The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXVII: Man in a Trance
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank had a slim lead over arch rival Lucky Archie when the players drew the cards for the last hand of the night.
After Lucky Archie discovered that he and Red Dyeman had all the aces, he decided to shoot it out for all the marbles and bid 7NT rather than 7♥. Unbeknownst to him, this was a better decision than the more appealing 7♥ contract. Several declarers had already gone down one in 7♥ when West made the natural lead of the jack of diamonds and East ruffed.
Poor Frank also led the jack of diamonds, declarer playing dummy’s ace, then turning a ghastly shade of pale when East threw a small club. It was no longer clear how a thirteenth trick could materialize. After this traumatic start, Lucky Archie played the rest of the hand like a man in a trance. He cashed dummy’s high hearts, then led a diamond to his king. Next came the king of hearts and the top three clubs.
As he was about to play the nine of hearts, everyone had four cards left. Lucky Archie’s were the six of diamonds, the heart, and the ace and jack of spades. Poor Frank had the ten and nine of diamonds left, plus the king and nine of spades. Dummy was left with three diamonds to the queen and the queen of spades, while East held only worthless black cards.
The nine of hearts truly squeezed Poor Frank, who knew he could not let go of a diamond. He therefore tossed his small spade. Lucky Archie appeared to snap out of his trance at this point and spoke to his partner in a whinny voice, “Darn it, Red, I forgot to take the spade finesse in dummy and now I can’t. Please accept my apologies.”
Red merely shook his head, wondering why his crazy partner would have taken the spade finesse to begin with when it was his left hand opponent who had bid spades.
Lucky Archie tossed the ace of spades on the table in a manner that showed he was totally disgusted with himself. His eyes almost popped right out of his head when Poor Frank’s king hit the deck a second later.
“Oh, thank you, Frankie baby,” the Lucky One said. “I could never have done it without you.”
Later that evening when Poor Frank was discussing that evening’s hands with Janet and lamenting his second place finish, he said, “You know, sweetheart, I think I should have led the king of spades at trick one and saved myself ten minutes of agony.”
“Please don’t talk like that, darling, “she said. “Never give in to that idiot. And remember, I will always be there after the game to relieve any agony you feel.”