The Drama Club at Pleasant View Academy is very active and puts on two performances each year: A winter play and a spring musical. This year, they decided to perform an old favorite: A Christmas Carol By: Charles Dickens. (Adapted by Chrissa Maxwell)
"Beatrice?" Elenora Scrooge called to her one and only employee, staring with her eye brows furred at a chart. "Do you know how we LOST money in the past few weeks? I could have sworn that man from thirty-second street made a huge deposit."
"He did, ma'am, but I loaned a bit of money to some very honest, reliable people who needed some funds for Christmas shopping. Many people are a bit short on pounds this time of year." Cratchet answered, her voice cracking. She was quite terrified by her boss, especially when she was upset.
"Beatrice," Scrooge said very slowly, very deliberately, "Whose name is printed on the plate that hangs from the desk? Is it Cratchet?"
"N-no ma'am," Beatrice squeaked, "It read: Scrooge and Marley Inc., though shouldn't you get the plate changed, as Marley, er, no longer owns part of the business." She tried to mention it gently, as she knew her boss was still very much hurting from the loss of her best friend and business partner.
"I do suppose you are right, though that is not the point here. The point is that I own this bank, and all loans that are given out must be approved by ME." Beatrice sighed, "Yes, ma'am," she said. "I suppose now would be a bad time to ask you if I could go home at dinner time, as today is Christmas Eve?" "You would be correct," Scrooge answered coolly.
Suddenly, Beatrice's husband, who was out of work, burst into the bank, quite distressed. "What is it, Bob?" "It's Tiny Tina!" Bob cried, "She's very ill, and I haven't a clue what to do! She needs you, Beatrice, she needs her mother!"
Beatrice hurried over to Elenora, "Oh, ma'am, please, please let me go to my daughter! You needn't pay me for today, and I'll work late day after tomorrow. Please!" She was close to tears, worrying about her sickly young daughter.
"Ah, very well," Scrooge sighed, barely looking up from her charts. "But I want you here early day after tomorrow, as well." "Of course, ma'am!" Cratchet cried, throwing on her bonnet and lightweight shawl.
"We must hurry, Bob!" Beatrice whispered to her husband, "If we don't only God knows what may happen!" They hurried out the door and down the street to their small house.
"Ah, it's so hard to find good help these days," Scrooge complained, strolling over to the desk and picking up the binder where Cratchet kept all the bank figures. After staring at it blankly for less than a minute Scrooge gave up trying to understand it and put it away.
"On second thought," she said, putting on her warm cloak and woolen hat, "If Cratchet doesn't have to work, why should I? I deserve a day off twice as much as she does. I shall go home and have the butler draw me a hat bath. This time of year certainly is stressful."
"Ah," Scrooge sighed as she walked out of the bank. "If only everyone were like me. They wouldn't get so excited about silly little insignificant things like Christmas. If only everyone were like me," she repeated dreamily.
That night, Scrooge was sound asleep in her expensive, brass bed under her warm, french covers. There was a faint smell of roast turkey that hinted her servants had already begun supper for the following day.
Suddenly, there was a bright light that woke Scrooge up. She squinted, trying to see what could possibly be producing so much light. It was far to bright to be a candle, or a fire in the fireplace.
It was a ghost! Scrooge tried to scream from fear, but no sound would leave her lips. Shaking in her nightgown, she lunged for the lamp, turning it on.
"MARLEY!" Scrooge gasped as she got a better look at the ghost, who looked almost real. "Yes, Scrooge," the ghost moaned.
For the first time, Elenora noticed the chains that hung from her good friend, even from her hair! "Marley, what, what happened to you?"
"I was a no-good greedy fool during my life," The ghost replied gravely, "Thinking only of myself, and my own profit. I have come back, remembering my old partner, Scrooge, and how much we were alike. I have come back, my dear friend, to warn you. Do not end up like me! Tonight you will be visited by three more ghosts. Heed their warnings, Scrooge, and you will not end up like me."
Then the ghost disappeared, just like that. Shaking a little bit, Scrooge told herself it was just a dream and that all she needed to do was go back to sleep. She turned off the lamp and settled her head back on her pillow.
