New Years resolution short story by Christine Swiderski
New years resolution Chapter 1
Each year I make a resolution, as many do to only break it or ignore it. When I was at the store to by end of season mark downs I noticed the TV's on sale. Each had specifications on it's resolution. This got me thinking about how I should approach my resolution, define what it is I am actually trying to accomplish, make my goal high definition, to see I if I can actually accomplish what goal I am setting.
This year my goal is not to fall for every loser that smiles, has a nice tush, good swagger and line. So here is where the resolution of my resolution comes to a cross road. Something about my behavior has to change and I do not have a clue as to what needs to change. I always made a joke with my friends that I must have an aura about me that draws the wrong guy. I will first set out to change my aura.
So I Googled it first they say to look at your strong points. I have asked my friends what my strong points are, their answers were the generic things, good sense of humor, nice looking, smart, fun to be around, easy going. Ok what part of that should I change, should I become the bitch from hell, not be as easy going. Someone once told me that guys like girls that give them a hard time, they want to tame the shrew or see it as a bad girl dangerous relationship.
Today I will give that a try, while I was at the market a nice guy walked up asked if I could show him how to pick the best melons.
I said:” All you have to do is take a long look, then you need to lean in and give them a sniff” At that I pulled his head to my breast, and said “Those are perfect, you can judge from perfection and you will only find mediocre.”
After I released him his wife came up and hit me with a raw chicken. We were asked to leave the market. I was asked never to come back again, while walking to my car the guy I gave the sniff test to waved goodbye. I need to find a different way to change my aura.
Match my surroundings with my thoughts, I suppose that is a chi thing, at work I added reds, and yellows to my cubical, I usually wear drab green, black, I bought some reds, blues, yellows, green clothing. When I walked in with my red blouse, black slacks, red heels, my boss asked me to come into his office and close the door. I accommodated him, sat down in front of his desk, asked “How can I help you sir?”
He said: “Are you looking for a raise.”
I said “Are you offering?”
He said: “Yes, depends on your end of year performance.”
I said: “Is this like studying for a finale exam do I have to cram for it?”
He said: “Only if you are not used to hard work.”
I said: “What next?”
He motioned me to come around the desk towards him, now I am getting nervous wondering what he wanted, felt relieved when he handed me the Anderson file. I was sweating bullets, he said as I was leaving “Had you worried didn't I, nice outfit.”
I said “Respectfully sir, you are a shit!”
He laughed loudly, everyone turned to look at me, I just smiled gave a nod and went back to my cubicle.
At the end of the day I had been asked by 2 guys and 1 girl to go out, I turned them all down. Now that was a change for me I would have said yes to the first offer to go out. I will master my new aura.
I am resolved to resolve my failure of resolutions.
I take the subway to get home, sitting balancing a coffee and a paper, not wanting to make eye contact, which is different for me, I usually scan the possibilities and wonder if they like what they see. I want to be perceived as aloof.
Looking down I see a guy with long legs, wearing dress slacks, it was all I could do not to look over and check him out, wanting him to make the first move.
He leaned in and whispered in my ear “Wouldn't you rather have a drink, instead of the coffee?”
I turned with the coolest look on my face as I could muster and asked “You buying?”
He smile a large easy grin and said “Yes mam, next stop has a nice bar.”
I said “I do not go to hovels, it must me a nicer place such as Marcus's Bistro.”
Nodding he said “Marcus Bistro it is, my name is Cory”
I let a very slow calculated smile come to my face and said simply “Helen.”
New Year's Resolution chapter 2
Corey and I had our drink, chatted, he became more and more touchy, I pushed his hand away, after the 3rd attempt I put money on the bar and said goodbye. He said “I said I was buying.”
I said “Not like where this is going, the cost would be too high for you and me.”
At that I left, head high and proud of myself. It felt good not to say yes right away, also felt good not to be the first to make eye contact of say something to get their attention. I did enjoy my conversation with Corey, he seemed nice enough, the way I figured it if he is truly interested he will try again if he sees me at the subway.
Walking back to the subway, it was dark, I was a bit nervous never being out in the dark walking anywhere, I am still in my work clothes, I do not know if it is my imagination, I am hearing footsteps behind me, they seem to be following me. I slow on purpose to see if whom ever it is will pass me, the steps slowed, I picked up my pace they picked up their pace. Once I reached the steps to go down into the subway, I took my heals off and ran down the stairs, was lucky to catch the first train to my destination. It was exhilarating to be out of my comfort zone, I put my shoes back on and made a mental note to wash my stockings as soon as I get home.
