A play in one scene, based on a true story
Montreal, during the Canada Cup training camp
Guy Lafleur: dynamic, handsome, virile superstar of the Montreal Canadiens. Lafleur, 32, beloved by all, drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney and drives like a maniac. Author and hockey fan Mordecai Richler once remarked that Lafleur possesses the charisma of a European film star, combining the glamour of Alain Delon with the everyman appeal of Gérard Depardieu.
Wayne Gretzky: effete, homely, eminently jejune goal suck of the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky, 21, can’t even bench press his own puny weight, yet somehow, perhaps due to a conspiracy (is it really credible that a guy can play twenty years in the NHL and not get his nose broken at least once?), he has managed to usurp Lafleur as hockey’s greatest star. Mordecai Richler once said of Gretzky that he was perhaps the most boring man he’d ever met.
Lights up (Thunder, the pounding of heavy rain and the screeching of tires. Lafleur and Gretzky are inside an overturned car on a lonely stretch of road.)
Gretzky My God! My God! My God!
Lafleur (sighs) Not again. You okay dere, Wayne?
Gretzky Yes, I’m not injured. Thank God, nothing’s broken. Not a scratch. I hate getting hurt, Guy, I just hate it. That’s one of the reasons I love hockey so much. I know I’ll never get hurt playing hockey.
Lafleur Not a scratch here, either. Dis is a nice soft ditch. It’s always been good to me.
Gretzky You mean this happened before?
Lafleur (as he lights a cigarette) Yeah, twice. I s’pose dis makes it a Hat Trick, eh? Heh, heh.
Gretzky Are you lighting up? We just got into a car accident!
Lafleur You seem upset, Wayne. Here, have a cigarette, it’ll calm your nerves while also giving you da strength to help push da car back onto all its wheels.
Gretzky No, I keeping telling ya, I don’t smoke. I don’t think an athlete should smoke. How many do you smoke a day, anyway?
Lafleur Two to t’ree packs a day. Dat’s not as much as it sounds because, you must remember, I never sleep.
Gretzky Never? That’s impossible.
Lafleur Ask Steve Shutt and my wife—they’ll tell you.
Gretzky Steve Shutt?
Lafleur Shutty’s my roommate on da road.
Gretzky Jesus, Guy, how can you live like this?
Lafleur Wayne, don’t take dis the wrong way, but you need to do somet’ing about dat bug?
Gretzky What bug?
Lafleur Da one up your ass! Heh, heh. Bob Gainey fell for dat one just like you did. Now, c’mon, let’s get dis car back on da road. Show me you’re stronger than you look. You sure you won’t have a cigarette? It builds muscles!
Gretzky (sighs) Okay, Guy, I’ll try one.