#109 – Mr. Valentine Tells a Rufus Carol

Zelle: *pouts* “No. I won’t. I’m tired of this. That’s your answer to everything. Snort a little opium. Snort a little opium. Well snorting a little opium didn’t enhance your performance last night, did it?!”

Originally Published: 12/13/01 . 32 pages

Synopsis
Rufus isn’t really keeping the Christmas spirit. Will a dream where he lives out the story of A Christmas Carol change his mind?

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

Of all the parody rambles I’ve done, this one remains my favorite. I just love “A Christmas Carol” – even the book, and I am no Dickens fan. For this parody I drew inspiration from the classic movies (some of the classic lines are word for word. ), the Muppet version, and 2 different musical versions, including the one that used to come to Broadway every year. That production actually wasn’t bad, but it had the longest dance sequence during the Fezziwig party that just never seemed to end. And yes, it featured a grandmother suddenly able to do back handsprings. Two things happened with this one that I didn’t intend going into it – Vincent was supposed to have a bigger role (hence the title), but I just kind of rolled along, not really even realizing he was gone until I got to the end. And I also didn’t intend to use so many opium jokes, it started with one and then just snowballed from there.

(we have rufus in his room, getting all ready for bed and laying out mr. jingles. then we hear a knock at the door. rufus scowls)

Rufus: “Who could this be, Mr. Jingles? Someone who’s gonna get kicked out, that’s who!”

(he goes and opens the door. there stands reno, a piece of paper in hand)

Reno: “Hey, buddy.”

Rufus: *looks behind him before looking back at reno with a confused look* “Are you friends with Mr. Jingles?”

Reno: “Uh… I was talking to you.”

Rufus: *blink blink* “Oh. Right. What is it? I need my beauty sleep.”

Reno: “Here.” *hands rufus the paper*

Rufus: *looks it over* “What the hell is this?”

Reno: “My Christmas list!”

Rufus: “…Are you kidding?”

Reno: *blink blink* “Did I pass out and miss December again?”

Rufus: “I’m not getting you a Christmas present!” *shoves the list back at him*

Reno: “Ha ha, very funny, Rufus.” *shoves the list back*

Rufus: “I’m not kidding.” *shoves the list back*

Reno: *blink blink* “…You’re really not getting me a gift? But…you’re making us work on Christmas Eve and everything!”

Rufus: “Hey, I have a company to run. Don’t be expecting any holiday spirit from me.”

Reno: “You tight fisted Scrooge! Fine! I hope your money brings you happiness!”

(he storms out, slamming the door behind him.)

Rufus: “Of course it will! It’s money!”

(he returns to bed and snuggles up with mr. jingles.)

Rufus: “Imagine, those stupid, useless workers trying to rob me just because it’s Christmas, Mr. Jingles!” *yawns* “I’ll show…them…”

(and so he drifts off to sleep. and yes, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, you get a genuine rufus j. shinra dream. we open in a very small office back in england in the late 1800s. at a small desk sits reeve, or someone who looks like him anyway, shivering. he has a quill pen in hand. the fire is slowly dying out, and he keep glancing at it nervously)

Guy who looks like Reeve: “Oh, boy. He’s gonna be back soon. Mr. Rufeneezer Scroora had to go to a meeting with a business across town. This morning when I came in at a quarter to seven he gave me two pieces of coal and told me to make it last. Two pieces! All day! It’s snowing outside, and I’m freezing! And it’s Christmas Eve to boot! Christmas Eve, and here I am anyway, slaving behind my desk and crunching numbers for him. I’m supposed to work tomorrow too, but we’ll see about that. I’d rather lose a day’s wages than sit here on Christmas Day with nothing but two coals in the fire!”

(then the door bangs open, and in enters an older, but still magically good looking rufus. he glares)

Scroora: “REEVERD CRATCHIT!!!!”

Reeverd: *mumbles* “Yeah, some old name like Lark’s Robin Hood dream…” *clears throat and stutters* “Uh…yes, Mr. Scroora. And please, call me Reb. It saves breath!”

Scroora: *thoughtfully* “…Hmmm… I like saving things…” *sternly* “Very well then. Reb Cratchit. Do you have those figures yet? Tomorrow will be a busy day for us! Lots more people to evict from their homes!”

(he starts to take off his hat and scarf and hangs them up. trembling from fear and cold, reb gets up, swallowing nervously. scroora starts to walk into his office, and reb follows)

Reb: “Uh, actually, Mr. Scroora, about tomorrow–“

(but before he can finish, scroora unknowingly slams the door right in reb’s face.)

Reb: *blinks* “Um…never mind then!” *he slumps back over to his desk* “If I don’t ask about getting tomorrow night off, my wife will get so mad! And I hate to get on his bad side…”

(there’s a knock at the door, and reb goes over and opens it. in bounds a guy who looks like laguna…with a christmas wreath)

Laguna looking guy: “Hey, hey, Reb! Merry Christmas! Is my uncle in?”

Reb: “He is, Lead, but I don’t think you want to talk to him. He’s in a foul mood as usual.”

Lead: “That’s okay! Boy, it’s cold in here!”

(he bounds right into scroora’s office, where he’s huddled over the desk, signing eviction notices)

Lead: “Hey hey! Merry Christmas, Uncle!” *plops down the wreath* “I brought you this festive wreath!”

Scroora: “Christmas. Bah humbug. All that unnecessary spending… It makes me sick!”

