Fire the Canon

This episode covers the first two staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens: bad husband, great writer. The gang blows the perfect segue, everyone reveals a holiday secret from their past, and you get an update on our funeral quilt. Scrooge keeps the same energy, and we admire him for that. Topics include: 15-20 mile walks, comforters, pointed asides to Jeff Bezos, a timely John Kerry joke, shipping wars, the Human Centipede, and a huge slam on Dick Wilkins out of nowhere.

Show Notes

This episode covers the first two staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens: bad husband, great writer. The gang blows the perfect segue, everyone reveals a holiday secret from their past, and you get an update on our funeral quilt. Scrooge keeps the same energy, and we admire him for that. Topics include: 15-20 mile walks, comforters, pointed asides to Jeff Bezos, a timely John Kerry joke, shipping wars, the Human Centipede, and a huge slam on Dick Wilkins out of nowhere.

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What is Fire the Canon?

Prefer your books in comedy form, but still want to sound smart at parties? We got you. Discover the hilarity hidden in the classics with new episodes every Thursday.

* Intro music begins -

THEO: Who’s the cousin, Jackie is?

RACHEL: Nephew. (laughing) That's why she says, “Merry Christmas, uncle!”

JACKIE: Okay, ready? (British accent) A merry Christmas, Uncle! God save you!

THEO (as Scrooge): Bah. HUMBUG.

JACKIE (British accent): Don’t be cross, uncle!

THEO (as Scrooge): Merry Christmas? OUT upon merry Christmas!

* Intro music resolves -

JACKIE: Hi everyone, welcome to Fire the Canon, the podcast where we read the books in the Western canon and decide if they belong or not. Our opinions are objective. I'm your host, Jackie.

RACHEL: I'm your other host, Rachel.

THEO: And I'm the producer, Theo.

RACHEL: This week, Theo’s a co-host.

THEO: (strangled sound of distress)

RACHEL (laughing): Because!... He actually read the book.

THEO: It’s a Christmas miracle.

JACKIE: It is a novella, but we will give him credit for it anyway.

RACHEL: Of course we will.

JACKIE: But we wanted to do something a little special and holiday-themed for you guys, Nell. So this week we are reading…

RACHEL: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens! And to help ourselves get into the Christmas spirit, we've each chosen book-affiliated Zoom names. This week, I'm Ebenezer Scroggy.

JACKIE: I'm tiny Tim, the one who did NOT die.

THEO: And I'm dear old honest Ali Baby.

JACKIE: Theo’s… challenged in some ways, but -

RACHEL: It was a typo.

THEO: Yeah. I really didn't mean to call myself Ali Baby. (Rachel laughs) Ali Baba.

RACHEL: Tell us, so - I, I asked you what you thought of the book earlier this week, and can you tell the audience what your exact quote was?

THEO: I don't remember, what - was it like, “It's dope as hell,” or something?

RACHEL: “It's chill as fuck,” or something.

THEO (laughing): We just earned that explicit tag!

JACKIE: On the Christmas Carol episode!

RACHEL: “Dope as fuck.” - Theo

THEO (laughing): I don't know, I just thought it was pretty funny. I didn't expect it to be so funny.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: It was funny.

RACHEL: It is really funny.

JACKIE: So Rachel, why don't you start us off?

RACHEL: Okay! So I don't want to give too much information about Charles Dickens's personal life, because this is supposed to be a lighthearted Christmas episode. So I figure - (laughing) Yeah, it’s ...

JACKIE (laughing): What do you mean by that? Is there something horrible about his life?

RACHEL (laughing): Oh, yes, there's a lot of horrible things about his life.

JACKIE: You can't just say that and then not tell us.

RACHEL (laughing): Well, okay, let me just ask: based on the book, what kind of vibes do you get from Charles Dickens?

JACKIE: He's a COMMUNIST.

RACHEL: ...Okay. Anything else?

JACKIE: He's a SOCIALIST.

THEO: Is he?

RACHEL (laughing): Okay…

THEO: I thought he just didn't...particularly like very rich people, but I didn't know if that meant he was a communist…

RACHEL: He's not, either.

JACKIE: He wasn't BORN HERE.

RACHEL: In the United States?

JACKIE: Yeah!

THEO: That's true.

RACHEL: Okay, so your impression is he's a British Communist.

THEO: Uh, I can say some more things. He has an interest in time travel!

RACHEL: He’s one of the foundational sci-fi authors.

JACKIE: I would have thought he was a good guy, he's a good writer. I enjoyed his writing so much more than I did when I read Great Expectations in high school.

THEO: Yeah, I don't know. I thought he was pretty funny and I thought he really went the extra mile with the creativity.

RACHEL: He definitely did.

JACKIE: You're asking this in, in quite a leading way, so I'm going to guess he's not a good guy.

RACHEL: So he was a good guy in some ways, like he actually, unlike most of the authors that we’re going to read, he actually had like, an immediate, beneficial effect on a lot of people's lives, particularly with this book. Which is kind of crazy, like when people read it now, they just think, “Oh, it's a like, kind of a cheesy little Christmas story,” but actually this book did a lot of good stuff for poor people in England and in the US. But so when he was a young boy, his father was sent to debtors’ prison and his whole family had to go with him. So he had to quit school and like, sell his school materials and he ended up having to get a job. So he didn't live in the prison with the rest of his family, but his life really changed and kind of ever since then, he's cared a lot about the plight of the poor in England. I mean, that part of the book is genuine. The thing that, about him that really sucks is that he was like, a huge asshole to his wife, like a HUGE asshole. I'll get into it more in depth when we read a later Dickens book. (Laughing) But basically, I will say she ended up having ten kids, and at least two miscarriages, and he, like, badmouthed her a lot for a long time, and then he separated from her and blamed her for it. But actually, it's because he was in his mid 40s and he “fell in love” with an eighteen year-old actress.

JACKIE: Eww!

RACHEL: So yeah, but he like, he blamed his wife because he had this... The public saw him as like, this nice family man, especially because of A Christmas Carol. So he was like, “Oh yeah, no, like I'm not cheating on her,” so he also lied for the rest of his life and claimed she wasn't his mistress. But that was after this book. He wrote this book also extremely quickly. He wrote it in just a few weeks. His family situation was not looking great, like he was at risk of losing a big chunk of his income because his previous books weren't selling that well. And he - I think he had either had four or five kids at the time, so he was like, “I need to just go ahead and churn this out.”

JACKIE: It doesn't surprise me that it was written within a few - I would have thought it was written within a couple days, because I just feel like... you can't write something this weird and funny and, like, intense over a long period of time. I feel like it's got to be the kind of thing you like, take Ambien and stay up all night.

