We have one rule in this family. Kids, you know this. Obey this one rule, and you’re allowed to do whatever the hell else you like. Curfews? Forget about it. I don’t care if you come home at all. Swear words? Love ‘em. Premarital sex? Encouraged. We don’t fuck around with baths or bedtimes, either. You’re more than welcome to live in complete squalor as long as you follow our one rule. One rule, people: Don’t leave Cameron alone with cured meats.

That’s all we ask of you. Don’t leave Cameron alone with the goddamn cured meats. I’m honestly baffled that we have to review this again. I understand that it’s easy to forget in the spring and summer when bacon is the only real threat, but it’s essential that we remain cognizant throughout the holiday season. The yuletide ushers in a flurry of holiday cheer and sodium-laden snack trays — which brings me to yesterday’s incident.

Honestly, I blame myself. I do. Your dad and I knew Cameron was in for a difficult time when Aunt Gail brought the salami platter to the white elephant party. I asked her to leave it in the car, but she batted my hand away while shrieking, “Meats for the sweet!”

There was nothing sweet about it. As soon as Gail walked into the living room, Cameron’s breathing changed. His nostrils flared, and his pupils dilated to the size of bull testicles. His lips curled into a grimace fueled by desperation and desire. He didn’t stand a chance.

As you know, we discovered that Cameron really loves cured meats when he was about three. During his first encounter with a prosciutto platter, it took four of us to hold his wriggling body down. Your dad still has bite marks. Eventually, he overpowered us, toddling quickly out of the house with the prosciutto. Days later, a Catholic priest found him curled under a pew, licking his fingers and emitting sounds of ungodly pleasure.

I ask you: Who the hell thought that yesterday was any different? Which of you decided to risk your brother’s well-being by shirking your salami supervision duties? I want you both to put yourselves in my shoes. Imagine how I felt yesterday when I found my eldest son in a primal crouch, sweaty and swollen like a deer tick, his new white Dickie covered in saliva and specks of meat. Imagine how I felt when I tried to pry the salami tray out of his hands only to have him shove me aside, utter a primitive bellow and leap out of the window. Imagine how I feel knowing that, ashamed and frightened, Cameron has likely made his way to the nearest national park to make a life in the wilderness.

And for what? So you could have a few extra minutes zipping around on your tiny skateboards? Was turning a bitchin’ Disco Flip worth the loss of your older brother? Did you hear his screams as he tried to resist his greatest temptation?

Anyway, both of you little shits are grounded. Your father and I are loading up the tranquilizer guns and heading out to search for Cameron. If you don’t hear from us, know that we died in pursuit of our son — and some really exquisite salami.