Lead: “Now, hey, come on!Β  At least come dine for Christmas with Kira and I at our house tomorrow!”

Scroora: “Why in hell did you ever get married?”

Lead: “I don’t know… I just love how he insults me…”

Scroora: “What are you so freakin’ happy about anyway? You’re poor enough!”

Lead: “Why are you so dismal, then? You’re rich enough!” *laughs* “That was a great one!”

Scroora: “I’m not coming to dinner. In case you haven’t noticed by the way I’m constantly glaring at you, I don’t like you.”

Lead: “Aw, but I’m your only living relative! You can’t not like me!”

Scroora: “Did I say I didn’t like you? I meant to say I hate you.”

(then there’s another knock at the door.)

Reb: *moans* “Stop making me have to get up…”

(he plods over to the door and opens it. there stand hojo and kuja. kuja is dressed head to toe in fur and is covered in diamonds. hojo is well dressed as well. reb stares)

Hojo: “Ah, hello, pretty young man. Is Mr. Scroora in?”

Reb: *nods and barely points*

Hojo: “Thank you.”

(he and kuja go into the office)

Hojo: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Scroora!”

Scroora: “Christmas! Bah! Humbug! What do you want now? I’m a poor, poor man! These piles of gold behind me are only painted on!”

Kuja: *snort* “Right. And I’m a woman.”

Hojo: “We’re collecting money for the poor little boys. You see, every year well meaning perver–er…people like myself get together and collect money to benefit the poor little boys who live on the streets.”

Reb: *calls* “Then why the hell is your companion there covered in diamonds!”

Kuja: *pushes hair over shoulder* “Hey, I earned every one of these.”

Hojo: “So anyway, Mr. Scroora, if you would be so generous on this Christmas Eve, we can give the boys clothes and housing and food and so on and so forth!”

Scroora: “But aren’t there prisons and poorhouses?”

Hojo: “Of course there are! There are only so many boys I can take into my house at one time, regrettably. They would rather die than go to either of those places.”

Scroora: “Then let them go to it, and decrease the surplus population!”

Everyone: *gasp*

Lead: “Uncle! How could you?”

Scroora: “Stay out of this, Lead! You keep Christmas in your way, and I’ll keep it in mine!”

Lead: “But you’re screwing it up!”

Reb: *from the next room* “Wrong line!”

Lead: “Er… I mean, but you’re not keeping it at all!”

Hojo: “Uh…anyway….about donating for the little boys… How much can I put you down for?”

Scroora: “Nothing.”

Hojo: “You wish to remain anonymous?”

Scroora: “I wish to be left alone!”

Kuja: “Touche.”

Lead: “Well then!” *gives hojo some money* “Here you are, sir. And Merry Christmas.”

Hojo: “Exxxxxxcellent. Merry Christmas to you as well.”

Lead: “Merry Christmas to you too, Uncle, no matter how much you hate it. The dinner offer stands too!”

Scroora: “Don’t hold your breath.”

(lead turns and heads out)

Lead: “Merry Christmas, Reb!”

Reb: “Merry Christmas!”

(lead leaves. hojo and kuja are still standing there.)

Scroora: “I believe I’ve made myself clear enough. Let my accountant show you to the door.”

Reb: *groans from the other room*

Hojo: “Very well, then. Come, christmas angel of death.”

Kuja: “Hmph.”

(reb lets hojo and kuja out. outside zidane is standing there, singing merrily)

Zidane: *sings* “Jingle bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horsed open sleigh!”

Hojo: “What delightful little boy.” *licks lips*

Kuja: “Come along, *you*.”

(hojo gives zidane a few coins before kuja drags him off. zidane picks up the coins happily and keeps singing, louder now)

Zidane: *sings* “Jingle bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horsed open sle–“

Scroora: *from his office* “CUT THAT RACKET!”

Zidane: *face falls*

(reb sighs and shuts the door.)

Reb: *mutters to himself* “Ask him now. The worst he could do is kill you, and then you won’t have to see him anymore.”

(and so he takes a deep breath and goes over to scroora’s office.)

Reb: *gulp* “Uh…Mr. Scroora?”

Scroora: “What is it now?”

Reb: “Uh…tomorrow is Christmas, sir.”

Scroora: “Believe me, I’ve heard.”

Reb: “Um… I was wondering if I could have the day off…?”

Scroora: *looks up sharply* “The day off?”

Reb: “Um…it was just a suggestion…”

Scroora: “That stupid holiday is a poor excuse to pick my pocket!”

Reb: *gulp* “Uh, sir, really…if you think logically about it…other businesses will be closed tomorrow. You’ll have no one to do business with and you’ll be wasting a lot of coal for the fire…” *mutters to himself* “Another two whole pieces you freakin’ cheap bastard…”

Scroora: “Wasting coal, huh?” *thoughtfully* “…Fine then. But show up even EARLIER the next morning.”

Reb: *surprised* “Really, sir? Oh, thank you, sir! You’re the greatest! I love–“

Scroora: “Silence! And get back to work!”

Reb: “Eep!” *runs back to work*

(meanwhile, the action shifts to outside where we have vincent and sephiroth sitting on the curb. sephiroth is eating an apple)

Sephiroth: *offering apple* “You want a bite?”

Vincent: “Not when I’m working.”

Sephiroth: “Oh. You’re playing Charles Dickens?”

Vincent: “Yes.”

Sephiroth: “Oh, okay. I’ll just sit here and make sarcastic comments.”

