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Three Ghosts and A Miser

by Danya Do, Maggie McAteer, and Lily Peavey

Act I: The Meeting

[Three ghosts enter an embellished cozy room. The first is the saddened spirit of THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST. Her eyes are eerie gold, liquid pools glowing like the luminescence of a dimly lit candle. Her hair is as white as powdered snow; her being gives off the aura of timelessness, a delicate form of youth and age; the childlike spirit of regret and mournfulness. Nostalgia glows off her white gown and pale body. The second is the jovial spirit of THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT. He is tall and large, a veritable giant, robed in green and gold, with shining red curls that rest upon his head. He is the embodiment of Christmas cheer and good spirit, these feelings reflected in his rosy cheeks. The final is the reckoning spirit of THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE. A genderless manifestation of resentment, their skeletal figure is an ever-present omen of death. Slim and frail though hidden in the folds of their hooded attire, cruelty lies in the deepened grooves of their sunken visage. A promise of eternity lurks in the aura of their seething ire.]

PRESENT: [chuckles] Ah, isn’t it wondrous? I dare say it’s been quite a while since our last meet up. Another Christmas ready to be filled with joy.

PAST: And another poor soul, if history is to be repeated once more. What do you think, Future?

FUTURE: [grimaces as smoke oozes from their robes] …

PRESENT: Well said. A toast to Christmas’s present, past, and future. [Present waves his hand, and glasses full of a sparkling golden liquid appear, the Milk of Human Kindness.]

PAST: [reluctantly raises the glass from the table in front of her and settles in a plush chair] If it is but one thing that we agree on this time-

FUTURE: [sniffs glass suspiciously while rolling their demonic eyes] We never agree on anything, you hardened puddle of wax.

PRESENT: Now don’t be so bitter, Future-

PAST: Well, brother, our sibling does have a point.

FUTURE: The point being that you are a stuck up boomer who can’t keep up with the times. then again, it is your job to be kept in the dark, is it not?

PAST: [glowers] And yet you are too far ahead of the times to even-

PRESENT: How about a simple game-

FUTURE: [muttering] Oh, how you always love your games.

PRESENT: As I was saying, I propose a contest, of sorts. To celebrate our, ahem, wondrous reunion.

PAST & FUTURE: [perk up at the mention of a contest]

PRESENT: We have come together before to help humanity's worst learn the true meaning of Christmas Spirit, but never before have we tested which of us is the best at this job. So here is my game: Each of us must prove that their time is the most influential on a person’s soul.

PAST: Is that all? Well then, which lost soul shall we help this year?

PRESENT: [Present looks into the Milk of Human Kindness. The gold liquid swirls into the wrinkled face of the bitter and old EBENEZER SCROOGE. The old man stares distastefully down at the people shivering in the cold as he strides down a snow-covered cobblestone pavement in a thick coat.]

FUTURE: Ahh, he is a particularly nasty specimen. I have seen what the future holds for him if he does not change his ways and let me just say- it’s not pretty. I agree to the terms of your game.

PAST: He has had a troubled past as well. Full of love at first, but gradually growing more bitter with age like spoiled wine. I, too, am up for this challenge.

PRESENT: Very well. Shall we start the game then? Oh, and Future. Do refrain from exploiting your ability to creatively insult us with forthcoming terminology the rest of us can’t understand. I admit I haven’t quite grasped the meaning of “boomer” yet.

[Inside the long and dark halls of his abode walks the restless and frail form of EBENEZER SCROOGE. His face is a mask of fright and his already-pale skin has turned to a ghostly white. He sits beside a miserable fire - one he refuses to pay another coal for - to eat his nightly meal, a single cup of soup. In an alternate plane of reality, the Three Ghosts of Christmas Spirit and JACOB MARLEY watch]

PAST: [smug and content] Well doesn't someone look terrible. [glances over to Marley] You gave him quite a fright back there, Marley.

[JACOB MARLEY, EBENEZER SCROOGE’s old business partner smiles, and nods. He wears a worn brown suit and chains dangle from his wrist, a symbol of his captivity in the mortal plane as a spirit rather than being free in the heavens.]

