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A Christmas Carol: Stave Five: The End Of It

A Christmas Carol.
In Prose.
Being a Ghost Story of Reason.
It's an Ayn Rand Christmas.

Stave Five
The End Of It

There was no blow to the head. There was no slipping into unconsciousness. Scrooge blinked and the bed curtains were back in place. He edged to the side of the bed and tentatively pulled back the bed curtain with one finger.

Yes! The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own.

"Thank God!" said Scrooge, then chuckled at what he'd said.

Scrooge took a long hot shower, got himself a nice hot meal, then collapsed into bed and slept all through Christmas and into the next day.

When he awoke bright and early on December the 26th, he immediately opened his window to let in some fresh air. Scrooge breathed deeply, enjoying the cold air washing across his face for a long moment, then looked up into the bright blue sky which was, he noted, gloriously free of be-chained spirits wailing and lamenting the difficulties of others' victimhood.

"Bah! Humbug!" said Scrooge, closing the window then making ready to go to his counting house.

Those who saw Scrooge walking to work that day saw a man renewed; a man with a spring in his step; a man who had glimpsed the tragic comedy of the Heavens themselves and turned away in the knowledge that he was better. To Scrooge's way of thinking, he wasn't sure whether or not any of it had happened, but he was sure it didn't matter; all that mattered was that he lived his life by his Principles of Reason, the very same Principles that allowed him to win at life every day of the year.

When Scrooge got to his counting house, he decided to not start a fire, instead finding pen and paper; what he wrote was simple: Help Wanted, Clerk.

Scrooge sat patiently, watching his pocket watch as it moved from nine o'clock to nine o'five to nine fifteen. When his watch read nine twenty-three he heard the bell above the door ding and the stomping of feet. Bob Cratchit came into view looking sheepish and worried.

"Running late, Mr. Cratchit?" said Scrooge, the smallest of smiles touching his lips.

"Sorry, sir. Indeed, sir. I was up late with the family telling Christmas Tales and drinking eggnog by the fire."

"Put this piece of paper in the window," said Scrooge, handing over the 'Help Wanted' sign.

The clerk put the sign in the window then turned to Scrooge.

"You're fired, Mr. Cratchit." said Scrooge, picking up a pen and starting in on the ledgers in front of him; the end of the fiscal year was always busy, so many peoples' money problems became even more problematic during the Holiday Season. He had many properties to foreclose on. "You came in late today despite your promise to come in early."

Bob Cratchit lowered his head and opened the door to leave.

"Oh, Cratchit," said Scrooge, closing the ledger in front of him and looking down his nose at his ex-clerk. "In lieu of two weeks notice and pay, please accept my best wishes for your boy, Tiny Tim."

As Cratchit left the office, Scrooge grabbed another ledger to work on from the very large pile on his desk. He had no further intercourse with Spirits, and had learned to keep Christmas in his heart, in his own way, ever after.