Vincent: “Very well. I shall begin then–“

Sephiroth: “Actually, you really should have done this in the beginning. Now we’re done with the first scene already. What took you so long?”

Vincent: “….I had to go to the bathroom.”

Sephiroth: “…Oh. Never mind then.”

Vincent: “Anyway, here is the beginning. Algus was dead to begin with.”

Sephiroth: “Who killed him? Was it me? He wasn’t the drunk guy in the ally last night, was he?”

Vincent: “*No*, angel. And stop interrupting. Algus was Scroora’s partner before his death seven years ago tonight. He was just as much a cruel bastard as his friend, and just as blonde. You must remember that he is dead, or otherwise the entire story will make no sense.”

Sephiroth: “They know the story all ready anyway.”

Vincent: “It doesn’t hurt to have a reminder, angel.”

Sephiroth: “I could have done it better.” *clears throat* “Algus. Cruel. Blonde. Dead.”

Vincent: “That’s just harsh.”

Sephiroth: “You’re the one calling him a bastard!”

Vincent: “Shush, Scroora is coming around the corner to return home now.”

Sephiroth: “Can I trip him?”

Vincent: “No.”

(scroora, in a black coat and hat walks by, glaring at everything. suddenly a rock hits him in the back of the head and he turns around, glaring and rubbing the back of his head sorely)

Sephiroth: *chuckles*

Vincent: “Angel!”

Sephiroth: “What? You didn’t tell me I couldn’t throw stuff.”

(so scroora goes up to his front door, where the knocker is shaped like a lion’s head. and he’s putting the key in all normal like when the knocker suddenly morphs into the shape of algus’ head and screams. scroora cries out and stumbles back a little, obviously scared, but the knocker has turned back to it’s original form.)

Scroora: *shaking it off* “Bah!”

(he goes into the house)

Sephiroth: “Is this as scary as this thing gets? ‘Cause I’m bored already.”

Vincent: *ignoring him* “Scroora liked the dark, because he was cheap. He was also a scaredy cat, however, and after what had happened at the door, he lit the lamps inside and went up to his sitting room to put on his rich old man’s robe and eat his cheap dinner of bread and cheese.”

Sephiroth: “Ha ha! You have a rich old man’s robe at home!”

Vincent: “…You gave it to me.”

Sephiroth: “…Oh.”

(we go inside to where scroora is sitting in front of a big fireplace, looking uneasy. suddenly all the lights go out and he hears the clanking of chains from below. his eyes widen in fear as he hears heavy footsteps come up the stairs. after the footsteps stop, scroora, looking terrified, slowly turns around and stares in horror at the ghost of his old partner, algus.)

Algus: “Rufeneezer… Do you recognize me?”

Scroora: “Algus! But you’re dead and rotting! You died seven years ago tonight! I remember because I found five pence on the sidewalk coming home from your deathbed.”

Algus: “Rufeneezer, it *is* I, Algus! Your old friend and business partner!”

Scroora: “You look really bad. And I mean for a dead person. What’s with all those chains? I thought you liked to keep in style! Those are so…medieval!”

Algus: “I wear the chains I forged in life!”

Scroora: *blink blink* “You never forged any chains.”

Algus: “It’s metaphorical, stupid! Each link represents a bad deed!”

Scroora: *snort* “That’s nothing then. I was five times worse than you when you were alive and I’ve been here seven years–” *stops dead and frowns* “Oh.”

Algus: “My arrogant ways of treating everyone like slaves and being unkind to my fellow man have made me suffer horribly in the after life! There’s no Gucci!”

Scroora: *gasp* “Say it isn’t so, friend! Tell me something good! I don’t want to look like I just came from a Marilyn Manson concert!”

Algus: “The first ghost will come at the stroke of one. Open your eyes, my friend, and there will be hope for you.”

Scroora: “Do they at least have an Armani Exchange?!”

Algus: “Wait for the first ghost. It is your last hope to change…”

Scroora: “A Barney’s?!”

(but algus is already fading away. scroora gets up and runs over to where he was, but his dead friend has vanished. he looks stunned for a moment, then he frowns again.)

Scroora: “No Gucci. Bah. Humbug!”

(back outside, vincent and sephiroth are standing under a tree. sephiroth is picking the bark off.)

Vincent: “And so, Scroora, thinking his mind was playing tricks on him since he was smoking all that opium, went into his bed and drew the curtains across, thinking nothing of it.” *looks at seph* “What are you doing?”

Sephiroth: “I’m bored. Can we make out?”

Vincent: *sigh* “Angel… I’m supposed to be telling the story. …We have to at least wait till the first ghost comes, and that’ll be awhile.”

Sephiroth: *makes a sad face*

Vincent: *claps hands* “Okay, lookie, it’s one o’clock.” *starts dragging seph off* “Hurry, we haven’t much time.”

(back in scroora’s bedroom, the clock is tolling one. scroora is staring up at the ceiling.)

Scroora: “I don’t see anything. Algus was lying. Lying like a–“

(suddenly the room fills with light. scroora sits up and peers out where a girl that looks like elena, dressed all in white, hovers)

Scroora: “A-Are you the spirit whose forthcoming was foretold to me?”

Ghost: “Damn right! I’m the ghost of Christmas past. Ghosts rock!”

