The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXIII: This Could Be the Last Time
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank showed up at the club the other evening only to discover that Red Diamond had taken ill at the last moment, leaving Poor Frank with no partner for that evening’s festivities. “Well,” the director said, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience of course, but there does happen to be someone else who needs a partner.” Poor Frank agreed to play before learning who the potential partner was. When he found out it was Lucky Archie, he quickly retired to the restroom to throw up. Then he cleaned himself up and prepared to meet his fate. For after all, he had given the director his word.
Things were going well for a board or two, then the above hand came up. Poor Frank could not believe it when he saw the dummy. “Why did you raise my hearts,” he said.
“You wanted me to take a preference, dear partner,” the Lucky One said. “And clearly my hearts are better than my diamonds.”
Well, there was nothing to be done but to play this hand in a 4-2 fit. West led the three of spades to the four, queen, and Poor Frank’s ace. Poor Frank now played the top two diamonds and ruffed a small diamond in dummy with the eight as West pitched a club. Next came the ace of clubs and a ruff of a club with the three of hearts. Poor Frank then ruffed another diamond with the king of hearts. He ruffed another club with the seven. West took a long look at this card as though he wanted to overruff it but could not (and, indeed, this was really the case).
Poor Frank now had eight tricks neatly lined up in front of him and exited a spade. He later scored the jack and ace of trumps to make this highly improbable contract.
“I don’t know why you were complaining, Frankie baby,” Lucky Archie said. “That contract was a snap for you. And as you know, four diamonds wouldn’t have earned us the game bonus.”
Poor Frank gritted his teeth until he felt sediment forming in his mouth. Although this hand had been a top board for him and the Lucky One, the bidding on it totally unnerved him and the duo ended up with a 38% game for their evening’s work.
Later, when he was having a drink with Janet, it took him a long time to end his complaining about Lucky Archie and his weird bids. Janet went to the jukebox and played a golden oldie.
“Ah, yes,” Poor Frank said. “’This Could Be the Last Time’ by the Rolling Stones. Quite appropriate. Although, in the song Mick didn’t know if it would be the last time or not. I know it definitely will.”
Janet smiled merrily and gently squeezed Poor Frank’s hand.