Elf-Analysis by efw18411

VIEWS: 71 PAGES: 114

									                          ELF-ANALYSIS

                               by

                Antonio Gangemi & Aimee Parrott




Registered WGAw No. 1168266
FADE IN:


INT. VERDEN HOUSE - CAL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

A typical boy's bedroom.      Red Sox sheets, stuffed animals.

CAL VERDEN, 7, watches snow fall outside his window.     He
sighs on the glass.

His mother, JOY, 34, cynical masquerading as skeptical, enters
holding a mug of hot cocoa.

                       JOY
           Is it getting deep?

                       CAL
           Can we go sledding tomorrow?

                        JOY
           We'll see.

                       CAL
           Holly's dad's putting up Christmas
           lights. Can we put ours up?

                       JOY
           If you really want to.     In a month,
           it'll all come down.

Cal props his elbows on the window sill and sulks.

Joy draws a heart on the foggy window.

Cal colors in the heart and peers out.
THROUGH WINDOW

Across the way, an elaborate Christmas display comes to life.


INT. JOY'S OFFICE - RECEPTION AREA - MORNING

Joy's secretary, MARTI, 20s and aglow with the euphoria of
newfound love, hums as she strings Christmas lights.

Joy strides in wearing shades and a black leather coat.

                       JOY
           Traffic was wretched.     What are you
           so happy about?

                       MARTI
           I met someone. Can't you tell?
                                                            2.

                      JOY
              (removes shades)
          When did this happen?

                      MARTI
          Over the weekend.   Over coffee.

                       JOY
          Ah...   A Thanksgiving arrival.

                      MARTI
          What's wrong with Thanksgiving?

                      JOY
          Nothing, it's my second favorite
          holiday. But I've heard of people
          entering the market around this time
          who have... ulterior motives?

                      MARTI
          It's a good thing you're not cynical,
          Joy.

                      JOY
          I don't mean to burst your bubble.
              (whisking away)
          As long as he makes you happy...

                      MARTI
          He won't make me happy.

                       JOY
          What?

                      MARTI
          Or... unhappy. That's up to me.

Joy smirks, disappears into her office.

                      MARTI
              (calling)
          What's your favorite holiday?

                       JOY (O.S.)
          Boo!


INT. JOY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Utilitarian.   Joy hangs up her coat.   Powers up her laptop.
                                                           3.

LAPTOP SCREEN

Muted blue. Joy finds a wallpaper befitting the season -
Christmas wrapping paper. Saves it. Then un-saves it.

A knock on the door frame. A handsome MAN, 30s, sharply
dressed, stands in the doorway.

                        HANDSOME MAN
          Joy Verden?

                        JOY
          Yes?

He glides over and hands her a large envelope.

                      HANDSOME MAN
          Happy holidays.

He strides away.

                        JOY
          Likewise.

She tears open the envelope, skims the contents, drops it on
her desk.

                      JOY
          Marti, get in here.

She marches to the door, Marti appears.

                        MARTI
          What's up?

                      JOY
          What'd I say about letting people in
          off the street?

                      MARTI
          He was so well-dressed.

                      JOY
          All the more reason.   Don't let it
          happen again.

                      MARTI
          What's wrong?

Joy drifts back to her desk.

                      JOY
          Ted's filing for divorce.
                                                                4.

                        MARTI
          I'm sorry.

                      JOY
          See what happens?


INT. MR. TECLER'S OFFICE - LATER

Drab, no windows. Joy chats with MR. TECLER, 50s, slicked-
back hair. He cleans a walk-in bird cage.

                      MR. TECLER
          What you're suggesting is
          preposterous. Ludicrous.      Zany,
          even.

                      JOY
          If you don't give your employees
          more latitude, they'll keep walking
          out that front door.
              (glances about)
          You do have a front door, right?

Mr. Tecler approaches Joy ominously.     Gazes at her through
the bars.

                      MR. TECLER
          You psychiatrists kill me.

                      JOY
          Psychologist.

                      MR. TECLER
          Why don't I put every decision into
          the grubby little hands of my
          employees?

                      JOY
          You'll grow your company. Maybe
          move to Cambridge. Get yourself a
          window.

Mr. Tecler lowers his head.     And raises his eyes.

                      MR. TECLER
          I've been in this room for six years
          now, Joy. I know they'll never let
          me out while I'm alive.

Joy furrows her brow.
                                                              5.

                      MR. TECLER
          You know what you look like to me
          with those Dolce and Gabbana shoes?

                      JOY
          Armani.

                      MR. TECLER
          You look like a rune.

                      JOY
          A rune is a symbol.   Are we done?

                      MR. TECLER
          And that accent. Pure Revere Beach.

                      JOY
          I grew up in Connecticut.

                      MR. TECLER
          What does your father do? Is he a
          fisherman? Does he stink of the
          clams?

                      JOY
          Fffefffefffeffe.

Mr. Tecler looks at her like she stole his line.

                      JOY
          Is your AC running?


INT. BLACK VOLVO - AFTERNOON

Joy searches for a parking spot.   Cal plays with a Rubik's
Cube in the back seat.

                      JOY
          I just looooooove the holidays.

                      CAL
          Me, too!

Joy spies a spot, flicks on her blinker. A large SUV beats
her to the punch. Joy scowls at the GUY, drives off.

                      JOY
          One more inconsiderate person.    Yay.
                                                            6.

EXT. CHRISTMAS TREE VENDOR - MOMENTS LATER

Joy and Cal walk through a maze of Christmas trees.

                      JOY
          See one you like?

Cal points to the biggest one.

                      JOY
          Surprise, surprise.

She turns to the ATTENDANT, 30s.

                      JOY
          How much for the tall one?

                      ATTENDANT
          You mean my brother?

Off to the side stands the Attendant's TALL BROTHER, 30s.
They chuckle at her expense.

                         JOY
          Very funny.

                      ATTENDANT
          Eighty dollars.

                      JOY
          Does he have a son?

                         ATTENDANT
          You mean...?

                       JOY
          Not him.   The tree.


EXT. PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER

Cal peers out the window of the Volvo as Tall Brother ties a
small tree to the roof.

Joy's cell phone rings. Tall Brother hand-gestures a gunshot
at Cal, who returns fire.

                         JOY
          Thank you.

She checks the display: Unknown Caller.

                         JOY
          Hello?
                                                         7.

                      MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
          Is this Joy Verden?

                        JOY
          Speaking.    Who's this?

                      MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
          My name is Stan Lacusa. I understand
          you're the one to call.

                        JOY
          For what?

                      STAN (V.O.)
          I could really use some help with my
          lackluster workforce.

                      JOY
          How did you get this number?

She checks the straps that fasten the tree.

                      STAN (V.O.)
          I Googled "Best behavioral
          psychologist in the universe" and
          clicked "I'm Feeling Lucky." Was I
          wrong?

                        JOY
          Uh... no.    Not exactly.

                      STAN (V.O.)
          Can I entice you to lunch tomorrow?
          Say, one o'clock?

                      JOY
          I'm not sure. I'll have to check my --

She slips and falls.   Cal gapes through the window.

                      STAN (V.O.)
          Was that a yes?


INT. DURGIN-PARK RESTAURANT - DAY

Busy lunch hour, the mood is festive. Tiny Christmas lights
adorn the walls. Joy is greeted by the HOSTESS, 20s.

                       HOSTESS
          Hi.   Do you have a reservation?

                      JOY
          I'm meeting Stan Lacusa.    Is he here?
                                                             8.

                        HOSTESS
          He sure is.    Right this way.

Joy follows her through a maze of tables and WAIT STAFF.

Seated at a corner table is STAN LACUSA, 35, full beard, he
could stand to lose a few, but it doesn't keep him from
smiling. Before him lies a smorgasbord of food. As Joy
nears, Stan checks his watch, playacting that she's late.

                      STAN
              (leading an orchestra)
          Joy to the world...

Joy gives him a curious look.    The Hostess smiles and leaves.

                      STAN
          So happy to meet you.

                       JOY
          Likewise.   Is all this for you?

                      STAN
          Now what kind of host would I be...?

                      JOY
          A hungry one?

She gawks at the table: serving dishes filled with ribs,
fish, and roast beef garnish a Thanksgiving-sized turkey.

                      STAN
              (gestures grandly)
          Whatever your heart desires...

                      JOY
          I'm vegetarian.

                      STAN
          Oh no, not that.

He uncovers a serving dish stacked with falafel, decorated
with hummus, tabouleh and warm pita.

                      STAN
          You like falafel?

                      JOY
          Yes, I like falafel.

                      STAN
          Then I guess I did something right.

He pulls out her chair.
                                                        9.

                        JOY
          Thanks.

Stan pops the cork, pours champagne.

                      STAN
          A little bubbly... it's Christmas.

                      JOY
          So tell me, Mr. Lacusa --

                        STAN
          Please.    Call me Stan.

                      JOY
          Are you from Boston?

                     STAN
          No. I visit as much as possible
          though. So much history here.

                      JOY
          Yes, there is.

                      STAN
          Their hockey team could use a swift
          kick in the pants, let me tell ya.

He tears into a turkey leg.

                      STAN
          They haven't won a Cup since...

He searches his memory bank.

                      JOY
          So where's your company?

                        STAN
          Up north.    I'm a toy manufacturer.

                      JOY
          Not the time for a lackluster
          workforce.

                        STAN
          Exactly.    That's where you come in.

Joy tries the falafel, Stan goes for a barbecued rib.

                      JOY
          What seems to be the problem?
                                                     10.

                      STAN
          I can't figure it out. It's like
          they all gave up, you know? They
          just lounge around all day.

                      JOY
          How long has this been going on?

                       STAN
          I dunno.   Columbus Day, maybe?

                      JOY
          Why don't you just fire them?

                      STAN
          My workers come highly skilled.
          Firing them would only put me behind
          the eight ball. And the big day's
          just twenty-eight days away.

                      JOY
          Sounds like decision time.     How far
          up north are you? Maine?

                      STAN
          Don't worry about    travel expenses,
          stuff like that.     I got that covered.
          What I need is to    turn their frowns
          upside down. And     fast.

He snags a slab of roast beef.

                      STAN
          Feel like taking a trip?

                      JOY
          That could be a problem.

                        STAN
          Why's that?

                      JOY
          For starters, it's just me and my
          son.

                      STAN
          Bring him. We provide day-care,
          stuff like that. What's your hourly
          rate?

                      JOY
          I normally charge a flat fee.
                                                          11.

                      STAN
          How does twenty-five thousand sound
          for a month of your time? Too flat?

                      JOY
          No, it's got a nice slope to it.

Stan goes fishing for a piece of scrod.

                      JOY
          You've really got a healthy appetite.

                      STAN
          Helps to put on a few where I'm from.

                      JOY
          Where is that again?

Stan signals to a waiter for more bubbly.

                      STAN
          Do you have a card?

                      JOY
          Yes.

She slips one out of her purse.   Stan slides his across the
table.

STAN'S BUSINESS CARD TAGLINE: "Make Merry Everyday."

                      STAN
          I can have a car pick you up.
          Tomorrow morning?

                      JOY
          I don't know. It's such short notice.

                      STAN
          If I could change when Christmas
          falls, I probably would. Maybe tuck
          it between Valentine's and Memorial
          Day?

Joy bites her lip, debates.

                       STAN
          Feel like getting out of the city
          for a while?


INT. VERDEN HOUSE - JOY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Joy stuffs clothes into two giant suitcases.
                                                             12.

                      CAL
          I don't wanna go on a trip.

                         JOY
          Why not?

                      CAL
          Is Dad gonna come?

                       JOY
          No.   I already told you that.

                      CAL
          How long is he gonna be away?

                      JOY
          Did I mention you don't have to go
          to school for the rest of the year?

                      CAL
          Don't lie to me, Mom.

Joy offers up a smile.    Cal gapes.   And does a dance.

                      JOY
          Are you gonna be okay?

                      CAL
          Oh I'll be okay.

He dances his way out of the room.     Joy flips open her phone,
holds up Stan's card.

She dials, no connection.      The display reads: In Season, But
Out of Range.
                         JOY
          What?


EXT. AIRPORT - RUNWAY - DAY

A limo comes to a stop on the tarmac.     Joy and Cal get out.

                         CAL
          Whoa!

A PRIVATE JET

is parked twenty yards away. The outside is painted like
Christmas wrapping paper, oddly similar to the wallpaper
that Joy nearly downloaded to her laptop.
                                                            13.

                      JOY
          He didn't say anything about
          airplanes.

Cal takes off toward the mobile staircase.

                      JOY
          Cal, get back here!


INT. PRIVATE JET - CONTINUOUS

Joy rushes in.

                      JOY
          Oh... My God.

The plane is tricked out with toys. No sign of Cal, but
there's a rustling coming from a mound of Nerf footballs.

Joy reaches in and yanks out her son.

                      JOY
          Cal Verden, you ever do that to me
          again and you're grounded for life.
          Say you're sorry.

Cal reaches for a football like it's his dying wish.

                        CAL
          Football...

Joy lets out an exasperated sigh, drops him onto the pile.


INT. PRIVATE JET - NIGHT
Joy sits at the rear of the plane writing a Christmas card.
Signs it: JOY, TED -- scribbles through Ted's name.

She tears up the card, discards it in the airsickness bag.

                      JOY
          Make me sick.

She leans back, shuts her eyes.

LATER

Joy is fast asleep.   Cal scampers down the aisle and shakes
her awake.

                      CAL
          Mom, we're here.    Wake up.
                                                           14.

EXT. PRIVATE JET/RUNWAY - MOMENTS LATER

Joy and Cal step out onto a mobile staircase, their jaws
drop. A frozen landscape of snow and ice.

WOLF and AURA, 20s, wait beside a jeep. Wolf is rangy, with
furry eyebrows. Aura has a slim nose and slender lips.

                      WOLF
          Welcome to the North Pole.   You must
          be Joy.

                       CAL
          Whoa...