RACHEL: Well, I think the tone of the book is like so consistent, and just the narration is so funny and intricate that I feel like it would take at least a while. Like I see your point, but I don't think that could be done in a couple days. (laughing)

JACKIE: But the, the shorter a period of time that you write the story, the more consistent the narration is going to be because you are the same person.

RACHEL: ...True.

JACKIE: You go to sleep, you might wake up a different person.

RACHEL: As Ebenezer Scrooge did.

JACKIE: Yeah, that's my fear.

RACHEL: It - it was good for him!

THEO: Rachel had the perfect segue there, and we BLEW it!

RACHEL: You blew it. (laughing)

JACKIE: Yeah, but I like myself right now. What if I wake up and I'm evil tomorrow?

RACHEL: Oh Gosh, you reverse-Scrooge yourself?

JACKIE (offended): You reverse-Scrooge yourself, Rachel!

RACHEL (laughing): Okay?

THEO: The three ghosts do a really bad job with you, and then -

JACKIE (laughing) : Like, I just interpret everything completely wrong.

THEO: “She's good, let's make her a little better.” And then they just like, turn you against humanity.

RACHEL: Yeah. That would be funny, Oh yeah, so he apparently would go for like, twenty- mile nighttime walks and that's where he would come up with everything in the book -

JACKIE: Ambien.

RACHEL: And then he would get home and, like, write it down.

THEO: Twenty miles??

RACHEL: Yeah, twenty miles. And he started in December.

THEO: Are you sure?

RACHEL: Yeah, like fifteen to twenty mile walks at night in London in the winter.

JACKIE: Do you know how far that is?

RACHEL: Yeah, it's fifteen to twenty miles!

JACKIE: No, that's the distance from the Brandywine Bridge (sic) to the crossing at Bree.

THEO (laughing): Jesus.

RACHEL: And if he took one step further, he’d be the farthest from home he'd ever been.

JACKIE: It took the ringwraiths took a long time to gallop that distance, so Charles Dickens just walking on his own two little… human feet, I mean…

RACHEL: Well, now we know they could have used their time a lot more productively if they had just written A Christmas Carol while they were looking for Frodo.

THEO: Can I just say, it would take over six hours to walk twenty miles?

RACHEL: Yeah! Yeah, he didn't really sleep.

JACKIE (laughing): A Christmas Carol, brought to you by Ambien!

RACHEL: Wait, let me get this point out! Let me get this point out real quick. (laughing) He had meant to write a pamphlet that was addressed to, like, the middle class saying, “Hey, look at the plight of the poor, do something about it.” But then he realized he would probably be able to have a bigger effect if he put it in the form of a story. So that's why he wrote it. It was partially he needed money, partially he thought it would be more effective. And it was very effective and it was a huge, like, blockbuster hit as soon as it was published.

THEO: I find myself more interested in pamphlets usually. (Rachel laughs)

JACKIE: So what you're saying is, the next time I want to like, post something on Facebook about, like, police brutality or…

RACHEL: Make it a pamphlet, send it to Theo.

JACKIE: No, make it a story!

RACHEL: Oh, you mean for the general population.

THEO: Make a pamphlet version for me…

JACKIE: Yeah -

THEO: Make a story version -

JACKIE: Dry set of facts for Theo, and a moralistic, time traveling ghost story for everyone else.

THEO: Right.

RACHEL: Right. Oh, so the other thing is when it was published, Christians kind of like, very religious ones, weren't into it, because they were like, “This isn't ‘Christianity’ Christmas.” So people didn't view this as a religious story. It was like spiritual, but there wasn't really a religious aspect. But now a lot of people really associate it with, you know, like, Christian morality and religion. So, it’s just interesting how things change.

JACKIE: I liked its distance from religion. I thought it was more about, just like, being a good person. With Christmas as a helping hand.

RACHEL: Christmas cheer, Christmas spirit.

THEO: Yeah, does he mention Jesus?

RACHEL: He does make an allusion, because I don't know if you caught that, but - wait. Sorry, let's let's go through the book chronologically and then we'll start talking about that. (Laughing) Okay, so should we go through it stave by stave? It's quite short, but it's broken up into five chapters that he calls ‘staves’. Jackie, you want to take stave one?

JACKIE: All right, stave one. So this starts out with a narrator talking in the first person. We don't know who this person is, how he's related to the story. He, he just talks and he tells the story as, as he sees things. And he also chimes in with his own, like, thoughts and opinions sometimes.

RACHEL: He's very opinionated.

JACKIE: He or she, we really don't - No, I mean, well, he seems to like women, so…

RACHEL: I think it's Charles Dickens.

JACKIE: It could be Charles Dickens or it could be a lesbian.

RACHEL: Or it could be a - someone else, like those aren’t (Theo laughing) the only options...

JACKIE (laughing): Only two possibilities.

Rachel (laughing): Okay.

JACKIE (dopey chuckle): All right. So it starts off letting us know that Marley is dead. Who's Marley? Marley was Scrooge's business partner in the counting-house. What do they do in the counting-house? They count. What do they count? Money.

Rachel: Mmhmm.

JACKIE: What kind of money? Her Royal Majesty's British Pounds, I suppose, because they're in England.

RACHEL: Was it a queen? Who was in charge?

JACKIE: It was Queen Victoria during this time.

RACHEL: Okay, her, all right.

JACKIE: You're right. I'm right! I don't know why I complimented you. (laughing) This is the Victorian era.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: So Marley's dead. Everybody needs to know how dead he is because, spoiler alert, he's going to come back, and I don't want you to be confused about the fact that he was not supposed to be here.

RACHEL: Right.

JACKIE: So we need to understand that. Now Scrooge, the business partner, I think a lot of us kind of have... absorbed him through cultural osmosis. He's greedy, he's tightfisted. He…

RACHEL: He's a real jerk.

JACKIE: ...doesn't like charity. He doesn't like anything. He's basically the Grinch before the Grinch was a thing.

RACHEL: He's a mean one.

JACKIE: He doesn't even let his poor clerk in the, in the counting house office light a proper fire. He makes him use a single coal for his tiny fire, which I thought was the first really funny thing in this. (All laugh) Anyway, so the book opens. It's Christmas Eve, and it's a very, very dark, cold, foggy Christmas Eve. It's Christmas Eve, and him and his clerk are in there and because he only has this one little coal for his fire, the clerk, whose name is Bob Cratchit, he's wearing a comforter around him. And is that, like, a comforter like, on a bed, like we’d mean it today?