Not long after, however, another ghostly figure appeared in Scrooge's bedchamber. This one looked old, and a bit tired, thought she immediately gave the impression of being very, very wise.
The ghost walked slowly to Scrooge's bed, trying hard not to frighten her. "Elenora," she whispered, "Elenora."
Scrooge woke with a start. "AH!" she screamed. "Who are you?" "I am the ghost of Christmas past," the ghost answered with a hint of a smile, "I am here to show you how you used to be, and how you became who you are now."
"So come with me, dear Elenora, and let us travel back to times long forgotten." Scrooge reached out and grabbed the ghost's hand, which was surprisingly solid. As soon as their fingers met, the room began to spin, and spin faster and faster and faster and faster, and then it stopped, as suddenly as it had come.
"Why, we're in the living room of the house where I grew up!" Elenora said with delight, "And look! There's mum and father, I MUST say hello to them! Mum, Father, it's me, Elenora!" "Shhhhh," the ghost of Christmas past hushed. "No one can see or hear you except me. We are here to be silent observers." "Oh," Elenora said, embarrassed.
"Oh look at Elenora!" Mrs. Scrooge said, delighted. "Look how she's enjoying the gifts you bought her, Henry!" "Ah, yes," Mr. Scrooge said with a smile, "I knew she would. That shell is from the shores of Italy, and the dog from the finest pet vendor in Paris!"
"Oh, father I absolutely adore this puppy!" Elenora squealed with delight. "I shall name him William, after great-grandfather, first cousin to the king in his day! And this shell, so few people here in London can say they own a sea shell from the shores of such a far away destination!"
"Ah, so true my dear Elenora, so true. What is the key to all this, you may well ask? Well, there's a simple answer. The key to happiness is money." "Money?" Elenora seemed surprised. "Yes, money! Money can buy just about anything, and with riches also come power and respect!"
"Oh, dear me, Henry," Mrs. Scrooge said in a worried, motherly voice. "Are you sure you should be telling Elenora this? She's so young I'm sure she hardly understands." "I understand, mum." Elenora reassured her parents, "I understand every word."
"Well marvelous!" Mr. Scrooge exclaimed. "And besides, Cornelia, why should we not teach our daughter of the truth. Now, I must go away to Germany on business. The coachman is waiting for me outside, so I mustn't delay! Elenora, you be good for your mother and Cornelia, you stay pretty for when I come back. Au revoir!" Mr. Scrooge hurried out of the room.
"Oh mum!" Elenora cried in despair, "When will he be home?" "I don't know, honey. These business trips are as surprising to me as they are to you. Don't you worry, though. He'll be back before you know it." Mrs. Scrooge leaned over to give her daughter a heart felt hug.
"I remember this," Scrooge said with tears in her eyes, "Father didn't come back for almost a year. He brought back all sorts of fanciful gifts, but that didn't make up for it." At that instant the room started spinning, and spinning faster and faster and faster, and then it came to a stop.
They were in the same room, though Mrs. Scrooge was gone and Elenora looked a bit older. She was petting William, who had grown a bit as well, while muttering to herself. "Where is he? I told him five o'clock sharp and it's five-o-nine." Suddenly, a funny looking man walked into the room looking down at his feet.
"There you are, Charles. Where have you been? I told you five o'clock and I meant five o'clock. Why haven't you taken off your hat? It's bad manners to leave your head covered, you know." "Yes, Elenora, I know. I won't be here long. Listen, I don't think it's going to work out between us." "What do you mean?" Elenora sounded close to tears. "I mean, I don't want to court you anymore." "What! Why?"
"Well, to be honest you're just so greedy! I'm sorry, I have to go." Charles said as he headed for the door. "Oh, well maybe I'll see you sometime soon?" Charles made a face. "Don't count on it."
"Oh William!" Elenora cried when Charles left. "Not a single man in all of London wishes to court me. Me- Elenora Scrooge! What's wrong with this city? They all say I'm so greedy, but I don't think so. Father says that money is the key to happiness, so I want as much money as possible. Is that so wrong?" William just whimpered in reply.
"I remember that, too." Scrooge said sadly. "I was only fourteen, and already I'd gone through every acceptable man in town. Everyone of them had stopped courting me after only a few weeks." The room began spinning again, this time faster than ever before.