                      AURA
          How was your flight?

Joy solemnly descends the stairs.

                      JOY
          You didn't just say that.

                      WOLF
          Let's get you two warmed up.

Wolf and Aura reach into the back of the jeep and remove
extra large jackets, gloves, hats, scarves and ear muffs.
They get to work bundling up Joy and Cal, who stand frozen.

                       AURA
          Better?

Joy exhales a cloud of steam in Aura's face.

                       AURA
          Minty.


INT. JEEP - MOMENTS LATER

They rumble along the snow and ice. Out of the darkness,
lights begin to appear. Christmas lights. More and more.

                       CAL
          Awesome...

A sprawling Winter Wonderland. The Christmas lights are
strung between candy canes the size of telephone poles.

                       CAL
          Look, Mom!

He points at a herd of reindeer.
                                                             15.

                      CAL
          When do we get to meet Santa?

                         AURA
          Soon.

Joy looks askance at Aura.      The jeep veers down a bumpy hill.

                      CAL
          This is cool.

                      JOY
          This is cold.

They round a corner.   Their eyes bulge.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - CONTINUOUS

The size of a skyscraper, the shape of an oversized candy
cane. Red and white swirls climb seventy-seven stories high.


INT. JEEP - CONTINUOUS

                         CAL
          Wow!

                      JOY
          Am I hallucinating?

                      WOLF
          Not at all, Ms. Verden.

As they near the building, Stan can be seen through the
windshield. He's dressed head-to-toe as none other than
Santa Claus. He wears neither a fake (white) beard nor a
wig. But he does carry four hot cocoas in a cardboard holder.

                      JOY
          This better not be a reality show.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - CONTINUOUS

The jeep stops, everyone exits.

                      STAN
          Merrrry Christmas!

                      CAL
          Is that a real candy cane?
                                                     16.

                      STAN
          And welcome to the --

                      JOY
          What in the hell do you think you're
          doing?!

                      STAN
          I apologize, Joy, but we don't use
          that word around here.

                      JOY
          I don't care what word you use.

                      STAN
          It frightens the elves.

                      JOY
          Are you crazy?!

                      STAN
          No, ho, ho...

                      JOY
          Paranoid schizophrenic with delusions
          of grandeur, right?

                      STAN
          If I was, would I know?

Joy stops to think about it.   Stan points at Cal.

                      STAN
          Train set and a PlayStation, right?

                      CAL
          Wow, he really is Santa!

                      JOY
          Did somebody put you up to this?    My
          lecherous husband, for example?

                      STAN
          No, ho, ho... Please, have some hot
          cocoa. It'll make you feel better.

                      JOY
          I don't want any hot cocoa!   You
          tricked us!

                      CAL
          Can I have some, Mom?
                                                           17.

                      JOY
          No. Don't you think you should've
          mentioned that your company's in the
          North Pole?

                      STAN
          I told you it's "up north."

                      JOY
          I'll show you "up north."

She nears Stan with a clenched fist.    Wolf and Aura step in
her way.

                      WOLF
          Nobody beats up Santa Claus.    I mean
          Stan.

                      JOY
          You're a stalker, aren't you.    I
          should've known. Back at the
          restaurant.

                      STAN
          It's my job to know things about
          people.

                      WOLF
          He makes lists.

                      AURA
          And checks them.

                      WOLF
          More than once.
                      JOY
          I meet an eccentric millionaire and
          he's some lunatic up in the North
          Pole.

                       STAN
          I'll grant you eccentric. Lunatic
          may be stretching it a bit. But
          what makes you think I'm a
          millionaire?

                      JOY
          You'd have to be to hire these...
          helpers. This elaborate... candy
          structure of some sort. And you in
          that getup.

Stan gives himself the once-over.
                                                        18.

                      STAN
          Is that what this is?     A getup?

                      JOY
          Everyone knows there's no such thing
          as...

Stan tilts his head at Joy, peeks over at Cal.

                      JOY
          It's just a hoax, that's all.

                       STAN
          Tell you what... if you feel that
          way in the morning, I'll fly you
          back myself.
              (tips his hat)
          G'night.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - LOBBY - MOMENTS LATER

Spectacularly Christmas. Joy and Cal gape at a fountain in
the shape of a giant Gingerbread Man, gurgling eggnog.

                      CAL
          Can we move here, Mom?

                      WOLF
          We'll show you to your room, Ms.
          Verden.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER

A silver bell jingles, elevator doors open. Joy and Cal
follow Aura out. Wolf lags behind, pushing a luggage cart.

They arrive at ROOM 331.

                         AURA
          You made it.

She hands Joy a key.   Wolf sets down the suitcases.

                      JOY
          Do people tip up here?

                      AURA
          Depends. But a smile's considered
          legal tender in the North Pole.

Joy tries her damnedest to smile.
                                                          19.

                      WOLF
          Now we really feel gypped.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - CONTINUOUS

A ceramic Christmas tree sparkles in the corner.   Twin beds,
the headboards adorned with tinsel.

Joy and Cal rest their suitcases on the beds.   Cal moves to
unzip his.

                         JOY
          Not so fast.     We're not staying.

                         CAL
          Mo-om... !

                      JOY
          Don't Mo-om me. This guy's obviously
          not playing with a full deck.

                         CAL
          What?

                      JOY
          He's a few bulbs short of a Christmas
          tree.

                         CAL
          Huh?

                      JOY
          He's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, okay?
          We're not staying.
                      CAL
          But we just got here.

                      JOY
          And tomorrow we'll just be leaving.

                      CAL
          We never have any fun!

                      JOY
          You call this fun? We were
          practically kidnapped by Santa Claus.

Cal marches toward the bathroom.

                      CAL
          At least he knows what I want!
                                                             20.

He slams the door.

                      JOY
              (to herself)
          That's not fair.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - MORNING

It's a new day in the North Pole, nice and dark.    Cal sulks
on a chair, playing with his Rubik's Cube.

Joy whisks in from the bathroom, puts her earrings on in the
dresser mirror.

                         JOY
          Ready to go?

Cal doesn't respond.   A knock at the door.   Joy answers.

                      AURA
          Mornin'. Just thought you might
          want some breakfast before you left.

She rolls in a serving cart.

                     JOY
          Thanks. How'd you know we were
          leaving?

                      AURA
          Doesn't take a psychologist to know
          that.

She sets a large platter filled with goodies on the dresser.
                      AURA
          Make sure you try the hot cocoa before
          you go.

                      JOY
          Why is everyone pushing the hot cocoa?

                      AURA
          Only one way to find out.

She rolls away and shuts the door.

                      JOY
          Want some breakfast?

                      CAL
          I'm not hungry.
                                                               21.

                      JOY
          You must be hungry. Haven't eaten
          since yesterday morning.

                      CAL
          What do you care?

                      JOY
          What do you mean, what do I care?
          That's why I'm asking.

She spies a regal-looking coffee urn on the cart.

                      JOY
          Want something to drink?

Cal doesn't respond. Joy gives into temptation and pours
herself a mug of hot cocoa.

She draws the mug to her lips and sips.      Her eyes light up.

A knock at the door, Joy nearly spills it.      She composes
herself, answers.

Stan jingles his keys.    He wears corduroys and a flannel
shirt.

                      STAN
          Mornin', Boys and Girls.

Joy folds her arms.

                      STAN
          Did you already have breakfast?

                      JOY
          Yes, and we're ready to go.

                       STAN
          Jet's being gassed up.      Might be a
          few minutes.

An uncomfortable silence.      Stan peeks over at Cal.

                      STAN
          Anyone wanna check out my workshop?

                         CAL
          YES!

He leaps out of the chair.
                                                           22.

                       JOY
          Stan, hasn't this charade gone on
          long enough?

                      STAN
          Charade?

                      JOY
          You know what I mean. Is it really
          necessary to string us along like
          this?

Stan notices the mug of cocoa on the dresser.

                      STAN
          Did you finish your cocoa?

Joy shuts her eyes in frustration. Cal spreads his arms
like wings and heads for the doorway.

                      CAL
          I wanna see Santa's workshop... !

Joy narrows her eyes at Stan.

                      STAN
          I'll go catch 'im.

He takes off after Cal.   Wings spread.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Wide plank flooring, maple desk, and a swivel chair. A long
window, shade drawn. On the opposite wall, a row of seven
closed-circuit TVs (turned off), and hockey memorabilia.

Cal hops on the swivel chair and slides across the room.

                      CAL
          This is the best office ever!

                      STAN
          Maybe not ever...

In the corner sits a giant hourglass in the shape of MRS.
CLAUS. Hands on her hips, she's looking rather impatient.
Snowflakes pass through her mid-section.

                      JOY
          Interesting decor.    Is that your
          wife?
                                                         23.

                         STAN
          Used to be.

He finally winks at Joy.    She rolls her eyes.

                      STAN
          She's counting down to Christmas
          Eve. Game-time.

                      JOY
          So what's the deal with Stan Lacusa?

                      STAN
          It's just an anagram. The first
          Santa Claus - Saint Nicholas - died
          in 331. His successors kept his
          name to continue his legacy. My
          idea to jazz it up a bit.

                      JOY
          Makes perfect sense.    If I was four.

                      CAL
          You're mean, Mom.

                      JOY
          That's quite a collection of TVs
          you've got. And check out all these
          posters. Cal, you have posters too,
          right?

STATIC emits from Stan's belt, he removes his walkie talkie.

                      STAN
              (into walkie talkie)
          We good for takeoff?

                         WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
          We are good.

                       STAN
          Thanks.   Time to go.

                      CAL
          But I don't wanna go!

                      STAN
          Now there's a dilemma.

Slyly, he rolls up the window shade.
                                                         24.

                      STAN
          Oops.

THROUGH THE WINDOW

A marvelous sight. ELVES. Dozens of them, spread out over
a giant, elaborate workshop. They're horsing around, juggling
ornaments, playing with toys. Not one appears to be working.

                      CAL
          Whoa...

                      JOY
              (moves closer)
          That can't be.

                      STAN
          If you look carefully you'll notice
          that two of them are actually working.
          See in the corner there? That's
          Noel and Hark. They're an item.

Joy gapes through the window.

                      STAN
          My friends, Christmas is in trouble.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS

A Christmas Carol meets a kindergarten class. The Elves
laugh at a GANGLY mate who breakdances barefoot. Lively
music plays, and quickly it turns into a hoedown. The Elves
pound their little feet on the sawdust-covered floor.

A trio of blue-haired Elves breaks free from the pack: ODE,
on the skinny side; SCHMELF, on the dopey side; and ANCY, on
the backwoods side.
                      ODE
              (jiggy wid it)
          Whenever I dance, I go into a trance,
          and before I know it y'all, I pullin'
          down my pants.

                      SCHMELF
              (sings)
          Walnuts roasting on an open fire...

                      ODE
          It's chestnuts, dumbnuts.
                                                        25.

                      SCHMELF
          Bob Frost nipping at your nose...

                      ODE
          It's Jack, you hack.

                      ANCY
          Shut up, the both of ya's!    I gotta...
          uh... UH... UHH...

She verges on a sneeze, but it just doesn't come.

                      ANCY
          Jerk-in-the-box thumbsucker!

                      ODE
          A swear should be rare or else it'll
          wear.

Ancy screams out of frustration. She KARATE chops a rocking
horse in half. Through the window, Stan shakes his head.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

                      STAN
          Whaddaya say, Doctor Verden? You
          know I'm not just whistlin' Dixie
          here.

                      JOY
          We should go.

                      STAN
          Christmas is going to heck in a gift
          basket.

                      JOY
          I'm sorry, Stan, but I'm just not
          cut out for this type of thing.

                      STAN
          Don't do that. There are no high
          roads outta the North Pole.

                      JOY
          I treat people.   Humans.   Homo --
                                                           26.

                      STAN
          I heard you the first time. Are you
          tryin' to tell me these guys aren't
          dysfunctional?

                      JOY
          I wouldn't go that far.

                      STAN
          That one there - Ancy - with the
          blue cornrows. All she does is break
          rocking horses all day.

                      JOY
          Can't you just fly in some fresh
          ones?

                      STAN
          They're elves, Joy.   Not eggs.

                      JOY
          Then I'm not sure what to tell you.

                      STAN
          Don't you realize these are the only
          remaining elves in the entire world?
          Without them, there is no Christmas.
          Is that what you want?

                      CAL
          Don't do that, Mom.

                       STAN
          Meet them.   You'll change your mind.

                      JOY
          I just don't think I'm --
Stan presses a button on the desk.    The wall RISES.

                      JOY
          You didn't just do that.

                       CAL
          Coo-wool.

Suddenly, nothing separates them from the Elves.    Everything
comes to a halt in the workshop.

The Elves openly stare at Joy. Stan pulls out a megaphone
shaped like a Christmas stocking.
                                                         27.

                      STAN
          Alright, everyone, listen up. This
          here's Joy. She's a therapist, and
          she's here to help save Christmas.

An elf with a red Mohawk moves closer.   This is LEON.

                      LEON
          What kinda therapist?   Massage
          therapist?

He wriggles his eyebrows.

                      JOY
          Oh he's fancy.

                      STAN
          You'll be nice. She's a psychologist.
          And a damn good one at that.

Leon raises his hands ceremoniously, brings two thumbs
crashing down. Suddenly, BOOS fill the workshop.

                      STAN
          Need I remind you folks that this
          building is climate-controlled?

The boos come to an abrupt halt. In their place, the sound
of planes. Paper airplanes, hundreds of them, made of
Christmas wrapping paper. Headed straight toward them.

                      STAN
          You should be ashamed of yourselves.
          Christmas is a tradition. That means
          it stands for something. And you
          wanna just throw it all away. Maybe
          that's how they do business in the
          South Pole. But I'm not having that
          here.

Joy leans over to Stan, he brings down the megaphone.

                      JOY
          I'm sorry, but this is just way too
          weird. We really should go.

A plane hits her in the head.

