Hugh didn’t hear the garage door open, on the sound of his father entering the house. He couldn’t hear much of anything through the headset he had on, while he was playing his video games, shouting into the microphone on occasion, but otherwise utterly absorbed in the TV screen, at least until the basement door slammed open, and his dad stomped down the stairs, as had been their habit ever since Hugh had graduated the year before, and decided to take what he was calling a gap year–but which his dad was beginning to suspect was more of a slacker year than anything else.
Carl wasn’t quite sure what had happened. Sure, Hugh had never been the brightest fellow at school, not showing much interest in anything other than football–which his father happened to coach at the school. Sure, Carl might have pulled a couple of strings with some of the administrators to make sure Carl graduated on time, but it wasn’t like every other parent at the school wasn’t advocating for their kids. When a football scholarship failed to materialize, Carl told his dad he just needed a break–a year to try and sort out what he wanted to do, and that had seemed reasonable. Carl had assumed that would mean Hugh getting a job, or studying, or…well, anything other than this.
Instead, ever since summer, all Hugh had done, really, was play video games down in his room in the basement. Carl had started pestering his son more directly, and more than once now they had gotten into shouting matches with one another, Carl demanding that Hugh do something with himself, while Hugh shouted back that he just needed some time, and some space. Maybe he wasn’t being fair. Maybe he’d helped him too much. Carl thought about trying to engage him again, but just shook his head. He was tired from his second job–and just wanted to relax for a while himself. He tossed the letter that had arrived for his son on the table in front of him, saw Hugh’s eye flick over to it, and then Carl went back upstairs, got a beer out of the fridge, and sat down on the couch to watch the news.
Hugh didn’t really have much interest in the letter, and so he kept playing until he got hungry, and then took a break. The six month streak of lounging and slacking had done a number of Hugh’s physique, and while he’d always been thick, the football had at least kept him from going from thick to fat–but he was decidedly in ex-jock territory now. His hygiene had also slipped considerably, he hadn’t gotten his hair cut in months, and had stopped shaving regularly too, and was no sporting a considerable beard–something else his dad nagged him about all the time.
Still, getting a snack or a meal would require getting past his dad upstairs…and Hugh just didn’t have the energy for another fight with him. His dad didn’t understand how he felt, how…Hugh just didn’t know what in the world to do with himself. High school was easy, and easier still than it could have been, because he had his dad there to help get him through it. He just felt…stupid, sometimes, and the only person he felt like he could count on, even more than himself, was his dad, but he was even fucking that up too. Everything just felt so…anxious all the sudden–it was easier to just play video games. Even if you lost, at least you didn’t lose anything for real, right? Wanting to put things off a bit more, before braving his father, he grabbed the envelope Carl had tossed on the table, opened it, and read the note inside.
Congratulations! You have been nominated by someone you know for our exclusive resolution program, and we have selected you from many excellent candidates as someone who could benefit from our unique service. Enclosed, you will find your tailored list of New Year’s resolutions for the year 2019.
Now, we know what you are thinking, that you don’t need someone else, especially some strange organization, to make resolutions for you! That’s where you are wrong. You see, people who are nominated for our program are those in the most dire need of change, but who often are incapable of changing themselves, often through supreme self-delusion. You’ll be glad to know, then, that the included resolutions are compulsory, and non-negotiable. Come 2020. You’ll be amazed at what a little change can do for you!
Included with your 2019 resolutions, of course, is a mandatory invitation to our 2020 New Year’s Eve party. We know that it’s a year away (and goodness, do you have an exciting year ahead of you!) but we just want to make sure you mark your calendars now. Not that you have much of a choice in any case!
Enjoy the new year, and enjoy the new you!
New You Enterprises
Hugh looked at the list inside, and then turned on a light, so he could read better, certain it must have been a mistake. It didn’t make any sense, what he was reading, after all, and more confused than ever, he felt something odd…stir in him, a small awareness that his slacker year was going to be very different from this moment forward.
Alright, here’s the last set of resolutions for this story! I’m still not sure how the final year end party is going to work out yet, and whether it will be interactive or not, but at the very least we’ll get to see how our four characters ended up after a year under their new resolutions. Don’t forget! If you’re a patron, you get access to the bonus poll, that counts for double! You can find it here, and the public poll is embedded below.