When it stopped, Scrooge was back in her bed in her house, in her expensive brass bed under the warm, french covers. "That," Scrooge said, "Was odd." She had no idea that the oddness was just beginning.
After tossing and turning for what seemed to be a long time, Scrooge fell back asleep. It was a restless sleep, though, as she still tossed about.
Suddenly another bright light woke her up. 'Another ghost!' She though to herself. Aloud, she cried, "Who goes there?"
"I am the ghost of Christmas present. I am here to show you what you have caused by your nasty greed." The ghost moaned. Scrooge noticed that this ghost's clothes were not nearly as fancy as that of the ghost of Christmas past. Her hair was quite shabbily braided, as well.
"Take my hand, Scrooge, and together we will travel to a place not so far away, to see what it will be like tomorrow." Scrooge reached out and took hold of the ghost's hand. As soon as the two hands touched, the room began to spin, and it got faster and faster and faster and faster, and then it stopped.
"That, Scrooge," the ghost explained, "You will see, but you must watch and listen very carefully. And remember, nobody can hear or see you but me. We are here as silent observers." Scrooge nodded., looking at Cratchet and her husband intently.
"Oh, Bob!" Beatrice cried, "I'm ever so worried about Tiny Tina! She's so ill, what if she doesn't get well? What if she, if she," Beatrice couldn't finish the sentence but instead started weeping quietly.
"There, there," Bob said in a reassuring voice, "We can hope and pray for Tina, and if, er, things don't go as we hope, we will know that it was her time. For now however, let us not think of such dreary things. Why don't you go rest with Tiny Tina on the bed, I'll get us our supper." Bob walked over to the table.
"How much would you like?" He asked, picking up a dish of some sort of vegetable that appeared to be creamed. It didn't look or smell very appetizing at all.
"Oh, just a small amount. I want you and Tina to have enough to eat." Her husband tried to argue, but Beatrice wouldn't take more than just a little. She insisted Bob and Tina eat the rest and said that she wasn't very hungry anyway.
"Now wait just a dog on minute!" Scrooge yelled suddenly. When she did, Beatrice and Bob froze. "Elenora!" the ghost of Christmas present scolded, "We are SILENT observers, remember?" "I know, I know, but just hear me out for a minute." She walked over to the table.
"You mean to tell me that this is all the Cratchets have for Christmas dinner?" She sniffed the vegetable. "Creamed spinach and a bit of milk?" "Yes, Scrooge. That's all they can afford, thanks to you." "What do you mean, thanks to me? Without me, neither of them would have a job and they would have no money for even this!" "Scrooge, do you realize how hard Cratchet works? Don't you think she deserves a bit more than minimum wage for working twelve hours a day, six days a week?" Scrooge was silent because she knew the ghost was right. The scene unfroze.
"Here you go, Beatrice." "Thank you, Bob." Cratchet sighed, "Maybe if I ask for a raise Scrooge will give it to me this time, in the spirit of Christmas." Bob made a face. "Don't count on it from that old miser. She wouldn't give a pence to a dying woman." "Oh, don't talk about her that way, Bob. She's good deep down, I can tell."
"That's terrible," Scrooge said softly, "They have so little food, that's probably what's making the baby so sick. This isn't right, it just isn't right, and it's my fault!" The room began spinning again, and it got faster and faster and faster, and then it was still.
Elenora was once again safe in her nice, warm bed. She looked about herself, looking for the ghost but didn't see her. Trembling, she laid herself down and tried to go back to sleep.
After a long while she did, though now she tossed from her dreams even more than she had before. The dreams were quite strange, each one ending with Cratchet looking at her straight in the face and asking, "Why?"
Not too long later, a dark, seemingly cloaked figure appeared in Elenora's bed chamber. She floated over to the bed and hovered over Elenora's bed. "Scrooge," it groaned, "Scrooge!"
"Ah! Who are you?" The ghost made no reply. "Why are you not glowing like the other ghosts?" Again, no reply. "Well, I was visited by the ghost of Christmas past, and the ghost of Christmas present, so logic says that you are the ghost of Christmas yet to come. Is that correct?" The ghost nodded her head ever so slightly.
