Annoyed at myself, I mentally calculated how many hours had to pass before I could pour myself a glass of white wine without feeling guilty about it. (Answer: Four hours.) While I watched Marion’s sister and boyfriend continue to fruitlessly search for Marion, I decided I owed it to myself to give it another try. After all, if Sam and Lila had given up, good old Norman would have gone on whacking helpless ladies and private detectives to death. Surely I could accomplish a simple task like making Christmas cookies. I hauled myself back to the kitchen counter. It took a while, but I did it. I accidentally cut some of the cookies so thick that when they baked in the oven, they ballooned into unrecognizable shapes. The Christmas trees turned into odd, uneven circles with points on them. The candy canes transformed into big blobs with hooks at the end. The poor gingerbread men appeared to need gastric bypass surgery. Still, I bit one, and they were edible. The frosting went a little better despite my having to use a handheld mixer. I wasn’t sure how to make the colors just right, and in the end my red frosting looked more like Pepto Bismol.
But it also tasted all right. Around 9:30 am Kevin decided to grace the kitchen with his presence. "How’s the cookie lady going?” he said, smiling. “Go to Hell,” I answered. After I made my deliveries (I have to say, the neighbors loved the thoughtfulness; I can’t say for sure if they loved the cookies), I made my way back to the house, my inner Donna Reed a tiny, shriveled memory. “That was totally exhausting,” I announced to Kevin as I walked inside. “Next Christmas we’re giving Starbucks giftcards.” “What the hell made you want to make cookies anyway?” he asked. “It was like you were possessed by some strange force.” “I don’t know,” I said, wiping my hands on my Christmas apron and thinking about good old Norman Bates and his dear, beloved Mother. “All I can say is that I guess we all go a little mad sometimes.”