The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXV: Topping the Turkey
By Ray Adams
It was the last game of the week before Thanksgiving at the local club and Poor Frank was dreading stepping into the studio. This was the day that the winner of that session’s festivities would be crowned “Top Turkey.” Poor Frank absolutely hated it when Lucky Archie won as he would hear nothing but “Gobble, gobble, Frank,” from his rival every time he saw him in the coming year, a sarcastic reminder that he had topped Poor Frank in the Thanksgiving game. On the other hand, Poor Frank hated being called “The Top Turkey.” It sounded demeaning to him. There seemed to be no outcome to the game that would please him. But he showed up and was having a very good game when he came face to face with the Lucky One on the last round. This was the final, fateful board:
After his partner gave him a limit raise, Poor Frank took a shot at slam, trying for a top board so he could jump ahead of his rival to win. When Lucky Archie doubled, Poor Frank waited with great trepidation to see the dummy, for after all, his spade suit was rather sketchy.
West led the five of hearts to the nine, queen, and a ruff. Poor Frank now knew Archie had to have the top hearts and the ace of spades to double. But what else did he have? Probably the jack of trumps. Of course he didn’t have to have this card, but Poor Frank decided to play him for it anyway. But did Archie have to have the nine? Maybe not.
At trick two Poor Frank led a spade to the king and ace, West following with the six. Archie exited with the three of clubs. Poor Frank had a big dilemma. Could he cash the ace and king of clubs and ruff a club in dummy? Well, he had no choice. Or did he? If he used a diamond, he would not be able to run that suit later, but then if clubs split 3-3, he would still be O.K.
Poor Frank did cash the ace and king of clubs and led another club. West ruffed this with the nine. Poor Frank overruffed in dummy, then led dummy’s small spade and covered Lucky Archie’s seven with the eight. West showed out and Poor Frank soon claimed. He realized that had West followed or thrown off when he led a club, he still would have been O.K. as the ten of spades would have smothered West’s nine.
This was enough to make Poor Frank this year’s Top Turkey.
“Well, gobble, gobble, Frank,” Lucky Archie said as the results were announced.
“I can’t believe it,” Poor Frank said later to Janet. “Why is it I feel like I lost when I know I won?”
“Well,” Janet said, “don’t let it bother you, darling. We all know who the real turkey is. Oh, and we both know what’s going to happen to that turkey I bought.”
“Gobble, gobble,” Poor Frank said, smiling.