MARLEY: Thank you, my lady. The trick with the door knocker and the chains was nothing, really.

PRESENT: [concerned and slightly taken aback by his siblings’ plan] Yes…it was quite…chilling, wasn’t it? Perhaps a bit too frightening for Mr. Scrooge. He is frail, remember.

FUTURE: Does that mean he will die if he gets one good scare throughout his lifetime?

PAST: It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

FUTURE: Past, calm down. we all know you despise the man. Marley, go back down there and tell Scrooge we’re coming down there to fix him.

PAST: But be nicer and more dramatic. My dearest sibling [pointed glare at FUTURE] is much too impatient. Be sure to remind him that his fate is in our hands, as well. It would do him good to lend us an ear- we cannot spend our hours attempting to convince him that he is not hallucinating.

PRESENT: I will have to agree with Future on this one, sister. We are on a time limit. Still, do make sure he’s in the proper mood. We want him receptive to our visits.

MARLEY: I will try, my lord. But I know Ebenezer and he is not one prone to change. It is why I am still stuck here thanks to my own selfishness.

FUTURE: He doesn't have much of a choice…if he does not change his ways, he will end up in your predicament, Marley.

MARLEY: Yes…I do wish you three had visited me before my demise. Perhaps then I could have changed my ways. Still, what’s past is past. Now I must help Scrooge save himself before it is too late. [Marley exits]

[EBENEZER SCROOGE slouches alone, eating his gruel. It is a dank atmosphere, with but a single candle to barely illuminate the otherwise frigid and gloomy room. His glum silence makes the clacking of his spoon against the bowl deafening, a consistent ring that cuts through the long shadows of his morosity.]


[The old man glances up at a mantlepiece on his wall, and when he does, startles.]

SCROOGE: Humbug.

[Slowly, a bell starts to ring. Scrooge shakes his head, trying to ignore it.]

[The two bells beside it start to ring as well. Soon, there is a suffocating cacophony of noise.]

SCROOGE: [putting his hands over his ears] HUMBUG!

[All of a sudden, the noise stops. Scrooge wearily removes his hands from his ears and looks around.]

[Behind him, the lock on his door slowly comes undone. When it opens, the ghostly face of JACOB MARLEY is revealed]

SCROOGE: Who are you!?

MARLEY: Do not ask who I am now; ask who I was, before.

SCROOGE: Fine then, who were you?

MARLEY: In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley.

SCROOGE: Oh, Jacob! I didn’t recognize you. What’s with all the chains?

MARLEY: These chains? [lifts part of the heavy metal chains that drape his body] I wear in death the rope I forged in life.

SCROOGE: But in life you were a wonderful business man! You made so much money!

MARLEY: My “business” was mankind, and I failed in it miserably. I should have been concerned with the fate of those around me, not these golden coins you covet. And if you continue on the way you have, well, [Marley chuckles], I have seen the chain they are forging for you and it is quite a thing to behold.

SCROOGE: Is there no hope for me, my dear Marley? Is there no comfort you can bestow?

MARLEY: You do have one chance at salvation…Tonight, you will be visited by three ghosts.

SCROOGE: Is this the salvation you spoke of?

[Marley nods]

SCROOGE: Well in that case, I’d rather just take my chances-

MARLEY: [Marley interrupts ]The first will come at the stroke of one, the second at two, and the third at three.

SCROOGE: Can’t I just take them all at once and get it done with?

MARLEY: [louder] The first shall come at the stroke of one!

[Marley exits, dissipating into smoke. Scrooge shivers, and heads off to bed.]

SCROOGE: [whispering] Humbug.

[Though he is unsettled, it does not take him long to fall asleep.]

  • End of Act I -

To be continued…

Act 2: Past, Present, and Future

[As EBENEZER SCROOGE walks along his narrow hall, shakily carrying a candle, a far greater light appears before him. THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST floats in front of him, light glowing from her pale skin. Her white locks float high above her head, lifted by an unseen and unfelt burst of wind, a crown of light bathing the hallway in a golden glow.]

PAST: [echoing] Ebenezer Scrooge.

