An Atheist Christmas Carol

by Jerry McMasters

[Setting:  Ben’s bedroom.  Late at night.]


Ben [wakes up, startled]:  What’s that sound?  Show yourself!


Jerry:  AAAOOOuuuughhhh!


Ben:  Jerry?  Jerry Smith?  Is that you?


Jerry:  Hey Ben.  What’s up?


Ben:  Oh my God!  But you’re dead!  I must be dreaming!


Jerry:  Nope, it’s me.  And yes, dead.  Ergo the whole “AAAOOOuuuughhhh” thing.


Ben [flinching in horror]:  Those chains and shackles…are they the afterlife burdens of your many sins and transgressions?


Jerry [surprised]: These?  Oh no...see, when I died, things were getting kind of kinky…well, you remember Susan?


Ben:  Susan Spangler?


Jerry [smiling]:  Yes.


Ben:  Say no more.  Jerry why are you here?  What do you want from me?


Jerry:  Well Ben, you were my friend in life.  And I know you have become an atheist.  I’m here to save your eternal soul, Ben, by showing you the truth of the story of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


Ben:  Oh please.  I don’t believe that stuff.  The bible is just a bunch of stories.


Jerry:  That’s why I’m here, Ben, to show you the Truth.  Tonight you shall travel with me to see that the Jesus of the holy gospels aren’t just made-up stories, they are the literal truth of the glory of Our Savior.  Ready?  Step with me into this teleporter.


Ben:  Teleporter?


Jerry:  Yes, right here.


Ben [indignantly]:  I’m not getting into that thing.  Hell no.


Jerry:  Come on, it’s easy!  Watch, I’ll go first.


Ben:  Screw you, you’re already dead.  No way.  Can’t you just wave your hands or something?


Jerry:  Oh well, I guess it was good enough for Mr. Scrooge. [waves hands; the room fills with mist and fades out…a new scene takes form…]


Ben:  Where are we?


Jerry:  On the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Perhaps we’ll begin your lesson on the wonder of God’s power with one of Jesus’ smaller miracles…how does walking on water sound to you?  Listen closely and watch events unfold as they unfolded two thousand years ago…


[Ben and Jerry look down from above on Jesus and his followers…]


Jesus:  Hey guys!  Watch this!  It’s going to work this time!


Peter:  Oh for God’s sake!  Jesus get down from there!  This is the ninth time this month, give it up!


Jesus:  Oh ye of little faith Peter!  Witness ye the power of thy Lord! [Jesus jumps into water]




Jesus [struggling to keep from drowning] Help!  Help!


Peter [eyes rolling] Oh shit.  Somebody throw him a rope.  Again.


Thomas [throws rope]  Come on Jesus, if you insist on doing this over and over, could you at least learn how to swim first?


John:  Or do a cannonball or something?


[Jerry waves hands, scene fades to mist.  Ben looks at him suspiciously]


Jerry:  OK, yes, well, we must remember that much of the bible contains symbolic truths of the glory of our lord Jesus, walking on water being only a symbolic representation of, uh, er, keeping one’s head above water…


Ben:  Hmmm.


[New scene fades in below.]


Jerry:  Sometimes the truth and glory of the lord shows through in the most peculiar of ways…yes, watch now as Jesus has Peter retrieve a coin for tax from the mouth of a fish!  Here we see both the playful sense of humor of the Lord and a most incredible and literal miracle!


[Ben and Jerry look down on Jesus and his followers]


Jesus:  Anything yet?


Peter [looking into the water] Eh, no…what the hell are we looking for again?


Jesus:  Well, we need to produce a coin of tax money to pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, so look ye for a passing fish with a coin in its mouth.


Peter [rolling eyes]  Riiiiiight.  That’s what I thought you said.  [gets up and approaches Jesus]  Look, Jesus, I haven’t really seen that yet.  How about this: we write down in a book that we got the fucking coin from a fish’s mouth.  People can read the book, and bang, Jesus can turn a fish into a fucking ATM machine.  No one will know it didn’t really happen.  And we can go get a beer or something…


Jesus [confused]: Oh Peter, ye of little faith…


Peter:  I’m just saying, we’ve been sitting here by this pond for two hours, and I don’t think there are even any fish in it…


Jesus:  The ways of the Lord are indeed mysterious…


Peter [gets coin from pocket]  Here, I’ll even kick in the coin.  You can say you got it from a fish, or your ear, or whatever.


