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A  TEXAS  CHRISTMAS  CAROL      

   

A  Christmas  Tale  of  Greed,  Ghosts,  and  Really  Spicy  Chili    

ACT  ONE   We  see  a  simple  wooden  stage—it  looks  Depression  era.    A   weathered  canvas  backdrop  is  draped  upstage,  giving  the   intimate  space  a  theatrical  feel.    Ropes  with  bare  incandescent   bulbs  define  the  acting  area  and  provide  strange,  nostalgic   light.    This  all  has  the  feeling  of  a  sideshow  stage,  ready  for   storytelling  and  snake  oil  dealing.      In  the  center  of  the  space  is   a  carefully  constructed  pile  of  seemingly  unrelated  things— chairs,  clothes,  bits  of  furniture,  a  large  rusted  trunk,  a   bleached  cow  skull.    Hanging  above  all  this  is  a  weathered  sign   that  reads  “Dickens,  Texas.”    As  the  house  lights  fade,  the  sign   begins  to  glow.     Music  begins.    It  is  from  an  earlier  time,  and  tinged  with  that   same  Depression  Era  feel  that  speaks  of  both  hardship  and   triumph.    As  it  plays,  we  begin  to  see  the  cast  revealed  slowly.     They  extract  from  the  pile  a  series  of  worn  wooden  chairs  that   are  assembled  upstage  in  a  formal  arrangement.    Everyone   moves  to  be  seated,  except  one  actor  who,  at  the  conclusion  of   the  music,  steps  forward  to  speak  to  us.   ONE:    Prologue  

ACTOR  #1   Howdy.    And  welcome.     A  beat.    Guitar  music  continues  under.     Every  year  about  this  time,  we  all  get  to  feeling  strange.    Jittery  almost.    I’m  sure  ya’ll   know  what  I  mean.    Memories  of  childhood  start  spinning  around  our  heads.    The  air   gets  crisper.    Familiar  things  greet  our  noses  like  old  friends.    Cinnamon.    Pine.    The   smell  of  promised  snow.     Light  begins  to  fill  in.     Every  December,  a  tiny  twitch  makes  its  way  into  the  measure  of  our  hearts.    A   flutter.    Small  as  a  bird.    Calling  up  the  past.    Hankering  for  the  future.    I  don’t  have  to   tell  you  what  it  feels  like.    Most  of  you  are  feeling  it  right  now.      


An  actress  steps  forward  to  join  him.     ACTRESS  #1   Times  change.    People  change.    Some  leave  us.    Some  find  us.    Our  lives  scramble  off   in  new  and  curious  directions.    The  world  keeps  changing;  try  as  we  might  to  stop  it.     There  is  one  thing,  though,  that  is  as  constant  as  time:    This  is  a  season  of  thanks.    Of   promise.    Of  hope.    A  time  to  forget  who  we  are  and  where  we  come  from  and  think   about  what  made  us.    And  how  we  should  be  thankful  for  this.    For  now.    For  living.     The  guitar  ends  with  a  simple,  plaintive  melody.    The  cast  is   fully  revealed.    The  stage  is  bathed  in  a  warm  glow.    A  young   actor  moves  apart  from  them,  closer  to  us.     ACTOR  #3   There’s  a  story  that  has  been  making  its  way  around  these  parts  for  some  time  now.     It's  one  that  you’ve  heard  before.    It’s  a  tale  of  one  fateful  Christmas  Eve.    A   Christmas  Eve  when  everything  sensible  and  serene  shook  loose,  and  the  most   familiar  things  took  on  the  shape  of  strange  dreams.       He  is  joined  by  a  young  actress.     ACTRESS  #3   This  is  not  your  typical  Christmas  story.    It’s  a  story  of  greed,  ghosts,  and  really  spicy   chili.    It's  all  about  one  man,  Eb  Scrooge-­‐-­‐  the  richest  man  in  these  parts-­‐-­‐  and  the   stingiest  man  in  Texas.     An  actor  steps  forward.    He  is  warm,  disarming.    As  he  speaks   he  puts  on  some  lived-­‐in  boots  and  a  ragged  jacket.    He  will   become  BOB  CRATCHITT.     ACTOR#2/CRATCHITT   The  story  takes  place  in  Dickens,  Texas,  in  the  year  1933.    It  is  the  Great  Depression,   and  Eb  Scrooge  is  the  most  colorful  citizen  in  a  land  laid  bare  by  storms  of  dust.     Scrooge  is  what  you  might  call  a  Tumbleweed  Baron.    In  a  place  struggling  to  survive   the  hard  times,  he  flourished.    He  wasn’t  afraid  to  take  the  hard  road.    He  did  what  it   took,  at  all  costs,  to  rise  to  the  top  of  the  heap.     ACTRESS  #2   The  story  is,  the  miser  Eb  Scrooge  won  most  of  the  land  in  Dickens  in  a  card  game.     His  poker  cheating  was  legendary,  and  more  than  a  few  times  he  was  caught  hiding   cards  in  places  the  sun  had  not  seen  for  years.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHITT   He  had  a  gaze  like  steel  that  fixed  you  on  the  spot.    And  a  grin  like  a  Halloween   pumpkin.    He  bluffed  his  way  into  owning  this  town.    Into  owning  us  all.      


