It took awhile for Sarumezer to realize that he was back in his bedroom. The place was as dark and empty as if he had never left it. The window was shut and locked tight. With a shuddering sigh, Sarumezer laid back down on the bed, hoping everything he had experienced was nothing more than a dream, a nightmare brought on by the gruel. The clock ticked on normally without any concern.
As Sarumezer continued to stare at it, he realized that it was almost two. A few more seconds strolled by without a care and the clock began to strike loudly. Gong…gong…
Nothing happened. Sarumezer sat upright on his bed, knowing the second ghost was due to appear. But all was silent and still. Even the snow was quiet. He chuckled to himself and crawled under the covers, pulling the curtains closed.
“And what do you think you are doing?” a jolly voice demanded. By an invisible hand, the curtains were flung open and warm light flooded the room. “Come in! Come in and know me better, man!”
Sarumezer leaped to his feet and ran into the parlor. It was decorated with holly and lights and magic. A large pine tree stood in the center, blazing with decorations and gifts. A large table occupied an entire side of the room filled with breads, desserts, meats, and almost everything a Christmas feast would desire. “What has happened to my parlor!?” Sarumezer demanded.
With a laugh, a short man emerged from behind the tree. He was taller than Sam but only reached Sarumezer’s waist. His eyes sparkled from beneath his helmet, and almost his entire face was covered by a long, curly chestnut beard. “A dwarf…?” Sarumezer choked.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!” the dwarf announced in a voice that seemed many sizes too big for him. “But you may call me `Gimli’ for short.”
“Well, where is it?” Sarumezer asked.
“Where is what?”
Gimli stared at him. “Huh?”
Sarumezer rolled his eyes. “Well, you said you were the Ghost of Christmas Present. I want to know where my present is at.”
Gimli growled in his throat. “That joke is so crude and old. Why is it whomever I meet always makes that crack? I am sorry to say it, but I am not the Ghost of Christmas Present as in gifts! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present as in time! You know, the thing that makes clocks work?”
“Oh, relax. I was just trying to make light of the situation.”
Gimli folded his arms across his chest. “Well, you’re not doing a very good job of it. Now, come. We must go before the third ghost gets here.” With a sigh, Sarumezer followed Gimli outside to the street. At once the sun rose and people began bustling about.
But it all seemed different this morning. Sarumezer could not explain it. Everyone seemed so happy and cheerful. Not an unkind word was spoken. Not an ill thought was heard. It was as if sin had never entered the world at all.
“Why don’t we look at something a little more close to home?” Gimli asked. And with a wave of his hand the scene changed. They were standing by a Christmas tree in a large parlor. “My nephew Boromir’s dinner party!?” Sarumezer cried. “My dear spirit, I thought you ghosts were sent to help me, not to TORTURE me!”
“Hey, Boromir is a really cool guy if you get to know him,” Gimli shot back. “But since when did you ever try to?”
At that moment, the guests began to file into the room including Boromir, his brother Faramir, and Faramir’s wife Eowyn. Even Eomer, and his wife and son showed up. “And now I must make a toast,” Boromir announced as the guests settled themselves on the cushions. “To my uncle, Sarumezer Scrooge, that may he someday know I love him.”
“I will NOT drink to that man!” Eowyn hollered, springing from her seat. “I have no respect for such a sniveling old coot and I hope he suffers twice as much as he made others suffer.”
“Honey, you’re making a spectacle,” Faramir warned her under his breath.
“Have pity for him, dear sister,” Boromir replied.
“Pity? Your uncle has all the money one could dream of having and you want me to PITY him!?” she shrieked.
“Oh, boy, here we go,” Faramir moaned, burying his face in his hands.
“You invite him here year after year,” Eowyn continued, ignoring her husband. “And he has yet to show up. He could at least have the decency to send a refusal or show up on your door and wack you with his staff or something. But to keep raising your hopes like this and then destroying them like this is unacceptable!”
“I agree with you, Eowyn,” Boromir answered softly. “But you must also realize that we are family. Without me he has noone. I cannot abandon him no matter how logical it may seem. I believe he may change yet. He may be rich, but he is more alone than we realize. The least we can do is drink to his health.”
The speech was moving, and had it been about anyone else, Boromir would have most of his guests in tears. But they were on Eowyn’s side about this one. However, they were surprised when she raised her glass and groaned, “Very well. To your uncle Scrooge.”
“To Uncle Scrooge,” the others echoed tonelessly. Faramir simply raised his glass. Eowyn pretended to take a sip but when noone was looking, she dumped her drink into a nearby houseplant.
“Wow, you are a very popular guy around here,” Gimli commented.
“Oh, shut-up,” Sarumezer shot back.
“Let’s go. We still have one more Christmas to see.”
“Can’t I just go back to bed?” Sarumezer pleaded.
Gimli waved his hand again. Sarumezer was thinking about chopping the hand off when they were standing in a rather poor looking section of town. “Why are we here?” Sarumezer snarled.
“It’s Christmas here, too, of course,” Gimli retorted. He pointed to the house in front of them. “There is the home of your clerk, Aragorn Crachit.”
“You’re kidding. That’s a bunch of orcbug!”
Gimli stared at him. “Um…I like `humbug’ better.”
“Get over it.”
Gimli shrugged. “I know I screw up on my directions once in a while but I’m pretty sure this is the right place.”
The two approached the window and peeked in. A beautiful elven lady stood next to the stove stirring something in a small pot. “Yup, I was right,” Gimli spoke up. “That’s Arwen Crachit, Aragorn’s wife.”
At that moment, three boys rushed in, one twelve, one nine, and one seven. The two younger ones were chasing down the eldest in order to gain possession of a wooden horse he was holding just out of their reach. “Eldarion! Theo! Kalyn! Settle down now, or you’ll wake up Serenity!” Too late. Already the sound of a baby crying began to ascend from another room. “Oh, good grief,” Arwen sighed. “Eldarion, watch the pot,” she ordered as she left the room to tend to the child.
At that moment the door opened and Aragorn carrying a young boy in his arms. “Daddy!” the boys cried rushing to him.
“Hey, kids!” Aragorn answered hugging them each in return. “And where is the little wife?”
“I really wish you would stop calling me that,” Arwen replied coming into the kitchen. Aragorn placed the boy down as he took Arwen into his arms. After kissing him passionately, she leaned down the boy and kissed the top of his curly head. “And were you a good boy at church, Tiny Frodo?” she asked.
“Yes, Mummy,” Tiny Frodo replied and Sarumezer could see that not only was the boy a cripple, he also had unusually big and hairy feet.
“He looks like a hobbit,” Sarumezer observed.
“He was adopted,” Gimli replied.
Sarumezer watched as the family sat down to dinner. As they raised their glasses to a toast, Tiny Frodo announced, “God bless us everyone, including Mr. Scrooge even if he is a sniveling old coot.”
Sarumezer was taken aback. “Uh…I think that was a compliment.” He turned to Gimli. “Say Gimli, out of curiosity, will Tiny Frodo live?”
Gimli sighed and replied, “I see a vacant seat in the chimney corner and a crutch without an…”
He was cut off when Aragorn yelled, “Tiny Frodo, how many times do we have to tell you? Do not bring the One Ring to the table!”
“Aw, but Daddy!” Tiny Frodo whined. “How come I can’t eat with my precious, I mean, the Ring?”
Gimli jerked his thumb to the window. “I guess that answers your question. Come. My time grows short.”