RACHEL: It’s a scarf.

JACKIE: Oh.

RACHEL: It just means a scarf, yeah.

JACKIE: Okay, so this whole book, I was picturing him walking around with, like, a, a quilt on! (All laughing) Just like that doesn’t look very...

RACHEL: Professional?

JACKIE: Okay, because it talks about his white comforter, like, hanging down past his hips, and I was like, “Man, that man is just walking around in a blanket!”

THEO: Just cut a hole in it -

JACKIE: He's the first Ghost.

THEO (laughing): Yeah! There are five ghosts in this book.

RACHEL: I think Charles Dickens’s greatest strength is his characterization.

JACKIE and THEO: Yeah.

RACHEL: Like the names that he comes up with for characters just evoke the, the person so well, even without knowing anything about them. But also the descriptions he gives - he says that Scrooge is “hard and sharp as flint from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire, secret and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” Like, what a good description! It just tells you so much in less than a sentence.

JACKIE: Right, Bob Cratchit? You know exactly what Bob Cratchit looks like just hearing that name. Like he's (sighs) God. He's just doing his best.

RACHEL: Cheerful little guy doing his best.

JACKIE: So Scrooge and his clerk Bob Cratchit are in the counting house and all of a sudden, in comes Scrooge's nephew, Fred!

RACHEL: Our fave! Wait. Who's your favorite? I like Fred a lot, what about you guys?

JACKIE: I like Bob.

THEO: Do they say his name in the first part?

JACKIE: No, but I'm going to tell the listeners their names, otherwise it’s really confusing.

RACHEL (laughing): Yeah, we’re not going to keep the listeners in the dark!

THEO: Well no, I just think that - I thought that was kind of an interesting thing, that we don't find out until later what their names are, right?

JACKIE: Yeah, I wonder why he did it like that. Maybe we…

RACHEL: Keeps more focus on Scrooge maybe?

THEO: Yeah, I guess so.

JACKIE: Or maybe it's like Scrooge doesn't think of them really as people. He doesn't care about their names -

THEO: Ahh!

JACKIE: - until later, yeah, when he starts to change.

THEO: Yeah, so like, they're humanized for us at the same time as for him.

JACKIE: Yeah. I think that is probably it.

RACHEL: Although I already cared about them. (Laughs) Like I didn't need to know their name to be like, “Oh, no, give the poor man a couple more coals!”

JACKIE (laughing): So Scrooge’s nephew Fred comes in and he wishes his uncle a merry Christmas, and he's all jolly and happy and Scrooge says -

THEO: Bah. Humbug!

JACKIE: He establishes that immediately.

RACHEL: Yeah. He's not into Christmas. Fred invites him to have Christmas dinner with him, and Scrooge says no.

JACKIE: And then he's like, “Why not? What else are you going to be doing?”

RACHEL: They have a whole conversation about it that we don't need to -

THEO: I just love it when the nephew is talking about the, the good aspects of Christmas and then Bob just can't help but applaud. (Laughter)

Rachel (laughing): Oh yeah.

THEO: Amazing to think that you could, like, inspire someone that much.

JACKIE: While he was involuntarily applauding, he accidentally clapped his little fire out -

RACHEL: Oh, yeah! (Laughs)

JACKIE: - so that it was gone. (laughing)

RACHEL: So cute of him! (All laugh) So funny.

JACKIE: And then Scrooge threatened to fire him. (Laughs)

RACHEL: Yeah. Aww.

JACKIE: So, but basically, like the gist of the long conversation he has with his, his nephew is like, “Christmas is nothing but a thing for people to spend money on.” And I'm like, you know, honestly he's kind of right! Like we could be nice to each other every other day of the year. But what distinguishes Christmas is consumerism.

RACHEL: Not in this time period, it wasn't! That's a new thing. (Laughs) Oh, the other interesting thing is this book basically created Christmas.

THEO: What do you mean?

JACKIE: That’s blasphemous.

RACHEL: The Christmas that we all celebrate is because of this book.

THEO: Like, when we all get visited by ghosts? (Laughs)

RACHEL: Families getting together to have a big dinner, like, singing Christmas carols…

JACKIE: So you're telling me he was writing about something that wasn't real? That doesn't make sense.

THEO: I don't believe it.

RACHEL: It was a thing that was not happening in London. So he was remembering what Christmases were kind of like in his youth, and like, people in the country still celebrated Christmas like this to an extent, but like, city dwellers didn't do it.

JACKIE: I don't believe this.

THEO: Yeah. I don't even believe it, to be honest.

RACHEL: So you don't believe it!?

JACKIE: Theo always copies me! (Theo laughing)

RACHEL: So we do see later some portly gentlemen come in and ask him to donate to charity, which, the thing that I think is interesting about this book is that it, with a lot of characters, it associates plumpness with, like, kindness and good cheer. And usually whenever a character is described as being thin, they’re -

JACKIE: They're mean.

RACHEL: Bad, yeah, they're mean, they're scary. But there are multiple like plump, nice, cheerful, generous characters in the book and normally, whenever you see that description, you're like, “Oh, this is a good person.” But they ask for money. And do you want to tell the audience his response, Jackie?

JACKIE: Yeah, so they ask him for money and, um… he says -

RACHEL: They say, “There are so many poor people!”

JACKIE: Yeah, and he's like, “What about prisons?”

THEO (laughing): Yeah.

JACKIE: And then he’s like, “...Yeah, we have those,” and he's about -
“What about workhouses?” So back in Victorian England, they used to have these large operations called workhouses, where, if you were poor, destitute, homeless, you could go in and in exchange for like, a day or two worth of hard labor, you could stay for a night. But you had to stay for at least two nights, because if you just stayed the one night, you could leave in the morning. They had you stay two nights, so you could stay that one night, work all the next day, and then stay another night and then leave.

RACHEL: He also asks about the Treadmill, which, do you guys know about the Treadmill?

JACKIE: I meant to look that up. What are the Treadmill and the Poor Law?

RACHEL: So the Treadmill used to be like - at first it actually had some use. Like they would turn the treadmill and it would actually work some mechanisms, but apparently later on it doesn't do anything. They would just attach poor people to it and make them go around and round in a circle to exhaust them, basically, so they like, couldn't get into trouble.

JACKIE: So you're saying a treadmill is literally just a mill that people tread around?

RACHEL: But so at one point it actually had a function. But later they were like, “Uh, no, we're just going to exhaust these poor people so they don't get up to no good.” So they would just make them push this wheel. And then the Poor Law was like - it was this law that made things even worse for poor people, because they wanted to discourage them from having kids, basically, or like discourage them to not be poor, apart from the discouragement of poverty that already exists.

