Fire the Canon

This episode covers the final three staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. We look upon the most glorious bro of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Present. Theo loves him. Jackie reveals her favorite post-prandial snack. Scrooge temporarily becomes unbelievably stupid, we play a Victorian party game, and one of us tears up at the end of the book! Topics include: one’s own peculiar flavor, Victorian children’s disease, delicious Christmas treats, Muppets and other puppets, and doing things Pratchett-style.

Show Notes

This episode covers the final three staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. We look upon the most glorious bro of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Present. Theo loves him. Jackie reveals her favorite post-prandial snack. Scrooge temporarily becomes unbelievably stupid, we play a Victorian party game, and one of us tears up at the end of the book! Topics include: one’s own peculiar flavor, Victorian children’s disease, delicious Christmas treats, Muppets and other puppets, and doing things Pratchett-style.

★ Support this podcast on Patreon ★

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 plays -

JACKIE, introducing episode: All right, welcome back, everyone. We, last time, covered books one and two of A Christmas Carol, so today we're gonna be doing books three, four, and five. So strap in, and hope you enjoy!

JACKIE, beginning episode recording: So, the second of the three spirits comes. This is the Ghost of Christmas Present, as you probably know. So he wakes up in his bed, and - after, you know, coming back from the Ghost of Christmas Past. And he's like, “You know what, instead of getting surprised by a ghostly hand pulling back my bedcurtains, I think I'm going to just pull my own bedcurtains aside and look around.” So he decides to look around, and, he - after what came to him last time, he would not be surprised to really see anything. So it says, “Nothing between a baby and a rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.” But he didn't know what he was looking for. So because he was prepared for anything, he really did not expect to see nothing, and nothing is what he saw! So the bell strikes one and he gets all scared, but nothing happens. And then eventually he decides to go to the door, which is jostling, and he opens it and he walks in and he's somehow in his own room again, but it's been transformed. And it's all Christmas-y and merry and it's got, like, oysters, and not the mean kind of oyster that he is, but like actual oysters. It's got like a throne of turkeys and geese and meat and sausages and chestnuts and apples, and on this throne is a beautiful, enormous spirit: the Ghost of Christmas Present.

RACHEL: A jolly giant. (laughs)

JACKIE: A jolly green giant. He's got a deep green robe on, and underneath you can see that “his capacious breast was bare as if disdaining to be warded by any artifice.”

RACHEL: I love that he opens the door and the Ghost says, (absurd, jolly, booming voice) “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me!” (laughs)

THEO: That's a line I need to keep in my pocket all the time. “I'm Theo! Look upon me!”

JACKIE: And then with no response at all, the Ghost says, (deep, silly voice) “You've never seen the like of me before!” (laughs)

RACHEL: I just, I also like the, (bro-y, booming voice): “Come in and know me better, man!” He's a frat bro, I'm telling you.

JACKIE: He's gonna make a beer bong out of the horn of plenty. So he's like, “Nope, I've never seen anything like you before, but you know what, I learned a lesson last night. So how about you just go ahead and teach me what you're going to teach me?” And he's like, (loud, deep, ridiculous voice) “Touch my robe!”

RACHEL: They also talk about how he has more than eighteen hundred brothers and Scrooge is just like, “Wow, that's quite a family.”

THEO: I love that part.

JACKIE: I don't know - what does that refer to?

RACHEL: All the other Christmas presents.

THEO: Because it's like, eighteen-forty…

JACKIE: OHHHHHHHHHHHH!

THEO: I thought that was so clever. And they all live for one day and die. They're like bugs, right? Like may- mayflies or something?

RACHEL: But they have a great time.

JACKIE: I did not understand that at all. I was just like, “That's a weird number.”

RACHEL: “What a weird number of brothers!” (laughs)

THEO: I thought that was pretty cool. That was maybe my favorite idea in the whole thing.

RACHEL: That they’re - that they live for one day and then die, and there have been eighteen hundred of them?

THEO: I love that he differentiated all the Ghosts in special ways that make them all different and special.

RACHEL: They are very different. Like if you saw these three Ghosts in a lineup, and you didn't know this book, you would not think they were from the same book.

THEO: That’s true.

JACKIE: Yeah. Like, this one never has twenty legs, no matter what.

RACHEL: This one was just like, a large happy man in a robe. The other one’s like some kind of freaky, morphing old child.

THEO: Honestly, for an amorphous blob creature, I think that first Ghost was doing a really great job.

RACHEL: Priming the pump?

THEO: Yeah, I mean, like, he hit a home run every time.

JACKIE: He had Scrooge like explicitly stating the lessons he had learned every time. So that was convenient.

RACHEL: That's true! He was like crying before he even saw anything.

THEO: Also doesn't it seem like after the first Ghost, Scrooge would have been fine? Like if he had just woken up he would have -

JACKIES: No, I think he needed to be broken! He needed to be bah-ro-ken.

RACHEL: He - they - the Ghosts need to break him down, so they can build him back up.

JACKIE: Yeah. They don't need him to just be like, “Hey, you should be like you were when you were a kid again.” Like, you’ve got to be completely different, because shit’s gonna get fucked. (Pause) Yeah, this is going to be really explicit. This is going to be our most explicit episode yet. (laughs)

RACHEL: That's what the tagline for the episode needs to be: “ Our most explicit episode yet.”

JACKIE: Okay, so, uh -

THEO: “An explicit Christmas special.”

JACKIE: NOT for the whole family. The Ghost of Christmas Present, he grabs onto his robes and they go and fly away from somewhere and they go into a part of London that's not very clean, not very fancy.

RACHEL: It's like a market.

JACKIE: Yeah. It's got like soot and stuff, but there are joyful people everywhere and they're shoveling the snow and they're going into the poultry shops and there's just all these nice looking foods all around and people are just happy because -

RACHEL: All the foods, they sound so freaking delicious, I have to say.

JACKIE: This was an excellent description of food.

RACHEL: His descriptions - (sound of ‘chef’s kiss’) delicious! Oh my gosh, they sound so good. I just want to eat all of it. Almost. (laughs)

JACKIE: Almost.

RACHEL: Because I'm a vegetarian.

JACKIE: What is a “Norfolk Biffin”?

RACHEL: It's an apple with dark skin.

JACKIE:I thought it was like… a small chicken.

RACHEL, laughing: “Squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating him, beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.” So you think people were like, “That chicken that could be a great after dinner snack, very juicy.” (Jackie and Theo laughing).

