Although it is not a widely known fact it appears that Dorothy, Tin man, Lion and Scarecrow were all very keen bridge players. Moreover, on their long and arduous journey down the yellow brick road, they often took time out to play a game or two of rubber bridge. So here is a short, as yet unpublished, account of one such match. Dorothy had drawn the short straw by cutting the Scarecrow, while the Tin Man had to settle for the cowardly Lion.
" Listen Scarecrow.... ", said Dorothy, "...... when we get the cards we definitely need to make hay while the sun shines....."
" Yes, yes....I know I've been underbidding....but stop giving me all this stick. "
" Look Scary.....I know we can win if you stop flapping about...... and just bid your hand. "
And sure enough on the next few deals Dorothy found herself in three aggressively bid games, which she managed to somehow scramble home. The Tin Man suddenly got the feeling he was being well and truly canned, but tried not to look rattled. He was clearly aware that after a long stint away from the game, he had lost his cutting edge. His sharpness had gone, and his defensive play was a little rusty. There were two contracts where all he wanted was one big heart to defeat declarer but no such luck. His partner, the timid Lion, was in the main a cautious player, but with immense pride in his play of the cards. Yet he too seemed completely off his game.
" For pity's sake, Leo ", snapped the Tin Man, " why don't you lie down for a while and calm your nerves. I know you've been picking up poor hands.....but things will change."
The Lion agreed, and so a 30 minute break was called for.
Back at the table, Dorothy now found the brainless Scarecrow more hopeless than ever. Deluged with her insults he was beginning to blow his stack, wishing that someone could step in to take his place and bail him out. Indeed, it was the turn of the Tin Man to be on a roll. No more was he brassed off. No more was his confidence dented. He was now stealing contracts right, left and centre. Lion too had become a roaring success with his bold bidding and aggressive defence. And now he had been dealt a whopper of a hand : AKQJ10...AKQ10....AKJ.....A.
Not surprisingly, he took the bit between his teeth and bid 7NT. His tail was up.
Dorothy, with her yarborough heaved a huge sigh, but Scary with his 9....J876.....Q104.....KQJ54 decided this was worth a double. Leo purred with delight, like a cat on heat, ready to pounce and redouble. Tin Man looked distinctly grey....even when Scary's King of clubs hit the table. Leo seized the trick with his singleton Ace, and played out 5 top spades. Poor Crowy had to find 4 discards and so parted with 3 clubs and one heart. Now came 4 top heart winners which forced the hapless defender to find another discard.....the 4 of diamonds ! Grand slam made.
" Jesus Christ, Scary.....can't you count my hand.....it was bloody obvious declarer held 3 diamonds ! You would be hopeless at bridge in any field ...."
" Oops.....I guess that what comes of being an uneducated man of straw ."
Well, there was no answer to that.