A lighthearted parody of the popular novel A Christmas Carol. Contributions Welcome!
Marley was dead. Dead as a doornail, in fact! Or perhaps it was a doorknob. Or maybe it was a dead frog. Oh well, he was dead, just accept it! So anyway, Marley was dead, dead as...you know. All the official papers had been properly signed by the witnesses to make them legal...witnesses who wanted all the dough, that is. The Impressive Clergyman signed the papers. The city clerk signed them. The undertaker signed them. The bishop signed them, the baker signed them, the police signed them, his dog and cat signed them...even Ebenezer Stooge (I mean, Scrooge) signed them, and everyone knew that everything Scrooge signed had to be perfectly legal! Otherwise they wouldn't get their share of his loot.
Yes, Marley was dead as a cockroach!
Did Scrooge know he was dead? No, in fact he was sitting at home watching TV and eating popcorn the whole time. DUH!! Of course he did!! How could he not know? After all, Scrooge and Marley had been business partners for many years. Besides, Scrooge was the executer of Marley...I mean, Marley's estate. Scrooge was Marley's only friend, his only mourner ('cause he wouldn't get as much money anymore), and the only beneficiary of his estate. I don't know what that means, look it up in the dictionary. Anyway, Scrooge was an excellent business man and even on the day of Marley's death (which caused him no pain or grief, by the way, except that he wouldn't get as much money) he took advantage of the
happy sad event by offering his customers special bargains.
As you may have guessed, Scrooge wasn't the most pleasant character around. He had shrivelled cheeks (seriously, he didn't drink nearly enough water), a pointed nose (which he often used instead of his finger), and thin blue lips (no, he wasn't a pervert who used weird-colored lipstick), all of which were accentuated by the hard, cold wind. On top of all that Scrooge wasn't the most pleasant character around (oh, I already said that. Sue me). No one ever came up to him on the street to say "My those Cubs are doing well this season aren't they?", no beggar ever asked him for a trifle with which to buy booze, and no children ever came up to him to ask the o'clock. I mean, they had their iPhones and those told them the time, so why the heck would they have to do that anyway?? But as if that weren't bad enough, even the blind men's dogs avoided him (ever since he gave them some of his homemade dog biscuits, which brought on several lawsuits). He was a lonely, bitter old man (and his dental bills really didn't help much).
Now on the day before Christmas (er, should we say Non religious-specific winter holiday), seven years after Marley's unfortunate demise, Scrooge was in his office eating a box of jelly doughnuts and having a cup of coffee with a carcinogenic sweetener, when he noticed his clerk, Bob Ratchet (er, CRATCHET), trying to sneak into the room to grab another piece of coal out of the bucket. "CRATCHET!!!" he roared. Cratchet's hair flew up and he jumped about a mile and crashed through the window and landed in a big snowbank outside. Scrooge rolled his eyes and shook his head. "That glass has been there for twenty years," he moaned. "I mean, sure it was just about to fall out on its own, but why does my idiot clerk have to hasten its demise?" He got up and went to the broken window. "CRATCHET! Get back in here! Stop playing in the snow and get back to work or you will spend your Christmas—er, non-religious-specific winter holiday, looking for another job!!"
"Quite sorry sir!" Cratchet stammered. "Right away sir!" The tall, thin man jumped up and ran to the door and smashed right into an old lady who happened to be hobbling by. "You wild young rip!" she hissed, and began hitting him on the head with her purse. "You young fools of a generation never watch where you're going, always rushing about like constipated weiner dogs, thinking the world revolves around you! I oughta..." But at that moment the church bells tolled. "Oh, my afternoon tea! I MUSTN'T miss that!" And off she dashed like a jackrabbit, leaving poor Bob Cratchet facefirst in the ice.
Just then, Scrooge's nephew Fred passed by. "A Merry Christmas Bob!" he said cheerily. "Yfff minfgh nnn wnntrrr spcffcc hohihay!" Bob said, his face buried in the snow. "Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to say non-religious-specific winter holiday!" Fred corrected himself. "A Merry Non-Religious-Specific Winter Holiday Bob!" he said, and went inside the door.
"A Merry..." Fred began as he reached Scrooge's desk, but Scrooge shot him a withering glare that silenced him on the spot. "For heaven's sake, nephew, I don't need to hear that again! Oh, and BAH HUMBUG to Christmas."
"Christmas...I mean, non-religious—"
"JUST SAY CHRISTMAS FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!"
"Oh very well. Christmas a humbug Uncle? You can't mean that! Er, just out of curiosity what IS a humbug anyway?"
"A roach that loves music, you dope! Everyone knows that!" Scrooge replied.
"Oh I see! But that doesn't make very much sense to me."
"How could Christmas be a roach that loves music?"
Scrooge sighed and put his head in his hands. "It's too complicated to explain, nephew. Just accept it."
