Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)
TITLE: Back to the Future
By Gregory Kane
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It was the Doc's fault (as usual). We were having this row about Christmas trees. I was convinced that Jesus had his own tree because I saw it on a Christmas card once. But the Doc was rabbiting on about Victoria or Alberta or some other stupid place in Canada. (I never can follow the old man once he gets excited.) But in the end he lost the rag and yelled at me. “Marty McFly,” he said, “if you're so sure of yourself, why don't you go back and find out!”
You might think that's pretty straightforward. Set the year to 1AD, hop in the DeLorean, power up the flux capacitor, hit the gas and once you're up to 88mph, back you fly in time to Bethlehem and the choirs of angels. Problem is, it turns out that some monk in the distant past got his calendars all mixed up and no one's exactly sure when Jesus was born. But the Doc did his Albert Einstein thing and worked out that the Star wasn't an actual star but a conjunction of planets or something. What it all meant was that he could calculate the exact date the star' appeared.
Well let me tell you, Bethlehem way back then was a dump. First off, there was no choir of angels. I scanned high and low but didn't see a single curly-haired cherub. I even managed to scare a bunch of shepherds before I thought to douse the headlights on the DeLorean— I guess not too many chariots came with halogen bulbs back then. And the roads— Mr Strickland, my school principal, is always going on about how the Romans loved to build these dead straight, paved roads. Well let me tell you I have seen smarter cattle trails than what they had back then. It was just as well that the Doc had installed the anti-grav or I would have wrecked the suspension for sure.
At least there was the Star. Boy was that one bright light in the sky. I didn't even miss my headlights as I made for the little town of Bethlehem. Ten minutes later who did I bump into but these four dudes on camels. Yep, you guessed it— they were the Wise Men. But please note: four not three— another error, thank you very much, Doc. We were near the town by then so I parked up and followed them, expecting to be led to a cosy stable, complete with baby in the manger. But no, mistake number 154, we ended up at this little house on a back street. Mary and Joseph were there, fair enough, but little Jesus was running about the place, because he's, like, a year old!
The Magi got to present their gifts, but it was all very different from what I learned in Hill Valley. Jesus was given this lump of gold in the shape of a star. Then they handed over a couple of bottles of perfume that smelled so dreadful even Biff Tannen wouldn't be seen dead wearing it and that's saying something. Mary and Joseph seemed grateful enough. I guess that's one Christmas tradition we got right - your aunt gives you a completely useless embroidered tea cosy for Christmas and you waffle on about how much you've always wanted one.
Things get a bit sketchy after this. One of the Wise Men preached an incredibly boring sermon about the Star being a sign from Heaven— men staggering around in the pitch dark with God shining this really powerful searchlight so that they wouldn't all fall into a ditch. Something like a cross between the 23rd Psalm and a TV ad for emergency lighting. I suppose they were talking about Jesus but, you know, he looked to me just like a perfectly ordinary little boy— not a halo in sight.
I didn't hang around too long after this. Besides, I had an assignment for English Lit that was way overdue. I returned to the DeLorean and jumped back to the present day. But you know what really irks me? The Doc was correct— Jesus got his Christmas presents, sure enough. But he didn't have a stupid tree!
With apologies to Michael J Fox, Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures.
If however you're looking for a screenwriter for part four...
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