Stooge danced around the bunker while putting on his coat and hat and singing happily to himself. Once ready he rushed up the steps, through the bunker and through the doors to the outside. A small figure was walking nearby.
'You!' Stooge called after him. 'You boy!'
A short man with a whiskered face turned around 'What?' he replied with irritation. 'I am not a boy, just not tall, okay?'
'I am sorry sir,' Stooge remarked.
'If you cannot,' the man began before narrowing his eyes to get a better view. 'Mr Stooge is that you?'
'Yes! Yes it is!' Stooge said happily. 'May i ask what day is it today?'
The man looked at Stooge with both puzzled and surprised before replying. 'Why, it is Christmas Day Mr Stooge.'
'Christmas Day!' Stooge laughed. 'Of course! It is Christmas Day!'
The man looked at Stooge not wondering whether Stooge had been drinking too much wine, or maybe himself drinking too much beer. He started to laugh also but was not sure why.
'Has the merchant in town have still those huge creeper steaks?' Stooge asked.
'Hm... Yes. He has,' the man replied.
'And those large Antlegs?' Stooge added.
'Yes, those also,' the man said.
'And those barrels of ale?'
'Many barrels Sir, and bottles of that other drink.'
'Oh yes, what was it? Spivey Mondscheisse?'
'Aah yes, Spivey Moonshine. Hmm, perhaps we will leave the spirits alone.'
'What about wine Sir?'
'Yes wine. And what of that enormous Stollen cake?'
'Still there Sir, it was not stolen.'
'Then come my good man! Let us gather others and make a feast! A Christmas to be remembered!'
Stooge walked through the town, laughing, wishing people to have a Merry Christmas, spending more chips on food and drink than he usually spent in a year, and inviting everyone he met to the bunker for a Christmas to be remembered.
Later that day the bunker was alive with people, Bill Catchit and his family, nephew Frederick, and almost everyone from the town, eating, drinking, talking, laughing and dancing. Stooge, wearing a pair of novelty antlers, looked at them all. He had never felt so happy.
'Mr Stooge do tell us your story,' a woman asked. 'And why you changed your mind about Christmas.'
'Oh yes please do!' another woman added.
'Yes! Tell us the tale,' a man said.
Stooge smiled and held up his hands and laughed. 'Okay! Okay! But you will never believe me,' he said. He walked over to the pods and stood in front of them while his audience looked on with expectation.
'It all began when I... I.... Haaaaaaaaatschi!' he sneezed so loudly it echoed around the bunker, and so forcely it almost knocked him from his feet. 'Gesundheit!' a woman with purple hair said. Stooge staggered to the side and grabbed hold of a pod to return his balance. Unfortunately it was pod number three and his hand grabbed the damaged cable, the one Bill had warned him about before.
Immediately there was a flash and a bang and Stooge appeared to dance every known dance all at once. 'Wow!' said a man watching with amazement. A woman watched the novelty antlers fly into the air and then fainted when she realised they were still attached to a head. Finally in a cloud of smoke the body fell to the floor and the head landed in the arms of Catchit.
Nobody moved. Mouths were opened in shock. This was a Christmas to be remembered. A Christmas never to be forgotten.
Behind the crowd, three clones watched unseen. Next to them a ghostly Marley wrapped in chains brought his palm to his head which he shook with much of dismay.
One Year Later...
Bill Catchit watched the man work at the computer. The new visitor in town, Graham something, seem to know a lot about the cloning pods and had certainly been helpful.
'Hmm... Yes, here it is,' said Graham looking intensely at the screen. 'The pattern is here.'
'I never knew about this,' Bill said as he watched.
'Oh yes,' said the Graham. 'You see we needed someone to look after this bunker and well although he had no collar, last year we thought taking a pattern copy at that time was a useful precaution.'
'But, you really think you can get him back?' Bill asked.
Graham continued to work at the computer as he talked. 'I think so,' he said. 'The data had split into three components but i think it is recovered now with using of the Marley chaining program.'
Graham turned to Bill and smiled. 'But only one way to find out,' he said before turning back to the computer and pressing a button.
The light above pod number one turned on and the pod began to hum. Bill and Graham watched and waited.
The pod performed its work and finally the humming stopped. Eventually the doors opened. A naked old man staggered out.
'It is him! It is really him!' Bill exclaimed before rushing to the man and covering him with a nightrobe and nightcap to warm him and holding his arm to steady him. The old man coughed a few times, sneezed then looked at Bill, blinked his eyes as if to clear them and said, 'Bill? Is that you Bill?'
'Yes Sir!' Bill said pleased. 'It is me! Bill Catchit Sir.'
'What the Dickens is going on? Why are you not working?' the old man asked.
'You were... well... we have... err... it is quite a story Sir.'
The old man looked around. 'Where am I?' he asked.
'In the bunker Sir, the cloning bunker,' Bill replied.
'What day is it?' the man asked.
Bill looked to a clock on the wall before looking back to the old man. 'Why Sir,' he said, 'it is Christmas Day!'
'Christmas Day?' the old man said. 'Bah Humbug!'