The Case of the Missing Slot

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

Holmes and I were firmly ensconced in our parlor at 221B – Baker Street on the first evening at the end of daylight savings time. The shadows grew eerie and by late afternoon darkness was upon us when the knock on the door came. "I sense it is our good friend the governor of Pennsylvania," Holmes said and surely enough Mrs. Hudson introduced the burly figure into the room.

"A platter of cheese steaks if you will Mrs. Hudson," Holmes commanded. I knew he had little time for the oil laden delicacies but on the occasions of the governor’s infrequent visits, with the right combination of sauce and onions, I myself found them to be quite tasty.

"Mr. Holmes, Doctor Watson I come in great despair in need of immediate assistance!" The Governor seemed beside himself with anxiety and Holmes quickly deduced the nature of the calamity. "I can tell even from afar that Pennsylvania has spent too much again and there’s a $200 million deficit to fulfill" Holmes said.

"You see it precisely, as always, Mr. Holmes," the governor replied, "but the hole has been filled theoretically by expanding table games at slots parlors. The problem is the legislature adjourned without legislating what table games are."

I sought to enter the discussion with a query: "Governor I asked, I seem to have read that the state has a budget of some $27 billion it would seem measly to cut just $200 million." "Impossible!" the governor roared, "Dr. Watson you sound like those Republicans I have to deal with. I would have to sacrifice all the good things for children, the elderly, windmills and rivers that I must do in my last year in office."

I had heard that somedays the governor could be querulous but I must confess to be taken aback by the Governor’s determination on what seemed to be a paltry sum. Nevertheless I held my tongue deferring to Sherlock’s more logical approach.

As the Governor chomped down on his first sandwich Holmes leaned back slowly lighting his meerschaum and allowing the smoke to dangle above his closed eyes. "Governor," he drawled "the solution is elementary. Is it not an axiom of Pennsylvania politics that the State Supreme Court has been known to stray from its defined mission? While I have no aspirations to games of chance I have observed them. A clever fellow could attach a device that would require each customer to put a quarter in a slot before they could play these table games. Then wouldn’t these games technically be slot machines? Couldn’t one of your brilliant solicitors argue before the court that they are only an extension of existing law?" Holmes opined.

The Governor jumped up: "Brilliant Holmes, positively brilliant." The Governor seemed to have relaxed beyond years, sitting back on the sofa he turned to me: "join me in another sandwich Watson?"

Albert Paschall is Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, a non-profit educational foundation with offices in Harrisburg and King Of Prussia. Somedays is syndicated to leading newspapers and radio stations in Pennsylvania. [email protected]
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