CRATCHITT  takes  his  place  at  a  small  table  that  has  been   assembled  behind  him.    He  lights  a  small  lantern  and  begins  to   work  on  inventory  books.     ACTRESS  #1   And  that's  not  the  worst  of  it.    To  top  it  all  off,  the  Blanco  River  cut  right  through  his   land.    The  Rio  Blanco  was  the  only  source  of  water  here  in  this  dust  plagued  Texas   town.    By  the  drought  of  1933,  it  was  the  one  sliver  of  hope  that  kept  the  town  alive.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHITT      This  man  who  owned  the  river,  owned  everything.     Actor  #1  moves  center  stage.    As  he  speaks,  he  takes  on  the   persona  of  EB  SCROOGE-­‐-­‐  a  crusty,  weathered  old  miser  of  a   ranchman.     ACTOR  #1/EB  SCROOGE   Right  about  now  would  be  a  good  time  to  introduce  you  to  the  man  all  this  fuss  is   about.    Ebeneezer  Abraham  Scrooge.    He  was  a  wiry  old  coot.    He  stalked  the  streets   of  Dickens  like  a  Dodge  City  sheriff.    Barking  orders.    Collecting  debts.    Spitting   tobacco  and  cussing  like  he’d  never  seen  the  inside  of  a  church.         ACTRESS  #3   In  his  younger  days  he  had  quite  a  swagger,  but  as  time  passed,  the  fire  of  youth  and   promise  had  faded.     ACTOR  #1/EB  SCROOGE   His  swagger  had  stiffened  to  a  purposeful  gait.     ACTRESS  #2   Gone  was  the  goodness  of  this  man.     Scrooge  enters  the  room  where  Cratchit  is  working.     TWO:    Scrooge’s  Office     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   Good  afternoon,  Mr.  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Cratchit,  I  said  meet  me  2  o'clock  at  the  hardware  store!     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   Sorry,  Mr.  Scrooge.    But  you  told  me  to  get  these  books  finished…        


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (interrupting,  angry)   And  they’re  not?!!     Yessir.    Just  now.    

ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT  

ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (muttering)   “Just  now”.    Bah.    “Yessir!”    Lazy,  shiftless  people.   (turning  on  him)   How  could  it  take  you  all  morning  and  most  of  the  afternoon  to  do  an  idiot’s  job?     What  the  devil  am  I  paying  you  for?!     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   I’m  sorry  Mr.  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Sorry  is  not  an  answer,  boy!    Sorry  is  what  I  am  for  hiring  you.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   I  had  to  get  to  town.    It’s  Christmas  tomorrow.    I  promised  the  family  something   special  for  dinner.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   No  excuse!    You  have  wasted  my  time.    I’ll  be  docking  your  pay  to  a  half  day.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT     (softly)   Yessir.     A  moment.    Cratchit  works.    Scrooge  lights  another  lantern.     ACTRESS  #1   Bob  Cratchit  is  one  of  those  men  who  puts  his  family  first.    No  matter  what  the   physical  cost,  he  sees  to  it  that  they  have  food  on  the  table.    No  matter  how  dark  the   day,  he  manages  to  find  the  light.     ACTRESS  #3   In  addition  to  regular  stints  with  the  Civilian  Conservation  Corps,  he  works  part   time  as  an  assistant  bookkeeper  for  Scrooge  and  the  EAS  Land  and  Cattle  Company.     ACTOR  #3   The  entire  Cratchit  family  lives  on  a  barren  piece  of  land  “generously”  provided  by   Mr.  Scrooge.    They  live  there  like  prairie  dogs  in  a  one  room  house  with  no  running   water  and  questionable  electric  wiring.    


ACTOR  #2/BOB  CRATICHITT     (to  us)   You  have  to  touch  the  cast  iron  stove  and  the  light  switch  at  the  same  time  to  get  the   light  to  stay  on.    (a  beat)    The  no  running  water  is  probably  a  good  thing,  now  that  I   think  about  it.     ACTRESS  #2   It  should  be  plain  to  see  that  Mister  Scrooge  is  no  Mother  Teresa.     The  scene  continues.    Scrooge  produces  a  list.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Cratchit,  I’m  going  to  need  you  to  pick  up  these  materials  from  the  hardware  store.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   What  for?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Not  that  it’s  any  of  your  business,  but  I’m  going  to  have  a  fence  built  around  the  well   in  the  town  square.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   A  fence?  Why  would  you  do  that?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   I’m  going  start  siphoning  off  that  water  as  I  see  fit.       ACTOR  #2/CRATCHITT   But  you  can’t  do  that.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Can  and  will.    I  own  the  land.    The  water  is  mine.     A  pause.    Scrooge  counts  money.    Cratchit,  nervous,  finally   musters  the  courage  to  speak.     ACTOR  #2/CRACTHIT   Uh,  Mr.  Scrooge...sir...could  I  ask  you...     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   What,  Cratchitt?!       ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   Tomorrow  is  Christmas  Day  and  I  was  wondering  if  I  might  have  some  time  off  to   spend  with  my  family.    


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   It’s  just  another  day,  boy,  and  a  bad  excuse  for  scalping  a  man  every  25th  of   December.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   I'd  be  beholdin'  to  you,  Mr.  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   “Beholdin’”…I  like  the  sound  of  that!    Deal,  Cratchitt.    BUT—meet  me  at  the  crack  o'   dawn  the  very  next  day.    You’re  going  to  build  that  fence  for  me.     ACTOR  #2/CRATCHIT   Yes  sir,  I  will.    Thank  you.    Thank  you,  sir.    Merry  Christmas,  Mr.  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   (thundering)   Christmas?!!!    Bah!    Junebug!     Another  pause.    Scrooge  sulks,  Cratchit  works.     ACTRESS  #2   This  Christmas  will  be  a  difficult  one  for  the  Cratchit  family.    A  time  of  celebration   mixed  with  a  time  of  sadness.    Bob  Cratchit’s  youngest  child  has  been  sick  most  of   the  winter.    His  momma  and  daddy  have  done  everything  in  their  power  to  keep  him   strong.    Still,  his  future  is  uncertain.     A  BOY  steps  forward.     ACTRESS  #3   This  fragile  child  is  Timothy  Judah  Cratchit.    Tiny  Tim  to  those  who  know  him.     BOY  ACTOR/TINY  TIM ��   My  momma  and  daddy  say  that  Santa  Clause  only  visits  kids  that  are  good.    I’m  not   so  sure  about  that.    Last  year  Scooter  Williams  got  in  bad  trouble  two  days  before   Christmas  for  smashing  Mrs.  Clump’s  window  with  a  slingshot.  (beat)    Scooter  still   got  a  visit  from  Santa.    And  a  four  note  train  whistle.    Just  like  he  wanted.    I  asked   momma  how  that  could  happen.    She  told  me  Santa  Clause  can  tell  if  our  hearts  are   sorry.    He  can  tell  the  difference.     ACTRESS  #1   Santa  Clause  has  always  been  relentlessly  clairvoyant.     ACTOR  #3   Like  a  bearded  Houdini.     The  scene  between  Scrooge  and  Cratchit  continues.    


