Picture the scenario. You've had a bad year. Your verrucas are playing up. That retirement deal you thought was in the bag has somehow been sabotaged. Your investments have taken another sharp dive on the stock exchange. Kicking that crutch away from that little old lady made you feel worse, not better. And now you are having an awful night at the club.
You had come to the club as a place of sanctuary, but hey that can't be right.....it's Thursday night and the dark forces are always out there ready to get you......one way or the other. Some observant toad noticed you were wearing odd shoes, and wasted no time in taking the Michael at your expense. The evening had indeed startly badly.
You have this cold niggling feeling as you occupy the North seat, that the dark forces are already at work. How else can one explain why you completed the names sheet incorrectly ? And before you realised it was partner's name that was wrong, the sheets had all been collected in. At the tables, you are getting more desperate by the minute. Everything that you have tried tonight has been a diasaster. Will it be the bottle as usual when you get back home....that is, if you can find one that isn't empty. Or will it be a hot bath and the knife ?
With Maverick ( the self-proclaimed bridge maestro ) as your partner you had hoped for better results. Playing to his system, which you had been told would always land you in the optimum contract each and every hand, you begin to wonder why so many of your contracts had been doubled for big penalty scores. Your confidence is rapidly draining away. And while you are thrashing around in a sea of despair, your partner is still blaming the duplimator for the atrocious splits, and cruel distributional hands.
Then you arrive at the table against another formidable partnership. Bigot-Johnson is there, eagerly waiting to tell you about his recent pairs triumph in a big field event run by Walnut Tree Allotment BC.....but you have your doubts. Why ?....Well. isn't this the same person who often pairs up with Maverick on Monday afternoons.....but have never won once. This makes you think there is an unresolved issue here. It can't be the system...that's too perfect. It can't be the quality of the Monday opposition.....they are all beginners. It must be that their combined egos far outweigh their bridge know-how and ability.
Anyway back to the action. So desperate are you for a score, you feel compelled to do something different, if only to prove to yourself that you are not the victim of the dark forces, which seem determined to de-skill and destroy you. The opponents opened one heart which was promptly raised to three. You decide to butt in with three spades on what can only be described as a load of tram tickets. Not surprisingly you hear an immediate double. You prey that the vulnerable opponents have a lay down game in hearts, and that minus 500 will still be a good score. Down comes dummy with the Ace x of spades and a few other useful cards. Not enough to avoid going one off. Pleased with your score, you allow yourself to be a little smug, only to hear a rather miffed Bigot blurt out " you cocky little blighter ". Another example of the dark forces at work. Yet worse was to come when the score sheet revealed 4H failing all over the place. And this was followed up by an even more galling experience during the play of the cards on the next board.
The contract was a routine and simple 3NT. Bigot "The Miffman" had spotted his partner quitting a winning trick as a loser, so he politely pointed this out to him. You step in of course to alert the guilty party as to this gross infringement of the rules, only to be told " Hold on there......aren't we all friends at this table....what's the big deal ? ". You bite your lip as you decide to overlook this blatant breach.......because let's face it, the dark forces would no doubt compel the TD to let the score stand anyway. But later on you hate yourself for not getting this act recorded as "unfair play". Since the TD had never been to Eton, then there was no chance whatsoever of getting to grips with Bigot's flamboyant school boy attitude to authority and rules. The sea of despair had now finally engulfed me. , Surely now, when the evening had come to an end, the dark forces would loosen their grip, permitting you a safe and weary journey back home. " Oh, what a night... " you say to yourself over and over again. But then a terrible realisation stops you in your tracks......you have completely forgotten to correct the names sheet after all. And so your pitiful score is now going to be reduced by the inevitable administrative fine.
Dark forces never allow you any respite.