They told him he had talent to burn. So he did.
He took a match to all his possible futures and made a bonfire out of them, throwing in a few Hopes and Dreams for good measure. He sat back and sipped a cold drink as Great Things shriveled up and mixed with the ashes of Rich and Famous. He put out his hand to prevent Going Places from blowing away and thrust it back into the inferno, watching it catch and smoke. He sat there for a long time, until the last embers had gone out.
Now he lives in a small flat on the corner of Nobody and Average. He works the Nine to Five, comes home every evening and eats a modest dinner in front of the TV. Sometimes people will drop by to visit and he will clear them a seat at the table and offer them coffee. Invariably, they all ask him the same thing.
"Why are you living like this? I remember that you were so bright, so smart. You could have done something with yourself. So why?"
For the briefest of moments, flames can be seen in his eyes. The ghostly remnant of a bonfire long, long ago.
Then he laughs.
"They told me I had talent to burn," he says, and goes to check the coffee.