The judge looked up from his reading and stared incredulously from his bench down at the pair seeking his blessings. Six of the couple’s children were seated behind them in various stages of inattention. An older woman, presumably a grandmother, was holding the youngest son.
Under the question “reason for divorce,” Uncle David had written in “attempted murder.”
“Umm, is this true? Keep in mind that I don’t take playing games in this court lightly.”
“Yes, your honor,” David said in quiet, unemotional voice.
“And how, exactly, was this murder attempt carried out?” The judge’s eyes looked closely at David’s wife as he asked. She seemed normal. Not the obviously homicidal type. Or so he would have guessed under other circumstances.
“Well, your honor, she stabbed me repeatedly with a kitchen knife.”
“I see. And did you deserve it?” This ought to shake his story.
“Yes, your honor.”
Okay, this was one for the record books, the judge thought, quickly snapping his gaping mouth shut. Domestic abuse is a serious business in his court. He had been known to throw the book at abusers even when the spouse refused to press charges.
“And what did you do that supposedly warranted this attack?”
“Original sin, your honor.”
“Please explain.” This had to be a joke, right?
“Yes, your honor. It seems my sin was being born. Apparently I can do nothing right.”
“I see. Are those are your six children? And by that I mean, those six children resulted from the consensual intercourse between you and your wife, not some other situation?”
“Yes, your honor. These are our darling sons.”
“So apparently the two of you got along well enough?”
“Well, yes, your honor. We, well, we, um, you know… I’m sorry, your honor, do we have to discuss this with all these strangers watching?”
This was getting interesting. The divorce proceedings and talk of attempted homicide didn’t seem to phase him, but this topic is clearly uncomfortable for him. So, of course, the judge pursued it.
“What I’m trying to get at is how you could go from a relationship in which the two of you have produced six seemingly normal sons to one in which your wife stabs you with a kitchen knife and you claim – admit – that you deserved it. Can you give me any further insight into this matter?”
“Yes, your honor. You see, my wife and I very much enjoy our, um, intimate time together. We have six wonderful sons. Our youngest was born a month before my wife decided to kill me.”
“I see. Stop right there. Let me talk to your wife now. Ma’am, why did you stab your husband with a kitchen knife?”
“Well, sir. He promised me this sixth child would be a daughter.”
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is due out late July 2017.