JACKIE: Right. So anyway, basically they come in and ask for money, and he says, “How about the prisons and the workhouses and the Treadmill and the Poor Law?” and they're like, “Well those, yeah, those things all still exist,” and he's like,”Oh! Well, I was really afraid that you know, something had, had made them go away. So anyway, really glad to hear it.”

RACHEL: Yeah. “So you don't need my money.”

JACKIE: Yeah.

RACHEL: They're like, “Well, a lot of people would rather die than go there,” and he says, “If they would rather die they had better do it and decrease the surplus population. Besides - excuse me - I don't know that.”

JACKIE: What would this book be like if we just replaced every mention of Scrooge with Mitch McConell?

RACHEL: Probably Jeff Bezos, right?

JACKIE: I think it wouldn't change it all.

THEO: Well, that's the thing, I - I feel like there's something like, kind of honorable about how Scrooge is just so open with it.

RACHEL: He’s such an asshole.

THEO: Yeah, like so many people who would think these sorts of things now, they would like, maybe mention it behind closed doors or something, but -

RACHEL: But they wouldn't tell, like, charity guys like, “Hey, if they, if they don't want to go to jail, then they should just die!”

THEO (laughing): Right.

RACHEL: “No problem for me.”

THEO: Yeah, they’d just be like, “Oh, we’ve got to… balance the deficit. Sorry.”

RACHEL AND JACKIE: Yeah.

RACHEL: I mean, look. I would prefer Scrooge just coming out with it, but I would also prefer nobody have those opinions.

JACKIE: What I admire is, first of all, he's forthcoming, like Theo said, but also he's consistent. He's like that all the time. He's not just like I said, just one day a year, full of good cheer.

RACHEL: He’s always a grump.

THEO: Yeah, he's not a flip flopper, you know?

JACKIE AND RACHEL: Yeah.

THEO: Not like that John Kerry. (Rachel and Jackie laugh)

RACHEL: He's rude to a caroller, that's nice, right?

JACKIE: Yeah, the caroller comes in and -

RACHEL: Tries to sing, and he's like, “Get out of here”.

JACKIE: All these people are coming in and asking for money, asking him to come to dinner, he's just being extremely mean to everyone. So it comes to the end of the day. Bob Cratchit’s like, “All right, well, time to head out and put on my big old, comfy blanket.” And Scrooge says, “I'm guessing you're going to want to stay out of work all day tomorrow? Christmas?” And he's like, “Yes, I would like that.” And Scrooge is just like, “I hate that I have to pay you for not doing anything all day, but okay,” and then he makes fun of him for like, daring to spend money on Christmas when he only gets paid fifteen shillings a week. And it's like, well, Scrooge, that's what you chose to pay him.

RACHEL: Yeah, that's his fault.

JACKIE: Yeah.

RACHEL: That seems a little bit…

JACKIE: So then Scrooge leaves as well and he goes and he has dinner by himself. And he goes up to his, his suite of rooms, which are located in an old factory that no one lives in, except for him. And he goes to put his key in the door and let himself into his house and, all of a sudden, the door knocker turns into... Marley's face. Marley being his very, very dead partner. “Dead seven years ago on this very night,” in fact. He died on Christmas Eve. The knocker turns into Marley's face, and it's just... the description of this and of the ghosts and of everything are like, just, incredibly good. So I'll just read a little bit of it. Marley's face - “it was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. His ghostly spectacles turned upon his ghostly forehead. It had a livid color, it was horrible.. and the horror seemed to be in spite of the face, beyond its own control.” And he just goes in, and he just opens his door and walks in, and then he looks at the back of the door and he's like, “Huh. Is there going to be, like, Marley's back of his head on this door? Nope. Turns out it was just on the front. All right, then.”

RACHEL: “Oh, well.” (Theo and Jackie laugh). “Yet ANOTHER annoying thing that happens today.”

JACKIE: “I bet he was going to ask me for money too!” (All laugh) So, he goes up the stairs and he's in his creepy old dungeon of a room, and he goes into his bedroom and he lights a tiny fire, and he goes, “Humbug!” and he sits down on the chair. And ...all of a sudden…. he starts hearing... some sounds. Something like a bell ringing, and some BANGING, and some CHAINS being dragged around, like…

RACHEL: Clanking...

JACKIE (progressively faster and more dramatic): Clanking, he heard the cellar door in the basement open up with a booming sound, and then he heard the chains on the floors below, then he heard the chains coming up the stairs! And then he heard the chains coming towards his door! And Scrooge is just still like, “Bah!”

RACHEL: “Humbug.”

THEO: “It's humbug still. I won’t believe it.”

RACHEL: That’s, what a great life philosophy. It's like, ‘so it goes’.

JACKIE: Like Hakuna Matata. And then, Marley's ghost comes in! Which leads me to kind of wonder, like, why did he do that weird thing with the door knocker, If he was just going to come in anyway?

RACHEL: He wanted to get him freaked out already.

JACKIE: It sounded like he was giving him like a, a little appetizer in fact, like, almost like he was going to have him be less freaked out. You know because, like, “Oh, you just saw my face.”

RACHEL: I don't know, maybe.

THEO: Maybe he messed up the first time. Like maybe there are, like, multiple ways to move from the celestial realm to ours.

JACKIE: Yeah, like he was like, “Shit, I'm just in this door. I can't do anything from here!” And he does say later, like you know, so Marley comes in and we'll talk a little more about their conversation, but basically Marley says, “I don't know how I got here. Like, I've been wanting to talk to you for seven years. I was sitting beside you being invisible and I just couldn't do anything, but somehow tonight I can.”

THEO: “You wouldn't believe how many different pieces of furniture my face got stuck on waiting for this day!”

RACHEL: So maybe the door knocker thing happened and he was like, “Oh shit. I just manifested,” and then he's like, “Let me plan it out a little bit better and make my real appearance.”

THEO: “This was a good trial run.”

RACHEL (laughing): Yeah.

JACKIE: So Marley comes to Scrooge and he's like, “Sup.” And Scrooge is like, “Who are you?” And he's like, “Uhh, who do you think I am?”

RACHEL: I love that, when he sees a damn GHOST, like an obvious ghost - he's transparent, partially - Scrooge says, “How NOW? What do you want with me?” And it says, “He's as caustic and cold as ever.” (Jackie laughs) So it's just like, “Oh, whatever. I'm going to be sarcastic to him too! Why should I change?”