[Scrooge cowers with fear, quivering. Past stares down upon him, eyes an eerie calm.]

SCROOGE: Begone spirit!

[Past steps towards him, delicate bare feet touching the ornate and dusty carpet.]

PAST: I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. I am the spirit of the then, the regret, and the unchangeable. I am the first, the always, the unforgiven.

SCROOGE: Spirit, why have you come? I have no ghosts in my past but Marley. Why do you torture me so?

PAST: There is far more and worse than Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge. You are hated by many, yes, but you refuse to remember why. You are not a good man, Ebenezer Scrooge. But redemption is a thing that all of mankind deserves, no matter how abhorrent.

SCROOGE: You come to me with the promise of redemption but I am content where I am. I seek no redemption in the depths of my heart.

PAST: You shall, Ebenezer Scrooge. You shall. [waves her palm, half covered by her gown, and transports Scrooge to his old boarding school]

[From their above, THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT and THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE watch their sister work]

PRESENT: She’s doing quite well. Starting off with the childhood nostalgia.

FUTURE: more like childhood trauma in this case.

PRESENT: Yes… I do pity the boy, if not quite as much as the man he became.

FUTURE: he does not deserve your pity. That man is the worst of mankind.

PRESENT: That’s why this is a challenge.

[THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST leads SCROOGE to a party where he sees ISABELLE FEZZIWIG, his first love and former fiancée]

PAST: Do you see her? [points to Isabelle and a young Scrooge approaching her] She is beautiful, is she not?

SCROOGE: Yes, yes she was.

PAST: And here you were happy with her, yes? [Scrooge nods sadly] You claimed that there was no happiness in the past times, and yet here you are. You smile! You saw Miss Isabelle and you were joyous despite your steadfast denial throughout the brief time I have known you.

[SCROOGE remains silent, as the pair watch his young self and ISABELLE FEZZIWIG dance at the party. THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST waves her palm at the happy scene and it fades. The two reach their final destination, at SCROOGE’S lonely counting house where ISABELLE watches SCROOGE count his money]

SCROOGE: Why must you take me here, spirit? There is only pain in this place.

PAST: So you begin to see Ebenezer Scrooge. This is a source of pain for you, yes, but it was a greater one. Now be silent and see.

ISABELLE: I have come to release you.

YOUNG SCROOGE: What do you mean?

ISABELLE: You do not love me anymore. You have come to love another, a golden idol. And she is much prettier and more valuable than I. [Isabelle stares mournfully at her lover and removes her engagement ring. She sets it down on the table before Scrooge]

YOUNG SCROOGE: Isabelle! How could you say that!

ISABELLE: Tell me truthfully, Ebenzer. If we met today, would you still seek me out? Would you still pursue me? Me, a woman who is poor and would bring very little to a marriage?

[Scrooge does not answer. Isabelle has her answer, and leaves]

PAST: You broke her heart, Ebenezer Scrooge. You broke the spirit of a youthful and bright young woman. All because you were too selfish to give up gold and to embrace yourself in the warmth of love.

SCROOGE: You torment me more! Why, spirit, why!

PAST: You torment yourself with your wrongdoings, Ebenezer Scrooge. You destroy what is left of your miserable heart and toss it away squalor because of your greed. You cast aside all friendships until they are rotted like your soul. You destroyed the one thing that gave your life all meaning- your love for Miss Isabelle.

SCROOGE: Untrue! Lies, all of it! These are the words of a coward and a deceiver. You twist my pain into something that even I have never once laid eyes upon.

[Past’s eyes widen and glow as she rises off the ground once again, illuminating the abandoned and dim counting house.]

PAST: Do not blame me for your countless wrongdoings, Ebenezer Scrooge. This is unchangeable and you can only watch your own faults. This is then, not now. You cannot fix this. You cannot blame me, for it is what it is, nothing more, nothing less! I have not watered anything down to cradle your shaking knees for if I do then you shall never learn. You have seen what you have done. You are not redeemed yet and if you cannot accept that you are being given a second chance, then you are already doomed.

[Past presses one hand to his forehead, and Scrooge closes his eyes, falling into an abyss]

[Past returns to her siblings, who watch as she sits down once again.]