I was glad to be in my flat, it's the bottom portion of a Victorian home, the owners fixed it up after the lady passed, turning it into 2 flats, the upstairs is inhabited by the owners son, Larry.
Larry works odd hours we rarely come in contact with each other, tonight Larry was sitting on the steps which lead to my flat.
“Hey Larry, what's going on?”
“Hey Helen, hope you do not mind, it is a nice night I wanted a different view besides the back of our neighbors house.”
I sat down next to Larry and said “I get it, hey have you had dinner, I do not feel like cooking how about if we share a pizza, I have a six pack of beer in the fridge?”
Larry: “Sounds good, I will order the pizza, pepperoni and cheese good?”
Me: “Pepperoni and cheese is perfect, I want to change out of my work clothes take a quick shower be back in 15.”
Larry: “Nice outfit, see you in 15.”
I came back handed Larry a beer, he had a cooler sitting next to him, he said there were 4 in the cooler so we do not have to limit ourselves on such a warm night. I smiled and nodded amiably and said “Sounds good to me.” We clinked our bottles and took the first swig.
Old ratty Volkswagen pulled up with a sign plunked on top that said Little Caesars Pizza
Larry insisted on buying I thanked him, ran inside got a couple of plates and napkins, we sat in the chairs on the porch table between us and enjoyed the evening. I had to be careful, I still had one more day of work. Friday's can be a bear or easy sailing, I am hoping for easy sailing. I still need to look closely at the Anderson file, I am suppose to find any discrepancies in the documents, also the testimony that was given in front of the Grand Jury, John Anderson is being indicted for racketeering, we are dotting our i's and crossing our t's. He is one our most lucrative accounts, someone in his organization is always needing help with something, this is the first time it was John Anderson, the head of the company or should I say syndicate.
Once I said good night to Larry and thanked him for the pizza and company, I told him I still had work to do to prepare a report for my boss. Larry was nice and said good night and the pleasure was all his.
Next morning I chose to wear, a white skirt and a bright blue blouse with blue shoes which matched the blouse perfectly. I got onto the train in the subway sat down, looking at my paper a coffee was slowly moved under my nose, a familiar voice said: “Good Morning Helen, how would you like a coffee.”
I raised my eyes ever so slowly and said good morning to Corey. He smiled and had this sweet sensual smile on his face, looking directly into my eyes. I figured he was trying to read me. I took a sip of coffee and gave my best poker face I could muster. Thanked him for the coffee and went back to my paper. Cool as a cucumber, yes changing your aura can be fun, but exhausting. Leaving the train, I threw the half full cup of coffee in a receptacle and walked to the exit. I really wanted to savor that coffee it was delicious, but that does not go well with my new demeanor.
New Years resolution Chapter 3
I arrived at work 10 minutes ahead of my normal arrival, went directly to my cubical, put my things away. As I sat down to turn my computer on I heard something in my bosses office, he is not usually here at this time, I was concerned since he has many of the files concerning the Anderson case sitting on his desk.
I went over the door which was cracked open, what I saw was a man in a suit, he turned when he heard me at the door.
I said “Can I help you? Do you have an appointment with Mr. Burns?”
I recognized the gentleman as the district attorney, he knows better, some say he is as corrupt as John Anderson and company.
Brian Meuner said “I do have an appointment with Mr. Burns, I am a bit early is all.”
I said “Mr. Meuner, step out here I will get you a cup of coffee, a doughnut or bagel if you desire.”
He politely declined the offer of refreshments, came out of the office sat down on a chair next to my desk. I sat, looked directly at him when he said “I hear your quite the sweetheart around here.”
I responded “Excuse me?”
Meuner: “All your bosses like you, say you are nice to the clients and efficient, the office staff says you are like the girl next door, yet a friend of mine Corey Graham said you are an ice queen.”
I smiled slightly lightly squinted my eyes and said “What's it to you, and what is your point exactly?”
Meuner: “Just making conversation is all.”
Me: “I am seeing it differently, you know better than to go into my Bosses office when he is not there, also your seeing if you can push my buttons, so to me this is not just making conversation as you say, it is more like you being an ass hole.”
Now that felt good, never I a million years would I have said that, thought it but never would have said it. I like the idea that Corey is talking about me, it is usually me doing that wondering about the other person. My resolution may actually bring a resolution to my empty heart syndrome.
