A Christmas Carol: The Carol Continues
Saturday, December 19, 1998


GK: Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL has been a cash cow for theaters all over America for years, and it may be time to think about a sequel. Here is THE CAROL CONTINUES: MRS. CRATCHIT'S STORY.



FRED: Friends - friends? Thank you. I'd like to make a toast. To my Uncle Ebenezer. The true spirit of Christmas. (GENERAL AGREEMENT, CLINKING OF GLASSES)

SCROOGE: Thank you, Nephew. Thank you. I must say, this is the most wonderful Christmas of my entire life. Finally, in old age, I discover the secret of true happiness, and that is - to give - to give generously - to share life's good things with the less fortunate, and to cast a beneficent smile on those near and dear - to cast aside greed and suspicion and all bitterness and, in the name of the grand old holiday itself, to commit oneself to a new life of good will and fellowship and (HE FADES HERE, STILL TALKING) to seek to make the world a better place than how one found it, to apply one's wealth not to narrow personal aims but for the general improvement of society and the fate of those less fortunate and to secure ways for them to improve their lot in life and to be educated and to enjoy all of the opportunities and benefits that we take so much for granted ...

FRED (AT FADE, TO HIMSELF, REVERB): In many ways, I liked him a lot more as a skinflint. He talked less, for one thing. What a blowhard.

SCROOGE: (FADING BACK IN): ... and so, I propose a toast to Christmas, and I also wish to announce that I am changing my political affiliation to the Democratic party. To Christmas! to liberality! (MURMURS OF APPROVAL AND CLINKS OF GLASSES AND HUBBUB OF CONVERSATION)

FRED (TO HIMSELF, REVERB): Oh boy. Wouldn't you know it. Forty years, the guy is a grasping covetous old sinner and now suddenly he swings over to feel-good politics - what's next?



SCROOGE: Hello, sir???

CRATCHIT: I'm sorry, sir. I'm late, sir. I'm terribly sorry, sir.

SCROOGE: Nine-eighteen, Mr. Cratchit -

CRATCHIT: It won't happen again, sir.

SCROOGE: I'll say it won't, sir - because - (HE LEAPS TOWARD CRATCHIT TO SHAKE HIS HAND) because I am going to give you a large raise in salary, Bob Cratchit!


SCROOGE: And a bonus. And profit-sharing. And I'm putting you on the Board of Directors of Scrooge & Marley.

CRATCHIT: The Board of Directors! Me. Bob Cratchit. Sitting in me fine suit and meeting with the Board of Directors. Director Cratchit! How can I ever thank you? (BREATHY) How? How? How?

SCROOGE: How about you start using a mouthwash?


FRED: Uncle. I have to talk to you. Alone.

SCROOGE: There's nothing you can't say in front of Tiny Tim, Fred.

FRED: I'd rather this were private, Uncle.

SCROOGE: Today I'm announcing that Tiny Tim will be taking over the company.

TINY TIM: God bless us, everyone.

SCROOGE: I'm sending him to the best schools and then he'll come back and take over the reins and I'll retire to tend to my philanthropies and to raise money for Democratic candidates.

TINY TIM: What do you say to that, Fred?

FRED (BITTERLY): Congratulations.

TINY TIM: All those years I'd come around on my little crutch and you'd give me a couple of shillings - them days is over, Mr. Fred. I'm taking over the bleeding company, I am. Me. And here's another little surprise for you - (HE THROWS HIS CRUTCH DOWN ON THE FLOOR)-

FRED: Your crutch!

TINY TIM: Don't need it anymore!

SCROOGE: Heaven be praised!

FRED: You weren't really crippled???

TINY TIM: I went to the doctor and he said it was an ankle sprain. I'm as fit as anybody.


CRATCHIT: So, my darling Mrs. Cratchit - your Bob is on the Board of Directors now. And he got a big raise, he did. And a bonus. And more. And now we can move to a real house - in the suburbs -

MRS. CRATCHIT: Oh yeah? So I can have eight rooms to clean instead of four? So I can have a garden to keep up? You expect me to clap my hands and jump up and down because suddenly you're Mr. Big Shot downtown?

