This was unfinished but is still worth a read .

A Fegmas Carol. 


Subject: A Fegmas Carol, Prologue & Chapter 1
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 98 13:21:16 -0500
From: The Great Quail 
To: "Fegmaniax!" <>



EB WAS DEAD, dead as a doornail, that much must be understood. His
business partner in the Fashion Industry for these twenty long years, Eb
Broomly fairly taught Quailbeneezer Scrooge everything he knew about
running an effective business. Side by side they constructed an empire
that spanned across all of Fegdom from its heart in the Empire State
Building -- together they set the trends, raising and lowering hemlines
at the slightest whim, determining when Bee Outfits would come in and out
of vogue, and even what artists were to play at the VH1 Fashion Awards
and thereby become top celebrities overnight. (Ah, who could forget when
the Prime Minister of Canada was just a semi-obscure singer and piano

But now Eb was dead this last year, And Quailbeneezer Scrooge carried on
the torch without him, tightening the noose even more on his vast empire.
. . .

______Chapter One______

"Sir . . . " said Bayrd Kratchit, shivering from the corner of the vast
marbled office.

Scrooge looked up in irritation, his fingers posed on the keyboard. Damn
Fegs were at it again. Three glorious months of political postings, and
they were bitching that it was time to discuss the meaing of an obscure
Robyn lyric from 1982; something about a mucky swine or a plucky pig or
whatnot. Bah! Well, Scrooge would show them! After this fifty-eight long
tirade against Harp Seal rights, no one would dare a peep of complaint
for a long time indeed!

He fixed his shivering employee in his beady gaze. "Yessss . . .?"

"Well, Mr. Scrooge sir, If I may, 'tis a bit cold in here, sir?" Bayrd
Kratchit glanced over meaningfully at the space heater, the cord removed
from the socket and resting seductively on the long rubber coil. His
words echoed feebly in the vast marble hall of the Empire State Building,
hollowed out to give visitors a proper sense of scale.

"You may *not.* Electricity costs money, and I need all the juice I can
get to argue this crucial point."

"Yes, sir. I shall shiver harder, perhaps then I shall not freeze. Thank
you for hearing me out, sir." Bayrd looked forlornly at the pictures of
his family on his desk. Ahhh . . . his family. . . . tomorrow was
Chrsitmastime, and even now LJ Kratchit would be cooking the Christmas

Scrooge shot him a frog-strangling look and bent back to his task, only
to hear the buzzer ring. Visitors? Bah!

The door opened up and who should enter but his nephew, Mark of
Glostershire. Tall and gangly with an impossible head of hair, Mark
bounced irrepressibly into the hall and fairly jingled with anticipation.
"Merry Christmas, Uncle!"

"What's so damn merry about it? We're bombing Quebec; the Tewsian
Socialists are at it again with the Libersquidtarians, everyone I know is
getting stung by bees, and my dear old partner's only son, Ebbles
Broomley, is fighting to maintain his father's Feg-hood in the Feg
Senate. Oh, yes, and they just impeached the President because they found
her bondage gear in the Oval Office closet! So, what's so merry, I ask

Mark smiled cheerfully. "Well, Uncle, that may all be true, but I say we
should celebrate the holidays anyway! It's one time of year where we can
openly reach out to our brothers and sisters and wish them joy and peace,
selflessly give them gifts, enjoy being alive even here, in the dead of
Winter, and we can do all this without looking bizarre, getting beaten up
as gay, or being carted off to the Loony bin. It is a time to get
together with friends and to *love* them, to force them to drink until
they get silly, to stuff them with feggy pudding, pass out copies of fine
Tigermonkey products, and to hold them so tightly against your heart that
even Time and Decay themselves would dare not touch them for just those
few golden moments! I say, at Chrsitmastime we should fling ourselves
laughing into the whirlwind of life! We should get dizzy with light and
music and wine and dance! We sould set aside our problems and differences
and we should throw open the shutters upon our souls, and we should pay
no heed to embrarassment, but rather trust that the universe will catch
us as we fall, keeping us aloft on wings of grace and wonder!"

"Hear hear!" burst Bayrd Kratchit, only to quicky lower his eyes to his
terminal at a withering stare from his boss. The glare then fixed upon
his delusional (but tall) nephew.

"Uh-huh, and what New Age Hallmark card did you crib that from, Sharkboy?"

Mark's witty reply was interrupted by two new callers, gentlemen dressed
in humble cloths and carrying their hats in the hands.

