this is going to get complicated. for every character there are several steps. that’s 5x4x2. ooh, that’s 40 crosses.
1. the original impulse to kill mom, wildly dramatic and not very practical.
2. the practical solution, agreed upon by both spice and put into action. this fucks up.
3. rethinking and relaunching new and improved attacks on mom, with each spouse trying something different. these fuck up also, and people die.
4. side attacks from one sibling to another, perhaps the one cheating with their own spouse, perhaps some other target. these also fuck up, and end up killing unintended victims.
at first, not all siblings agree to kill mom. judy never wants to kill her, and the youngest son only wants to kill her after she announces her engagement. in the beginning, cindy and the eldest son are the ones who want her dead, and the other two don’t take them seriously. the two work up plans with their spice, and launch their attacks (both of them by proxy, since they can afford it and don’t want to dirty their hands). the attacks go awry, mainly due to the incompetence of the hired killers.
then cracks start to show. the spice get stroppy and start to make their own plots, mainly with the sibling they’re sleeping with, but there are other alliances as well. the two siblings adjust their plans and try again, but the spice are also launching plots of their own, against mom, against their spouse, against another sibling. these go wrong, and people die. some of the infidelity is exposed.
mom announces her impending marriage and introduces the fiance. the youngest son wants to kill mom now, and launches his plot. his girlfriend helps in her own way. judy’s husband also launches a plot. things go catastrophically wrong and people die. more infidelity is exposed.
nobody is left except for judy. mom and the new husband take off on their honeymoon leaving judy in jail. is there a final plot?
and then there are the ideas themselves. if you were going to kill someone, how would you do it? what would that say about you? cindy wants to beat mom to death, the eldest son wants to electrocute her. but cindy doesn’t really want to get her hands dirty, so she hires somebody to do it for her. but now beating to death begins to look cruel, so she figures out something less violent. the eldest son can’t hire an electrician, but he can send a plumber over to help fix mom’s bathroom but good. drowning, maybe electrocution on the side, maybe a floor collapse. something structural. but again, he’s hired a contractor who has his own problems. if you want a job done right, do it yourself. i think walt disney said that. and look where it got him.
now, cindy’s husband doesn’t like the way she handled the first attempt, and decides to get someone to do it right. he bribes an employee to do it. this has predictable consequences. and the eldest son’s wife decides he planned it all wrong, and sets up a rematch using one of his employees. ditto. (wait. can some of these minions be involved with each other, or be the same person?)
in the meantime, the round robin infidelity is beginning to be exposed. (each sibling is sleeping with the next younger sibling’s spouse.) in some cases, this is revealed when the sibling or spouse dies. in some cases, the exposure triggers the death of the spouse or sibling.
in the meantime, the siblings are hatching plots against each other. this is a tangled web i haven’t even begun to weave. this is going to have to be a tight little dance, like a maypole dance. i can’t imagine it at the moment, but i’m sure the intricacy of the plot will demand all sorts of adjustments, and this is where they’ll have to go. (how many words am i supposed to do in november – 50,000 – that’s not even a small novel. the last book i wrote was 350 pages, what i consider a small book in these days of 900 page vacation reads. i can’t see this story coming in under that. splat took a year to write. i’ve got a month for the first draft. but i guess that’s about right. gulp.)
when the youngest brother gets involved, he fancies cutting the brakes on mom’s behemoth. his girlfriend decides poison darts will work. then when they don’t, she goes for poisoned chocolates, while he tries killing his mom with kindness. then judy’s husband decides mom has to die, and goes about it directly, but he’s taken ill in the middle of the act and his infidelity is exposed in the emergency room.
judy, i must insist, never harbored any ill will against her mother, the holiest of wombs and a true saint and martyr. unfortunately judy’s fingerprints or handwriting or bodily fluid, or some other involvement is there at the scene of practically every death in this story, and her fate is sealed.
this is starting to have a nice feel to it. two of the siblings start it off and go thru a whole cycle of living the kill-your-mom fantasy. sleeping around is introduced, and immediately it’s a free for all.