THEO, laughing: “Put it in the bag!”

RACHEL: And it's sitting between, yeah, oranges and lemons. “Here's an orange, here’s a lemon, here’s a chicken!” Perfect arrangement in Victorian London.

JACKIE: The Norfolk Biffin sounds like a chicken.

RACHEL, laughing: I know, but context clues!

JACKIE: Just because you're a vegetarian and you don't know what it's like to have a nice after dinner chicken…!

RACHEL, laughing: Yeah.

JACKIE: All right. But they're looking at all of these plums and lemons and aw, it looks great.

RACHEL: Fish, there's candied fruit that - it says it had so much sugar on it that “it would make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious.”

JACKIE: It just gave them diabetes just from looking at it.

RACHEL: So they were just so delicious-looking that you would feel sick, yeah. It's just this description is amazing. It's like these three paragraphs are so great.

JACKIE: They're really great. And so the, they're watching this, the Ghost of Christmas Present and Scrooge, and, and some people kind of like, bump into each other in the doorway and start like, bickering a little bit, but then the Ghost of Christmas Present just kind of sprinkles some, um...

RACHEL: Some stuff.

JACKIE: Benevolence. Yeah, some stuff on them. And he's like, “What is that?” It's like, “This is something that, you know, we just give people enjoyment so that they can enjoy Christmas.” (long pause) It - it was meth. It was meth. (Rachel and Theo laugh)

RACHEL: Scrooge says, “Is there a peculiar flavor in what you sprinkle from the torch?” And the Ghost says, “There is: my own.”

JACKIE: Eurgh!

RACHEL: It's his own peculiar flavor!

JACKIE: Why do you have a flavor?!

RACHEL, laughing: What the hell?! (Theo and Jackie laugh) And why is it peculiar?

THEO: Scrooge set him up so perfectly, like, I don't know if I would think to ask that.

JACKIE: He's like, “You know what Spirit, if you love people eating so much, then why do you have everything be closed on Sundays?” And he's like, “What do you mean?” And he's like, “Well, you close all the - everything on Sunday, so people can't eat on that day, and it's been done in the name of your family.” That's where he, like, references Christ.

RACHEL: And he's like, “No, no, no, that’s not us! That's on them.” He gets pissed.

JACKIE: He does. He's like, “There are some people on this earth who claim to speak for us, but they don't know anything.”

RACHEL, laughing: Do you want me to explain what they're talking about?

JACKIE: Sure.

RACHEL: So it's not about closing everything, it's specifically about closing bakers’ shops, so they, they have to keep the ovens open. Like, they wouldn't bake things on Sundays, but they would keep the ovens, like, on and heated, even when they were closed. So they would often let the poor of the city cook - like, bake their dinners in the bakery ovens, because most people didn't have ovens, so they would let them use the ovens to bake their dinners on Sundays. And there was this movement from religious people who were like, “It's the Sabbath! We need to stop these poor people from baking their food.”

JACKIE: “It’s for their own good!”

RACHEL: Yeah. (laughs) So this was a big deal at the time.

JACKIE: I thought he was saying, like, “You know what, Spirit, I would really like to be able to buy liquor before eleven A.M., but I can't, cause of you.” After he sees all of this, they - they go to Bob’s house, and so there you see Bob, and she's - she knits for a living. Or, she makes clothes or something, not knitting. Sorry, she sews. And so the - you see her, her son, the young Peter Cratchit on the - “on the cusp of manhood”. Belinda’s there - Belinda’s her second oldest daughter -

RACHEL: Martha is the oldest. I'm Martha. There are two smaller Cratchits... there's a boy and a girl, small Cratchit…And then Tiny Tim is somewhere with, with his dad, right?

JACKIE: Yeah, Tiny Tim's out with his dad. And Martha comes in and she has the goose and it's been baked by the baker and everyone's so happy. So finally, Bob Cratchit comes home and he sees Martha, and he's so excited to see her and little Tiny Tim, who he has been carrying with his little tiny crutch.

RACHEL: They play a little prank on the dad, because Martha is the only one who has a job right now, so she was like, out working. So the prank on the dad is, “Oh, Martha couldn't come home for Christmas.”

JACKIE: So she hides and then Bob is so upset that she couldn't stand to see him be so upset. So she pops out of her hiding place right away and everybody's happy.

THEO: Didn't this whole scene just make you feel warm?

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: It did.

RACHEL: I felt good. I was like, “Good for Bob having such a wonderful family.”

JACKIE: And so like, if you don't know what to get your dad for Christmas, you should just tell him you're not coming home and then come home anyway.

THEO: That's good!

RACHEL: So Tiny Tim is here, and he says, like -

JACKIE: What do we think is wrong with Tiny Tim? Is it...

RACHEL: He has Victorian Children's Disease.

JACKIE: He's small and good, so therefore he's ill. (laughs)

RACHEL: Yeah. He is on crutches. I don't know exactly it, maybe -

JACKIE: Polio?

THEO, reading: “Tiny Tim is believed to have had rickets, tuberculosis, polio, and/or cerebral palsy.”

RACHEL, laughing: I think it's just a children's disease.

JACKIE: No, I think rickets makes sense, because you can cure it by just giving more vitamin D. So if he had more money, he would have had more vitamin D and he would have been able to get better.

THEO: You need that fortified milk!

RACHEL: Well, anyway, Tiny Tim, he does something really cheesy. The dad's like, “You know, when we were at church, Tiny Tim was like, ‘I'm so glad that I'm here so that everyone can see, like, can see how I'm crippled, and they will remember that Jesus was able to make people like me able to walk.’”

THEO: Yeah, that’s so weird.

RACHEL: Which, the thing is, I mostly like Tiny Tim, but that's a little too far.

JACKIE: Okay, I've never heard anyone say “I mostly like Tiny Tim.” He's an ill child!

RACHEL: A lot of people don't like Tiny Tim! He's too cheesy.

JACKIE: Oh, so ba(sically) - it's not that they don't like him, it’s that they don't like the way he was used in this story, or portrayed.

RACHEL, laughing: Yeah. The real Tiny Tim, everyone's a big fan of. It's just that Charles Dickens used him to play politics.

JACKIE: I thought you were saying, like, I hate that guy.

RACHEL: Well, lot of people are like, “He's too cheesy,” and they're not into it. I'm just saying.

THEO: That is pretty cheesy.

JACKIE: Right. Like, people with disabilities don't exist to teach us to be nice.

