Disclaimer: The play has be cut and trimmed obviously. But more than that it's coming from my memory so the words are not the original but the concept and intent is the same lol. :)
Chapter 13: A Christmas Carol
"Please." I said simply, looking at my assembled friends. My partner in crime, Timothy, stood mutely. I glared at him then. "We can't do a play without a cast - care to lend me your voice partner?"
"She's right. We need a cast and it's for our theater final....so would you all please assist us?" he asked looking at me mostly.
"Of course" Mei-Ling said at the same time Erik agreed. Todd followed Mei-Ling's lead and nodded. Only one person remained silent - Veronica. Everyone but Timothy turned to look at her. Timothy I noticed looked at his feet. Clearly they hadn't spoken about it yet. "Fine" she said with a sigh.
With Timothy's help, I'd convinced my friends to help us put on a play with a couple of local elementary school. It was part of our theater final, everyone was paired with another student and a pair of kids and they had to do a short 30 minute play together. We could choose any play we wanted and adapt the script as needed to fit within the time slot.
"Marley was dead. Of that there can be no doubt." My voice echoed in the theater as the lights came up on stage. "He died sever years past, this very night. Christmas Eve."
A clock ticks loudly in the silent office. Only the scratch of a quill and the rustle of paper can be heard as Bob Crachit and Mr. Scrooge work into the evening hours. A light snow falls outside the window. As the clock chimes the hour, Crachit stands and gathers his things.
"I suppose you'll be wanting me to pay you for tomorrow. Pay for no work!" Scrooge groused from his desk.
"It comes but once a year sir." Crachit says approaching the desk.
Scrooge grumbles something as he hands Crachit a tiny sum of coins. "I expect you here early the day after to make up for lost time!"
"Yes sir." Crachit replies pulling on his coat. "Merry Christmas sir." he says pretending not to notice the grumbles from Scrooge.
As he leaves, Scrooge calls after him "Bah Humbug!" He resumes his work as the snow thickens outside the window. The clock chimes again and the lights go out save for the flickering lamp on Scrooge's desk. Across from him, bathed in red lighting, Jacob Marley appears from the darkness. Clanking chains fill the office space and Scrooge gasps. "What? What is this?!"
Moaning music accompanies Marley's words. "I bear the chains I built in life. I am doomed to walk this world dragging these chains. But you still have time Ebeneezer!" he waves his arms and chains rattle making Scrooge stagger back. "You will be visited by three spirits this night, hear them Ebeneezer!" he shouts and with a shudder the lights flicker off again. From the darkness, Marley's bodiless voice comes "The first will come when the clock strikes one. Remember."
Scrooge stares at the darkened space where Marley's apparition had stood and visibly shakes the feeling off. He stands and gathers his own things and leaves the office.
Scrooge is unable to shake the image and feeling of Marley as he changes and prepares for bed. His eyes stray to the clock a dozen times as he lays down. He watches the clock for an hour before he drifts off. When the clock strikes one, his eyes flutter open to see an ethereal creature before him. She is bathed in white light as she watches him stumble awake.
"Who are you?" Scrooge asks "What do you want!?" he practically shouts stumbling out of the bed.
She doesn't smile or frown but extends a hand to him. "I am the Spirit of Christmas Past. Your Past. Come Ebeneezer." she says still holding her hand out to him.
"Why are you here?" he asks not taking it.
"Come Ebeneezer." she entreats softly. He stares at her a moment longer and then extends his own hand. He stares at his hand as if it is acting of its own will.
The scene changes, a lone boy sits on his bad. A packed suitcase sits at the end of the bed but no one has come for the boy. "This was my school." Scrooge says softly looking around before his eyes fall on the boy.
The Spirit looks at him curiously.
"My father was a busy man..." Scrooge said by way of explanation.
The Spirit extends her hand again and Scrooge's hand again takes hers.
"Old Fezziwig! Alive!" Scrooge says taking in the new scene. A lively Christmas party is in swing.
"And Belle." he says with less animation. He smiles fondly but his eyes show pain.
"You were very happy." the Spirit says softly.
"Yes...." Scrooge says sadly. "It was...." he trailed off and looked away from the Spirit's hand, once again held out to him. "No." he says shaking his head. "I don't want to see anymore."
"Come Ebeneezer." the Spirit says sternly. His hand takes hers once again.
A young woman cries alone by the fireplace.
"Belle...." Scrooge says reaching out to her. His hand passes through her shoulder and he looks horrified. "Belle..."
"She released you from the engagement, why should you feel sad?" the Spirit asked.
Scrooge closed his eyes tightly and stumbled back. "No more! No more Spirit!" he shouted.
When he opened his eyes he was back in his bedroom and the spirit was gone. "Just a bad dream." he muttered shaking his head and laying down again on the bed. He stared at the clock as it approached 2 and drifted into a fitful sleep.
The clock struck 2 and Scrooge awoke to find a jolly looking man decked in red and green and gold standing in his room. "No. No....no." Scrooge repeated closing his eyes.
A chuckle from the man made him open his eyes again. "What are you? What do you want from me?!"
