‘t is the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. So, on the first day of Christmas, this writer gives to you: part 2 of a modern Christmas Carol.
Part one of this story can be found here.
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.
The First of the Three Spirits
Scrooge went to bed again, and started tweeting, and tweeting, and tweeting over and over and over. The more he tweeted, the more perplexed he was; and the more he endeavored not to think, the more he tweeted. Marley’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. Every time he resolved within himself, after mature inquiry, that it was all a dream, his mind flew back again, like a strong spring released, to its first position, and presented the same problem to be worked all through, “Was it a dream or not?”
Scrooge lay in this state until his phone showed him it was one at night.
“The hour itself…..” said Scrooge, triumphantly, “…and nothing else! Ha, fake news!”
He spoke before the hour bell on his rolex sounded, which it now did with a deep, dull, hollow, melancholy One. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and the curtains of his bed were drawn.
Scrooge found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them. It was a strange figure — an older woman, about a head shorter then him. Her blue eyes looked into his and her blonde wavy hair seemed to dance in the light. She wore a pant-suit of the purest white.
“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“And who voted for that?” he demanded.
“I was chosen by popular vote,” she replied, then, “Rise! and walk with me!”
It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes; that he was clad but lightly in his slippers, dressing-gown, and nightcap; and that he was not wearing his toupee and had bone spurs. The grasp, though gentle as a woman’s hand, was not to be resisted. Covfefe!
“Are you sure you have the fortitude, strength and stamina for this?…” he asked. “..You could develop pneumonia.”
The woman said no more, instead they passed through the wall, and stood upon a Queens road, with rows of buildings on either hand. The skyscrapers had entirely vanished. Not a vestige of them was to be seen. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, winter day, with snow upon the ground and the surrounding buildings.
“Good Heaven….!” said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. “….I was bred in this place. This is my school! Every day, the chauffeur would drive us here from our mansion!”
At that instant, a large limousine did come around the corner and soon came to a halt in front of the red-bricked school building.
Scrooge looked at the Ghost, and with a mournful shaking of his head, glanced anxiously towards the limousine door.
It opened; and a young boy came darting out, followed by an older boy and a girl. The boys were in neat clothing, as was the girl, but she wore no lipstick of any kind. The older boy bore a striking resemblance to Scrooge, albeit his hair was still full, and his skin was pale where the elder’s skin shone nearly orange in the light.
“Hurry up, Ebenezer,” a boy about a decade older than the other two said, from the limousine. The boy did not rush. “Or you will be late in earnest.”
“Fred,” the boy replied. “I have time yet.”
The boy strode forward as if the world would wait for him to turn. His classmates, also approaching, looked on in fascination at what he might do, knowing him to draw attention to himself whenever he could, be it in a good way or a bad.
“I was top of my class, you know,…” Scrooge told the spirit. “…Top of any class, really. Believe me. Nobody has better respect for intelligence than Ebenezer Scrooge.”
The Ghost sighed.
Fred’s worries, however, were not unfounded. Each evening, when the day was done, their mother would report to their father on the behavior that day of all five children and disciplinary actions could follow. In the Scrooge house those who won were rewarded and loved, while those who lost were punished.
“I wish,…” Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: “….but it’s too late now.”
“What is the matter?” asked the Spirit.
“Nothing,….” said Scrooge. “…Nothing. My father was demanding, and Fred could not handle that. He turned to drink and slowly withered until he finally died. My father was a great guy. A lovely guy; but he could be demanding.”
The Ghost frowned thoughtfully, and waved her hand: saying as she did so, “Let us see another Christmas!”
The old school was replaced by a street lined with hotels, windows lit up on all sides, and important people strolling about. Snow lay thick in the streets. The Ghost stopped at a certain hotel front, and asked Scrooge if he knew it.
“Know it!…” said Scrooge. “….I made the biggest deal of the decade here! Of the century!”
They went in. Scrooge’s former self, now grown to a young man, stood at the bar, accompanied by two scantily dressed women. A Russian man with a heavy brow and a glass of vodka stood near them.
“No more work to-night. Christmas Eve, Ebenezer. Let’s have another round,” cried the Russian, with a sharp clap of his hands, “before a man can say, Jack Daniels!”
More drinks flowed, round upon round, leaving young Scrooge in increasing stages of affectionate grouping with the two women.
“Am I not a handsome seducer,” Scrooge the elder said.
The ghost stared at the scene. “I used to slap and scratch my husband for things like this.”
Soon, the younger Scrooge and the two ladies left the bar and the Russian behind, then slowly made their way upstairs. The Ghost and elder Scrooge followed. Soon the threesome entered a room, and the two others found themselves outside the door.
“Should we go in?” Scrooge asked. The sound of merrymaking inside grew louder with each passing second.
“There are things that once seen cannot be unseen,” the Ghost said. “Still.”
The noise grew louder as they passed through the door. The scene before them was not that should be committed to a page. Suffice it to say relations were being had and soon a new sound joined the cacophony; the running and spattering of liquid upon skin.
“Men do strange things at times,” the ghost said, turning her blue eyes on him. “Be it with bodily functions, or for example, cigars.”
Scrooge’s face fell. “I’d forgotten about this.”
“Strange to have forgotten it for so many years!” observed the Ghost. “Still, there is a video lest you ever forget again. Let us go on.”
The words produced an immediate effect. For again Scrooge saw himself. He was older now; a man in the prime of life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice and his hairline was receding. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed the passion that had taken root.
He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young woman in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past.
“It matters little,” she said, softly. “To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if she can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, she is welcome to you.”
“You paint a very bad picture of me in the tabloids,….” he rejoined. “…A witch hunt against me.”
“You have treated me most harshly,” she said. “My body is not yours to toy with. And now you have taken to another woman as well.”
“I have tremendous respect for women….” he said. “However, this is the even-handed dealing of the world! It requires winning in each and every thing, and there is nothing it demands more of men with such severity as the pursuit of women! ”
“You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being best at all things, of winning continuously to the exclusion of all else. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, The Deal, engrosses you. Have I not?”
“What then?….” he retorted. “..I am the master of the deal and it has made me greater than other men.”
She shook her head. “We are done.”
He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed. “May you be happy in the life you have chosen!”
She left him; and they parted.
“What to do,….” he mused as he watched her leave. “… Perhaps… yes, my new love could profess my greatness in the carnal acts to the tabloids. That would surely turn the tide. Or I could do it on her behalf…”
“Spirit!….” said Scrooge, “…show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me? They ought to lock up one such as you!”
He turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked upon him with a face, in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him, wrestled with it.
“Leave me! Take me back. Haunt me no longer!”
He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness; and, further, of being in his own bedroom. He had barely time to send another tweet, before he sank into a heavy sleep.
Part three will appear on the morrow, bringing another ghostly visit.