Sun 20th Sept.
Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'
The Alcatraz Death Row Bridge Club played to a very high standard. This story revolves around a character by the name of Creepy Cleghorn. Creepy was known all over the USA as the man who admitted to the murders of 15 people, but in the Alcatraz Bridge Club he was known as perhaps the best bridge player to have passed through its gates. Indeed, he was referred to as "The Bridgeman of Alcatraz"
The Bridge Club prided itself on its high ethical standards, it was unheard of for a player to ever criticise his partner. "Just as well they don't allow husbands and wives in here," Spider McCoy often joked.
Creepy was partnered, in the Annual 4th of July Open Gala, with Charlie ("Chainsaw" Charlie) Mulrooney. This was not a match made in heaven. Many people put the source of their rivalry down to the regular beatings Creepy gave Chainsaw in two-handed German Whist. Chainsaw put this down to the bad run he got in the distribution of trumps. This bad run of luck had lasted 15 years, but fellow players thought it unwise to mention this to Charlie.
They were defending against 3NT against Rusty "Razor"Sharpe and Thumbscrew Brannigan.
Chainsaw led the 3♥ , Rusty (Declarer) played low from Dummy, Creepy inserted the 10 and Rusty played the ♥ A. Rusty saw that he only had two Heart winners and thought it might be wise to get rid of the Ace early. Rusty then ran the Q♦ which lost to Creepy's K♦ .
Creepy then played back a Heart. Declarer played low and Chainsaw went up with the K♥. Thumbscrew later maintained that he heard Creepy groan at this stage. Chainsaw then played a club, won by Declarer in hand. He then played a Diamond to the Ace and another Diamond, won by Creepy with the J♦.
In desperation Creepy played a Spade, finessed by Declarer. He then played the J♥ and overtook it with the Q♥, congratulating himself on having earlier played the Ace.
Declarer ended up with the 2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds and 2 Clubs for a score of Plus one.
"You gave them an overtrick when you played a Spade," said Chainsaw, "I'm surprised you made such a careless play".
"Chainsaw, you are a complete idiot, and the worst bridge player in this club since Spider McCoy's sad demise. All you had to do was duck the Heart I played back to you and let him win on the table. Was it not obvious that we needed to knock the Q♥ off the table before Diamonds were established. Duck the Heart or, if you played it, play another Heart immediately and he wins only 1 Diamond, not 4?"
"I played the King because I assumed that if I let him onto the table all those Diamonds were winners, how was I to know that you had another winner in Diamonds?," said Chainsaw. "If you were as clever as you think you are you wouldn't be in this place," he continued.
"You should have realised that if I didn't have another Diamond our defense was doomed anyway so you needed proceed on this basis and knock out the Q♥ immediately. And besides, the only reason I'm here is because my ever-loving wife, Phillis, persuaded me to admit my crimes for my inner peace," said Creepy.
"She only did that," replied Chainsaw, "because rumour had it that she had an eye for Rupert Salsinger"
Creepy lunged over the table and landed a right hook on Chainsaw's chin. Chainsaw replied with a chop to the neck.
"How dare you besmirch my wife's good name, Phillis gave Rupert's advances the brush off. He won't bother her again, as he's now swimming with the fishes," said Creepy.
The wrestling match continued for some time.
"We didn't expect such early fireworks on the 4th July," said Rusty to Thumbscrew.