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Crime Funny Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

1997


This year will be a spectacular success to be celebrated in decades to come - it will form the solid, reliable bedrock of my wholesome future. I resolve to achieve a first-class average grade, to set me up for a first-class honours degree in three years time. I don't think I did too well last semester so I will aim for 80% this semester to improve my marks. To achieve this, I will not drink any alcohol for the next six months. I will attend 100% of my lectures and get up at 5am to prepare for them. I will type up all of my lecture notes at the end of each day and file them, by module, in colour coded folders. I will add Post-It notes with key points on, to help my revision and I will mindmap every topic. I will create a flash card index of key facts and figures as I go, and test myself three times a week. I will join an elite study group with students as smart as me (if there are any) and spend all my weekends leading a range of highbrow academic discussions over filter coffee and croissants. I will hand all of my coursework in a full day before the deadline, and revise for a full week per exam.


1998


This year will be a success to be celebrated long after I gain my qualification - it will form the solid bedrock of my wholesome future. I resolve to achieve an average mark of 70% across the year and bring my overall grade up to a second-class average. I didn’t do too well in the first year, or in the first half of this academic year, but I will take my resits with every intention of improving and coming out the other side with grades to be proud of. To help me to do this I will stop drinking during the week, attend 80% of my lectures, get up by 7.30am to be sure I’m ready to go, and read over my lecture notes at the end of each day. I will file the handwritten notes by module and date. I will apply to join a study group with students almost as smart as I am and will meet them in the Union Bar on a Sunday to talk at length about issues relevant to my degree, over a couple of pints. I will hand all of my coursework in on the day of the deadline and revise for two full days before each exam.


1999


This year will bring some success, which will go towards building a wholesome future. I resolve to finish university and graduate.

In order to achieve this ambition, I will stop drinking between Monday and Wednesday and attend 60% of my lectures. I will get out of bed by 11am and be dressed before lunch. I will try to form a study group with anyone who will have me, and meet them once a month to chat about whatever they want, in any location that suits them. I will not lose any of my lecture notes in the Union Bar. All of my coursework will be handed in by two days after the deadline, and I will revise for three hours before every exam.


2000


This year will be full of hope for a successful and wholesome future. I resolve to get a job that will allow me to pay back my student loans for the degree I never finished. I may not be a graduate, but I still think I could earn around £100,000 a year with what I did learn at uni. It’s not like all I did was study, I picked up lots of social and organisational skills from joining societies. Perhaps I could be a company director or CEO. I’ll go to careers guidance, put together a sparkling CV, learn Japanese and brush up on my computing skills. I’ll need a new laptop and printer, and I’ll take some Microsoft exams. I’ll join a debating club and get confident at public speaking. I’ll learn how to influence others and change the mind of the public. Maybe I will be great at marketing and advertising, and make my millions that way.


2001


This year I will stay grounded and work towards achievable goals. I resolve to apply for jobs around the £50,000 point. This must be achievable for someone with my ambition and drive. Even though I didn’t quite hit the mark last year. The careers guidance woman said I needed "a more realistic aim", it turned out I have nothing concrete to put on my CV. The debating club wouldn’t let me in, my IT skills course was so boring I didn’t finish it, and did you know that Japanese isn’t even written in a real alphabet? It also turns out that people have to train to do marketing and advertising – who knew?


2002


This year will be about networking and learning to rein in my frustrations. I resolve to land a job paying about £25,000 and make professional connections through this new online service called Linked-In. I’ve heard it can do wonders for your career, especially if you know people in high up places who are willing to endorse your skills and write references for you. Tom, a guy I was at uni with, has finished a graduate training scheme in his uncle’s manufacturing business. I met his uncle once when he came to visit Tom and we went out for beers. Perhaps he won’t remember that I lost his wallet and threw up on his boots. I’ll see if Tom can connect us online and maybe he will help me get ahead.


2003


This year is about solid resolve and I resolve to get off the dole in any way possible.


2004


This year will be ambitious and full of personal growth. I plan to climb the corporate ladder. It must be possible to go from cleaner to senior area manager within the year if I prove my worth. I’ll start by actually turning up to staff meetings, that should get me noticed, and I’ll pay for the equipment I damaged in my first week – last October was a bad month – maybe I can pay it back in another six months if I stop buying so much vodka and ease off on the poker nights. I also resolve to get in to work on time at least three days a week and to not go home too early on the other two.


I’d also like to meet someone for a long term relationship – ideally my soul mate. She’ll be just as ambitious and successful as me and she’ll be impressed by my annual new years planning cycle. She’ll be my age, or within a year or two either side – so between 24 and 28. She’ll be a natural blonde, with brilliant blue eyes and an amazing white smile. Fit and healthy, she will share my love of spectator sports and take pleasure in long countryside walks and the occasional bike ride down the coast. She’ll have a swanky car she'll drive me around in and enough disposable income for both of us to party and buy designer clothes with.