RACHEL: Yeah, I mean, that's part of it, is that he literally is just there as an object lesson. I mean he has - like the thing is, everybody in this book is there as an object lesson. So it's not like, you know, people with disabilities are singled out any more than anyone else.

JACKIE: Right, but I think he has a particular effect on Scrooge, and on the plot.

RACHEL: And the whole world! Apparently the Queen of Norway sent Christmas presents to all of the crippled children of England and wrote a note that said, “With love from Tiny Tim.”

JACKIE: How did she find all of these crippled children? (Rachel laughs)

THEO: So she just wrote ‘Crippled Children’ on an envelope?

RACHEL: Basically, yeah. There's probably some kind of organization, I don't know. But anyway, I mean, for the most part, yes, I like Tiny Tim. He took it a little too far with that.

JACKIE: To be clear... Charles Dickens took it a little too far with that.

RACHEL: People aren't going to be like, “How dare you say that about Tiny Tim! You’re canceled!”

JACKIE: I just thought it was funny, like, “I have some problems with him personally.”

RACHEL: They get their goose, everyone's thrilled. They have this delicious goose and then they're about to - they were going to go get a pudding, and people are worried. The kids are worried someone might have stolen their pudding because I guess it's baking at the bakery.

JACKIE: No, I think they said it was in the backyard. Like she's been working on it all day and they were worried someone was going to jump over the wall and steal it, because - and they were just looking forward to it so much. So like, they're just building up the anticipation and she's like nervous to carry it because she's like worried she’s gonna -

RACHEL: The pudding is small, but it says that, like, “Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing as the pudding being too small for their big family.”

JACKIE: So Scrooge says, “Hey, Spirit? Please, please tell me that Tim is gonna live,” and the Ghost is like, “Nope.”

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: And then the Ghost is like, “Well, what do you care? If he was going to die he better just go ahead and do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

RACHEL: Oh, he uses his own words against him in a wonderful way. He says, “You better figure out who the surplus population is before you say stuff like that, bro.”

JACKIE: So he's then shamed, he hangs his head. And then we get to see the Cratchits toasting Mr Scrooge, because Bob is like, “Let's all toast to Mister Scrooge, because he's the one who paid for this wonderful feast!” And then Mrs. Cratchit is like, “I wish I had him here, and I'd yell at him.”

RACHEL: Fuck that guy.”

JACKIE: And Bob is like, “The children!” And she's like, “I don't even care, Robert!”

RACHEL, laughing: Yeah.

JACKIE: She calls him Robert because now she's mad. Yeah, she's like, “He's a bad guy.” And then she's like, “Okay, well, I'll drink to him, but only because you want me to.” “The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party for five full minutes.”

RACHEL: Well, I'm glad he had to see that.

JACKIE: Well, then, the party was ten times better than it was before, because now they had gotten Scrooge out of the way.

RACHEL: Right.

JACKIE: I'm just kind of gonna skip over this part a little bit. So, the - the Ghost basically takes him out somewhere else, like to the mines, and they're looking at the place where the miners live under the ground. There's Christmas cheer everywhere. They take him out to sea and they're on a boat and like, even on the boat there's Christmas cheer. So it's just like, wow, everything is everywhere. Then they go to Scrooge’s nephew’s house, Fred's house, and they see that the nephew and his wife and their friends are having a really great time. They're laughing a lot, because Fred is telling the story about how Scrooge said Humbug, which is a pretty funny word.

RACHEL: Yeah, they're laughing about Scrooge and the nephew says, like, “Look, I'm going to keep inviting him to Christmas every year. If he doesn't want to come, whatever. Like, I have nothing against him, he's making himself miserable.”

JACKIE: And his wife is like, “WelI, I hate him.”

RACHEL: They play some Christmas games.

JACKIE: They play a game where they try to guess… like it's basically like twenty questions, they try to guess what you are. And so somebody played the game and they were like, “I'm an animal, I'm a mean animal, but I'm not one that lays eggs!” And then it turns out it's Scrooge.

THEO: Do you want to play one of the games?

RACHEL: Right now? We can't play blind man's bluff. We can't play that. That's like Marco Polo, basically.

THEO: That's the one where that one guy, like used it as an excuse to like... grope that girl?

RACHEL: Yeah, let's not play that.

JACKIE: He claimed to have his eyes closed, but he never went near anyone except for her, and whenever he got near someone else, he would insult their intelligence by being like, “Whoooop!” and then just not touching them and going for the girl instead.

THEO: Yeah, let's play How, When, Where.

RACHEL: How, When, Where.

JACKIE: What that?

THEO: So one of us has to think of a word, and then we ask questions. How do you like it? When do you like it? And where do you like it? And then they guess what the thing is. (Rachel laughs) That’s how you play How When Where.

RACHEL, laughing: Oh, you looked it up. Jackie, do you want to pick?

JACKIE: Yeah, I’m ready, go ahead.

RACHEL: Okay, how do you like it?

JACKIE: ...Dry.

THEO: Let me see. When do you like it?

JACKIE: All the time?

RACHEL: Where do you like it?

THEO: I don't think we're playing right. Oh, we're supposed to keep guessing after each of the answers.

RACHEL: Oh okay.

THEO: So Jackie likes it dry all the time. (Rachel and Jackie laugh)

RACHEL: Where do you like it?

JACKIE: My closet, my foyer, the spare room, and my office. (Rachel laughs)

THEO: ...Clothes.

RACHEL: Carpet?

JACKIE, laughing: I don't like clothes anywhere else?

RACHEL, laughing: Carpet?

JACKIE: Nope, it's not carpet. All right, let's go again!

THEO: Do we ask the questions again? Okay, how do you like it?

RACHEL: She’ll give us the same answer, right?

JACKIE: Low dust.

RACHEL: A cat?

THEO: Where do you like it?

JACKIE: In a box.

RACHEL: Shoes!

THEO: When do you like it?

JACKIE: Uh, after meal times.

RACHEL, laughing: A small pump chicken!

JACKIE: Nope! All right, try again.

RACHEL: In a box, in the bedroom…

THEO: Oh! SCROOGE! (Rachel laughs hysterically)

JACKIE, laughing: No. (laughing more) Eventually, he'll be dry in a box! High clumping activity...

RACHEL: Cat litter!

JACKIE: Yeah!

THEO: You like it in all of those places, though?

RACHEL: That's, yeah, that's what threw me off, that's a lot of places.

JACKIE: I have three cats!

