Wind Eggs
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Wind Eggs

It doesn’t matter how firm your resolve, it will never withstand your teenaged children

Broken Record

New Year’s Resolve

Daughter tries to explain to mother why she set house on fire
Source image by Cookie Studio

Every New Year Sue debated which was more embarrassing — her record for breaking New Year’s resolutions (all of them) or her record for the speed with which she broke them. That would be last year’s resolution, to cut carbs from her diet, which lasted until 10:15 pm on January 2nd, when she held the refrigerator door open for a half hour while she tunneled through the landfill of neglected food for the two hot dog buns left from the July 4 family picnic and which she’d forgotten until an intense carb craving sparked an image of the buns in her frantically carb-starved brain.

She shoveled through the debris, pried the plastic bag from the goop that sealed it to the bottom of the veggie drawer, and, forgetting to close the door, she ripped the bag open, scraped the mold from the bread, buttered the two and a half remaining sides, toasted them, and smothered them with New Canaan Farms Jalapeño Prickly Pear Jam, which she’d also resolved to avoid the day before.

So this year she began to list possible resolutions the day after Thanksgiving and, having reached fifty by Christmas Eve, debated and deleted one after another from her list until she arrived with a winner on New Year’s Eve eve. One she couldn’t possibly break because it was so easy to remember and follow. A resolution she acknowledged was in everyone’s best interest because, as Frank often said, Sue you harp on one thing over and over like a broken record.

Last year’s resolution, to cut carbs from her diet, lasted until 10:15 pm on January 2nd, when Sue held the refrigerator door open for a half hour while she tunneled through the landfill of neglected food for two hot dog buns left from the July 4 family picnic.”

Count to ten before she yelled at the kids. How hard could that be? She could still be mad, still yell at them, still ground them until they reached retirement as long as she counted to ten. And now it was New Year’s Day. Frank had fortified the living room with beer, pretzels, dip, deli sandwiches and wings to share with his hungover hunting buddies during the four bowl game marathon, their son Bruce was missing-in-action, as expected, and Heather had lifted Sue’s car keys from her purse and stolen away in the wee hours of the morning to drive her friends to a party about whose details she preferred to remain ignorant.

But there it was. Her resolution. She wrote it down this time and taped it to her bedroom mirror. She had just stepped back to reaffirm her resolution once again when her cell rang. It was Heather. “Mom, can you meet me in the driveway?”

What now? She threw on her coat and exited through the front door. For some reason, Heather hadn’t left the car, but sat in the driver’s seat with the window down in spite of the freezing wind. She dangled Sue’s keys over the driveway. Only when Sue reached the car, she realized half the remote was missing, with a blue wire dangling from the side.

Heather spoke to the steering wheel. “It’s worse.” When Heather said nothing else, Sue crossed to the other side and discovered Heather’d delivered half a car with half a key . No front fender, no passenger door, a gouge running the length of the rear fender and the front wheel leaning into the wheel well at a 45 degree angle.

Which is how Sue broke her own record for breaking resolutions. Three minutes and forty-five seconds.

Essential Holiday Reading

A holiday novelette from the author of Raising Hell in the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life, only this devil will never earn his horns.

Wry noir author Phillip T. Stephens wrote Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell, the Indie Book Award winning Seeing Jesus, and the children’s book parody Furious George. Follow him at Phillip T Stephens.

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Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T Stephens

Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.