( Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
It was the night of the Walnut Tree Allotment BC Swiss Pairs with big prize money at stake. The two top pairs now faced each other in the last round . Reporting on what happened was North, well groomed in the art of writing up bridge articles in the dark noir style of Raymond Chandler.
Six boards in with honours even. Everything now came down to this one last deal. My partner Max sitting South was in 3NT. The opening lead was the spade 4.
He could see that any who were in 4H were doomed to go one off, with two major suit kings to lose, a top club and a spade ruff. 3NT had real possibilities. Time for careful reflection. So he didn't move a muscle. And if he drew a full breath, it was a secret to all those looking on. Kibitzers sat motionless. nobody made a sound.
West, a sultry long legged woman, looked straight at my partner with her blue piercing eyes and smiled pleasantly. She had caressed this card running her soft delicate fingers over it several times, before exposing it on the table.
Opposite her was Sadie, a cold calculating woman, who for once gave way to a wry smile, as she carefully wound one of her lax curls on the back of her neck. Dummy played the 5, East the 7, and declarer the queen.
Then came declarer's Ace of hearts followed by 3 rounds of diamonds ending in dummy, with East discarding a heart.
Max paused for a moment for quiet reflection. He sat still, deathly still, with his chin on his chest. Suddenly, a nice touch of melancholy registered on his face. The queen of hearts hit the table and in a flash his Ace of spades disappeared under it !
West remained impassive. When a spider has a fly in her net, it is just a matter of time before the execution is carried out. She lifts the king of hearts delicately, gravely, before placing it on the table to smother the queen.
But now her cold disdainful expression set a shiver down my spine. Poor Max. She cashed the King of spades and the Ace of clubs, exiting with a low club.
My partner's eyes tried to focus on what was happening, but they were vague and empty, as if the lights behind them had died. He took hold of the arms of his chair, with his white knuckles straining with the fear of what was to come.
Sadie's dark red lips slowly parted as if to inflict the kiss of death. Max was in a sweat. And when she also played a low club , partner was ready for the ground to open up and swallow him whole. He was now end played having to lead his Q10 of clubs into the jaws of Sadie's KJ. Broken and dejected , he got up and slipped away from the table, with a poignant shrug of the shoulders. Then he sloped off into foggy damp of a cold dark night.
The kibitzers looked on some, lost in amazement others dumbstruck with admiration. The two deadly assassins now turned their attention towards me, but beneath the veneer of sympathetic condolences lurked a warm bitterness like poisoned honey.
" Your partner has much to learn ", Sadie purred, " people who underestimate the female species only do so at their peril ".
I nodded like an automata dog. I couldn't think of anything else to do.