With my sincere apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens, I’m offering a series of futuristic vignettes that take a look at a few of the characters of his heart-warming novel and what their lives may have been like decades beyond the words “The End” at the close of his masterpiece. These tales are simply the result of my imagination being given free rein, but I offer them in the spirit of the season, hoping you’ll enjoy them. You can also find them in my Christmas anthology Stocking Full of Stories, which is for sale at the Amazon Kindle Store all year long.
# 2 Tiny Tim???
“Excuse me, Mr. Alexander. You wanted to see me?”
“Oh, yes, Christmas Past. I’ve called for Present and Future as well. Oh … here they are now. Come in, gentlemen.”
“Is there a problem, sir?” Present asked.
Mr. Alexander sighed deeply. “Indeed there is! Come over to the Earthglass, gentlemen, and take a look. We’re going to observe a certain businessman’s dealings with a poor couple. Listen …”
“Don’t blabber to me about Christmas!” snapped the rotund man facing the young couple from behind his desk. “I told you months ago that if you didn’t have all the money by today, I would foreclose on this date.” His eyes gleamed and he rubbed his hands together in delight, envisioning the two-story mall he planned to build next year. Then he looked at them again. “And by tomorrow morning, I’ll have the three houses south of you as well.
“Please, Mr. Cratchit —”
“Silence! Enough begging. Go home and pack!”
“ But it’s Christmas Eve!”
“Christmas! Bah! Humbug!”
Christmas Past looked at Mr. Alexander. “Sir … is that ….?”
“Recognize him, Past?”
“Not … surely not Tim Cratchit?”
“Yes.” Mr. Alexander let out another lengthy sigh. I’m afraid so, gentlemen. Tiny Tim. Although he’s about 300 pounds past tiny now. He eats only fats and sugars. Too stingy to buy decent food.”
“Is he why you’ve called us, sir?” Future asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Alexander answered, turning from the Earthglass and sitting back down at his desk. The other spirits sat in chairs across from him. “After Ebeneezer Scrooge changed his ways so dramatically, he grew very close to the Cratchitt family and eventually left the business to Cratchit – who left it to Tim. But human nature being what it is, greed always manages to seep back in, and now Tim’s become another Scrooge.”
“You want us to visit him, Sir?” Present asked.
“Yes. That’s why I’ve called you. It will take all three of you again. But greed has become so much worse in the world this century that I have serious doubts about the success of your venture this time.”
Present leaned forward, looking his superior in the eye. “Sir, surely you don’t think Tiny Tim is beyond hope.”
With another sigh, Mr. Alexander leaned back in his chair before answering. “I honestly don’t know, Present. But we’re going to pull out all the stops to try and turn him around. I’m sending Ebeneezer ahead of you three. He’ll prepare the way just as Marley did for Scrooge himself. Tiny Tim grew to really love that old man before Ebeneezer left the earth, so if anyone can get through Tim’s hardened heart, it would be Ebeneezer.
“Beyond that, it’s all in your hands, gentlemen,” Mr. Alexander said, rising to see them out of the office. They rose as well, shook his hand in turn, and promised to give the project their highest effort.
“I have no doubt that you will,” he said, “and I certainly wish you God speed. It’s Christmas after all – the season of hope. I’ll hold onto that hope as tightly as possible while you do your work.”