deep passion.
Just like the chickens, they were hopping and strutting as if they were putting on a show to entrance the rooster with their verility. Or was it the rooster who was the show off? I giggled again.
I think the little boy heard me, as he looked at the nursery window. So I ducked down for a few minutes.
When reassured he was engaged in the dance again, I peeked over the edge. There had been a change in the dance. Some form of march or promenade had formed.
I was beginning to see why it was the adults were the only dancers at a party. Unless there was a folk song. There was a real sense of flirtation in some of the songs. It surprised me that some of the village elders allowed the young adults to perform these risque moves. I was blushing in my innocence. A sense of in and out began between the chickens and the roosters. As if they were about to rut like the farm animals did. When mother or nanny would turn my head away, till we were past that section of the yard.
Finally, it seemed like the side with the pale boy had won some victory. The other side succumbed to their lead. And bowed their heads as they were led away.
Just as I was about to go back to bed, the pale boy flew to my window and stared into my eyes with a hypnotic glow and I was spellbound to him.
Then I softly fell into bed and he flew away, leaving nothing for the whole show but a frost on the window.
In the morning, my nanny said in an off the cuff way, “Oh it looks like Jack Frost was here last night”. I replied, “Is that who he was?”. She looked at me askance, so I told her about the dance.
My nanny laughed at my tale and said I should tell the story to my parents when we met at breakfast. I was crushed.
I’ll leave you to judge, if the tale is true, For whatever or whoever the boy was, or if in my dream or not, I am still here over 300 years later…

. . . .

## . . . .
Victorian dances and etiquette for the curious.
Dance Etiquette
Please follow the Victorian social customs when dancing:

• It is expected a gentleman will dance the Grand March, the first waltz and the last waltz with his lady.


• It is expected all dancers will participate in some dances with other partners.

[fox trot][]

• A lady must be escorted to and from the dance floor by her dance partner.


• A gentleman will never approach a lady to whom he has not been properly introduced.


• A gentlemen may ask a lady’s escort or any male member of her family for an introduction.


• Any such request for an introduction may be refused.


• A lady may capture a gentleman’s eye through discrete, ladylike gestures with her fan.


• A lady will never engage herself with a gentleman to whom she has not been properly introduced.


• A lady should honor commitments made to gentlemen on the dance card.


• A lady may refuse a gentleman’s request for any dance.

• A gentleman should accept such refusal gracefully.


• Gentlemen should remove their sabers and spurs prior to the first waltz.


• A gentleman should refrain from smoking, spitting, fighting, or using colorful language on the dance floor or any other location in the presence of ladies.

chocolate (a story)

There once was a man who had no feelings, didn’t want a relationship, took no risks, and would rather feel pain than joy.
He had a job that covered his needs. He needed no more than a roof over his head, comfortable seasonal clothes and a needs-must diet (meat, starch and two veg) so he wouldn’t die of starvation or scurvey.
He said women were trouble, so he never dated them. If it weren’t for his characteristic of loyalty, he wouldn’t see even his own mother. But every Sunday, he stopped over for dinner to see if she was still alive.
And when he had an itch, he rubbed one off. He planned on dying a virgin.
He said there was no such thing as friendship, so he never went to clubs or engaged in hobbies. For exercise, he went out for a brisk walk. There was no such thing as fun. Dreams and hope were for children. He was a grownup after all. Duty and loyalty were his buzz words.
His mother put up with his attitude for the most part. Except, she refused to bow down when he insisted that he could not have a sweet as dessert. Well it was her house, so she would have chocolate on the table. He said it was too sweet.
So mother decided to investigate and find ways of making chocolate more palatable for this boring man. She tried mixing the chocolate with different things so it wasn’t sweet,, but still tasted good to her.
## . . . .
[bitter and sweet diet][]
one of the following – ginger, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilis, coffee/espresso beans, nuts, orange/lemon/lime, bacon
with dark, bittersweet chocolate
## . . . .
Being a man, he was more interested in the ones that were fatty, like nuts and bacon. And he did like his coffee now and then. So what harm would it be if she made it with chocolate?
When he said yes, she reminded him that life and love were like chocolate. Bittersweet. The sweet tasted better if there was a foil. And the bitter was palatable with the sweet, but rarely on it’s own.
But to be honest, she hoped that the chocolate would soothe him. She had yet to meet someone who could resist the mmmmm-ness on their tongue. (Is there a word for that?)
When she served chocolate with bacon, he did get that drool look on his face. And actually took some time before swallowing it. That was a good sign. But he assured her it wasn’t the chocolate. And considering that men do have different tastes than women, he might have been telling the truth. Men do love bacon.
Mother introduced him to women from her church. But all he ever did was be unfailingly courteous to them. Well he had been raised right. She patted herself on the back.
She talked him into a Sunday evening stroll in the park with her. She knew there was a ball game there. He glanced over it and continued the walk.
Finally, she talked to her doctor…
She was in her worried mom mode. It appears it could be just that someone had hurt him. Which just meant he needed time to heal. But there might be something deeper wrong.
## . . . .
## . . . .
She tried to get her son to go to the doctor, but like a lot of men, he refused. And the doctor had said, she couldn’t force the issue. He had a job, he ate, he slept. Seemed pretty functional. To everyone else though, his life was pretty dang sad. Especially to his mom.

