Mr Evil's Christmas Carol
Act V: Merry Christmas, Perkins
Mr Evil awoke with a jolt.
As he felt his fluffy white head hit the pillow, he sat immediately upright. His eyes flicked wide open, and he rubbed them and hissed as he took in the broad, white daylight. So, the kuparkuke hadn't shut his curtains behind him, it seemed – what rudeness! And yet, Mr Evil decided as he rummaged around for his own body beneath the sheets, and caressed his cheeks, checking that it really was all still there, that he had more important matters to attend to.
'I'm alive!' he shouted. 'Do you hear that, Sir Luftwaffe? I'm alive and I've never been better! Ha-ha-haah!'
Merrily, Mr Evil hopped out of his bed at once and danced down the stairs, laughing and singing. At the foot of the stairwell, he pulled on his winter cloak excitedly and withdrew two enormous sacks of jingling gold from one of the secure cupboards. He kicked open the door without a second glance back at the hall, took a deep breath of the brisk morning air on the threshold as he pulled it shut behind him, and skipped down into the street below.
'Merry Christmas!' he cried.
People turned to look, and he beamed at them brightly. As he passed them, he dug a hand into one of the heavy sacks, seized a fistful of gold and threw it at them, laughing and cheering as he watched them drop to their knees and scramble for coins in the snow.
'Merry Christmas, one and all!' he barked. 'Merry Christmas!'
'Spare some change, sir?' oozed a voice suddenly.
Mr Evil's grin froze on his lips, and he turned to his side to look. It was the slug-like creature, from the night before, still wearing his stained and filthy rag.
'Spare some change, eh? Well now, I'll tell you what,' grinned Mr Evil. Beaming, he threw an entire sack of gold at the slippery creature, who grunted as it hit him hard in the chest. 'Go and get yourself a decent coat for Galaxy's sake – and if you ever need any more, there's plenty more where that came from, man! Merry Christmas! Ha-ha-haah!'
'Oh, thank yer, thank yer, sir! An' a very merry Christmas ter you, an' all!' said the creature. Its four eyes frothed as it surveyed the hefty sack. 'Galaxy bless yer, kind an' noble sir!'
Mr Evil, however, had already skipped off. He was headed away and down the street. He was shouting merry Christmases at every man, woman and child, and singing all the Christmas carols he knew. Eventually, he came to a stop outside an old brick house. He plodded up the steps, more snow crunching underfoot, and he heard voices inside. Smartly, he picked up his shoulders, and knocked curtly at the door. One punctual moment later, his knock was answered.
'Mr Evil, sir,' gasped Perkins, who stood on the doorstep, mug of coffee in hand. 'M-Merry Christmas. Whatever can I do for you, sir?'
'And a merry Christmas to you,' said Mr Evil, striding past Perkins and into the house, taking Perkins' coffee as he stepped by. Once inside, he beamed around the empty hall, and took a swig from the steaming mug in his fist.
'Ye-uck!' barked Mr Evil, spitting. 'Black!' He thrust the mug back into Perkins' outstretched hand. 'This needs milk, please, Perkins, there's a good lad! Ah, and a merry Christmas to you, Mavis!' he said, as Perkins' wife stepped out from the kitchen to see who had come to visit. 'How very wonderful it is to see you, my you are looking well.'
'Ah! And you must be Tiny Tim?!' he roared suddenly, whipping around to face the small boy who had come to stand at his side. 'What's that you've got there, boy? Where'd you get that teddy, eh little man?'
'From Daddy,' said the shy boy.
'From Daddy, you say?!' boomed Mr Evil. 'Is this what you call a child's teddy bear, Perkins? Come on now, I think you can do better than that, man!' He tore the teddy bear from the boy's grasp and waved it impatiently in Perkins' pale face. 'I've come to deliver that Christmas bonus you were afraid to ask for. So now you can get the lad some proper presents, can't you?!'
'My Christmas …? By Galaxy, sir, that's – that's very kind of you. Will – will you join us for dinner, Mr Evil?' Perkins spluttered. 'I'm sure we can stretch for six, can't we Mavis?!'
'Oh yes,' said Mavis. 'Plenty of food to go around, Mr Evil. Got my turkey yesterday. Pigs in blankets, dumplings, roast potatoes. Plenty of greens of course, all smothered in Mrs Perkins' famous homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, and plum pudding for supper. What do you say to that?'
'That's not what I saw you eating in my dream …' said Mr Evil.
'I'm sorry?' frowned Perkins.
'Never mind, never mind!' Mr Evil snapped briskly. 'I have big news for you all,' he said, clicking his fat, furry fingers. 'Everybody come and gather in the living room!'
'I'll tell you what,' said Perkins. 'Why don't we gather in the dining room? We just finished laying the table, and dinner will be ready in the next few minutes.'
'Dining room …? Just how much money do I pay you?!' gasped Mr Evil, who knew he hadn't seen a dining room in his dream, when the Perkins' family had all been squashed around a tiny table in their living room. 'Well, very well. I'll take a brandy, thank you Mavis.'
A few moments later, Mr Evil, Perkins, and his former employee's wife and three children were all sat around the dining table. Mr Evil was scribbling idly on the tablecloth as Mavis Perkins took her seat, and then clapped his hands, looking warmly around at them all.
