Nothing stops a murder. Not even Kris Kringle. Of course he never came that night, Ol’ Santy Claus that is. You’d think a person’s ability to kill would be stifled by the hanging mistletoe, and the glistening lights. Maybe it egged her on.
It all started with a simple statement.
“We’ve gotta talk about the kids,” he said, as he fumbled for a lighter. The cigarette smoke hanging in the air like those snowflakes that melt before they hit the ground.
“What about them?” she answered back. A cold stare cut across the room.
“You’re ruining them.” Ice shattered.
Their favourite Christmas song was Clarence Carter’s Backdoor Santa. They’d laughed about it, kissing as he sang, ‘I make all the little girls happy.’ She was a woman now.
Of course, they never made love anymore, and when they did, he referred to it as fucking. “Let’s fuck,” he’d say, then she’d let it happen. She didn’t like the vulgarity, but they were married. She was more nuanced. She understood imagery, and subtlety. He used to understand. He used to be subtle. Now, she wondered.
“The kids are fine,” she replied, ice cubes clinking in her glass. Eggnog poured over ice. Rum splashed on top.
“That’s exactly it,” he replied, “They’re only fine. We’re raising mediocre little shits.” He wanted them to be exceptional. She only wanted them to be happy. The glare from the tinsel hit their eyes. He could only think about the cat, how it would eat the goddamn stuff, and then shit it out.
The kids had gone to grandma’s, like every Christmas Eve. They used to drink until the early morning, inebriated and nauseous from Kahlua and Rum, Whiskey and Eggnog. They used to joke about being lactose intolerant, but would drink anyways, stomachs bubbling over too much dairy. They’d attempt to have sex. Their toes touching the wrapping paper and ribbons near the end of the bed. Both of them almost falling asleep. Neither of them caring.
The fucking came later.
This year, they decided to opt out of the turkey dinner, and decided just to have cold-cut sandwiches instead. She had bought sliced Turkey Breast in jest. He moved it to the bottom shelf looking for the Mustard. Not a word was said between them.
When the kids were little, they’d wrap all the presents before hand, and hide them at Grandma’s. They’d arrive early, heads pounding, and wait for the kids to wake up. The kids would ask, “How did Santa know we were here?”
“He knows everything, honey”. They’d kiss, The Santa Claus farce kept alive for another year.
The kids were older now. They knew the truth. They only really wanted money these days, so there was no sneaking around. No wrapping paper at the edge of the bed, just dollar-store cards portraying the words, “Merry Christmas!” Christmas plans changed. Now they’d go to Grandma’s, and be dropped off in the morning. They’d sit around, waiting for the envelopes to be handed over. They’d disappear to their rooms. Music coming from one, sounds of death coming from the other. They’d address the cards as from Santa Claus, but everybody knew. One was from mom, the other from dad, yet the truth never fully spoken.
The argument continued.
“You’re a bitch”.
“You’re an asshole”.
“Fuck your mother”.
It resembled that Pogues song, The Fairy of New York.
It was only 9:30, when the argument started. It was all over by 10:15.
Shards of glass floated through a pool of blood, across the living room’s linoleum floor. Inches away the snow globe’s liquid stopped travelling forward, implicated. The blood soon met it.
She picked up the phone, put it to her ear, then dropped it back on its holder. This process happened 4 or 5 times before the phone was flung across the room. The hollow bang, and rattle made her clutch at her ears, the lobes turning red under heat and duress. Her eyes: still blue.
Luckily, the kids weren’t home. If they were, however, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Not that any of it really mattered. Their dad would always be dead, and Christmas would always be ruined. She attempted to lift herself off the couch, but slid to the floor, the phone close, but out of reach.
The kids were late getting home the next morning. The scene displayed for their tired, greedy eyes: their mother, curled in a ball, their father sprawled and crimson. The table had two cards on it. They read: “Merry Christmas! Love Mom & Dad”. The farce officially over.
As the police entered the room, their guns weren’t drawn. They approached her. She sat now, clutching a miniature figurine from within the broken snow globe. It was of a young couple dancing. Their eyes: still blue.