"I am the Spirit of Christmas Present. I come to show you the joy." the Spirit said holding out a hand. "Come Ebeneezer." he added.
Feeling resigned, Scrooge took the Spirit's hand.
Scrooge looked around startled. It was clearly the home of a poor family but they were laughing and talking, despite the coughing interruptions from the smallest child. "What is this? Where are we?"
The Spirit pointed to the head of the table.
"Why that's Crachit! This is his home?" he said taking it in.
"Merry Christmas family!" Crachit said raising his glass. "Here's to Tiny Tim's health, may he be better soon!" The others raised their glasses, Tim coughed more. "And to the founder of this feast, we would not have our wonderful dinner without him; Mr. Scrooge." This toast was met with silence from the family.
"Founder indeed" one of the girls muttered. She was about to say more but Tim's coughing got worse. Mrs. Crachit jumped up and went to him.
"What is the matter with the boy?" Scrooge asked the Spirit. "Tell me!"
The coughing got worse and Scrooge looked pained to watch. "Tell me he'll live Spirit!" he pleaded.
"Why should you care Ebeneezer?" the Spirit asked but did not answer the question. Scrooge looked back at the family scene and when he turned back to the Spirit again he found he was gone. "Spirit!! Come back! The boy!" he called to the darkness around him.
A new Spirit appeared before him, dressed all in black, she said nothing to him. Scrooge recoiled from this spirit but turned his questioning to her. "Who are you? Are you the Spirit of the Future? Will the boy live?! Tell me Spirit?"
The blackened arm and hand merely pointed to the family table.
Scrooge turned to look. The scene was the same....except it wasn't. The boy's seat was empty and the family was no longer joyous. They all looked at the empty seat with pain in their eyes. "No!!" he looked frantically back at the Spirit. "Is this the future? Can it be changed?! Tell me Spirit!"
The lights went out. Off to the side, Scrooge heard voices and he turned to see two of the Crachit family talking. He looked back where the family table had been but there was only darkness.
"Is it true Mama?" the younger asked.
"It is, the old miser is finally dead." the older woman said. "Can't say I'm sorry, he had no friends."
"Spirit, who is dead?" Scrooge asked but the Spirit remained silent.
From somewhere else, Scrooge heard more such conversations, some whispered and some exclaimed with joy. He searched frantically for the sources but they were disembodied voices all around him. Laughing at the death of an unnamed man. "Who Spirit! Who is it that has died?! Does no one care?" he said looking around in the darkness.
A soft light slowly flickered to life behind him and the Spirit extended the blackened arm again to point. Scrooge followed the arm until he saw a dark graveyard. To one side he saw Bob Crachit crying over a grave but the hand wasn't pointing to young Tiny Tim's grave. Scrooge looked down at the stone and fell back several feet when he saw "Ebeneezer Scrooge" emblazoned upon the stone.
"Spirit! Spirit!" Scrooge called looking around. Crachit's cries echoed across the night but the spirit had vanished as silently as it had appeared. Scrooge heard chains clanking behind him and spun around to see Marley approaching once more. "No! No!!! No! I'll change! No!" he stumbled back over his own gravestone as Marley advanced on him, his hand out.
He closed his eyes tightly and thrashed. "Nooooo!" he called out one more time. When he opened his eyes he was in his own bed and no Spirits were standing there waiting for him. He looked at the clock - 7. He looked out the window and saw a fresh white snow blanketing the ground. People were laughing and a boy was building a snow man on the street. "Boy!" he called out to him. "Tell me the day! Come now boy what day is it!?"
"Tis Christmas Day sir!" the boy called back.
"Christmas? Only one night..." Scrooge muttered to himself in disbelieve. "Thank you! And....Merry Christmas to you!" he called out with a smile. He turned from the window and ran for the hall. "So much to do! Must change!" he said to himself.
He stepped out into the cold snow barefoot but didn't notice. "Come here boy!" he called to the snowman builder. "Take this money and buy the best, biggest goose you can find. Have it delivered to Bob Crachit..." and he gave the boy the Crachit's address. "And Merry Christmas!!" he called again as he hurried back inside to get dressed.
At the office the following morning, Scrooge paced nervously. Crachit was late. He burst into the room shaking snow from his shoulders. "Oh Mr. Scrooge, I'm sorry I'm late...." Crachit started mistaking the look on Scrooge's face for anger. "Please sir!" he said.
"No Mr. Crachit." Scrooge said. "No, it is I who am sorry!" Scrooge said with a smile. "But I intend to make it up to you. How is your boy Tim? Doing better I hope?" he asked. Before Crachit could recover his speech he went on. "I am going to raise your salary Mr. Crachit!"
As the curtain fell on the scene Scrooge put his arm around Crachit's shoulders. "How does Scrooge and Crachit sound to you? Or maybe Crachit and Scrooge? What do you say man?" he asked.
The youngster who played Tiny Tim stepped forward and smiled "Merry Christmas to all!" he shouted louder than truly necessary. We fought not to laugh as we took our bows.