The Commissioner’s Challenge: Ruining Lives

“Sorry, Paul. You’ve given me no choice. I have tried to be reasonable about this. But in one hour, your wife will have all the real details of your weekly ‘poker game.'”
“Oh, yeah? In forty-five minutes, your wife is going to learn a whole new type of Hold ‘Em.”

The Commissioner hung up. Kelly was full of hot air. These union types always talked tough, and then folded when it got tough. Look at the lockout. Granted, it was annoying that he didn’t have Kelly in his pocket like he had Saskin. But Kelly would come around. They all did.

Besides, he wasn’t going to give the pictures to his wife. When Kelly called back in ten minutes (as he surely would), the Commissioner would grant a reprieve. Then Kelly would owe him. And he would get his realignment after all. The Commissioner was very pleased.

After ten minutes, however, there was no call from Kelly. After 20 minutes, still no call. Hmmm. Maybe Kelly was a little tougher than he had given him credit for. After 30 minutes, a strange feeling started to creep over the Commissioner. It took another two to realize what it was: worry.

“The Commissioner does not get worried,” he said out loud, to no one in particular. What had Kelly said? Forty-five minutes and something about Mrs. Bettman learning to play poker. Well, that was ridiculous. Still, perhaps he should go home early. But what kind of example would that set for the marketing interns? Next thing you know, some of them would want to leave before their 8 p.m. quitting time for “family reasons.” Should he stay, or go home early?