Oh Oracle Most Wise,

Christmas ?
Bah !
Humbug !


[no way, I look bloody silly!]

[I'm afraid that it's too late Pythia, this is a holiday classic.]

[besides Pyth, these shoes aren't returnable!]

[ssh, ssh, it's nearly one. Cassandra, you're up.]

The doorway fills with light and frames a young blonde woman wearing an outfit that was probably designed by the editors of Mademoiselle and Barbie's Christmas Dream collection. Atop her blonde head are three candles, possibly aroma therapy, one of which has gone out. A hand from offstage holding a lighter attempts to resolve that issue.

She speaks. "I am, like, the ghost of Christmas Past. Although personally, I'd rather be the ghost of Christmas Presents, except I'm not so sure I'd want to be dressed up like a bunch of dead gifts, all covered with dead chia pets and stuff. Eeewww."

A different hand from off stage cuffs her to the back of the head.

"Ow! oh, right. I am here to remind you of the fun you had last Christmas! Come with me on a magical trip to your past.
OooOOooooOOooooOOOOOOooOO.."
she fumbles a bit and pulls out the controls for a slide projector.

*sha-Click* "Here we see you at your office Holiday party."
*sha-Click* "And here you are at the bar."
*sha-Click* "There's Anita from Accounting."
*sha-Click* "You try that line from Playboy."
*sha-Click* "Ooh, I bet that hurt."
*sha-Click* "Well, alcohol does help the pain."
*sha-Click* "You were in a lot of pain."
*sha-Click* "There's Mr. Simpson, your boss."
*sha-Click* "You were in a lot of pain."
*sha-Click* "And there you are cleaning out your de.. -
OOOOOoOOOOoooo"

"Well, enough of your past, let's focus on the presents shall we?"

The light disappears.

[I don't think that went well at all Sibyl]

[Cassandra, I told you to use different slides! I was hoping that he'd be happier for Pythia.]

[Crikey, do I really have to do this Sibyl?]

[Yes, Pythia, you do. Now get out there!]

The lights return and we see another woman, dressed in a red robe with white fringe, beneath it we see her well worn army surplus pants, and mud encrusted boots. Despite the Santa hat she has placed on her short brown hair, she's not looking particularly jolly or festive.

In an Australian accent she drolls, "Ho, ho, ho. I'm the Ghost of Christmas Present. Let's see what's on the telly." She pulls a remote from out of her robe's pocket and turns on the TV at the foot of the bed.

"Right, well, we've got 'It's a Wonderful Life', *click* Disney's 'Mickey Goes Christmas Shopping', *click* an infomercial, *click* 'It's a Wonderful Life' again, *click* 'nother infomercial, *click* 'It's a bloody Wonderful Life' AGAIN *click*, news, oh delightful, there's a bombing, *click* Oh fer, don't you Yanks watch anything other than 'It's a Bloody Wonderful Life'? *click*" the TV goes silent as she thrusts the control back into her pocket.

"You've got one ghost left, then we'll let you get back to sleep."
The light goes off again.

[Well Sibyl, that went as well as could be expected]

[Pythia! All you did was turn on the TV! I told you to talk to him about the wonderful things that are going on out there.]

[What, like the holiday shopping, or traffic, or tacky lights that are wastin' electricity?]

[Never mind, it is my turn. let me see if I can somehow salvage this.]

The light returns a final time. You see an older woman dressed in a long black robe. Unfortunately her somewhat diminutive stature prevents the robe from flowing quite as well as it should. Still, she carries herself with a good deal of dignity.

"Good evening sir, I am the Ghost of Christmas Future. May I have a word with you? Good. As the specter of things yet to be, I remind you that you really should enjoy this holiday. Certainly, it's difficult with the crass commercialization, the short days and shorter tempers, the constant worry about getting the appropriate gift, and other complaints, but you are forgetting the one key element. In this, the darkest, coldest, most foreboding season, people are the most generous. They gladly extend their hand to those in need without so much as a whimper of complaint, and the joy they spread is most contagious. Yes, it's a time of joy and giving."

"Oh, and here's our bill. Payment due upon receipt."

She hands you an invoice with far too many zeros on it.

Before you protest, she expertly announces "Merry Christmas, sir, and to all a good night!" The light drops dramatically, you are once again alone in darkness.

[Right, can we go home now Sibyl?]

[Ooh, can we stop by the mall first?]

[Cass, it's Christmas Eve!]

[But they're having a sale at Miller's Outpost!]