Mr. Burns walked up and said to Meuner ”Your early, Helen I see is keeping you company.”
I said “Actually Mr. Meuner, was under the impression he could wait in your office for you till I made it clear he needs to wait out here for you.”
Tom's eyebrow went up as he turned to Meuner and said “Well, seems you have been a bad boy, I heard you have a reputation for such shenanigans, glad Helen is on her toes.”
Tom turned to me and smile then said “Bucking for that raise Helen?”
I smiled and said “No thank you sir.”
That made him laugh and say “Touche'.”
If Meuner was confused by our conversation he did not show it, what did come across loud and clear he was pissed at me. I love it, in the passed if someone was pissed at me I would obsessed over the reason and would need to make amends. I picked up the phone and made an appoint with the salon across the street, my lunch will be spent getting a new hair do.
I came back to work after lunch with blonde spiky hair, no more shoulder length dishwater brown. Heads turned so quickly I wonder if anyone was going to get whiplash. My boss came back after an extended lunch walked over to me and said “Good for you Helen, it looks great!”
I spent the rest of the day on cloud nine, I also made a decision to be nice to Corey, being that he either works for or with Meuner. May be I can get a few digs about Meuner with Corey hoping he will share it with Meuner.
I left the office an hour late, the grand jury came back said they did not have enough to indite John Anderson. Mr. Burns said there will be a raise and a little extra on my next pay check. My report showed some discrepancies in Mr Anderson's testimony which needed polishing.
Stepping into the train, there was only one seat left, next to another commuter but not Corey, I remembered Corey liked the pub at the second stop, that is where I got off. I found Corey sitting alone in the corner with a beer in front of him, a folder opened, I ordered a beer for me and Corey, sauntered over and sat down. He looked up with surprise written all over his face “Well hello Helen, nice hair, and nice to see you.”
“Thank you Corey, I needed a change, and also I want to apologize for being an ice queen, I have decided to make some changes in my life and not get involved with every guy I come in contact with who seems to be interested, like Meuner, he is an ass no hope there.”
Corey laughed and said “Now there is something we agree on.”
Me: “Tell me Corey is Meuner your boss, we never have gotten into the particulars of what we do for a living, although I got the impression from Meuner that you know who I work for.”
Corey closed the folder he was working on, leaned back and said “You wouldn't necessarily know me, your boss would, I have been lead detective on several cases your boss has handled.”
Me: “Now Corey, you pretending to be interested in me to get info, or to garner some sympathy?”
Corey: “Neither, when I first asked you for a drink I had no idea who you were till you told me your name, the fact you got onto the train at that particular station suggested you are the Helen Morris I have read in reports.”
New Years Resolution Chapter 4
We both ordered a burger and fries another round of beers which Corey insisted I let him buy this time. I smiled nodded my head congenially, we chatted amiably sharing the basics. Corey had his car with him this time, but since we both had a few to drink he grabbed a change of clothes from the trunk of his car, and we went to my place. The desert was delicious, the next morning we went out to breakfast, retrieved his car and went for a drive. We made a pact, not to talk about work, also that we would see where this relationship would go.
We stopped at this nice cafe out in the middle of no where, drove slowly back to my place after picking up steaks, salad makings, beer, also stopped at his place pick up some essentials, the evening was spent in each others arms, then grilling in the back yard. Larry came down the stairs, stopped dead in his tracks, took one look at Corey and turned on his heels and walked away without saying a word.
Me: “That was odd, Larry is usually chatty and personable.”
Corey smiled both eyebrows raised, eyes wide and said “Your neighbor is a registered sex offender, seems he has a habit of having a few too many and pisses where he pleases.”
Me: “Seriously someone charged him as a sex offender?”
Corey: “Newbie Patrolman, he said that he gave Larry a few chances only to get the finger so, it seems he has made an enemy.”
I made a mental note to talk to Larry about getting his record expunged.
The rest of the evening was splendid, waking up in a sweat of gooey love it is wonderful, showering together is even better, but I told Corey I am kicking him to the curb so I can get some work done before Monday morning. Before Corey left he said to me “I know we said we would not talk about work, but with your back ground I bet you could get a better job working for the district attorney, and before you say no way, Meuner is on his way out, too many discrepancies, and you did not hear that from me, they are moving him down state, and he will be an assistant rather than the main man.”
Me: “That sounds interesting, I would not mind working for the good guys for a change, although my boss said I was getting a raise and a bonus next check, so we will see how generous he is with the raise, that would have to be my starting salary.”
