Scrooge: One Year Later

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Scrooge was reformed to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his reformation was signed by three Spirits who had visited upon him the year before. The bright shining orb that sent its rays to the Earth has been revolved upon by the multitudes upon whom are dependent on the spinning effects of gravity and in that time the once miserly and detestable Ebenezer Scrooge had been as good as his word. Nay, he had been far better than his word, keeping in his heart the spirit of Christmas through Boxing Day and Easter and unto Guy Fawkes Day. For two Christmases, Ebenezer Scrooge had been without question from any one throughout London the very quintessence of Christmas charity. No child passed without Scrooge running after him to pay for a stick of sweet candy. No elderly woman had yet to cross his path without the assistance of Scrooge to guide her across the muddy pathway. Every single evening at precisely the time when Big Ben struck six in the evening, Ebenezer Scrooge appeared upon his nephew Fred’s step to play a game or discuss his day’s charitable activities. As soon as his clerk Bob Cratchit dragged himself into the office, Scrooge alighted upon him to inquire about the health of his lame son Tiny Tim and Bob’s good wife.

It was Bob’s wife and Fred’s wife who first proposed doing away with Ebenezer Scrooge. “He’s driving me insane,” Mrs. Cratchit whispered quietly to Fred’s fiancé. “He’s always hanging around the house. It seems like he’s here every single afternoon. At first it was pleasant enough, but even all the presents in the world can’t make up for his incessant storytelling. Why, if I hear that story about the three spirits one more time, I daresay I shall run screaming all the way to Dashforth-upon-Leith. My sweet dear, I know he’s your uncle—“

“By marriage only, Mrs. Cratchit and would it were not so. I cannot speak of how often I come to long that my sweet Frederick was a complete orphan even without so much family as an uncle.” She leaned closer to Mrs. Cratchit. “Fred and I have been married for almost a year now and we have lain together yet just a dozen times. Every time we prepare to make love, there is a ringing at the door and there is Uncle Scrooge. I often think he is hoping to find me in a state of undress.”

“Oh my dear girl,” replied Mrs. Cratchit stealing a glance at Scrooge as he was boring Belinda and the other children to death with perhaps the two-hundredth retelling of the spirits who had led him to his state of eternal charity, “were I in your place I would have run the spindly fool over with a carriage.”

“It has gotten so bad that we’ve only time to…well…perform the French arts. And I fear Frederick is becoming so inured that he is beginning to prefer this to the act of procreation.”

“Which, my dear, is the reason that Bob only receives that particular gift on this day every year. You must do something upon the nonce to restrain the old man before Frederick becomes unmanageable. Oh, dear lord, there he goes again,” cried Mrs. Cratchit at the sight of Ebenezer Scrooge running out the door to help old Mrs. MacGillicuddy across the street. Mrs. Cratchit watched as, yet again, the octogenarian caught sight of Mr. Scrooge and commenced to run as fast as her legs would carry her before Ebenezer could launch into his redemptive story of three spirits who had shown him the way.

Fred appeared by his wife’s side at that moment. “I cannot stand it anymore. I appreciate the good acts, of course, but he is driving me mad. He will not give us a moment’s peace. Always showing up at our door at odd hours of the night to discuss how he purchased a peacock for the Bennett family or how he donated 50 pounds to the Red Headed League. “

Fred clasped his wife’s hand and said, “Perhaps we should take leave of this opportunity to retire to our flat and…”

His wife and Mrs. Cratchit exchanged knowing looks. “It won’t matter. He’ll show up just as we’re….dining….and invite us to play a game of blind man’s bluff,” Fred continued.

“Mrs. Cratchit is in our confidence,” Fred’s wife confessed. “She and Bob find themselves at odds with Uncle Scrooge’s transformation.

“At odds?” said Bob. “I cannot get any work done. As soon as I arrive in the office Mr. Scrooge exits his office and appears at my desk discussing how he bought four sleigh beds for an orphanage in Manchester or how he paid for everyone’s dinner at a tavern the night before. Not a day goes by that I have not had to listen to that story about those damnable spirits showing up at his house. By the gods, Mr. Fred, I must admit though yet it pains me that those spirits had never appeared and Mr. Scrooge was as he has always been.”

“Tis better he were a miser than a master,” chime Tiny Tim from across the room. “Day after day he carries me upon his shoulders. I have gained twenty pounds in the last year and by the time ten minutes has passed he has had to put me down to the ground and make me walk by myself. My legs are as weak by the time we make it back home as old Scrooge’s good heart. I am sick of it.”

“Get away from me, you old bag of bones!” they all suddenly heard old Mrs. MacGillicuddy cry. She was trying to swat at Ebenezer Scrooge with his cane. “I don’t need your help. And for the sake of our Lord on the day of his birth, please refrain from ever discussing that absurd story about the spirits again.”

Fred and Bob, their wives, Tiny Tim, Belinda and the entirety of the enormous Cratchit clan look solemnly through the doorway as Scrooge turned slowly around and headed back to the house. Each of the assemblage shivered as they saw his countenance alight as he spied his waiting audience. Almost as if it were coming not from one of them, but rather from their collective consciousness a small voice hovered over the warmth of the Cratchit hearth.

“We have no choice but to kill old Scrooge before he drives the entire country into Bedlam.”