A Bees’ Christmas Carol, Part Four

29 12 2010

Read Part One

Read Part Two

Read Part Three

Zachariah stirred. His eyes slowly opened, greeted to a blue-hued television screen. “The movie’s over? Shame,” Scrooge yawned as he shifted into a sitting position, palms rubbing over his eyes, attempting to massage the blurriness away. As he rubbed, he felt a cold breeze move in front of him. His heart pounded steadily as he realized that this was it; the final Spirit. Slowly, slowly, he removed his hands from his eyes to confront his last visitor of the night.

The spirit that stood before him was unlike the other two who had made their presence known throughout the night. An aura of dread clung to this figure. His outfit was plain: a simple pair of black pants; a long-sleeve white shirt with red horizontal stripes going across the entire fabric; a pair of black suspenders; and finally a simple black beret that was held atop a head with a face painted all in white. This spirit greeted Scrooge not with kindness, but with a silent stare, as if he was seeing straight into Scrooge’s soul.

Zachariah sat in awe of this spirit. Cautiously, he moved to his feet, his hands pressing together, moving toward his chest, as if he was about to go into prayer. “I know you to be the last Spirit. The Spirit of Comedy Yet to Come.”

The silent spectre did not respond. He continued his dead-eye stare, body not moving. Scrooge threw his hands down in surrender. He opened his mouth to yell, but the eerie visage of the Spirit rendered him meek.

“Please, Spirit, if you be a kind one, show me what you must.”

The black-panted figure moved toward Scrooge. His limbs contorted as he walked, as if he was attempting to walk into an oncoming windstorm. Zachariah found this odd, until he began to feel a strong wind whipping against his back. He turned around, his eyes instantly becoming filled with tears as the icy gale dug into skin. Scrooge shut his eyes on instinct, in an act of preservation.

The wind ceased the second his eyes shut. Scrooge opened his left eye apprehensively, then his right. Like the previous spirits, this Spirit had whisked him to a familiar location. He found himself standing in the middle of the office he shared with Grant. He looked around, confused.

“Spirit?” Zachariah said, “Why have you brought me to the office?”

The beret-wearing Spirit raised his left hand, his fingers curling down until his bony index digit pointed behind the miser. Scrooge turned around, following the Spirit’s guidance. He came face to face with his work area. It was not the work area he had left a mere four hours before. No, this work area was cleared completely, the only item on the desk a fine covering of dust. Scrooge spun back around to face the Spirit. “What is this?” He demanded. “Are you informing me that if I don’t shape up, my office will be burgled? Is that what this entire night of eerie visitors and traveling through space and time has brought me to?”

The Spirit replied only by turning his hand toward the entrance. Once again Scrooge followed the direction, and saw Grant entering the office, with Stacey following shortly after, her arms filled with a bundle of blue blankets. Scrooge could hear the soft yawn of a newborn coming from the swaddle. His eyes widened in surprise.

“Spirit, they…they had a son?” He turned to face his guide. “Is it healthy? What is his name?” The Spirit gazed at Scrooge with a look lacking in judgment. Growing angry, Scrooge raised his voice. “Damn it, Spirit, answer me!”

“Ready to say goodbye?”

Stacey’s voice brought Zachariah attention away from his mute guide. She was standing next to Aaron, who had moved over to his work area. Aaron smiled at her, sliding an arm around her waist, pulling her close.

“I am. It wouldn’t feel right to stay here. Not after…” Aaron trailed off, his eyes moving to Scrooge. Zachariah stood in the spot, frozen. Could Grant see him? Was he somehow able to transcend the restrictions placed by the previous two spirits? Scrooge’s heart leapt as Aaron approached him. Never in his life had he been so happy to be seen!

This apex of joy was brought crashing to its nadir as Aaron moved past Scrooge himself, instead moving to Scrooge’s desk. He placed a hand gently against the surface, dispersing some of the dust. Stacey moved behind him, an empathetic gaze toward him.

“Yeah, I miss him too,” She said softly.

Scrooge turned to face his guide. “What does she mean, Spirit?”

Aaron laughed gently, shaking his head in a combination of sympathy and disappointment. “In attempting to bring comedy to people, he never allowed a joyful moment for himself.”

