Title: Elsinger Scrooge
Summary: Frank Elsinger meets some ghosts.
Frank Elsinger was on the warpath. At the moment,
he was ranting about budgets, tests and equipment.
One of the things that had him going was a letter from
Edie Thompson, a woman from his past. The letter was an invitation
to her wedding. Of course, Elsinger would not admit that this was
what had him steamed, but it was.
"Ax-on!" He yelled.
Peter came limping into his office. He had broken
his leg on an assignment.
"What is it, Elsinger?" He asked as he
"These tests you've ordered . . . this
equipment . . . it's too much. You won't get it. Any of it."
Peter blew up.
"What do you mean? I need that
equipment to do my job!"
"I think you need to get back to doing your
job!" Frank countered.
"I'll have it done by Christmas!" Peter
"That's okay, because you will be working on
Christmas Day." Peter's eyes bugged out of his head.
"Hey, wait a minute, I have vacation coming."
Elsinger shook his head.
Peter came bursting into the conference room where the
others were gathered.
"He can't do this!" The others looked
up. They knew he had been going to see Elsinger, so they weren't
surprised when, he came back in this foul mood.
"He cancelled my vacation." Peter was
going to use his vacation time to recuperate from his broken leg.
"He also recalled the tests that I ordered." The others smiled.
Elsinger at his best, they thought.
"Uh, Pete, what do you say I go and talk to
him for you. Maybe I can get your vacation time back for you."
Peter looked at Matt skeptically.
When Matt walked into Elsinger's office, he could
see that Frank was still grouchy from his conversation with Peter.
"Hey, Frank, Merry Christmas." Matt paused
"I'm sorry, I just thought that you were
going to say, 'Bah, Humbug'."
"Anyway, I came to see if I could talk you into giving Peter some time off
- it being Christmas and all." Matt laughed awkwardly as he
anticipated Frank's answer.
"I'll tell you what, I'll give him all the time he
wants. In fact, I'll give you all all the time you need.
You're all fired. Now get out."
Matt was so shocked that he simply backed out of the
office. When Matt returned to the conference room, the others were
not prepared for what he had to say.
"Well, gang. I have some good news and I have
some bad news. Pete, the good news is that I got you your time off.
But, don't celebrate too soon. The bad news is that we all
have time off. Like the rest of our lives." They all gave Matt
"I knew better than to let you go and talk to
Elsinger." Peter said.
Matt smiled weakly.
The next day, a Saturday, Elsinger came into work.
He was still in a bad mood about the firings from the day before.
His guilt was keeping him from enjoying a good firing.
As he approached his private office and prepared for his
retinal scan, he blinked at the sight that appeared before him. The
retinal scanner had transformed into a ghostly figure. It was Michael
"Kelly. What are . . .Where is this
transmission coming from? Is this some kind of a joke? Ax-on!"
"Peter's not here. It's just you and me.
mano es mano. You fired Peter Axon, remember? I'm not here to
talk about Peter, I'm here to talk about you."
Elsinger was still having trouble believing that Kelly
was really there. He was looking all around the figure and putting his
hand through it. All the while, he was muttering something about a
"Come on Frank. You should recognize a
ghostly apparition when you see one."
Elsinger was half way believing that the sight before
his eyes was real.
"What are these chains attached to you,
Kelly?" Michael Kelly let out with a maniacal laugh.
"These old things? These are the chains that
I forged in life. They represent the deals that I made to get
certain information. The friends I had to screw over to get certain
Elsinger nodded as if he understood about Kelly's life.
"Don't be so quickly to judge me. Your chains
are twice as long as mine. There's twice as much dirt under your bed as
there is under mine. Just as many skeletons in your closet. . . dirty
laundry. . . "
"Enough with the cliches. What is the
point of all of this?"
"I've come to warn you." Mike wore a
smug look on his face.
"Warn me? You don't even like me. Hell,
I don't like you. What do you have to warn me about?"
Elsinger was getting angry now. He resented the
smug look on Mike's face.
