CI5 Christmas Carol
In Four Staves
Stave One: Marley’s Ghost is a Dubious
The cast assemble. Bodie and Doyle are front stage, centre. Murphy
is diligently assembling the set, under Dr Ross’s directions.
Betty is folding programs.
Doyle: I refuse to play Tiny Tim! I'm not tiny!
Bodie (leering): Yeh, I can attest to that.
Doyle: And don't you start!
Bodie (switching quickly to innocence): What?
I was backing you up!
Bodie moves over and stands next to Doyle, holding
his hand over Doyle's head.
Bodie: See? He's quite a respectable height. Nearly
as tall as me, especially if you factor in the extra two inches
his hair gives him... ow!
Doyle rubs his fist, and glowers. Bodie takes
a large step to the side, out of range.
Bodie: Anyway, I don't see why I have to play
Scrooge. Shouldn't it be Cowley? When's the last time we got a rise,
Doyle: Three years ago.
Bodie (quoting): Oh! But he was a tight-fisted
hand at the grindstone was the Cow! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping,
scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!
Cowley (hitherto unnoticed): Ahem!
Cowley: Not so much of the old, sonny!
Bodie: It’s my jocular sense of humour,
sir. Get carried away at times. Don’t mean any harm by it,
Cowley: Stop twittering, man! Get your hand off
your forelock and give that cap back to Tiny Tim!
Doyle refuses to take the cap. He crosses his
arms and scowls.
Doyle: I won’t play Tiny Tim!
Cowley: Dr Ross, please remind the agents of the
purpose of this exercise.
Dr Ross: Team building!
Bodie and Doyle groan in unison.
Bodie: It’s never more trust exercises!
Agent 4.5 keeps dropping me on my head!
Doyle sniggers again, briefly. Then goes back
Murphy: I liked the one where we visualized our
Bodie: Only because yours is halfway up the Eiger!
Bodie glares at Ross.
Bodie: I still don’t see why mine can’t
be my local.
Dr Ross: Your sacred space is a mental construct
free of fear and confusion. You visualize it to clear your mind
of the stresses of daily life. It’s intended to be a place
of peace and clarity.
Bodie: Half way into a pint!
Doyle: Let it go, mate.
Dr Ross: Today, we will be using theatre as a
vehicle for examining our relationship roles. Scrooge has trust
issues, and difficulty functioning in society in a positive and
constructive manner. Therefore, Bodie plays Scrooge.
Murphy: Well, you do keep saying you only joined
this mob for the money.
Doyle: Which considering how long it’s been
since we last saw a rise, proves you must be insane. Still, I don’t
see why I have to play Tiny Tim! I’ve got nothing in common
with that crippled little milksop!
Dr Ross: You’re the only human being Bodie
cares about. If anyone else played Tim, the story would end with
the entire Cratchit family out on their ears, freezing in the cruel
Bodie: That’s a bit much, don’t you
think? I’m not completely heartless!
Doyle: Yeah, you’d shoot them first. Put
‘em out of their misery.
Bodie crosses his eyes at Doyle. Doyle sticks
his tongue out at Bodie. Cowley clears his throat impatiently.
Dr Ross: Doyle plays Tiny Tim. Betty is the Ghost
of Christmas Past. Murphy is the Ghost of Christmas Present. And
Cowley is the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Cowley: And if you lot don’t fall in line
immediately, I will make your futures in this organization very
Murphy (awed): He’s good!
Doyle: What about Marley?
Dr Ross: I’m playing Marley. Bodie, you
will be haunted by three spirits. Places, everyone!
Stave Two: To everyone’s disappointment,
the First of the Three Spirits turns out not to be a Single Malt
Bodie and Doyle are whispering together, ignoring
Betty, who is trying to read her lines.
Doyle: How much more of this have we got?
Betty (loudly): I said! “I am the Ghost
of Christmas Past!”
Bodie hurriedly checks his script.
Bodie: Oh, uh… “Long past?”
Betty: “No, your past!”
Bodie: Let’s see… Ross’s only
got us for another 32 minutes and fifty-three seconds.
Bodie holds his watch out for Doyle to admire.
Bodie: New watch! It’s got a second hand
and everything. Loads better than that Superman thing you gave me.
Five seconds to thirty-one minutes. Beep, beep, beep…
Betty: “The things that you will see with
me are shadows of the things that have been…”
Betty stops and looks offstage at Cowley with
a worried expression.
Betty: Sir, I think we have a problem.
Dr Ross: What is it?
Betty (still talking to Cowley): I did some research
for this role. Into Bodie’s past.