JACKIE: Yeah. So when Theo asked, “Is he always this mean to everyone?” Yup.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: So -

RACHEL: Ghost of his dead business partner? Young boy singing him a song? Whatever. He treats everyone the same.

JACKIE: Yeah. And then he thought about offering the ghost a chair, and he was like, “I don't know, though, he's transparent, so it might be embarrassing for him if I offer him a chair and he can't sit down.”

THEO (laughing): That is funny.

RACHEL: But then he says - he says, “Can you sit down?” And the ghost says, “I can,” and then he just says, “Do it then.”

JACKIE: But he's horrifying-looking. So he's got these chains, and he has this thing wrapped around his head to keep his jaw from falling open. You know, like from when he was buried like that. And he has to untie -

THEO: A comforter.

JACKIE: Yeah he has a comforter tied around his head. It's - it’s more like a duvet, really. But so he unties this thing and his jaw falls open and it's quite creepy.

THEO: Yeah, that part’s pretty good.

RACHEL: Yeah. Jackie, read the part about where he's like, “I don't even care, whatever.” And the guy’s like, “Aren't you freaked out? I'm a, I'm a ghost.” And he's like, “I don't know if you're a ghost, you could be any number of things!”

JACKIE: Yeah, so the ghost says, “You don't believe in me.” He’s like, “Nope. I don't,” and he was like, “Well, what - what do I need to do to convince you that I'm real?” And he says, “My senses could be affected by all sorts of things. Like I get little disorders of the stomach, and you might be a little bit of undigested beef, you might be a blot of mustard. You could be a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of GRAVY than of grave about you!”

RACHEL: See, Scrooge is very funny.

JACKIE: He is.

RACHEL: He's a jerk, but he's very funny, in the first part. (Laughs) He's just constantly bantering with all these people.

JACKIE: Right. So he's like, “I don't know if you're a ghost or if maybe I just had some bad coleslaw at dinner, like who the fuck knows what you are?” Yeah.

RACHEL: It says that he was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, but that's demonstrably untrue. He was making all kinds of mean jokes to the guys who were asking him for money.

JACKIE (absentmindedly singing): Da da da da, da da da da… He says, “Humbug” some more times...

THEO: I felt like I actually didn't get enough “Humbug.”

JACKIE (laughing): He stopped it after a while

RACHEL: Yeah. He does say, “Humbug, I tell you, humbug!” That's two in one sentence. What I want to know is, so he's not freaked out until the guy shakes his chain and lets his jaw drop and then he's like, “Oh no, you’re a ghost!”

JACKIE (laughing): Yeah.

RACHEL: Like, if he's just an undigested bit of beef that could still happen. (Laughs)

JACKIE: Maybe this happens every time he eats a hamburger.

THEO (laughing): There's a prequel where it's just like, night after night he's visited by things that seem like spirits, but they weren’t.

JACKIE: And that's why he says that, because he's like, “You know what, anything I eat could cause me to hallucinate vividly, so…” So he finally says, “All right. If you're a ghost, like, why why are you here? Why are you coming to me?” And- and he, you know, raises his chains, and these are like, you know, the metaphor for the chains that he wore during life. And he's like, you know, “These are all of the cares of the world that I had, and my spirit never actually got a chance to leave the counting house, and now I'm stuck with these chains.”

RACHEL: And he says, “Your chain was just as long as mine when I died seven years ago, and you've been working on it ever since then.” Yeah, so. And so Scrooge is like, “Well, what's, you know, you were always a good man of business.” And the ghost says, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.” ...JEFF. BEZOS. Listen up!

JACKIE: So I really like that part. I liked that… I think that could really just go along with any kind of religion or system of morality.

RACHEL: Mmhmm.

JACKIE: Mankind is your business.

THEO: Yeah!

JACKIE: So the ghost is like, “I don't have much tiiiime here!” and Scrooge is just like, “Well, then, just tell me what's going on!” And he says, “You are going to have a chance to escape my fate, and you're going to be visited tonight by three spirits.” And Scrooge is like,”Is that... is that how I'm going to, like, have a chance to escape it?” And he's like, “Yep.” He's like, “I would rather...not. Do that.” He's like, “Can I just take all the ghosts at once, instead of like, having them come night after night?” Having seen all of the three ghosts and what they do to him… can you imagine all that happening at once? (Theo and Rachel laugh)

RACHEL: That would be pretty funny.

JACKIE: Okay, so then here's the last part that I like at the end of stave one and then we're going to give it to Rachel, so. The ghost then has to leave, and he goes to the window and he goes out into the night, and he tells Scrooge not to follow him. But Scrooge goes out and looks out the window, and he sees the air is full of ghosts and they all are wearing chains just like Marley, and they are floating around looking at the humans on the ground and crying because they're not able to help them. “The misery with them all was,” it says clearly, “that they sought to interfere for good in human matters and had lost the power for ever.” Pretty sad. So they were alive and they could have helped people. Now, all they want to do is help people and they can't. So...

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: Help people while you're alive.

RACHEL: ...JEFF. This episode is dedicated to Jeff Bezos. I do want to say for Theo, it says in the final paragraph of stave one, “He tried to say ‘humbug’ but stopped at the first syllable.”

THEO: Yeah, of two.

RACHEL: Poignant. ‘Hum!’

JACKIE: Do we ship Scrooge and Marley?

RACHEL: No.

JACKIE: I kind of think I... I kind of think we should. They were good buds, they were partners.

RACHEL: They were not buds at all! He multiple times is like, “I didn't care about that guy. He wasn't my friend. We only knew each other because of business.”

JACKIE: No, he SAYS that, but then, when Marley shows up they're, they’re -

RACHEL: He says “Bah, humbug!”

JACKIE: He’s full of emotion because he doesn't believe in him at first! But that's his - that's his partner! He answers to Marley's name when people call him that accidentally! That’s -

RACHEL: Because he doesn't care. He has no identity beyond money-making, he is his own business.

JACKIE (leaning close into microphone): I ship it.

RACHEL (laughing): You're allowed to. I just don't.

THEO: Based on some of the stories of Christmas past, doesn't it seem like Scrooge is straight?

RACHEL: He definitely is.

JACKIE: Scrooge is not straight, Scrooge is sexless, I mean -

RACHEL: There was a time when he wasn't, but as soon as he got interested in money -

JACKIE: You mean Marley.

RACHEL: No, I don't!

JACKIE: Theo, just edit - edit it out where she says money and replace it with Marley.

RACHEL: DON’T.

THEO: I think we can find two characters here we can all agree we ship, but I don't know if it's those two. Let's keep working on it.

RACHEL: I think the Fezziwigs.