CRATCHIT: But my dear Mrs. Cratchit -

MRS. CRATCHIT: Listen to me. Your dear Mrs. Cratchit has been accepting the short end of the stick for a long time now. And I'm sick of it.

CRATCHIT: But - I brought home a lovely big fat goose for you -

MRS. CRATCHIT: Fine. You cook it. I'm leaving.

CRATCHIT: But - my dear -

MRS. CRATCHIT: I'm moving into an apartment, Bob, and I've filed for separate maintenance. I'm going to take what I'm entitled to and go back to school and become a writer -

CRATCHIT: A writer! That's wonderful!!!

MRS. CRATCHIT: Just wait till you see what I write, Mr. Cratchit. You may not think so. (MUSIC TRANSITION)

SCROOGE: Ah! Fred! Good to see you, my boy. The two men were here from the Fund for the Indigent. I gave them a check for ten thousand pounds!! My, you should have seen their faces! Ho ho ho ho ho. Ah, it was lovely. Lovely, my boy. I thought the fat one was going to roll right out the door!

FRED: Uncle Ebenezer -

SCROOGE: I never felt so utterly filled with good cheer in my life! What is it, my boy?

FRED: Uncle Ebenezer - meet Mrs. Marley.

SCROOGE: Mrs. Marley!!! I had no idea Jacob had a wife!!

MRS. MARLEY: Well, here I am and I got the papers to prove it.

SCROOGE: My condolences on the death of your husband, Mrs. Marley.

MRS. MARLEY: No problem. I'm over it. What I came in to discuss, Mr. Scrooge, is the direction the company has been taking this past year. Big charitable contributions, lavish Christmas parties, huge bonuses to employees like that insipid Bob Cratchit - and your naming Tiny Tim to be your successor. I don't think so, Mr. Scrooge.

SCROOGE: Please. Sit down, Mrs. Marley. Let me explain. Have a chair -

MRS. MARLEY: I would like to sit down, but you're sitting in my chair, Mr. Scrooge.

SCROOGE: What????

MRS. MARLEY: It's my office, Bud. Take your coffee cup and beat it.

SCROOGE: But Mrs. Marley - how can you do this?

MRS. MARLEY: Listen. My 48 percent of the stock, plus Fred's 5 percent - add it up.

SCROOGE: Fred!! How could you??

FRED: Time to step down, Uncle Ebenezer. The company is adrift. With interest rates so low, a countinghouse like this one has to tighten its belt, and you've been throwing a party here for the past eleven months.

MRS. MARLEY: And the Spirit of Christmas Future came to visit us and the next six months are looking pretty rocky. So out you go.

SCROOGE: Why couldn't we have stayed with the ending of the first story?? Ohhhhhh ...(MUSIC TRANSITION)

TINY TIM: They think they can take over Scrooge & Marley - ha!! I'm going over there right now and - I'm going to take me little crutch. And me little pouch - full of plastic explosives - (DANGER CHORD, AND MUSIC TRANSITION)

BOB CRATCHIT: Hey. Bartender - another pint of ale over here and hurry up! - How could she do it? Leave me and take half of me money too. (MUSIC CHORDS)

MRS. CRATCHIT: Mr. Dickens?


MRS. CRATCHIT: Amanda Cratchit. From "A Christmas Carol".

MR. DICKENS: Oh. Yes. Didn't recognize you in that blue pinstripe suit.

MRS. CRATCHIT: Of course you didn't. You always had me in an apron, bending over an open hearth, stirring gruel. You didn't even bother to give me a first name, Dickens. Or a history. Well, I have one, Mr. Dickens, and I intend to tell it. I'm Amanda Duckworth. I was a foundling. Grew up as a ward of a parson in Oxbridge. Vile little man who kept pinching me. I ran away and took a job as a chambermaid for a retired admiral, in Gloucester Street. Awful man who expected me to bend down and pull his boots off while he planted his other foot on my rump. When this clerk, Cratchit, proposed marriage, I figured I had no choice. But love? Ha. Don't make me laugh. That wimp?

