The Rape of Piker Niggard
With apologies to Charles Dickens
Piker Niggard scowled at Scuff over his bent eyeglasses.
"Scuff," he growled.
Scuff jumped at the sound of Niggard's gruff voice and dropped the papers
he was working on.
"Yes Mr Niggard."
"Come ere...an be quick about it."
Scuff collected as many papers as he could and rushed into Piker's office.
"What's this I 'ear about you spending money for Christmas, maybe I pays you
"No Mr Niggard, I've saved a ha'penny every week. Ever since you were
kind enough to give me a job, and Mrs Scuff has done some
cleaning...we've gone without to do it."
Niggard wiped his nose on the sleeve of his jacket.
"Maybes I don't believe you... you can work till seven...well what are you
Miserable toe-rag Scuff thought, and hurried back to his stool.
Piker Niggard glanced at his pocket watch, it was one minute past seven.
"You can clear off now Scuff...mind your back, day after tomorrow."
Scuff tidied the papers on his desk.
"If it’s not too much trouble sir. Could I have my wages now, please?"
Niggard frowned and fumbled around inside a small grey sack bag.
"Ere," he said, thrusting a two-shilling piece into Scuff's hand.
"Sorry Mr Niggard sir, but I thought you only offered one and sixpence a
Niggard’s eyes squinted behind his eyeglasses.
"That was before the Socialists were elected and brought in a minimum
wage," he said.
"Of course Mr Niggard how conservative of me, Er...Merry Christmas Mr
"Extortion," Niggard grunted. "Extortion."
Niggard walked out of his office into a snow storm. He shivered as he locked
the door. He looked up the street at Scuff running and sliding in the
snow. 'Merry Christmas...Extortion,' he mumbled.
He'd been walking for ten minutes when a little boy ran round the corner
and almost crashed into him.
"Watch where your going you bleedin hooligan," Niggard bellowed.
"Get stuffed you old sod," The boy shouted and ran off.
"No bloody manners some kids."
Soon he was home and he unlocked his door.
"Niggard," a voice wailed.
Niggard looked at the door handle. The face of his dead partner Yelram glared
back at him.
"Yelram. You frightened the blinkin life out of me"
"Least you've got a life I'm just a flippin door handle, can't you do
something about it?"
"Dickens might. I won't," Niggard said and slammed the door behind him.
Niggard spent the evening reading the latest blockbuster by Ninel, 'Equality
- King of Communism.' He'd used nearly the entire candle so decided
to go to bed.
He was cuddling up to his rubber doll when he heard a knock on his
"That's not you again Yelram...is it?"
There was no answer, and the knock came again.
"If that's Yelram I'll pull his knocker off," he said struggling to
get out of bed.
He stood for a moment. What the hell am I doing he thought I'm the only
one in the house. The knock repeated. He rushed to the door and flung
it open. A ten-foot wine bottle was floating above the floor.
"What are you?" Niggard said.
"I've got a message for you."
"Couldn't it wait till morning?"
"No...once my corks popped I go off."
The bottle glided into Niggards bedroom. Niggard decided he was having
one of his bad dreams and played along, thinking he'd wake up any
"Well bottle, what's your message?"
The bottle turned and faced its label towards Niggard.
"Read what it says."
Niggard held his eyeglasses to the label.
'Cabinet Sauvignon...strong...don't drink and drive.' He said out loud.
The bottle jumped up and twirled round.
"Not that message you stupid fool...the small print."
"Why didn't you say?"
He peered closely at the tiny writing.
'You will be visited at midnight by some ghost's who've got nothing better
"What's this nonsense?"
"You'll see," the bottle said retreating through the door.
Niggard climbed back into bed convinced he was dreaming. He turned over to
cuddle his doll but it had developed a leak and was deflated. What a
nightmare Niggard grumbled to himself. He closed his eyes and started
to count his bank accounts. He fell asleep before he reached ten.
"Niggard you old rogue wake up."
Niggard opened his eyes. The room was bathed in bright light causing him to
As he became accustomed to the glow, he saw his old school teacher
standing at the foot of the bed.
"Mrs Lerner...but you’re dead," he said rubbing his eyes.
"Yes I'm dead Niggard, but so are you from the neck up...and you always
"I always tried hard at school, and anyway this is only a dream...so go
away you silly old cow."
