Disclaimer: Scrooge McDuck and the others characters in this story are property of the Walt Disney Co. TheLife andTimes ofScroogeMcDuck and A letter from Home, on which this story is based, is © by Don Rosa.
The original plot of the story belongs to me and thus it can not be published and / or translated elsewhere without my permission. This story was written for fun and as a tribute to the character of Scrooge McDuck, no copyright infringement is intended.
I am not a native English speaker: I am Italian.
Author's Note: My first fan fiction on the richest duck in the world. It was a long time since I wanted to write something about Scrooge, but I never had the right idea.
The story is based on the events narrated by Don Rosa in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck and A Letter from Home.
Since this is the translation of my story in Italian, I had a problem with Scrooge's butler. I wanted to replace Battista (Baptist), an Italian Disney comics character, with Miss Quackfaster, but I couldn't: Battista is unique XD
The letters of a lifetime
Sometimes I wonder...
Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been if, who knows?, if at one of the many forks that I met I had taken a different road.
Difficult to answer.
You can think about as long as you want and a thousand of possibilities overlap in your head, but in the end all that remains is only a huge question mark.
Has it ever happened to you? Think: hey, who knows where I would be now if I did this rather than that. If I had said that instead of this! Well, it happens to me. Quite often, actually. More often lately. Too often. Maybe it's age. Perhaps the approaching end pushes me to retrace my steps, as if to pull together the threads of my life. The closing balance. It's up to assess liabilities and assets and, who knows why, it comes natural to make unnecessary comparisons with the parallel dimension of "what if ...?".
I'm going crazy. Am I going crazy?
And to say that I have always seen myself as a practical man with his feet firmly on the ground. These mental trips are not from me. They are useless. And God only knows how much I hate wastes! Yet, here I am, in the evening, when I have just finished reviewing the financial statements of my companies, when the brain is too tired to work on something concrete and too rested to go to sleep. There I am, listening to a bunch of lazy ghosts who mock me. And, furthermore, I do listen to them. There was a time when I could cope with them... I could silence them, go ahead and pretend not to see them, but now... or they are more stubborn or I'm getting old.
I bet on the latter.
Jumping Jehoshaphat! I'm getting old? Really? Ridiculous... I thought I had passed the fossil phase... Well, now I'm a fossil chatting with ghosts. Scrooge McDuck, you've lost your bearings.
It 's over. I stalled again. And it is the second, damn it! The second time I get fooled by myself... yes, all right, myself diddled me several humiliating times already, but only two of these times presented the account of regrets.
And then, what regret can a man who has everything have?
I know that people out there believe that someone like me is the happiest person in the world... what problems can the old Scrooge have? He has enough money to upholster the entire state of Calisota!
Well, let them come here in my office in the evening and they will see that beautiful mayhem of whining ghosts! They will see the rich Scrooge McDuck leaning on his desk with his hands clasped over his ears not to listen to those accusations and complaints. I pray God that no one sees me like that. Bent. Overwhelmed by the age and by the weight of my own life that I was so proud of...
How long more?
Am I heading towards an inevitable crash? These things... memories, ghosts, call them whatever you want!... these things are engulfing me. I no longer have the strength to scream at them and say: "No! I would not have missed living my life for anything in the world. I have no regrets!" I told Matilda. I really believed it ... But now, I cannot but realize that it is all a lie. The regrets are there, and this things, that keep wandering around in my head don't stop whispering them at me.
It is useless.
I am alone. I've always been alone. I am alone with these things. Damn! How can I send them away? Is there a button to press, a plug ... something to disconnect them from the brain? They are silent all day and then begin to cry at night like a pack of hungry wolves. If only they were real wolves! Then I would know how to face them... like I did in Klondike. But these things are different. They are myself, and I do not know how to cope with myself alone. All the times I had to do with myself I inevitably lost. Am I losing even now? Or maybe I'm winning?
You can fight with yourself? In any case, you win and lose. Each gain is a loss. Maybe I did too much investment in life. Maybe I should have let it go as it should go... but I'm not like this. I do not leave the helm. Ever. A ship drifting is a lost ship, and I never lose. Never. I can sacrifice. I have sacrificed. These ghosts slam those sacrifices in my face, and I cannot help but think what would have happened if...
Oh god! Why am I doing this to me? Suddenly I became a philosopher! God, I'm destroying me with my own hands...! I'm slipping. My past me is laughing like a fool looking at me now. The older you are, the screwier you become!
I still have your letter, you know? And it is perhaps the only thing that is able to push away these phantoms for a while. I have it here in my desk drawer... before, it was in the trunk. In the large trunk where I keep all my memories, along with another letter. A letter that is not there. A letter of which only the memory is preserved. But yours... yours is real. And it is here. Look, I have it here. In my hand.