Scroora: *getting out of bed* “Look, uh, I don’t know what’s going on really, but if I don’t get my beauty rest–“

Ghost: “Get the hell out of bed, you lazy old man and take my hand so we can fly out the window into the past!!”

Scroora: “Yes’m.”

(so he gets up and takes her hand. they fly out the window and there’s a flash. suddenly they’re surrounded by a bunch of children running around and laughing, and playing in the snow. scroora looks on excitedly)

Scroora: “Why it’s my old school! Hey, kids! Remember me!” *waves*

Ghost: “They…can’t see or hear you. They’re just shadows.”

Scroora: *frowns* “Oh, damn. And I was going to tell them to watch out for that market crash.”

Ghost: “It’s Christmas Eve. And there you are, Rufeneezer, all alone.”

(she points to where a young rufeneezer sits alone by the window, gazing out sadly.)

Ghost: “There he sits alone. Very alone. As solitary as a man could get. Everybody hated him more than they could bear. They despised him. Abandoned by family, friends, dogs, cats, birds, mice, rats, cockroaches–” *rufeneezer starts to cry* “…Is something wrong?”

Scroora: “You just said all those bad things about me!”

Ghost: “Oh right. Sorry.”

Scroora: “I was always alone on Christmas… It was always just me and…Mr. Jingles.”

Ghost: “Mr. Jingles? Was that a teacher?”

Scroora: “Uh…yeah.” *shifty eyes*

(scroora watches the young version of himself sulk)

Scroora: “I was always alone on Christmas. My father hated my guts. He told me so. Repeatedly.” *looks thoughtful*

Ghost: “What’s the matter?”

Scroora: “Oh, I was just thinking… There was a young boy singing outside my office today. Instead of just yelling at him I should have thrown some snow in his face.”

Ghost: “Hey! Are you learning ANYTHING!?”

Scroora: “Huh? Were you saying something?”

Ghost: “Let’s go to another Christmas.”

(flash to another christmas. scroora still looks miserable.)

Scroora: “…I thought you said we were going to another Christmas.”

Ghost: “It is. You’re still miserable.”

(then a little mini version of cloud comes running inside happily. rufeneezer’s face lights up, both young and old.)

Both versions of Scroora: “Little Clou!”

Scroora: “Why it’s my brother, Little Clou! I remember this Christmas!”

Little Clou: “Hey, big brother! Father pumped me full of liquor and sent me to get you! He was so zoned out on opium, he said you could come home! Isn’t it marvelous! We’ll be a family again! You, me and our zonked out, alcoholic, opium addict of a dad!”

Young Scroora: “I can’t wait!”

(the boys run off.)

Ghost: “You loved him, didn’t you.”

Scroora: “He was my brother! Of course I…did.”

Ghost: “He loved you too.”

Scroora: “Especially when he was drunk.”

Ghost: “He died in child birth, didn’t he?”

Scroora: *scowls* “Yes. I told him not to get a sex change operation. Experimental they were in those days! Now I’m just stuck with my nephew Lead.”

Ghost: “Your brother wanted you to take good care of Lead.”

Scroora: “Nuh uh!”

Ghost: “Uh huh! Said so when he was dying!” *pause* “Or should I say she…?”

Scroora: “You’re lying to me, spirit! You’re a big, fat liar!”

Ghost: “I am not fat! And ghosts don’t lie! Now hang on, because I’m showing you another Christmas.”

Scroora: “I hope it’s not that one where I got my tongue frozen to the flag pole.”

(they’re in a crowded party room now. a guy who looks like heidegger is in the center with someone who looks like scarlet. there’s algus again, someone who looks like nida and someone who looks like zell.)

Scroora: *excitedly* “Why it’s old Heidiwig! And there’s his old whore of a wife! Boy, what a skank she was! Ooh, and my old and only friend Algus! And there’s Nidan! That boy we both hated because he was poor!” *laughs* “Good times.”

(heidiwig gets in the center and holds up his hands)

Heidiwig: “Gya haa haa! Party time, everybody! Gya haa haa! Eat, drink, be merry and eat! Gya haa haa!”

Heidiwig’s wife: “Kya haa haa! Start the music!”

(scroora’s face pales rapidly as everyone pairs up and starts to dance. scroora’s young form starts to dance with the guy who looks like zell)

Scroora: “Oh no, spirit. Show me no more. Take it away, spirit!”

Ghost: “I know it is hard, Rufeneezer, but you gotta watch the love of your life walk out on you.”

Scroora: “No! Worse! This dance never seems to end and it’s so annoying! Make it stop!”

Ghost: “Oh come on. It can’t be that bad.”

(oh yes it can. the dance goes on and on, and every time it seems like it’s gonna stop, it starts up again. half an hour later, and ghost and scroora are looking bored out of their skulls.)

Scroora: “Can’t you fast forward, or something?”

Ghost: “Nope. Gotta just go with the flow.”

(meanwhile, on the dance floor)

Algus: “Hey, look! It’s old grandfather Heidiwig!”

Heidiwig: “Gya haa haa! Come and dance, grandfather!”

Grandfather: *looks like palmer* “Oh, I can’t. I’m too old.”

Wife: “Sure you can! Just let the music take you! Come on, grandpa!”

Grandfather: “Okay then!” *starts doing back handsprings*

Ghost: “This makes no sense.”

Scroora: “I know. I’m never taking opium again.”

(finally the dance ends and young scroora and the guy who looks like zell go off into a corner, laughing)

Young Scroora: “Oh my darling, Zelle, you were wonderful out there tonight!”