"Oh no Niggard this isn't a dream. I'm not going away." And she
whacked him across the hand with a cane.
"That's for calling me old."
"I'm sorry Mrs Lerner.”
She grabbed Niggards ear and pulled his face close.
"Why didn't you give some money to the school restoration fund? You've
made hundreds in business?"
Niggard winced at the pain in his ear.
"Miserable wretches should be working not sitting in school all day doing
She twisted his ear tighter.
"Working eh...for some tight git like you for two shillings a month!"
She threw Niggard onto the bed and began thrashing him with the cane.
Niggard tried to get out of the way but he couldn't move. The beating
continued for several minutes. Niggard screamed. The pain was intense
and he was almost exhausted when it stopped abruptly.
He lay with his head in his hands begging forgiveness, swearing he would
give some money to the school.
"Stop whining man," a deep voice ordered.
Niggard went quiet, she'd either changed sex or had a sore throat he thought.
He looked up.
Mrs Lerner had gone and in her place was a man in a white coat with a
stethoscope round his neck.
"Dr Physic," Niggard said with astonishment. "Why are you here?
I didn't call you?"
"I think you need some help with your bottom."
"Yes...yes, she went mad."
The doctor examined Niggard's backside.
"It certainly needs seeing to," he said. "Did you mean what you
said about a donation to the school?"
"No, I only said that so she would stop."
"I see, well perhaps this iodine will help change your mind."
And he poured the liquid over Niggards bottom. Niggard screamed out in
"I can give you an injection to stop the pain...did you mean it?"
"NO," Niggard screeched. "She can have the money."
He felt the needle and the pain stopped.
"Now what about some new beds in the hospital?"
"I'll see what I can do."
Dr Physic smiled.
"Don't forget we can always come back."
Niggard buried his head in his hands.
"OK I promise...I'll do it tomor..."
Niggards grovelling promise was interrupted.
"Get up you whimpering cretin."
The room had become dark. Niggard attempted to make out the figure that
had replaced the doctor. Slowly the apparition moved towards him.
Then he recognised his destiny, black and complete. He cowered down
on the floor trembling with fear.
"Piker Niggard you have made promises tonight you must keep," the
spirit’s voice boomed.
"But you must change completely or you won't live to see your bank book's
Niggard whimpered. He winced as a pain seared through his bottom. Where's
that bloody doctor? He thought.
"You must become generous and benevolent or suffer the consequences,"
the hollow voice continued. "Your promises are no good to me...I
want action. You have one day or I'll be back." And the serpent
dissolved into the dark.
Niggard got up and went to his bedroom door. He peered outside fearing the
spirit might still be there, but it had gone.
He dressed and hurried out into the street. Remembering Yelram he turned
back to look at the door handle. But it wasn't there. He ran skipping
and sliding into Gammon street where his local butcher was. It was
locked. So he hammered on the door. Drake Sirloin opened his window.
"I'm closed," he shouted. "Who the hell is it?"
"Drake its me Niggard, open up quickly it’s a matter of life and death."
"OK Mr Niggard give me a minute."
In less than a minute Drake opened the door and Niggard rushed in.
"I'm closed, you know it’s Christmas Eve?"
"Yes...Yes I know," Niggard said. "But I want your biggest turkey sent
to Scuff's house...now."
"But that will cost one pound seventeen and sixpence," He knew
"Don't worry here's two pounds...keep the change," Niggard said and ran
out the shop singing and laughing.
Two young boys were having a snowball fight outside and Niggard joined
in. He laughed loudly as the boys pelted him, he was soon wet
"Here," he said, and gave the boys sixpence each. "That's for making me
"Thanks Mr," the boys cried in unison.
Niggard ran on. He wanted to get to Scuffs house before the turkey arrived so
he could see their faces. He was so happy and full of himself he
didn't see the handsome cab speeding down the street. It couldn't
stop in time.
Scuff stood at the grave side in the pouring rain with his wife and three
"It's a shame we're the only mourners," he said. "I wonder what
made him send that turkey to us on Christmas Eve?"
He shrugged his shoulders in reply to his own question, and as the
family walked slowly from the grave a black mist swirled around the
tomb. And a doctor and schoolteacher waltzed together around the