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1600 Games XXVIII: Their own medicine.

 “Play cards, not politics.” Bar had cautioned his wife before their guests had arrived for an evening of bridge. “We're here to bond, not to battle.”

'Chelle wasn't overjoyed by her mate's admonition. “This togetherness stuff sounds fine in theory, but practice is something else. Mitty's pals over there in the Rotunda, they talk the talk all right. But when the cards are on the table and push comes to vote, they revert to type. They know just three things – obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.”

Bar recognized 'Chelle's indignation, but wasn't willing -- or perhaps able – to come to terms with it. “You may be right, Darlin'. But our job is to communicate, for the common good.”

'Chelle stretched to her full nearly six feet. “Communicate shmoumunicate,” she said. “You can communicate all you want to honeychile. I don't know if I'm capable of that any more...”

By the time they got to the card table, 'Chelle seemed to have cooled off, displaying her her best manners to Anny and Mitty. But the South Side girl in her was still seething at heart, waiting to give those elephant-lovers some of their own medicine.

Her chance arrived towards the end of the session, after a competitive auction in which she lay in wait like a wounded tigress, waiting for the right moment to show her claws.

Mitty
108
97642
98532
A
Bar
A62
KJ10853
KQ
K10
Anny
KQJ94
AQ
J10764
7
Chelle
753
A
QJ9865432
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
P
2
3
P
P
X
P
5
D

Bar, in the North seat, opened hostilities with 1, which posed a real dilemma for 'Chelle. They had agreed to play 2/1 game force, and her hand certainly didn't qualify. She had only seven high-card points and the heart void, which might have been an asset in some cases, was surely a liability here. They weren'tplaying weak jump-shifts, and even if it had been on their convention card she was far from sure that her robust nine-bagger would qualify.

'Chelle had just about resigned herself to the 1NT call when Anny's 1 overcall interrupted her reverie. Now, she thought, 2 was possible.

After Bar repeated his hearts (wouldn't you know it), Anny introduced her second suit and 'Chelle was able to pass over 3. But she would have nothing to do with the double that Bar ventured when the bidding reached him again. “Five clubs,” she said in her sweetest tone, the one she used to make sure that her other half wouldn't get frisky and bid one more for the road.

Mitty, who was well schooled in respecting partner as long as they sat on his side of the aisle, led the T, his partner's suit. Surveying the prospects, 'Chelle realized they appeared to be slim and none. There were two spades to lose in addition to the inescapable trump ace. Just her luck that the blockage in diamonds prevented her from pitching one of the spade losers...

As she considered what to play to the first trick, a thought struck her. The opposition had three tricks to cash, but what if they couldn't communicate? She called for a small spade from dummy and won the A at Trick Two. Next came a diamond to the A and a small club from her hand.

When Mitty won the A and Anny followed with the 7, 'Chelle tabled her hand.

Looking him straight in the eye, she said: “That's all she wrote. I seriously doubt that you have another spade. And unless you do, I'm gonna get to dummy with the high club and discard my spade loser on the king of diamonds.”

Under other circumstances, she might have told her guests that they had fallen victim to the blocking tactics they had mastered on the floor of the upper house. Instead, she turned to Anny with a calm smile. “Would you like some more coffee?”

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