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December 20, 2002

A Jenita Christmas Carol - Part Two: The Ghost of Christmas Past

David 'Kip' Koontz

(Editor's Note! What follows is a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. This time the setting is historic Frederick at the present.)

Jeneezer tried to sleep, but the visit from her idol, Evita Peron, troubled her.

"Humbug," she declared, "it was just a dream, a bad dream."

At that time the clock began to chime and Jeneezer realized that Evita had told her to beware when the clock struck twelve.

Upon the final chime a bright light filled her room and Jeneezer heard a strange, yet familiar voice saying, "Hi Jeneezer, God bless ya'll real good!"

"Whose there?" she asked.

"Why it's me, the first visitor that was promised you," the spirit replied.

Adjusting her eyes to the brightness, Jeneezer saw that the visitor was none other than former Maryland Comptroller Louis B. Goldstein.

"Louie," she asked, "is that you? Why are you here? Why have you been sent to me?" She continued: "I have done a good job at assessing fees and raising taxes, what could I have done to trouble you?"

"But, Jeneezer, why I am the spirit of Christmas past, I have come to show you events that you need to remember that have helped you become the person you are today," Mr. Goldstein replied.

As Jeneezer began to protest again, Mr. Goldstein noted she had not yet been recognized to speak, and told Jeneezer to take his hand and follow him.

A rush of wind swept around them as they were transported back in time.

"Where are we," Jeneezer queried.

"Look and see for yourself." Louie replied.

"Why, that's my home, where I grew up," Ms. Scrooge realized.

"Look, it is Christmas, my family always knew how to celebrate the holiday," Jeneezer said.

"Do you remember this Christmas?" Louie asked.

"Yes, yes, I believe I do." Jeneezer replied. "I remember asking Santa for a beautiful Barbie doll…I so wanted a Barbie that year," Jeneezer said.

"And look, there you are, finding the final gift under the tree," stated Mr. Goldstein.

"I remember now, why do you show me this," asked Jeneezer.

"I so wanted that Barbie and I didn't get her. That gift, that gift was a field hockey stick," said Ms. Scrooge, her voice trembling.

"Remember how you responded to that present, Jeneezer?" questioned the spirit.

"But it wasn't what I wanted. I didn't get what I wanted and that is the way it should have been," said Ms. Scrooge.

"Hmmm," was the spirit's only response.

"Let's go, we have more to see," said Mr. Goldstein.

"Where are we now, what is this place," Ms. Scrooge asked of the spirit.

"Why it is your college, Mt. Saint Mary's," he replied.

"Look there, who is that with you?" he questioned her.

"Why that's my friend, my special friend Pat. Oh, I so loved Pat," Ms. Scrooge said as she looked upon the couple.

"But Pat, you know I can't go away with you for the holiday…I just can't. I am expected at home and that's how it has to be. You have to understand that," Ms. Scrooge was seen telling her friend.

"But Jeneezer, we are in love, we were meant to be together, you know that - in your heart you do," Pat cried.

"I love you, too, Pat. But look, I am graduating next year and have a life planned out for me. I plan on going into business, being successful, maybe owning a restaurant - maybe entering politics," Jeneezer offered.

"But you, why, you simply want to play your piano and you know you're not Bach nor Beethoven, and you sure aren't as good as Liberace, maybe Mrs. Magilicuddy from Sunday school good. But that makes no career. It is rare that anyone can be successful in that endeavor, and I need to be successful and with successful people. I won't pay anyone's way in this world - no matter what," Jeneezer continued.

"Maybe after break we will talk again. Maybe you will come to realize that to continue this, you must gain focus and strive to achieve more than playing the piano," Jeneezer said.

"But Jeneezer, it is my passion. It is what I want to do and I need you, too. Why can't you accept that, why is that so tough," Pat asked.

"I must go now. I am sorry you do not understand, Pat. I thought you would come to understand," Jeneezer said.

"Is that when you decided it would be better to be alone, Jeneezer," Mr. Goldstein asked.

"Well, why be with someone if they are only going to hold you back," Jeneezer queried as the two looked one last time as Pat sat on the steps of the building crying.

Mr. Goldstein thought he may have caught the slightest glimmer of a tear in Ms. Scrooge's eye.

"Come along, Ms. Scrooge, there is one more stop we have to make," the spirit announced.

The next stop was the holiday party for the staff of the American Café, shortly after closing early on Christmas Eve.

"Jeneezer, where are you, come and join the party," Ms. Scrooge heard her manager, Mr. Fuzzywug, calling.

"It's okay. I'm fine. I am just finishing up a few things. We will be busy next week, and I want to make sure we have the books balanced and our orders ready to be placed so we are prepared," Jeneezer said.

"But Jeneezer, it is Christmas Eve, a time for fun and togetherness - work is over for tonight," Mr. Fuzzywug responded.

"But sir, maybe if you would pay as much attention to the details as I do, you would see there are many, many ways we have that would make us more profitable," Jeneezer replied.

"Oh, Jeneezer, we are fine. We are successful, and now it is time to come and join the party - listen to them, the joy and happiness they are sharing…come and share it, too," implored Mr. Fuzzywug.

"No sir, you go and waste your time. That is fine, but leave me to this, and upper management will recognize my abilities and you'll see, one day you will be working for me," Jeneezer stated boldly.

At that Mr. Fuzzywug returned to the party as Jeneezer returned to her work.

"You look kind of sad and so alone" said Mr. Goldstein.

"No, I was doing what I needed to do to get ahead, to further along my career - surely you would understand that Mr. Goldstein. You were successful, look how long you served in office, truly you understand the need to succeed," Jeneezer replied.

"But, at what cost, Jeneezer?" Louie said. "At what cost to others, at what cost to you?" said the spirit.

"Learn from what I have shown you here - for only by doing so will you be able to change from what may be," he warned.

"But Louie…"

"God Bless ya'll real good," was all she heard as Mr. Goldstein disappeared into the bright light, leaving Jeneezer sitting alone on the edge of her bed.

(Join Us Tomorrow For Chapter Three of A Jenita Christmas Carol here on The Tentacle)

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