Sunday, December 2, 2012

Murderous Thoughts



The “kids” at the dinner table, the same one they’d sat at for years, what’s left of a meal still scattered about. Lucy, the oldest, at the head of the table, where she always sits.  Danny, two years younger and then Richard, named after the father, now long since dead. They called him Little Dick because one day an Aunt says, “The boy looks like the old man”, so he was Little Dickie, and the name stuck. No one outside of the room had ever called him that.


Lucy’s high on red wine, Danny’s smoking weed and Dick wondering which way to go. They’re not kids anymore, now in their 60’s and thinking of snuffing the old lady. Lucy saying, “Tell it to me one more time”.


Her talking to Danny, who was always the numbers guy. The one who never had a problem at school. He’s looking at the plate in front of him, pushing around what’s left of a slice of peach pie with a spoon.


Not looking up, “I told you. It’s a cliff that the government created. On January 1 the taxes go up, and that’s that. The only way around it is if the fools in Washington step back and make a deal. If they don’t, then we get hit.”


Lucy still confused, saying, Why now? Adding, How much money is it?


The brother, looking disgusted, She’s worth about six mil all in. The capital gains rate going from 15% to 35% will hit us on her stocks and the house. Then there’s the 55% estate tax that kicks in over $1m versus the $5.1m it is now; it’s close to $3.5mil more tax owing than if she died today. It comes to about $1.2mil apiece.


Dickie, not liking where this is headed, and looking for some other way, Why don’t you use the Power of Attorney you’ve got and just transfer out the money now. Fuck the cliff and the three mil it will cost us.”


Danny, still playing with the pie, “You can’t do that. The IRS would see it as transfers in anticipation of death. We get caught, cost us big in fines.”


Dropping the spoon, turning to the sister, eyes meeting, “If she goes before the end of the year, it saves us a bundle. Even if there’s a compromise, they’ll still gouge us plenty.


Lucy, looking back, “It’s the meds that are keeping her going. Ninety-three, and her pressure 70 over 40, barely alive. If she stopped with the pressure pills, the numbers would fall a bit more; she’d fall asleep and just not wake up.”


Danny saying, How long”?  Lucy making sure what he’s asking, “You mean before she dies? Him saying, Yeah, how long’?”


“Maybe five days, it could be just one”. It got quiet with that.


After awhile, Lucy, being the oldest and the one who made all the decisions early on, tells it like it is, “We wait til Christmas, see what Washington is going to do to us. But then we have to choose”. Adding with a hard look on her face, “We’d have only six days left”.


The boys saying nothing, shaking their heads, “Yeah”.




Okay, I’m just goofing around. Experimenting with fiction/dialogue.  And yes, I do tend to dwell on the dark side. But this story is more real than you might think. Some 7000 older folks are dying every day, 200k by the end of the year. A fair number of those have bucks in the bank. If it’s over $1m, then big taxes are due if falling off the cliff is in our future.


My story is pure fiction, but in real life, thousands of people and millions of dollars are up in the air. After all, it’s about the money. Right?



  1. Nice writing, I think I would have titled it, “Nothing Personal”. ;)

  2. Beautiful family photo. Stellar fiction. The Marlboro-smoking chick steps up to overpower the oppressive despot and protect herself and her brothers. Will she beat the system and escape getting caught? Or will she be a good girl and passively let the oppressive autocrats steal her family’s fortunes? Nice depiction of the fiscal cliff as simply a matter of survival.

  3. Obama bin Biden says:

    Kind of creepy, Bruce. You even have a photograph of the three children? Nice touch. Oh, and Little Dickie? Nobody outside that room had better call him that! LMAO.

    If she’s worth $6M then she should’ve been gifting it to her kids by the time they were ever put into this hypothetical situation.

  4. “Obama gonna pay my mortgage. Obama gonna pay my heat bill. Obama gonna kill my momma!”

  5. So the kids have produced nothing during their, apparently pathetic lives, and now consider murder as a reasonable economic decision since they were unable to produce anything on their own? Kids stealing from their mom in order to stop the government from beating them to the dough. Make sure to give your money to a deserving organization while you are alive so that you can see the good it does. Your kids will be able to take care of themselves just fine. I’m sure there will be plenty of heirlooms and family mementos in a six million dollar estate so that they won’t fell unloved. Cheated maybe, but they will get over it when they leave this world behind. Hopefully, it will be better for the choices you made.

    • Someone is always guaranteed to completely miss the point. Have you given your money to a deserving organization Mr. Sanctimonious?

    • Wise. I recently had to have that talk with my Mother over the holidays. She’s been scrimping on her own personal needs (turned off the internet connection, won’t use the heater during Winter..) so she can leave more money to us kids. I had to bluntly tell her that my brother and I are fine, that’s her money that she saved for her own comfort in her golden years. We aren’t entitled to any of it. I can’t stand the idea that she’s forcing austerity on herself to leave us money.

      No parent owes their kids an inheritance. Especially not after having spent a small fortune raising them for 18 years. Nothing pisses me off like greedy, ungrateful adults who look at their parents like a trust account.

  6. Frankly, the child with power of attorney could just use that and the kids would likely never pay a dime in taxes.

    Unless the elder finds out they’ve been robbed and goes to the authorities kids abusing the POA rarely get caught (as long as they cut the other kids in on the deal).

    Which is why when my mom became ill I setup a trust – higher fiduciary duty, more consequences if a trustee “self-deals.”