James loved Christmas and he wanted to put up a magnificent light display in front of his business. But it didn’t seem appropriate. James owned and operated a funeral home.
Still, he couldn’t get it out of his head. Just after Thanksgiving, Jim went on a binge buying spree of Christmas decorations—trees, lights, giant inflatable snow globes, plastic reindeer. They went into the basement next to the cremation oven. He didn’t feel confident putting out a display. He was torn.
Neighbors in Jim’s small town started putting up their displays in the first week of December. This made Jim jealous because he felt sure his own display—if ever shown—would be so much better.
Jim was feeling grumpy, not cheery.
As Christmas approached, Jim’s basement grew crowded. He couldn’t move in there and it became difficult to operate his business. That’s when he had the idea. He had to have one. Something had to change.
Jim bought a mannequin, a figure of an old bent man with a heavily lined face. He put out all the lights and switched them on, put out the reindeer and snow globes. Everything. The man wrapped in chains became the spotlighted centerpiece.
People came to see the display as soon as it went up: Christmas Eve.
The display was appropriate: Marley was dead.
The crowds grew bigger as the night progressed. They continued to come after Christmas ended. Until December 28th when people started fleeing in terror. Jim’s cadavers had risen.