The sound slowly woke Hunter.
It echoed in his ears, his head pulsing with pain. He tried to open his eyes, but couldn’t. Sweaty and fully dressed, he lay in his bed on top the covers, the sun beating in through the windows.
“Ugh,” he moaned, reaching up to the nightstand to grab his phone. His fingers searched the dirty shelf, locating it. Slowly, he brought the screen to his face. Why did his head hurt? Why was he still dressed?
“Ow-ow-ow,” he continued, rolling on his back, pulling the blanket up over his face to shield it from the light. His eyes blinked open to bring the small screen into view.
36 UNREAD TEXT MESSAGES
Hunter sat up, burped, and felt like he would be sick. The waft of alcohol and vomit coming off of him was strong. Fingers pushing buttons furiously, he started reading through the messages.
From his friend, Steve…haha – just saw you on the news…way to go!
From a girl in his class, Kara…Seriously dude, I knew you were crazy, but you should win an award for THAT…
From another girl at school, Melissa…didn’t your mom teach you any manners…one thing to be funny, but that was just gross…AND ON TV. Good luck getting into college, moron!
His mind raced – last night, last night, last night…what happened? His parents were going to a work party for his dad. He was going to Brent’s. At least that’s what he told them. They wanted him home by 1am. He didn’t go to Brent’s. He was sweating even more.
A few more messages, from his best friend, Kyle…I told you not to do it. so don’t come blaming me. have your parents seen yet? CALL ME!!!
From Steve again…NICE, someone has it up on Youtube now. You are lagit man, for real. already at like 2k views, and it’s only been a few hours. #rockstar
There was a link. Hunter pressed it. He turned his phone sideways and waited for the the video to load. He looked at the view count; it was now up to 10,000. When it loaded, a news reporter stood on a busy street corner, people all around her.
She started the broadcast, “This is Holly Madsen in downtown with other revelers waiting for midnight to arrive in just under a minute. Everyone around me seems in high spirits and ready for the New Year.”
“Holy crap,” he whispered, some memory coming back. They went to Brent’s, but then they took his car, picked up some friends and went downtown. His parents had told him to stay away from down town. Brent took some booze from his parents house and they partook to celebrate the New Year.
Then he saw himself in the video. Standing right behind the reporter. He was right there, next to his buddies. The reporter continued, “Everyone around, help me count down the New Year.”
The crowd cheered behind her…”10…9…8…7…6…5…4…”
Hunter watched in horror as he pushed his way up through the crowd, closer to the reporter.
She continued to smile and yell with the crowd around her. On the video, Hunter’s mouth wasn’t moving, but his eyes were fixed on the reporter.
“…and one. Happy New Year!” she shouted, and as soon as she did, Hunter lunged in and gave her a sloppy kiss on the lips.
The reporters face turned quickly to disgust as she stepped back. The crowd around screamed, egging Hunter on. Hunter smiled and whooped back to the crowd.
“Oh no,” he said as he watched himself go in for another smooch. As he leaned in again he puked all over her.
“Noooooo!” he screamed from his bed and put his hands to his mouth. The reporter screamed and some in the crowd laughed, others looked ill. His friends grabbed him quickly and they raced off screen before the video went black.
He lay in bed, helpless, unsure what to do. There was a knock at the door.
“Hey, Hunter, you okay?”
“Uh…yeah, mom. Just,” he stammered, wiping his brow, “not feeling so hot.”
“Okay. Well, Dad and I are going to get breakfast made. Come on down when you feel like it and tell us about last night. If it was anything like ours, I bet you had a blast. Happy New Year!”
“Ha-ha…okay,” he said, dropping his phone in his lap, and putting his head in his hands.