A Christmas Carol #5

christmas-carol

Stave 5

The End Of It

“No! Was that me who lay upon that bed?!” Scrooge cried.

The spirit pointed at him, then the grave, and back at him again.

“No, Spirit. Oh, no!”

Let us here take a moment to sympathize with Scrooge. He used to be a horrid old man, changed after his adventures with the Christmas Past and Christmas Present. He decides to start a new life and change his ways, but wants to know what the Christmas Future wants to show him. So, he sees a dead man. He sees a loveless, unwanted and ungrieved man. Nobody cares about him. Heck, people rejoice his death and steal from him! He knows he was avaricious. Mean. Selfish. And he promises himself to change his ways.

Only to find that this man was he himself. I feel really sorry for him.

“Spirit!” He clutched his robe. “I’m not the man I was. Trust me, I’ve changed. I won’t be the same, if I get a chance to live. Why would you show me all this if there was no way for me to redeem myself?”

For the first time, the phantom hand began to shake.

“I know you feel for me. Please. You pity me. Please. Tell me I can change my future.”

The hand continued to tremble.

“I’ll always honour Christmas. The Past, the Present and the Future, and their lessons, they’ll always live in my heart. Please, tell me I can remove the writing on this stone!”

In his agony, he grabbed at the spectral hand. The phantom tried to free itself, but sheer desperation strengthened his grip. However, the spirit was, after all, a supernatural being, and it repulsed him.

Ebenezer Scrooge held up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate reversed. In doing so, he noticed a change in the spirit’s dress. It shrunk, collapsed and dwindled down into a bedpost.

 

***

Home! Home alone. Home again. Home at last. Home!

Scrooge sobbed with relief. He sobbed so hard he could hardly speak. It was his bed and his bedpost. His curtains were all there. He hugged them happily. He sobbed so hard he could hardly wear his close. On they went onto his body, upside down, topsy turvy. He tore half of them. But no matter. Finally, he was dressed.

He bounded down the stairs, skipping with the lightest of minds. He was laughing and crying and singing in happiness. “I’m light as a feather! Happy as an angel! Merry as a schoolboy! Bloody hell, I’m as high as could be…I’m drunk in joy. A merry Christmas to the whole world, and a happy new year!”

“The door! Jacob Marley’s ghost came in from there. That’s where the Ghost of Christmas Present sat! That’s the window where I saw all those spirits. It’s okay, it’s okay. It was true, but I’m fine now.”

He laughed merrily, the father of many such hearty laughs which would come. He had no idea what the day was, for time had flown past. So he went over to his phone and checked the date.

25th December 2012.

“Christmas day!” Scrooge whooped. “They did it. The spirits did it! They brought me back. I can make amends. I know! I know what to do!”

He looked up the number of the poulterer and called him up. A boy picked up.

“Hallo?”

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas! Am I speaking to the poulterer?”

“And to you, sir. No, I’m his son.”

“Alright then. Tell me, my boy. Is that prize turkey still in your shop? Not the small one. The big one.”

“The one twice as big as me?!” the boy cried.

“Yes, it is.”

Scrooge gave him an address. “I should like you to have it delivered there. Put the transportation costs on me. Come over to my house,” he gave another address, “and collect the payment.”

“Oh. Okay. I’ll tell Dad.”

“Good boy!” Scrooge beamed. “Intelligent boy! Be sure to come over with him, for I have something for you.”

The boy was curious, and ever so grateful. “Thank you, sir!”

“You’re welcome, child. A merry Christmas, and a happy new year!”

When the boy would come over after delivering the turkey to Bob Cratchit and his family, he’d receive a handsome tip and a big chocolate. Scrooge smiled, thinking of that.

And then he went out into the streets and beamed at everyone he saw, wishing them a merry Christmas. He looked so happy, people who knew him were shocked, but they wished him back.

He had not gone far, when he found the man who had walked into his office and asked for his help to aid the poor.

“My dear sir!” said Scrooge, walking quickly and catching up with the man. “How are you? I hope your venture was a success. So kind. Merry Christmas!”

“Mr. Scrooge.”

His mood dampened. “Yes, that’s my name, and I’m afraid you didn’t get a good first impression. I’m so sorry. Would you do this for me?”

And with that, he whispered something into his ear.

“Seriously?!” the man cried.

“I’d be ever so grateful if you’d do so. A great many back payments are included in it. Tell me you’ll do so?”

“My dear sir…I don’t know what to do with such generosity!”

“Will you come see me?” he begged.

“I will!”

“Thank you. Bless you!”

He talked to beggars and children and women and helped them. He visited church and the soup kitchens, getting unimaginable joy out of everything.

In the afternoon, he headed to his nephew’s house. He crossed the door at least a dozen times, trying to get the courage to enter. And finally, he did.

The housemaid answer the door.

“Hello, dear,” he said in a fatherly manner. “Is your master home?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Where is he, may I ask?”

“He’s in the dining room, sir. I’ll show you up.”

“Thanks. He already knows me. I’ll find my way. Thank you. What a sweet girl.”

And the girl blushed at the compliment.

Scrooge rushed upstairs and found his nephew.

“Fred.”

You should have see how startled his nephew’s wife was!

“Oh, my God! Is that really Uncle Scrooge?!” Fred exclaimed.

“It is, indeed. I’m here for dinner. Will you let me in?”

To which the nephew nearly shook his arm off and then pulled him into an embrace, patting his back in a man-hug. In five minutes, he was at home. Nothing could be heartier. His niece looked just as happy. As did Topper when he came. As did the plump sister. As did everyone who came. They had a great, great time, and a family was finally reunited. Then, he headed home.

 

***

Next morning, he was early at the office. He wanted to catch his clerk by surprise, for he had a marvellous plan. Marvellous, indeed was marvellous.

As expected, Bob came in late. By eighteen and a half minutes.

The clerk looked anxious, as if he could somehow turn time back to nine o clock.

“Hello,” Scrooge growled in his best imitation of his former self. “What do you mean by coming so late to office?”

“I’m so sorry, sir. I’m late.”

“Yeah, you are. Come here.”

“It’s only once a year, sir,” he pleaded. “I was rather merry yesterday. It won’t happen again.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what. I refuse to stand this any longer. And so,” he continued, poking Bob playfully, but so hard that he jumped, “I’m going to give you a payraise!”

Bob looked on in shock. Who was this man, and what had he done with Scrooge? He was on the verge of knocking him out with a ruler and sending him to the police.

“A merry Christmas, and a happy new year. I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you. I’m going to raise your salary, and help your family and do everything you need. Come, let’s discuss your life, my boy!” he cried.

And indeed, Scrooge did all this and more. He paid for Tiny Tim’s treatement so he did not die. He almost became like a second father to him. He paid his employees handsomely, he was a gay and merry man. He was kind and good and he gave to charity and partied with his nephew ever so often, and became the center of attention of his children.

There were many who laughed at him, but what did he care? When something good happens, cynics always exist. At least he was giving them a reason to smile.

And he laughed. Laughed a hearty laugh at their silliness. No more did he meet the spirits, but he did always remember their lessons – The Past, the Present and the Future.

Let us too, like Scrooge, change our demeanour and stay away from avarice, greed, temptations and all the causes of misery. May God bless us all, as Tiny Tim said. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and you and you!

***

Sanya Sharma

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