Cowley: However dark his past, I’m sure…
Betty: But that’s just it! His past isn’t
Bodie: Yes, it is!
Betty: No, it isn’t. Your loving mum and
doting dad are alive and well, living with your grandmother, who
thinks the world of you. You’ve got three older sisters…
Doyle: That’s a tragedy in of itself.
Betty: By all accounts you were adored as a child.
Your mother even sent me some old family photos…
Bodie: Give me those!
Murphy: Baby pictures?
A general scuffle ensues.
Cowley: STAND DOWN!
Instant silence as every agent freezes. Murphy
has one of the photos and is holding it up over everyone’s
heads. Betty is trying to retrieve her files, which are all over
the floor. And Doyle is sitting on Bodie, trying to pull the rest
of the photos out from under his stomach.
Cowley: I will not have you brawling!
Murphy: I’ve got Bodie in short pants and
a sailor suit!
Bodie: Murph, you’re a dead man!
Dr Ross (in an aside to Cowley): This is precisely
why I insisted we disarm them.
Doyle: Hand it over!
Murphy passes the photo around while Bodie, still
pinned under Doyle, groans loudly.
Cowley: Erm. Quite a healthy lad, weren’t
Doyle: You were fat!
Bodie: Was not! Just big boned. Me mum said so.
Doyle: Yeah, bet she loved the way you always
cleared your plate!
Murphy: And went back for seconds!
Doyle: And thirds!
Cowley: Enough, lads! I believe Agent 3.7 has
been humiliated quite enough. Dr Ross? I haven’t all day to
dedicate to this exercise.
Dr Ross clears her throat. She looks suspiciously
as if she’s been laughing.
Dr Ross: Give me the photos.
She collects the remains of Betty’s files.
Doyle allows Bodie up, and they pick up the rest of the photos.
Bodie (helpfully): I think burning these would
be most beneficial from a psychological standpoint. Cathartic, you
Cowley: These will go into your sealed file, Bodie.
There will be no threats of blackmail.
Murphy looks disappointed. Doyle manages to hide
the photo of Bodie in the sailor suit in his jacket. Cowley clears
his throat and looks pointedly at his watch.
Dr Ross: Well, I believe we’ve had quite
enough of Bodie… I mean, Scrooge’s past. Murphy, you’re
Murphy brightens, rubbing his hands together.
Murphy: I’ve got props!
Stave Three: The Second of the Three
provides the Spirits, but regrettably still no Scotch.
The cast looks dubiously at the footlocker Murphy
has just hauled onstage. It’s sloshing ominously.
Dr Ross: That’s not on the set list…
Murphy: Well, actually it’s intended for
the party tonight, but I thought we could use a bit of seasonal
cheer. I doubt the lads will mind.
Doyle leans over, sniffs, and immediately recoils
Doyle: My eyes!
Cowley: Good lord, man! What have you got in there?
Murphy: Just the usual stuff. Bits of fruit and
whatever booze the lads felt inspired to donate – or wanted
to get rid of. Ah… I think Anson came up with a bottle of
whisky, Susan chipped in with some crème de menthe and Jax…
was Jax the gin or the vodka? Someone had vodka. At any rate, it’s
been brewing nicely since the first.
Bodie (happily): Excellent! Did you bring mugs?
Without waiting for an answer from Murphy, Bodie
reaches for the latch on the footlocker. Doyle slaps his hand away.
Doyle: Are you mad? That stuff will make you blind!
Bodie: No, the fruit absorbs most of the alcohol.
The other stuff’s fine to drink. We had this every year at
the SAS Christmas party! Right down to the locker… Nice authentic
Murphy: Thank you! I used yours.
Doyle: Do you know what he keeps in there?
Bodie (smirking): Do you?
Cowley: Murphy, I’m disappointed in you.
It’s a crime what you’ve done to perfectly decent alcohol.
You’ll dispose of that witches brew, immediately! I’ll
not have my entire squad down with alcohol poisoning the day after
Bodie: But sir, it’s perfectly safe as long
as you don’t eat the fruit… (Flinches at the look Cowley
gives him.) Uh, shall I help Murphy with the disposal?
Cowley: No, Dr Ross still has us for the next…
(Checks his watch again.) Fifteen minutes. And you’re the
main character in this play.
Bodie taps his watch.
Bodie (sadly): I think it’s broken…
Bodie: I can’t imagine how. It’s not
like I wasn’t just tackled by some bloody gorilla…
Doyle: You still have the Superman one, don’t
Betty: I’ve already done my part. Why don’t
I help Murphy?
Murphy: Hang about! I’ve got a couple lines
Murphy pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of
his back pocket. Climbing up onto the footlocker, he clears his
throat. With dramatic flourish, he reads aloud.