"Very well then," said Fred. "But why is it a humbug?" Scrooge sneered. "It's a time for buying when you're broke, a time for being taxed to death when your paycheck is small enough already, a time for being religiously exclusive and intolerant of other faiths!"
"Oh no, Uncle! That's not the way it is at all! In fact, every year at my house we have a Pluralism Party, to celebrate other ethnicities and religions! You really ought to come!"
"Bah, humbug," Scrooge retorted. "It's just part of a governmental conspiracy to take over our lives. I'll have no part of it."
"Don't be cross Uncle!" Fred replied cheerily. "Come and dine with us tomorrow!"
"Sorry, I'm on a diet," Scrooge said. "I can't have all the stuff you people cook."
"It's a vegetarian party!" Fred assured him. "There are no meat or animal products there at all!"
"EXACTLY! You know I hate all that crap." Fred rolled his eyes. "You know you should eat healthier Uncle."
"Humbug," said Scrooge, and went back to his jelly doughnut.
"Well, if you want to get clogged arteries and heart disease later on, go ahead and keep on eating that junk!" Scrooge did not reply but continued scarfing his doughnut.
"I wish you wouldn't be so stubborn."
Scrooge continued stuffing his face.
"I'm sorry to find you in such a bad way, Uncle. We've never had any quarrels!"
Scrooge just about choked. "Are you kidding? Every year you ask me these dumb questions and it always leads to a quarrel! Don't be such a bozo."
"Oh come now Uncle, do come and eat with us. You'll be much happier if you do!" Scrooge burped loudly and washed his mouthful down with his carcinogenic coffee.
"Oh well, I tried," said Fred. "But a Merry non-relig—"
"CHRISTMAS!!! Christmas, you PC wacko!" Scrooge shouted. "Now get outta here and stop ruining my snack!" Fred sighed and walked out of the office, nearly stepping on Bob Cratchit as he exited the doorway. "A Merry non-religious-specific winter holiday Bob!" he said on his way out. "CRATCHIT!" Scrooge yelled. "Will you get your face out of the snow or you're fired!!" Cratchit was about to get up, when suddenly someone stepped on his head, forcing him back down in the snow again. Scrooge placed his face in his hands as two more visitors stepped into his office. Both were clad in large overcoats, Kangaroo hats and wore sunglasses.
"Oh no, it's the IRS!!" Scrooge moaned, as they gathered ninety percent of what was on his desk and stuffed it into their bags. "Happy Holidays!" they called as they left, stepping on Cratchit's head once again.
"That stupid government, always sticking its nose where it doesn't belong!" Scrooge hissed, slamming his books shut. "Now the whole day's ruined. I might as well go home to bed." And with that he got up from his chair, threw on his coat and hat and went out the door. Cratchit moaned as his boss stepped on his head. Scrooge looked down, rolled his eyes, grabbed his clerk by the collar and dragged him up out of the snow. "I suppose you'll want all day tomorrow?" he inquired.
"Oh yes, please, sir, if it's quite convenient," Cratchit replied hastily, brushing the snow off his face.
"It's NOT convenient, you idiot! If it was convenient it wouldn't involve me losing a day of work...especially now that that wretched IRS has taken most of what I had!" He snorted. "Very well, but be here all the earlier the next day! And I won't take any 'I was drinking really hard and slept in' excuses, do you understand?"
"Oh yes sir, thank you sir!" Cratchit replied excitedly, and dashed off in the direction of his house...and slid on the ice and fell flat on his face again.
Scrooge took his usual melancholy dinner of fish 'n chips at his usual melancholy tavern (Long John Silver's) and then, with a slight bout of indigestion from all the nasty grease, went home to bed. His home was located in the filthy rich section of town, where all the filthy rich people lived. Scrooge didn't live like the rest of them, however; he didn't own a giant 72-inch screen TV, two jacuzzis on each floor, two solid gold Humvees, diamond-studded swimming pools and a giant game room. No, he preferred not to make his immense wealth known to the public (at first it was so the IRS wouldn't find him but the IRS knows ALL so it just wasn't any use) so that he wouldn't be the target of telemarketers or travelling soliciters. But tonight he was about to be the target of someone even worse...
Now it may be known that there was nothing very particular about the knocker on Scrooge's front door. It was old, rusty and about to fall off its hinges and was so covered with soot and grime you couldn't even tell what its shape was anymore. However, tonight as he was walking up his steps, the knocker suddenly shouted "SCROOOOOOOOGE!!!" Scrooge was so surprised he lost his balance and leaped about four feet into the air and then hit his head on the roof of the porch. For a few minutes he just sat there seeing stars but then suddenly the knocker called again, "HEY SUCKER! LOOK UP! I'M TALKIN' TO YOU!"