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   I’m  going  into  town,  Cratchit.    I  have  some  bill  collecting  to  do.     ACTOR  #2/CRACTHIT   On  Christmas  Eve?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   The  world  doesn’t  stop  on  the  24th  of  December.    Some  of  us  have  to  make  a  living.     CRATCHIT   Yessir.     He  exits.    The  stage  is  transformed  into  the  streets  of  Dickens,   Texas.     THREE:    The  Streets  of  Dickens,  Texas     ACTRESS  #2   And  then,  on  the  streets  of  Dickens,  Texas,  the  day  before  Christmas,  Eb  Scrooge   proved  once  and  for  all  what  a  skunk  he  was.    His  first  stop  was  the  Four  Square   Church,  where  newly  appointed  Deacon  Ed  Branson  was  holding  a  rally  to  raise   funds  for  a  new  soup  kitchen  to  feed  the  hungry.     Actor  #2,  as  BROTHER  ED  BRANSON,  testifies  from  a  podium   fashioned  from  an  old  crate.    Scrooge  stops  on  the  edge  of  the   crowd  to  listen.     ACTOR  #2/BROTHER  ED  BRANSON   The  best  thing  to  give  to  your  enemy  is  forgiveness!    To  an  opponent:  tolerance.    To   a  friend:    your  heart.    To  your  child:  a  good  example.    To  your  father:  admiration.    To   your  mother:  conduct  that  will  make  her  proud.    To  yourself:  respect.    To  all  men:   charity.     ACTRESS  #2   As  the  crowd  moved  forward  to  offer  whatever  assistance  they  could,  Scrooge   stopped  Brother  Branson  with  an  outstretched  hand.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   I  see  you  have  my  money.     ACTOR  #2/BROTHER  ED  BRANSON   Sir?            


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Don't  play  the  fool!  The  money  this  ramshackle  tabernacle  owes  me  for  the   mortgage  on  this  prime  plot  of  real  estate.    I  am  the  Piper.    And  it  is  time,  sir,  for  you   to  pay  me.     ACTOR  #2/BROTHER  ED  BRANSO   Can  we  step  inside  to  discuss  this?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   There  is  nothing  to  debate.     ACTOR  #2/BROTHER  ED  BRANSON   But  Mr.  Scrooge…     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (interrupting)   …My  horses  butt!!    It’s  a  simple  request,  Branson.     ACTOR  #2/BROTHER  ED  BRANSON   Couldn’t  you  wait  until  after  Christmas?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Hell  no.     ACTOR  #2/ED  BRANSON   We  need  this  money.    People  will  go  without  food  if  you  take  it  from  me  now.     A  long  pause.    Scrooge  studies  the  humbled  man.    Branson   cannot  look  at  him.     ACTOR#1/SCROOGE   Charity  degrades  those  who  receive  it.    The  best  way  to  get  an  honest  day’s  pay  is  to   do  an  honest  day’s  work.     Another  pause.    Defeated,  Brother  Branson  hands  over  the   cash.    Scrooge  pockets  it.     ACTRESS  #1   Eb  Scrooge  turned  and  walked  away.    Could  he  not  see  the  faces  of  those  around  him   who  had  just  given  the  last  of  what  they  had  to  comfort  those  who  had  nothing?     This  man  was  blind.     ACTOR  #3  steps  forward.    He  becomes  Scrooge’s  nephew,   LUKE  MCGUIRE—youthful,  exuberant,  and  full  of  the  spirit  of   the  season.          