[Jerry waves arms quickly, scene fades to mist]


Ben:  Hey.  That was just getting interesting.


Jerry [nervously]:  Interesting?  Miraculous I would say!  But not nearly as awe-inspiring as some of the centerpiece miracles of the Greatest Story Ever Told!  Join me now as we see the Virgin Mary realizing she is the vessel of the Savior of the Universe…


[a woman’s excited voice can be heard, gaining in intensity]


Mary:  Oh YES!  Oh YES!


Jerry: [triumphantly]…witness her ecstatic joy as…


[new scene fades in…Roman Centurion aggressively having sex with Mary, whose legs flail in the air…]


Mary:  Oh!  Oh!  YES!  YES!  YES!!!


Centurion Gladius:  Shhh!  Quiet woman!  Joseph will hear us!


[scene fades as Jerry frantically waves arms]


Jerry:  Nothing to see here, nothing to see!


Ben:  Jerry I’m starting to think I was completely right to think the whole Jesus story is bullshit.


Jerry [coughing nervously]:  No, no, see, the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ isn’t always seen in overrated so-called “miracles.”  Ben, the real importance of Jesus lies in his experience on the cross!


Ben:  Let me guess, there wasn’t really a cross.


Jerry:  Oh Ben, not only was there a cross but it was on the cross that Jesus uttered some of his most sublime messages to mankind: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”  Even in his agony Jesus demonstrated his willingness to die for the sins of the world and provide forgiveness for all…


[scene fades in; Jesus being nailed to a cross by his followers]


Jesus:  Hey!  What are you guys doing?


Peter:  What we should have done a long time ago, you nut!


Jesus:  Ouch!  Oh shit that hurts!  You bastards!  God damn ye bastards!


John:  Does he ever shut up?  Somebody hand me another nail…


Jesus:  Oh I am so going to come back and get ye…


[scene fades out, Jerry waving frantically]


Jerry:  Shit!


Ben:  Jerry can I just go back to bed?


Jerry [angry]: No!  Everything so far was just details.  All of Christianity rises or falls on the truth of the Resurrection, everybody knows that, so let’s just skip ahead to the Big Enchilada, ok?


Ben:  Did you just call the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Big Enchilada?


Jerry: [irritated, angry] Yes I just called the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Big Enchilada!  Do you want to see it or not?


Ben:  Are you sure we should?  This is getting a bit embarrassing.


Jerry [grand gesture, loudly]:  Behold!  The ultimate proof of the Truth of the Son of God!  THE EMPTY TOMB!


[scene fades in...]


Igor:  Master, is this one okay?


Dr. Frankenstein:  Quiet you fool!  Someone will hear us!  Well, he’s a bit on the skinny side but he’ll have to do!


Igor:  Master, can you help me carry him?


Dr. Frankenstein:  Carry him?  Just drag him you idiot.  Now hurry let’s gets back to the castle before the sun comes up.


[scene fades away, Ben and Jerry return to Ben’s bedroom.  Jerry sits dejectedly at the foot of Ben’s bed.]


Jerry:  Well, I guess I screwed that up.


Ben:  So much for the truth of Christianity, if that’s what you mean.


Jerry:  Damn it!


Ben:  But hey, hey.  Don’t sweat it!  I’m thinking of reconsidering my atheism.


Jerry [eyes light up]:  Really?  After that?  Why?


Ben:  Well, think about it.  I’m sitting here talking to you, aren’t I?


Jerry:  Good point!  But maybe I’m just a bad dream.


Ben:  Let me ask you this:  Is Susan Spangler still alive?


Jerry:  Yeah.


Ben:  What’s she doing tonight?


Jerry [interest growing]:  I suppose we could go take a look.


[Ben smiles mischievously.  Jerry smiles back.  Scene fades]