"Is this the residence of Scrooge and Broomly?"

"Yes! And what, may I ask, do *you* want!"

"Well, sir, I am Mikey Runion and this is Jimmy Dignan, and we are
collecting for the poor, sir, this being the Christmas season and all."
The two men stood, one bearded and one Enoesque, smiling inanely and
trying not to be impressed by the size of the marble hall or the
collection of Grateful Dead bootlegs lining the shelves. "Is either Mr.
Scrooge or Mr. Broomly in?"

"Bah! I am Quailbeneezer Scrooge, and Eb is dead as a doornail. Didn't
you read the prologue?"

Jimmy Dignan stepped forward eagerly. "Sir, that is a shame, because he
always contributed so much to our cause!"

"He was weak!" Scrooge growled. As much as Eb liked to play the gruff
one, his exterior was marred by a troublesome heart of gold. Ha! If only
Eb knew that all that inheritance money earmarked for the Claudine Longet
Preservation Society was really going to the Get Greg Dulli an Iron Lung
Fund, well. . . . "So . . . do the poorhouses still stand?"

"Oh, yes sir . . . terrible places filled with ex-Spice Girls, Fegs who
blew all their money on extra LP-only releases, and drummers, sir."

Scrooge nodded sagely, his brows beetling in mock concern. "And are there
no more who don't like to read fifty-page off-topic posts about genetics,
bondage, and tired old faux Chrsitmas parodies?"

"Oh, sir, 'tis true. The wee waifs, sir . . . they are barely holding on!"

Scrooge stood tall and summoned up all his indignant ire. "Good! Then I
wish them to drop off the List and decrease the surplus population! Now
get out, for you get nothing from me! Bah! Humbug!"

Nephew Mark and Bayrd Kratchit looked up in chagrined horror as the two
men scuttled out, Scrooge shouting after them and flingling his mousepad
at Runion's head. His nephew laughed nervously, "Uncle? I say, Merry
Chrsitmas anyway, you old ogre, and please come to my house for Christmas
Dinner. My wife, Danielle, and I would love to have you!"

"Bah! I say, any fool how goes around with Merry Chrisitmas on his lips
should be boiled in his feggy pudding and buried with a lick of buddy
holly through his heart!"

Mark left, leaving only a free trial copy of "Monday's Lunch" on the
desk, and Bayrd glanced up, words forming on his lips --

"Don't say it, Frog-boy. I know what you want, so take the damn day off
tomorrow. I've seen this movie before, too. But be in here EXTRA EARLY
the next day -- I have a thirty-two page posting about the unfair
economic politics of record companies all ready to send, and by golly,
you are going to proofread it *all!*"

Bayrd Kratchit, a little unsure why his boss felt the need to punctuate
things with trendy self-referntial postmodernisms, picked up his hat,
shut down his tcMac, and left for home. . . . to his loving family.

Scrooge looked around the empty hall, watching a few flakes of snow swirl
across the foyer as Bayrd shut the door.

"Christmas! Bah. . . . ."

________Chapter Two_________

Quailbeneezer Scrooge paused at the doorknocker, frowning. What . . . ?
It normally looked like a Jerry Garcia head, but something was not right
-- ? It almost looked like-- Yikes! It was moving, and it was Eb!!!!

"ScrooooOOOoooge. . . . "

No, impossible! Scrooge shook his head, the cup of soup he bought from
Tom Clarkins the Soup man trembling in his hand. No, the doorknocker was
. . .normal after all. What was that all about? A hallucination? A

Producing a key, he went upstairs and put on his nightgown. It was
stress, that was it. Or at least a flashback -- that chocolate chip brown
acid, that must have been it. And stress -- I mean, he couldn't even walk
home in peace, he had to personally go to a few people and curtail their
postings. Those sisters, Randi and Marcy! They haven't posted in a while,
and they were due for some "Yes we worship the Quail" mail. And then, of
course, Tom Clarkins the soup man! Imagine, he wanted an *extension* on
when he should post the next Anti-Microsoft tirade. Well, Scrooge was a
kind bird -- so he gave him another week; but by damn the post better be
twice as long!

Scrooge lit a fire and began sipping his soup . . .


"Yikes!" Soup tumbled across his nightie as he stood up alarmed. "What?!"

Chains rattled . . . then came a heavy, ponderous knock at the door.
"ScrrRRroooge, let me Innnn!"

"No, I shall not, Eb! You're DEAD, you dead bastard! Stay dead! Please!"

