Last Ditch New Year’s Resolution
Only sixteen minutes remained until Barnabas would embark upon the treacherous
road to salvation. His current situation made it imperative that he rectify the many wrongs he had committed in nearly half a century. Gratefully, just sixteen minutes until New Year’s Day as there were countless resolutions to enact. At midnight, he would no longer steal, lie, cheat or do anything that could cause others harm.
To herald this change, Barnabas vocally lauded the impending transformation.
“Yeah, once the clock strikes twelve, I’m going to be an agent of God. I’ll right all my
previous sins and be washed clean. Hallelujah, I’m going to follow Jesus.”
Barnabas repeated this spiel or something similar, over and over. He half expected
others whose ears his promise had fallen upon to rise up and cheer. Instead he was met with eerie silence or the occasional, “Shut the hell up.”
“Screw them,” Barnabas thought.
They were just envious of his vow. And this time he need not fail. Previous attempts had fallen by the wayside. For instance, two years ago, he made a New Year’s resolution to always be truthful but by month’s end, a predicament arose where he had to lie. It was downhill after that.
Barnabas dejectedly glanced about his wretched surroundings. He had fallen into a
bad place, filled with gloom and despair. A total nightmare! But that would begin to amend itself once tomorrow became today. His first task would be to act pleasant to his immediate neighbor,Carlos. He had always treated Carlos with disdain. That attitude would be squashed.Barnabas’ thoughts were interrupted by footsteps. It was the man in blue! This was the one person Barnabas really needed to show how quickly he could transform into a worthy human being. The man in blue was his gateway to liberation!
“We need to pipe down in here,” demanded the man in blue. “Barnabas, is that you
making all that commotion?”
“A man is allowed to speak freely in his own house, isn’t he?”
Barnabas froze after uttering that comment. The remark sounded insolent, a
commandment against his proposed new self. He promptly apologized by saying,
“Sorry sir. I got a bit carried away with this being New Year’s eve. It won’t happen
“Make sure it doesn’t.”
The man in blue departed. Minutes later the nearby cathedral audibly struck twelve.
Barnabas put his hands together and prayed. True to his word, Barnabas kept his commitment in turning righteous and honorable. There was always a smile for the few people he encountered and nary an unkind word escaped his lips. All actions were pious in nature and every night ended with a supplication to the almighty to be an even better soldier tomorrow.
By mid January, Barnabas believed his born again transformation had absolved him
from previous transgressions. He sought the man in blue for exoneration, wishing to be free and respectable once again! That afternoon, Barnabas waited patiently. The man in blue always came by in the morning and early evening. When he finally appeared, a preacher and a second man, attired in gray, walked alongside.
“I hope you’ve come to release me,” Barnabas hollered out. “However, you could
have come alone. No need for the clergy.”
The man in blue gave Barnabas an odd look while unlocking the portal that
“Go ahead and do what you have to,” the man in blue directed the preacher. “I’ll be
back in thirty minutes.”
As the man in blue turned and walked away, Barnabas started shouting in his direction.
“Can I go now? I’ve kept all my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve changed into the person
the world wanted.”
To Barnabas’ exasperation, the man in blue continued his stride and didn’t reply.
A short time later, Barnabas Smythe was executed by lethal ejection. The inmate had,
with malice, killed three people eight years ago. The court found him guilty on all accounts of first degree murder. The subsequent incarceration on death row had made him quite deranged, beyond the brink of insanity.
Harrowingly, Barnabas’ last words before his dying breath were,
“I kept all my New Year’s resolutions. Why can’t I go now?”
Farrell Levine is currently enjoying retirement, taking time to pursue writing.
He writes fantasy and mystery fiction.