Of all the syndromes which affect bridge players , none are as tragic as the Peckinel Syndrome. Players who have it are frightened of themselves. Those who see it manifest in front of them get even more frightened, and sure as hell when I'm dealing with these clients I'm scared too. Once the syndrome locks in, victims are completely unable to control its symptoms.
The trigger is always the same : provocation perpetrated by others. No matter how small or slight the provocation might be , the victim will be overtaken by an uncontrollable urge to seek immediate revenge. In most cases he will react with verbal aggression, firing off volleys of condemnation, criticism and abuse. Occasionally, the inner rage causes his stronger arm to go " swingabout ", firstly by recoiling backwards before being thrust forward in a sharp " throwing " action. It's as though the alien, rogue arm has a mind and personality of its own.
Victims have often been seen slinging mud, as well as their hooks. Others have been spotted throwing wobblies, paddies, and tantrums, alongside evil glances, punches, and spanners in the works. Moreover, books ( the hard back variety) will also be thrown at those they condemn, not forgetting of course the throwing down of umpteen gauntlets here, there and everywhere. Occasionally, some have been seen throwing up. Often when victims start hurling abuse and insults around, they also have a tendency to pick up and hurl other small weighty objects, such as bridgemates , at those deemed responsible for their distress.
The tragedy is that players cursed with this condition are basically decent, charming and fun-loving folk , but the syndrome turns them into highly volatile, human containers, packed from tip-to-toe with nitroglycerin. One inadvertent knock or shake simply causes them to explode.
It is not surprising therefore that thousands of bridge clubs have a major problem on their hands, when members diagnosed this particular condition turn up to play. One such club is the Slaughter House BC near Bawtry, where it seems the majority of its members ( including its chairman ) have such an acute form of TPS that lives are at risk. Duplicate evenings therefore soon develop into a right free-for-all , with murder, madness and mayhem being the inevitable end to what started out as a social and friendly night of bridge.