2005


This year I cannot fail to meet my goals. I will try again to get promoted – but perhaps I’ll set my sights slightly lower. Maybe I should start by aiming for the cleaning supervisor job that’s going to be advertised in March. It’s a new role, and they will be looking for someone with drive and commitment to quality – sounds just like me.


I’ll also join Match.com and make a really exciting profile with details of all my skills and hobbies, and photos of me from when I was at uni, before my hair started thinning and I put on all that weight, stopped shaving regularly and lost my front teeth.


2006


This year I will bite my tongue. I resolve to keep my job. If the new cleaning supervisor puts one more complaint in about me I’m screwed. In order to achieve this I will only insult her behind her back, start rinsing out the microfibre cloths after I use them for scraping the mud off my boots, remember to replace the loo brushes in their holders instead of dumping them in the wash basins and stop peeing in the floor-mopping bucket. I must also hide my hangovers more effectively – it seems that spearmint gum is not enough to disguise the smell on my breath and I might need to switch back to lower strength lenses in my glasses, since the magnification on these shows up the red veins in the whites of my eyes more than I would like.


I also intend to have a date that lasts an entire evening, with a woman who is sober when she arrives. Perhaps I should also aim to arrive sober. If I stop drinking by lunch time, I might pull it off.


2007


This year I will apply myself to honest graft. I will dedicate my efforts towards getting a new job. Apparently my lack of professionalism last year led to an E.coli outbreak at the company and they were nearly shut down. It also turns out that cleanliness is quite a big deal in the food industry and the higher ups don't like it when you lick the kitchen knives clean. It matters not, I always thought I was better suited to something desk based. Sitting down all day should help me to keep my balance on mornings when I indulge in a liquid breakfast.


I also resolve to buy a bus pass. It's difficult to get your licence back when your old lower-strength glasses don't enable you to read a car registration plate at 20 metres.


I will also put more effort into finding the love of my life. She must be out there. I might have to adjust my expectations a little. Perhaps she’s not blonde, and perhaps not quite as well off as I had imagined, and maybe she can’t ride a bike, but still, she’ll be perfect for me.


2008


This year I can relax a little. I resolve to settle into my new job as the receptionist at the local council offices. I’ll have a huge desk, and a chair with a satisfying swivel action. It’s possible that I exaggerated my skills a little on my application form and lied about previous experience in my interview – but everyone does that, right? I’m sure it will work out fine – my first day is January 3rd.


I also plan to date the same woman at least twice. I mean, it would be great if any of them lasted more than one drink, but I plan to shoot for the stars and try my best to land a second meeting. Perhaps I need to be less picky; there don’t seem to be many quality girls out there.


2009


This year will be happy and healthy. I will try not to spend so much time in hospital. Those swivel chairs are dangerous and should not be driven whilst wearing inadequate glasses and under the influence. Traction isn’t fun, no matter what my mum tried to tell me about the benefits of being waited on hand and foot. You try scratching your arse when both of your legs are pinned and set in casts suspended higher than your hips. The sling and neck brace didn’t help either.


Following my successful courting of the lovely Gladys in the latter part of 2008, I also resolve to propose this year. She may be 33 years my senior, and have some difficulty mounting the stairs, let alone a bike, but she does share my interest in vodka and my tendency to laze around doing nothing. It’s great timing, since I got quite a big compensation pay out from the council over the office-chair accident and can now afford a wedding. They don’t need to know I was half blind and half cut, they only need to know that the floor was wet. They don’t need to know I’d dropped my hip flask on my morning "coffee" break.


2010


This year will be lucrative and set me up for a lifetime of never wanting for anything. I resolve to look into what else compensation can be claimed for. If I can land a series of jobs that each allow me to set up unlikely (but completely plausible) accidents for myself I may never have to work again.


I will also plan my nuptials with Gladys and arrange a suitable life insurance policy for her. She’s already agreed that I can move into her bungalow after the wedding – she’s an old fashioned kinda girl. My parents will be glad to have their sofa back.


2011


This year will be about living in the here and now and counting my many recent blessings. I promise not to make any more resolutions. It's a shame I know, because I am so good at them. I might miss my annual opportunity to stretch my abilities to their limits and demonstrate how truly capable I am. But since Gladys took that terrible tumble off the bus I’ve got the perfect life and need strive for nothing further. 

