The Ghost Of
Christmas Yet To Come
It was late on Christmas
Eve in the year of 1842, and Charles Dickens had
just retired to his bedroom.
The night was frosty, and
he had tightly fastened the doors and shutters so
that no icy breeze might disturb his rest.
Pitch darkness was pierced
by the yellow glow of the candle flame that had
lit his way. He placed the candle holder on his
bedside table and climbed into bed.
All at once, the flame
flickered, and he heard the faint sound of
unfamiliar voices and tones. Dickens raised the
candle and peered about him.
A mist seemed to be forming
in one comer of the room. Then, to his horror,
there materialised from this mist a fearsome
The spectre wore baggy
trousers and a jacket with a loose hood that
obscured its face. A small box was attached to
its belt. From the box came voices and discordant
notes in a cacophony which could only have
derived from Hell, and could only have been
composed by Lucifer, himself. Dickens also
noticed that the figure was tightly holding a
small object with both hands. His ghostly
companion appeared to be concentrating intently
upon this precious object while rapidly and
repeatedly tapping it with both thumbs.
Who are you,
foul fiend? Dickens exclaimed. And
from what demonic realm do you come?
Stay cool, the
apparition responded, I just need to send
For a few further seconds
the sprit continued to manipulate the object in
its hands. It then inserted the device into a
pocket of its trousers. Finally, it touched the
box on its belt, and the unholy machine fell
silent. I guess youre not into Heavy
Metal, then, the spirit surmised.
The creature pulled back
its hood to reveal the face of a man in his early
twenties. He wore a metal stud in one ear and a
ring through his nose. Tattooed upon his forehead
were the letters GOCYTC, and his orange hair was
gelled into spikes like mountain peaks. Hello,
the spirit continued, my names Wayne,
and,' he pointed to the letters on his forehead,
'Im the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Youre
Charles Dickens, arent you?
I am indeed, Strange
Spirit, replied Dickens, regaining some
composure. But, pray, why have you come to
torment me this night?
to complete a novella called A Christmas
Carol that you plan to publish in time for
next Christmas, said Wayne.
That is true,
the author replied, but what business is
that of yours?
Although it's many
years in the future, Wayne explained,
your Christmas Carol will be
one of the biggest influences upon Christmases in
the 21st Century. Wayne approached Dickens
and laid a hand upon his shoulder. You must
come with me so that you can truly understand the
consequences of what you write. Let us go to
Oxford Street, London in the year 2017.
In an instant, Dickens and
Wayne were standing in a very crowded, bustling
street, the like of which Dickens had never seen.
There were innumerable bright lights which did
not appear to be gaslit. A huge variety of
horseless carriages made slow progress along the
road, and the ladies, despite the winter cold,
appeared to Dickens to have omitted to dress in
other than their undergarments.
Dickens noted a man and a
woman sitting at opposite ends of a nearby bench
both in seemingly inconsolable distress.
He was moved with pity and approached them.
Pray, Sir, what has
led you to such profound sadness? he
sympathetically enquired of the man.
the sobbing reply. I dread it every year.
Is it not a joyous
festival? queried the perplexed writer.
Ive got to
attend four office parties, the man
explained. I dont want to go to any
of them, and nor does anyone else. However, those
who dont attend will, for the rest of the
year, be accused of being wet blankets
and having a Bah Humbug attitude.
Bah, Humbug! Those are
Scrooges very words, thought Dickens,
amazed that his writing should be known to a
common man so far into the future.
Then theres the
presents, the man continued. Its
going to cost me hundreds of pounds to buy
everyone in the family something they dont
actually want, and even more to get the kids all
the electronic kit theyll need so the other
kids at school wont taunt them. I just cant
afford it! He sobbed in despair. Its
all going to put me deep into debt until at least
next Christmas then itll all start
again! And its the same for everyone!
Dickens was mortified.
Im so, so sorry, he said.
And then theres
the food. The trembling voice of the woman
at the other end of the bench reached his ears.
Dickens turned around to
witness her tear-stained face.
I cant afford
it, any more than that chap can, she
continued, pointing to the man, but Ive
got to buy more food and alcohol than my family
can possibly consume. Ive then got to cook
and serve it to relatives that I dont
particularly like wholl spend all
Christmas arguing with each other.
What will happen to
the surplus food and drink? enquired
I, and millions like
me, will eat and drink hugely more than we need,
to use it up, she confessed dejectedly.
Ive spent a fortune this year at
Slimming World. I was doing really well. Ive
lost a stone and a half. She briefly paused
to reflect upon her achievement with pride. She
then buried her head in her hands and began to
shed further torrents of tears. Im
going to put it all back on again, and probably
more, she sobbed, before the middle
of January. I hate Christmas!!
Dickens was speechless. He
staggered sideways in shock and had to be
supported by Wayne. Im so very, very
sorry, he said to Wayne. I never
realised . . .
interrupted Wayne, that, from your
point of view, this Christmas wont
happen for over 170 years.
Dickens felt a huge sense
of relief. There was still time to take action to
avoid this horrific outcome of events. As this
thought entered his mind, he became aware of a
mist enveloping him, and the sights and sounds of
the street fading to oblivion.
Suddenly, the mist cleared,
and he was once more sitting up in his own bed
with Wayne standing at his side.
Thank you, oh Spirit,
said Dickens with tears welling in his eyes.
I now see what a terrible future I might
have brought upon everyone. First thing on
the morrow, I will rewrite A Christmas
Carol to make Christmas Day just like any
other day. Bob Cratchit can work all day for
Ebenezer Scrooge, hence earning money to pay Tiny
Tims doctors bills. A modest and
fugal Christmas Day for his family will relieve
them of all the stress of Christmas and set an
example for future times. Dickens thought
for a few moments. You dont think
that the example of Scrooge will make bankers in
the 21st Century greedy, selfish and socially
irresponsible, do you?
I dont think
you could make that any worse,
Wayne reassured him.
May I ask a further
question? said Dickens.
I now understand how
my story would make a dreadful contribution to
the horrors of 21st Century Christmases,
Dickens continued, but surely there would
need to be other influences to make it as bad as
I have just witnessed.
there, responded Wayne, removing a piece of
paper from his pocket. Ive got the
list here of the others Ive been told to
Who else is on your
list? asked Dickens with curiosity.
Wayne inspected the piece
of paper. Among many others, Ive got
to convince this Prince Albert bloke that trees
are best left in forests; Ive got to visit
the bosses of Coca-Cola before they start their
1930 advertising campaign; and Ive got to
call on an Irving Berlin and a Bing Crosby to get
them to change the title of some popular song to
Im Dreaming of a Grey Easter.
Still, at least I can cross Dickens
Rewrite Christmas Carol off the list.
As he finished speaking,
Wayne touched the box on his belt, and the
screams of tortured souls from Hell once more
filled the room. He withdrew the other device
from his pocket and his thumbs recommenced
frantic tapping upon it.
Dickens now dearly wished
to ask more, but, before he could comment further,
the mysterious mist enveloped Wayne, the sounds
of the tormented faded, and the apparition was