Subject: A Fegmas Carol,
Prologue & Chapter 1
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 98 13:21:16 -0500
From: The Great Quail
To: "Fegmaniax!" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A FEGMAS CAROL
EB WAS DEAD, dead as a
doornail, that much must be understood. His
business partner in the Fashion Industry for these twenty long years,
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
of vogue, and even what artists were to play at the VH1 Fashion Awards
and thereby become top celebrities overnight. (Ah, who could forget
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
. . .
"Sir . . . " said Bayrd
Kratchit, shivering from the corner of the vast
Scrooge looked up in irritation,
his fingers posed on the keyboard. Damn
Fegs were at it again. Three glorious months of political postings,
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
whatnot. Bah! Well, Scrooge would show them! After this fifty-eight
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
from the socket and resting seductively on the long rubber coil.
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
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
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
her bondage gear in the Oval Office closet! So, what's so merry,
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
openly reach out to our brothers and sisters and wish them joy and
selflessly give them gifts, enjoy being alive even here, in the dead
Winter, and we can do all this without looking bizarre, getting beaten
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
they get silly, to stuff them with feggy pudding, pass out copies
Tigermonkey products, and to hold them so tightly against your heart
even Time and Decay themselves would dare not touch them for just
few golden moments! I say, at Chrsitmastime we should fling ourselves
laughing into the whirlwind of life! We should get dizzy with light
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
no heed to embrarassment, but rather trust that the universe will
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
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
The two men stood, one bearded and one Enoesque, smiling inanely
trying not to be impressed by the size of the marble hall or the
collection of Grateful Dead bootlegs lining the shelves. "Is either
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!
Eb knew that all that inheritance money earmarked for the Claudine
Preservation Society was really going to the Get Greg Dulli an Iron
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!
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
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
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. . . .
paused at the doorknocker, frowning. What . . . ?
It normally looked like a Jerry Garcia head, but something was not
-- ? 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
. . .normal after all. What was that all about? A hallucination?
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
acid, that must have been it. And stress -- I mean, he couldn't even
home in peace, he had to personally go to a few people and curtail
postings. Those sisters, Randi and Marcy! They haven't posted in
and they were due for some "Yes we worship the Quail" mail. And then,
course, Tom Clarkins the soup man! Imagine, he wanted an *extension*
when he should post the next Anti-Microsoft tirade. Well, Scrooge
kind bird -- so he gave him another week; but by damn the post better
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
But he was weighted with chains! Huge, spectral chains wrapped around
old partner, trailing to the floor and rattling.
"No -- Eb! It *can't*
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
Eb rattled his chains
furiously and howled; Scrooge had to cover his
ears. It was a terrible sound, a ghastly sound, like Mercury Rev
soundcheck over a blaring copy of Metal Machine Music. The howl wavered
in the air for a few moments, then mercifully faded. "SCROOGE! You
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
yes! I'm not afraid of you! You must be a flashback, because you
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!
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
"ANI DI FRANCO!!!!"
"Oh. I see." Quailbeneezer
"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
Life . . . each post I made that offended, each off-topic discussion,
each time I knocked Robyn, each time I went over 10k -- another link
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,
Suddenly the hand of terror
gripped Scrooge's heart. "Oh my God -- but
me! Quailspew! Politics! Posts that babbled on for 125 pages! My
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 . . .
"Chairman Mao" Flosshilde, Professor Oswald Fane, the Bee King, Woj
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
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
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
bruised by sodium and punctured by dying stars. It was the hosts
or worse: Limbo.
"Oh Eb, who are all these
"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 . . . ?"
continued in a few days___________
return to the posse
or Robyn menu.