I look at the paper in my hand, a scrawling child’s handwriting in pink crayon:
I’m soree Mommy. Jingles is mad at you and says this wat I have to do.
He says he will take me to the north pol and I will meet Santa and get lots of presints. I want presints and you are a meen Mommy. Jingles is nice. He tells me things at nite and last nite he told me to put the funny powder in your milk.
I want to meet Santa. I’m soree. I will miss you Mommy. You were not always meen.
I scramble to the kitchen, to the sink, forcing my fingers down my throat. My first instinct is to call 911 but I don’t have a phone. Ava broke it. Jingles broke it.
Some of the milk comes out in a lukewarm rush but not all of it, not enough, my stomach is still rolling and it’s starting to get dark in here.
I stumble back into the living room, trying to make it to Ava’s room. I fall to my knees in front of the Christmas tree and vomit again on the carpet. There’s blood in it this time.
Jingles is on the floor now. In front of the tree, next to the presents. And the last thing I see as I lose consciousness is the three boxes of rat poison he’s sitting on.
And from somewhere behind me, I hear:
“Can we go to the North Pole now, Jingles? I can’t wait to meet Santa.”