Zachariah’s body began to shake with emotion, things becoming clear. “No, Spirit, no…”

“I think he would’ve liked our kid, Stacey.”

“Oh, totally. How can you not like the little man?”

“Spirit, tell me this is not actuality!”

“All right, let’s get out of here.” Aaron removed his hand from Scrooge’s desk, walking toward the door with Stacey. Zachariah pursued them, even though he knew it was useless.

“Come back! Please, get back here, Grant! I promise I’ll change. I’ll find the joy in myself which will in turn bring joy to others! Grant!”

Scrooge’s pleas were met by the shutting of the office door for the final time. He turned around, rushing toward the Spirit.

“Spirit, tell me this is not actuality! I realize that if I continue on my current path, this is the consequence I’ll deserve but I don’t WANT to deserve it, Spirit! Tell me that it’s not too late for me to change! Tell me!”

“…Tell me!”

“……..TELL ME!”

Scrooge shot up out of bed. His sheets drenched with sweat, his brow glistening. He ran out into the living room, throwing back his curtains. The morning sun was just creeping over the horizon.

“Morning! A brand new morning!” He shouted earnestly to no one in particular. His eyes went even wider as he turned away, seeing his cell phone sitting on the kitchen counter. With a bounce in his step that defied his size, he bounded across the room in two steps, hurriedly dialing Grant’s number.

“Hello?” Grant answered sleepily.

“Aaron! Zachariah! What day is it?”

“…What?”

“What day is it?!”

“December 29th.”

Scrooge moved the phone away from his ear in shock. “December 29th?” He yelled into the receiver.

“Dude, not so loud, Stacey’s sleeping. Yeah. I figured that you came to your senses, decided to take a vacation.”

Zachariah couldn’t help but laugh. “You are correct, my friend. I have come to my senses, but it wasn’t a vacation, so much as a journey.”

“Well hey man, that’s great!” Aaron said brightly.

“Indeed! Listen, what are you doing for breakfast?” Scrooge moved into his bedroom, hastily picking out clothes for the day.

“Breakfast? Don’t know, cereal I guess.”

“Nonsense!” Zachariah exclaimed. “I’m taking you and Stacey out to breakfast! How about Bob Evans? Or maybe Cracker Barrel? Any place you want!”

“…Okay, how about Bob Evans, around 8?”

“8 it is!”

“Okay, great!” Aaron shook his head in amazement.

“Fantastic!” Zachariah concurred excitedly. He reached into his closet to pull out a pair of jeans, sneezing when some dust from the shelf fell onto his face.

“Gesundheit, man.” Aaron said.

Zachariah laughed as he walked toward the shower.

“Gesundheit, everyone!”





A Bees’ Christmas Carol, Part Three

22 12 2010

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

 

Zachariah Scrooge’s eyes sprang open, immediately focusing on the clock on the mantle. The time read 1 a.m.. Not moving his body, his eyes darted around the room. No sign of the second Spirit. Scrooge settled back into his bed, turning his head to face the ceiling.  “Hello?” He called out with uncertainty.  No response came.  “Hello!” He called out again, louder.  Still no response.  Scrooge pressed the back of his head against the pillow, drawing the sheets under his chin.  “Just another horrible dream.” He muttered.

The TV in the living room sprang to life.  Loud music spilled from the speakers.  Scrooge sat up, wasting no time in springing out of bed.  He slowed down as he approached the living room.  Moving at a snail’s pace, Scrooge peeked into the room.

The movie “The Blues Brothers” was playing on the television.  Curious, Scrooge moved further into the room, eyes staying on the screen.  “Yes, I remember this movie.  It’s quite good, quite good!” His lips moved into a genuine smile as he watched Jon Belushi cartwheel down the aisle of the church presided over by none other than James Brown.

“Like that movie, eh?” A booming voice spoke from the couch.  “It’s a good one.  And just like Jake and Elwood, I’m on a mission from God, myself.”

