Bettman and Fehr Meet Santa Claus
Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman, each having received a message from Santa Claus, arrive at the North Pole for Santa’s requested meeting. They sit in Santa’s office.
Santa: There are a lot of sad boys and girls out there. I read their letters every day and so many of them just want to see their NHL hockey back.
Bettman: Did you read the letters I sent you as a child?
Santa: Why I sure did, Gary and I am sorry I couldn’t make you taller or look less like a toad…
Fehr (laughing): Toad…
Santa: And you Don, I know how much you wanted to negotiate for shorter classroom hours and less homework on behalf of the entire third grade…
Bettman: Jesus, you were like this from the beginning?
Fehr: Shut up, you midget.
Bettman: Or what?
(Fehr and Bettman stand up head to naval and grimace at each other)
Santa: Now, now boys. This is exactly why we are here…let jolly old Saint Nicholas help with this and maybe we can all get hockey back again.
(Fehr and Bettman sit down)
Santa: Good…Now, Gary, tell me what it is that you want.
Bettman: Just something that is fair to the thirty owners I represent…
Fehr: …who mostly hate your guts.
Bettman: See what I mean? There is no working with him!
Santa: Donald, how about you? What is it that you want?
Fehr: Just a fair deal, Santa.
Bettman (scoffs): Fair deal…you want to destroy the game, like you have done to baseball.
Fehr: Which is doing just fine today.
Bettman: Yeah, for about 10 teams while the rest struggle to compete.
Santa (sighs): Well…I can see this is going to be harder than I thought.
Bettman: Santa, do you mind if I ask you a question?
Santa: Not at all, Gary. Ask away.
Bettman: How do you keep the labor peace here? I mean, you must have thousands of elves that work for you.
Santa: Ho ho ho. I have millions of elves that work here at the North Pole factories.
Fehr (eyes widen): Millions?
Fehr: That is interesting.
Bettman: And you pay them well?
Santa: I don’t pay them at all. They love what they do so much, they are happy to work day and night to make every boy and girl new toys.
Fehr (leans forward in his seat): You have millions of elves that work for you twenty-four seven, and you don’t pay them?
Santa: That is right, Donald. The reward is in the work.
(Fehr looks at Bettman and back at Santa)
Fehr: Santa, do you have a restroom in this place I can use?
Santa: Sure Donald, there is one outside the door over there and to the right.
Fehr: Thanks. I’ll be back.
(Fehr leaves the room)
Bettman: Santa, you own this whole North Pole Village, right?
Santa: I suppose I do. I never looked at it that way.
Bettman: Well, you are the boss, right?
Santa: I suppose I am.
Bettman: You are. You definitely are. And it’s you that people talk about, write to, and leave milk and cookies for every Christmas, isn’t it Santa?
Santa: Yes…yes, that is right.
Bettman: You are a very important person, Santa. So many in this world count on you.
Santa (pauses): What are you trying to tell Santa, Gary?
Bettman: Just that if there was ever labor unrest…I mean, heaven forbid, right? Who would want that! But if there was, you would need aggressive representation to quell the uprising and get every elf back to work.
Santa: Ho ho ho. Gary, the elves loves it here. There would never be an uprising at the North Pole. Why, my…(Santa hears shouting outside his office. He looks at Bettman who sits back in his chair with a mischievous grin) Do you hear that sound?
Bettman (pretends to listen closely): Yes…we should investigate.
(Santa Claus gets up from his chair and walks outside, with Bettman a few steps behind. Santa opens the door and sees millions of elves assembled and listening to Donald Fehr, who stands at a podium and speaks into a mic)
Fehr: Slaves! That is what he has made of you! Each of you! Look to your left and to your right. You look into the mirror, do you not? You work every day and every night and for what? To have no identity of your own? To live life not as you wish but as Santa Claus demands? To do another’s bidding without fair compensation? Without rights? Without dignity? Is it not time for you to have a voice that speaks on your behalf!?
Elves (in unison) YES!
Fehr: We are not slaves! (Fehr pumps his right fist into the air) We are not slaves! (the elves join in)
Santa (piping mad and yells out): What is going on here?! (Santa points at Donald Fehr) How dare you take my elves away from their work!
(Santa walks to the podium, to a chorus of boos from the elves. Fehr steps away from the mic. Santa speaks into it to the elves)
Santa: My dear elves. Do not let this man whip you into a tizzy. We are all a team here, we are all one. One side. One goal. To make Christmas the happiest time of the year!
(The elves all look at Fehr who mouths the word “slaves”. The elves get into a fury)
One elf: You don’t love us!
Another elf: You work us day and night so you can have all the fame and fortune!
A third elf: Yeah! And we’re not going to take it anymore! Donald Fehr will set you straight!!
Several elves: FEHR!
More elves: FEHR!!
All elves: FEHR! FEHR! FEHR! FEHR!
(Santa, shocked and without words, walks back toward his office. He faces Bettman who, standing by the door, hands him a piece of paper)
Santa: What is this?
Bettman: A contract, Santa. Clearly, what I feared would occur has occurred. Now is not the time to lament. Now is the time for representation and action.
Santa (reading the handwritten contract): I, Santa Claus, hereby agree to retain Gary Bettman to represent my interests in all capacities related to and/or arising out of any and all labor negotiations with the elves and/or their representatives. Further, I agree to pay to Gary Bettman the sum of $10 million dollars per year as well as five gold coins, four Colly Birds and three French Hens for said services and advance all travel costs and those of lodging, food and accommodations. Dated this 2nd day of Christmas, 2012, at the North Pole…
(A sad face takes over jolly Saint Nick. He looks up at Bettman with eyes welled up. Bettman, expressionless, hands him a pen. Santa takes the pen and signs his name to the contract. Bettman smiles, takes the contract and walks speedily to the podium. He grimaces at Donald Fehr and stands in front of the mic…he stares down the elves, some of whom wonder if he is a distant relative)
Bettman: You dare oppose your master! You puppets! You serve as Santa Claus dictates you serve or you find yourselves without shelter, without food and in the cold! And until you come to your senses and are prepared to take even less than you have now…(Bettman lets the rage build to a fever pitch) CHRISTMAS CANCELLED!