The ghost reached out her hand and Elenora, remembering the other ghosts, reached out her hand and grabbed the ghost's. Suddenly, the familiar spinning of the room started again, and it spun faster, and faster, and faster, and then everything was still.
"Where are we?" Scrooge asked, peering into the darkness. "Watch," was the ghost's one word reply. "Why, that's Bob and Beatrice Cratchet!" Scrooge realized with a gasp, "And, and we're in a graveyard!" "The year is 1898," the ghost said, emotionless.
"Oh Tina, oh my baby Tina!" Beatrice sobbed, "How could she leave me?" "Hush, hush," Bob said, trying to comfort his wife, "Her life might have been short, but it wasn't too bad. She had two loving parents, you mustn't despair."
Elenora leaned forward and read the tombstone the Cratchets were near. It read: Tiny Tina Cratchet 'She will be missed'. Then there were birth and death dates. Scrooge took a step back; the death date was only two years away! "She'll only be four," Elenora whispered.
"This is terrible," Scrooge cried to the ghost, "This is truely terrible, no child deserves to die that young, and no parent deserves to loose a child at that age!" The graveyard suddenly began to spin, and faster and faster and faster, and the ghost disappeared, and so did the Cratchets.
"Hey!" Scrooge yelled at the empty graveyard, "Where did everybody go?" She looked around frantically, afraid she would become stuck in the future, where nobody would ever see her beauty or hear her sweet voice. Suddenly, she turned around to where she remembered Tina's grave to be. Now there was another tombstone next to it.
The new one bared Elenora's name! It looked fairly new, and looking at the death date, Scrooge realized that she would die in nine years. "There's no birth date!" she exclaimed, looking at the question mark. Then she realized: Nobody had bothered to find it out when she died.
"NO!" Scrooge yelled, falling down on her knees, "I'LL CHANGE! I'LL CHANGE!" She barely noticed when the graveyard once again began spinning. "I'LL CHANGE! I'LL CHANGE!"
"I'll change, I'll change, I'll change!"
Scrooge woke with a start. "Was it, was it all a dream?" she wondered aloud. She made up her mind: "No, but I'm going to fix this. I'll change, just like I said."
She turned on the lamp and hopped out of bed, barely pausing to pull on her slippers. "Now let's see," she muttered to herself as she headed to the door, "I believe Vick's toy shop is open, and of course the corner market. . . . . ."
Less than an hour later she bust into the Cratchet's home. "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Scrooge yelled as she came in, bringing a bit of last night's snow with her. "Sorry to burst in like this, in my nightgown and all, but it just couldn't wait!"
"Scrooge, are you alright? You're acting kind of, well, out of character." Beatrice asked her boss in a worried voice. "Of course I'm alright! I suppose I am a bit out of my old character, but this is my new character, the new Elenora Scrooge! Am I going to fast?" "Oh, uh no," Beatrice lied, trying to make sense of what had just been said. "Wonderful!" Elenora cried, hurrying over to the bed.
"Hello, Tiny Tina! I brought some presents for you, here's a stuffed duck, oh and there's a teddy beat here too, and some paper dolls, and a nice book that I'm sure your mum will read to you, oh you're going to have such fun today!"
"Scrooge!" Beatrice whispered, "What are you doing? There is no way we could possibly pay for all this!" The things Elenora had brought cost more than half a year's salary for Cratchet.
"Nonsense! I don't expect you to pay for this, in fact I don't want you to pay for this! Oh, and take this purse." "Scrooge, this is very generous of you. If you don't mind my asking, what is all this for?" "Well, Cratchet, I've been underpaying and overworking you since day one, and this is to make up for it. Oh, I almost forgot, I'm giving you half the business. If I had payed you properly, you would have been able to buy it long ago." "Thank you!" Beatrice exclaimed, "That you very much! If you don't mind my asking, what brought about this change of heart?"
"That," Scrooge said with a grin, "will be my little secret."
Thanks for reading! This was so much fun to do, but it took a really long time. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, I'd really appreciate it if you left a comment! Even if you want to sign it anonymous, that's OK, just please don't be mean. Merry Christmas to everyone!
PS: Sorry for any bone-headed grammatical errors I may have made