Scrooge spun around and came face to face with a mountain of a man.  At a height of six-foot-two, broad-shouldered, with dark blond hair.  Scrooge stepped back slightly and shook his head in disbelief. “You…you’re John…”

The Spirit raised a large hand to stop Scrooge.  “I was, but not anymore.” The Spirit stood up, smoothing out his trench-coat as he moved into the kitchen.  “Now, who wants an orange whip?”

Scrooge couldn’t do anything but collapse back onto his couch. He leaned forward, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his palms. “All right, Spirit. I will take an orange whip.  And while we’re at it, perhaps you can verify for me that you are indeed the Spirit of Comedy Present.”

“Right-a-mundo, Scroogey.” The Spirit said, walking back into the living room and handing the citrus beverage to Scrooge. “You wanna drink that here, or take it for the ride?”

Scrooge sighed and stood up, holding the drink in his right hand.  ” I suppose take it with me.”

The Spirit clapped his hands together, grinning.  “Great!  Let’s go!”  Scrooge watched as the Spirit snapped his fingers.  Instantaneously, they were transported into a kitchen.  It became obvious that whoever was the owner of this kitchen was absolutely infatuated with Christmastime.  Numerous versions of Santa figurines lined the windowsill above the sink.  Gingerbread men sat cooling on a rack next to the oven.  The voice of Nat King Cole filled the air.  “Man,” The Spirit said, looking around, “These guys love Christmas, huh?”

Scrooge looked around, eyes dancing furtively across the linoleum floor.  “I feel like I know this place.”  As soon as he spoke, Scrooge’s suspicion became fact, as he and the Spirit watched Aaron Grant enter the kitchen.

“Be back in a second, babe.” He called out.  Scrooge watched as Aaron went to the cooling rack, expertly moving the gingerbread men down onto a plain white plate.

“Oh, hey, look at that! This is where Aaron lives,” the Spirit said, taking a drink of his own orange whip.  Scrooge looked back at the Spirit, a look of slight shock on his face.

“What do you mean, ‘look at that!’?  You’re the Spirit, you should know where we are going!”

The Spirit shrugged and smiled.  “I’m just doing a job.  Let’s follow him, shall we?” He nodded toward Aaron, who was leaving the kitchen, plate of cookies in hand.  Before Scrooge could offer an objection, he found himself being pushed forward by the Spirit, moving silently behind Aaron.  Scrooge and the Spirit watched as he placed the plate of cookies down on the coffee table and resumed his seat next to a red-haired young woman, colorful tattoos adorning her arms.

The Spirit let out a long, low whistle.  “Well now, who’s that fine piece of work?” Scrooge looked up at the Spirit and couldn’t help but laugh.

“That, Spirit, is Stacey, Aaron’s love.  So no, she’s not single.”

“Ah.” The Spirit shrugged again. “Bummer.  But I digress.  Let’s listen in on their conversation.”

Scrooge turned his attention back to Aaron and Stacey.  Aaron was already working on a gingerbread man, nibbling at the head, while Stacey knitted a blanket.  The pearls of the thread were determined, showing off the handiwork of someone adept at crafting goods just out of thread.

“What I don’t understand, Aaron,” Stacey started, keeping her eyes on the knitting. “Is what happened to Zachariah.  He used to have a joy about him.”

Aaron shrugged, a shrug born more out of disappointment than indifference.  “I wish I knew.  It’s never been this bad, really.  I mean, yeah, he’s had some rough spots, but we all have.  I just wish he would open up a little, you know, talk to me about it.”

Stacey laughed softly.  “You know he’s not going to do that, babe.  The man does not like to talk about himself.”

Aaron nodded and sighed.  “Yeah, I know.  You know I invited him out here tonight, and just flat-out refused.  And…” He crushed the remainder of his cookie into his palm, “He expects me to come into work tomorrow to work on some material.”

Stacey tossed down the knitting and glared at Aaron.  “You’re not going anywhere tomorrow, mister!” She smiled and gave him a quick, playful punch in the arm, laughing softly.

Aaron grinned.  “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere tomorrow.” He leaned forward, he and Stacey sharing a small embrace.  He leaned back, picking up the TV remote.  “And hey, if he decides that maybe it’s time to end the partnership because I refuse to show up for work on Christmas Day, then maybe it’ll be for the best.”  With a quick hit of the On button, Aaron and Stacey became awash in the glow of Netflix.

