Friday, 17 September 2010

I must have inherited my talent for bridge from genes passed down from my parents. The game is in my blood. Mind you it's not as though either of parents taught me a damn thing about the game. In fact, they only discovered their liking for bridge later on in their lives, which meant they left it far too late to make a name for themselves. Unlike me of course !
As mentioned in a previous chapter, I was orphaned at the age of four. People at the home told me that my father was an ex-Eton school boy, who fagged for a 6th former called Archibald Percy Hardman. When he left at 18 he joined the navy, signing up to become the rear-admiral's skivvy and right-hand man. However, it wasn't long before my father was flung out of his job in disgrace. Sadly for him, there's a real stigma being labelled as a " discharged seaman ". Mind you, news came through years later that he found a lowly paid job in a factory, which manufactured a well known haemorrhoid ointment. Starting at the bottom he rose up through the ranks to the top, in no time at all. I heard rumours that he made himself a right pile. Anyway, with all that dosh he took up bridge, sponsoring big name players to partner him in top class events. Success however eluded him, despite the best efforts of his celebrity partners . Bottoms you see had become a permanent feature of my father's life.
As for my mother, she split up from my father five years after they were married. With both parents refusing to take responsibility over my welfare, the only option available to them was to leave me outside the local orphanage with a placard tied around my neck. The words read " Here.... you can have him......we're off. " She apparently went up north to run a small laundrette in Hartlepool, but very quickly her life got into a real spin. Trapped within a loan-debt cycle of disadvantage, she decided to iron out a few of her problems by robbing a post-office. With the police hot on her trail, she fled to Spain, where she shacked up with a one-legged evangelist. He turned out to be an ex-missionary with a drink problem, forever hopping from one bar to another. Years later I heard that both of them ended up working in a dingy back-street bar ( strictly for ex-pats ), but tragically the bible-basher's life came to an abrupt end, when he fell headfirst into a barrel of whiskey. Nobody knew how much alcohol he had consumed before drowning, but when my mother cremated him there and then in the back-yard in a make-shift furnace, it took 10 hours before the fire went out. Last I heard, she took up with another man who introduced her to the delights of bridge. He apparently had won her over, by simply describing her " as the apple of his eye, the peach with the biggest pear ". Between them they set about a career in charming, and then fleecing, dozens of rich little old ladies, who were desperate for a game or two whilst away on holiday.
Yet none of these news bulletins made my time at the orphanage any happier. Indeed, my whole time there was a living nightmare. This is why, so my analyst claims, I have a multiple personality disorder. Yet, despite the constant bullying and ridicule I received from both staff and in mates, I came out of the place a truly focused and determined young man. Since then, this bloody analyst of mine has tried to convince me that because sorrow cut so deep into my cup, I should rejoice at the fact that the vessel can now hold more joy. What a load of bloody claptrap ! I am still the same miserable sod, but with a mission. A mission of atonement . I see bridge fields as my killing fields..... battlegrounds, where my well honed predatory skills can be employed in a highly effective way . Yes.....yes, carnage at the tables is what I call therapy.

No comments: