I’m pretty confident everybody knows what Donald Duck’s deal is (he’s got the sweetest disposition, never starts an argument or shows a bit of temperament, is never wrong and always right, wouldn’t dream of starting a fight, and gets stuck with all the bad luck). LIkewise, who Daisy and Huey and Dewey and Louey and Scrooge McDuck are. But is Gladstone Gander (that fucker) quite so high in the Q-ratings? Does everybody know who Gladstone is? I honestly don’t know, so let me tell you: Gladstone is Donald’s father’s sister’s son (Scrooge is Donald’s mother’s brother). He has a supernatural power which is that he is insanely, impossibly lucky. He’s also an arrogant jerkwad who likes showing Donald up, and since the universe bends around him so that he always wins, he shows Donald up a lot.
Donald hates him.
Now, back to our story.
“Gladstone, old pal!” cries Donald, and runs at Gladstone. Gladstone is by a vending machine, pressing buttons at random in case someone put money in the machine but forgot to make a selection. Someone did, it turns out, and when the thing Gladstone lucked into falls, it knocks down a bunch of other snack items, too. Something like that, this was 1953 after all.
Anyway, Gladstone is surprised and not especially pleased to see Donald, what with their mutual antipathy, but his reaction is mild. Donald quickly explains that he needs money so that there can be a Christmas in Shacktown, and Gladstone shrugs and says good luck with that.
Donald grits his teeth and asks Gladstone for help. Moved by the spirit of the season, Gladstone generously offers to assist Donald in obtaining nine dollars.
“Great,” says Donald, holding out his hands and expecting Gladstone to put money in them.
But alas, no, for Gladstone doesn’t carry money. What would Gladstone Gander do with money? What does God need with a starship?
Donald is disappointed, but Gladstone assures him that his luck will prove itself, and that he’s doing Donald a massive favor by wishing for nine dollars, because wishing is a form of work.
Around this point there’s a cut to Shacktown, and a bunch of grubby-faced rag-wearing big-eyed Shacktown orphans/urchins. They’re talking among themselves about the upcoming Christmas feast they were promised by the fancy lady with the store-bought dress (Daisy). She said there would be turkey and even a toy train for them to play with! The urchins have been burned by broken promises before, but they want to believe, this time. They discuss how to lay out the track of the toy train. One of them suggests running the track near the home of their handicapped friend whose name is something terrible like Crippled Joey or One-Leg Petey or something, and setting up a bell on a long cord so that No-Walking Mikey can ring the bell while lying in his sickbed, and it’s intensely pathetic. Just a reminder of what the stakes are, here.
Cut back to Gladstone and Donald. Gladstone has led Donald down the street to just outside a luxury hotel. “There’s a ton of rich idiots up there,” Gladstone tells Donald, then holds out his hat and shouts that he needs money, money please, would someone be so kind as to toss some money out the window?
Donald is deeply embarrassed, all the more so when Gladstone demands that he doff his own hat and hold it out looking for a handout. But he swallows his pride, and he does it.
After a couple of minutes of fruitless hooting and looking like idiots, Donald and Gladstone’s efforts are rewarded! Some rich joker tosses a dime down to them, and it lands in Donald’s cap. But alas! The rich joker heated the dime up first, using a cigarette lighter or something, because the dime is smoking hot and burns right through Donald’s cap, leaving a hole.
Donald is mortified and enraged, obviously, but Gladstone points out that the hot dime melted snow where it landed, at their feet, and in the little puddle of snowmelt they find a wallet full of cash and personal effects and identification. They take the wallet into the hotel’s front desk and the clerk calls its owner, who somehow lost it, and who generously rewards the duo with twenty bucks for returning his wallet.
Eleven for Gladstone, nine for Donald. At Donald’s request, Gladstone throws in the dime that burned a hole in Donald’s cap, too.
Donald’s feeling pretty great! He’s got his nine dollars, plus the one dollar he got begging, plus the five dollars he had saved up. Assuming Daisy and the nephews come through with their five dollars each, that’s twenty-five dollars. Donald just needs to get it all together and show it to Scrooge, and Scrooge will supply another twenty-five dollars, and then they’ll have the fifty bucks they need for a Christmas for Shacktown!
On his way home to rendezvous with Daisy and the nephews, Donald passes the park bench Scrooge kicked him off of before. Scrooge is still there, begging. He hasn’t had any luck, for some reason. Maybe it’s because he’s the infamous mister and richest duck in the world, maybe it’s because he’s begging across the street from his own filled-to-bursting money bin, maybe it’s because he’s a wicked old man who doesn’t move anyone to charity. Donald scoffs at him and tosses him the dime he got from the rich jerk, telling him Merry Christmas.
As Donald skips away, full of cheer and goodwill, Scrooge grumpily gives up on his begging. It’s getting late and it’s cold and he’s made exactly ten cents. But as a dime is a dime, Scrooge decides to stop back by his money bin before he heads home, to deposit the evening’s begging-earnings.
The swollen money bin is too full for Scrooge to toss the dime in via his usual door, so instead Scrooge climbs up to the roof of the building and drops the dime in through a skylight, noting as he does so that the level of the cash is almost to the skylights, what with all the swelling of the bills.
Then the money bin collapses.
Scrooge’s wealth was too much for the building to withstand! That dime was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In this case, the camel in question was the bin’s foundations. They crack and Scrooge’s entire liquid fortune spills down into darkness below.
Meanwhile, Donald is collecting cash from Daisy and Huey et al, chortling about how they collectively came through despite Scrooge’s ridiculous demands and now that they have the money to show Scrooge, they can collect his half and then there will be, at last, a Christmas for Shacktown!
Donald wades through the dramatic irony and makes it back to Scrooge’s money bin, where Scrooge is standing on the street. Donald at first doesn’t notice that the building has completely collapsed. He waves the twenty-five bucks in Scrooge’s face and demands the promised matching funds immediately. Scrooge laughs mirthlessly, and points to the hole in the ground where the money used to be.
NEXT: CAN YOU BELIEVE THERE’S A PART THREE??