"Hey, babe," he'd said to his girl friend. Karma Anderson, earlier that day when she'd met him at the airport. "What's happening?"
"Don't you know what's happening?" Anderson had snarled.
" Bill Russell?"
" Bill Russell?" Fleming had repeated. "Did he...did he die?"
When she showed him a newspaper account of what had happened, Fleming's reaction had been, "Uh oh, he's at it again. That guy's been living off my name since 1974." But Fleming's lawyer advised him to keep his mouth shut, so when the Natchitoches police called, Fleming told them, "Marv Fleming isn't available."
"I can tell you why Mr. Fleming's not available," said the cop excitedly. "We have him locked up three blocks down the street in jail. Ain't that right, boys? We got him. We got him." Apparently, this case was fast becoming the biggest thing to hit Natchitoches since Jim Croce's plane crashed there 10 years ago.
Finally, Fleming relented and told the police that he was Marv Fleming. The police tested him. "Who beat you out?" asked the cop. "Our Fleming says Jim Mandich."
"Mandich didn't beat me out," Fleming exploded. "I got traded, and he took my place." Actually, Fleming lost his job when he injured a thigh a year before he was dealt to the Redskins.
Fleming can't understand how anyone could mistake an overweight con man for him. "I mean, I'm handsome," he says. "I've heard this Trotter is pig-ugly. And I'm too intelligent to tell somebody I cut 10 inches off my leg. For $2,500? No way."