Murphy: “Come in, come in! And know me better,
man! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! You have
never seen the like of me before!”
Bodie (sarcastically): Never.
Doyle: Oh, nicely read!
Bodie: What? You mean that was my line?
Murphy: And off to see the Cratchits! Have fun!
Together, Murphy and Betty drag the footlocker
off stage, leaving puddles behind.
Doyle is flipping through his script.
Doyle: I can’t do this. This kid is unbelievable!
(Quoting) “As good as gold and better. He told me, coming
home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he
was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember, upon
Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.”
Bodie: That’s not your line, that’s
Bob Cratchit. And where it says to be read in a “tremulous”
voice, I’m quite certain it don’t mean shaking with
anger and disgust.
Doyle (throwing the script down): I’ve had
Bodie: Some father you are!
Cowley: Stop being such a prima donna, man, and
read your lines! The sooner Bodie, I mean Scrooge, has his revelation,
the sooner we can be done with all this!
Doyle (very fast): God-bless-us-every-one. There!
Now let me the hell out of this play!
Dr Ross: You’re dead for the entirety of
the next act. Go and sit down.
Doyle stomps off ungratefully.
Bodie stares after him, looking alarmed.
Stave Four: The Last of the Spirits,
Cowley clears his throat and stands very straight,
prepared to recite his part. He pauses and looks closer at the script.
Realizing only now that he has no lines, he frowns and points at
Bodie is not looking at his script. He’s
staring at Dr Ross with a look of shocked revelation on his face.
Bodie: Wait one bloody minute. What’s this
about Doyle being dead?
Doyle: It’s not me, mate! It’s this
git, Tiny Tim.
Bodie: Yeah, but there’s supposed to be
some kind of parallel, right? That’s why she made me play
He turns to face Dr Ross.
Bodie: You trying to tell me I’m not doing
Dr Ross: It’s only one of many possible
futures. But it is likely if you continue on the path you’ve
chosen. I’ve gone over the variables, and…
Bodie (outraged): You set me up! This isn’t
a team building exercise. You think I could get Ray killed!
Unnoticed by the rest, Cowley pulls a small silver
flask from his coat and takes a long swig.
Dr Ross: A working partnership is symbiotic, closer
than a marriage. You have to commit yourself to making it work.
Bodie: I’ve never let Ray down!
Dr Ross: What about when you went after that motorcycle
gang last month?
Bodie: That was personal. It had nothing to do
Dr Ross: Didn’t it? What about when you
got him to race? Did you tell him what he was up against? How about
when he tried to help you? Did you let him?
Bodie doesn’t answer immediately. He scowls
at the floor.
Bodie (finally): Okay, point taken. Doyle’s
my own true love. I’ve done him wrong. Will endeavour to do
better in the New Year. Are we done yet?
Doyle: Sounds good to me, mate! Unless there’s
a song and dance number we forgot.
Bodie: There’s never!
Cowley (flips through script): No singing, no
dancing, for which I’m certain we’re all grateful. (Checks
his watch, yet again.) Let’s finish this. I’ve got a
meeting with the Minister in ten minutes.
Doyle (in an aside to Bodie): Speaking of true
Dr Ross: Gentleman, I think this session is concluded.
Doyle, you may read your last line.
Doyle turns to the last page.
Doyle: Oh, look here! I’m not dead after
Bodie appears relieved. Doyle scans further, muttering
Doyle: Little git probably grows up to be a minister…
Hey, Bodie, you’re apparently going to be like a second father
Bodie: I wasn’t looking for a son! That’s
Bodie: In so many ways.
Cowley clears his throat, pointedly.
Doyle: Right then, once more and all together
Everyone: God bless us, every one!
Bodie: Ray, what’s that in your pocket?
Doyle quickly glances down, and tries to tuck
something back into his jacket. He isn’t quick enough.
Bodie: You’ve got one of my photos!
Doyle: I just want something to remember you by!
To hold close when the nights are cold!
Bodie: I swear, next time there’s bullets
flying, I’m pushing you in front of them!
Exeunt cast, with much alacrity. Bodie chasing
Doyle, who is sniggering again. Cowley follows at a more dignified
pace, looking annoyed, and draining the last of the scotch from
Dr Ross remains behind, cleaning up. She retrieves
a tape from a camera concealed inside the artificial Christmas tree.
Dr Ross (to herself): I think that went well!
Let’s see. What’s next? Transcendental meditation? Primal
scream therapy? Ah, I have it! Discovering their Inner Anima, the
woman inside. I think Doyle in particular has been repressing his…
Humming happily, Dr Ross exits stage right.