                      JOY
          Before things get out of hand.

                       STAN
          Alright.   If that's how you feel.
                                                             28.

                      CAL
          I don't want Christmas to go away.

Joy glances at Cal, tries to remain firm with Stan.

                      STAN
          Do you know any therapists who might
          be better qualified? I'm sure they
          won't be of your caliber...

                      LEON
          We don't need any Efficiency Experts!

The Elves cheer.   Joy pivots.   The moon turns blood red.

                      JOY
          What did you call me?

Fear flickers in Leon's eyes.    Joy reaches for the megaphone.

                      JOY
          You guys... are way past any
          Efficiency Expert. You need to
          actually work, before someone can
          rate your efficiency. HA!

                        LEON
          Get lost...

                      JOY
          Christmas Eve is just twenty-five
          days away. And I don't see a lot of
          toy-building going on.

                      LEON
          We didn't invite you!
                      JOY
          But by the time I'm done with you,
          you'll be praying for the off-season.

She drops the megaphone. Feedback echoes throughout the
workshop. Stan secretly brandishes a thumbs-up at Cal.

                      JOY
              (leans into Stan)
          You might wanna radio the control
          tower. Let them know we're not
          coming.

                      STAN
          Oh yeah, right.
                                                            29.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER

Joy holds Cal's hand as they march along with Stan.   The
hallway slowly gets narrower and shorter.

                      JOY
          What's the deal with this hallway?

                      STAN
          It's the guy who designed this place.
          He was this arrogant, fickle-minded
          dwarf.

                      JOY
          That's a little mean.

                      STAN
          No, I mean he was a dwarf. With a
          beard down to his bellybutton and he
          could cast spells.

                      CAL
          I wanna be invisible.   Can he make
          me invisible?

                      STAN
          If you gave him enough apple cider.

                      JOY
          That's not something I have to worry
          about with these guys, do I?

                        STAN
          Spells? No.     I had them fixed two
          years ago.
                       JOY
          Good.   I think.

                      STAN
          It's just around the corner.
              (hands her a key)
          When you're ready to start sending
          in the clowns, give me a jingle.

Cal sprints back down the hall, Stan gives chase.

                      STAN
          Extension seventy-seven!

Joy veers right, the floor is now at a steep incline.

                      JOY
          Why are there hills in the hallway?
                                                            30.

She climbs up a few yards and finds a door.    Above her.

                      JOY
          He really was fickle-minded.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - JOY'S OFFICE SUITE - CONTINUOUS

Holly leaves and finger paints. Joy shimmies her way up
through the hatch, dusts herself off.

She fishes for a light switch, finds a Christmas tree instead.
Plugs it in.

A zillion white lights illuminate the room. A tiny armchair,
a puny couch. Behind the couch, a fireplace.

                      JOY
          This is crazy.

Suddenly, the fireplace lights up.    Joy jumps back.

                      JOY
          No, that's crazy.

The fire goes out.   Joy's now intrigued.

                      JOY
              (Patsy Cline)
          Crazy...

Fire's back.

                      JOY
          I'm cra --
              (switches artists)
          -- dle and the silver spoon...

The fire stays lit, she grins.

                      JOY
          ... little boy blue and the man in
          the moon.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

The wall is down.    Closed-circuit TVs are on.   Cal stares at
them.

                      CAL
          You watch a lot of TV.
                                                           31.

                      STAN
          They're not really TV.

                      CAL
          They look like TVs.

                      STAN
          They're for surveillance.

                         CAL
          What's that?

                      STAN
          I look at them to see if anyone is
          doing anything untoward.

                      CAL
          What's untord?

                      STAN
          I make sure no one's doing anything
          bad.

                       CAL
          Oh.   Is that untord?

ON CLOSED-CIRCUIT TV

Ancy has Ode in a headlock.    Stan moves in for a closer look.

                      STAN
          This is what happens when you lose
          your HR.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS
The Elves pump their fists. Ancy continues to give Ode the
business. Leon looks on, cleans his teeth with a toothpick.

                      ANCY
          Are ya gonna stop with the poems?
          Or do I need to beat the livin'
          Shakespeare outta ya?

                      ODE
          I promise to stop. If you could
          please let me go...
              (Ancy releases him)
          ... so my head doesn't pop.

Back in the headlock he goes.
                                                              32.

                      JOY (V.O.)
              (over loudspeaker)
          Ancy Williams?

Everything stops.    Ancy retains hold of Ode.

                      JOY (V.O.)
          This is Joy Verden. Please see me
          in my office.

                      ELVES
          Oooo... you're in trouble...

Crazy game show music plays.     Ancy lets go of Ode.

The Elves look around for the source of the music.

THROUGH THE WINDOW

Stan waves at the Elves.

                      ODE
          It's a shame you got called away.
              (beat)
          What can I say?

Ancy takes off after Ode.     He screams for dear life.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Cal watches the chase scene on TV.

                        CAL
          Get him!
                      STAN
          Can I get you some caramel popcorn?

                        CAL
          Yeah!


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - JOY'S OFFICE SUITE - MOMENTS LATER

Joy blots black paint onto a sheet of white posterboard,
places it on a stack of others.

She breaks off a sprig of holly, tucks it in her hair.    A
knock at the door.

                        JOY
          Come in.
                                                        33.

Ancy pops in, flushed and out of breath.

                      JOY
          Are you okay?

                       ANCY
          I will be.   Soon as I catch 'im.

                         JOY
          What's that?

                       ANCY
          Nothin'.   Let's get this over with.

                      JOY
          The road to mental health has a very
          low speed limit.

                         ANCY
          Oh jeez.

She keels over onto the couch. Joy brings the poster boards,
struggles to squeeze into the armchair.

She gets up, brings the chair with her.

                      JOY
          Not good. I was just starting to
          like my hips.

                      ANCY
          Once you got kids...

                      JOY
          Shut up. Let's get started, shall
          we? Stan told me you've made a habit
          out of breaking rocking horses.

                         ANCY
          So?

                      JOY
          So let's see if we can get to the
          root of your hostility.

                         ANCY
          Aww... jeez.     Can't I just watch the
          Doctor Phil?

                      JOY
          Tell me a little bit about your
          parents.
                                                  34.

                      ANCY
          If this is about me, then why do ya
          wanna know about them?

                       JOY
          They brought you into the world.
          You didn't crawl out of a tree, did
          you?
               (deadly serious)
          Did you?

                      ANCY
          Don't believe everythin' ya hear.   I
          was born in 1806. Things were
          different back then.

Joy scribbles on a notepad with a quill.

                      JOY
          I'll bet.

                      ANCY
          Just so ya know, you're climbin' a
          slippery slope bein' here. We elves
          ain't big fans o' change.

                      JOY
          I'm not ascared of elves. Or
          gnomes... or hobgoblins...

                      ANCY
          Whatever you say.

                      JOY
          I can't place your accent.   Were you
          born in the North Pole?
                      ANCY
          Born and raised in Greenland. We
          moved after the first heat wave.

                      JOY
          Are you close to your mom?

                      ANCY
          Was. Right up until she died. I'd
          only turned a hundred 'n thirty-five.

                      JOY
          What happened?

                      ANCY
          She got run over.
                                                         35.

                      JOY
          Wow, I'm sorry to hear that.

                      ANCY
          By a reindeer. Damnedest thing.

Joy's quill stops, she turns a jaundiced eye.

                      JOY
          Are you playing with me?

                      ANCY
          Gosh no. You think I'd joke about a
          thing like that?

                      JOY
          So did your father raise you?

                      ANCY
          More or less.

                      JOY
          What does that mean?

                      ANCY
          It means he was there.    More or less.

                      JOY
          And how long have you been wreaking
          havoc on rocking horses?

                      ANCY
          Coupla months. October, I think.

Joy reaches for the poster boards, can't quite get to them.
She's locked in her chair.
                      JOY
          A little helper?   I mean help.

Ancy snatches them off the floor.

                      JOY
          Thanks. I'm going to show you a
          series of inkblot designs.

                      ANCY
          Oh God, not the Rowshack.

                      JOY
          You've heard of it?

                      ANCY
          We elves can read, you know.
                                                              36.

                      JOY
          Then play along with me.

She presents an inkblot design.

                      JOY
          What do you see here?

                      ANCY
          Paint by Numbers.

                        JOY
          Very funny.

Another inkblot.

                      ANCY
          Looks like an action figure.    With
          an oral fixee-ation.

                      JOY
              (rolls her eyes)
          And this one?

She presents another.

                      ANCY
          That's a choo-choo.     Choo.

                        JOY
          Huh?

                      ANCY
          Uh... UH... UHH...

Joy pulls away as Ancy closes in on a sneeze.    She stands
for it...

                      JOY
          God bless you.

No sneeze for Ancy.

                      ANCY
          You Bundt cake!

                      JOY
          What'd you call me?
                                                            37.

                      ANCY
          You never say "God bless you" before
          the sneeze come. That's how you
          jinx it!

She yells, jumps up and down on the couch like a lunatic.

                      JOY
              (glances around room)
          Security?

LATER

Joy presents an inkblot design to Ode.

                      ODE
          That looks like Twister. We had it
          growing up but it belonged to my
          sister.
              (another inkblot)
          That looks like Lego. By the way,
          are you prego?

Joy flings the board at him.

                       ODE (O.S.)
          Ow!

                      JOY
          When did you start with all this...
          poetic verse?

                       ODE
          October.   And it's been getting worse.

LATER

                      JOY
          October, huh?
              (presents an inkblot)
          What do you see here?

                      SCHMELF
              (sings)
          Surly head dolls that coddle and
          poo, elephant goats and titty bars,
          too... Santa Claus is comin'...
                                                          38.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS

Pretty, psychedelic elf NOEL stands at a workbench making
toys with vainglorious elf HARK. He smokes an ornate pipe.

                      HARK
          You see, darling, there are male
          screws and there are female screws.
          A male screw has threads on the
          outside; and these enter the grooves
          of a female screw on the inside.
          Doesn't life just make sense
          sometimes.

                      NOEL
          Gosh, when you put it that way...

One workbench back, Leon looks on.   He doesn't appear happy.

                      HARK
          Stick with me, kiddo. I've got
          considerable monies stashed away.

                      NOEL
          If you've got considerable monies
          then what are you doin' working here?

                      HARK
          Isn't it obvious?

                      NOEL
          Uh, no.

                      HARK
          My sweet, naive daffodil buttercup,
          it is but for the pleasure of your
          company that I do not brave the
          harshness of the outside world. The
          innocence of your angelic smile, the
          loftiness of your kindred spirit,
          the spark in your eyes that is capable
          of moving mountains. It is for these
          reasons that I stay.

Out of nowhere, Ancy comes sprinting across the workshop
floor. She leaps Crouching Tiger style over the heads of
Noel and Hark, and lays waste to yet another rocking horse.

                      NOEL
          How many times does that make today?

                      HARK
          Thrice.
                                                           39.

                      NOEL
          What the heck is thrice?

                      HARK
          Three times, darling.    Three times.

                      NOEL
          Is it too hard to just say three?

                      HARK
          Sweetheart, it's important that you
          develop your vocabulary. It's what
          separates us from the savages.

He throws a look back at Leon. Stan crosses the workshop
floor with Cal, who plays with a yo-yo.

                      STAN
          So whaddaya think?

                      CAL
          This yo-yo's the best.

                      STAN
          It's made out of the same stuff they
          use to make airplanes.

                      CAL
          Wow...

                      STAN
          You know yo-yos are the second oldest
          toy in the world?

                      CAL
          What's the oldest?
Stan pulls a G.I. Joe doll off a workbench, hands it to Cal.

                      STAN
          Dolls.

                      CAL
          Thanks!

They arrive at Hark's workbench.   He flirts with Noel.

                      STAN
          How'd you guys make out today?

                      HARK
          We began by necking profusely in her
          dorm room. Then I --
                                                         40.

                     STAN
          Hark. I meant, how many toys did
          you make.

                      HARK
          Very well then, my apologies. Noel
          here most certainly made her quota.

                       STAN
          And you?

                      HARK
          I'm not one to boast but...
              (smooths his hair)
          I quadrupled mine.

Stan turns to see Joy headed his way, looking exasperated.

                      STAN
          Tough first day?

                      JOY
          You could say that. By the way, I'm
          gonna need a bigger chair.

                       STAN
          Done.   Hark, build Joy a chair.

Hark frowns.

                      JOY
          Hey, kiddo. I need a hot bath pronto.
          Did you have fun today?

                      CAL
          I watched a lot of TV.
                      JOY
          That's what I wanna hear.

                      STAN
          There's some hyacinth under the
          bathroom sink. Helps calm the nerves.

                      JOY
          Then maybe I'll try some.

                      STAN
          Feel like a field trip tomorrow?

                       JOY
          Where to?   Up north?
                                                            41.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - BATHROOM - LATER

Joy soaks in a hot bath with hyacinth.     She leans back and
shuts her eyes.

                      JOY
              (sings)
          Oh the weather outside is terrifying --
          Stop it. You'll only encourage him.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - MORNING

Mid-morning, pitch black.     Stan helps Joy put on skis.

                      JOY
          This building's huge.

                      STAN
          Seventy-seven stories. Ain't easy
          cramming in a world full of toys.

                       JOY
          I'll bet.   What time is it?

                      STAN
          A little after ten.

                      JOY
          That's A.M., right?

                       STAN
          Bingo.

                      JOY
          How do you get used to this?
                      STAN
          It's not bad if you like the night
          life.

                      JOY
          Not sure I'm ready to hear Santa
          likes the night life.

They swoosh away.

                      JOY
          When does the sun come back?

                      STAN
          Early March. It's been like this
          since October.
                                                          42.

                      JOY
          God, I could never do that.

Stan slaloms with the giant candy canes.

                      STAN
          You're that afraid of the dark?

                      JOY
          No. I just love the sun too much to
          go cold turkey.

                      STAN
          We got lots of cold turkey up here.

