[Demetri Martin, “A Christmas Carol (the Deleted Scene),” from This Is A Book, 142-144.]
Ebenezer Scrooge had been asleep for no more than a few minutes when a wrapping sound began to echo in the recesses of his chambers. Scrooge did not hear the ruckus at first. But again it came, now louder. Then closer. And louder still.
A moment later a Spirit, glowing an unearthly white, floated eerily at the foot of Scrooge’s bed.
“Ebenezer Scrooge,” bellowed the ghost.
Scrooge opened his eyes and knew at once that this was not a dream. He sat up slowly and found before him a Spirit who looked no taller than a boy, but reached almost to the ceiling as it floated.
“Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge.
“I am,” replied the ghost.
“By what name shall I call you?”
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect.”
Scrooge stared at the ghost.
“I’m sorry. Did you say the ‘Ghost of Christmas Future’?”
“No, Ebenezer , I said that I am the ‘Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect,’ ” replied the Spirit, in a most ominous tone.
Now Scrooge, being a man of considerable education, knew immediately that this apparition was of a less-common conjugation , one which employed helping verbs of some sort; still, he could not remember the tense’s rudiments.
“I see,” replied Ebenezer, trying to conceal his ignorance.
The Spirit moved closer. “Do you know why I am here?”
Scrooge thought for a moment. “To offer me, Spirit, some glimpse of what is to come?”
The ghost hovered for a moment, and peered at Ebenezer. “No. That is incorrect. I am here, Ebenezer Scrooge, to show you what shall have happened to you on a Christmas that will have passed at some point in the future.”
“Ah, yes, of course. Right,” replied Scrooge.
The Spirit continued. “You shall see after certain future things have happened, what will have become of you after that.”
Scrooge let out a sigh. He was confused. “What does that mean, good Spirit?”
“Well,” said the Spirit, who was now starting to look uncomfortable. He had hoped Scrooge would not ask such a question, for the Spirit himself was not quite certain of the tense’s particulars. “It means that I am going to show you… the, uh… it’s not important right now. Just come with me.” And with that, he began to float in a more authoritative, ghoulish manner. “Now follow me,” he moaned.
“Oh, Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect, I fear what you shall have shown me by the time we have returned tonight,” Scrooge replied, trying his best to show the Spirit that he was grammatically savvy.
“We must make haste,” said the Spirit, wanting to just get going already, and not dwell on the grammar.
Scrooge put on his slippers and braced himself, and the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect guided him silently to the window.
“Where, Ghost, are you taking me?”
“We shall have seen soon enough, Ebenezer,” whispered the ghost. Then the Spirit stopped and started to check his pockets.
“Damn,” said the ghost quietly to himself. “I could swear I had my notes with me.”
“Oh, Spirit , tell me that I shall not have been horrified by what I might discover that I shall have been doing when—”
“Just cool it for a sec, all right? I can’t find my notes and this is a very complicated declension I have to deal with here. So, just give me a sec. All right?”
The ghost shook his bright, glowing head in frustration and then howled, “I can’t find my notes. They’re not here. To try and wing this would be a huge mistake. I mean, we could end up in the Conditional or Present Progressive, and that would be a total disaster.” He paused, composed himself, and then said in a chilling tone, “I shall have been back by the time you’ve seen your future.”
The Spirit turned and left, cursing to himself. The last thing Scrooge heard was the Spirit muttering, “This is what I get for killing a French teacher” to himself. Confused and a little relieved, Scrooge went back to bed, and the Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect never returned.