"Oh, don't mistake my doing this for you out of
some kind of affection. I'm doing this because the more good works I do,
the more I shorten the length of my chain.
Elsinger was ready for his visit to end.
"I know that you want me to leave. But,
before I go, you know the routine. You will be visited by three
ghosts. Hopefully, after these visits, you will change your
evil ways. Although, I gotta tell you, I don't think that you
will." Again, Mike started in with the maniacal laughter and then, he
To say that Elsinger was rattled, was an understatement.
He tried to get back to work, but he couldn't concentrate. He tried
to think if the incident had really happened. He brushed it off.
"I just need to eat. That's it. I'm
light-headed because I haven't eaten."
At just that moment, there was a bright flash.
It was so bright that it was painful. The light seemed to be
absorbed by some unknown source. And there, standing in front of Elsinger,
was Connor Doyle.
"Doyle. But, this can't be. You're
dead." Connor smiled ever so slightly.
"Yes, you should know that better
than anyone. I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. Come with me and take
a look at your wretched past." Elsinger didn't like the way Connor
He walked with Connor right through the wall as the
building dissolved around them. They were strolling down a street in what
looked like a desolate neighborhood. Presently, they saw a little boy
running down the street. He had newspapers clutched in, his tiny
hands. He was stopped short by two bigger boys who grabbed his papers and
took his money. The boys ran away laughing.
"I didn't know what to do. I couldn't go back
to the paper station. They wouldn't believe me if I told them what really
happened. So, I ran home." Elsinger's rough exterior cracked
somewhat as he remembered what happened next.
Doyle and Elsinger could not be seen by people
from that dimension, followed the little boy as he ran into a dirty apartment
"What are you doing home? Where's your
pay?" Elsinger turned his back and winced. Oh, yes. . .
He knew what was coming next.
It was as if the adult Elsinger felt the blow that came
next even though he wasn't looking. He winced at the same time the junior
image of himself did.
"It's hard for you to relive this, isn't it?"
Connor asked sympathetically.
"I was a bad child. I needed to be
disciplined." Elsinger repeated lies that he had heard all the time
as a child.
"But, you didn't do anything. It wasn't
Elsinger stood rigid as stone.
"It doesn't matter. It just made up for the
times I did things and wasn't caught."
Connor shook his head sorrowfully as they moved on.
Again the scenery seemed to dissolve around them.
As Elsinger watched, as a much younger self and
Edie were sitting on a lovely park bench. They were kissing passionately
and Elsinger remembered how much in love he felt. His heart ached as he
thought of the beautiful woman sitting there.
Edie was a Remote Viewer. They had used her on
several cases in the past.
Frank Elsinger had just made the rank of Case Manager
and was very proud. When his friend Edie found out she teased him.
"I guess that makes you my boss now."
She was smiling at him, but he looked serious.
"Have dinner with me." He waited for her
"Let us go to another Christmas Day."
Connor was saying.
They arrived at an office that wasn't familiar to
Elsinger. It looked like any other office of a young executive of some
At the desk sat a younger Elsinger, but there was no
mistaking the fact that it was Elsinger.
"No, please. Can't we leave this place?"
Even though this scene looked like a scene from any other day, Elsinger
knew exactly which day it was.
Before Connor could answer, The door of the office
opened and in walked a beautiful woman. The elder Elsingers eyes teared as
he beheld her.
"Frank." It seemed as if this scene had
been played out so many times before. The younger Elsinger did not even
look up from his papers.
"Yes." He answered softly. He was going
to make her do the talking. The elder Elsinger shook his head as he
anticipated what was to happen next.
"We waited for you . . . at the rehearsal."
There was a pause.
"I had to work." Any other woman would
have been strangling him at this point. But, not Edie. She remained
as stoic as could be.
"Are you saying that you don't want to get
married?" He wouldn't say.
"Why did you ever ask me to marry you?"
The younger Elsinger stopped.
"Say it, you fool, say it. Tell her that you
love her, but you're afraid. Tell her." The last
part was said shakily as the elder Elsinger fought to hold back the tears.
