Things had seemingly returned to normal in the National Checker League after the near-disastrous player's strike just before the start of the season. Fortunately, as described in our previous Marvin J. Mavin story, the strike came to a negotiated end afer Marvin defeated Charity Chastity "Cha Cha" Hopkins in a one on one match intended to settle the terms of the strike. At the conclusion of the match, Cha Cha, in a rage, assaulted Marvin and ended up being jailed on a charge of attempted second degree murder. Marvin missed the first two weeks of the season while recovering from a broken collarbone and injuries to his throat and neck.
However, not much could keep Marvin away from the checkerboard, and he was soon back in action.
But, alas, everything isn't always simple. Cha Cha, despite bail being set at $1 million, obained her release and immediately mounted a defense and had her lawyer file for summary dismissal of all charges based on Texas law which accounted for "fightin' words." Cha Cha's defense team put forth the argument that Marvin employed "fightin' words" and therefore Cha Cha's assault on Marvin was justified.
A hearing was scheduled in Dallas Superior Court and Marvin was subpoenaed to appear. The NCL Player's Union decided to provide counsel as NCL management declined to do so citing "conflict of interest."
Unfortunately for Marvin, the powerful Looking To Be Offended (LTBO) lobby filed a brief as an amicus curae, or friend of the court. But they were no friend of Marvin, who had encountered them before (see earlier stories).
LTBO supported Cha Cha's "fightin' words" claim. In their brief, they noted (as did Cha Cha's defense team) that Marvin had used the expression "mano a mano" (in reference to their one on one match) after which he called Cha Cha a "woman." They argued that mentioning gender was well known to be outside the politically correct spectrum and that in so doing Marvin provoked Cha Cha with "fightin' words."
In due course, Marvin was called to the witness stand. He didn't hear the order to step forward, having been preoccupied with a checker problem in All Checkers Digest.
"I told you to leave that magazine in the car," his lawyer, Greta Gumption, hissed. "Now get up and go to the witness stand before you're held in contempt!"
Marvin reluctantly put down his magazine and obeyed.
After being sworn in, the defense lawyer, Ms. Susie Saucer, asked Marvin a few preliminary questions about his occupation, marital status, on so on.
"Yes, I'm married," Marvin said. "Priscilla Snelson is my wife."
"Really, you're married? she said. "The way you look, I never would have guessed you would have found anyone who would take you. And by the way, you should say "spouse" as the word 'wife' is gender biased. But, anyhoo, describe the so-called assault in your own words."
"Well," Marvin said, "we had this here match, mano a mano, you know, like ... "
"Mano a mano?" Saucer interrupted. "Are you saying that Ms. Hopkins is a man?"
"I ain't saying nothing," Marvin replied. "It's just like, an expression, you know ... "
"A very offensive expression," Saucer said. "But please continue."
"So then Cha Cha ... "
"Her name is Ms. Hopkins."
"Yeah right, I know, so then she says she didn't like what I said and ..."
"You knew she didn't like what you said but you said it anyway?"
"Uh yeah but that was like before she told me and how was I supposed to know?"
"You should have asked. Go on."
"So I says okay then mano a womano ... "
"So you did call her a woman."
"Well, ain't she? I mean maybe she don't look much like one ..."
Saucer threw her hands up in the air. "Your Honor," she said, turning to the judge, "look at this ... person. And having heard what he has to say, I ask again for summary dismisal."
"Hey wait a minute," Marvin said. "You ain't heard the rest. Like how she called me a maggot and said I was dog food ..."
"The witness will remain silent," the judge intoned. "Prosecutor, this certainly seems like a case of fightin' words. Calling someone a woman. Criticizing her appearance. Not honoring her wishes. Why, I'll bet this so-called victim never even asked Ms. Hopkins for her preferred pronouns."
"Your Honor," the prosecutor said, "attempted second degree murder is a very serious charge and Mr. Mavin was nearly killed by Ms. Hopkins. Surely this should at least be argued in front of a jury."
"I don't think so," the judge said. "Defense, approach the bench. Witness, you are dismissed."
Marvin went back to his seat next to his lawyer. "You really botched it," she said, and then fell silent.
Meanwhile Cha Cha's defense team was conferring with the judge. The LTBO lawyer joined in. After a few minutes, there was a nod of agreement all around and the meeting dispersed.
The judge cleared his throat and then announced, "The defense has agreed to a plea of guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault with a sentence of three days, which has already been met with time served. Ms. Hopkins, you are free to go. Case closed." So saying the judge rapped his gavel and the courtroom began to clear.
Cha Cha came over to Marvin and said quietly, "And you thought you had won, you little worm. Well, Charity Chastity Hopkins isn't done with you yet. I'd watch my back if I were you."
"Are you threatening my client?" Marvin's lawyer said, but it was more a squeak than a statement.
"Figure it out for yourself, weakling." Cha Cha walked off to join her defense team, whose members were talking about going for drinks to celebrate.
"Next time, and I hope there isn't a next time," Marvin's lawyer said, "do as you're told and listen instead of messing around with checker problems. And for heaven's sake, ask people for their preferred pronouns. That's what people do in the 21st century. If you don't, people get away with murder. Or at least attempted murder."
Marvin shook his head. "Just don't get it," he muttered as he made his way back to the parking garage.
Since (at least we hope) you're not in court, you can feel free to solve the problem that Marvin unfortunately had to set aside. See how it goes and then click on Read More to see the solution.
13-17 22x13 2-7 25-22 7-10 21-17---A 14x21 22-17 11-16 18-14 9x18 23x7 16x23 27x18 20x27 32x23 6-9 13x6 1x26 and Black wins, a piece up.
A---Temporarily giving up a piece, which will be recouped in a few moves. Alternatives are much worse, for instance 25-22 7-10 22-17---B 11-16 32-28 1-5 and White loses multiple men.
B---32-28 11-16 22-17 same.
This problem is attributed to a Mr. C. H. Freeman of Providence, Rhode Island, and was published something like 138 years ago. Checkers never gets old.
Marvin J. Mavin will return to our columns in December. Unfortunately we weren't able to schedule a November installment.