Scrooge examined the knocker. He saw a familiar face: It was Marley! He still had on that same old Cubs hat and still had those gold teeth.
"Marley?" Scrooge exclaimed. "I'm not seeing this! What are you doing alive??"
"HAHA, I sure gave you a start didn't I?" the knocker said.
"HUMBUG," said Scrooge, and hurriedly opened his door. Once inside, he examined the back of the door, and saw that the ghost of Marley had indeed gotten his head stuck in the door. "EGADS!!! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!!" Scrooge yelled.
"I'll explain...but first will you help me get my head out of here," Marley replied. Scrooge dropped his keys and dashed up the stairs (stopping to loosen the seventh one, so that no one would be able to follow) and darted into his room and locked each of the eight locks and the nailed it shut just in case. Then he sat down in his chair and tried to get hold of himself.
"No more greasy meals from Long John's for me," he said. "No sir."
He reached for his bottle of Tums sitting on the hearth (which was cold and dark since Scrooge was too lazy to chop any wood for it) when suddenly all the bells in the house began to chime, quickly followed by all the boomboxes in the house, which played "Smoke on the Water," and then suddenly his TV turned on all by itself and started showing The Hills. Scrooge was horrified. "Oh no! I hate this show!" He grabbed the remote control and tried to change the channel but couldn't. "GREAT! I KNEW I shouldn't have eaten those greasy halibut."
Suddenly, he heard another noise, one which drowned out all the rest: It was the sound of moving furniture! The house shook from the impact. But that wasn't all: Now someone was slowly coming up the stairs, and for some reason whoever it was was dragging a gigantic chain behind him. "SCROOOOOOOGE!" called Marley's voice.
"OH NO!" Scrooge suddenly remembered the seventh stair. "Marley, watch out for..."
Too late. There was a cry, followed by a horrific crash, followed by some loud growlings and mutterings and oaths. "Phew," said Scrooge. "Maybe he'll..."
But Marley wasn't about to leave. Suddenly Scrooge saw him floating in the door...but it was not the pale-white figure he'd seen earlier. This time the ghost was covered in soot and had several bruises around his eyes.
"Still up to your old tricks, I see," Marley said in disgust. "I saw you rig that stair! You don't fool me old buddy."
Scrooge's face brightened for a moment. "Haha, remember when I rigged your car horn so it blew at all those pretty girls in the office parking lot? Boy that was a hoot!"
"And how about that time you laced my brownies with ex-lax? I'll never forget that!"
Scrooge frowned. "No, that was that guy Larry, remember?"
"Oh yes, so it was," Marley replied. "My memory has gone downhill ever since I died. But..you did put that poisonous cobra in my underwear drawer, as I recall!"
Scrooge laughed at the thought. "And those were just college days!"
"Yes...you needn't remind me of that time you wrote that obscene note to my boss and signed my name on it!" Marley replied. Then he scratched his head. "Now I know there's a reason I'm here...what was it again?"
"Maybe you're here to remind me to pay my phone bill?" Scrooge suggested.
"No, no, that's not it...although you SHOULD consider paying it soon!" Marley said. "It's starting to get out of hand, isn't it?"
"It can wait just a little longer," Scrooge shrugged.
"That's what you said three months ago," Marley replied sternly. "It's jacked up to $30,000 since then!" He scratched his head again. "Now I know there was a reason I was sent here...what the heck was it? I told you my memory has gone downhill ever since I died."
"I bet you're coming to warn me to change my selfish, greedy ways, right?"
Marley's face brightened. "Ah yes! That's right. Scrooge, you must change your greedy, selfish ways!" He stood there looking very proud of himself. Scrooge lifted an eyebrow. "Is that all?" he inquired. "Aren't you supposed to tell me about three spirit beings or whatever that will visit me tonight?"
"Yes, now I remember! I was supposed to warn you...three agents from the Association of Socialist Spirits (ASS) will arrive here tonight...oh wait, that's dirty. The "Association of Benevolent Spirits" will send three agents tonight to give you glimpses...hold it, I'm not supposed to ruin the surprise! Anyway, that's why I was sent here."
"You were sent here to warn me about three spirits who are going to warn me? That sounds like too much work. Maybe they should've just sent me a notice in the mail!"
"Nah, they're too stingy to pay for the postage," Marley replied. "And besides, you'd have just thrown it away with all your bills and tax forms. But you simply can't ignore three ghostly visitors."
"Hmmm...I think I'd prefer the mail notice," Scrooge said nervously. "I've never felt very comfortable around ghosts. They just don't look natural."
"Without their visit, you cannot expect to escape my fate!" Marley boomed.
"Whoa!" Scrooge exclaimed. "How'd you do that?"
"Voice altercation system," Marley replied, showing Scrooge a microphone and stereo set strapped to his chest. "Impressive, eh? SCROOOOOOOOOOGE!!"