Zachariah stepped back in slight shock.  “End the partnership?  No, I never wanted anything like that.  I just need to work, to find that one thing that I’ve been missing for God knows how long!”

The Spirit laid a massive hand onto Scrooge’s shoulder, squeezing gently.  “But it seems that your drive has alienated those you once called friends.  In short, you’ve become a jerk.”

Scrooge moved the Spirit’s hand off his shoulder with a quick shake.  “I never meant to be like that.  I just…There’s no excuse, Spirit.  In my drive for comedic perfection, I’ve lost sight of the more important things in life.  Things like friends; like a favorite song playing on the radio; like an..orange whip.” He sniffed and laughed, holding up his now-empty cup.

The Spirit nodded, knowingly.  “Come on, Zachariah, time to get home.”

Immediately, Scrooge was back in his bedroom.  He looked around the barren room.  Save for his bed and a dresser, there was nothing that would make someone feel welcome.  No pictures.  No music.  Even the pillows weren’t decent.  “I can’t sleep in here,” Scrooge said aloud.  He grabbed a blanket and moved into the living room.  Turning on the TV, his eyes lit up when the image of Jake and Elwood filled the screen.  They were singing, dancing, entertaining five-thousand of their closest friends.  Zachariah’s eyes grew heavy as he heard this last bit of dialogue before falling asleep.

“Who wants an orange whip?  Orange whip?  Orange whip?  Three orange whips.”

To Be Concluded…





The Night Before MoB’s Christmas.

24 12 2009

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and through the Bees’ house,

They were enjoying the night, and no, they weren’t soused.

Their spirits were filled with holiday cheer,

Knowing that Santa would soon be here.

Aaron stayed up to catch the big man,

While Zach checked the Bees’ page, wanting more fans.

And Molly wore her Snuggie. Stacey had one too,

They ate Christmas cookies; the frosting was blue.

When from the front door, there came such a knocking.

They all went quiet, their watches tick-tocking.

The door burst open, and who should appear

But Ryan, who moved to the west this year!

They leapt from their places, each from their seating,

To give Mr. Hansinger a holiday greeting.

He looked around, curious, a query on his mind,

“Where is Jenni?” he wondered, “She wasn’t far behind.”

At that moment, Jenni came into the scene,

Followed by Santa, who wasn’t looking so keen.

“Guys!” hollered Jenni, “Something’s wrong with Saint Nick!”

Aaron agreed, “He does look a little sick.”

“Santa, what’s wrong?” Molly inquired,

“Your breathing is shallow, your skin is perspired.”

“Oh, child!” Santa bellowed, shaking his head,

“It’s food poisoning, and I must get to bed.

“But there are  toys left to give,  smiles to be had;

I can’t go on, though, I feel so bad!”

Stacey stood up, threw her Snuggie to the ground.

“No Christmas for children?  Not while I’m around!”

The Bees looked at each other, they knew what had to be done.

It was now up to them to ensure holiday fun.

Laying up Santa onto the couch,

They rallyed together, not one a slouch.

 Ryan and Aaron were the men in the back,

Organizing the presents in Santa’s sack.

Zach and Molly kept the reindeer at bay,

Assuring them Santa would be okay.

Stacey and Jenni got in the front, both took the reins,

While Aaron hollered out, “Stacey driving? Are you insane?!”

But there was no time to argue, for in a quick minute,

Santa’s sleigh was airborne, with the Bees in it.

Around the world they flew, gifts handed out.

The kids were so happy, they all danced about.

Soon, the night was done, the Bees were a-twitter,

And when they returned to their house, their hearts went a-flitter.

For standing in the living room, in the early morn,

Was none other than last name Michaels, first name Lorne.

“Santa told me what you did,” Lorne droned in his voice;

“Very impressive, and I’ve made a choice:

“I want you all to be part of Saturday Night Live.”

The Bees’ mouths dropped open; Molly yelled, “High Five!”

They celebrated that day, with rolls and nog made from eggs,

While Ryan danced, using many Stanky Legs.

The moral of the story, friends, is to keep close sight,

One day you may find us yelling, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

-ZA