Zelle: “Thanks! Let’s get more hot dogs and opium!”

Young Scroora: *grabs his arm* “Wait. There’s something I want to give you first.”

(he reaches into his pocket and brings out a box. he opens it and zelle gapes into the box)

Zelle: “Wow! It’s a ring just like that kid Squall’s! Is this yours??!”

Young Scroora: “It’s yours. Will you marry me, Zelle?”

Zelle: *gasps as his eyes fill with tears* “Oh, Rufeneezer! I love you so much! Of course I will!” *they hug*

Scroora: “Oh, spirit, I don’t want to see anymore.”

Ghost: “Too bad, Scroora. We’re going to the Christmas three years after.”

Scroora: *wipes brow* “Good. I thought I was going to have to sit through the part after we went upstairs. You have compassion, spirit. Don’t want to boil an old man’s blood over what he can’t do anymore.”

Ghost: *sweat drops* “I seriously don’t even want to know.”

(xmas three years later. the young rufeneezer is sitting at his desk counting as zelle comes in)

Zelle: “Rufeneezer, we’re running late. You’ve been counting for hours! I don’t want to miss the hot dogs! You know they run out quick!”

Young Scroora: “Can’t you be patient? The boss is on my ass to get this done!”

Zelle: “You are the boss!”

Young Scroora: “This is important. Just sit there and sniff your opium and you can have your own party.”

Zelle: *pouts* “No. I won’t. I’m tired of this. That’s your answer to everything. Snort a little opium. Snort a little opium. Well snorting a little opium didn’t enhance your performance last night, did it?!”

Ghost: *gasp*

Young Scroora: *gets up and bangs on the desk* “Well I just started taking violin lessons, okay?!”

Ghost: *frowns* “Oh.”

Zelle: “And don’t even get me started on the sex!”

Ghost: *lightening* “Ah. There we go.”

Young Scroora: “Look, what are you trying to say?”

Zelle: “We’re through! You only care about your money! How can I be with someone who doesn’t love me above all else?!”

Young Scroora: “Fine. Go then. I don’t need you. When I’m rich and you have nothing, you’ll be begging me to help you.”

Zelle: “Good-bye, Rufeneezer. You’ve changed. And not the good kind of change. The bad kind.”

(he leaves. the shadows fade away, and the ghost turns to where scroora is sobbing)

Ghost: “…Are you…all right?”

Scroora: “He never gave the ring back! That thing cost a fortune!”

Ghost: “Oh come on. You really are heartless.”

Scroora: *sniff sniff* “Sorry. Old habits die hard. If it means anything, I do wish I hadn’t let Zelle go, and I didn’t mean what I said about throwing snow in that kid’s face before.”

Ghost: “Now we’re making progress.”

(she grins, clicks her fingers and is gone. scroora finds himself back in his bed. the clock strikes one again.)

Scroora: “What the fu–“

(suddenly the room is flooded with light again, and scroora peers out from behind the curtain where he sees a guy who looks like reno surrounded in golden light and booze)

Ghost: “Whoo hoo! Come and know me better man!”

Scroora: *hesitantly coming closer* “…Are you…the ghost of Christmas present?”

Ghost: “Yup. Come and know me better, man! Whoo hoo!”

Scroora: “Uh… You said that already.”

Ghost: “Did I? Whoops. Sorry about that.”

Scroora: “Are you…a little drunk off your ass, spirit?”

Ghost: “You bet I am! You only live once, right?”

Scroora: “Yes, but–“

Ghost: “No, seriously. I only live once. One day. I have over 1800 brothers!”

Scroora: “That’s a big family!”

Ghost: “Yeah, but there was always plenty of booze! So, Rufeneezer, are you ready for what I’m about to show you?”

Scroora: “No, but here I am anyway.”

Ghost: “Come! And know me better, man!”

Scroora: “Stop saying that, seriously.”

(the ghost takes him to a rundown house in a poor part of london. the windows are brightly light)

Scroora: “Ew! What a dump! My Gucci slippers aren’t even fit to be within an inch of this house! Who lives here, spirit?”

Ghost: “Look in and see for yourself. You got eyes! Besides, I’m so drunk I can’t see straight!”

(so scroora peers in and sees tseng busy at the stove. around the table sit mini kid versions of cid, barret, and yes, cait sith.)

Barret: “Yo! When dad be comin’ home! I’m hungry, yo!”

Cid: “@%#$^#%& %$#^&#* $^#$&@!”

Tseng: “Cid! I told you to watch your mouth! Now help Cait Sith set the table!”

Cait Sith: “I hope father never comes home! I hate him!” *laughs evilly*

Tseng: “Cait Sith! Don’t make me hit you with the spoon again!”

Cait Sith: “You can’t bring yourself to harm me, woman!”

Tseng: “I’m not a woman!”

Barret: “Yo, momma! Why Daddy only be bringin’ Tiny Red to church?”

Tseng: “Look, I don’t know. I’m trying to slave over this hot oven if you don’t mind!”

Cait Sith: *bouncing up and down* “Burn yourself! Burn yourself!”

Tseng: “CAIT SITH!!!!!”

Scroora: “What a bunch of weirdos. Is this the freak show that’s just come to town, spirit?”

Ghost: “Sadly not. It’s the family of someone you know pretty well…”

(then reb comes whistling around the corner with red on his shoulder)

Reb: “It’s just a great night, isn’t it, Tiny Red?”

