David Aho

Ebenezer Scrooginen

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A Yooper's Christmas Carol

Ebeneezer Scrooginen (my cousin, Carl’s tightwad uncle) didn’t like funerals and decided to leave early. He might not have showed up at all were he not the executor of his recently deceased partner, Bob Marlinen’s estate. Estate was somewhat of an overstatement since all Marlinen left was some cash, clothing, a beat up Pontiac and an ill-fitting set of false teeth that often slipped when Marlinen laughed.

Marlinen laughed a lot more often than Ebeneezer. The bronze statue in Milwauchicatroit’s city park laughed more often than Ebeneezer. Ebeneezer rarely smiled, and only then when he was handling money.

It was common belief around the office that Marlinen had stashed a fabulous collection of diamonds that his wife had left him when she died six years ago. The diamonds were not among Marlinen’s possessions. All Ebeneezer got was Marlinen’s yellow dentures.

Ebeneezer abruptly left the funeral and headed for the nearest tavern. It was December 22nd and rather cold. The snow whirled about in the wind, giving the Christmas lights and decorations a fuzzy appearance as Ebeneezer strode down the busy sidewalk. He groaned to himself: “Oh great! Another bell-ringing beggar,” as he passed a Santa who said “Merry Christmas,” to him. “Bah, humbug,” Ebeneezer growled and dropped the set of dentures into the collection pot.

After his ninth martini, Scrooginen staggered up to his penthouse apartment and passed out on the sofa. He was awakened by an eerie moaning around 5:00 AM. He groped for the television remote and was stabbing furiously at the buttons when he realized the television wasn’t on. He put on his spectacles and a filmy apparition of his dead partner, Marlinen appeared in the middle of the room.

“That does it! I’m joining AA tomorrow,” Scrooginen croaked.

“You’re not hallucinating, Ebeneezer. It’s me, Marlinen, and I’ve returned to bring you a message.”

“Look, Bob, about that Brewster contract…”

“Never mind past transgressions, Scrooginen, you must change your miserable ways or else. They’re really laying for you down here.”

“B…But I’m not such a bad guy…”

“Oh come on, now, Scrooginen, you’re a horrible bastard and everybody knows it. Look at the way you treat your nephew, Carl.”

“Carl’s an idiot…”

“You’d better change, Ebeneezer, or you’ll be forced to spend eternity changing dirty diapers and paying each mother for the privilege of doing it. I have to go now; part of my punishment is shoveling snow. God, I hate shoveling snow. Remember, Ebeneezer cha-a-ange your evil ways or su-u-uffer. Goo-odd Bi-iyee-ee.”

Scrooginen leaped from the couch, ran into his bedroom and grabbed huge handfuls of money from inside his mattress. He flung open his window and began throwing fistfuls of bills into the air. “Merry Christmas,” he yelled. It was early in the morning and commuters clogged the streets rushing to work. People abandoned their cars and began to grab for the money. Fistfights broke out and a traffic jam ensued. The area quickly became a riot, and scores of police showed up. Someone pointed at Scrooginen’s window and two uniformed policemen came up.

“A ghost told me to do it,” Scrooginen bellowed as they took him away.

They brought him downtown, fingerprinted him, made him pee in a bottle and took blood before they made him put on an orange pair of coveralls and threw him into a padded cell.

Three hours later, Carl showed up.

“Get me out of here,” Scrooginen demanded.

“Uh… I dunno, Unc. You’ve been acting pretty weird. They say you’ve had a breakdown of some kind. Maybe you’d better cool your jets in here awhile.”

Scrooginen began to blubber.

“By the way, Unc, you shouldn’t have left Marlinen’s funeral so soon. The lawyer revealed the location of Marlinen’s diamond collection. They were in his false teeth. Can you imagine that?”

Ebeneezer was frothing at the mouth when they came at him with the straight jacket.


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