An Interview with Scrooge

INTERVIEWER: Good evening, Mr. Scrooge. Thank you for taking the time to come visit with us. I know you are a busy man.

SCROOGE: (gruffly) Yes, yes. Let’s get on with it then. You brought me here, what do you want to know? Although I can’t much see how my business acumen would apply to a bunch of do-gooders gathered in a church on Christmas Eve….

INTERVIEWER: Uh, yes, Christmas Eve. Will you be enjoying the holiday with friends?

SCROOGE: I’m not much one for wasting time lollygagging with dull, dim-witted acquaintances. I’d much rather be working anyway.

INTERVIEWER: You plan to be working tomorrow? Christmas Day?

SCROOGE: Of course. And I’ll have to double my efforts on account of my clerk—expecting to take off every holiday…with pay.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, your employee, Bob Cratchit. Let’s talk about him for a bit.

SCROOGE: (interrupting) Lazy. That’s all you need to know about him. Thinks he needs to spend more time with his family. They’ll have plenty of time together in the poor house after I fire him!

INTERVIEWER: You’re going to fire him?

SCROOGE: Yes! Probably tomorrow!

INTERVIEWER: But, Mr. Scrooge, tomorrow is Christmas Day.

SCROOGE: Oh, he’ll be fine. Isn’t he always talking about how God works everything out?  About how God takes care of him? Let’s see how God takes care of him when he doesn’t have the job I provided for him. I bet he’ll be shaking with fear!

INTERVIEWER: You assume he will be fearful because he won’t get another job?

SCROOGE(disgusted and annoyed) Of course! Weak and fearful. He’ll have to trust God.

INTERVIEWER: Do you trust God, Mr. Scrooge?

SCROOGE: (gathering himself) Of course I trust God. I trust Him to keep the sun in the sky another day so I can make money. Ha!

INTERVIEWER: Certainly. But you do consider yourself a Christian brother?

SCROOGE: Yes. Yes. I have been seen on occasion at church. Albeit in my younger years. I am certainly one of you all. (Gesturing at the audience) I’m here tonight aren’t I?! (beat) …and I give to charity.

INTERVIEWER: (gives Scrooge a stern look)

SCROOGE: I’ve given to charitable causes….before….once.

INTERVIEWER: Please tell us about it.

SCROOGE: I certainly will! I gave a plump sum to a friend in need on one occasion several years gone by. I had heard—from a preacher mind you—that God always makes good on our investments. That preacher told me “God will always pay back what you give,” and “You can’t out give God” is what he said. Word for word. I gave that man the money, and I gave God until the end of the month.

INTERVIEWER: You gave God until the end of the month?

SCROOGE: That’s right.

INTERVIEWER: To pay you back?

SCROOGE: Exactly. And do you know what happened at the end of the month?

INTERVIEWER: I don’t.

SCROOGE: Nothing. Nothing at all. I didn’t receive a penny from the church or any other clergy for that matter.

INTERVIEWER: And the man you gave the money to?

SCROOGE: Oh, I got my money back from him—years later. Interest too, mind you.

INTERVIEWER: But, Mr. Scrooge you seem to have done so well financially in your life. Don’t you feel God has blessed you?

SCROOGE: Humph. Perhaps. But it’s been hard, hard work that fills the bank account. Not giving it all away and trusting God to give back. A man has to take care of himself. You can’t be giving money away. No one is going to take care of me if I don’t have enough money to take care of myself. Not God or anyone else.

INTERVIEWER: So you don’t feel you can be generous because you might not have enough for yourself. In other words, God can’t be trusted to provide for you if you give too much away.

SCROOGE: That sounds about right. I knew my sound business-minded views would come in handy for you people.

INTERVIEWER: So have we identified your fear?

SCROOGE: Oh, fiddlesticks. What you call fear others might call good common sense!

INTERVIEWER: Excuse me, sir, but Mr. Cratchit has need to trust God to provide for him another job. Wouldn’t it makes sense to trust God to provide for you if you simply obey his request to help take care of the poor? And as it were, something in me doubts Mr. Cratchit has the same kind of fear as you, if it be fear at all.

SCROOGE: This interview seems to be dragging. I can’t imagine anyone is even listening anymore….(louder) Besides, I’m just as good at being “Christian” as anyone—perhaps even better at it because I don’t give.

INTERVIEWER: I beg your pardon?

SCROOGE: Christians give, if they give at all, out of their surplus. Giving a bit here and a bit there when it’s convenient, and even then merely to ease one’s conscience.  A sacrifice of surplus is simply a sacrifice for show. ‘Tis no sacrifice at all, and not what I believe one would venture to call a Christian virtue. It seems to me that obedience without sacrifice is hardly worth the price of parting with funds simply to relieve one’s guilt. Might as well hang on to it like I do. Show me the Christian brother who gives until they can actually feel it and then I will give something.

INTERVIEWER: You would? What would you give?

SCROOGE: Respect. Ha!

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Scrooge, surely you know there are many people who are obedient to the Lord’s call to help the poor and it is a source of great joy to them.

SCROOGE: Bad business sense is what it is.

INTERVIEWER: Business?

SCROOGE: Of course it’s business. It’s money. I believe a good business deal needs to be based on mutual trust and mutual risk. I give something and I trust I will get something in return. Do young people these days know nothing of investments or risks? How old are you anyway? Peart lad you are.

INTERVIEWER: So you feel giving to the poor is a bad business venture. Do you know the Bible says when you give to the poor, you are lending to God?

SCROOGE: I don’t see how you come to lending when we start with giving. Besides, what has God ever given to me and again, why should I trust Him when there isn’t any risk for Him?

INTERVIEWER: You might be surprised how much risk God has taken and what He has given us. I believe people give to the needy not to ease their conscience, or because they think it’s a good business venture, but to show them love. And we do this especially at Christmas because of the example of what God first gave to us: He showed His extravagant love for us by sending His Son Jesus. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. God offers us an answer to our greatest need. He gave the best investment He had and expected nothing in return.  I would think that is a great risk indeed.

SCROOGE: (thoughtful) Indeed. (shaking off the idea) But how is it advantageous to me?  Love can’t pay the bills or collect interest. Money is security. Money pays debt.

INTERVIEWER: You are absolutely right, but my point is that love paid your spiritual debt. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.“ All you need to do is accept that gift, Mr. Scrooge. Helping the poor and needy honors God by passing on the gift He gave us when we were spiritually poor and needy. And by so doing we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven that will never be destroyed.

SCROOGE: (slightly softer demeanor) Your flowery speech is pleasant, but impractical. (sighs) I must admit, something in my heart is pricked when you speak such things. (Louder) But I’m sure it’s not for a miser like me. I plan to continue working here on earth and when I get to heaven, if there is such a place, perhaps I’ll rest. But I’m sure if any treasure were to follow a man to heaven it would be mine. (getting up to leave.)

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Scrooge, would you stay for one more carol?

SCROOGE: Certainly not. It’s late. Don’t you people have need of sleep?

INTERVIEWER: I just hope you know that God loves you and he shows that by giving His Son. Will you please just think about that tonight? No one is promised tomorrow, and you never know what could happen—even tonight.

SCROOGE(Turns to look at interviewer with a quizzical, stern stare. Almost as if to ask if there’s something the interviewer knows that Scrooge doesn’t, then pauses and shakes it off.) Yes, well then, off I go. Thank you and good night.

INTERVIEWER: Good night. Merry Christmas.

SCROOGE: (exiting) Bah Humbug.

(END)

(Please note: this piece was originally performed as a ten minute play and is copyrighted. Please contact petiteprelude@gmail.com for information on performance rights.)

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