The figure behind the desk remained silent. Edie
waited . . . and waited. It seemed as if she had been doing a lot of that
lately. Finally, when she determined that there was no answer
forthcoming, Edie turned and left. The whole time that she was
there, the younger Elsinger never looked up from his desk. However,
there was a small tear that trickled down the face of the younger Elsinger.
Gain as before the office faded and another off appeared
to take its place. The elder Elsinger thought that the visit was over,
but he was shocked when the real Connor walked into the office. He
remembered the conversation that he and Connor had on that day. He looked
at the Ghost Connor to see if there were any reaction. There was none.
The scene changed to the factory in Russia just as it
exploded and burst into flames.
"You knew that I was going to die when you sent me
there, didn't you?" Elsinger began to shake. He knew the answer
to Connor's question.
While Elsinger was still reacting to this, he
didn't realize that he had returned to his office. The antique clock in
Elsinger's office chimed two o'clock.
Elsinger waited. Elsinger listened. There
was no sound. A slow smile spread across Elsinger's face. He thought
the second ghost wasn't coming. The moment he had thought this,
there was another flash. Matthew Praeger stood before him.
"You rubbed the lamp, here I am." Matt
smiled. Elsinger was still too shocked to say anything.
"I was supposed to have a great song and
dance number here, but it was cut." The one thing that Elsinger
hated most about Matt was his sense of humor.
"Who are you supposed to be?" Frank
"Come on, you know. I'm the ghost of
Christmas Present. I'm here to tell you about all the people you are
screwing over here in the present." Matt's cheery disposition was
really getting on Frank's nerves. As if Matt had read Frank's mind,
"I'm the ghost of Christmas present, I'm
supposed to be cheery." Frank was taken aback, but continued
"How are you going to help me?" Matt
started walking and, just as before, the scenery started to dissolve.
This time they were in what appeared to be a pub.
At a table in front of them sat Lindsay, Peter, Matt and Anton.
"I know. you plan on making me feel guilty
about firing them. Well, I don't feel guilty. You people have been
whining about the way things are run here for years. You really didn't
seem to be happy here." Matt chuckled.
"Boy, that was convenient."
Elsinger and the Ghost Matt turned their attention to
what the others were saying.
"Okay Anton, you're next." Lindsay
was saying. Anton opened a package and sat looking at a picture of a book.
"That's the gardening book I would have gotten for
you if we hadn't gotten fired." She said enthusiastically.
Anton thanked her and then gave her a package that was also wrapped in
holiday paper. Lindsay tore open the package to reveal a picture of a
lovely silk scarf.
"Oh, its lovely. You have great taste,
Anton." The rest of them smiled. Matt gave a package to
Peter. Peter looked at Matt and then opened the package.
"'A tree was planted in your honor.'"
Gee thanks Matt." Pete said.
"'Course, I wasn't able to actually do
it." Peter gave Matt his package.
"Oh, thanks, Pete." Matt's package
included the same, identical letter.
While they all enjoyed a good laugh, Lindsay got a
serious look on his face.
"I wonder what Frank is doing right now."
Everyone stopped laughing and looked at her.
"I mean, did you ever hear about him talking
about a family or a wife?" The others thought for a minute.
"He probably sold her." The others got a
good laugh from that as well.
"I just think that we should give him a toast . . .
you know. He's probably all alone for Christmas." The others
started to laugh it off again, but they saw that she was serious. They
slowly raised their glasses and toasted the man who had just fired them.
"You see, they don't hate me. They know I had
to do what I had to do." Ghost Matt chuckled as he took in the
"They weren't doing it because of you. They were
doing it for Lindsay and Lindsay was doing it because she felt sorry for
you." Frank sobbed as he came to this realization.
Frank continued crying as the scene dissolved revealing
a cozy living room decorated for the holidays. The fire was blazing and
the tree was lit and the couple seated on the sofa looked very happy. It
was Edie and her future husband.
"I don't want to see this. I want to leave."
Ghost Matt ignored his pleas and they remained glued to their spots.
"John, I am so happy." Frank heard
Edie say. The next thing he knew, they were kissing. This was too
much for Elsinger.