                      JOY
          Where are you taking me?

                      STAN
          Thought I'd introduce you to the
          other half of my support staff.

                      JOY
          I'm not psychoanalyzing them.

                      STAN
          I'm sure they'd appreciate that.


INT. BARN - MOMENTS LATER

Joy and Stan traverse a large sheet of ice.   The stalls are
ripe with reindeer. They nosh on lichen.

Joy tries to wave away the aroma.
                      JOY
          That's a lotta reindeer.

They pass a reindeer with long, branched antlers, sulking in
the corner.

                      JOY
          What's his name?

                      STAN
          That's a she.

                         JOY
          I thought --

                      STAN
          They all have antlers.    See?
                                                             43.

Joy looks around.   Indeed, all the reindeer have antlers.

                      JOY
          She looks sad.

                      STAN
          No analyzing. You promised.

                      JOY
          What's her name?

                      STAN
          Caliopi. She's new. Her boyfriend
          passed away two months ago.

                      JOY
          That's too bad.

                      STAN
          Wanna try feeding her?

                      JOY
          I'll give it a shot.

Stan snags a can of alfalfa pellets. Sprinkles some into
Joy's hand. She reaches into the stall.

Caliopi watches Joy, unmoved.

                        JOY
          No?    She's stubborn.

                      STAN
          Reminds me of this woman I know.

                      JOY
          And who might that be?

                      STAN
          No one you know.

Joy smirks.

                      JOY
          You really went the whole nine yards,
          huh? Reindeer and everything.

                        STAN
          Yup.    Whole nine yards.

                      JOY
          So is Rudolph's nose really red?
                                                            44.

Stan directs her to Rudolph's stall.     Sure enough, his nose
has a nice red tinge to it.

                      JOY
          How did you do that?

                      STAN
          I'm eccentric, remember?


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - JOY'S OFFICE SUITE - LATER

The fireplace is lit. Joy sits on a large gold throne, set
on a stage. She sniffles, scribbles some notes.

Looks up to find Leon straightening out his Mohawk.

                        JOY
          So.   Leon.   We meet again.

                      LEON
          The pleasure's all yours.

                      JOY
          Charmed. Today we're gonna play a
          round of word association.

                      LEON
          That's original. I heard Stan the
          Man's paying you twenty-five big
          ones to be here. That's a lotta
          green just to play some games. Or
          is it?

                      JOY
          Think you could take a break from
          ugly? It's only a fifty-minute
          session.

                      LEON
          Hit me, Hotcakes.

                      JOY
          Don't tempt me.
              (squares herself)
          Hopeless.

                        LEON
          Sexy.

                        JOY
          Spirit.
                                                   45.

                        LEON
          Moonshine.

                        JOY
          Elves.

                        LEON
          Minions.

                        JOY
          Dark.

                      LEON
              (wriggles eyebrows)
          Dewy.

                        JOY
          Dewy?

                      LEON
          De-lightfulll...

Joy shivers, adjusts her sweater.

                      LEON
          At what point do we determine I'm
          crazy?

The fire goes out behind Leon, Joy notices.

                      JOY
          You're not crazy.

The fire is pleasantly back.

                      LEON
          The Mohawk, the lewd comments...
          Come on, Doc. I'm a crazy little
          elf, aren't I?

Bye-bye fire.

                      JOY
          You're being way too hard on yourself,
          Leon. I don't find you crazy at
          all.

Sweet, glorious fire.

                      LEON
          You're trying to convince a freak
          like me that I'm not crazy? I think
          Stan might be overpaying you.
                                                              46.

Joy needs a new plan.

                      JOY
          Okay, fine. You're as crazy as
          Frosty's half-cousin. Happy?

Fire's back.   Leon leans back, gives Joy a salacious look.

He struts over to her, props up his collar.

Joy grabs a water bottle, squirts Leon silly.

He retreats to the sofa.      Fixes his Mohawk.

                      LEON
          You know, this building can get kind
          of drafty at night. If you ever
          find yourself... chilled to the bone.

                      JOY
          You do realize that I am bigger than
          you.

Leon nods and grins.

                      JOY
          That fireplace is kind of toasty,
          don't you think?

She raises her sleeves.    Leon peeks over his shoulder.     The
grin disappears.

LATER

Joy dries the floor with a tiny mop.      The phone rings.
                        JOY
          Hello.

                      STAN (V.O.)
          You feel like a coffee?

                      JOY
          I thought the cafeteria was closed.

                      STAN (V.O.)
          There's a Starbucks on the first
          floor.

                      JOY
          You're telling me this now.
                                                            47.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STARBUCKS - NIGHT

Two Elves do battle at chess. Others read and tap away on
their laptops. Joy and Stan sit at a corner table.

                       JOY
          He's just such a handful.   It's
          aggravating.

                      STAN
          Part of me's convinced it's all one
          big act.

                      JOY
          Could we leave the analyzing to me?

                      STAN
          Fine, go for it.

                      JOY
          It's like he's part elf, part psychic
          vampire.

                      STAN
          Mm, I think they stopped making those.

Joy smirks.   She shuts her eyes, breathes in her coffee.

                      JOY
          Peppermint...

                      STAN
          You should bring some home with you.

                      JOY
          Can I ask you something?

                      STAN
          Beats talking to myself.

                      JOY
          You ever feel lonely up here? I
          don't want to get too personal...

Stan gestures at all the Elves around him.

                      STAN
          Why would I be lonely?

                      JOY
          I meant more like, non-Elven folk.
          You know. People-friends.
                                                            48.

                      STAN
          I got friends all over the world.
          Like you, right?

                      JOY
          But I'm gonna be heading back.    To
          North America.

                      STAN
          Doesn't make you less of a friend.
          Just means you're not my prisoner.

                      JOY
          You've got an interesting way of
          looking at the world, I'll give you
          that.

                      STAN
          Interesting thing about the word
          interesting. Such a safe word, don't
          you think?

                      JOY
          What's wrong with safe?

                      STAN
          Nothing, I guess.    If that's what
          you want.

                      JOY
              (reaches into purse)
          I think I might order the Yule log.

                      STAN
          Now that I find interesting.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - MOMENTS LATER

Ode, Ancy and Schmelf play footbag.   Joy glides in.

                         JOY
          Is Cal here?

                       ODE
          He was here before.    But I don't see
          him anymore.

                      ANCY
          He's in the R&D Lab.

                      ODE
          Thirty-eighth floor.
                                                            49.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - R&D LAB - MOMENTS LATER

Like an Erector Set gone wild.     Cal sits at a table, stuffing
a toy dog.

TOY BOX

"Don't Bury Fido.   Burrito him!"

                       CAL
               (sings)
           Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin
           laid an egg... Batmobile --

Joy bursts in - gawks at the decor - races over to Cal.

                       JOY
           Are you okay? What are you doing
           here? Why weren't you in the
           workshop?

                       CAL
           He said it was okay.

                       JOY
           Who said it was okay?


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - CAFETERIA - CONTINUOUS

The kitchen's closed, but the Elves are whipping up a fresh
batch of crazy. Except for Noel and Hark, everyone's present.

ON STAGE

Leon, in a green cape, yells propaganda into a megaphone.
                       LEON
           Every year, it's the same thing.   We
           bend over backwards making toys.
           And for what? Is there any
           appreciation from the human
           population?

Ode flashes a thumbs-up.

                       ELVES
           NO!

                       LEON
           Do we get a bonus?

                       ELVES
           NO!
                                                           50.

                      LEON
          Of course not. The more we build,
          the more they want. Wanna know
          something? There's a word for that.

On a dry erase board, Leon writes: SANTA'S ELVES. He draws
a slash through the apostrophe, erases the first "E".

                      LEON
          You carry the "A" from Santa and
          what do you get?

He squeezes an "A" before the letter "V". The Elves gasp
when they see the word "SLAVES" spelled out.

                      LEON
          It's not such a mystery, is it. And
          now they've flown in this human to
              (air quotes)
          help us. Do we need any shrinks
          telling us life ain't fair?

                      ELVES
          NO!

                      LEON
          They're gonna try to break us. That's
          what they do. But are we weak?

                      ELVES
          NO!

                      LEON
          What was that?

                      ELVES
          NO!!!

                      LEON
          They'll tell you: you have an Edible
          Complex, or it's all your mamma's
          fault, or you just need some closure,
          or you just have some trust issues,
          or you're bipolar, or you're bi-
          curious, or maybe you're just secretly
          in love with some blonde bimbo.

The Elves look at each other a bit confused.

                      LEON
              (smacks himself)
          Are we stupid?
                                                          51.

                         ELVES
          NO!

                         LEON
          Are we weak?

                         ELVES
          NO!!

                      LEON
          One more time, my fellow North
          Poleans...

                         ELVES
          NO!!!

A wave of CHEERS.    At the back of the room...

                      HALF-ELF #1
          Did he say Edible Complex?
                      HALF-ELF #2
          Maybe it's an eating disorder.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - MORNING
Noel builds a toy.   Hark combs honey through his hair.
                      HARK
          Perhaps if I tied one hand behind my
          back, you and I might end up with
          the same toy count today.
                      NOEL
          Elf, puh-leeze.
                      HARK
          I have no idea where I find such
          energy. Particularly after last
          night.
                      NOEL
          See, I just assumed you'd have lots
          of energy left.
Joy enters with Cal, she grips his hand.

                      JOY
          I don't want you going near him,
          okay?

                         CAL
          I won't.
                                                            52.

                      JOY
          And if he says anything to you, you're
          gonna tell me, right?

                        CAL
          I will.

                        JOY
          Promise?
                      HARK
          Good Morning, Doctor Verden.     Am I
          to be your next victim?
                      JOY
          Haven't decided. Cal and I'd like
          to help out in the workshop today.
She spots Ode up ahead, nursing a black eye with a steak.
                      HARK
          I'd be happy to show you the ropes.
He pulls out a bucket of ropes.
                      NOEL
          Wise guy. Why don't you go tie
          yourself up now.
              (smiles at Joy)
          You and Cal can work with me.

She takes out a box of stuffing and a box of empty teddy
bears.

                      NOEL
          Ever stuffed a turkey, Cal?
                        CAL
          Yup.

                      NOEL
          Today we're gonna stuff bears instead.

                        CAL
          Coo-wool.

He gets to work.    Noel dumps out a pile of Legos.

                      NOEL
          Just build whatever comes to mind.
          We're in no position to be picky.

Joy rolls up her sleeves.     A PORTLY elf moseys by.
                                                          53.

                      NOEL
          Hey, I thought my 401k deduction was
          supposed to happen this week.

                      PORTLY
          Take it up with HR.

                       NOEL
          Um, hello?   I thought you were HR.

                      PORTLY
          Still in training.

                      NOEL
          How long's that gonna take?

                      PORTLY
          Check with the Crystal Ball
          Department.

She waddles away.

                      NOEL
          You can't get good elves these days.

Two workbenches up, a GUY and GIRL elf make out.   No other
Elves seem to notice.

                      JOY
          What's with those two?

                      NOEL
          Casual Monday.

                       JOY
          Oh.
Schmelf swooshes by on a skateboard.

                      SCHMELF
              (sings)
          I'll be gnome for Christmas...

Noel giggles.   Hark throws Schmelf a look.

                      NOEL
          I just love his songs.

                      CAL
          What's a gnome?

                       NOEL
          They're little men who live
          underground.
                                                              54.

                      CAL
          Why do they do that?

                      NOEL
          They're kinda on the ugly side.        And
          they like to be mischievous.

                      CAL
          What's mischeffous?

                      NOEL
          They're sneaky. And they fight dirty,
          too.

                      CAL
          Oh, I don't like gnomes.

                      HARK
          Darling, you mustn't frighten the
          poor boy.
              (tousles Cal's hair)
          Not all gnomes are ugly, Cal. And
          not all of them fight dirty. That's
          what we call a stereotype.

                         CAL
          What's that?

                      HARK
          Do you think it's fair if I say all
          young boys are spoiled brats?

                         CAL
          No.

                       HARK
          See?   Very good.      Smart boy.

                      CAL
          I still don't like gnomes though.

Joy spies Leon across the aisle, solving a Rubik's Cube.

He tosses the cube high in the air, it crashes to bits on
the workshop floor.

                      LEON
          Ode, pick that up!       Now!   You got
          one minute.

He sets his watch timer.       Ode drops his steak, scrambles to
pick up the pieces.
                                       55.

               SOME ELVES
Hurry!

            JOY
That's not very productive.

            NOEL
Welcome to my workshop.

            JOY
What's the deal with him anyway?

            NOEL
I was hoping you could tell us.

            HARK
He's got Napole-elf Syndrome, I tell
you.

            JOY
You mean Napoleon Syndrome?

            HARK
Napole-elf. Everything he's built
has made the Worst Toys Ever list.

            JOY
That's not very comforting.

            NOEL
Stan's rejected every single one.
Had to set aside room for them all.

            HARK
Remember Suzie? Wasn't she a doll.
            JOY
What happened?

            HARK
Suzie decided to humor the poor guy.
Tried out one of his newfangled Etch
A Sketches.

               JOY
And?

            HARK
Let's just say she got shaken up.

               NOEL
And stirred.
                                                              56.

                      JOY
          God... That might explain why he
          stopped working. But what about
          everyone else?

                      NOEL
          Leon can be pretty persuasive
          sometimes. Whatcha got there?

Joy shows off her Lego creation: a revolver.

                         NOEL
          Look at you.     You're an expert
          already.

Hark sets down a freshly built rocking horse.    Nearby, Ancy
zeroes in on another sneeze.

                      ANCY
          Uh... UH... UHH...
              (no can do)
          Bucking tadpole! Son-of-a-snitch!

Joy covers Cal's ears. Ancy eyes the rocking horse, makes a
break for it. Thinking on her feet, Joy straddles the horse.

                      JOY
          Not this one, Ancy Pants. Why don't
          you go break a sweat for a change.

