‘t is the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. So, on the day before Christmas, this writer gives to you: part 1 of a modern Christmas Carol.
The story below is — of course — based on ‘A Christmas Carol‘ by Charles Dickens. Heck, I borrowed from it most liberally. You might be surprised how much I did not change.
Anyway, this story is of course completely fictional and meant as an attempt at humor. Any resemblance to actual persons is a coincidence. Really.
Marley was gone: to begin with. Scrooge had tweeted about it himself. Marley had been his friend, his sole confidant, and the one who’d helped him into office. And now he was gone. Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! ‘Grab them by the Pussy’ he would say, and he would if he could get away with it.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, “My dear Scrooge, how are you?” Although Scrooge himself claimed he was the most stopped person ever, and the crowds coming to him in the streets were the largest ever witnessed.
The door of Scrooge’s oval office was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, Bob Cratchit, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. He was drinking a coke and watching Fox & Friends.
“A merry Christmas, father! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s son Junior, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
“Bah!…” said Scrooge, “…Humbug covfefe!”
“Come, then,” returned the son gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? what reason have you to be morose? We’re rich enough, and hold the highest of offices.”
“But I am besieged by never-Scroogers and fake news!…” his uncle cried. “…..And your own tweeting of damning evidence.”
“Don’t be angry, father. They cannot touch us. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.”
“Bah!…..” said Scrooge again. “…Humbug covfefe. Be off.”
His son sighed and left the room without an angry word.
At length the hour of shutting up the oval office arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool and turned off the television which had been blaring Fox for hours, then tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat.
“You’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?’ said Scrooge.
“If quite convenient, Sir.”
“It’s not convenient,..” said Scrooge, “….and it’s not fair. I have to pay a day’s wages for no work.”
The clerk observed that it was only once a year. He also observed that he had insurance in case Scrooge wanted to throw him under the bus.
“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!….” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin. “…..You sir, are like unto a Mexican. But I can be generous.”
The clerk told Scrooge that he was the most generous man in the world and it was an honor working with him; Scrooge walked out with a growl.
Scrooge took his melancholy dinner of cheeseburgers in his usual melancholy tower hotel; and having seen all the tweets about him, tweeting back angrily where appropriate, or not appropriate, went up to his rooms and bed.
He took off his toupee; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his night-cap; and sat down before the television to take his night burger and learn what had happened in the world.
Suddenly he heard a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy cable over the casks in the cellar. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that federal agents placing secret microphones were described as dragging cable. The elevator-door below flew open with a booming sound, quite unlike how elevators usually sounded, and then he heard the ding of an elevator rising, floor by floor. He heard the elevator doors open and then the noise much louder; coming straight towards his door.
“It’s fake news still!…” said Scrooge. “..I won’t believe it. Covfefe!”
His color changed though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the television flared up, as though it cried “I know him! Marley’s Ghost!” and fell again.
The same face: the very same. A slightly chubby face, skin blotchy and nose red, with manes of grey hair. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of newspaper articles, DVDs of movies like Undefeated and Occupy Unmasked, a steel Breitbart logo, and three wedding rings. His body was transparent: so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the long red tie on the chair behind.
Scrooge rose slowly, dragging his considerable weight up, then brought his hands together but spread out his finger in a double fan.
“Mercy!….” he said. “…Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”
“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men!”
The Spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain, and wrung its shadowy hands.
“You are fettered,….” said Scrooge, trembling. “..Is this because I fired you? Because I tweeted you cried when you got fired and begged for your job?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
“I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. To drain the swamp for real. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer.”
“Fake news,…..” said Scrooge. “…I have done more good in my life than any other man in history!”
“You will be haunted,” said the Ghost, unperturbed, “by Three Spirits.”
“I—I think I’d rather not,…” said Scrooge. “….I have bone spurs, as you well know.”
“Without their visits,” said the Ghost, “you cannot hope to shun the path of infamy. Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls one.”
The apparition walked backward from him, shuffling along like a wayward drunk, then vanished through the door.
Part two of this haunting tale will appear on the morrow.