by Donald “C-Note” Hooker
In Honor of: Alice Marie Johnson (Imprisoned African American playwright)
The Ghost of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol is a play about an assisted living home (past), a boys home (future), and a transitional home (present). Every Christmas, the boys home, and the transitional home, go into the woods to cut down fresh Christmas trees for area assisted living homes. Besides cutting down and donating trees, they also help with the decorating of the trees with the residents at the assisted living homes.
Scene One: Takes place in the woods and consists of half of the transitional and boys home cast. One of the transitional home members received a phone call that due to van trouble the other half had to turn back and will not make it. This means they will have to take on double the workload.
Storyline: Based on those who resent having to take on more responsibility versus those who are willing to do so for the greater good.
Scene Two: Takes place at the assisted living home. One of the residents has just died.
Storyline: Based on each individual’s relationship with the deceased; along with personal introspection on how they have lived doing the long arc of their lives.
Scene Three: Takes place at the transitional home and consists of the half that did not make it to the woods.
Storyline: Based on starting something and not seeing it through, or getting in one’s own way.
Scene Four: Takes place at the assisted living home, and involves the whole cast, delivering and decorating the tree.
Storyline: Based on coming together and community.
Assisted living home:
Scene One takes place in the woods. TAFUGA, EDDIE, and JESUS, Are waiting for the arrival of the rest of the transitional, and boys home to join them. TAFUGA receives a phone call that due to car trouble no one else will be arriving.
TAFUGA: [Mimics just ending a cell phone call] That was Kwame, no one else is coming.
[EDDIE and JESUS, both are exhibiting physical disgust.]
JESUS: What happened?
EDDIE: What do we do now?
TAFUGA: Cut down some trees.
JESUS: All these?
TAFUGA: Of course, why not?
EDDIE: That’s not fair.
TAFUGA: They’re depending on us guys.
EDDIE: No, they’re depending on a whole lot of other people too, not just us.
JESUS: Why we got to cut down some Christmas trees for a bunch of old people anyway?
EDDIE: Yeah, what’s in for us? Ain’t no old people ever done anything for me, for free.
TAFUGA: What about your foster mom Eddie, you talk about her all the time since she’s passed?
EDDIE: My foster sister told me she was getting a government check for me. She was always ranting and raving about the mailman, and did the check arrive yet, or go get the check.
JESUS: One time our pastor took members of our church to feed some homeless people.
TAFUGA: And how did that make you feel?
JESUS: I felt good.
TAFUGA: See Eddie, good can come from helping others.
EDDIE: You see those trees over there [Pointing.] Yeah, that one, it’s gonna to take six people. That’s double the work. This ain’t slavery.
JESUS: He’s got a point Tafuga. This ain’t slavery, and besides, we can come back later with the rest of the crew.
TAFUGA: Unfortunately we don’t have that type of time schedule. Besides, sometimes in life you have to pick up the slack for somebody else.
EDDIE: Picking up the slack is one thing, doing double the work is another. And them church people who be cooking that food ain’t never had a kind word for those who don’t show up to help them out. And one thing them church ladies taught me, “God don’t make no fools.”
TAFUGA: [TAFUGA starts walking towards some trees.] Come on Jesus. Come on Eddie. Let’s get started. [JESUS walks towards TAFUGA, and together they walk off stage. EDDIE just stays put and walks off stage in the opposite direction.
[ Takes place at the assisted living home. MARCO, MIGUEL and PEDRO, are all mulling over the recent passing of Pedro’s cousin JUAN who lived at the facility with them.]
MIGUEL: The nerve of that guy. You hear him. The corner just took Juan’s body to the morgue, and these guys are already discussing who’s moving in his room.
MARCO: I tell my daughter all the time when she comes visit me, that these people are heartless.
PEDRO: Maybe it’s a woman.
[MARCO and MIGUEL state simultaneously]: What???
PEDRO: You know a mujer.
MARCO: Pedro, man, that was your cousin.
PEDRO: I know. But he would want me to have a little fun with the ladies. They didn’t call him Donito Juanito for nothing.
MIGUEL: And look what that kind of thinking got him. Broken and alone. That man had 19 kids from 17 different women, and not once did he get a visit.
MARCO: Even I get visits from hijos, and I wasn’t there for them growing up.
MIGUEL: Just face it Pedro, your cousin wasn’t smooth, but rotten.This bottle of medicine [Holds up bottle], it goes down smooth, cause that’s how medicine goes down. But Juan was poison, and went down sour, or bitter.
PEDRO: What’s your beef with Juan, cause he wouldn’t let you beat him in chess?
MIGUEL: Its not that. Your cousin was a good man, once you got to know him. But that’s just it, no one seemed to know him. He had a real mean streak.
MARCO: You mean that temper?
MIGUEL: Yeah, that temper. Come on Pedro, even he treated you like crap sometime.
PEDRO: Sometime? Hell, a whole lot of time. And one thing about that bastard, he never not once apologized.