PRESENT: Well done, sister!

FUTURE: as much it pains my soul to say this, you did well, Past.

PAST: Thank you, Future. Present, he awaits you.

[Present nods and makes to leave for the human world, leaving Past and Future to speak]

FUTURE: “you are already doomed”? a good line for someone as dramatic as yourself. and that bit about Isabelle? some of your finest work, sister.

PAST: You do not truly believe that, Future, though I accept your praise.

FUTURE: if it means that you win over Present, so be it. i only say this for Present will never find the joy that one finds striking fear into another’s heart.

PAST: Agreed, Future. Do you believe he will once more play the “feast and the family”? He does it almost every year. I swear, every reincarnation gets stupider each year.

FUTURE: [raises glass, the shimmering liquid sloshing] we finally agree on something.

[EBENEZER SCROOGE awakes in his bed to an intense light coming from the next room where the GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT sits]

PRESENT: Ebenezer Scrooge.

SCROOGE: No, spirit, leave me be. I have seen enough tonight.


SCROOGE: Really, I don’t think it’s necessary- [Present reaches a giant hand into Scrooge’s room and grabs him. Scrooge proceeds to scream loudly and protest before he is brought into a bright sparkling room filled with a great Christmas feast in which Present is the center]

PRESENT: [sets Scrooge down on top of a table and shrinks back into a slightly more human size] That’s better. Now, Scrooge, do you know who I am?

SCROOGE: The next spirit come to torment me out of my sleep?

PRESENT: [chuckles] Close enough. I am the Ghost of Christmas Present and I have come to show you the world as it is now.

SCROOGE: Humbug.

PRESENT: Now, none of that. Just grab hold of my robe.

[Scrooge reaches out his hand to grip Present’s robe, and the two of them are transported to the middle of a Christmas party at his nephew, FREDS house]

[the GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE and the GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST watch as the GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT and EBENEZER SCROOGE experience a happy Christmas with his nephew FRED and his wife CLARA]

FUTURE: i don’t see what purpose this little foray holds. to show him what fun he will miss out on perhaps?

PAST: There is much you do not see dear sibling of mine, but here I must agree. What is Present’s play here?

[At the party, Scrooge attempts to partake in a game the other guests are playing, seeming not to care they can neither see nor hear him]

PAST: The poor dear is so oblivious. You should have seen the way he tried talking to his old school friends-

FUTURE: [interrupting] shhh. they’re doing toasts. i want to see if they mention Scrooge.

[Fred raises his glass in a toast]

FRED: I would like to propose a toast. To my dear uncle Scrooge. ‘Tis a shame he couldn’t be here tonight.

CLARA: Not so much of a shame if you ask me. Every year you invite him and every year he says the same. [in a parody of Scrooge’s voice] “Christmas is a humbug!” You are much too good for him my dear.

FRED: Despite myself, I can’t help liking him. He is my uncle, you know. And I will continue to invite him in the hopes that he will one day accept. To Ebenezer Scrooge!

PARTY GUESTS: [more reluctantly] Ebenezer Scrooge!

[From above]

FUTURE: i can’t imagine anyone liking that odious little man, let alone toasting to him.

PAST: He is cruel, yes, but I see fragments of hope peeking through. Scare him well enough, Future, and he may survive his dark fate yet.

[PRESENT and SCROOGE are transported to another Christmas dinner, this one at the house of his clerk, BOB CRATCHIT]

SCROOGE: Where is this place, spirit?

PRESENT: This is the house of Bob Cratchit, the overworked, underpaid man you call a clerk. Now look. [Present wipes some frost off of the windows looking into the building, and peers inside]

CRATCHIT: [looking at a measly excuse for a Christmas feast] Oh, this looks delightful!

SCROOGE: How can he say such a thing? That’s not enough food for all those people. It’s measly and small!

PRESENT: He has made do with the meager sum you pay him. But it is not about the amount of food, Scrooge. It is about the love that it was made with.

CRATCHIT: To the founder of our feast: Mr. Scrooge!

