Jason walked in after a long day of work and plopped his butt on the bar stool. He rolled his exhausted eyes at the loud celebration carrying on all around him. New Year’s Eve. Like it was any different from every other day---the world turned and time moved forward. Same ‘ol. Same ‘ol. He glanced up as his neighbor took a seat next to him. His name was something foreign, and Jason racked his brain to figure it out. Rayu? No. Retu? No. Ratu… Yeah, that was it.
“‘Sup, Ratu.” Jason gave him a single bro nod before returning to his own beer.
Ratu narrowed his eyes at Jason but simply signaled for a drink of his own. “Mojito, sir,” he said with a heavy accent.
“Celebrating alone tonight?” Jason asked as they both stared at the TV screen above the bar.
“Yes.” Ratu nodded at the barkeep as he set the drink in front of him. “Thank you, sir," he replied and took a delicate sip of his drink. Ratu glanced at Jason. “Did you win?” He inclined his head to the sports equipment on the bar next to Jason.
“Oh. Uh…” Jason ran a hand over his trusty protective mask. “Happens that I always seem to win. So much so, I wonder if there is any point in continuing to play this game.” Jason heaved a heavy sigh as his best friends signaled to him from the doorway. He raised a hand in greeting.
As they took a seat, Jason took that moment to introduce them to Ratu. “Elizabeth and Fred, this is Ratu. They are in the same line of “Work” we are. And Fred and Liz, Ratu eats what we hunt.” They all exchanged pleasantries and settled into seats around the bar. The announcer took that moment to ask the TV audience what their resolutions would be for this new year.
Ratu snorted. “Mine would be most easy. I need to change my diet.”
“That is the one everyone uses, Ratu.” Jason replied and Fred agreed as Elizabeth drank her cranberry and vodka, ignoring all the men.
“Yeah, but I need to cut back on the meat. And I should really add some veggies to my diet. My physician states I’ve got high cholesterol.”
“Well, look at all the stuff your meat eats. It’s no wonder that it’s effecting your health.” Fred added in his two cents as he took off his hat and pushed up the sleeves of his dirty Christmas sweater.
“True,” Ratu murmured. “Plus, with this new plague it’s getting scarcer.”
“You know that is a fact. I had like zero people at camp this year,” Jason agreed as he sipped his beer.
“Most people are having nightmares about what’s going on… its tedious.” Fred chuckled and nudged Elizabeth with his shoulder. “What about you, Liz? You having trouble staying youthful?”
She scoffed. “Please, Fred, look at my skin. Of course, not. I look younger than ever.” She winked over at the men. “It’s so easy, it’s practically boring.”
The men agreed.
“So, Jason, what is your New Year’s Resolution?” Ratu asked as he sipped his second drink.
“Ah.” Jason mulled that over before responding. “I think I need a career change. Ya know? I am tired of the endless monotony. So much running and for what? It all seems pointless.”
“Really? You’ve been doing this for what? Forty years? What will you do instead?” Fred asked, running a hand over his bald head.
Jason blew out a slow breath. “Do they still have door to door vacuum salesmen?”
Ratu gave him a long look before cracking a smile. “You want to be a door to door salesmen? You? Have you seen you? There is no way they’d buy a thing from you.”
“Hell you say. I could totally sell stuff. Plus, I love to clean up a mess. I’d kill at selling vacuums.”
Fred snorted. Elizabeth scoffed.
Jason hissed. “Fine. What are your resolutions, Fred and Liz?”
“I agree that life isn’t the same right now. Maybe I’ll look into new career options as well.” Fred sighed as he sipped his fireball.
“Like what?” Elizabeth asked.
“Hmmm. Firefighter? I’ve got a lot of experience dealing with flames. As you know,” Fred said.
Jason laughed so hard he coughed up some water. “Sorry.” He wiped his mouth. “But I think you’d make a great firefighter. You always seem to be able to find people no matter where they are.”
Fred slapped Jason on the back. “Course, I can. I’m what dreams are made of.”
“Well, I have no desire to change my ways.” Elizabeth rolled her eyes and huffed.
“Oh, come on, Liz. We are all committing to change. What do you say?”
She pursed her lips as she contemplated the proposition and sighed. “Fine. Fine. No more blood baths for me. Okay? I’ll only have one bath per month…”
At the looks from the men, she growled. “I can’t go cold turkey. My skin may wither. That’s all I am agreeing to, fellas. I’ll cut down on the baths. Deal?”
The guys glanced at each other, and Jason shrugged. “Deal. So that’s what we are doing for our New Year’s resolutions?” he asked before a loud cheer rang up when the clock read ten minutes to midnight and the party continued to rage around them.
“I’ll miss the mayhem we caused.” Fred sighed as they watched the glittery ball moved a foot down the pole in Times Square as time ticked away.
“Me too. But maybe we will love our new lives even more.” Ratu nibbled on a pretzel and grimaced at the taste. He dropped the pretzel back into the bowl. “That might take some time.”
Jason nodded and slid on his hockey mask. “It will excite to try something new. Maybe they won’t run and scream when they see me. Instead, invite me in for a cup of joe and a story.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes again. “When you dream, Jason Voorhees, you dream big.”
“Hey, Elizabeth Bathory, don’t doubt him. If anyone can track down a human and get them to buy something, it’s Jason.” Fred commented, then winked at Jason.
“Thanks, Freddy. And if anyone is going to fail at their resolutions, it’s Ratu,” whispered Jason, nudging Freddy and Liz.
They all turned to look at Ratu, who was basically drooling as a young woman reached across the bar in front of his face. When Ratu licked his lips and glanced at the girl with hunger in his gaze, Jason touched his shoulder.
Ratu shook his head, sighed, and sipped his third drink. “Gonna be hard to go cold turkey. It’s not my fault humans taste so good.”
“You can do it, Mate.” Freddy winked.
The group grew quiet as they retreated to their thoughts and the struggles of giving up what they’d loved to do for so many years weighed on them. The humans continued to celebrate with bottles of champagne and tiny hor d’oeuvre’s oblivious to the gift they’d been given by the Killers resolutions.
A young drunk man stumbled to the bar, spilling his drink on Jason, before slamming the empty cup onto the counter. Jason slowly turned his head to stare at the man.
The man glanced at him and snorted a laugh. “Whatcha ya starin’ at, freak?”
Jason took a deep breath and returned his gaze to the drink in his hand.
Freddy leaned over and whispered in his ear. “You know, it’s not quite midnight… one last spree for old times’ sake?”
Jason smiled and pulled down the mask onto his face. “Sounds delightful.”
As the ball dropped in Times Square, the screams and laughter could be heard for miles.
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Lindsey, very amusing story. Leaving comments as part of the Reedsy Critique Circle. I hope you're participating as well. The picture that immediately sprung to mind was the much parodied painting, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, imagining your cast of horror characters populating its iconic corner diner. At the beginning, it wasn't clear where the "sports equipment" had come from. You don't mention Jason dropping it on the bar when he plopped his butt on the stool, so it was a bit confusing. Easy fix. It took me a moment to clue into what w...
Thank you for the lovely critique. I appreciate the feedback and I am glad you enjoyed the story.