Ancy backs away, seething. Joy aims the Lego revolver in
Leon's direction. He turns, she fires.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - JOY'S OFFICE SUITE - LATER
Joy enters, pale with concern.    She opens a file cabinet.
Removes a folder.

LEON'S FILE

She peruses his Medical History.    Allergies: Nicotine.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - NIGHT

Joy and Cal dress for dinner out. From her purse, Joy removes
a packet of gum, pieces are individually wrapped.

                      JOY
          Cal, this is important. If Leon
          ever tries to put you in that room
          again, I want you to give him this.
                                                         57.

                         CAL
          What is it?

                      JOY
          Bubble gum. For grownups.
              (under her breath)
          Sort of.

                      CAL
          Can I have a piece?

                      JOY
          Thanks for asking, and No.    But...
          you can have these.

She pulls a handful of candy canes from a Christmas stocking.

                         CAL
          Awesome.

                      JOY
          And there's more where that came
          from.

Cal stuffs his pockets, and throws on a sweater.

                      JOY
          Didn't you wear that last Christmas?

                         CAL
          Yeah.    So?

                         JOY
          Take it off.     It's too big for you.

If anything, the sweater is much too small for Cal.
                         CAL
          It is?

He pulls it off.   Joy chucks it in the trash.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

Five stories, sort of. Two floors up, then three floors
down. Basically, the hook of the candy cane. A central
staircase lined with silver and gold garland runs throughout.

KITCHEN

Stan bastes a goose on a rotisserie.
                                                            58.

                      STAN
              (sings; O Christmas
               Tree melody)
          Rotisserie... rotisserie... much
          pleasure thou --

Jingle bells ring.

                      STAN
          Can'st give me.
              (calling)
          Be right there.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUOUS

Stan wipes his hands on a tartan dishcloth, answers the door.

                      STAN
          Merry Christmas!

                      CAL
          It's not Christmas.

                      STAN
          It's sort of like "Aloha" here.

                        CAL
          Huh?

                        STAN
          Never mind.    Come on in.

                      JOY
          I thought you said there were seventy-
          seven floors. Top button in the
          elevator said seventy-six.

                      STAN
          My dear, have you already forgotten
          the shape of my candy cane?

Joy squints her eyes.

                      STAN
          No, ho, hooo...kay, then.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - DINING ROOM - LATER

The table is abundant with holiday goodies, candles are lit.
Cal tries a bite of the goose.
                                                         59.

                      CAL
          Goose tastes like roast beef.

                      STAN
          You should try our roast beef.   Tastes
          like kangaroo.

                       CAL
              (laughs)
          How come you don't look like Santa?

                      STAN
          Whaddaya mean?

                      CAL
          Your beard's supposed to be white.

                        JOY
          Yeah, Stan.    What gives?

                      STAN
          Well... when I get older, my hair
          will probably turn white. So will
          my beard. Unless I go through a mid-
          life crisis... keep my beard black,
          and put fancy rims on my sleigh.

                      CAL
          What's a midwife crisis?

                        JOY
          Mid-life.

                      STAN
          That's when a person experiences a
          formidable sense of anxiety and
          apprehension because their life is
          essentially halfway over.

Cal furrows his brow.

                      STAN
          It's a time of great reflection and
          introspection, and often the person
          will feel that they haven't done
          enough with their life.

Joy's expression goes from bemused to genuinely impressed.

                      STAN
          The emotional spectrum can range
          anywhere from boredom to risk-taking
          behavior.
                      (MORE)
                                                          60.

                      STAN (CONT'D)
          They might change their job, or their
          partner, or some other significant
          aspect of their life just for the
          sake of changing it. Length may
          vary, but typically it lasts longer
          in men. Three to ten years, usually.

                      CAL
          Mom, I think I need to use the
          bathroom.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - PLAYROOM - LATER

Cal and Stan play air hockey.   Joy watches from a Director's
Chair, sipping hot cocoa.

                      STAN
          You're a good hockey player, Cal.

                       CAL
          Thanks.   She won't let me play.

                       STAN
          What?   That's insane.

Joy gives him a look.

                        STAN
          I mean...

Cal scores a goal, dances up a storm.

                      STAN
          Wow, look at 'im go...
                      JOY
          That's not being a good sport, Cal.

                      CAL
          Woo Hoo, I scored!

                      STAN
          Alright, let's go. I'm not letting
          you embarrass me in front of your
          mom.

Cal and Stan start up again.

                      STAN
          Then she'll go back and tell all her
          psych colleagues...
                                                            61.

                      JOY
          Keep your goaltender centered, Cal.
          Helps cut down the angle.

                        CAL
          Okay, Mom.

                        STAN
          Wait a sec.    Are you the ref or his
          coach?

                      JOY
          Both. I thought you already knew
          that about me.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM - LATER

Cal dozes on the couch. A toy string quartet plays romantic
music. Joy and Stan sit by the fire, roasting chestnuts.

                      JOY
          Your dissertation earlier was pretty
          impressive.

                      STAN
          I read a lot when I sunbathe.

                      JOY
          I see. So is that something you're
          concerned about?

                       STAN
          What? A midwife crisis?    Nah.   Not
          yet, anyway.
                      JOY
          Good to know.

Stan ladles chestnuts from the pan into a ceramic bowl.

                      JOY
          Roasted chestnuts were always my
          favorite growing up.

                      STAN
          What were some of your other
          favorites?

                      JOY
          Think I grew out of most of them.
                                                          62.

                       STAN
          Too bad.   No one should be that grown
          up.

He attempts to crack open a chestnut.   Too hot, he tosses it
to Joy.

                       JOY
          Ow.

She gives it a shot, tosses it back. They volley the chestnut
back and forth, Stan finally cracks it open and they share.

                      JOY
          Have you lived here your whole life?

                       STAN
          Yup.

                      JOY
          And your parents...?

                      STAN
          My dad retired three years ago.
          They moved down to Saskatchewan.

                      JOY
          Were you ever married?

                      STAN
          Came close. Twice.

                      JOY
          Just didn't work out?

                      STAN
          North Pole's a tough sell. Especially
          for the long haul. And it's hard to
          start things off on the right foot
          when people are convinced you don't
          even exist.

                      JOY
          Yeah, I can see how that might be a
          problem...

Stan smiles at Joy, reaches for another chestnut.

                      STAN
          You don't really believe in me, do
          you.
                                                     63.

                      JOY
          I'm sure you're a dedicated
          entrepreneur... with very lofty
          ambitions, and...

Stan chuckles, waves her off.

                      STAN
          That's okay, don't tucker yourself
          out.

                       JOY
          What?

                       STAN
          Nothing.   So you've been raising Cal
          solo?

                      JOY
          It'll be a year in February.    February
          fifteenth, actually.

                      STAN
          What happened on the -- Oh yeah,
          that's right. I forgot.

                      JOY
          How would you --

                      STAN
          I thought we already went over this.
          If it's any consolation, Ted's on
          the other list now.

                      JOY
          That does help, thanks.
                      STAN
          Could've been worse.    Like maybe the
          day before?

                      JOY
          I almost wish it was.

                      STAN
          Why would you wish that?

                      JOY
          Take the pressure off that day
          entirely. No more expectations.

She peers into the fire.
                                                            64.

INT. GREEK RESTAURANT - FLASHBACK - NIGHT

A flaming plate of saganaki.

                        WAITER (O.S.)
          Opa!

The WAITER sets the plate down on the table. Joy sits across
from TED, 30s, cool blue eyes and a sharp, dark suit.

They trade half-smiles.

                      JOY
          Cal painted a picture of the house
          today. Watercolors.

                      TED
              (shakes his head)
          He's gonna be an artist, that one.


INT. VERDEN HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - FLASHBACK - MORNING

Joy wakes up.    Ted's side of the bed is vacant.


EXT. VERDEN HOUSE - BALCONY - FLASHBACK - MOMENTS LATER

Ted, showered and dressed, chats on his cell.

                      TED
          Look, I promise I will make it up to
          you. I'll take you to that place
          you like. The one with the crème
          brûlée. Remember?

He turns to find Joy standing in the doorway, in her pajamas.
BACK TO PRESENT DAY


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

                      STAN
          Cal seems to be doing pretty well.

Joy awakes from her reverie.

                        JOY
          Yeah...
                                                         65.

                      STAN
          Maybe it's better to tell him sooner
          rather than later.

                      JOY
          Thanks, but that's my decision to
          make.

                      STAN
              (nods)
          Unless you're still holding out hope.

                      JOY
          Not really sure what I'm holding out
          for. Christmas miracle, maybe?

                      STAN
          Do you believe in such a thing?

                      JOY
          If I say No, will I still get
          presents?

                         STAN
          From who?

Joy tosses a hot chestnut at him.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - MORNING

Joy stops Ode coming the other way, now with two black eyes.

                       JOY
          Have you seen Leon?   He's late for
          his session.
                      ODE
          I heard they took him down to the
          infirmary. They were in such a hurry.

                      JOY
          What happened?

                      ODE
          Had some sort of allergic reaction.

Joy takes off running.

                      ODE
          If you miss an appointment, is that
          considered... an infraction?

He smiles proudly.
                                                            66.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - 38TH FLOOR - MOMENTS LATER

Joy springs off the elevator. Sprints down the hall, passes
Gangly who juggles Nerf footballs. He drops them all.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - R&D LAB - CONTINUOUS

Joy flings the door open.    No sign of Cal.   Or anyone.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - INFIRMARY - LOBBY - MOMENTS LATER

A RECEPTIONIST spins a top while on the phone.

                      TOPSPIN
          That means take three a day. One
          with each meal. If you eat six
          meals... Yes, I know it's supposed
          to be better for you.

She rolls her eyes.   Joy barges in.

                      JOY
          Have you seen my son?    Cal Verden?
          Have you seen him?!

                      TOPSPIN
              (continuing on phone)
          Miss, I have no idea what IGF is.
          But if you'd like to set up an
          appointment with our nutritionist...

                       JOY
          Hellooo?!

She waves her arms, but Topspin ignores.    Joy ditches her.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - INFIRMARY - ROOM 102 - CONTINUOUS

An elfish DOCTOR, with a medical smock and a pink bow tie,
hovers over a prone Leon, whose Mohawk is now emerald green.

                      BOW TIE
          I've never seen such a bizarre
          reaction. Fascinating.

                      LEON
          Will my hair go back to normal, Doc?
                                                              67.

                      BOW TIE
          Normal I don't know about.

He shines a bright light into Leon's eyes.       Joy bursts in.

                      JOY
          Where's my son, you little freak?!

Bow Tie points the light in her eyes.

                      JOY
          Point that thing away from me!

                      LEON
          What in the South Pole are you --

                      JOY
          I know it was you!     Where's Cal?!

She grabs a spoke of his hair.

                          LEON
          Owww!   Wait!

Joy yanks him off the table and onto the tile floor.

                      LEON
          Doc, help me! Let go!

                      BOW TIE
          This is highly irregular.     You will
          need to contact your HMO.

Joy drags a screaming Leon out into the

LOBBY

Three Elves look up from their dated magazines.
                       JOY
          See this?   This is your fearless
          leader!

The Elves are afraid to speak. The door opens.       Noel enters
with Cal. His hand is bandaged.

                          JOY
          Cal!

She lets go of Leon - he clonks his head - rushes to Cal.

                      JOY
          Are you okay? What happened?
                                                         68.

                      NOEL
          He cut his hand on a jigsaw.

                         JOY
          WHAT?!

                        NOEL
          Puzzle.    Sorry. It's just a paper
          cut.

                      JOY
          Oh thank God.

She hugs him.

                        CAL
          See?    I'll be fine, Mom.

Joy turns back to Leon.

                        JOY
          Leon.    I'm...

Leon pulls a miniature Stop sign from his back pocket.

                      JOY
          Cal goes off on a tangent sometimes.

                         NOEL
          That's okay.     He's just a kid.

Leon's eyes fixate on Noel as she fixes her hair.   A
children's choir sings The First Noel.

Joy peeks at Leon, recognizes the faraway look in his eye.
He glances up at Joy, notices that she noticed. Uh oh.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HOCKEY RINK - AFTERNOON

Joy teeters along next to Stan.

                      JOY
          It's been forever since I wore skates.

                      STAN
          Then you look great for your age.
          So what's up?

                      JOY
          Another piece of the puzzle.     And it
          wears a Mohawk.
                                                              69.

                        STAN
          Leon?

                      JOY
          He's got the hots for Noel.

                        STAN
          What?    No way.

                      JOY
              (kid in a playground)
          Oh he has got a crush on her...

                      STAN
          Are you serious?     I had no idea.

                      JOY
          How long has she been going out with
          Hark?

                      STAN
          October, I think.

Joy stops short.   Stan doesn't.   They fall at center ice.

                        STAN
          You okay?

                      JOY
          I'm fine. You probably should be
          sitting down for this anyway. Leon's
          your rotten apple. More like your
          sour apple.

                      STAN
          What do you mean?

                      JOY
          Don't you get it? He's displacing
          his feelings for Noel by causing an
          all-out work stoppage.

                      STAN
          Are you sure?

                      JOY
          You said it yourself. October's
          when everything started going wrong.
                      (MORE)
                                                            70.

                      JOY (CONT'D)
          And I've seen the influence he has
          over the other elves.

                      STAN
          So this was all about... love?

                      JOY
          I should've known it was messing up
          the works somehow.
                      STAN
          That's optimistic.
                      JOY
          Callz them as I seez them.

They rise to their feet.
                      STAN
          You know what you need? A good
          romance novel. A nice, long, juicy,
          healthy-sized romance novel.
                      JOY
          You better watch out, Santa.
                       STAN
          What?
                      JOY
          You know what.
                      STAN
          Don't you believe love conquers all?
                      JOY
          Sure conquered me.
She skates away.   Stan lets her go.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - BATHROOM - LATER

Cal cleanses his paper cut in the sink.

He towel dries his hand.     Tries to reapply the wrap, but is
foiled.