'Welcome, welcome,' he said, as if half-forgetting that he was seated in their house, and not his own. He had their full attention, but he tapped his glass loudly with a spoon anyway, just to make certain. 'I come bearing news for you all!'
'Whatever is it, sir?' said Perkins.
'Well, let me finish, man!' boomed Mr Evil. 'As you all know, I am a tremendously wealthy and successful businessman. But I am old, now, and my sons have all left me. I have more gold than I shall ever be able to count, let alone spend. I am fast approaching retirement, yet I have no heirs to whom I would care to leave my legacy – but I do have you, Perkins,' he said, raising a glass and looking upon Perkins as the man's own father might have done, 'you, and your delightful young son Tiny Tim here.'
'What is it that you're saying, sir?' Perkins asked, squinting.
'I should like to make you my business partner,' said Mr Evil. 'We shall be –' (he made a rectangle-shaped gesture with his hands) '– Evil & Perkins. And when little Tiny Tim here comes of age, he shall take over the reins and drive his business into the future.'
Perkins, lost for words, could only splutter.
'And don't forget your bonus,' Mr Evil grinned, slamming the heavy sack of gold onto the table so that gravy splattered from the china boat.
'Thank you, ever so much, sir …' said Perkins. 'I don't know what to say.'
'You will have your time to celebrate,' said Mr Evil, raising a hand at once to shut Perkins up. 'But first let's eat. I'm absolutely starving,' he said, inviting them to eat their own Christmas dinner in their own home at last.
'Thank you ever so much for all you have just done for my family, sir,' said Perkins. 'I had a sneaking suspicion that you would rehire me, once Christmas had blown over. I am well aware that Christmas is a difficult time for you,' he added solemnly.
'I suppose it is,' said Mr Evil, cutting his parsnips. 'But enough about me. The future belongs to you, and more importantly to young Tiny Tim here.'
'Ooh, do you hear that, Tiny Tim?' Mavis said sweetly. 'You're going to be a very important businessman like Daddy someday. Now what do you say to Daddy's boss?'
'Thank you, Daddy's boss,' said Tiny Tim.
'You're very welcome! Mind you!' Mr Evil munched, addressing Perkins through a mouthful of turkey. 'I'm surprised to hear you're so hard done by, Perkins, given the opulence of this Christmas spread! This must've set you back more than a few pretty gold pennies, eh?' He picked up his glass again and downed his brandy, before gesturing impatiently to Mavis for a refill.
'Well,' Perkins smiled shiftily. 'Christmas only comes once a year, and I suppose we are celebrating, aren't we?' He glanced at Mavis, who smiled at him, and then turned to Tiny Tim, ruffling his fluffy blonde hair as Mr Evil's narrowed eyes flicked from one to the other.
'Well …' said Perkins.
'Tiny Tim had the all clear this morning,' squealed Mavis, taking her seat again after pouring Mr Evil his brandy. 'My dear husband's been sticking every penny of his salary into our boy's medical bills for months, and after six long months of torment and suffering we finally received the good news today – and to think,' she added delightedly, 'on Christmas Day, of all the days!'
'It's a Christmas miracle!' beamed Perkins. 'And now that you've made me partner of Evil & Sons – sorry,' he chuckled, 'Evil & Perkins – I suppose things really are beginning to look up for our family! Merry Christmas, everyone!'
'You told me Tiny Tim was at death's door!' roared Mr Evil suddenly. He immediately seized the white tablecloth, shaking it up and down and spilling brandy and gravy everywhere. Quick as a flash, Mavis was ushering her three children upstairs as Mr Evil threw plates and dishes across the room. 'You lied to me, your boss – just so that you could take the day off!'
'I did not!' Perkins barked.
'You said your boy was practically brown bread!' yelled Mr Evil. 'As if he could've snuffed it, at any given second! And now you mean to tell me that he's all right as rain – and now that you're not even hard done by, with your Christmas crackers and your plum pudding!'
Furiously, Mr Evil upturned the tray upon which sat Mavis' scrumptious-looking plum pudding. It hit the ceiling first. It clung there for a moment, but then it fell – fell back to the table with an almighty splat.
'Oh my God!' roared Perkins, his browline spectacles covered in tiny specks of pudding. 'My Mavis spent hours baking that pudding!'
'I want my gold back,' thundered Mr Evil. 'I want it all back now, come on! Oh, and don't you think you're coming back to work for me either. You lost out on that opportunity when you had the audacity to tug at my dear old heartstrings!'
'That – that does not matter!' screamed Perkins. 'But if you cannot hold your tongue in my house, in front of my young children on Christmas Day, then I am afraid I must ask you to …!'
BLAT!! BLAT!! BLAT!! BLAT!! BLAT!! BLAT!! BLAT!!
Mr Evil blew sharply at the smoking barrel and downed the last of his brandy, as the insolent and ungrateful Perkins rolled from his chair, to slump beside the table. He had to step over the accountant's body to do so, but he grabbed the remaining half-empty bottle in one hand before tucking the sack of gold back under his arm. Then, in high spirits, Mr Evil left the Perkins home and headed back to his own, whistling carols under his breath once again.