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The Big List of New Year's Resolutions

St. Francis faces off with Satan in a resolution showdown, as told by George Saunders.

The State of Texas: What I really want to accomplish this year? As a state? Is to literally change my shape! I feel so fat. What I'm going to do is diet and work out until I look more like California: long and lean. But without the earthquakes. And no Schwarzenegger.Boots the Cat: No more racing across the kitchen, then skidding into the counter. Why do I keep doing that, you know? Do I like the humiliation? Am I kind of seeking it out? Enough already! From now on, I'm sitting perfectly still on this macramé throw, no matter what I think I see fleeing across the linoleum. Wait, wait, shit, I'll be right-damn. Dammit.Some Fat Guy in Cleveland: I'm going to stop fantasizing that Paris Hilton, on a layover in the Cleveland airport, has a brain seizure, is suddenly attracted to heavy guys, flees into the city, and blunders into my backyard, where she finds me "sunning" myself. Who am I kidding? I mean, what are the odds? My house is so far from the airport.The Corpse of Al Capone: This year, I hope to come back from the grave and reestablish my "crime empire." No, wait. Actually, the first thing I'm going to do is get cured of the syphilis that killed me. Definitely. Then a milk shake. My throat's been so dry. So: cure for syphilis, milk shake, then the "crime empire" reestablishment thing.A Jug of High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Warehouse, New Jersey: My resolution is to . . . simply disappear. I know I'm making everyone fat. I'm sweet, yes, but it's a cloying sweetness, and just look at all these tubbies! At first it was fun-everyone liked me, no one had yet been crushed by early-onset diabetes, but now… I wish I was just plain old corn again, you know? Softly swaying in a field, hiding clandestine lovers, sheltering wild clusters of crows. God, those were the days.A Major Television Network: Jesus, I'm so ashamed of myself! I've been remiss. I was blind but now I see: There's a deplorable shortage of shows depicting kinky sexual murders, fetishistic assaults, and sadistic-but-brilliant serial killers. This year, I resolve to address this deficiency, starting with CSI Heaven, in which Satan sneaks into God's kingdom and starts abducting and raping the angels. Then "Saint Francis" figures it out, and murders Satan, using that beaded belt thingie Francis always wears, after which he gives Satan's body a kick and pushes it out of Heaven, and it falls to earth and lands on a prostitute who is actually a man, a man who was once molested by his father's dog, who was actually a nun dressed as a dog, a nun who, when not dressed as a dog, and even sometimes when dressed as a dog, was mad into S&M. Now that's entertainment!Satan: I resolve to haunt any television executive who has me die in a sitcom. Satan doesn't die! He's already dead! Also, no way could Saint Francis kill me. Have you ever seen that guy? He's a twig.Saint Francis of Assisi: Oh yeah, bring it on! You might not know this, "Beelzebub," but I'm supported here in heaven by the ghosts of literally every animal who ever died! You want a piece of us? And what kind of fey name is that anyway, "Beelzebub?Simba, Huge Dead Lion: I will bite you right on the ass, Satan, if you mess with my friend Saint Francis, who once took a big thorn out of my paw.Satan: All right, all right, no need to get all-Roger, Dead Former Theologian: Actually, I'm sorry to say, the individual who took the thorn from your paw, Simba? Was, in fact, not Saint Francis, but Saint Jerome-Androcles: Bullcrap! That was me! I'm the one who did that! Come one, that was definitely me. Simba, look at me, try and remember! I wasn't naked then, didn't have an eternal, luminous body-I was wearing a toga at that time, if you rem-Simba, Huge Dead Lion: Uh, actually, you know what? Now that I think about it? It was Androcles. Sorry, sorry. Wow, is that ever weird. I think the reason I…can you guys see the resemblance? Doesn't Androcles kind of look like Saint Francis? It's the eyes, the gentleness around the-Sir Winston Churchill: He does, he really does, I totally see what you mean-Satan: You turds are all show and no go.Saint Francis of Assisi: Oh really? We'll see about that. Go, Simba, go! Take Satan out! Bite him right on his cocky red ass!Simba, Huge Dead Lion: Come, all ye beasts of the field, let us show Satan our considerable power!Various Dead Beasts of the Field: Okay!God: Wow, nice job, Simba and the other beasts of the field! Jeez, I should have thought of that eons ago! I have a feeling that, without that jerk Satan around, 2007 may be our best year ever!George Saunders: Let's hope so, and Happy New Year!

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