Tiny Red: “I have never been so cold.”

(they go inside the house.)

Reb: “Daddy’s home!”

Cait Sith: “Boo!”

Barret: “Yo! Finally!”

Cid: “@$%#$^#@%&!”

Tseng: “Watch your mouth, Cid!”

(tiny red hobbles over to his place. reb comes over and kisses tseng)

Reb: “It smells wonderful, darling!”

Tseng: “I haven’t let it out of my sight this year, honey. Cait Sith won’t get to poison you like last year.”

Cait Sith: “Stupid woman!”

Tseng: “I’m not a woman!”

Scroora: “Why that’s Reb Cracthit!”

Ghost: “Geez, finally, Sherlock. I’m faster on the uptake than you and I’m drunk off my ass!”

Scroora: “What a horrible house they live in! And that goose they have is so small!”

Ghost: “Well they can’t afford much.”

Scroora: “What’s the deal with the weird one… Tiny Red? He looks sick…and of another species.”

Ghost: “Shut up and keep watching!”

Tseng: “How was Tiny Red at church?”

Reeve: “Almost as good as gold.”

Tseng: “Not as good as gold?”

Reeve: “Now really, Tseng. Gold or children. Which would you take?”

(they look at where barret, cid, and cait sith are annoying tiny red, who just sits there looking miserable)

Reeve: “How could they not look *anything* like us?”

Tseng: “How could we have children at all?”

Reeve: “Oh well. Time to eat!”

(the children settle down and tseng brings the goose over and sets it down)

Tiny Red: “The goose! The goose!” *coughs*

Tseng: “Calm down, Tiny Red. Don’t get so excited.”

Cait Sith: “Especially not over that sh*tty goose.”

Tseng: “Stop that, Cait Sith. You father worked long and hard to afford this.”

Cait Sith: “You suck, dad! Hahaha!”

Cid: “$%#^$&# $^#$&$%&$%*@!”

Barret: “Yo! You tell ‘im, Cid! Don’t be dissin’ dad, yo!”

Reb: “Children, children, please! It’s Christmas! Let’s settle down and have a toast.” *raises glass* “To Mr. Scroora, the founder of the feast.”

Tseng: “The founder of the feast indeed! I wish he were here now so I could give him a piece of my mind to feast upon! Scroora. His name basically spells out ‘screw ya’ as it is.”

Ghost: *chuckles* “That works on more levels then he realizes.”

Reb: “Darling! The children! Christmas day!”

Tseng: *pouts* “Fine. To Mr. Scroora. May he have a merry Christmas in his rich house with his rich clothes and his no children.” *drinks up*

Tiny Red: “God help us, everyone.” *cough cough*

Scroora: “Spirit…that little…that little red thing…will he die?”

Ghost: “I dunno, officer. I was just standing here when it happened.”

Scroora: “SPIRIT!”

Ghost: “Oh! Right! The kid! Yeah. Yeah. If this doesn’t change, Tiny Red’s gonna kick it and so is Cait Sith.”

Scroora: “Did I ask about Cait Sith?” *looks at tiny red* “That poor little…cat like…child.”

Ghost: “Since when do you care? If I could remember anything I’d quote some line you said at the beginning of this whole thing about decreasing the surplus population!”

Scroora: “How dare you not remember that line?! It was clever, dammit!”

Ghost: “Come on, man. There’s more to see.”

(they go to another house where lead is with his ‘wife’ kira. sitting on the couch are guys who look like like ward and squall.)

Kira: “Hey, moron. Your uncle didn’t show up again.”

Lead: “Hey hey, I know. That sucks. I always hoped the old man would lighten up, but he’s as nasty as ever!”

Scroora: *gasp* “It’s my nephew Lead!”

Ghost: “Oh, while I’m young here.”

Lead: “Oh well. Let’s play a game!”

Kira: “Let’s play ‘guess what Ward is saying’.”

Lead: “I’ve got a better idea! Let’s play yes and no!”

Kira: *pouts* “I liked my game better.”

Lead: “Okay, I’ll go first.”

Kira: “Is is animal?”

Lead: “Yes.”

Kira: “Ward says it’s a deranged marsupial.”

Lead: “No. But it does have a pouch.”

Squall: “Whatever.”

Kira: “Is it mean?”

Lead: “You bet!”

Kira: “Tight fisted?”

Lead: “That too!”

Squall: “Whatever.”

Kira: “Ward says it’s Rufeneezer Scroora!”

Lead: “That’s right!”

Squall: “Whatever. Where’s the opium?”

Scroora: *shocked* “My own nephew… But he never gave any indication that he hated me!”

Ghost: “But you hate him. What do you care?”

Scroora: “I’m supposed to hate people! They’re not supposed to hate me back! Oh, this is all screwed up, spirit! Reb Cratchit lives in a ramshackle shack of freaks and my nephew hates my guts! Oh, spirit! I’ve changed! I’m not the man I was!”

Ghost: “Whew! Look at the time! My time here is over, man.”

Scroora: “But you taught me so much, spirit! How can I ever thank you?”

Ghost: “When you see my next brother, give him some booze for me!”

(the spirit fades. scroora finds himself in his bed again, as the clock tolls one.)

Scroora: “I’m getting a little tired now.”

(dark, scary music begins to play and black smoke creeps under the curtains of scroora’s bed. he peers out cautiously and sees a ghost clad in dark robes standing in the corner, arms crossed. we know it’s rude because I say so and I’m the author! hahaha!)