RACHEL: No - three cats, five litter boxes?!

JACKIE: Well, the reason I have so many is because the fourteen-year old one has accidents all over the place, so I just like, put them kind of everywhere.

RACHEL: Wow, what a good game.

JACKIE, laughing: Yeah!

RACHEL: Let's play that in every podcast.

JACKIE: Maybe I should have made it related to the story instead of just…

THEO: I feel like we could entertain ourselves for hours at parties with that game.

JACKIE, laughing: “Jackie likes it dry all the time.”

THEO: But you know the ghost of Scrooge would be guessing the right answers the whole time and you couldn't hear it. You would just feel like an idiot cause Scrooge knew it already.

RACHEL: Yeah. He’d be like, yelling.

THEO: Didn't it say he was like really good at guessing?

JACKIE: Uh, except in the last book, or in the - sorry, the penultimate book, he's not good at guessing at all!

THEO: Oh, that's true! Should we go to that book? Are we done?

JACKIE: Yeah!

RACHEL: No, we’re not done, we’re not done! Okay, so real quick, the Ghost of Christmas Present, he notices he's starting to look older. And the Ghost is like, “Yeah, I'm about to die.”

THEO: I love that part too. The Ghost of Christmas Present was the best conceived character, I think. So interesting.

RACHEL: And then he's like, “Take a look at this!” And he pops some children out from under his robe.

JACKIE: And they're horrible!

THEO, laughing: Yeah

RACHEL: It's a boy and a girl, they look horrible. They're very thin, and he says, “The boy is Ignorance, the girl is Want. The boy is the worst one of all. He - they're not my kids, they're Man's kids.” And it even says that Scrooge - he's like, “Because of how the Ghost presented them, Scrooge tried to compliment the children, but he couldn't do it.” (laughs)

THEO, laughing: Yeah. Yeah, and he eventually just says, “Spirit… are they… yours?”

RACHEL, laughing: Yeah!

JACKIE: “He tried to say they were very fine children, but the words choked themselves rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.” (Theo laughs)

RACHEL: Yeah, so he's worried about the kids. He says, “Have they no refuge or resource?” And the spirit says, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

JACKIE: And he's like, “I geeeetttt ittt!!”

RACHEL: And then the spirit dies and goes away. Yeah. He disappears. All of a sudden, Scrooge sees… he sees the third Ghost start to appear. It's “a solemn phantom, draped and hooded, coming like a mist along the ground towards him.”

JACKIE: This phantom really shits the bed, I have to say. I mean, this is so -

RACHEL, surprised: You think?

JACKIE: I mean, compared to the other two. It's just, like a -

RACHEL: He's much creepier than the other two.

JACKIE: But he's not as creative at all.

RACHEL: He's very creepy!

JACKIE: He's just, he's just a wraith with a black garment on and he just points.

RACHEL: You can't see anything, just see a skeletal hand that points, yeah,

THEO: He just benefits from Scrooge suddenly becoming a total fool. Like this chapter could have been, like, a page, you know?

RACHEL: So fast, yeah.

JACKIE: So, let's just say the basic idea of it. So he -

RACHEL: He's the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and he never says a thing, just keeps pointing and pointing. Well, okay. First, he sees a couple conversations with people being like, “Oh, a guy died, and he has no friends.” And Scrooge is like, “Wow, that sucks. That could easily have been me.” And then there's like another conversation, he's like, “Wow, really glad that's not me.”

JACKIE: Mmhmm.

RACHEL: And then he shows him - what? He shows him a dead body, and Scrooge is like, “Oh man, that poor sucker.” And then he shows him some people who are like, “We stole this stuff from this guy's corpse.”

JACKIE, singing proudly: That's meeee! That was me in the play. (laughs) I was the one who stole all the bedsheets. (Theo laughing)

RACHEL: That's Jackie. They, so they steal some stuff from his corpse, and they're like, “If he didn't want people to steal his stuff after he died, he should have been nicer so that people would actually care about him.” Then there's people talking about a funeral and they say, “No one's going to go cause the funeral is going to suck.”

THEO: Oh yeah. “But I'll go if they feed me.”

RACHEL, laughing: “Yeah, if there's food I'll go.”

THEO: “I’ll go if there's lunch.”

JACKIE: And the beggar people who steal all his stuff, they were like, “Are you serious, like you really took, like, the clothes off of his body, and you took, like, the curtains off of his bed and all of the stuff? And she was like, “Yeah, he doesn’t need ‘em, he’s dead.”

RACHEL: Well, everyone's, like, in favor of that. They're like, “Woohoo! Good work, lady. I'm glad you stole his clothes.”

JACKIE: “Good work,” yeah. So then the Spirit takes him and shows him this body lying under a sheet, and he just points at it. And he's obviously telling Scrooge to take the sheet off and look at it, and he was like, “Just tell me who it is!” Like, as though it's not obvious who it is.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: And he goes through all of these back and forths, of just being like, “Who is it?! You must tell me who it is!”

RACHEL: Finally he's like, “Show me someone who feels something because of this man's death.”

JACKIE: I thought this was funny.

RACHEL: And they see a random couple and the guy - the wife's like, “Give it to me straight, husband,” and he says, “Well, he's dead.” And then it's clear that both of them are like - they are really happy about it, but they don't want to show that they're happy because they owed money to this man who died. And they're like, “No matter who has our debt now they certainly can't be worse than he was.” And Scrooge is like, “Well, can you just show me someone who feels sad about it?”

JACKIE: He's like, “I wanted to clarify, when I said someone who feels something, I was really hoping that it was going to be sadness.”

THEO, laughing: Yeah.

RACHEL: Right, right.

THEO: The Ghost is like a genie.

RACHEL: Yeah, he is! He's gonna misinterpret it any way possible.

JACKIE: So finally, yeah, so he says, “Well, can you show me something that's someone is sad about?”

RACHEL: Yeah, where they feel some tenderness.

JACKIE: The Ghost brings him to the Cratchits’ house, and you see Cratchit’s wife stitching, and her eyes are so poor because she's been stitching for so long and looking at this, and it's, it’s really ruined her eyesight. But she's like, “I'm going to try to hide this when Bob comes home, because I don't want him to see how bad my eyes have gotten.”

RACHEL: Mmhmm.

JACKIE: And then they start talking about Tiny Tim and they're like, “You know, Bob's late. I don't know why he's late because he used to walk really fast, even when he had Tiny Tim on his shoulder.”