Cal groans in frustration, bangs his hand on the sink.

                       CAL
          Ow!
                                                          71.

He shakes out his hand.   Joy glides in.

                      JOY
          What are you doing in here?

                      CAL
          This stupid thing won't go on.

                      JOY
          Why didn't you just ask me?

She tosses the soiled bandage, fishes for a fresh one
underneath the sink.

                      JOY
          I am not putting a dirty wrap on
          you, thank you very much.

She applies a new wrap to Cal's hand.

                      JOY
          Did you have fun this afternoon?

                       CAL
          No.

                       JOY
          Why not?

Cal doesn't respond.

                       JOY
          If you don't wanna talk about it,
          that's fine.

She studies Cal.   He doesn't budge.
                      JOY
          Now go wreak havoc on some elves.

Cal scurries away.

                      JOY
              (calling)
          But be careful, okay?

She turns and glances at herself in the mirror.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - GYM - CONTINUOUS
The room is tiny, but the free weights are human-sized.
Leon does bicep curls in solitude. The mood is bleak.
                                                            72.

TATTOOS
riddle Leon's body. And they all seem to have an anti-holiday
bent: the Easter Bunny dons an executioner's mask; reindeer
with fangs; Count Dracula holds a sackful of toys; a Valentine
heart split down the middle with a samurai sword.

Leon snarls as he ekes out a few more curls.     He tosses the
dumbbells to the floor.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - NIGHT

Joy and Stan huddle on an icy park bench. Christmas lights
shine down from the candy cane poles. The wind picks up.

                      JOY
          For the record, this is crazy.   I'm
          talking bona fide lollipops.

                      STAN
          Noted.

                      JOY
          Why couldn't we just meet in my
          office? By the fire. Or in it.

                      STAN
          Problem's inside. I figure it's
          smart to take the conversation
          outside.

                      JOY
          Is it smart to cryogenically freeze
          the help?
                      STAN
          Depends on whether or not she warms
          up to me.

                      JOY
          Is it true you rejected all of Leon's
          toys?

                      STAN
          Where'd you hear that?

                      JOY
          You paid me to get to the bottom of
          this.

                      STAN
          I had to. How do you think we lost
          our HR person?
                                                            73.

                        JOY
          Suzie?

                      STAN
          How did you --

                      JOY
          Not important.

She blows on her hands.

                      JOY
          I gotta ask. Let's say it's five
          years from now. It's the dead of
          winter. And let's say the Bruins
          are having a horrible year.

                      STAN
          I'm with you.

                      JOY
          What happens if you decide to hang
          it up?

                      STAN
          Hang what up?

                      JOY
          You know, quit.     Bye-bye Santa.

                       STAN
              (snorts)
          Wouldn't happen.

                      JOY
          I'm talking minus eighty degrees
          here. Bruins are in last place.

                      STAN
          Being Santa Claus isn't a job, Joy.
          I don't punch a clock. And it's not
          a hobby either. It's what I do.

Joy's teeth chatter.

                      STAN
          Too many kids count on me. Like
          Cal. And I'm not about to disappoint
          them all.

Joy holds his gaze.    Stan notices, moves in for a kiss.

                      JOY
          What are you doing?
                                                        74.

                       STAN
          What.   Nothing. I just thought --

                      JOY
          You thought what?

                      STAN
          Your lips look a little chapped to
          me.

The sound of snow crunching under heavy boots.

                      STAN
          Here he comes. Let me do the talking.

                      JOY
          Then what'd you want me here for?

                       STAN
          Body heat. It's in the job
          description.

Leon is vastly underdressed, an herbal cigarette hangs from
his lip. Stan and Joy separate, he plops down between them.

                      LEON
          Tick tock, what's this about?

                      STAN
          Leon, we got a serious problem.

                      LEON
          Why is she here?

                      STAN
          Is there something going on we should
          know about?

                      LEON
          We?  So you two are together now?
              (chortles)
          Precious.

                      STAN
          There's a school of thought that
          says you're behind the work stoppage.

Leon blows a smoke ring Joy's way.

                      LEON
          Who goes to this school?   Anyone I
          know?
                                                              75.

                      STAN
          I need answers, Leon.

                      LEON
          Then gimme some questions.

                         STAN
          Noel Parker.

                      LEON
          That's not a question.

                      STAN
          Are you in love with her?

What starts out as a giggle, grows and grows.    Leon keels
over onto the snow.

He takes a long drag, flicks the cigarette in Joy's direction.

                      LEON
          Where do you get this stuff? From
          your popcorn psychologist over here?

He makes snow angels.

                      LEON
          Ahh... refreshing.

                      JOY
          Did you notice he didn't say "no"?

                      STAN
          I did happen to notice that, yes.

                      LEON
          Yeah? Did you notice that Shrinkwrap
          is off her chestnut?

                      JOY
          Noel is going out with Hark, Leon.
          You can't always get what you want.

                      LEON
          Said Mick Jagger. Are you for real?
          Nine years of higher education and
          this is the best ya got?
              (glares at Stan)
          Did you know she pulled me out of
          the infirmary the other day? By my
          hair? Or did she forget to mention
          that during your last powwow?
                                                           76.

                      JOY
          I am sick and tired of all your
          innuendo! That stupid haircut! Oh
          yeah... you're a real macho elf,
          aren't you.

Stan buries his head in his hands.

                      LEON
          Go back to Beantown, Sweetcheeks.
          No one wants you here.

                      JOY
          Fine! Unlike you, I don't need
          everyone to love me!

Leon hops up, makes an "L" on his forehead and strolls away.

                      JOY
          You believe that guy?

                      LEON
          Oh yeah, just one more thing.

He HUMS a snowball at Joy's chest.

                       LEON
          Time's up.

Joy turns to Stan, mouth agape. They get to work making
snowballs. Leon's smirk withers, he heads for the hills.

Snowballs rain down on Leon, dropping him face first.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - SALON - MORNING
Two ELVES wearing cockscombs are busy giving pedicures. The
size of the feet they're working on varies considerably.

Joy leans back in her chair, reading Psychology Today. Next
to her is Noel, she flips through an Elven Times newspaper.

                      NOEL
          This is such a surprise.   Thank you.

                      JOY
          My pleasure. I can't remember the
          last time I had a pedicure.

                      NOEL
          You should pamper yourself more.
                                                    77.

                      JOY
          So how are things with you and Hark?
          Hot 'n heavy?

                      NOEL
          They're definitely heavy.

                       JOY
          Oh?

                      NOEL
          He's smart and all... but enough
          already.

                      JOY
          Ever dated anyone before him?

                      NOEL
          No one serious.

                      JOY
          So I take it you and Leon never went
          out.

Noel crinkles her newspaper.

                       NOEL
          No.   Why do you ask?

                       JOY
          No reason.

                      NOEL
          He's too angry to go out with anybody,
          if you ask me.
                       JOY
          Yeah.   Psychology's funny sometimes...

                      NOEL
          What do you mean?

                      JOY
          Sometimes people put on their mad
          face to hide something else.

                       NOEL
          Like what?

                      JOY
          Like fear, maybe.
                                                            78.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - AFTERNOON

Leon works on a word jumble. Two workbenches up, Noel chats
with Hark. She glances back at Leon, he doesn't notice.

Portly sidles next to Leon.

                      PORTLY
          Doing anything later, Big Boy?

                      LEON
          I don't know yet.    I might hang
          myself.

                      PORTLY
          Let me know how that goes.

She stomps away. Leon solves the jumble.      The letters form
the word: Unrequited.

He looks up.   Noel's there.

                       NOEL
          Hey.

                      LEON
          What do you want?

                      NOEL
          Just wanted to say Hi.

                      LEON
          Mission accomplished.

He begins a new puzzle.
                      NOEL
          That's a little chilly.

                      LEON
          Don't you have work to do?

                      NOEL
          Guess that makes one of us.

                       LEON
          Zing.

                      NOEL
          Whatcha working on?

                      LEON
          I'm plotting world peace.
                                                            79.

                      NOEL
          You seem sort of surly to be working
          on something like that.

                        LEON
          Do I?

                        NOEL
          Yes.    You do.

                      LEON
          It takes a lot out of you to work on
          something so grandiose. But I guess
          you can't get something for nothing.
          At least most of us can't.

                      NOEL
          What's that supposed to mean?

                      LEON
          It means, don't you think you should
          be running along to your beau? He
          might get frostbite standing there
          all by himself.

                        NOEL
          Maybe.    He's very sociable.

                      LEON
          Like a butterfly.

                      NOEL
          Are you depressed or something?
          Maybe a few hours in front of the
          lamp would do you some good.
                      LEON
          Am I bothering you somehow?     You
          came to talk to me.

                      NOEL
          I just wanted to see what I was
          missing. Guess now I know.

She flits away.    A few Elves turn to look at Leon.   He stares
them down.

                      LEON
              (to himself)
          Nobody turns Leon Hurtz into a
          laughingstocking.
                                                           80.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Joy strides along, checks her watch. She hears noise coming
from the cafeteria, peeks through a glass pane in the door.

                        JOY
          Oh.   My.   God.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - CAFETERIA - NIGHT

Cheers fill the air as Leon struts across the stage in a
tux. With a wave of his hand, Leon silences the Elves.

                      LEON
              (into mike)
          Some people think they're so smart,
          don't they. They go to college.
          Earn a degree. Sprinkle a few
          initials after their name. And then
          what? They feel like telling you
          your life story.

He sips a mug of mead that rests on a barstool.

                      LEON
          But do they actually know what it's
          like to be you? To be living up
          here? In the dark? In the cold?
          Or are they just guessing?

Some Elves nod and reply: Guessing.

                      LEON
          They jot down a few notes... give
          you that oh-so-concerned look...
          But are they really that concerned?
          Maybe. But not about you. In a
          week, they'll be windsurfing in Bora
          Bora. And they just heard a tropical
          storm might hit. Sound nice?

Murmurs of dismay from the crowd.   Momentum builds...

                      LEON
          You know what? I think they're full
          of it. And tonight, I'm gonna prove
          to you just how much.

He drops the mike. Electricity fills the air. Leon nods to
someone in the crowd, and suddenly HEAVY music comes on.

The Elves get into it.   Ancy starts a mosh pit.
                                                             81.

Leon strolls to the wall and turns a crank. From the ceiling,
a piñata descends. A JOY-piñata. It's disturbingly accurate.

Leon lifts a hockey stick off the floor, points it at the
crowd.

                      LEON
          My friends. I was never much of a
          hockey player. But you know what?
          It's never too late to try.

He pivots. SLASHES away at the piñata.      The Elves scream:
"Yeah!" with each whack.

Joy looks on in sheer horror.   Suddenly, the floor is flooded
with bits of black licorice.

                      LEON
          Was she full of it or what?

The Elves holler and whistle.   Leon raises his stick like he
scored a goal.

                       LEON
              (chants)
          NO MORE JOY...

                      ELVES
              (chant)
          NO MORE JOY...


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - JOY'S OFFICE SUITE - MORNING

Joy sits defiantly on her throne.   No notepad.    Ancy is
sprawled out on the couch.

                      JOY
          What's the matter, Ancy? You look
          tired. Can't be overworked.

                      ANCY
          Went to a shindig last night.

                       JOY
          Oh.   Is that what you call it?

                      ANCY
          Yeah, that's what I call it.    What's
          it to you?
                                        82.

            JOY
That's right, I don't care at all.
Christmas is in crisis mode and I'm
sitting in the North Pole when I
could be home under my electric
blanket. But you're right. I don't
care.

            ANCY
Glad we cleared that up.

            JOY
Maybe when Christmas is officially
canceled, I can drown my sorrows in
hot cocoa and fly to Bora Bora.

            ANCY
What?

            JOY
You heard me.

            ANCY
    (sits up)
You were spyin' on us?

            JOY
Boy, if it weren't for brainwashing,
some of us wouldn't get cleaned up
at all.

            ANCY
You take that back.

            JOY
I most certainly won't. I paid for
it. It's my choice not to take it
back.

            ANCY
Huh?

            JOY
How long have these shindigs been
going on? Let me guess. October,
right?

            ANCY
How could you know a thing like that?

            JOY
And the last time you sneezed was
sometime around then, too, right?
                                         83.

            ANCY
Are you a witch?

            JOY
Maybe. There's initials after my
name. Look, Ancy, not that I care
or anything... but these Leon concerts
you've been going to? Have been
affecting you psychosomatically.

              ANCY
Who?

             JOY
Sorry, that's a college word. See,
brainwashing has been known to lower
self-esteem.

              ANCY
Elf-esteem.

              JOY
What?

            ANCY
We knock off the "s" in self.

            JOY
Whatever. The point is, Leon's rants
have affected you emotionally. And
if you keep that emotion bottled up,
it can manifest itself in different
ways.
            ANCY
What're you even talkin' about?

            JOY
I think your inability to sneeze
might mean you're holding back on
something.

             ANCY
But I thought sneezin' was
involuntary.

            JOY
In humans, yes. With you guys, I'm
not so sure. From what I gather,
the main way you've allowed yourself
to vent is by breaking rocking horses.
                                                         84.

                      ANCY
          What about Ode?

                      JOY
          I think you beat him up just for
          fun. My guess is, you chose rocking
          horses because they remind you of
          something.

                       ANCY
          Like what?

                      JOY
          Like maybe the reindeer that ran
          over your mom.

LATER

Schmelf lies on the couch, clutching a Christmas songbook.

                       SCHMELF
              (sings)
          It's beginning to look a lot like
          Easter...

He smacks himself in the head with the songbook.

                      JOY
          Low elf-esteem.     I'm sure of it.

LATER

                      ODE (O.S.)
          You really think so?

                      JOY
          I'm positive.

Ode sits in a wheelchair wearing a full body cast. His hands
and feet stick out. They're especially bandaged and billowy.

                      ODE
          But I thought rhymin' was stylin'.

