Three weeks had passed since Marvin J. Mavin's disastrous experience at the engagement party put on for him and his (former) fiancee, Priscilla Snelson. In our previous story we related how Marvin refused to let the President of Priscilla's company, Rust Belt Holdings, win a game against Marvin in a 16 player simul. Priscilla was so angry she broke off their engagement and returned her $200,000 engagement ring to Marvin.
Marvin was devastated, and we can only guess how much more devastated he was when Priscilla wouldn't answer his calls and texts for more than two weeks, and yet again even more devastated when he took the ring back to Sparkly Exclusives and found they would only give him $75,000 for the "used goods."
Marvin was out $125,000 and one fiancee and girlfriend.
His team, the National Checker League champion Detroit Doublejumpers, had two days off, and Marvin was at home in his shabby little apartment trying to work out a problem in All Checkers Digest. But he just couldn't seem to keep his mind on it. His experience with returning the ring had lent an air of finality to things. He had lost his one true love, and it was time to face up to it.
He must have been on his third beer of the afternoon and was feeling sleepy. (Three beers and a tough checker problem are not a good combination.) He had started to doze off when he heard his doorbell ring. Thinking he was dreaming, he didn't pay any attention but the buzzing continued. Finally realizing that there might actually be someone there, even though he never ever got visitors, he slowly got up from his sofa, and, dodging beer cans and pizza boxes, made his way to the door.
"Hey, quit with the noise already! Who's there?" he said in a grumpy tone.
"Marvin, open up! It's me!"
The voice was familiar. Priscilla.
Marvin paused to think. Was she hear to lecture him or something?
Now Priscilla had quit ringing the bell and was pounding on the door with her fists.
Marvin pulled the door open. "What are you doing ... "
Priscilla shoved past Marvin and strode into the living room.
" ... here?" Marvin concluded.
"This place is a pigsty. There's a reason I never come here except when absolutely necessary, like now," Priscilla said.
"What are you talking about? Did someone kick the bucket or something?"
Priscilla plopped down on the sofa. "Don't you ever clean house?" she asked. "No, no one passed away. But I have a lot to talk to you about."
"Huh ... you dumped me. You wouldn't take my calls. So finally I gave up and took the ring back. And now ... "
"You did what?" Priscilla exclaimed. "Marvin, tell me you didn't. Take the ring back, I mean. Why would you do such a thing?"
"Because you told me we're through!" Marvin was on the verge of tears, something almost unheard of for him.
"Oh, Marvin," Priscilla said, her voice suddenly soft. "Here, sit next to me. I have something to tell you."
Slowly, Marvin did as she asked.
"You see, I got to thinking. Remember how President Frobtads Glulx made a comment about how the company valued dishonesty in the name of profit? Well, that was a big slip-up, and when word got back to the Board of Directors, they fired him."
"Fired him? What for?"
"For what he said. Oh, they weren't worried about honesty. They were worried about bad public relations. And then they had to choose a new President."
"Uh yeah, but ... "
"Well, guess what? They chose me! I'm the President of Rust Belt now! And then I took a cue from you and told the Board that from now on, honesty would be the order of the day. They didn't like it but they knew I meant business. And I owe it all to you, Marvy dear!"
Priscilla put her arm around Marvin and drew him close. "You see," she went on, "you were right about not sacrificing your principles, and not letting Frobtads win that game. I know I was angry at the time, but I was wrong. I should have been proud of you instead. I am proud of you!" Priscilla kissed his cheek. "And now our engagement is back on again!"
"It is? Don't I have anything to say about it?"
"Of course not! You know that I know what's best for both of us. The only thing is, you're going to have to buy another ring and it's going to cost you ... again."
Marvin sighed. "Know what?" he said, "I need another beer."
But he didn't argue with Priscilla, and on his way to the fridge a little smile appeared on his face.
It happened again. Marvin didn't get to solve that problem in All Checkers Digest as he was somewhat "busy" for the next little while, and not with checkers. But you can solve the problem. See how you do with it and then click on Read More to see the solution.
9-6 1x10 5-1 20-16---A,B 1-6 10-15 13-9 22x13 6-1 13x6 1x12 White Wins.
A---10-15 13-9 22-6 1-19 White Wins.
B---20-24 leads to the same win as in the main line.
This nice problem was composed by checkerist of yore L. J. Vair. Marvin J. Mavin will return to our columns in June.