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: She was like, “But he was really light. He was no trouble to carry.” So then Bob comes in.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: He's returning from visiting Tiny Tim's grave, and he says, “I wish you could have seen it. It was such a green place. I promised him I would walk there on Sunday.” And then he breaks down sobbing and he tries to just keep it together for his family, so…

RACHEL: Isn't Tiny Tim’s corpse in the house?

JACKIE: That's what I thought! I was confused by that.

RACHEL: He must have gone to, like, the church graveyard, where Tiny Tim WILL be buried.

JACKIE: To just look at it?

RACHEL: Yeah, because I think Tiny Tim, like, just died. Because it says, “He went upstairs alone. There was a chair set close beside the child where someone had been recently…” and he sits in it, kisses the little face, and then he kind of cheers himself up and goes downstairs. Which, like, I don't think you need to be cheered up when your dead child is literally still in your house. Like, that's okay to feel sad, you don't have to be happy just cause it's Christmas!

THEO: “Come on, try to smile!”

RACHEL: “It’s Christmas! Cheer up, Bob!”

JACKIE: What happens when I don't understand things is I talk myself into something else happening, so I told myself, ‘That must have just been a different child, and that made him happy.’

RACHEL: Some other sick kid! Yeah. (Theo and Jackie laughing) No, I’m pretty sure that’s Tiny Tim’s corpse.

JACKIE: So then he goes back downstairs.

THEO: He says he met Fred, and Fred's great.

JACKIE: Bob says, “You know, we're never going to forget poor Tiny Tim, we're never going to forget how great he was.” And everybody kisses each other and his spirit was there and everybody was…

RACHEL: He's like, “Yeah let's always be nicer when we think about Tiny Tim.” But he also said that Fred is probably going to give their son a better job.

JACKIE: So this was really stretching it. Like, nobody felt tender about Scrooge at all in this situation. He didn’t even come into it!

RACHEL: I don't know, maybe he feels… I don't know, actually, yeah, they - he's not mentioned at all.

JACKIE: I think the Ghost was like, “The closest I can possibly get to someone feeling tenderness for you is someone feeling tenderness about someone RELATED to you.”

RACHEL, laughing: Someone happy they saw your nephew.

JACKIE: Scrooge is like, “I really need to know who that dead guy was. This is really becoming too much.”

RACHEL: Because he's like, “How is this guy related to me?! I don't understand!” (Jackie laughing) “I know all these people that the dead guy knows, but how do I know this dead guy?”

JACKIE: And somehow no one has said the guy's name yet! So the Spirit takes him to a churchyard and, and he points at a gravestone, and it says, “Ebenezer Scroggy a meal man” and he's like, “Noooo! It's meee!”

RACHEL: He points to the gravestone that says ‘Ebenezer Scrooge,’ and Scrooge says, “Am I that man who lay upon the bed?!” And then the spirit points to the grave and then points to him. (laughs)

JACKIE: And the spirit just points back and forth.

RACHEL: And he goes, “Oh now!” (Rachel and Jackie laugh) But the Spirit still points at him. But then it's says, when he's like, “Help, but I've changed, I've changed!” It says the hand appeared to tremble, and then he's like, “Oh thank goodness, you feel bad for me!”

THEO: It says the hand began to shake, right? So at first I thought they were shaking hands. (Rachel and Jackie laugh) Anyway, go ahead.

RACHEL: “Same time next year.”

JACKIE: “We’ll do business again sometime.”

THEO: “See you next Christmas.”

JACKIE: So this is now stave five, so now Scrooge wakes up and he's in his bed and he jumps out and he's like, “I will live in the past at the present and the future at the same time!” And then he is so flustered and he's sobbing violently and he's holding his bed curtains and he's like, “Oh, my God, they're still here, they haven’t been torn down, I'm not dead! I'm as happy as an angel, I'm as giddy as a drunken man!” And he throws open his windows and he's yelling, “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!”

RACHEL: And it's sunny outside, it's beautiful, it's great. There's people running around, there’s noise -

JACKIE: And he is adding to the noise with all of his hooplah and happiness, he’s -

RACHEL: Yelling about how he'd rather be a baby...

JACKIE: Yeah, he's like, “I don't know anything, I'm a baby!” And I'm like, oh my God, I say that all the time.

RACHEL: It’s the origin of ‘I'm baby’.

JACKIE: Like I said, he opens up the window and he calls down to someone and he says, “What day is it?!” And the guy’s like, “...It's Christmas.” And he's like...

RACHEL: “Why, it's Christmas!”

JACKIE: And then he's all excited and he's like, “Hey, little boy! Do you know that big, big turkey hanging up at that store? Not the little one, the big one!” And the boy’s like, (high-pitched Cockney accent) “Wot, the one as big as me?”

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: And Scrooge is like, “Yes, what a delightful boy, and then you go get it.”

RACHEL: He offers to pay the boy like, hundreds of dollars. He's like, “If you can be back here in five minutes, I will give you twice Bob Cratchit’s salary. Like, weekly salary.”

JACKIE, laughing: Which SUCKS because Bob Cratchit works so hard!

RACHEL: I know!

THEO: I also found the boy’s conversation so baffling, like - he just -

RACHEL: “Walk-ER!”

THEO: What does that mean?

JACKIE: I think that that must mean like, ‘Go fuck yourself, that’s not real.’

RACHEL: Yeah, like, ‘come on man, that’s fake.’

JACKIE: Yeah.

THEO: All the kid has said so far is “hello,” and then “I should hope I did,” and then Scrooge says, “An intelligent boy! A remarkable boy!”

RACHEL: When the boy says, “The one as big as me?” Scrooge says, “What a delightful boy! It's a pleasure to talk to him.”

THEO: Right.

JACKIE: So he says, “What a delightful boy!” And then he, like, turns to the camera and he's like, “It's a pleasure to talk to him.”

THEO: Yeah!

JACKIE: Right so, the guy, he - the little boy goes off, and he's going to send it to Bob Cratchit. He's going to make it into, like, a joke, and he's like “This is going to be such a joke, because Tiny Tim is only half as big as this turkey! There has never been a better joke!”

RACHEL: There's something gruesome, though, where they're talking about how big the Turkey was, and they say, “He could never have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped him off short in a minute, like sticks of sealing wax.” Like, that's a bit - a little bit gross.