                      JOY
          When it comes to rhyme, there's a...
          place and a time. You wouldn't put
          the cart before the horse. That
          would only make things... worse.
          Maybe poetry is meant more for
          journals and books.
                      (MORE)
                                                              85.

                      JOY (CONT'D)
          And that's okay, if it gets you off
          the... hooks. In the end, we should
          all practice safe poetry. Otherwise,
          we might end up looking like toiletry.

Ode seems somewhat aroused.

                       ODE
          Okay.   Um, doing anything today?


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - ROOM 331 - AFTERNOON

Cal pouts on the bed, trying to solve Rubik's Cube.     Joy
enters, plops down across from him.

                        JOY
          Elves...

                      CAL
          Dad always could do this.

                      JOY
          I could go for another bath.

She kicks off her shoes.      Cal whips the cube across the room.

                      JOY
          Cal, I don't have the strength.
          Just please don't throw things.
          Okay?

                      CAL
          He's not coming back, is he.
Joy's back is to Cal, she weighs her options.

Turns to face him.

                        JOY
          No.    He's not.

                        CAL
          Why?

                      JOY
          Sometimes... sometimes things just
          don't work out. Between two people.

                      CAL
          You had a fight?
                                                    86.

                          JOY
          Sort of.

                      CAL
          What do you mean?

Joy wracks her brain for the best way to explain.

                      JOY
          Tommy's your best friend, right?

                          CAL
          So?

                      JOY
          But last year you hung out with Billy
          all the time, remember?

                          CAL
          So?

                      JOY
          So, sometimes things change.   They
          don't stay the same.

                      CAL
          Can't you just say you're sorry?

Joy sighs, gazes sadly at Cal.

                      CAL
          What about Santa?

                          JOY
          Whoa.   What?
                          CAL
          He's nice.

                      JOY
          Yes, he's nice, but...

                          CAL
          But what?

                      JOY
          It's not just a question of nice -
          or naughty.

                          CAL
          Why not?
                                                             87.

                      JOY
              (incredulous)
          Why not?


INT. BARN - NIGHT

Joy trudges in. The reindeer are asleep.     All but Caliopi,
who stands at the back of her stall.

Joy stops and watches her.    Caliopi appears sick.

Joy rests her head on her forearm, shuts her eyes...

She peeks up. Caliopi now stands at the front of the stall.
They exchange a prolonged look.

Joy reaches for the can of alfalfa pellets.      Pours a mound
into her palm.

She reaches into the stall.    Caliopi chows down.

                      STAN (O.S.)
          A psychologist and a druid.

He glides over.

                      STAN
          Ever feel underpaid?

                      JOY
          Maybe sometimes.

Stan gets down on one knee.    Joy jumps back.   Stan smiles,
turns and pats Caliopi.

                      STAN
          How are my little helpers doing?

                      JOY
          I've got one more chestnut to crack.

                      STAN
          If you're free, there's something I
          wanted to show you.

                      JOY
          Indoors or outdoors?
                                                            88.

EXT. BARN - MOMENTS LATER

It's snowing.   Joy and Stan sit atop harnessed reindeer.

                       JOY
           I think you're taking this a bit
           far.

                       STAN
           I gave you Vixen. Active imagination,
           what can I say. Ready?

                         JOY
           For what?

                         STAN
           Hold on.    HE SHOOTS... HE SCORES!

The reindeer, and their jockeys, are airborne.

                         JOY
           Whoa God...

She wavers to one side, grabs hold of the reins.

                       JOY
           This can't be happening!

                       STAN
           You just keep telling yourself that!

                       JOY
           These things are mechanical?

                       STAN
           Do they smell mechanical?    Woo hooo...
They bend, dip and soar through snowy skies.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - LATER

The jingle bell rings.    Joy and Stan bound off the elevator,
rosy-cheeked.

Joy opens the door to

ROOM 331

                       JOY
           Cal, are you in here?

She breezes through the rooms.
                                                             89.

                      JOY
          Let's try Santa's workshop.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Mrs. Claus (the hourglass) is up in arms -- literally.    Portly
watches a hockey game on TV, her feet up on the desk.

                      PORTLY
          Shoot the puck. You can't score if
          you don't shoot. Wingnut.

Joy and Stan stride in.

                      JOY
          Have you seen Cal?

                      PORTLY
          A few minutes ago.

                        JOY
          Where?

Portly bites into a snack.    Stan and Joy wait for her to
finish chewing.

                      PORTLY
          He was with Leon.

                        JOY
          WHAT?!

Portly falls off the swivel chair, takes the snack with her.

                      JOY
          Where'd you see them?

                      PORTLY
          On the stairs.

Stan and Joy bolt.   Portly gets up, licks her palms.

Joy pops her head back in.

                        JOY
          Up or down?

                        PORTLY
          Yeah.

                        JOY
          HR, my ass.
                                                        90.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAIRWELL - CONTINUOUS

Joy and Stan drive through a set of double doors.

                      JOY
          Where are we going?

                      STAN
          I don't know.

Joy chases after him down the steps.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - TOY ROOM 12 - MOMENTS LATER

They search a room filled with beach balls.

                      STAN
          Do you really think he'd hurt him?

                      JOY
          I wouldn't put anything past him.
          Cal?! CAL...?


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - TOY ROOM 11 - MOMENTS LATER

They search a room with wall-to-wall action figures.

                      JOY
          I'm losing my mind here.

                      STAN
          I've known Leon for a long time.

                      JOY
          Don't defend him.

                      STAN
          I'm trying to put your mind at ease.

                      JOY
          First off, you don't have kids. So
          you don't have a frame of reference.
          Second, you really expect me to trust
          an elf with a Mohawk?

                      STAN
          He is a little peculiar.

                      JOY
          A little? Do you even know what
          goes on here late at night?
                                                     91.

                       STAN
          No, what?

                      JOY
          ... or early at night? Who knows,
          cuz it's always freaking dark around
          here!

                       STAN
          Calm down.   Tell me.

                      JOY
          Next time you can't sleep, try the
          cafeteria for some cookies and milk.
          Your friend Leon is quite the
          inspirational speaker.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER

Joy and Stan sprint along.    They run out of gas.

                      JOY
          If he does anything to Cal, I swear
          I'll kill him. Make it look like an
          accident. Maybe an iceberg hit him.

                      STAN
          Just don't jump to any conclusions,
          okay? He's probably fine.

                      JOY
          You don't know that.

                      STAN
          Don't you think you're overreacting?
                      JOY
          Overreacting? Don't tell me I'm
          overreacting. My son's missing and
          we're in the bleeping North Pole.

                      STAN
          They couldn't have gone far.

                      JOY
          Don't you have a police force or
          something? God, that is so
          irresponsible.

                      STAN
          Look, we're a decent bunch up here.
                                       92.

            JOY
My God...

            STAN
What?

            JOY
I don't know why I didn't see this
sooner.

            STAN
See what sooner?

            JOY
You really do live in a dream world,
don't you. Up here in all the snow
and ice. You totally lost touch
with reality.

            STAN
No I haven't. I'm just not as
paranoid as you.

            JOY
How dare you judge me? You live in
a giant candy cane and I'm the one
who's delusional?

            STAN
It's not an actual candy cane, Joy.
I don't lick the sides of the
building.

            JOY
Is that supposed to be comforting?
            STAN
You know what? You're right.    You
could never do it.

            JOY
Never do what?

            STAN
Live here. Your attitude is all
wrong for this place.

            JOY
My son's been abducted, and you're
criticizing my attitude? Does Santa
want a fat lip?
                                                            93.

                      STAN
          You always expect the worst from
          people.

                      JOY
          Yeah? Well put away the Santa suit
          and come live in my neck o' the woods
          for a change. You'll see it doesn't
          just happen by accident.

                      STAN
          All of this because of Ted?

                      JOY
          I share something personal with you,
          and you throw it back in my face?!

                      STAN
          Just because I'm bringing him up
          doesn't mean I'm throwing him in
          your face.

                      JOY
          How naive can you be? Baby New
          Year... Hellooo?! You cram blind
          faith into everything.

                      STAN
          You mean like you?

Joy's thrown by this, tries hard not to show it.

                      STAN
          Blind faith? Is redundant. Faith
          is always blind. But you gotta have
          it to know it.
                      JOY
          I don't know how I could be so blind
          about you or this place. You might
          want to close up the workshop, Stan.
          I don't think you're going on tour
          this year.

She smacks her way through the double doors.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - 3RD FLOOR - CONTINUOUS

Joy runs along, her mascara streaked.   She tries a door.
                                                            94.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - TOY ROOM 3 - CONTINUOUS

The room overflows with gigantic stuffed animals.    They hang
from tall metal shelves in countless rows.

                         JOY
            CAL?!

She peeks down each aisle. Looks up.      Straight ahead is a
WHITE ELEPHANT as tall as the room.

Joy doubles back.    The inside of the door reveals a

DARTBOARD

A photograph of Joy is decorated with darts.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - TOY ROOM 2 - MOMENTS LATER

The room is bedecked with baby dolls. No shelving, only
dolls. Joy steps into the mix and sets one off: "MAMA."

She nearly loses her balance, sets off another. Joy hurries
to get away. More and more dolls call out to her.

She makes it to the other side.    And cries.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - LOBBY - MOMENTS LATER

Joy leaps off the elevator, dashes toward the fountain, which
has stopped gurgling. No sign of anyone.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - CONTINUOUS
Joy races outside without her jacket.     Spots Wolf and Aura
loading boxes into the jeep.

                        JOY
            Have you guys seen Cal?

                         AURA
            No.   I hope he's not out here.

                        JOY
            I looked everywhere, I can't find
            him.

                        WOLF
            Did you check the basement?
                                                                 95.

                       AURA
           That's where Stan keeps the toy
           rejects.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - LOBBY - CONTINUOUS

Joy bursts in.     Searches for a door to the basement.

                       JOY
           Wait for me, Cal.     Mommy's coming.

She turns a corner and finds a door without a sign.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - BASEMENT - CONTINUOUS

Ominous.   Empty.    Joy descends the stairs.

She nears an ugly, steel door.       Turns the knob...


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - REJECT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Total darkness.     Eerie as hell.     Joy slowly enters.

A faint wind whistles.     She steps on a glass ornament.

                          CAL (O.S.)
                  (calling)
           Mom?

                          JOY
           Cal!     Where are you?

The room is suddenly engulfed in Christmas lights.          An
ELABORATE MAZE

unfolds.   Row upon row of intersecting Christmas trees.

                          JOY
           My God...

She turns the corner and nicks her leg on a misshapen toy.

                          JOY
           Ow!

She spins back around, cuts herself on another.

                       JOY
           OW! These are like the Worst...
           Toys... Ever!
                                                  96.

                       LEON (O.S.)
          Sure.   Rub it in.

Joy glances around for the source of the voice.

                         JOY
          Is that you?     Gimme back my son!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          Oh, Joy. The fun has just begun.
          How 'bout a game of hide 'n seek?

                       JOY
          No!   I want my son!   NOW.

                      LEON (O.S.)
          We can't always get what we want.
          Isn't that right?

                       JOY
          Stop it!   You're scaring Cal.

She winds her way through the maze.

                      LEON (O.S.)
          There's something you should know
          about this place. I put a spell on
          it.

                      JOY
          Stan said he had you people fixed!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          I called in sick that day. And by
          the way, "you people" is so declasse.
                      JOY
          Maybe I'll fix you myself!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          Anyone who dares to enter this room
          must have faith in yours truly to
          find their way out. Otherwise, it's
          round and round you go. Ingenious,
          don't you think?

                      JOY
          I want my son, you nutcake!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          Turn the record over, Joy.    You're
          starting to skip.
                                                         97.

                       JOY
          Cal?   Where are you?!

                       LEON (O.S.)
          Now might be an ideal time for me to
          analyze YOU.

                      JOY
          Cal, are you okay?

                      LEON (O.S.)
          Must be awkward. Me sitting on the
          throne and you lying there on the
          couch.

                      JOY
          What's this about, Leon?   I didn't
          do anything to you.

She peers through the trees, the branches are far too dense.

                      LEON (O.S.)
          You didn't open your mouth to Noel
          about our discussion outside?

                        JOY
          No.    I mean... No!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          A psychologist and a liar.   That's
          reassuring.

                       JOY
          Crackpot!

She kicks one of Leon's misshapen toys.
                      LEON (O.S.)
          You violate my confidentiality, and
          yet I'm the bad guy? Talk about
          projection.

                      JOY
          Shut up, this isn't funny!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          I could've died back at the infirmary.
          That was you, wasn't it.

                      JOY
          You deserved it!

                      LEON (O.S.)
          Ahh, the marvels of a God Complex...
                                                                98.

                            JOY
             Get lost!

                           LEON (O.S.)
             I am lost.    Can't you tell?

He laughs.    The sound of Cal's footsteps, running.

                         LEON (O.S.)
             Get back here!

Joy throws it into fifth gear, rounds the bend. Spots Cal
ten yards away! He holds an odd-shaped club in his hand.

She chases after him.       Suddenly, Leon steps in her path.

Joy POUNCES on him like a wildcat.       They crash to the ground.

                         JOY
             You're mine, Mohawk!

She grabs Leon by the throat.

                            CAL
             Mo-om!

                         JOY
             Don't Mo-om me!

                         LEON
             Go ahead. I'm not exactly filled
             with the Christmas spirit.

Joy stops choking Leon.       And SLAPS him in the face!

                            JOY
             Yes you are!

                            LEON
             No I'm not.

                          JOY
                 (slaps him again)
             Yes you are!

                            LEON
             No I'm not.

Joy resumes the chokehold.

                         JOY
             You are full of it.
                         (MORE)
                                                  99.

                      JOY (CONT'D)
              (relents)
          Are we still talking about the same
          thing?

                      LEON
          I'm not sure.

Stranglehold it is.

                      LEON
          Doesn't matter. Not without her.

                      JOY
          Have you even tried talking to her?!

                      LEON
          You mean like a conversation?