JACKIE: We can't ship people who are already together!

RACHEL: You can, a hundred percent you can.

THEO: No you can’t!

RACHEL: Yes you can!

THEO: Unless there's some conflict in their relationship...

RACHEL: No, you can ship people who are together.

JACKIE: Why?

THEO: That’s a really boring ship, then.

RACHEL (laughing): It’s… I don't want it to be exciting.

THEO: I wouldn't ride on that ship.

RACHEL (laughing): Okay. So the first of the three spirits which, as everyone probably knows, is the Spirit of Christmas Past. So there's this whole long interlude where Scrooge is like, waiting for the time the spirit’s supposed to show up and he's like, “Surely the time must have arrived by then.” But it just seems like it takes forever, forever, forever. So he meets the Ghost of Christmas Past, which is not usually portrayed the way it’s described in the book. But that Ghost is described as, like, a combination old man-and-child.

JACKIE: That confused me so much. I could not picture what this thing looks like!

RACHEL: A combo of an old man and a child, “wearing a white tunic with a beautiful belt, holding a branch of fresh, green holly” and its outfit is “trimmed with summer flowers.”

JACKIE: So he's like summery and wintery, and young and old.

RACHEL: It has a candle flame coming out of its head and then its hat looks like a candle, like an extinguisher.

JACKIE: Like Calcifer. This is basically Calcifer showing up.

RACHEL: Well, it's a human, it's just got a flame coming out. But it’s old and young.

JACKIE: It said, what - “The weirdest thing was that the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness, being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body…”

THEO (laughing): I love that!

JACKIE: It’s just like... what the fuck?! TWENTY legs on this thing?!

RACHEL: Yeah, it's like Biblical angels, where the reason the angels always say “Be not afraid,” is because in the Bible, they're supposed to be like, balls with twenty eyeballs and flames coming out and like a dozen wings.

JACKIE: This thing is basically like the Human Centipede.

RACHEL: No. It's still one creature.

JACKIE: Twenty legs!

RACHEL: Yeah, but… (getting fed up) the point of the Human Centipede is not that it has twenty legs! It’s that it's like, ten people connected, mouth to butt.

JACKIE: That's one creature.

RACHEL: That is not one creature! That's ten people!

THEO: It sounds like you're pro-Human Centipede, Jackie.

RACHEL: Yeah, Jackie, you’re being a little defensive of the Human Centipede.

JACKIE: I'm just saying, I think that counts as... one creature.

THEO: Not, like, ten suffering people? It’s just one creature.

RACHEL: Having a great time with its twenty legs. So he meets the Ghost of Christmas Past. And so, the reason the ghost is, like, all fuzzy and changing all the time, I'm pretty sure, is supposed to be because, like, your memory of your own past is very indistinct.

JACKIE: I want to say also there's a pretty funny burn on the United States on page thirty-four.

RACHEL: Oh, yeah, that's pretty good.

JACKIE: The clock strikes noon, he's confused because he's like, “I just went to bed and it was 2:00 A.M., how is it... How is it midnight already? Did I sleep all through the next day?” And then just time is being wibbly wobbly, and so he's like, “You know what, if there were no days and no hours to count by, if time wasn't consistent, then it would basically just become a mere United States security.” Like we can't count on it at all.

RACHEL: Yeah. So he's saying, if - if someone had an IOU that said you have to pay Scrooge, it would be the equivalent of a US - like a US Bond. Like totally worthless.

JACKIE: That is not at all what I said, thank you so much for fixing it.

RACHEL: The spirit is going to go out the window. Scrooge is like, “Well, I'm human. I can't fly,” and the spirit says, “Well, if you let me touch your heart, then you shall be upheld in more than this.” And then they kind of go out through the building. They go into the countryside and he takes Scrooge back to his, his childhood home. And at one point, the Ghost notices that Scrooge's lip is trembling and he's got a tear on his face. And Scrooge says, “No, no, it's just a pimple.”

THEO: Oh, yeah, yeah, that was weird.

JACKIE: At first I thought, ‘Oh, he's trying to pretend it's, it's not a tear,’ and then I was like, ‘No, it's a pimple because he's become young again!’

THEO: Oh, you think so?

RACHEL: No, it's a tear. (Laughs)

JACKIE: Well, how could anybody claim that a tear is a pimple? They don't look anything alike!

RACHEL: It’s dark!

JACKIE: Unless you're crying red, pus-y tears. Eww.

RACHEL: I - I mean it's not like he's a good liar. I think he should have just said like, “Oh, my eyes are watering because we've been flying through the cold night air and the wind’s been in my eyes, like I'm not really crying.”

THEO: I think no matter what it makes no sense.

RACHEL (laughing): It does! Okay, so he sees himself as a boy, and his friends have abandoned him and he's all alone in the schoolhouse. And Scrooge starts crying about how sad he was as a young lad, and the spirit shows him, while Scrooge is reading a book, that he has these kind of companions. He has dear old honest Ali Baba -

THEO: What was the point of that character?

RACHEL: It's that those were his only friends at the time, were the characters and books.

JACKIE: Oh, what! They were in books?!

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: They weren't real?

RACHEL: No, they weren't real.

THEO: I thought Ali Baba goes to his window.

JACKIE: Goddammit!

RACHEL: The spirit is making him see them the way that he as a boy was seeing them in his mind. While he was reading these books all alone.

THEO: Oh, that's so confusing.

JACKIE (huge sigh): I thought this was literally a strange man with a parrot coming up, and waving at him -

THEO: Yeah!

JACKIE: And then somebody else is like leading a mule, and I was like...

RACHEL: And he was like, “Oh yeah. I remember when this happened one year! Some guy..” (laughs)

JACKIE: That's what I thought!

RACHEL: “While I was all alone at school….”

JACKIE (laughing): I really thought it was a guy leading a mule and he's just like, “Hey Ebenezer, good to see you again!”

THEO: Of all the characters I wanted to come back, it was this Ali Baba guy, and it turns out he wasn’t a character in the book at all! (Rachel and Jackie laugh)

RACHEL: He’s a character in the thousand and one nights. But so at this point Scrooge finally is like, “Oh maybe I should have been nicer to that Christmas caroling boy.”

JACKIE: And then the ghost is like, “MmmMMMMmmmm.” (Theo laughs)

RACHEL: Yep. “It smiles thoughtfully and waves its hand.”

THEO: I felt like Scrooge started learning his lesson pretty quick.

RACHEL: Like, immediately.

THEO: I was expecting a little more reluctance, right?

RACHEL: Yeah, some pushback.