JACKIE: So he sends the boy in a cab to take that huge turkey to the Cratchits, and he goes walking down the street himself and he's “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!” to everyone, and then he finds the people who had asked him for a donation the day before and he says, “Look, I'm so sorry I was a piece of shit yesterday, please…” And then he whispers in his ear how much money he wants him to take and the man's like (exaggerated sound of surprise) “Whaaaaatt?? Are you sure?” And he's like, “Yep. Yep, that's how much money I want to give you.” And so then he decides to go to his nephew Fred’s house and he shows up, and everyone is very surprised to see him there. But he's like, “It’s me, I'm your uncle Scrooge!” And they got to have that fun party that he saw in his vision, and the plump sister came and they played all the games and they had a wonderful happiness.

THEO: And I bet he already knew all the answers to the games, right? Like that would have been awesome, it's like -

RACHEL: If he just cheats?

THEO: Yeah.

JACKIE: Yeah.

THEO: And then he winks to the Ghost of Christmas Present...

JACKIE: And is never invited back again.

THEO, laughing: He’s never invited back again?

JACKIE: Yeah.

THEO, laughing: Yeah, every Christmas is disappointing…

JACKIE: Like Theo said, like, the last chapter is kind of strange and it just goes very fast. So then that's over in one paragraph. And he goes to the office the next morning and he's going to be there early so that he can catch Bob Cratchit being late and he decides to play another little joke on him. Bob Cratchit is a little late and he's like, “What do you mean by coming here so late? I'm going to fire you!”

RACHEL: He’s like, “It's only once a year, I'm so sorry!” Like he's very worried.

JACKIE: Yeah, and he's like, (aggressively) “You know what I'm going to do?? ... I'm going to raise your salary! And then Bob is like, ‘This man needs to go to a mental hospital.’

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: But he does, he raises his salary and he tells them, “Make up the fire and don't use just one little thing of coal this time.”

RACHEL: Use a lot of coal!

JACKIE: Yeah! And this is my favorite part. So, “Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more. And to Tiny Tim, who did capital N-O-T, who did NOT die, he was a second father. I just like, like they - he had to say very explicit, like, he didn't DIE in this one!

THEO: He’s distinguishing the different Tiny Times from each timeline.

JACKIE: That's why I'm the Tiny Tim who did NOT die.

RACHEL: Tiny Tim Who Did Not Die was not in the original draft. He added it towards the end of the revising process.

JACKIE: It does seem like an afterthought.

RACHEL: He's like, “Oh, people might be worried Tiny Tim’s still dead.”

JACKIE: And so anyway, the last funny thing that I think happens is the last paragraph where it says, “Scrooge never has anything to do with spirits again. He's totally abstinent.”

RACHEL: Mmhmm. That's pretty good.

THEO: Is that's supposed to be, like, wordplay?

JACKIE: ‘Spirits’ is wordplay for ‘alcohol’. He’s saying he lived upon “the total abstinence principle.”

THEO: Yeah. Okay.

JACKIE: Yeah. And then, and then Tiny Tim at the end just says, “God bless us, every one.” And just, Tiny Tim just says a quote out of context, and it's over.

RACHEL: Okay, I wanted to say to the audience… This is the description of Scrooge at the end of the book. They say, “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world.” And it says that people, a lot of people, laughed and made fun of him for his change, but it didn't matter. So the thing that I wanted to say is that I think it’s very unfair... Whenever we call someone a Scrooge, we're always saying they're mean and rude and they hate Christmas! And we're not saying they’re wonderful, generous people who love Christmas. And I think that's what we should say! Because we're not honoring Scrooge’s journey when we only call mean people Scrooge.

JACKIE: Out of - out of the five books, he was really only mean for one of them. He immediately changed his tune.

THEO: I feel like I'm seeing now something that maybe Dickens missed? A missed opportunity, perhaps? Why couldn't he have had Scrooge change his name to really emphasize this transformation?

JACKIE: To Bob Cratchit?

RACHEL, laughing: Bob Cratchit, the second.

JACKIE, laughing: And that's why he's a second father to Tiny Tim. (All laugh)

RACHEL: Well, I mean what do you guys think? Don't you think - I just feel like it's not fair!

THEO, impatient: Yeah, I guess it’s not fair.

JACKIE: Are there any like literary or or cultural characters who underwent a negative transformation on Christma?

RACHEL: ON Christmas?

THEO: Maybe the Ghost of Christmas present?

RACHEL: Yeah. He died.

JACKIE: Yeah, he died. (laughing)

RACHEL: Okay, I do have two things. One: if this was written today, I think that Scrooge would probably like, be able to go back in time and fix things and end up with his girlfriend whatever. But I'm glad that Dickens didn't make that happen. I'm saying if someone was like, “I'm going to write a Christmas parable to teach people life lessons,” that that's what I think would happen today.

THEO: I feel like if it were a movie, yes, but I don't know about just a book, right?

JACKIE: I think part of the appeal and the impact of it is that he had - he did lose a lot of things -

RACHEL: I agree.

JACKIE: And he needs to, he needs to keep them lost.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: So maybe in the modern world they wouldn't have just given him everything back again.

RACHEL: I think they would have. Because people aren't as interested in that, especially if they're purposely trying to be commercial and reach as many people as possible, like Charles Dickens was. I think you would give him more of a, like a chance to fix things. Like any of these movies with, like, time travel, or like dads transforming into snowmen, or whatever… they’re usually...

JACKIE, laughing: Campbell’s soup people transforming into puddles...

THEO: Yeah!

RACHEL: Right!

JACKIE: He gets the girl.

RACHEL: They always get, like, everything they could possibly want. Whereas Scrooge is still a very old man who has wasted most of his life. But now he's fixing things for the time he has left.

THEO: I feel like maybe I haven't seen the same movies. (Rachel laughs) But I also think that you know, now we've grown up with computers. I feel like we've gotten so used to like, being able to just undo something. Just press command-Z.

JACKIE: Like how I unsent my messages today?

RACHEL: Yeah, that was confusing. Okay. This is my surprise. When I was a very young child, I think, we had a select number of videos, but we didn't have cable. So we only would watch PBS and we would watch the same videos, like, over and over again. Okay. One of the few videos we had was ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’, but I never, eve -

JACKIE: Classic.

RACHEL: - ever watched it. Except one time I watched it when I was a little kid. And I was so scared. I was so afraid that I, ever after I had a phobia of ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’. So one time I went to a summer camp and they were having, like, a Christmas in July celebration. And all the campers got together and they're like, “We're playing A Muppet Christmas Carol!” And I was like, “No, no, nope, I'm not watching A Muppet Christmas Carol.” So I had to, like, leave and go somewhere else and read a book.