                       JOY
          Yes.   Like a conversation.

                        LEON
          No.

Joy suddenly lets go.   Leon coughs like crazy.

                      LEON
          What's the point?

                      JOY
          Leon, she's not a mind reader, for
          God's sake.

                      LEON
          Why be with me when she can marry
          him?

                      JOY
          You're referring to Hark, I presume?

                      LEON
          He's suave and polished with a thick
          head o' hair. Builds like a billion
          toys a day. I'm just this craggy
          loser with a poor track record. She
          can do better.

                      JOY
          You're sure that's how she sees you,
          and not how you see yourself?

                      LEON
          What's the difference?
                                                        100.

                      JOY
          And her feelings toward Hark. You
          know all about that, too, huh?

                      LEON
          They're always together.     What else
          am I supposed to think?

                         STAN (O.S.)
                 (calling)
          Joy?

                         JOY
          Yeah!

                      STAN (O.S.)
          Where are you?

                      JOY
          I don't know!

She looks Leon square in the eye.

                      JOY
          Is that what this was about?     Fear
          of rejection?

Leon gazes down an aisle of his toy rejects.

                      LEON
          Can you blame me?

                      JOY
          They're just toys, Leon.

                        LEON
          Yeah.    And I'm just an elf.

The look on Joy's face softens, she puts the pieces together.

                      CAL
          I want a baseball.    I want a baseball.

He swings his club like a baseball bat.

                      JOY
          Cal, what are you doing with that
          thing? Throw it away. It looks
          dangerous.

                      CAL
          Leon made it.
                                                         101.

                      JOY
          I mean... what is it?

                      CAL
          It's a bracketstaddle.

                         JOY
          A what?

                      CAL
          A bracketstaddle.     Check it out.

He shows his mom a series of buttons on the side of the club.

                      CAL
          It's a baseball bat, a tennis racket,
          a hockey stick, and a ping pong
          paddle.

                      JOY
          Let me see that.

She tries a button.   The bat changes into a ping pong paddle.

                       JOY
          Whoa.   Have you shown this one to
          Stan?

                      LEON
          I didn't wanna ruin my streak.

Stan turns the corner.

                      STAN
          There you are.
Joy twirls the paddle, hands it to Leon.

                      JOY
          Now's your chance, Sport.

                      STAN
          What happened down here? It looks
          like The Shining on happy pills.

                      LEON
          Remember about a month ago... I
          told you we were short a bunch of
          trees?

                         STAN
          Yeah...?
                                                         102.

                      LEON
          I lied.

                       STAN
          Great. It's coming outta your
          paycheck. Oh yeah, that's right.
          You don't get one of those.
              (to Joy)
          Let's get outta here.

He turns to leave.

                      LEON
          Stan.

                      STAN
          What?

                      LEON
          Something I wanted to show you.

He hands Stan the bracketstaddle.

                      STAN
          What's this thing?

                      LEON
          My latest catastrophe.

Stan scrutinizes it, presses the buttons.   Watches it
transform each time.

He turns to Leon, very unimpressed.

                      STAN
          I want it mass-distributed.   This
          Christmas.

                      LEON
          Really?

                      STAN
              (hands it back)
          Any idea how we make that happen?


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Mrs. Claus' foot taps on the floor, like the second hand of
a clock. Her eyebrow rises and rises, until it pops off.
                                                          103.

INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS

Noel paints a baby doll.    Hark slathers honey into his hair.

                      HARK
          Splendiferous work on the baby.

                         NOEL
          Thank you.

                      HARK
          Perhaps one day you might consider
          building a more lifelike version.

Noel grimaces.   Hark plops down his bucket of ropes.

                      HARK
          Was thinking you and I might tie the
          proverbial knot.

                         NOEL
          Oh.    God.   Umm...

                         HARK
          What is it?

                      NOEL
          It's just lately... I've been
          wondering if we're the right match.

                      HARK
          Why would you wonder a thing like
          that?

                      NOEL
          You're just so... much better than
          me at everything.

                      HARK
          Yes, but, that's no reason to keep
          us from being together.

                      NOEL
          I know... I just think you need to
          find someone smarter. Someone who
          could match your bourbony --

                         HARK
          Burgeoning.

                         NOEL
          Potential.
                                                           104.

                      HARK
          Well, gee, Noel. We both know that's
          never going to happen.

                      NOEL
          I think we should stop seeing each
          other. Sorry.

She ambles away. Hark turns to find a few of the Elves
snickering. And word of mouth travels fast in the workshop.

Joy, Stan, Cal and Leon march in. In the brightness of the
room, it's visible that Leon's Mohawk is now part red and
part green.

                      HALF-ELF #1
          Check out the hair.

                      HALF-ELF #2
          That's the Christmas spirit.

Leon takes center stage.   Stan hands him the megaphone.

                        LEON
          Hi... Uh...    Hello, Everyone.

The Elves trade looks, surprised to see Leon nervous.

                      LEON
          Over the past few months... I haven't
          been the best influence. There were
          things going on in my life. Or not
          going on...

Noel perks up.   Hark turns and notices.
                      LEON
          But it didn't need to involve everyone
          else. And for that... I'm sorry. I
          see tonight as my chance to make
          things right. So that's what I'm
          gonna do.

                      PORTLY
          What're you talking about?

                      LEON
          I think we should put Christmas back
          on track.

                        SOME ELVES
          Why?
                                                             105.

                      LEON
          I say we show the world what it is
          we do up here, and that's make --

                      ANCY
          Why should we? We're no slaves!

                        MORE ELVES
          Yeah!    We're not slaves!

                        LEON
          I...

He glances around the room.     Murmurs of dissension mount.

                      TOPSPIN
          Humans don't appreciate us.     You
          said so yourself!

                        MORE ELVES
          Yeah!

Leon trades looks with Stan, who trades looks with Joy.

                      ELVES
              (chant)
          NO MORE JOY...

Leon gapes at them.    The Elves shake their fists in the air.

Noel lowers a HAMMER on the workbench!

                      NOEL
          MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The chant stops.
                        ELVES
          What?

                      NOEL
          Just what I said! Look at us! If
          we don't save Christmas, then what
          good are we, huh?! We're just a
          bunch of little elves who live in
          the snow. I say we listen to Leon!

Leon's eyes widen.    He grins at Noel.   She smirks back.

Hark catches the moment between the two.     And SNAPS!

He grabs a toy pirate sword, places it at Noel's throat.
She shrieks.
                                                        106.

                      HARK
          No fast moves, you elves.

                      LEON
          What're you doing?

                      HARK
          You all make me sick! Lazy as a
          pile of reindeer poop. And you with
          the hair. Talk about a hypocrite!

                        LEON
          Let her go.

Two burlier Elves make their way toward Hark.

                      HARK
          Get back, you buffoons! Or I'll
          turn her into The Last Noel.

The burly Elves stop short.

                      HARK
          You wanna know something?   Elves are
          overrated.

He kicks off what appear to be elevator shoes and removes a
mask. Hark's now much smaller, and older-looking. Bald,
with a gnarly white beard.

                       ANCY
          Look!   He's a gnome!

All the Elves GASP.

                        JOY
          My God...

                      STAN
          I gotta start doin' background checks.

Hark backs away with Noel.

                      HARK
          That's right. Deal with it.

                      NOEL
          Did I ever tell you your vocabulary's
          really beautiful?

                      HARK
          Shut your pie-hole.
                                                          107.

He walks backward into a finger.    Spins to find Leon, holding
his bracketstaddle.

                      LEON
          I said, Let her go.

                      HARK
          Fat chance, Chief Chia Pet.

                      LEON
          Alright then. I'll fight you for
          her.

                         NOEL
          What?

                       HARK
          What?!   You have no chance against
          me!

                      LEON
          Then it'll be a short fight.    So to
          speak.

                         HARK
          Very funny.     I accept your challenge!

He shoves Noel away.    She lands safely on Ode.

                      CAL
          Mom, he's ugly.

                      HARK
          Quiet down, you brat!

He snags an oversized candy cane from Gangly's workbench.
Leon fashions his bracketstaddle into a hockey stick.

                        HARK
          En garde!    Leon...

They move in a circle.    The crowd draws near.

                      LEON
          Should I get down on my knees so
          there's no height advantage?

                      HARK
          I just assumed that you would.

                      LEON
          It's on, Gnome-boy.
                                                       108.

Hark swings the hook of the candy cane, Leon stops it cold.
Again on the other side, Leon stops it. He pushes Hark back.

                      LEON
          She shot you down, did she, Hark?
          Can't blame an elf for having class.

                      HARK
          You only wish you were a gnome!

                        LEON
          Not really.

Hark aims high, and this time grazes Leon's Mohawk.

                      LEON
          Don't strain yourself now.

He strikes back, Hark ducks.

                      LEON
          If you were any smaller, I'd have to
          fight you with a lawn mower.

Hark swings, Leon sidesteps.

                      LEON
          Speakin' of which... shouldn't you
          be decorating a garden somewhere?

He thwacks Hark upside the head.

                      HARK
          I decorated Noel's garden.   What do
          you think of that, Boots?!
                      LEON
          Charity work.

He delivers a mean blow to Hark's ribs.

Joy gets into the fight, punching Stan's bicep.

                      JOY
          Get some closure, Leon!

                      CAL
          What's clo --

                      STAN
          I'll explain later.

Hark swings at Leon's knees, Leon hops it.
                                                            109.

                      LEON
          All that bragging about having money
          stashed away.

                      HARK
          Considerable monies!

                      LEON
          Makes perfect sense.   All gnomes
          bury their treasure.

A mean shot to the face, Hark's nose is bent out of shape.

                      LEON
          Not so tough without your high heels
          on.

                      HARK
          You're so ugly they wouldn't eat you
          on Fear Factor.

                       LEON
          Oh yeah?   Why don't YOU eat me?

                        HARK
          No!    You eat ME.

                        LEON
          No, YOU!

                        HARK
          YOU!

                        LEON AND HARK
          EAT ME!
They both SWING... SMASH! Bits of candy cane fly everywhere.
Portly tosses a piece in her mouth. Recoils, spits it out.

Hark stares at his nub of a candy cane.   Leon's stick is
perfectly intact.

                      LEON
          Size doesn't matter.

He HOOKS Hark off stage. He spins and spins until he lands
hard against a rocking horse. And BREAKS it.

                      LEON
              (points at Stan)
          Take it outta my paycheck.

Hark tries to shake it off, looks up.   Ancy stands over him.
                                                         110.

                      ANCY
          Now look what you did.     I oughta...
          uh... UH... UHH...

The Elves run for cover.

                        ANCY
          CHOO!

A smattering of applause. When the dust finally settles,
Hark looks significantly more gnarly.

                      SCHMELF
              (sings)
          Joy to the World... the Lord is come!

The Elves look at each other, confirm that he got the lyrics
right. Then join in.

                      EVERYONE
          Let earth receive her King... let
          every heart... prepare Him room...
          and heaven and nature sing... and
          heaven and nature sing... and heaven,
          and heaven, and nature sing...

MONTAGE: BACK TO WORK

-- Schmelf builds an old-fashioned record player.

-- Gangly polishes a hockey stick.

-- Leon shows several Elves how to build a bracketstaddle.

-- Joy peels the bandage off Cal's hand.
-- Topspin shines a large colorful top.

-- Portly paints a garden gnome.   Turns, Ode winks at her.

-- Noel fashions Legos into a heart.

-- Next to Noel, Cal stuffs a white elephant.

-- Ancy builds a rocking horse, peeks at Joy.

-- Joy turns to Stan.   He jingles his keys.

                      STAN
          Feel like goin' for a ride?

MOMENTS LATER

Schmelf does vocal exercises.   Ode comes over.
                                                            111.

                      ODE
          Schmelf, with your voice and my gift
          for rhyme, we can make great music
          together.

The Elves stare at Ode, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

                       ODE
          What?

Noel and Leon build a dollhouse.
                      NOEL
          Don't forget to add the fireplace.
          I want a fireplace.
                      LEON
          Fine, I'll build you a fireplace.
          What'd you ever see in that guy?
                      NOEL
          With the mask on, he wasn't that
          bad. He just wasn't my type. Or
          species.

They share a laugh.


EXT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - RUNWAY - CONTINUOUS
Joy and Stan make their way toward the sleigh.   The wind
fights them every step of the way.
                      STAN
          If you ever reconsidered... we could
          get a summer home in Alaska.
                      JOY
          Is that a proposition?

                      STAN
          Gettin' warm.

                       JOY
          I wish.


INT. STAN'S SLEIGH - CONTINUOUS

They board.   Frost covers their faces.

                      STAN
          You sure about this?
                                                              112.

Joy nods and stamps her feet.      She spots something hanging
from the rear view mirror.

                      JOY
          Is that deodorizer?

                      STAN
          It's mistletoe.


INT. CANDY CANE CENTRAL - STAN'S WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS
Cal draws a large heart in the foggy window.       He smudges a
peephole. He, Noel and Leon peek through.

                         CAL
          Coo-wool...


INT. STAN'S SLEIGH - CONTINUOUS

Joy and Stan defrost in a passionate kiss.

They break. Gaze at each other.      Christmas lights dance
across Joy's face.

                         STAN
          Look at you.     All lit up.

                      JOY
          We probably should get going.

                      STAN
          A lot of stops to make.

They lock lips again.    The reindeer neigh.
They break.   Stan hands Joy the reins.

                         STAN
          Go crazy.

                         JOY
          Now, Dasher!     Now, Dancer!   Now --

                      STAN
          We already went over this.

Joy furrows her brow.    Then...

                      JOY
          HE SHOOTS... HE SCORES!

We have LIFT-OFF.   Joy keels to one side, Stan catches her.
                                              113.

They soar... higher and higher...
                       STAN
           What the Bruins really need is
           goaltending. Strong goaltending
           always wins championships.
                       JOY
           Would you just shut the hell up.
They delve into the night.

FADE OUT

THE END

								
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