A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, borough, in the good old world. Charles Dickens 1812- 1870
Sure Scrooge had a fine time. But what was it like for everyone else?
Christmas at the Cratchet’s, 1853 – 10 years later
BOB – A toast. To Mr. Scrooge, the founder of the feast.
MRS. CRATCHET – Bob, toast sure, but not Scrooge. If I hear that man’s name one more time, I’ll scream.
BOB – I know, my dear. But it’s Christmas.I guess it hasn’t turned out all that well, has it?
TINY TIM – Tell me about it. I’m 18 years old and everyone thinks old Ebby and I are Siamese twins. Every time I turn around, the old geezer is standing there saying, “Well Timmy, my lad, what are we going to do today?” I can’t stand it anymore. Last night I had a date with old Fezziwig’s granddaughter. When I leaned over to kiss her, I laid a smooch on old Ebby’s ear. He stuck his head in between us. “Just to say hello”, he said. The man is driving me bonkers.
BOB – I know, I know. Ever since he saw those damned ghosts our life has been a living hell. For 10 years the old coot paid me 15 shillings a week and we were happy as clams. Now I’m Vice President of Marketing. I make 1,000 pounds a year with stock options. Every financial planner in London is on my tail with an investment idea and the income tax department audits me twice a week.
MRS. CRATCHET – What about me? We lived in a one-room shack and it was wonderful. Now we live in a 16-room mansion. We’ve got maids and butlers running all over the damn place. I used to love making my own Christmas pudding. Now the cook won’t let me in the kitchen. You’re never home. When was the last time we made love, 1848? If it wasn’t for Gaston, the gardener, and the milkman and the young Twist boy, I would waste away.
BOB – I’m sorry, my pet, I know you are lonely, but I have to work at the office until midnight every night. I’m just too tired. Thank heavens Penelope Pickwick stays after hours just to help out or I’d never get home at all. She’s such a wonderful secretary. She’s even agreed to go to Spain with me for a week to handle my odds and ends in the Madrid merger.
TINY TIM – Is she the one with the big…
BOB – Shouldn’t you be doing your homework, young man? By the way, where’s our Martha?
MRS. CRATCHET – Who knows where she is? After Scrooge gave her that apartment we never see her. She’s been married three times in the past 6 years. You know what we used to call girls like that when I was younger, Bob?
TINY TIM – A tramp?
MRS. CRATCHET – That’s enough out of you, Master Timothy Cratchet. Go and clean up your room. Last night I tripped over your crutch and nearly broke my leg.
BOB – If you fell, my love, you probably would have. You’re getting to be quite a big bruiser, my angel.
MRS. CRATCHET – Well, so would you if all you had to do all day is sit around eating chocolates and drinking sherry. The only exercise I get all day is ringing the butler’s bell. – I suppose the old goat is coming over for dinner again tonight.
BOB – Not tonight. He’s dining at his nephew Fred’s. Fred can’t stand it either. They never saw hide or hair of him for 10 years, now he’s permanent fixture. His wife, Myrtle says the decorators thought he was part of the furniture and sat a fern on him. He’s carried this Christmas thing way too far. We’ve had a scotch pine in the office since last January and the whole place is jammed with live turkeys. He gives them away to the poor. It’s not safe to walk in there without rubber boots. It’s even worse at Fred and Myrtle’s. Myrt says she was having a shower and when she opened her eyes, the old weasel was standing in front of her holding a sprig of mistletoe over her head.
TINY TIM – I don’t blame him. I’ve seen Myrt. She’s got big…
MRS. CRATCHET – That’s quite enough out of you, young man.
MRS. CRATCHET – Oh, please God, not him. Peek out the window, Bob.
BOB – My dear, it’s Ebenezer. He must be here for dinner after all. Well, we might as well finish the toast – “To Mr. Scrooge.”
TINY TIM – God save us. God save us all!