A Christmas Carol

SCENE I. Smoke-filled bar somewhere in downtown Belfast, close to more bars and taxis home, 5.10pm, Christmas Eve. Thirteen friends celebrating, who have had it tough, and enough.
MICK. You’ll have another one.
TOM. Only if the rest of you are.
ELEVEN MEN. Oh aye. Sure it’s Christmas. Once a year. I hate it. It’s really for the kids. I love it. What’s Santa bringing you? Is that a double? My two front teeth. Ask him for some ice. Ho, Ho, Ho. Knock that on the head, this is my round. What time is it? Who’s your woman over there? Sure you can get the next. There’s a vodka there. 5.15. Smells like a Bacardi. Ask him has he any nuts. That was my round. Or even crisps. There’s the diddley-dee men, in to give it the diddley-dee.
TOM. My turn. What are youse having?
TWELVE MEN: Same for me. Me too. Same here. I’ll have the same. Make sure he puts ice in it. No cloves, they look like tadpole stiffs. Cloves for me, lemon but no sugar. Sit you down, it’s my round. No, it’s not, it’s Davy’s. Sure, his arm’s broken. Sure, what comes around comes around or goes around. Baileys. Seamy’s in the jacks. He’s had enough. Ach, get him another. What time do the shops close? There’s no hurry. They don’t close till half five. What do you want the shops for?
TOM. I’ve to get the presents.
TWELVE MEN. Presents! He said what? What did he say? Presents. What for? What day is it? What time is it? Somebody should a said. We’re not gonna have time for another… one, two… three… four rounds. Or to get presents. I never liked Christmas. Too commercial. Waste of money. It’s not the same. You buy them a play station but they get more fun out of a Corn Flakes box. Spoilt they are. The wife’ll’ve got the kids. They know what to get. What are you getting, Tom?
TOM. Just for her.
TWELVE MEN. Ah right. Just the wife. Sure get me the same. Me too. How much do you want? I’ll square you up when you get back. Some nylons or tights, I don’t know her size. Her legs are about the length of yours. How do you know? Wore the. Get her more than that. Some chocolates. It’s not Easter. Tee-shirt. And a bottle of vodka. That’s a good idea. He didn’t hear you. That’s a cracker of an idea. Tee-shirt. Everybody drinks vodka. You can’t go wrong. Get’is a card as well. You may get me one too. Put me down for something romantic. Ya big softie! Try and get me a card, one with snow or a reindeer, a candle in a window. Try and get a crib one, she’s into that sort of thing. Anything. A Happy New Year one. Sure it’s the thought that counts.
TOM. I’ll be back in five minutes.
MICK. Life-saver.
ELEVEN MEN. You’re right there. No point in us all going. You’d lose your seat. You’d get your death of cold. You’d miss your round. I wouldn’t know what to ask for. You’d be caught in a queue. The big lad knows what he’s doing. Thank God he said.
TOM. Excuse me, love. I need thirteen bottles of perfume.
SALES CLERK. What price range?
TOM. If I bought twelve would I get the other one for free? No? Okay, then. Women’s Old Spice or something close to it.
SALES CLERK. Is it for your wife?
TOM. Her and a couple of other girls.
TOM. Could I have a pair of earrings, love. You pick them.
ASSISTANT. What colour?
TOM. I haven’t a clue. They’re for my wife. Her ears are about the size of yours.
ASSISTANT. What colour are her eyes?
TOM. Now there’s a question. I think they were blue when we got married. You couldn’t wrap them up as well.
ASSISTANT. Do you want me to write the card!
TOM. Naw, she would know my writing. Tell us what to say.
MICK. Seany for a song.
ELEVEN MEN. Don’t be letting on to be shy now. He’s a good chanter. Shush, he’s gonna sing. Fields of Athenry! Give him a chance. Tell them diddley-dee men to put a sock in it.
SEANY. It was Christmas Eve babe, In the drunk tank, An old man said to me, won’t see another one. And then he sang a song, The Rare Old Mountain Dew, And I turned my face away, And dreamed about you.
ELEVEN MEN. The missus. It’s a pity they couldn’t join us. Sure they have to get ready for Christmas. The turkey. Sure they have their wee drink. The kids. They wouldn’t like it here. Too smoky. The tree. They think we’re enjoying ourselves!
TWELVE-MAN CHORUS. The boys of the NYPD choir, Were singing ‘Galway Bay’, And the bells were ringing out for Christmas day.
ELEVEN MEN. You’re a bum, You’re a punk, You’re an old slut on junk, Living there almost dead on a drip in that bed.
SEANY. You scum bag! You maggot! You cheap lousy faggot! Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it’s our last!
ELEVEN MEN. I could have been someone.
SEANY. Well, so could anyone, You took my dreams from me when I first found you.
ELEVEN MEN. I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own,
Can’t make it all alone, I’ve built my dreams around you.
TWELVE-MAN CHORUS. The boys of the NYPD choir, Were singing ‘Galway Bay’, And the bells were ringing out for Christmas day! Da, daaaa, da, daa, da. Da, da, da, daaa, daa, da, da, da, daaa, da….
SEANY. Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day-ehhh! When the kids start singing and the band begins to play-eh-ehhh!
Closing Time