JACKIE: We're over - almost halfway through it by now, like he needs to start learning something. There's a lot of descriptions of geese that we have to get through.

THEO (laughing): Yeah, that’s true.

RACHEL: So they move forward in time. Scrooge’s boy-self is a little bit older, yeah. And then all of a sudden, a little girl who's younger than Scrooge, his younger sister, shows up, gives him a hug and a kiss and says, like, “It's time to go home! Our Dad is nice now, so we get to spend Christmas together.”

JACKIE: We don't really have any backstory on that, but…

RACHEL: No.

JACKIE: Apparently their dad just sent him away to this horrible school where he doesn't have any friends, except for, like, the -

RACHEL: Yeah, pretty sad.

JACKIE: - the parrot who comes to the window.

RACHEL: Yes, but so they get together, they go home, and he and the Ghost have a conversation about his wonderful sister. We find out that at this point in the story his sister is dead, and that his nephew, Fred, is her only child. So now we know kind of Scrooge’s family situation.

JACKIE: Mmhmm. And then he kind of thinks to himself, “Hmm. Maybe I should have had dinner with Fred.

RACHEL: I would love to have dinner with Fred! It sounds great.

JACKIE: Now they move forward a little bit more in time. They're still in the past, though, so instead of being a little boy, Scrooge is now a young man, and -

RACHEL: He’s a young fellow.

JACKIE: Yeah. He's being - he's apprenticing with the Fezziwigs. Old Fezziwig! Bless his heart. That's the name of the guy he apprenticed, and he is a jolly guy, and you can tell because he's fat.

RACHEL: He has a comfortable oily, rich, fat, jovial voice.

JACKIE: How do you have an oily voice and that's a good thing?

RACHEL: “Yo, ho, there, Ebenezer, Dick!” We find out he had a friend named Dick Wilkins.

JACKIE: And he goes, “Dick Wilkins! Poor Dick. Dear, dear.”

RACHEL: I wonder what's up with Dick Wilkins. You think he's dead too? It sounds like he might be.

JACKIE: Uhh, I mean I don't think it matters.

RACHEL: Woah. Slam on Dick Wilkins out of nowhere! Well, Fezziwig says, “We're not working today. It's Christmas, we're going to have a party!” So then they have a wonderful party, Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig, and the three Miss Fezziwigs…

JACKIE: Who Rachel apparently ships even though they're already married and they have children -

RACHEL (singing): I ship theeeeeeemmm.

THEO: That’s the worst shipping I've ever heard of.

JACKIE: I agree.

RACHEL: No, it's not.

JACKIE: It’s so boring.

RACHEL: And there are - apparently, each of the daughters.... It says that there are “six young fellows whose hearts they broke” following them. Do you ship the daughters with those fellows since they're not going to be together? They have a wonderful Christmas party, they dance, they have cake, they have some beer. They've got some minced pies. It's all great. The dancing is great, even Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig danced just as hard as everyone else. They're having a great time.

JACKIE: At some point, Mr. Fezziwig does something which I want you to explain to me. So it says, they're describing them dancing, “His calves are shining like the moon, and Fezziwig “CUT” so deftly that he appeared to wink with his legs and came upon his feet again without a stagger.” Did he, like, drop and do a split and pop back up like Gabriel... Gabby Douglas?

RACHEL: Yeah, it's possible he did a split.

THEO: And he says “cut” in quotes. Is that because that was like, kind of a new term at the time? I guess it’s probably slang...

RACHEL: It's probably like a new dance move. He does a split and then pops back up.

JACKIE: Like, instantly.

RACHEL: Yeah, that's what I like to think of as well.

JACKIE: Yeah.

RACHEL: But so the present day Scrooge is also having a wonderful time, and the Ghost says, like, “Oh, what a small thing, this party.” And Scrooge is like, “Small! What are you talking about? Maybe he - Mr. Fezziwig only spent a little bit of money, but he made everyone so happy! It was great, even though it didn't cost him that much.” And then the ghost is like, “Mmhmm.”

JACKIE (sassy): “MMhmm.”

THEO: Yeah, it’s that emoji where it's like thinking -

RACHEL: Yeah. (laughs)

JACKIE: Smirking, yeah.

RACHEL: Yeah, exactly.

JACKIE: And then, and so then he's looking at how happy this man made all of his employees and he starts to get pensive and quiet again and the Ghost is like, “What's wrong?” and he's like, “Nothing!”

RACHEL: Yeah, “Nothing!!”

JACKIE: And the Ghost is like, “Mmm, I think something - think something's wrong!” and he's like, “Well, it's just that... You know, I wish I had maybe been a little bit nicer to Bob Cratchit, my - my employee.”

THEO (laughing): Yeah.

RACHEL: So then the Spirit’s like, “Well, we have one more thing to do.” So they go forward again in time. Now, “Past Scrooge”, it says, “is in the prime of life.”

JACKIE: This is my favorite part.

RACHEL: But his face is starting to show greed and avarice upon it. So he's sitting next to a beautiful young woman who's wearing mourning clothes. She's crying a little bit, and she basically says, like, “Look, you love money now and you don't care about me anymore.” And he's like, “What, no! I still care about you.” And she’s like, well…

JACKIE: But he's not very convincing, and he's not even really convinced himself, yeah.

RACHEL: And she says, “We got engaged a long time ago. Both of us were poor back then. Now you look like you're making money, but we’re…” I'm guessing because whoever died, she's left penniless. She's like, “Now you have money and I'm not even going to have a dowry. So if we weren't together now, are you saying that you would still try to be with me?”

JACKIE: And he's like, “...Uh, did I ever try to break up with you?”

RACHEL: Yeah! That's his answer. She's like, “Would you still want to be with me?” and he's like, “Well, have I ever tried to NOT be with you?”

JACKIE: You know, so she asked him again, like, “Are you really saying that if this - if we didn't have all this history, and this were just coming upon us now, would you still try and win me?” And he said, “Uh, you THINK I wouldn't.”

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE (laughing): Which is still not an answer.

RACHEL: And she says,” I wish I didn't think so,” but he doesn't break in anymore. And she's like, “All right, well, we're going to break up, so I hope you're happy in the life you have chosen.” And then leaves. Which, come on Scrooge! She obviously wanted you to say something to her! Like she was - she gave you so many opportunities to just one time say something good!

JACKIE: Scrooge is like, “Stop it, Ghost, stop it! You’re torturing me! I don't like this!” So, but it's not the end. No! Now they go forward into the future a little more. Now we're in a room. There's a winter fire, a beautiful young girl sitting by it, and Scrooge is just like,” Oh, is that - is that my beloved again?”