oooops! he fell down! (a story)

OOOOPS! He Fell Down! (a story)

Noone but her lover and she knew about their affair. They both appeared happy in their marriages, and by most standards they were. At least content. They and their mates were well off, healthy, fit, had all the kids they wanted and an attentive spouse. One who still wanted them, were involved sexually as well.
Maybe it was just wanting something strange, well at first. But they became hooked by the fetishes they both enjoyed.
But that’s not the real story. It’s not about sex or romance, or even a selfish person who had to have their way. Damn the costs. You’d think so. But it’s not.

Her husband was a busy man, with a lot on his plate. He’d made enemies and friends. But you know, there comes an age in life when not everyone in the world thinks you’re so adorbs they want to smush your cheeks and hugs you up. You might be a bit brash for their tastes, or whatever. Usually not a biggy. Or they might have been passed over, when you got your promotions, so they are jealous. Or maybe someone has a crush on you and your lack of interest has made them really really angry. Or you might be a liberal and they are conservative and they think you’re a dolt cuzz you have that mindset in your politics and world view.

Life happens in other words. And it’s usually not a big deal… till you show up dead one day at the morgue. Then all these things and people become motives for a death no one can figure out. There are no wounds, the tox and drug screens come back with no concerns.
You are a fit person. Your lungs, and heart work well. And yet here we are. You’re dead. And someone must have done something.

Your cause of death? Well if you had been able to speak… you would have mentioned that loud noises startled you and made your face, neck and knees go weird. Depending how loud they were, you might look like a drunken sod as you tried to stay on your feet. Or how you got used to not laughing because it made you sloppy on your feet, a clutz, and people looked at you like you should be ashamed for drinking so early in the day.

You were just at the point when you were thinking seriously about calling your doctor when you died. So no one knew what you knew. And as a result of your cataplexy, when you were downtown one day, picking up flowers for your wife, and a gun started blasting off, you had a crisis. You fell to your knees, at the edge of a staircase. You couldn’t stop yourself from falling. Your neck snapped in the wrong direction, because it was in an odd place to begin with due to the condition no one knew of. And during the fall, your neck was broken. You died instantly.

There was a suspicious death inquiry. They suspected poisoning or someone slipped you a drug to make you less able on your feet. People had motives, right? Especially your wife. They always look at the spouse first. She was having an affair, and you had a decent insurance setup. She was meant to receive your estate, for herself and as guardian of your kids.
Until she ended up in jail.

It’s almost poetic justice, in a way. After all, you’d be pissed if you knew she was cheating on you, wouldn’t you? You sure wouldn’t want her to receive all your money and custody of your kids, when she was nothing but a liar and a cheat, would you?

I can almost hear you laughing now 😛