Scrooge watched in horrified amazement as a ghost entered his world
through, yes, literally, through the front door.

Oh, it was Eb alright. But what was wrong? He stood there, hovering, the
firelight playing on the highlights of his green and white striped shirt.
But he was weighted with chains! Huge, spectral chains wrapped around his
old partner, trailing to the floor and rattling.

"No -- Eb! It *can't* be you!"

Eb hissed. "Do you doubt the evidence of your own senses?"

"No, it's not that, it's just -- well, the shirt. What happened to the
yellow stripes?"

Eb rattled his chains furiously and howled; Scrooge had to cover his
ears. It was a terrible sound, a ghastly sound, like Mercury Rev doing a
soundcheck over a blaring copy of Metal Machine Music. The howl wavered
in the air for a few moments, then mercifully faded. "SCROOGE! You think
that I'm Charlie Brown, that I never change my SHIRT?"

"No . . . no . . but Jesus, I mean I hate to point out the obvious, but
you're, um, dead. You must be a piece of undigested Taco Bell, that's it,
yes! I'm not afraid of you! You must be a flashback, because you know,
the doornail thing! The Prolo--"

Rattling chains shut him up about the damn Prologue. "Oh, Quailbeneezer,
I am here from beyond to inform you that you are heading for HELL! In
life, I was your business partner Eb Broomly; in death, I am TORTURED!
The pain! The suffering! Oh oh, there is no taste in music in the
Afterword! The Afghan Whigs! Phish! Even, ferchrissakes, TOOL!"

"That doesn't sound so -- "


"Oh. I see." Quailbeneezer shut up.

"But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to tell you that you can avoid
this fate . . . see these chains?" Rattle. Rattle. "I forged these in
Life . . . each post I made that offended, each off-topic discussion,
each time I knocked Robyn, each time I went over 10k -- another link in
this God-forsaken burden!"

"But Eb -- you avoided politics, and your posts were fairly short. And
yet -- " He motioned to the chain. "And yet, that's pretty damn long, and

Suddenly the hand of terror gripped Scrooge's heart. "Oh my God -- but
me! Quailspew! Politics! Posts that babbled on for 125 pages! My chain
must be -- "

"Longer than EDDIE'S, but Eddie lead the ironworkers of Hell in a strike
that brought about a Union, so they kicked him out of the Afterworld.
You, however, have some people waiting to get even with you . . . Debbie
"Chairman Mao" Flosshilde, Professor Oswald Fane, the Bee King, Woj Sven
Woj, Dan-Yell, Helen Percival. . . ."

"But -- but -- none of them were -- "

"SILENCE!!! You made your bed, no you are going to lay in it, unless . .
. OO-O-OoooOOOoh" Rattle. Rattle.

"Stop the spooky noises, Eb, it's scary. Unless what?"

"Well, you're Postmodern Boy, you know what's coming. You will be visited
by THREE APPARITIONS! One each hour on the hour after Midnight!"

Scrooge backed against the wall, shaking in fear, holding his hands in
front of his face. "No! I'd rather not. No -- ghosts are scary, even the
friendly ones!"

Suddenly Eb rushed forward and scooped up the trembling Scrooge, and the
windows blew open in a burst of sound and visuals that would make Steven
Spielberg blush. Whoooooosh -- they were out, flying above Fegdom.

But they were not alone. Ghosts, lost souls, swarmed in the air -- pale
and driven, howling, a net of undead oblivion cast across a dark sky
bruised by sodium and punctured by dying stars. It was the hosts of hell,
or worse: Limbo.

"Oh Eb, who are all these tortured souls?"

"You should recognize them, Quailbeneezer! You drove them all off the

And it was true -- there was Jay Hedblade, Dave Blatzman, Susan Even,
Tracy Aileen Copeland; Jon Fetter, Jeffrey Vaska, Glen Uber, Vashty
Hawkins, Steven Matrick, Mike Breen, Sydney, Nick Winkworth, LSDiamond,
Roger Jackson . . . .

"No! It can't be!"

"Well, it is. Except for Jon Fetter; that's just wishful thinking on your

The sheer horror of it all rushed into Scrooge and he screamed --

Only to wake up in his bed in a cold sweat. The clock chimed:


One O'clock. . . .

A female voice came drifting in from the study . . . a glowing light . .
. strains of XTC . . . .

"Scrooge . . . ?"

________________to be continued in a few days___________

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