Corey nodded and gave me a kiss goodbye.
I went over the Stevens file there was not much for me to add or subtract, as I was putting it into my briefcase, I heard Larry come home, I went up stairs and knocked on his door, he came out arms folded and said “What!”
Me: “I come in peace, and bringing some information that you may want to hear.”
Larry: “Ok come in.”
I told Larry which of the attorney's in my office that could finagle a deal, and get his record expunged, that he may have to do some community service and go to a few meetings also promise never to piss in public. He said first thing tomorrow he will make an appointment, and thanked me profusely.
I went back to my place, my cell phone was ringing it was my Boss Mr. Burns, he asked if I was doing anything for dinner, I asked if this was work or other, he said other, I told him I was seeing someone, and that I do not date those for whom I work especially my boss, he said that if I played my cards right he would not be my boss much longer. After hanging up I called Corey told him of the conversation and asked him to get me an application. Corey laughed and said he would, and added, maybe he was talking about a different kind of raise.
After hanging up I was convinced that Corey was right. Mr. Burns is an ass.
Corey did not get me the application till Thursday of that week, he said he wanted to wait till all the politics was finalized with respect to Meuner's transfer. Corey and I agreed to meet after work Friday at my place, pick up a few things for me and we would spend time at his place downtown, walking distance from a bar his cousin owns.
When I received my check I received an extra $50 bonus, and a 2% raise. Pittance, I took my lunch break to speak to my future boss, before I left work at the law firm I gave my 2 week notice, Mr. Burns got wind of it and said, I could pack up then and there a severance will be sent to my place. I went to Mr. Burns boss to be sure I was dotting my i's and crossing my t's he wished me luck and just consider leaving early a paid vacation before I start my new position.
New Years Resolution Chapter 5
My week off was spent finding a place a bit closer to work, Larry was so grateful for my help he stayed home from work to help me find a place, which I was lucky, this place is 3 blocks from the county building where I will work, no more subway, yet far enough from Corey to keep our independence while we get to know each other. I do not plan on getting a car, I plan on walking and if I have to because of weather I can take a bus. Larry helped me pack what little I had, the flat came furnished.
After getting my belongings into the apartment I wondered about getting some furniture, bed especially, reclining sofa, table chairs and 2 bar stools to start with. My best friend Rose offered to take a day and help me shop, we found all of what I needed at Art Van's, with next day delivery. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag and pillow, not the most comfortable, Corey said I could have stayed at his place, but I wanted the time alone to nest and get to know my new neighborhood and neighbors. Corey's friends told me that it was a quiet neighborhood I should be happy there.
My furniture arrived just before 4pm the next day, I took the time to make the bed, called for some take out Chinese, I was pleasantly surprised to find in this part of town they deliver Chinese to your door. I wondered if they do it by rickshaw, or car. Found out car, I ordered enough in case Corey stopped by, which he did not, he said he would be working late into the night, being a Detective he does not punch a time card. Seems in the opposite part of the county there is a guy killing high end prostitutes, leaving his calling card which Corey would not tell me what it was. Just said simply he knew it was the same guy who killed 3 other hookers, just by the calling card.
I asked Corey if I should be worried being that I will be walking to and from work, he said no, this guy is working the North end of the county, he has not crossed over to the south end as yet. It was the as yet that gave me pause.
I took that evening to settle in and take stock in the changes that have happened since my new years resolution. I am being just as out going but not as gullible, which has paid off professionally. My new job with the District attorney's office will be the same as my old job, going over files, looking for discrepancy’s, except now I will be prompting the good guys on their testimonies and also encouraging more evidence. My pay will be better, I will work towards a county retirement, all of which is a bonus.
I have a 3 day weekend considering it is Friday, Corey said if it was ok he may be done by 11 pm for the night he would stop by, I told him it was fine bring beer, and some Nacho's Bel-Grande from the local Mexican restaurant by the department.
Corey arrived by 10 pm which was a nice surprise, it was his first view of the new apartment, which he said was utilitarian, I agree, not as homey as my flat with the front porch, and back yard, but it will do just the same, it has a door wall with a postage stamp size patio, and a small wooden privacy fence to separate our postage stamps.
I had bought a small out door table and chairs on my shopping spree. We ate the nachos outside, washing them down with cold beer.