ACTOR  #3/LUKE  MCGUIRE   Merry  Christmas.    Merry,  Merry  Christmas  everybody!    I  just  love  this  time  of  year.     Jingle  Bells.    Jingle  Bells,  ya'll!         ACTRESS  #3     Meet  Scrooge’s  nephew,  Luke  McGuire.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   I  just  need  to  make  a  few  announcements  about  the  upcoming  Christmas  Carnival.     This  year’s  theme  is  “Christmas  Around  the  World.”    To  this  end,  Sheriff  Bo  Riles  and   his  posse  have  set  up  a  Parisian  snow  village  in  Carter  Park.    Special  thanks  to   Froncie  Wells  for  the  tiny  street  scene  made  up  entirely  of  frogs.     Actress  #1,  as  FRONCIE  WELLS,  steps  forward.     ACTRESS  #1/FRONCIE  WELLS   The  frogs  are  all  wearing  tiny  little  berets  with  matching  silk  ascots.    And  there’s  an   Eiffel  tower  made  entirely  of  beans!     ACTRESS  #2     Luke  McGuire  owns  the  town’s  only  hardware  store.    The  man  is  Christmas'  biggest   fan.    His  holiday  window  displays  are  always  highly  anticipated  events.    This  year,   his  manger  scene  was  topped  off  with  electric  Wise  Men,  which  his  brother  had   made  by  hand  and  shipped  all  the  way  from  Chicago.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   The  wise  men’s  eyes  follow  you  when  you  walk  by  the  window.       ACTOR  #2   He’s  also  quite  an  up-­‐and-­‐comer  in  the  local  political  scene.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   (big  political  smile)   I'm  what  you  might  call  a  slightly  left  of  right  moderately  liberal  conservative.     ACTOR  #2   Spoken  like  a  true  public  official.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE     (most  sincere)   Well.    All  politics  aside.    Christmas  means  rejoicing.    And  we  all  could  use  a  little  of   that.     We  hear  a  simple  country  hymn,  sung  by  Actress  #1  as  MARY   EDNA  RAINS.    Mary  is  a  physically  fragile,  outspoken  woman   deeply  rooted  in  the  gospel  and  in  her  faith.    


ACTTRESS  #1/MARY   "Sing  praises  to  the  Lord  and  declare  among  the  people  his  doings".    Psalms.     Chapter  9.    Verse  11.     ACTOR  #2   Thank  you  Mary.    That’s  a  fine  illustration.    (indicating  her)    Mary  Edna  Rains  is   another  one  of  Dickens’  precious  souls.    She  has  coached  the  First  Nazarene  Bible   Bowl  team  to  the  state  championship  two  years  running.     ACTRESS  #1/  MARY     (her  slogan)   “Fill  your  head  with  verses,  not  vice.”     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Memorizing  bible  verses  is  a  waste  of  time.    Scripture  never  plowed  the  field  or  put   food  on  the  table.    Hard  work  does  that.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY     (to  Scrooge,  pointedly)    “And  he  found  a  new  jawbone  of  an  ass…and  put  forth  his  hand  and  took  it,  and   slew  a  thousand  men.”      Judges,  chapter  15,  verse  15.     A  tense  pause.    Mary  grins.    Luke  approaches  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   Hello,  Uncle!    Merry  Christmas!     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Christmas?    Bah!    Junebug!    I've  had  enough  of  Christmas  already.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   Uncle  Eb,  you  don't  mean  that.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   The  heck  I  don't.    Every  pinheaded  idiot  that  goes  around  spoutin'  "Merry   Christmas"  should  have  to  swim  buck  naked  in  a  stank  creek.     ACTOR  #3/LUKE   It  wouldn’t  hurt  you  to  lighten  up  just  a  bit.     ACTRESS  #3   And  then,  Eb  Scrooge  said  something  that  would  soon  come  back  to  haunt  him.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   You  keep  Christmas  in  your  way,  and  I'll  keep  Christmas  in  mine.      


ACTOR  #3/LUKE   But  you  don't  keep  it,  Uncle.     That's  my  point.    

ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE  

ACTOR  #3/LUKE   Will  we  be  seeing'  you  for  Christmas  dinner  tomorrow,  Uncle  Eb?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   (after  a  beat,  simply)   Like  hell.     The  hymn  continues  under.    Scrooge  walks.    We  realize  we  are   now  in  the  poorest  section  of  the  town.    Two  young  boys  loiter   along  the  street.     ACTRESS  #1   Next,  there  was  the  child's  Christmas  wish.     Actor  #3  becomes  SULLY  MACON,  the  older  of  the  two  boys.     He  is  mean,  tough,  and  rambunctious.    The  Boy  Actor  becomes   SCOOTER  MACON,  small  and  innocent.    As  Scrooge  approaches,   he  regards  both  of  them  with  the  same  distaste.         ACTOR#3/SULLY  MACON   Hey,  mister—     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   What  do  you  want,  boy?!     BOY  ACTOR/SCOOTER  MACON     (scared)   C’mon,  Sully.    Let’s  get  out  of  here.     ACTOR  #3/SULLY  MACON   Quiet,  Scooter.    Let  me  do  the  talking.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (impatient)   I  am  waiting.    What  do  you  want?!!     ACTOR  #3/SULLY  MACON   You  got  any  money?        


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Go  back  to  where  you  came  from,  boy.     ACTOR  #3/SULLY  MACON   (sarcastically)   I  come  from  my  momma.    That'd  be  hard  to  do.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Get  out  of  my  way,  smart  mouth.     ACTOR  #3/SULLY  MACON   I  know  you're  rich.    People  say  you  got  more  money  than  you  got  sense.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   People  are  fools.   He  turns  to  leave  and,  as  he  does,  Scooter  speaks.    His  voice   sounds  angelic.    It  stops  Scrooge  dead  in  his  tracks.     BOY  ACTOR/SCOOTER   Please  forgive  Sully.      He  don't  mean  to  be  so  rude.    He’s  just  sad  cause  it’s  Christmas   Eve  and  we  got  no  place  to  go.    We’re  good  boys,  mister.    Honest.    Our  daddy  ran  off.     Our  momma  is  down  in  bed  and  she  can’t  help  us.    Can  you  spare  some  change?     Another  pause.    Scooter  smiles  innocently.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (in  Scooter’s  face)   That’s  a  nice  story.    Tell  it  to  another  fool.     Both  boys  are  silent.    After  a  beat,  Sully  turns  and  runs.    Scooter   stands,  staring  at  Scrooge.     ACTRESS  #3   Scrooge  closed  his  ears  to  the  cries  of  the  needy.    It  takes  a  cold  heart  to  turn  down   such  a  simple  wish.     Scooter  turns  and  runs  off  after  Sully.    Scrooge  continues  his   hasty  journey  across  the  town  square.     We  see  Mary  Edna  Rains  and  ETHYL  KLEPPER  drinking  from   the  town's  water  well.    Both  are  carrying  food  to  be  delivered   to  the  annual  community-­‐wide  church  covered  dish  supper.     Mary  Edna  is  First  Church  of  the  Nazarene.    Floral  is  First   Baptist.        


ACTOR  #2   Finally,  there  were  the  two  women  at  the  well.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   Hello,  Ebeneezer  Scrooge.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Mr.  Scrooge  to  you,  madam.    And  certainly  not  Ebeneezer.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   You’ve  always  been  Ebeneezer  to  me.    We’ve  known  each  other  since  creation.    Don’t   get  poosty  with  me  just  because  you  don’t  like  your  own  name.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Poosty?!    I  am  not  being  POOSTY!!     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   “Ebeneezer”.    You  were  teased  with  it.    As  a  child.    I  remember.     ACTRESS  #2/ETHYL   Bizarre ��name.    For  a  boy.    Unnatural!     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE     (embarrassed  and  irritated)   I’ve  got  no  time  for  this  gum-­‐flapping!    I  am  a  busy  man.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   Have  you  met  my  friend,  Ethyl  Klepper?    Ethyl,  this  is  Mr.  Scrooge.     ACTRESS  #2/ETHYL   Hello.    Will  we  be  seeing  you  at  the  Christmas  Eve  service  tonight?   (holds  up  a  container)   I've  made  my  famous  "Eight  Alarm  Chili"  for  the  covered  dish  afterwards.     She  smiles  sweetly  at  him,  and  then  dips  the  ladle  into  the  well   water  to  drink.    Scrooge  strikes  out  at  her.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Bible  banging.    Social  gabbing  over  leftovers.    (sarcastically)    Save  me  a  seat  on  the   front  row.     ACTRESS  #2/ETHYL   Mister  Scrooge,  the  Lord  does  not  take  lightly  to  sarcasm.          


