A CI5 Christmas Carol
In Four Staves
By Rebelcat


Stave One: Marley’s Ghost is a Dubious Thing

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, anyway?

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!

Bodie: Eeep!

Doyle sniggers.

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, honest…

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 to scowling.

Murphy: I liked the one where we visualized our sacred spaces.

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.

Bodie: Hey!

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 streets.

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 unpleasant indeed!

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 Scotch.

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 dark.

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!

Doyle: Photos?

Murphy: Baby pictures?

A general scuffle ensues.


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 you?

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 might say.

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 up next.

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 backward.

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 touch, that.

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 Christmas.

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…

Doyle: Already?

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 you?

Betty: I’ve already done my part. Why don’t I help Murphy?

Murphy: Hang about! I’ve got a couple lines here.

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 enough!

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.

Bodie: Dead?

Stave Four: The Last of the Spirits, most dispiriting!

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.

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 Scrooge.

He turns to face Dr Ross.

Bodie: You trying to tell me I’m not doing my job?

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 with Doyle.

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 love…

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 all!

Bodie appears relieved. Doyle scans further, muttering to himself.

Doyle: Little git probably grows up to be a minister… Hey, Bodie, you’re apparently going to be like a second father to me.

Bodie: I wasn’t looking for a son! That’s just…

Doyle: Wrong.

Bodie: In so many ways.

Cowley clears his throat, pointedly.

Doyle: Right then, once more and all together now…

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 his flask.

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.

The End!