A Christmas Carroll


Part Three – The Ghost of Ameobi Past

In the last instalment, Ebeneezer Ashley was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. The ghost, clad in a variety of hats and chewing on an ever-present apple, took Ashley on his BMX bike back to the first Christmas Ashley had spent alone as a child…

Ebeneezer Ashley was drooling in his sleep. In his dreams, he was frolicking in a KFC bucket the size of a football team (a traditional stadium, not one of these corporate-sponsored monstrosities), skipping through the breasts, legs and wings like a fat child on a pogo stick.

“That’s rank, mate.”

He looked around the bucket, but could see no one. None of the pieces of chicken had a face.

“You’re drooling, pal…” said a disgusted voice. Did he know that voice? No. But it was another Newcastle accent. He took one last look at the mountains of chicken surrounding him before opening his eyes. He focused his eyes ahead of him, staring for a good few seconds before his eyes focused on a figure sat on the edge of the bed. It was another tall black man, except this one was dressed as Santa. Well, Santa in a black and white costume. He continued staring.

The apparition read his mind. “You have no idea who I am, do you?”

“No,” replied Ashley, scratching his skull. “You look like the last one.”

“He’s my brother.”

“Na, you’re not the young one.”

“He has more than one brother.”

“What do you want?”

“I’m the ghost of Christmas present. The second of the three.”

“Hold on, mate. Let me get this straight. Your brother took me back in time. I assume another brother will take me to the future. No offence mate, but you’re not a patch on your ‘so-called’ brothers” scoffed Ashley. “What are we gonna do, look out the window?” Ashley chuckled out loud.

“Shut your mouth and you might learn something. Not least, respect for others. Now get off your fat arse and follow me”. The apparition walked to the far bedroom wall, then paused to wait for Ashley.

“Sure, I’ll come with you, Santa…” muttered Ashley, dragging his carcass up from the mattress. He looked around. “Where’s your bike?”

“We’re going through the wall. Exercise would do you good…” he muttered, staring at Ashley’s tightly stretched pyjamas.

“Ah, I’ve done this before…” said Ashley, striding forward confidently…

“Wait.”

“What?”

“We’re going quite a distance, so you have to run through it. Go too slowly and you’ll just drop outside” explained the ghost.

“Ah. Sure thing.” Ashley curled his toes twice, bounced on the balls of his feet and launched himself at the wall as fast as his chunky legs would carry him.

The sound of laughter filled his ears as he slowly returned to consciousness. He looked ahead and the ghost was laughing, while behind him the chandelier was rocking on the wall. The wall? Oh… Ashley slowly picked himself to his feet and shook his head to clear the cobwebs.

“I just ran into the wall didn’t I?”

“Aye.”

“Why would you let me do that?”

“Cos you’re a doylem. Realise you’re not in a dream now?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now follow me…” said the spirit, his voice tailing off as he calmly stepped through the wall.

Ashley looked around. Ok, he thought, let’s try this again. But slowly this time…

 *****

 … and stepped into the back room of a pub. What was this? Pardew was there, as were the rest of his staff, including Ameobi. He was definitely the ghost of Christmas Past! He looked exactly the same. In fact, Ameobi seemed to be staring right at him from beneath the peak of his baseball cap. He was smiling.

“Can you see me!?” he asked Ameobi.

Ameobi shook his head, then traded a look with his little brother, who also worked at the company and also appeared to be staring directly at Ashley. They both started laughing, and then returned to the conversation.

“So they’re your brothers?” he asked the ghost.

“Yes.”

“How come you don’t work for me?”

“Never passed the trials…”

“Ah. What’s going on here?”

“Work Christmas party.”

“What? I didn’t arrange a work Christmas party. I’m certainly not paying for one! Hey, you! Pardew!” he shouted at Bob Pardew. “What the hell are you doing having a party for the employees!? I’ll string you up, you chancer!”

He tried to launch himself at Pardew but the ghost’s hand held him back. “He can’t see or hear you. Just be quiet for a minute, you mouthy bastard, and you might learn something.”

The younger Ameobi brother spoke up. “Hey boss…”

“Call me Pards, Sammy,” said Pardew with a smile.

“Of course, Pards. Why’s Mr Ashley not here?”

“I don’t know, young Sammy, mate. I asked him a few times but he just ignored me. I even sent him a few emails. Nothing back.”

“That’s a shame.”

“Yes it is Sammy. We might not see eye to eye on stuff, but it’s Christmas. It’s not the same without him here.”

“Who’s paying for this party?” Ashley asked the ghost.

“They all paid towards it, just like they all paid towards your present.”

“They got me a present?” asked Ashley, more confused than emotional.

“Yes.”

“But… why?”

“Because it’s Christmas, and that’s what people do at Christmas. They do nice stuff for other people. Even you.”

“They like me?” asked Ashley, with a tear in his eye. “Really…”

“No. Of course not. You’re a twat. But they’ll give you another chance. ‘Tis the season for forgiving…” chuckled the ghost as the clock struck twelve and everything faded to white…

To be continued…


About Neil

28 years old. Geordie. Lived in Berlin almost three years. All-round canny lad.
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