December 30, 2023 19:24

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25 comments

Michelle Oliver
22:57 Jan 02, 2024

Oh my goodness, so incredibly funny and relatable. It’s easy to see how the downward spiral began with high expectations and a lack of ability it meet them. This is one ambitious character with a big ego, who has long term goals and ambitions, but is self sabotaging along the way. His growth from egotistical, self important student, to a welfare collecting, insurance scamming dropout is both believable and tragic. Lots to love and laugh about in this story. Thanks for sharing.

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21:00 Jan 04, 2024

Thank you Michelle, I'm so glad the humour comes across.

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Ana M
14:52 Jan 12, 2024

The story is both funny and sad at the same time. Like it.

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Jody S
18:36 Jan 08, 2024

So sad and dark but beautifully crafted!! Loved the twist at the end!! Kudos!! Great take on the prompt!

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Helen A Smith
16:56 Jan 08, 2024

This is hilarious. So funny the way the expectations had to be modified every year. Also sad. The character’s grand ideas of himself were a long way off the mark. An enjoyable read.

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Alexis Araneta
10:42 Jan 08, 2024

Wow, I think the first story in a while I read where I laughed whilst pitying the protagonist. I love the humour you injected in this.

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Wendy M
23:27 Jan 06, 2024

This is brilliant. So well constructed and such a delight to read. At some point I'm sure we've all had to lower our expectations, but this takes it to the limit with a lovely twist in the tale.

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Trudy Jas
19:51 Jan 06, 2024

:-) Hm. I don't see where he went wrong, do you? Excellent. I laughed from beginning to end.

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02:00 Jan 04, 2024

There is something so charming and relatable about this character even though it's sad to watch his life spiral into unexpected places. I especially love the flow to your writing for this. It feels the same as when I start thinking about resolutions and everything I want to improve in my life. Entertaining thanks!

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21:01 Jan 04, 2024

Thank you Abigail, I'm really glad you liked it :)

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Michał Przywara
01:13 Jan 02, 2024

Ha, what a fantastic take on the prompt :) And some of it, like the uni years, relatable. Seems like every semester was “going to be different, for real this time.” The story is both hilarious and sad. Our narrator in many ways is his own worst enemy, but he's also got such a positive attitude for each year's revision. We get glimpses of the real issues under the hood - ego, incompetence, the drink - with each new resolution. The general trend though goes from starry-eyed idealist to conniving realist, so there is definitely character grow...

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20:27 Jan 02, 2024

Thank you Michal, I'm glad you found this fun.

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11:33 Dec 31, 2023

(Sorry I unfollowed you, I thought you'd quit or found another writing website) Oooh. What happened to his perfect life? It's always a 'better luck next time' and absolutely no chance of ever changing anything, just let your standards slip. If you don't have any expectations, you can't be disappointed, I suppose! Poor Gladys. (It would be a crime not to enter this one)

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12:49 Dec 31, 2023

Thank you 😊 I had to take a break for a while as I was busy moving house etc. Hopefully I will have more time for Reedsy in the coming year. I'll do an edit when I get chance this week and probably enter it.

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Mary Bendickson
22:07 Dec 30, 2023

Ah, perfect life plan. Doesn't always work out. Wonder why it went wrong?

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22:09 Dec 30, 2023

Hahahaha

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Philip Ebuluofor
08:14 Jan 16, 2024

Congrats. Comical one here.

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Shirley Medhurst
18:09 Jan 15, 2024

Ha ha, Very clever! I really enjoyed reading your MC’s downward spiral of hope’s & expectations 😂 A very well-structured tale.

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Kristin Johnson
01:04 Jan 13, 2024

If you look up narcissist in the dictionary, this guy's picture would accompany the entry. But it is fascinating, believable, darkly funny, and tragic. I shouldn't like this guy in a weird way, but I do. It's the voice!

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21:52 Dec 30, 2023

Lol, so good.

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21:58 Dec 30, 2023

Thank you Melissa :)

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20:44 Dec 30, 2023

Hahahaha Brilliant! Had a smile on my face the whole way through!

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21:18 Dec 30, 2023

Thanks Derrick - I'm glad the humour comes across.

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Jon Casper
20:25 Dec 30, 2023

Your sense of humor really shines through on this one. I'm fairly overcome with your wit. I made a few line notes as I read: I think first-class needs to be hyphenated? There are a couple spots in the first paragraph. Got a chuckle from "mind map." I was always fascinated by mind maps, and it seemed they could be so useful, but every time I tried using one in a practical setting, it seemed counter-intuitive to me. Love the vastly reduced expectations year by year. "I will get out of bed by 11am and [be] dressed before lunch." "I will no...

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21:19 Dec 30, 2023

Thank you Jon for your helpful notes. I really appreciate you taking the time. I've made your changes and will sleep on it and edit again tomorrow I think. I might enter this one.

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