Alice squinted at the blonde gremlin bouncing on her legs and then reached for the alarm clock on her nightstand. The big red numbers told her it was much too early to be awake, but the child on her legs and the other child tugging on her toes said otherwise.

“You couldn’t let momma sleep just a little while longer?” she asked, rolling over, knocking the four-year-old on her legs onto the pile of wadded up blankets.

“We want Mr. Bippity!” shouted the children in unison.

“Okay, fine,” Alice said. “I’ll turn on Mr. Bippity.”

She found the remote next to the clock and pointed it at the television on the dresser, inviting a man in a purple suit into the room to scream at her about dish soap. Frantically pushing the buttons on the black slate, she waded through a morass of explosions and talking heads until she landed on the image of what looked like a giant stuffed bear surrounded by adoring children. As the bear launched into a song about friendship, Alice groaned and disentangled herself from the covers. The two-year-old at the foot of the bed was waiting for her with outstretched arms as she hobbled across the floor and placed the child on the bed next to her sister, making her way to the bathroom.

Of course the toilet seat had been left up, and there was no paper left on the roll. Cursing her husband, she ventured back out to retrieve a roll from the pantry when she heard someone shouting “Mommy bad!” to the accompaniment of a laugh track. A woman on the TV screen was being handcuffed by a raccoon while a horde of jeering children pelted the woman with rotten fruit.

“What the hell is this?” she said, forgetting about her aching bladder as she watched the woman be led off to what appeared to be a cardboard guillotine.

Mr. Bippity raised his furry arm and held it over his head while a pink duck rolled out a beat on a drum suspended from its elongated neck. The drumroll ended. Mr. Bippity’s arm came down, and the blade descended on the neck of the unfortunate woman to the delight of the girls seated on the edge of the bed.

What the hell had she been letting her kids watch? She’d never paid much attention, being happy enough to let the cartoonish characters on the television distract her children so she could go about her business. But this was horrible. Everyone clapped and laughed as the man in the bear suit held up a Styrofoam head, dripping fake blood, and then tossed it to the children for them to punt about. Racing to the remote, she clicked off the TV and sucked in a deep breath as she stared at the blank screen.

“Mommy bad!” wailed the girls on the bed.

“Mr. Bippity bad,” Alice said, tossing the remote on the nightstand before heading off to find some toilet paper.

When she returned to the bedroom, the television was back on, her daughters, transfixed by the cavorting animals on the screen.

“How the hell did that happen?” she exclaimed, seeing the remote was still on the nightstand. She pushed the off button on the TV just as Mr. Bippity aimed a shotgun at the head of a screaming woman tied to a paper mâché tree.

“Momma bad!” exclaimed the girls.

“Momma has to go potty,” she said. “Why don’t you go play with your dolls until Momma gets done? Then Momma will make you some pancakes.”

“Momma bad,” the girls repeated.

“Okay, Momma bad,” Alice said, placing the girls on the floor and ushering them into their room where she handed each of them a doll before heading off.

Once in the bathroom, she settled down and opened the email on her phone, searching for anything requiring her attention. There were the usual sales ads and messages from her political action groups, as well as a message from her mother reminding her of her father’s upcoming birthday. One email from the Mr. Bippity Fan Club was deleted immediately.

As she reached for the toilet paper, she heard the sound of music coming through the door. How did they manage to turn the TV back on? She pulled up her pants and yanked open the door, ready to dispense harsh discipline, but instead fell back into the bathtub with a knife in her belly.

“Momma bad!” shouted the girls as they swarmed over her. The two-year-old pressed a spoon against her thigh, but the four-year-old’s steak knife did real damage as the child brought it down repeatedly, slashing Alice’s forearms as she tried to block the blows.

Giggling at the blood splattered on each other’s faces, the girls retreated to the bedroom to stare at the TV as Alice bled to death to the sound of canned laughter.