"Please, take me from this place."
"As you wish." The scene dissolved and
frank found himself back in his office. He was alone.
Frank was still sobbing as he sat down in his chair.
He pulled open a drawer in his desk and extracted a picture. It was
of Edie. She was beautiful, he thought. Her long, dark hair
complimented her round olive complexioned face. He gently ran a finger
across the curve of her chin. He still loved her.
The antique clock struck the hour. The temperature
to drop twenty degrees and a wind blew from an unseen source.
"Okay ghost, come out, come out
wherever you are." Elsinger wanted the third ghost to come and be
done with it. Suddenly, as if out of no where, the third ghost
appeared. He was wearing a long, dark robe which completely covered his
"Are you the third ghost? What am I saying?
What would you be doing here unless you were the third ghost."
Of course, the third ghost didn't say anything.
"Well, let's be off. I want to get this
over with." The scene dissolved around them and they seemed to be
still in his office. The only difference was that now it was full of
The people were milling around. They were dressed
in black and were eating and drinking. It was some kind of morbid party.
Suddenly, laughter broke out in the corner
of the room. Frank went over to get a closer look.
"Okay who wants this one?" The
people there were laughing as someone held up one of Frank's toys from his desk.
"Put that back. That doesn't belong to
you." Of course, the people couldn't hear him, and he
couldn't 'physically' take back the items that they were handing out. this
seemed to frustrate him to no end.
"Why are they doing this? Why are they here
in my office taking my things?" The Ghost began walking and as he
did, the scenery changed. They were now walking in a graveyard. They
had left behind the office and the party. The Ghost was now pointing at a
headstone. Elsinger, who knew the story, was afraid to look.
"Okay, I know, its my headstone.
But, what an I do to change all of this? Can't I have a second
chance?" the Ghost continued to be silent. It was as if the
Ghost was speaking to him without speaking.
"To change, I have to go back - back to my
past? But, how can I do that? You can't turn back the hands of
time. But, if it were possible, I would be willing to do that.
I'd be willing to go back to a time when I cared about people and they
cared about me. Just don't let this be my end. I beg of you
spirit." Frank was sobbing again as he thought of Edie.
Suddenly the scenery dissolved as it done so many times
before. Frank found himself again in his office and sitting at his desk.
He didn't fully remember what had taken place before.
It was as if bits and pieces were hovering around the fringes of his
Frank was just going through his mail, when he
came across a letter. It was from Edie. He seemed to remember going
through all of this before. It was like a kind of deja vu. He opened
the letter and read.
been thinking about you lately and I really want to see you. Call me and
maybe we can have dinner.
A smile spread across Frank's face. Just then,
Peter stormed into his office.
"What is this, Elsinger. What's the hold up on the
equipment I ordered." Frank smiled. Peter was so taken aback
that he almost stumbled.
"I'll call this very minute and have everything
arranged." He said. Peter was in shock.
"Oh, O- kay. Thank you." Peter stumbled out of the
That felt good, he thought. He rose from the chair and headed for
the door. There was a spring in his step as he headed for the lab.
"Anton, can I talk to you for a minute?"
Anton was surprised to see Elsinger there in the lab. They weren't
working on anything pressing at the moment, and Elsinger looked a little too
"Sure, I guess." Elsinger very
comfortably came over and sat on the stool near Anton.
"Would you like to have some time off for
Christmas? I know that your wife has just returned and how much you would
really like to spend some time with her."
Anton was astonished. He had been thinking about
asking Elsinger to have some time off, but dismissed it thinking that
Elsinger would deny it.
"I don't know what to say. Thank you."
Elsinger rose from the stool and left. Was
it Anton's imagination, or was there actually a spring in Frank's step.
Next, Frank went into the conference room where he
found Lindsay, Matt and Peter. They were staring at the conference table.
It was covered from end to end with food.
"Ah, good. It arrived."
Even Matt was speechless as he realized who had
provided the sumptuous meal.
Frank went back to his office satisfied in what he
had done. He sat down at his desk, picked up the phone and called