I told Corey no shop talk, I could tell by the strain in his voice and on his face he was not liking how things were going. He agreed he needed to turn off his head for awhile and come at it fresh in the morning. So we finished our nacho's and beer, and I gave Corey something else to think about. By the time I was done with him we fell asleep in a limb tangled pleasured sweat heap.
Saturday I went with my reusable grocery bags folded under my arm, got on the bus to go to the Market 4 blocks down. Coming home since I had one of those rolling baskets that my totes fit in, I decided to walk home. Figuring it would take me at least an hour, I made sure I had a cooler bag for the perishables, and off I went. Coming back after 1 block I was passing the county building, I stopped for a moment to look and give a moment for all this to sink in. A man approached me from behind and said “Do not turn around, I want you to go to your left and continue walking, do not turn around or I will be the last thing you will ever see.”
My heart started to race, I wanted to scream and cry all at once, I was not sure which was more needed at the moment, I just did what I was told. I walked slowly and deliberately, the man told me to pick up the pace, he sounded familiar but I was not sure, his voice was forced like he had a cold or was deliberately concealing his identity.
New Years Resolution Chapter 6
I heard a horn beep and hear Corey call my name, I was instructed to ignore the cat call. I kept my eyes forward, and walked a bit faster as I was instructed. The man told me just a head about 20 feet to my left there is a black SUV Forester, I am to go to it, open the back door, crawl in on the seat face down, hands behind my head. I did what I was told, just before I felt something hit my head hard, I heard squealing of tires, and hope rose in my heart that it was Corey.
When my eyes opened in the hospital, looking over I see Rose and Larry, my heart ached hoping it was Corey. Before I could say anything Corey came in the room with 4 coffees, now all I wanted was a coffee.
Rose mechanically raised my bed, chattering nervously the whole time things like, oh my god I was so worried, I am glad your ok, oh by the way Larry and I are seeing each other.
Corey smiled down on me and said “Princess you did good yesterday, doing what you were told, it probably saved your life, here drink some coffee.”
I took a sip, my throat was dry and raw, it burned oh so good, but did not seem to quench the rawness.
When I went to speak it was raspy sounding “Who was that behind me did you get him?”
Corey said “Yes we got him, your old Boss Tom Burns, he has of course lawyer-ed up.”
I paused my coffee as I was bringing it to my mouth for the second slug, and looked at Corey, the question did not need audio, it was written on my face.
Corey said: “DNA says he is the one killing the high end prostitutes.”
Holy cow that hit me as hard as what ever it was that was used to smash my skull. I sat in stunned silence as did Rose and Larry, the only one that was not phased was Corey, I was guessing with being a detective for 10 years nothing would surprise him.
Corey said: “Burns lawyer contends, that he was a spurned lover, with temporary insanity plea, until he heard about the DNA evidence, that has stopped any and all conversation at this point.”
There was a plea bargain, death penalty off the table, if he would give evidence against John Anderson.
My new boss told me to take a week, get better and start fresh. I was glad, my nerves were rattled.
Problem 2 came in the form of a break in while I was out to dinner with Corey. My place was trashed. Corey walked in to take a look around had me stay near the door, he then told me all was clear come on in. I stood in the middle of the living room, what happened next changed my life beyond reason. Corey was holding a bat, and said to me “I work hard at what I do, you worked hard at undoing all my work.”
Me: “What are you talking about Corey.”
Corey: “No one will even consider me a suspect, with everything that has happened to you, me getting you the job with the district attorneys office, the hooker slasher. Your idea of a job was to beat the other guy, now I am going to show you how it truly feels to get beaten, to a pulp.”
Frozen in my spot, not believing what I was hearing, someone approached Corey from behind, a shot rang out. I wet myself, it seemed my whole body caved in and landed on the floor. When Corey's body collapsed to the floor I could see Mr. Burns standing there, I screamed and cried hysterically the sound vibrated off the walls and my brain, which was till hurting from getting hit.
Burns: “I was not going to kill you Helen, just get you away from this asshole I love you.”
Me: “How is it possible you are out of jail?”
Burns: “Good Lawyer, left doubt that even with the DNA which could have been deposited when I had sex with the women, the love I have for you made me crazy enough to do the neanderthal move on you.”
Sirens that I heard in the distance were outside my apartment building, I lay on the floor Burns turned to walk outside to face the music. I heard a chorus of “Put the gun down”
then shots rang out.
I made another New Years resolution: I am going home to where my family lives, no more city life, I want the slow down to a meandering of neighbors and family, marry a country boy and have a pack of kids.