Do you know? You were right. You were right about everything. How ever so unable to understand myself I may be sometimes; how ever I may not be not able to not think about why I made certain choices... why I always wanted to prove myself to the limits of my ability; why I've never been able to choose the easy way... maybe easier, happier, lighter...
In my stupidity I could not see the value in things gained without effort. I could not stop. I could go home and live in peace, but I am not been able to.
I wanted more and the price to pay was the family. Were those affections which, for choice, stupidity or pride, I have left aside. And this is my regret.
I've spent my life searching for something more. Creating every time a new goal and reaching it. I never thought to look for different values. I thought to be the tougher than the toughies and sharper than the sharpies clever and instead I was only an ambitious child who was looking for his place in a world against which I was fighting. A world that was winning. It was winning and I had not the decisive weapon. I did not have someone to rely on... and I was just too stupid and proud to see people around me.
My hand shakes and I do not know why. These ghosts do not leave me alone. Send them away!
They want to snatch your letter out of my hand. Look, it's all wrinkled. So many time I took it in my hand... I opened and folded it ... every time, the doubts and regrets that assailed me... these ghosts... receded. Not now. There's one more. One remains.
Another letter is needed to cast it away, but I do not have that letter. I do not have it!
That ghost... that girl is now in front of me... oh, I know her... it... very well. He kept me company for many, many years. It will never go away. It wants the letter, but I do not have that letter. I do not have it!
That letter is in Dawson. Thrown in the snow. Abandoned for fear. In a sealed envelope.
I do not have that letter.
I just have yours, poppa, do you see? Only yours. The letter from home that I've always been waiting for is here, but this ghost does not mind it: it wants the letter from a house that could have been.
I was scared then. Afraid of the words that were written on that letter. Afraid of being hurt.
Yes, Scrooge McDuck was afraid being hurt by the words of a girl. Come on, laugh! I know you're still there, you insignificant other ghosts!
See, Poppa? You do not have a lionhearted son, after all.
I threw it in the snow, that letter. I threw it. And now I'd give anything to be able to read it. I do not care about anything. I just want to read it. Open the envelope and read. But it is too late. The train passed, Scrooge, wake up! You missed it years ago!
Where would I be now? Uh?
Where would I be?
Would I be what I am? Would I be someone else? What would have happened if I'd had the courage to open that envelope? If I would have put aside for a moment my dreams of wealth and I would have gone back?
There, you see? I've fallen back in it.
I'm finished. What the sense of keep worrying about something that is past? I cannot go back. I cannot change anything, but that letter... I wish it was real. I wish I could open that trunk and pull out both the letters, Poppa. Yours, and Goldie's. But I cannot.
I wish I could pull it out and read it from time to time, as I do with yours almost every night now. I wish I could put them both on the desk and say: "Here, Scrooge. Your life is complete", but I cannot. Because I do not have that letter. I just have yours. Yours and the memory of the other, and it's a void in my life that these ghosts still whisper to me. That ghost... that one ghost will not go away.
I wish to open that trunk and see your letters. Both of them. I would open it and put in this letter too, the one I'm writing right now, and I would close the door on my life with a smile. But I cannot. Because if the letter Goldie was there... if it was there, this one would not exist and I do not know... perhaps it's better this way.
I'm going crazy, yes I know. I'm an old fool who is letting a memory destroy him. But it is only the period after all. Tomorrow morning I will wake up, reread this letter and I will feel embarrassed to death for my stupidity. I will destroy this letter before Baptist find it ... or worse, Donald and the children. I'd throw myself from the bin roof rather than see them read this stuff! Their grumpy and proud uncle doing an auto psychoanalysis in a letter... good heavens!
It took me eighty years to understand that perhaps what I really was missing and I wanted was a family. I have gave up three times. I left you, I left Goldie, I left my sisters, but ... I did not have let the last chance slip away. I woke up in time.
You're laughing now. Aren't you, old man? Oh, you're chuckling now, because you have always known. Momma has always known too... that I would have to stop one day and accept what life was offering me, instead of trying again and again.
Well, I did it. I did it.
These ghosts will haunt me forever, perhaps I just have to endure them. Am I correct?
I'll invite Donald and the children tomorrow night. I'll spend the evening with them and the ghosts will stand apart. I will do so.
But first, first I'm going to conclude this letter, or whatever it is. I'll sign it, fold it, and I will put in an envelope... I'll even write the address, perhaps... and then I will throw it in the fireplace and I will continue to live my life with my nephews, my memories and my ghosts.
And humbugs everything else. Including this useless letter that just made me waste my time.
Say hello to momma and to the ancestors up there and goodnight.
Please, do not forget to leave me some review! :)