Once upon a time, in the Victorian part of Equestria, there lived an old nag named Scratchy Scrooge…
Scratchy was the owner of the most successful music business in the land. She and her former partner had built the company from a fledgling used record store into a veritable corporate empire over the course of several decades. The secret behind the moneymaking power of Scratchy and Luna Records could be traced to the frugal, flat out miserly ways in which the two partners operated. Since Luna’s death several Christmases ago, Scratchy has managed to somehow become even more tight-hooved when it came to spending the company’s money.
Nobody was more aware of Scratchy’s penny pinching ways than her humble employee Twilight Cratchit. Twilight was overworked and underpaid in every sense of the word, and was forced to tend to her neverending tasks while her boss played the most horrific, mind-numbing muzak in the background.
And so it was on a late Christmas Eve afternoon that we find Twilight continuing the daunting task of alphabetizing her employer’s massive 8-track catalog while Scratchy counted out the fruits of that day’s sales at her desk. Twi had been working up the courage all week to ask Scratchy if she could possibly take Christmas Day off… a day which was just like any other ordinary day to her unfeeling employer.
TWILIGHT: Excuse me…. Miss Scratchy… But do you think…. I could maybe…. you know, take tomorrow off since it’s…..
SCRATCHY: Since it’s what? Christmas!?!? BAH!!! There’s too much that needs to be done!
TWILIGHT: But I was hoping to have Christmas dinner with my family for once… you know, like the whole spirit of the holidays thing?
SCRATCHY: Spirit? Family? Humbug, I say!
Twilight hangs her head down and against her will, tears begin to flow… blotting out the liner notes of “Afternoon Delight” on the desk below her. Scratchy tries to ignore her charge’s inability to contain her emotions, but it eventually chips away at the encrusted shell of apathy that surrounds her hidden heart.
SCRATCHY: (Sighs deeply) Oh, very well. Take the day off… but I’m going to dock you four hours pay for this!
TWILIGHT: Oh, thank you so much, Miss Scratchy! Now, is there anything we could do about that terrible noise that plays while I’m trying to concentrate?
SCRATCHY: That is not noise! Muzak is good for productivity, and a productive workplace is a successful workplace! Go ahead and sing along with Posh Spice… you know you wanna!
TWILIGHT: Oh gee, will you look at the time. Sorry I can’t volunteer to stay for more unpaid overtime this evening, Miss Scratchy. Good night, and I’ll see you on the 26th!
SCRATCHY: Hmph! You’d think ten years worth of servitude under me would have made that mare into a lean, mean, nose-to-the-books business machine by now. I guess I’ll just have to finish things up myself to keep the money coming in….
PINKIE: (Bursting through the door) MERRY CHRISTMAS, AUNT SCRATCHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SCRATCHY: Oh, for the love of Mr. Ed… would you please leave me alone, Pinkie! I have entirely too much work to do here!
PINKIE: Don’t you know it’s Christmas Eve, Aunt Scratchy? Forget about that stupid paperwork and help me toast the holidays! In fact, I came to invite you to my Christmas party I’m having tomorrow! Everyone is going to be there!
SCRATCHY: Everyone who doesn’t appreciate the value of hard work and earning a living, that is. Celestia only gave us 365 days in a year to do everything that needs to be done, and rather than carouse about and celebrate this made-up holiday of yours, I plan on having my snout to the grindstone tomorrow to keep my vault from running low!
PINKIE: (Completely oblivious) Great, so I can expect you to be there, then?
SCRATCHY: Get OUT of my office before I call the constables to forcibly THROW you out!!!!
PINKIE: (Backing up towards the door) Aw, I still love ya, Aunt Scratchy, even if you are a big ol’ party pooper! Merry Christmas to ya!
SCRATCHY: And a Bah Humbug back atcha. Insufferable little niece of mine. I sure hope the interruptions are about over with… (the door opens again)
SPONKIE 1: Excuse me, ma’am. I hope we’re not intruding on this glorious Christmas Eve. May my sister and I have a brief word with you?
SCRATCHY: Whatever you two moochers are attempting to pick my pocket for, I can assure you I already gave at the office…
SPONKIE 2: Ma’am, we’re trying to raise money to help feed the starving wallabies of our beloved homeland.
SCRATCHY: You have got to be fucking kidding me….
SPONKIE 1: No ma’am, this is a very urgent cause, and if we can’t raise enough money by the end of the year buy food, thousands of innocent wallabies might end up starving to death!
SCRATCHY: Such a pity. Let them get jobs and work for their own food…
SPONKIE 2: Please, ma’am! Even just a few coins would go a long way towards helping to ease the suffering of these magnificent creatures…
SCRATCHY: It will be a cold day in HELL when I lend so much as a penny to feed some useless animal who can’t even support themselves! Do I need to show you two hippies to the door?
SPONKIE 1: Won’t you please reconsider ma’am? Your conscience…..
SCRATCHY: Out! OUT! OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And so Scratchy, finally left alone as the late hours of Christmas Eve rolled around, was able to finish up what her secretary couldn’t. She tidied up the office and stashed away that day’s profits in her vault before retiring to her bed for the evening.
But when Scratchy entered her bedroom, she saw a sight that made the hair on her mane stand on end. It was a transparent figure that looked like a ghost…. and not just any ghost! The ghost of her deceased partner, Luna Marley!
LUNA: (Moaning) Scraaaatchy! Scraaaaaatchy!
SCRATCHY: No, this can’t be! I need to cut back on the vodka chugging before bedtime…
LUNA: It is I, your former partner, Luna! Because of my lack of compassion and empathy for my fellow pony while I was alive, I have been sentenced to wander Celestia for all of eternity dragging these heavy chains behind me!
SCRATCHY: Chains, schmains! Those are Mardi Gras beads! I always knew you had a wild streak in you, Luna…
LUNA: SILENCE, fool! I certainly didn’t come back to this hellhole of ours to listen to your smart mouth! I have a warning for you! Tonight, you will be visited by three more ghosts who will help you to see the error of your ways. You would be wise to heed their lessons…
SCRATCHY: Come on, Luna! Where’d you get those beads from?
LUNA: They are my CHAINS!!!! I can’t help it The Nest doesn’t have a proper prop department…
SCRATCHY: You’ve been flashing the titties, haven’t you?
LUNA: I have NOT, I….
SCRATCHY: (In a taunting, sing-song voice) Luna’s been flashing the titties! Luna’s been flashing the titties! Luna’s…
LUNA: (Lightning flashes and thunder claps) SILENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Scratchy stops her teasing and immediately takes on a more worried look in her face…
LUNA: These ghosts may not be as nice as I am. You will listen and learn from them… or when your time finally comes, your beads… er, chains will be even longer and heavier than mine are!
Scratchy turned to mull over this odd warning she had just been given. When she turned back around to ask Luna why she was being haunted like this, the ghost was gone…. beads and all.
SCRATCHY: Hmmm….. BAH! The whole thing was in my mind. Just the remnants of some alcohol that must have passed through my brain on its way to the liver. I’m hitting the sack!
And with that, Scratchy got into her cheap, rickety old bed and pulled up the covers to fight off the cold…
SCRATCHY: Ghosts……. really. There’s no such thing as ghosts……. there’s no such thing as……
Scratchy pulled the covers up just a bit farther…..
TO BE CONTINUED……..