The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXXII: The Curse of the Crocodile II
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank was still smarting from Lucky Archie’s lucky Crocodile Coup when the following hand came up at the subsequent session:
Readers will surely note that this hand would have had a different outcome if East had been bold enough to bid 5♣ over North’s 4NT bid. As it was, N/S had a bidding misunderstanding. North took 6♦ to mean that Lucky Archie had an ace and a void. North thought the void could only be in hearts and happily bid the small slam. Lucky Archie later explained he had meant to place the 5♦ card on the table.
Poor Frank was reluctant to lead away from his heart or club tenaces, so chose the neutral queen of diamonds sally. Lucky Archie’s stomach must have been in turmoil when he saw the dummy and realized he had absolutely no chance of making this small slam. Declarer won dummy’s ace, then cashed the king, tossing his singleton club. The Lucky One’s stomach had settled down and he was even heard to emit a small chuckle as he subsequently ruffed a club.
Archie crossed to a high trump in dummy and ruffed a diamond. He recrossed with another high spade and trumped dummy’s last diamond. He then led a small heart towards dummy’s jack. Poor Frank triumphantly played his queen, saying as he did so, “Gotcha, Archie.”
Our hero started to lead his ace of hearts to set this stupid contract when he noticed that his partner had won the trick with the king. East soon had to return one of his minors and this was ruffed by Lucky Archie who threw a losing heart from dummy. He then gloatingly claimed, saying, “Well, Frankie baby, it looks like you ain’t winnin’ tonight.”
Poor Frank cradled his face in his hands and closed his eyes. He knew he could have set his rival and won that evening’s laurels. If only he had played his ace of hearts and swallowed his partner’s king the way a crocodile would have!
Later that evening, when he and Janet were having a drink, he asked her, “How long do you think this Curse of the Crocodile will haunt me?”
“I don’t know, Frank, but I do know the next time we go to the movies, you’re going to have to take me to that new romantic comedy I’ve been wanting to see.”
Poor Frank kept his face blank, but groaned inwardly. The only thing he hated more than romantic comedies was losing to Lucky Archie.