JACKIE: What are the odds that you would go to a summer camp and they're like, “It's Cchhriiiiistmas! And we're going to watch the one thing you're afraid!”

THEO: It’s July, you were probably thinking, “I'm so safe.”

RACHEL: Yeah.

THEO: “There's no way we're going to watch that terrifying movie.” (All laugh) Every time the calendar, like, rolled past Christmas and you hadn't watched it that year, you breathed a sigh of relief.

RACHEL: “Yet another year!” I think that I thought that I hid it pretty well, but I feel like I've heard my parents one time saying something about me being afraid of A Muppet Christmas Carol. So maybe not.

THEO: Oh, no!

JACKIE: So, I was a puppeteer. I think you guys obviously know this, but our listeners may not.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: So that was my first job. I did a puppet show for a ‘family friendly farm experience’ where there were, like, little petting zoo animals, and like a little train for the little kids to go on, and you could pick pumpkins. So it was all fall-themed and our puppet show was called ‘Sam the Simple Scarecrow’, and he, like, goes out and sees the world or something. But we had - some of the puppets were not puppets, they were, like, pumpkins, and sometimes we even used real pumpkins.

RACHEL: Pumpkets.

JACKIE: Pumpkets, yeah. So we would either have like a plastic pumpkin from Michael's or something, and you would, like, cut the lid and like, make the lid kind of flap. So it would be like a talking pumpkin. And one time, that - something happened to it, it broke or something, we couldn't use it anymore. So I was like, “Hey, we're surrounded by real pumpkins, like, might as well just use that instead.” So I got a real pumpkin and I cut that top open, but there was no way to, like, kind of make it stay, so we had to put a very heavy rock in it to kind of, like, weight it down. And that pumpkin with that rock in it fell on my head during the show. (Theo and Rachel laughing with sounds of shock) And that is why I can't interpret books very well. (laughing) I would have been at least five seven if that pumpkin hadn't compressed my spine!

THEO: How - why was the pumpkin up high and you were down low?

JACKIE: Because... that was... how the show worked. So we were behind the stage and you had to put your hands up high to do the puppetry.

RACHEL, laughing: Have you never seen a puppet show?

THEO: And the pumpkin said, “I am mortal, and liable to fall.”

JACKIE: Yeah, but I had to act like I hadn't just been hit in the head with a very large rock, and I just the thing

THEO: Did you really have to, though? Like couldn’t you just stop?

JACKIE: Well okay, so at the time, I'm fifteen, and this was the biggest deal in the world to me. Like yeah, if that happened now, I'd be like, “Fuck this child's puppet show!” Like, “I'm going to the emergency room!”

THEO, laughing: That's like, a workplace accident! They don't need to keep the show going!

JACKIE: No, but at the time I took it so seriously and I was like (dopey voice) “The show must go on!” And so I just… kept the puppeting up

THEO: “Make sure I don't fall asleep, though.” (laughing) Because you got a concussion.

JACKIE: Yeah. There was another time, like, a small child who probably along the lines of Rachel -

RACHEL: Along the lines of Rachel?!

JACKIE: Along the lines of how Rachel felt when this happened to her at her puppet show experience. This child, like, just wandered away from the audience and came behind the stage, and saw us all with our hands up in the puppets. Just his little face was, just, like… everything he knew just crumbled around him. He was so betrayed.

THEO: That's amazing.

JACKIE: And he started crying instantly, and someone came and swooped him up and took him away. But we ruined that child's... life, I think.

THEO: So someone who was working there was like, (gruff voice) “You've seen too much!” And grabbed him and took him out!

JACKIE, laughing: Yeah, just grabbed him by the front of his shirt like, (gruff voice) “C’mere!”

THEO: Okay, so when I asked my question before about why the pumpkin was high up, I - (Rachel laughing) - it makes sense to me that it was like, part of the puppet show. For some reason I was picturing it falling from… the rafters or something -

JACKIE: No.

THEO: Just, like, knocks you out -

JACKIE, laughing: No, I think that would have killed me.

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: No, I mean it was… it was probably like, two feet above my head.

RACHEL: A couple feet, right? Yeah. (indignant) You thought she got hit in the head from a rock-filled pumpkin from like, fifteen feet in the air and kept going?!

JACKIE: Like I have, I'm just bleeding profusely and I'm like (dopey voice) “I got to do this puppet show!”

THEO: Yeah, but like, you're doing actually a terrible job, and you don't even realize it because your brain has been injured.

JACKIE: I mean, that's the thing. Like, you're pulling on the flap of the pumpkin with a string, so eventually the whole thing just kinda… This puppet show also had just a terrible moral, I have to say. So -

RACHEL: Hubris? Was it hubris?

JACKIE: It was hubris, that was the theme. (Rachel and Jackie laugh) The idea was, this scarecrow wants to go and see the world and he's like, “I'm tired of just being in this field and not seeing anything. I want to go see the world!” So he gets down, and he goes and he sees things, and he runs into like, some little boy that he used to know from the field, and he's like… (suddenly remembering) His name was, uh, Tiny Jim!

RACHEL: (Dramatic gasp) Do you mean Jiny Jim?

JACKIE, laughing: No, I think his name was Tiny Jim, like they just didn't name him Tiny Tim. And they - then the scarecrow’s like, “Hey, Tiny Jim, how are you?” And Jim is like, “Oh, my family is starving, because all of the corn has been eaten by crows since there's no one there to keep the crows away anymore.” And he literally says, “Well, I'd invite you over for dinner, Sam, but we don't have any corn anymore!” Just this very passive aggressive, “Wish I could FEED you, but we can't even feed OURSELVES and it's your FAULT.” So Sam has to go back to the cornfield and the lesson is: Don't don't ever leave your place.

RACHEL: Why didn't they make another scarecrow?

THEO: Do you think that was to ensure that none of the workers quit? (Rachel and Jackie laugh) “We’ll teach them this lesson every day!”

RACHEL: “This is where you belong, this farm.”

JACKIE: Yeah. It's like, the pumpkin falls on me and I look behind, and there's my boss just like -

RACHEL: Pointing a skeletal finger -

JACKIE: To the pumpkin, back to me, to the pumpkin, back to me… (Rachel and Theo laughing)

RACHEL: Do you guys think this is a cap... pro- or anti-capitalist book? I mean, Jackie clearly thinks it's communist propaganda. What about you, Theo?