RACHEL: “Is that my ex-girlfriend?”

JACKIE (laughing): “Is that my ex-girlfriend?” You - that is so much less poetic than what I just said.

RACHEL: Well, it's faster!

JACKIE: All right, so he's like, “Is that my ex-girlfriend? Oops, no, that's her daughter. She, my ex-girlfriend, has become, like, this matronly lady.”

RACHEL: She's still attractive! She's still comely. She has a lot of children who are just rampaging around the room and hugging the mom, and yeah.

JACKIE: Yeah, she's happy it's Christmas Eve and everybody's just, you know, having a great time. The husband comes in, they’re so affectionate with each other, and the husband says, “Hey, guess who I saw this afternoon?” And she was like, “Was it that idiot ex-boyfriend of mine, Scrooge? And he was like, “Yep.”

RACHEL (laughing): No, she doesn't say it like that at all, you totally changed the meaning.

JACKIE: Oh, well, you said I should do it faster!

RACHEL: Yeah, but in an accurate way! She's - she's laughing a little bit, but she doesn't say anything rude. And the husband's like, “Yeah, he was all alone in his dark office. He only had one candle on. I hear his partner’s dying, and he's all alone in the world.” And Scrooge is like “Okay, that's enough. I can't handle this.”

JACKIE: So Scrooge is like, “I can't take this anymore,” and he takes the extinguisher and he caps the Ghost over his flame-head and puts his flame out. And that's the end of stave two.

RACHEL: Which is VERY funny to me. “I'm done with this!” Steals the little guy's cap, and squishes it on his head.

THEO: I have my big reveal now.

RACHEL: Oh!

JACKIE: Now?!

THEO: Yeah.

JACKIE: Okay.

THEO: It was when I read the sentence, “I am mortal, and liable to fall.” I started thinking, ‘That's a very familiar sentence, I feel like I've said that out loud before.’ And then I got to “Why it’s Ali Baba, it's dear old honest Ali Baba! Yes, yes, I know!” I thought, ‘Wait. This is very familiar.’ And then I remembered, I played Scrooge in a class play! (Jackie and Rachel laugh). This is the second character on the podcast that I've played. And, but it was - it was a radio play, and -

JACKIE: What?!

THEO: We were supposed to make like, an abridged version of, of A Christmas Carol, like we were supposed to write our own summary of it, basically, and then deliver it as a radio play.

RACHEL: Yeah.

THEO: And it was a group project with three people. They made me Scrooge because... I seemed... the most Scrooge-like I guess. And then they laughed so hard every time I would deliver the lines, because they said my voice was so monotone. (Dull monotone voice) “Why it's Ali Baba. It’s dear old honest Ali Baba.” I remember them just like, repeating that over and over.

RACHEL: That's funny that you blocked that out of your memory.

THEO (laughing): Yeah!

JACKIE: We also did this -

THEO: Jackie always copies me.

JACKIE: I always copy him. I also played Scrooge in a radio play.

RACHEL: What!

JACKIE: No, but like I never - I'm going, I’m joking. I never read this whole thing front to back until just now, but we, in several grades I feel like, would read like, you know, the abridged version that they put in your literature book or whatever. And we had the play and I would always have to be Tiny T- no, I think Phillip would be Tiny Tim, because his name was Tim.

THEO (laughing): Wait, wait, hold on.

RACHEL (laughing): What are you talking about?!

JACKIE: His, his first name is Tim - his first name is Timothy.

THEO: “And of course, I was Fezziwig! Because my name’s Fezziwig!”

JACKIE: No, I usually ended up being one of the beggar women who stole all of Scrooge’s things.

RACHEL: Now, I also played a character from this in high school. We did, like, a Christmas play and I really think it was just an excuse to have us like, sing a religious song. So we sang the Doxology. Do you know what that is?

THEO: The greater Doxology?

RACHEL: I don't know how good it was.

THEO: ...Okay.

RACHEL: Well, there's... Also it's just, like, a blessing song. Do you know? Like the (singing) “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”? Well, do you know that?

THEO: Not really, but…

RACHEL (singing): “Bless them all creatures, here below -” Okay, well, they had us, like, sing that. It was like a Christmas dinner fundraiser thing for the school choir, but I played Martha Cratchit!

JACKIE: Good old Martha.

RACHEL: Tiny Tim’s fave. I do have one more Christmas Carol reveal, but I'm going to tell you at the end. It's pretty good, I think.

THEO: All right.

RACHEL: All right!

JACKIE: So far we have Theo as both Scylla and Scrooge. So, two -

RACHEL: Two for two.

THEO: Every S-C character.

JACKIE: Two very nice characters.

RACHEL: I meant to tell you, he got the name Ebenezer Scrooge because he kind of got the idea for, like... One of the ideas for this was because he was walking along in Edinburgh. He went to a cemetery, and he saw a gravestone that said: “Ebenezer Scroggy, a mean man.” But it didn't say ‘a mean man’, it said ‘a meal man’ because he was a guy who ground up corn for a living. So he misread it and he was like, “Oh, Ebenezer Scroggy, a mean man.” But in real life, Ebenezer Scroggy was the opposite. He loved food, he loved liquor, he loved women. He was well known around the city for those qualities. But isn't that weird, if you had a gravestone that was like, ‘Jackie, a meal man.’

JACKIE: That would be weird, cause I'm not a man!

RACHELL What?! Just, come on. That's weird. Okay.

THEO: It's saying she's a snack.

JACKIE: Ooh! I am a snack, and a half. No, if I die and Theo's done with the, the funeral quilt that he's knitting for all of us -

RACHEL: Yeah?

JACKIE: Please, please don't put, ‘Jackie, a meal man…’

RACHEL: Are you saying we’ll be sharing one funeral quilt?

JACKIE (laughing): The way I just said it, yeah, I guess. Just put me in one end of it and then there'll be room for the other two.

RACHEL: Eurgh. Okay, now is this going to be multiple episodes? (laughing) I think it has to be.

THEO: Yeah, I'll make it into two.

RACHEL: Okay.

THEO: Think it’ll be two. Yeah, why don’t we do New Year’s Eve special and then New Year's special?

RACHEL: Wait, but it’s Christmas -

THEO: S- sorry, Christmas, replace -

RACHEL: Christmas Eve and Christmas, yeah.

JACKIE: Why don't we do Fourth of July, and Halloween?!

RACHEL: Let’s do Christmas in July, like my summer camp.

THEO: Why don't we do… my birthday, and Wednesday!

RACHEL: So join us tomorrow, everyone, for the conclusion of our very very mini series of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.