[Mrs. Cratchit sets her glass down, refusing to toast]

MRS. CRATCHIT: I will not toast to that imp of a man. If he were here I would give him a piece of my mind to feast on!

SCROOGE: [flinches] How can she say such a thing? It is my money that has paid for her dinner, however small it may be.

CRATCHIT: My dear, Christmas is a time for opening our hearts. Surely you can find some room even for Mr. Scrooge?

MRS. CRATCHIT: I will toast to him for your sake, not for his.

[FUTURE and PAST observe]

PAST: Ooo that stings.

FUTURE: what on earth is our brother doing now? are those children underneath his robes?

PAST: I think they’re metaphors. You know, for the impoverished our dear Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t care about.

FUTURE: honestly sister, yours was painful to watch but Present’s just going to town now.

[PRESENT enters]

PRESENT: How was that, then?

PAST: It was… interesting. I liked how you threw his own words back at him. “Then they should better do so-”

PRESENT: [interrupting] And decrease the surplus population, yes I thought that was a nice touch. Future, are you going to go down any time soon? He’s waiting for you.

FUTURE: yes, but i’m going to let him squirm a bit first.

[Back on earth, FUTURE materializes in a cloud of black smoke]

SCROOGE: Are you the last spirit said to visit me? The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come?

FUTURE: [says nothing]

SCROOGE: It is you I fear most of all spirit. But let us go, and perhaps this horrible night will be over.

FUTURE: [points a single skeletal finger over Scrooge’s shoulder, at a group of poor thieves conversing]

THIEF 1: [holding a pair of bed curtains] I stole ‘em, right off of the bastard’s bed.

THIEF 2: With his body still lying there?

THIEF 1: [cackling] Isn’t it hilarious? All this time that bugger was robbing us, and now that he’s dead we get to rob him!

SCROOGE: Who is it spirit? Who could be so horrible in life that no one would mourn him in death?

[PRESENT and PAST watch]

PAST: He really isn’t very bright, is he?

PRESENT: He’s in denial. Give Future a minute to straighten him out- See here, they’re going to a graveyard.

PAST: Why’s Cratchit here? I can’t imagine he’s sad about Scrooge’s death.

PRESENT: I don’t think he is…

SCROOGE: Tell me it isn’t true, spirit! Tell me Tiny Tim isn’t dead!

PAST: Future, you little-

PRESENT: Relax, sister. They can’t make the future, just show the possible branches. If Scrooge changes his ways, this may never occur.

PAST: It better not. The child is the only thing bright in this dark, dark world.

[Scrooge sees another fresh grave, this one with no mourners]

SCROOGE: Is this the grave of the man without those who loved him?

FUTURE: [points at the grave]

SCROOGE: No, no it can’t be! [the grave is his own]

PAST: You didn’t see that coming?

PRESENT: Sister, stop quipping, he can’t even hear you.

[Future arrives back, leaving the mortal plane]

FUTURE: Mine was by far the best.

PAST: You didn’t even talk!

PRESENT: Will you be quiet for once? This is my favorite part!

[below, Scrooge dances merrily around his room after discovering he still has time to change his fate]

PAST: Horrifying.

  • End of Act 2 -

To be continued…

Act 3: Until We Meet Again

[THE GHOSTS OF PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE enter back into a comfortable room with a cozy fire and take their seats]

FUTURE: [smugly] I would say it’s clear who won.

PAST: [equally smug] Yes, I would.

PRESENT: Well it’s neither of you.

PAST & FUTURE: [equally outraged]

PRESENT: I’m just kidding. Although, I don’t think any one of us really carried the rest.

FUTURE: oh no? i would argue mine is the only one that really had any impact. after both of yours, Scrooge was still skeptical but after mine he was jumping for joy to be alive.

PAST: Please, Future. All you did was scare the kid a bit.

PRESENT: Can’t we just have a nice Christmas for once?

PAST: I’m a nice Christmas. Unlike some. [pointed glance at Future]

FUTURE: [shrugging] At the very least, some are not flouncing about in ignorance of the tormented. Drunk on the Milk of Human Kindness, at that.

PRESENT: I was not drunk!

PAST: Keep telling yourself that, brother.

  • End of Act 3 -


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