It was a sunny May morning in Idaho. The primary election was over and Governor Little was in pretty good spirits. He was looking to back his ¾ ton Ford pickup into a metered space by the Capitol when a Prius with a “COEXIST” bumper sticker slipped in behind and took it. Brad laughed, “Damn Democrats. You won’t be so cocky come November!” he muttered with a smirk. He circled the block.
After plugging the meter, he looked up at the trees, accepting that the starlings would speckle his dusty truck. His mood was coming down. But the sunny stroll buoyed him as he crossed State St. and climbed the steps.
A young man stood near the door looking at him, anxious, holding a manila folder.
“Can I help you, young man?” Brad offered. He noticed the Idaho Freedom Foundation lapel pin.
“Um, Governor Little?”
“This is for you. You have been served.”
“Oh Jeez, not another lawsuit.” Brad slapped the folder against his thigh.
The young man blushed and fidgeted. “Um no, Governor Little. This is a summons to a duel.”
“A duel?” Brad slapped his thigh again with the folder and guffawed. “You Freedom Foundation guys don’t like the election results huh?”
The young man’s nervousness eased and he launched into what sounded like a practiced speech. “Under Idaho Territorial law, matters of honor must be addressed between gentlemen when duly served. Chapter 7 Section 33(b). You are hereby notified that the honor of your opponent has been challenged and you are to respond.”
Brad thought quickly. “Didn’t we get rid of that law when we cleaned up all those regulations this last year.”
The young man smiled. “Indeed. You removed the section that repealed this section. The law is restored. You have two days to respond to the challenge. It’s all spelled out for you in the summons.” He gestured to the folder.
Brad couldn’t help laughing. “So, what does Wayne choose for weapons? Sneers at ten paces? He knows I can’t sneer as good as him.”
Here the fidgeting resumed. “It’s all in the summons there Mr. Governor. Honor will be settled. And Mr. Hoffman is serving as the second; he will discuss the weapons, the dueling ground and the time with your second, as is the time-honored custom.” Then he skipped down the steps and trotted off to the west.
Brad took the folder into the marble floored dome and read the contents. Then he headed to the second floor.
He burst through the Attorney General’s office and slapped the folder on the big desk. “What the heck do I do with this?”
AG Lawrence Wasden scanned the one-page piece of paper and blanched. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” he muttered.
“You mean this is legal?” Brad exploded. “How can this be?”
“Well, we did eliminate a lot of stuff last year. It turns out we also got rid of the law repealing the chocolate ordinance, so chocolate is now illegal in Idaho if you can believe it.” Lawrence said amused, then frowned. “My deputy on honor laws just told me about this last week. It sure doesn’t take those Freedom Foundation boys long, does it?”
“But I’m supposed to duel the Lieutenant Governor, Janice McGeachin, not the Freedom Foundation!”
Wasden frowned, then he hit an intercom button and barked, “Jerry, get in here!” He muttered to Brad as the door burst open, “He’s my honor code deputy.” He handed the paper to the deputy who scanned it.
“Oh, there’s a problem with this sir.”
Brad rolled his eyes. “I know that! What do I do?”
“You cannot respond sir. This is an invalid duel summons.”
“Really? I thought dueling in Idaho was now legal.”
Now Jerry fidgeted. “Well, because of the repeal of Chapter 23, Section 3(d), technically it is, but under territorial law, dueling can only be done by men, so this summons is not valid.”
Lawrence put his hand on Brad’s shoulder. “It’s Idaho Brad. It’ll be OK.”