The Year in Review

by Gary Percesepe

I sat at my desk and made a list of all my accomplishments this year. I won the hot dog contest at Nathans in Coney Island! Well, not exactly. I'd backed out at the last minute, forfeiting the entrance fee. The thought of dipping hot dog buns into a jar of water to make things go faster really repulsed me. A wet soggy hot dog bun? No thanks. But I had caught the biggest Bluefin tuna on record in Montauk. Also, false. I set a new land speed record on the Taconic Parkway in my new Porsche. Nope. I sat and dozed at the desk. A mouse awakened me, nibbling the toes of my left foot. I threw the book of psalms at him and he scampered off into his hole in the wall. I'd won the home beautification award in Westchester for the third consecutive year! Fat chance.  What about the three days in a row I called in sick at the office while I lazed in Aruba? That felt like a triumph. And I had kited a check successfully with hours to spare before my paycheck was automatically deposited, avoiding tons of fees. There was the best seller I'd authored in my head, which I'd wisely avoided writing once I figured out the mess in taxes I'd face, not to mention doing the obligatory book tour, having to face all those annoying literary lions with their cloying introductions, and sycophantic MFA students asking countless questions about my “process.” Process my ass, I told them, in the dream that accompanied my heroic decision to forego writing the novel. I looked down the page, at my mounting successes. A baseball shattered the window. Glass was all over my desk. It was the doofus kid from next door, Timmy or Tommy, or whatever his name was. I invited him in, swept away the broken glass, sat him down at my desk, brought him a hot dog and shot of scotch. He politely declined. “I'm ten years old,” he said. I complimented him on his restraint, and downed the scotch, saving the hot dog for later. All the while complimenting him on his good sense about liquor, which had led to the downfall of many a good man, and reflected well, I thought, on his parents. I told Timmy this. Or Tommy. “Can I have my ball back, mister?” he asked. I gave him his damn ball, and added this to my burgeoning list. I was rolling, now.