Four couples came to the marathon marble tournament. Shooter and amber had been a team for a long time and had competed for their marbles which they kept in one large canister and although each competed, Shooter entered more tournaments and contributed many more clearies than Amber’s cat’s-eyes.
Dusty and Precious had been a team almost as long as Shooter and Amber but Precious didn’t like what marbles did to her manicure and almost never competed or won a round. Since Dusty travelled and competed he kept almost all of the marbles in his traveling case while Precious received a few choice orbs from Dusty which she kept in her favorite music box.
Lucky and Nott were neighbors of Shooter and Amber and had been in almost as many competitions. Almost all of their marbles were kept in a shoe box that they had found when they first met. A few competitions ago Lucky was given a coffee can full of Aggies when his father retired from marble competitions. Although Nott didn’t much like the coffee can and encouraged Lucky to use the shoe box, Lucky kept those Aggies in his coffee can. Shortly after Lucky’s dad retired, Nott’s mom sent her a large UPS package with her substantial collection of blue clearies. Nott didn’t like the cardboard UPS box and put the clearies in the shoe box with the other marbles the team had accumulated.
Biz and Ness were first attracted to each other because each was proficient in the marble ring and each had accumulated a significant bag-o-marbles. Biz kept his in a leather bag with a drawstring and Ness kept hers in a silk sack that smelled of perfume. Before going to the tournament they talked with their marble coaches and decided to write up a “pre-tournament agreement” so that they would know what would happen with the marbles they intended to win at the tournament. To make sure that there were no misunderstandings between the two they made lists of their Aggies and steelies and all of the rest of the spheres in their bags. Sometimes Biz would let Ness use some of his marbles but, their respective marbles always went back into his leather bag or her perfumed silk sack after the competition.
The marathon marble tournament was long, tiring and tempestuous. All of the couples were worn out and they each decided their marble competition partnerships were irretrievably broken. What else was there but for each of them to take their marbles and go home.
Shooter told Amber he should get the more numerous clearies because he put them in the canister. Dusty claimed the travelling case and insisted that Precious could only have the marbles in the music box. After all, Precious had never won any marbles. Nott insisted that he and Lucky were a team and needed to divide up all of the marbles even if Lucky got the first pick. Biz and Ness got out their copies of the “pre-tournament agreement”.
Unfortunately, Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott couldn’t agree how to divide up their marbles. Since they were each at odds, they petitioned the tournament referee to divide the marbles. After the referee heard from each couple, he made decisions for Shooter and Amber, Dusty and Precious, and Lucky and Nott, but not Biz and Ness.
Shooter and Amber each got one half of the clearies and cats eyes. Precious got her music box contents and half of the traveling case while Dusty got the other half of the travelling case, but nothing from the music box. Lucky got one-half of the shoe box and her coffee can of Aggies while Nott bid goodbye to half of the clearie collection nestled in the shoe box. Biz and Ness already had an agreement. Biz kept the marbles in his leather bag, and Ness kept the marbles in her silk sack. They didn’t need the referee.
What happened next? Biz and Ness went onto compete in many more tournaments each summer, spring and fall. Shooter gave up competitions, and went onto skeet shooting. Amber took Shooter’s unused marbles and gave half to their grandchildren. Precious and Dusty continued fighting with the referee about the quality of marbles that each were allotted at each subsequent marble tournament for many years. Lucky sold her marbles on e-bay and moved to American Samoa. Nott was never seen or heard from again.
Originally published in The Steamboat Local