MARCO: Then how is Father Mahoney going to eulogize him?
PEDRO: Shit, who’s going to notify his kids?
MIGUEL: What makes you think they want to be notified? None of them ever came to visit.
MARCO: But they have a right to know; he was their father.
PEDRO: [Begins to cry.] Shit, why did he have to die? He was my only familia.
MARCO: That’s not true Pedro; your kids and grandkids come see you.
MIGUEL: Yeah, Pedro, don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic?
PEDRO: [Sobbing.] You don’t understand; we are from Cuba! Juan was like my brother over there. Look at me! My familia has no love for me. My kids are raised in the United States, and they dumped me off at some assisted living home. There is no respect there. That’s not Cubano! We love our abuelos and abuelas We would never dump their wisdom and knowledge off to a bunch of strangers. [Scene change.]
[Scene three takes place at the transitional home. KWAME, MICHAEL, and HUAN, are discussing the repercussions of not meeting the others in the woods to chop down Christmas trees.]
MICHAEL: Damn, Kwame, you just got a new transmission put in a week ago what’s up with that?
KWAME: I know. There is nothing I can do.
HUAN: I was looking to get out of the city.
KWAME: I know, me too, But what can we do?
HUAN: Did Tafuga sound upset?
KWAME: Nah, you know him, don’t nothing bother Big Tafuga.
MICHAEL: This is rotten. How many trees can they cut down without us there?
HUAN: There’s going to be some very disappointed old people at those homes.
KWAME: Who cares about those old people, their families don’t.
MICHAEL: We’re their family now, Kwame.
HUAN: It’s the only time I see them light up. With their cigarettes, and dancing to old music.
MICHAEL: Look, if none of us don’t get our own acts together, we are going to be just like them, old and alone.
KWAME: I don’t see your point. They’ve lived their lives. They’re winning. You and I can get snuffed out at any moment.
HUAN: You don’t feel a little something that you won’t be able to come through for them this year?
KWAME: I suppose.
MICHAEL: I’m thinking about Tafuga and the others, they don’t have us around.
KWAME: Tafuga knows we got his back.
MICHAEL: Yeah, like you did last year Kwame?
KWAME: That was a mistake. That couldn’t be avoided. We talked, and we’re cool.
MICHAEL: Well I’m just saying Bro. You’re always not on point.
KWAME: I see your cigarettes you be hiding around here, not letting the counselors see you smoke.
MICHAEL: Oh, you’re just going to put my business out there in front of the kid.
HUAN: Man, what you talkin bout. I see kids doing more than that in the boys home.
KWAME: You know what Michael, man, you’re always trying to make it about me, it’s never you.
MICHAEL: Look Bro, I’m not trying to make it a career staying at this place.
MICHAEL: You couldof fooled me. What’s it been, six years?
HUAN: Dwag, man, you’re a lifer.
MICHAEL: [Scratching the area of the arm, where it bends. Between the upper and lower arm.] It’s not that, sometimes I got issues.
KWAME: You can say that again.
HUAN: You’re using man?
MICHAEL: What makes you say that?
HUAN: It’s what Kwame said.
MICHAEL: Fuck Kwame, he ain’t said nothing.
KWAME: You know what Michael, I’m about tired of your shit. Yeah, I lied. Ain’t nothing wrong with my car.
MICHAEL: I knew it.
HUAN: Last year you got me in trouble with the judge. He tacked on another two years of community service.
KWAME: That judge is an idiot. This is his favorite community service, that’s all.
HUAN: [Seething with anger, pushes KWAME.] That’s all?
[KWAME socks HUAN in the eye. HUAN falls to the ground; holding his eye. KWAME goes in to hit him again while he’s on the ground. MICHAEL grabs KWAME to stop him from going in for the kill.]
MICHAEL: He’s just a kid! He’s just a kid! [End of Scene Three.]
[Takes place at the assisted living home, and involves the whole cast decorating the Christmas tree.]
KWAME: Huan, put the star on top of the tree.
[HUAN comes running up and takes the star from KWAME. KWAME lifts up HUAN from behind; hands under HUAN’s armpits, and lifts him up in the air. HUAN puts the star at the top of the tree, and KWAME lets him back down. HUAN and KWAME embrace (hug). All the cast begins to sing “Deck the Halls.”]
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Don we now our gay apparel
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
[This will be the final stanzas, and must be sung as tho it’s the end]
Troll the ancient Yule-tide carol
Copyright 2018 Donald “C-Note” Hooker
[Editor’ Note]: Besides being a playwright, and known as the King of Prison Hip Hop; C-Note is also the poet who wrote the poem, THE LOST INNOCENCE OF CHRISTMAS . A performing artist, and award-winning painter, his works have either been exhibited, performed, or sold, from Alcatraz to Berlin. In two and a half years of fundraising, audiences have contributed north of $500,000. In 2017, Google search results, listed him as both America’s, and the world’s most prolific prisoner artist.