PAWTUCKET, RI—Bitter, maniacal laughter sounded from the eternal winter of Hasbro CEO Mortimer Z. Hassenfeld's office chambers Monday as yet another relationship fell to the diabolical machinations of his company's popular board game Scrabble.
Hassenfeld, who has not left the gloomy solitude of the Hasbro Corporation's Dark Tower in more than 40 years, was reportedly most pleased as he surveyed on a bank of TV monitors the doom and destruction dealt by Scrabble to the once-happy couple.
"Ha! Foolish Ron [Jeffers] and Karen [Dreyer]! You really thought your so-called 'courtship' could withstand the divisive power of the almighty Scrabble?" shouted Hassenfeld, who is said to personally inspect each game board to ensure that it contains the correct maddening distribution of vowels, consonants, and blank tiles. "Your fate was sealed, fair Karen, the moment you reached out to gently place the letters A-X-I-O-M down for a triple-word score!"
Added Hassenfeld, "Die, die, fledgling romance! Crumble like so many ashes!"
Sources said that since the vengeful, lovelorn Hassenfeld first began marketing Scrabble under the Hasbro brand, roughly 1,447,055 romantic couplings have been destroyed by the game's devastating ability to turn otherwise felicitous partners into fierce, seething rivals.
Although Hasbro is currently the second-largest toy and game manufacturer in the world, sources inside the company claimed that the overwhelming majority of its resources and revenue are now being funneled directly into the cold-hearted Hassenfeld's goal of "total Scrabble-induced obliteration of amorous affection in all its forms."
"Yes, yes, bring out The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. That should diminish the tension in the room!" said Hassenfeld, who is believed to have never recovered from being left at the altar in 1959 by his high school sweetheart, Ms. Paulette Merriweather. "Oh, what is that you say, Ron? You'd be winning right now if Karen hadn't racked up all her points by adding letters onto words you already created? Well, well, it seems a vile, black cloud of antipathy has cast a pall on our little love nest, now, hasn't it? Ah ha! Delicious."
Hassenfeld reportedly celebrated Scrabble's latest dismantling of young love by pouring himself a glass of 1787 Château Margaux and ordering the immediate distribution of 500,000 new Scrabble boards for use in the sabotage of countless future first dates, romantic weekend getaways, and quiet nights at home.
"Scrabble will do them all a tremendous favor, you see, for love is but a murderous labyrinth of fire, a thorn-lined path I was once fool enough to tread myself," Hassenfeld said as he gazed at the image in a shattered picture frame resting on his desk. "But I soon learned, as all fools must, that, in the game of romance, we will all of us be forever a few letters short of spelling H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S."
Added Hassenfeld, "You may shake the tiles as hard as you like, but nothing will ever change that fact."
Representatives for Hassenfeld claimed that the executive's younger, kinder-hearted self may still in fact be alive somewhere within him, buried beneath 50 years of pain, regret, and heartache. However, the chances of that Hassenfeld ever returning, sources said, are "about as unlikely as landing three power tiles on three separate triple-letter bonuses."
"It's strange, but in a way, I almost pity them," announced Hassenfeld, his voice a distant echo, as if addressing another time and place altogether. "Then again, why should they know pleasure, when those who truly deserve it cannot?"