April 15, the normal due date for income tax returns in the United States, falls on the day of publication of this column. However, being a Saturday, returns won't be due until the next business day, or Tuesday, April 18 (Monday, April 17, 2023 is a holiday in Washington, D.C.).
Marvin J. Mavin, the superstar captain of the champion Detroit Doublejumpers in the National Checker League, had yet to file his taxes, and his fiancee, Priscilla Snelson, wasn't pleased or amused.
Priscilla was the CEO of Rust Belt Holdings, a Detroit based multinational conglomerate, and a team of Certified Public Accountants completed her income tax filings every year. She had a compensation package which ran to about $5 million a year base pay, which doubled with bonuses and stock options, and strived to pay the minimum amount of tax, hence the highly qualified team of experts in her hire.
Marvin was visiting at Priscilla's condo that Saturday afternoon, and of course he was fully occupied solving checker problems in the latest issue of All Checkers Digest. Or at least trying to solve them, as Priscilla was definitely on Marvin's case about his not filing his income taxes as yet.
"Marvin, you make fully half as much money as I do, with your $5 million a year 10 year contract with the Doublejumpers. Why don't you have your own team of accountants? Or just hire mine, they'd be glad to help."
"Yeah, for about $50,000 they would. I don't need those guys."
"They're not all guys. They're about half women, and very talented, and you do need them. In fact I've already ... "
"Aw, Prissy, geez. I just use good old LightningTax, you know, on line, and for like a hundred and fifty bucks everything gets done in half an hour and then I can get back to my magazine. See, look, here's one by that guy Ed in Pennsylvania that I'm working on."
Priscilla walked over to the Italian leather couch where Marvin was sitting, pulled his magazine out of his hands, and threw in onto the quartz crystal coffee table. "You pay probably twenty times the tax you ought to pay. And don't call me Prissy!"
"Aw, honey, like, I ain't got nothing to deduct. My paychecks go into that there Blackguard account and they put some in my checking, and it's sorta real easy. I don't need to worry about nothing."
"Sure. You own a beat up old Volkswagen, you rent a grungy apartment in a terrible neighborhood, you don't have any investments other than that one Blackguard index fund, which by the way I set up for you, and ... you earn a great deal but you just don't care about your money!"
"Yeah, 'cept, I, like, you know, got enough and stuff and I don't need nothing."
"Well, let me tell you, fiance of mine, when we get married your attitude will be a big liability because then we'll have to deal with joint filing, and things are going to change. Big time. I won't let you waste our money like you're doing now. Do I make myself clear?"
"Ah, yeah sure, whatever you say." Marvin reached for his magazine but Priscilla pulled it off the table and tossed it across the room.
"Now, Marvin, you will be doing your taxes right now. As I was starting to say earlier, I've made arrangements for you. Sylvia Yang is coming here and she'll arrive momentarily. She's a senior partner at FatFingers, the accounting firm I use. You'll treat her with respect and deference and you'll do exactly what she tells you to do, immediately and with no argument or discussion."
"Right now? But you didn't tell me nothing about that and I was busy with my magazine. There's that real good problem ... "
"You'll have a really bad problem if you don't listen."
Marvin, through long experience, knew when arguing would just make things worse, and at that moment, the intercom sounded. It was the doorman of Priscilla's condo building.
"Ms. Snelson, there is a Ms. Yang to see you."
Priscilla pressed a button on the intercom. "Thank you, Jackson, please send her up."
A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. Priscilla pulled the door open an in swept a woman dressed smartly in business attire, carrying a leather briefcase with gold hasps. She went immediately to the conference room (Priscilla had a very upscale condo), sat at the table, took a laptop from the briefcase and started it up.
"Mr. Mavin?" she called. "Over here, please, we must start at once."
Marvin slowly got up from the couch, took a longing glance at the checker magazine lying in disorder in the corner of the living room, and entered Priscilla's conference room.
"I'm Senior Partner Yang," the woman said. "Don't bother attempting to shake hands, there is no time to waste on pleasantries."
"Uh, okay, yeah ... "
"Sit down, Mr. Mavin. The first thing I need from you is a retainer check, and you'll need to sign our retainer agreement. I think $25,000 will be sufficient to start, and we'll bill you for the balance later on. So if you would kindly get out your checkbook ... "
"Uh, I ain't got it with me."
Ms. Yang gave Marvin a deprecating glance. "Oh, really? You're that unprepared? All right then, we'll take a credit card for a three percent upcharge. You do have a credit card, don't you?"
Marvin shrugged his shoulders and got out his 10 year old duct-tape wallet. He had a feeling that the next few hours wouldn't be very pleasant.
It seems to happen often. Poor Marvin doesn't get to solve an interesting checker problem, and instead needs to follow Priscilla's directions. Or else.
Now, you may not have a $5 million per year 10 year contract with a professional checker team (or do you?), but you can work on today's problem at your leisure. That's something, at least!
When you're ready, you can click on Read More to see the solution. We promise not to bore you with the details of Marvin's afternoon as Senior Partner Yang from FatFingers completes his income tax returns. Suffice it to say that a fun day was not had by all. Or at least not by Marvin.
21-17 14-21 30-26 31-22 15-10 6-15 11-25 21-30---1 3-7 4-11 7-32 White Wins---2.
1---The order of the Black jumps doesn't matter.
2---With the opposition or "the move."
This entertaining problem was composed by our late friend, Grandmaster Problemist Ed Atkinson. He called it "Companion No. 1." We send our thanks up to you, Ed, as you enjoy your heavenly reward.