Scroora: *freaked out* “Uh…you know what? I think I’m all set. I’m good. You can go. I love Christmas now. Really. Go Santa!” *laughs weakly*

(the spirit beckons him closer and scroora slowly gets out of bed and goes over to him)

Scroora: “Spirit, I’ve changed. Really. I’ll give out some of my money. I’ll treat people well. If I change I can fix the future right?” *spirit doesn’t say anything* “Well aren’t you going to talk, you big, stupid dead guy!?”

(the ghost snaps his fingers and they end up at a street corner. walking by we see….bernie and belle…? (yeah, dreams are strange stuff.) anyway, they’re talking)

Belle: “Hey, Bernie. Guess what?”

Bernie: “What? And you better make it good. I got an audition in ten minutes.”

Belle: “That guy everyone hates is dead! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

Bernie: “Oh yeah! That’s great! Who did he leave his money to?”

Belle: “Listen to my joke first.”

Bernie: “Oh, god no, please–“

Belle: “Listen to my joke!”

Bernie: *sigh* “Fine. Tell your stupid joke, you stupid dog.”

Belle: “Knock knock.”

Bernie: “Who’s there?”

Belle: “Bernie.”

Bernie: *sigh* “Bernie who?”

Belle: “Bernie you, you idiot! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

Bernie: “Great. Now. Who did he leave his money to?”

Belle: “I dunno.”

Bernie: “All that for nothing?”

Belle: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

Bernie: “Well, are you going to his funeral?”

Belle: “No, and I don’t think anyone else is going either.”

Bernie: “I wouldn’t mind goin’……if lunch was provided!!”

(they laugh and go off.)

Scroora: “Who were those animals, spirit, and why the hell were they talking?”

Ghost: *shrugs*

(he then points to a dark alley where a guy who looks like irvine sits. a guy who looks like seifer comes up grinning)

Irvine: “Hey there, you! You got goods for me, huh? Cool! Bring it on! I’m buying booze tonight!”

Seifer: “Look! I got his bed curtains and his pajamas! Even his slippers!”

Scroora: *gasp* “I have slippers just like that!”

Irvine: “You took these right off him *and* the bed he was lying in!?”

Seifer: “Yup! I never had any respect for him while he was alive! Why the hell start now, I say.”

Irvine: “I just hope he didn’t die of anything catching!”

(they laugh. scroora looks at the ghost)

Scroora: “Who do they speak of, spirit? That poor man! What a lonely, nasty man he must be! Not unlike myself. And with my exact fashion sense.”

(the ghost shakes his head sadly, a hand to his forehead. he then sighs and points again. we’re back in the home of the cratchits, where everyone looks upset…except cait sith)

Barret: “Yo… Poor Little Whatever…”

Cid: *sadly* “@%@^@$ @#%@ @^$…”

Tseng: *sniff* “Figures the best one has to go. Why couldn’t it be Cait Sith?! Why!? Why?!”

Cait Sith: “Shut up, woman! I’m right here!”

Barret: “Yo! Show momma some respect!”

Cid: “#%@^#$^$%^&#$&#&%!”

Tseng: *sigh* “What’s taking your father so long? He knows I can’t stand you kids for long periods of time.”

Barret: “Yo! He be walkin’ slower lately since Tiny Red kicked it.”

Cait Sith: “I don’t see why he’d be walking slower *without* that big dumb whatever. That ugly, stupid, attention grubbing freak.”

Tseng: “Cait sith do NOT talk about your deceased brother that way!”

Cait Sith: “Brother? I was talking about dad!”

(then reb enters, looking melancholy)

Reb: “Hello, family.”

Family: *in unison* “Hello, dear/Yo! Sup?/@$%#%^!/Ha ha! You suck!”

Tseng: “Did you…?”

Reb: “Yes. It’s on a little hill overlooking the duck pond. You know… Tiny Red always liked to watch the ducks.” *tear*

Cait Sith: “Maybe ’cause he was one! An ugly duck!”

Barret: “You be an ugly duck! Now shu’ yo’ mouth!”

Scroora: “Oh, spirit… Tiny Red… He’s… He’s dead, isn’t he.”

Ghost: *gives him a ‘well duh’ look*

Scroora: “Oh! This is all my fault! How could I be so mean and cruel and cold and miserly and miserable and addicted to opium!? Oh, you have opened my eyes, spirit! Oh, how I’ve changed! Oh, I can’t stop putting ‘oh’ at the beginning of every sentence!”

(the ghost snaps his fingers and they appear in a dark graveyard where a lone tombstone sits in the shadows)

Scroora: “Spirit… Whose tombstone is this? Is it the man they spoke so unkindly of in the village?”

Ghost: *nod nod*

Scroora: *pleading* “Oh, spirit. I can’t look at it! I’ve changed! Really! I promise to live a good life full of the spirit of Christmas and free of opium!”

(the ghost points at the tombstone and shaking, scroora looks at it to see it bears his own name. scroora screams and then we abruptly find ourselves back in modern day london. we see vincent, looking dazed and rumpled, standing in front of scroora’s building. we see sephiroth as well, looking pleased with himself, leaning against the wall.)

Vincent: “Oh, dear. I seem to have missed the entire story.”

Sephiroth: “Sorry. My fault.”

Vincent: “Nonetheless, I shall continue.” *clears throat* “Scroora woke up in his own bed, and was shocked to be there.”