MR. DICKENS: Listen. Mrs. Cratchit, I sympathize, but the story is about Scrooge - and Christmas -

MRS. CRATCHIT: Not any more it isn't.

MR. DICKENS: What do you mean?

MRS. CRATCHIT: This story is too big for you, Dickens.

MR. DICKENS: It does seem that way, doesn't it.


FRED: Friends? - Friends, welcome to the annual dinner - we're gathered today to celebrate a new era of leadership at Scrooge & Marley, and here to do the honors and carve the goose, our new CEO - Marlys Marley - (CLAPPING, "HEAR, HEAR")

MRS. MARLEY: Thank you, Fred.

SCROOGE (OFF): Don't cut the goose!!! The goose is stuffed with - (EXPLOSION) (MUSIC TRANSITION)


GENTLEMAN: Scrooge & Marley?

SCROOGE: Yes - what is it?

GENTLEMAN: Good day, sir. Do I have the pleasure of addressing Mr. Fred Scrooge or Mrs. Marley?

SCROOGE: Both of 'em dead as a doornail. Goose blew up. What do you want?

GENTLEMAN: We're here to collect for the fund for the unfortunate, sir- - we're wondering what we could put down as your pledge.

SCROOGE: Absolutely nothing, sir.

GENTLEMAN: Oh - you wish to make a cash donation?

SCROOGE: I do not, sir.

GENTLEMAN: But sir -

SCROOGE: You may speak to my clerk. Bob Cratchit.

BOB CRATCHIT: I'll handle this, Mr. Scrooge. Listen, just because it's Christmas is no excuse to come and pick a man's pocket. We're in the midst of a nasty stockholder's lawsuit, my little boy Tiny Tim committed an act of terrorism, and my wife Mrs. Cratchit is suing the pants off me. Just leave us alone.

GENTLEMAN: But it's Christmas, sir.

CRATCHIT: Bah! humbug!

SCROOGE: Well put, Bob.



GUARD: Tiny Tim -

TINY TIM: Don't call me Tiny Tim or I'll bash you one, I swear I will. I ain't tiny no more. Not after ten years in your stinking prison I ain't. You can call me Master Cratchit if you please.

GUARD: Master Cratchit - it's time to go to the gallows.

TINY TIM: Good. I been looking forward to it.

GUARD: Is there a last meal you'd like to have, Master Cratchit?

TINY TIM: I ain't hungry.

GUARD: You got any last words you'd like to say, Master Cratchit?

TINY TIM: I know what you want me to say and I ain't going to say it. I won't.

GUARD: The governor is waiting to hear you say them words, Mister Tim, and if you do, he might just commute your sentence.

TINY TIM: I'd rather die than say those words.

GUARD: Whatever you say -

TINY TIM: Why do people have to stereotype a little crippled guy - I don't feel like blessing anybody.

GUARD: Very well - let's go.

TINY TIM: It is a far, far, better thing I do than I have ever done -


MRS. CRATCHIT: I wrote to the governor and I got Tiny Tim's execution postponed and then, late one night (HORSE WHINNY), I waited outside the prison walls -


MRS. CRATCHIT: I helped him up on the extra horse and (GALLOPING HOOVES) we rode straight to Dover and boarded a boat to Norway where Henrik Ibsen was waiting for me. He needed help on a play. (MUSIC TRANSITION)


MRS. CRATCHIT: A Doll's House! This isn't going to be about Christmas, is it? This isn't like the Nutcracker, is it?


MRS. CRATCHIT: Fine. That's better.


MRS. CRATCHIT: Oh, thanks - (SHE READS THE MANUSCRIPT HE'S GIVEN TO HER) - mmmhmmm - interesting - Ah - I like this. "If I'm ever to reach any understanding of myself, I must learn to stand alone, Torvald. That's why I can't stay here with you any longer. I have a duty to myself." Beautiful.


MRS. CRATCHIT: I'll take the part. For a thousand kronor a week.


MRS. CRATCHIT: Oh, of course you can afford it. Humbug.


(c) 1998 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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