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   And  I'm  sure  he  told  you  that  himself.    Did  he  also  tell  you  I  own  the  water  in  that   well?     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   How  could  you  own  this  water?     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   I  own  ALL  the  water  rights  in  this  county.    (takes  the  ladle  from  her,  checks  the  size)     You  owe  me  2  cents  each.     ACTRESS  #2/ETHYL   (laughs)   That  is  silly.    I  am  not  playing  you  for  a  sip  of  water.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   Neither  am  I.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Then  I'll  just  get  the  Sheriff.    He  can  explain  the  law  to  you.     ACTRESS  #2/EHTYL   (flustered,  beaten)   Well  I  meant  no  disrespect.    Take  this  chili  as  payment.    The  recipe  is  my  pride  and   joy.    It's  all  I  have  right  now.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   Fine.     He  snatches  it  from  her.    Hurt  and  berated,  Ethyl  makes  a  hasty   exit.    Mary  stands  at  the  well,  head  bowed.    Scrooge  sniffs  the   container  of  chili.     ACTRESS  #3   And  Scrooge  took  from  them  all  they  had  in  exchange  for  a  few  sips  of  water.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   “Give  to  him  that  asketh  thee,  and  from  him  that  would  borrow  of  thee  turn  thou  not   away.”   ACTOR  #2   Sounds  like  Matthew.     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   Yes.    In  his  book.    Chapter  5.    Verse  42.        


ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE  

   

  (paraphrasing)   “Don’t  thou  judgest  me,    old  woman,    less  thou  get  thee  high-­‐n-­‐mighty  self  judged.”     (hesitates,  sarcastically)    Uh…somewhere  in  Matthew!!     ACTRESS  #1/MARY   Good  day  to  you,  Ebeneezer.   Scrooge  scowls  at  her.    Sniffs  the  chili  again.     ACTOR  #3   Let's  move  the  story  along  now.    I  think  you’ve  seen  enough  proof  of  Eb  Scrooge’s   cantankerous  spirit.    The  man  needs  a  reckoning.       FOUR:    The  Gate     Music  under.    Scrooge  walks.    Various  cast  members  flood  the   stage  moving  props  and  furniture.    They  begin  to  assemble  a   simple  representation  of  Scrooge's  kitchen  and  bedroom.     Somewhere  apart  from  this  room,  Actor  #3  stands  as  a   makeshift  gate.    He  holds  a  cow  skull  in  front  of  his  face.     ACTRESS  #1   Scrooge  finally  arrived  at  his  front  gate  with  the  ill-­‐gotten  chili  in  tow.    On  a  post   nearby  was  a  mean  man's  Christmas  decoration-­‐-­‐  the  skull  of  Bossie  the  cow.    Bossie   met  her  bovine  creator  about  a  year  ago.    Her  crime?    She  refused  to  let  it  be  a  "silent   night".    As  he  walked  past  the  remains  of  Bossie,  he  heard  a  familiar  voice.     Tiny  Tim  Bob  moves  the  cow  skull  as  if  it  were  talking.    We   hear  the  voice  of  JAKE  MARLEY  SCROOGE.     ACTOR  #2/JAKE  MARLEY  SCROOGE'S  VOICE   (like  the  bellow  of  a  cow)   Brother  Scro-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐o-­‐oge.     Scrooge  stops  dead  in  his  tracks.    He  closes  his  eyes.    Opens   them.    The  skull  does  not  move  now.     ACTOR  #1/SCROOGE   J.M.????     ACTRESS  #1   The  familiar  voice  of  his  brother,  dead  some  five  years,  rang  in  his  ears  like  a  church   bell.      


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