JACKIE: No, I can't tell because I mean, money plays a huge role, but at the end he decides everybody needs to be given like a huge meal and all this stuff. I think it's not. (laughing) I think it's more about family,

THEO: I mean yeah, I don't know if Dickens was thinking as far as anti-capitalism, but he was certainly upset with the way capitalism was working -

RACHEL: Greed.

THEO: At the time, right?

RACHEL: I mean he's definitely - he's definitely anti-greed, but it's - at no point. It doesn't say anything about Scrooge, like, going out to advocate for better government programs. It's literally just like, “We want people to give more of their own money.”

JACKIE: Mmhmm.

RACHEL: You know?

JACKIE: Yeah, he puts the onus on the individual.

RACHEL: Yeah.

THEO: I mean I guess he gives to the charity, but it's all, like, things that he had direct contact with, you know, I mean like it's a family that he knew the dad.

RACHEL: That he cares about, yeah. But he does - he gives a ton of money to that charity.

THEO: Yes.

RACHEL: Like a ton.

JACKIE: Right, but even a charity is not the same as government aid.

RACHEL: Right.

JACKIE: That’s still just individuals.

RACHEL: Although at the time of this book all of the government aid was truly, truly, truly terrible.

JACKIE: Here's one thing we forgot to do.

RACHEL: Uh oh!

JACKIE: Are we… going to fire it or not? (laughs)

RACHEL: Oohhhh yeah, we should tell -

JACKIE: Like, the point of the podcast? (laughing)

RACHEL: What do you guys think about it? I - I hated Charles Dickens before we started and now I feel ambivalent, because I like this book so much that it made me soften my heart towards him.

JACKIE: Well, I loved it and I didn't know how horrible he was, so I feel less good about it now than I did when we started.

RACHEL: The book was before he did his bad things.

JACKIE: Well, then, I'm fine with them. (Theo laughing)

RACHEL: HE did a reverse Scrooge! He got worse after.

JACKIE: It provided the means that he needed to become terrible, like maybe he wouldn't have gotten that eighteen-year old mistress had he not been like a successful…

RACHEL: But he did a lot of good with the book.

JACKIE: Okay, whatever.

RACHEL: You know what, I have to say this, I'm a little bit embarrassed about it… but I did tear up at the end of the book when they're talking about how relieved Scrooge was, I was like w what a relief and how nice he was and how everyone liked him- and he was everybody's friend and Tiny Tim survived. I actually did tear up.

JACKIE: So at the beginning of this podcast you said everybody knows the end, but you, like -

RACHEL: I did know the end. It's because the language of the book is so good! That's why I think everyone should actually read it. As opposed to the Odyssey where I think, like, it's important that you know what happened. I think you should actually read this. Personally.

JACKIE: Yes, the, the prose is really good.

RACHEL: Or listen to it on audio… but definitely the actual prose, not just an adaptation.

THEO: Or listen to my radio play from eighth grade.

RACHEL: Yeah. (laughs)

JACKIE: Yeah. (in deep, monotone male voice) “Dear. Old. Honest. Ali. Baba.”

THEO, laughing: That's a pretty good impression.

JACKIE: No, I wouldn't fire it. I thought the part where he goes back and he's like, uh, with, with like his ex, and then like, she's with this other man and they're just, like, kind of making fun of him... I was like, “That is so heartbreaking.”

RACHEL, laughing: Yeah.

JACKIE: Like I thought it was so beautiful how we described her -

RACHEL: Yeah.

JACKIE: And, like, just the youth…

RACHEL: And her happy family, and he's like, “Wow! If only I had a daughter like that in my old age.”

JACKIE, with a creepy Southern drawl: “I would put my arms around her waist and never let it go!” (pause) Then it got a little weird.

RACHEL: Yeah I mean, I do think also, this book comes in a long line of these, like, parables to make a guy better. Like The Inferno, and A Pilgrim's Progress - even the Odyssey, to some extent. And like, this setup, you know people have continued to build off of this setup. Clearly it resonates with people, because we keep making different adaptations of it, like even different TV shows will do episodes that are based on A Christmas Carol. It's just very culturally important. So, I'm saying hold - hold your fire, guys. You still love it, right Theo, you're happy you read it?

THEO: Yeah. Absolutely.

RACHEL, laughing: “Absolutely!” Good!

THEO: I'm not even going to pretend I'm about to fire it, like I'm not even going to put it in the cannon.

RACHEL: We're not loading it up at all. Wow.

THEO, laughing: Wait, this is so confusing because it is in the canon. Oh no. (Rachel laughs)

JACKIE: Oh no, our pun has gone awry!

THEO: We're putting it in the canon, but we're not lighting the fuse. That's what we’re doing.

RACHEL: Yeah! We’re not firing it,

THEO: Okay.

JACKIE: Yeah, we are keeping -

RACHEL: So you're not even lighting the match and holding the match behind the cannon the way you were with the Odyssey.

JACKIE: I don't even have a single little coal.

THEO: She's talking Bob Pratchet style!

RACHEL: Cratchit style.

THEO, whispering: Damn it!

RACHEL: Yeah, wait. What do we rate book? I give this book five out of five stars. I think it might be his best book and I have read a lot of Charles Dickens. This one, I was enjoying the whole thing.

JACKIE: I'm going to fire, uh, Great Expectations.

RACHEL: Not yet! You can't do it yet. Five out of five, Theo?

THEO: I'm going to do six out of six just to show that I liked him more.

RACHEL: That's still the same percentage, though.

JACKIE: Well. Thanks for listening, and we hope you have... a very, …

RACHEL: A very merry Christmas, or whatever. Just have a happy time. Clearly, everyone must or a guy's going to sprinkle his… what? His strange personal water on you?

JACKIE: His strange - his particular flavor -

RACHEL, laughing: His particular flavor...

THEO: Yeah.. peculiar! Her (sic) peculiar flavor, right?

RACHEL: Yeah. If you find yourself having a happy time this Christmas, it might be because the spirit of Christmas present has sprinkled his peculiar flavor all over you.

THEO: Amen!

JACKIE: Amen.

RACHEL: God bless us, every one. ...Amen?! (Jackie and Theo laugh) Please remember to rate, review, and subscribe.

JACKIE: Now it's time for our traditional Christmas sign-off.

RACHEL and THEO: Bah, Humbug!

JACKIE, simultaneously, in tiny voice: God bless us, every one.