(flash to inside)

Scroora: “I’m here! My stuff is here! Whoo hoo! This is great! I’m as happy as a schoolboy! I’m as light as a feather! I’m as delirious as an opium addict!” *pause* “Wait! I have no clue what day it is!”

(he runs to the window and throws it open. on the street below are vincent, sephiroth and zidane. scroora calls down to zidane)

Scroora: “You there, boy! What day is it?”

Zidane: “…It’s Christmas Day.”

Scroora: “Really!? I haven’t missed it! The spirits did it all in one night!”

(sephiroth gives the zidane the ‘he’s been snorting something gesture’)

Scroora: “Do you know the poultry shop in the next street?”

Zidane: “Yeah.”

Scroora: “Is the mutant turkey still hanging in the window?”

Zidane: “The one as big as me?!”

Scroora: “Yes! Such a smart boy! A clever boy!”

Zidane: “I’m not a boy.”

Scroora: “Go and buy it.”

Zidane: “Yeah, okay.” *rolls eyes* “And how the hell am I supposed to pay…”

(he trails off as Scroora starts raining money down on him. he stares in wonder)

Zidane: “It hurts, but I don’t care!”

Sephiroth: *eyes widening* “Can I get in on that?”

Vincent: “Angel, you’re not in the story.”

Sephiroth: “Screw that, I am now!” *runs over*

Scroora: “Go and buy it and bring it back here and I’ll give you MORE money! Ha ha! Reb Cratchit will be so shocked!”

(he goes and throws on some clothes and runs down the stairs, bursting through the front doors and smiling merrily at everyone.)

Scroora: “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

(zidane comes up with the turkey and they off down the street. sephiroth tries to follow, but vincent grabs him and pulls him back)

Vincent: “No, angel.”

Sephiroth: *whines* “Oohhhh….but he might give out more money…”

Vincent: “And so Scroora was changed. He bought lots of presents for everyone he knew and went and handed them out. He told his nephew Lead that he *would* join them for dinner. He tracked down the two men who were collecting for the poor and gave the most generous donation either of them had ever heard. Then he went to Reb Cratchit’s house and knocked on the door, hiding all the things he had bought around the corner.”

Scroora: *knocking angrily* “CRATCHIT! Open up!”

Reb: *opens the door trembling* “U-Uh, hello, Mr. Scroora. Merry…Christmas?”

Scroora: “You didn’t show up for work today.”

Reb: “Uh, it’s Christmas. You said I could have off.”

Scroora: “That doesn’t sound like me.”

Reb: “I know, sir, but you did say–“

Scroora: “I’m going to have to do something about that.”

Reb: “Oh no, sir. Please, I–“

(tseng shoves him out of the way and glares at scroora)

Tseng: “Look, you big jerk! You know, for a long time I–“

Scroora: “I’m going to have to raise your salary.”

Tseng: “–been dying to tell you–…what?”

Scroora: “And then I’m going to help your family in any way I can.”

Tseng: *blink blink* “Uh…honey… Are you *sure* this is your boss?”

Reb: “Not anymore.”

Scroora: “I’m sorry, Reb. Merry Christmas!”

(and the turkey and all the other stuff is brought around. the family gapes at it all)

Barret: “Yo! Check it out!”

Cid: “$%#@$^@#&!”

Barret: “Yo! You damn right!”

(the toys start to be handed out, and cait sith keeps stealing all tiny red’s toys)

Cait Sith: “Ha ha! This is mine! And this is mine too! Ha ha! You have nothing!”

Tiny Red: *hangs head* “Oh dear.”

Scroora: “Hey, leave him alone!”

(he pushes cait sith. cait sith stumbles over a chair and crashes to the floor with a mini explosion. everyone blinks)

Reb: “Oh my god…my boss killed our kid!”

Tseng: “Oh, this truly is the best day ever!”

(meanwhile, vincent is standing outside. so is seph. he’s trying to peek through the window.)

Vincent: “And Scroora was true to his word–“

Sephiroth: “Ooh! They have brownies in there!”

Vincent: “He helped out the family in every way he could, and he helped other people too–“

Sephiroth: “Wow! And razzleberry dressing!”

Vincent: “He gave to every charity and always stopped to talk to people on the street, even beggars–“

Sephiroth: “Hey! And a cheese cake!”

Vincent: “Everyone always said he knew how to keep Christmas and keep it well. He became one of the most popular men in all of England–“

Sephiroth: “Hey! What’s that thing Barret has?! Is that a parachute attachment! I wanted that!”

Vincent: “And he did it without the aid of opium or other drugs. Well, except for cocaine. But in those days, kids, they thought it was good for you–“

Sephiroth: “Hey! How come Cid gets Mr. Mega Powerall! I wanted that!”

Vincent: “And as for Tiny Red, who was barely in this story at all, Scroora became like a second father to him. And so as the small boy, who didn’t die–“

Sephiroth: “Crap! And I wanted his Super Doomy Dungeon play set!”

Vincent: “Observed, God help us, everyone.”

Sephiroth: “I thought it was God bless us.”

Vincent: “Not in this story. The End.”

(and rufus wakes up in a sweat, looking terrified.)

Rufus: “No. No, that’ll never happen to me. Never! All that money! Wasted on *people*!”

(he pauses, panting a moment. then his eyes widens and he yells)

Rufus: “OH MY GOD I DREAMED IN YAOI!”

THE END

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