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MAD BRIDGE 4: A Lesson for Roger

Roger Sterling was smirking as he walked into Draper's office, for the post-lunch game. He turned to Peggy Olson. “Olson, you're the youngest member of our foursome, maybe you'll know. What with this feminism stuff? I hear women are burning their bras.”

Peggy hesitated for a moment. Sterling's short temper and acid tongue were well known among the girls at the office and as a newbie she didn't want any trouble.

“Well,” she began, it's a new movement based on the idea that women are eq...”

Sensing that his protege was headed for trouble no matter what she said, Draper popped in. “What difference does it make, Roger?” he said. “Let them burn their bras now. In a few months they'll come to their senses, and that'll mean more sales for Maidenform, one of the new accounts that Pete Cooper and Kenny Cosgrove have brought in recently.”

Roger grunted assent. “Okay,” he said, “but did you hear they're also calling men chauvinists. The nerve.”

To Peggy, Roger Sterling, hard-drinking, wife-switching womanizer that he was, represented classic male chauvinism. But the girl from Brooklyn knew what was best: keeping quiet and limiting her reaction to a knowing glance at Joan Holloway, who was sitting expressionless at the table.

The snide remarks about feminism fueled Peggy's ambition to give Roger his comeuppance – without, of course, making it too obvious. After a few hands, the opportunity she was aching for arrived.

“Whose turn is it to bid first,” said red-headed Joan, sitting in the East seat. “I never remember how to figure it out...”

“Can't you remember anything?” snapped Roger, who had a disgusted look on his face. (Peggy would have said it was disgusting). “It's very simple -- the dealer always bids first. I only hope you remember how to follow suit.”

Joan reddened a little more. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “But if it's my bid, I'll call one diamond."

Roger
952
KJ5
862
9753
Don
AJ743
10843
Q4
J4
Joan
KQ8
K109753
A1082
Peggy
106
AQ9762
AJ
KQ6
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
X
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The auction accelerated from that point. 1 from Peggy, pass by Roger, 2 from Don, double by Joan, 4 by Peggy.

The opening lead was a diamond to the Q, K and A, and Peggy could count five tricks outside the trump suit; in other words, she could afford one trump loser. There were various options to be considered: Banging down the A might catch a single K offside, and would work anytime the trumps were divided 2-1. On the other hand, a finesse was a distinct possibility if East had all three trumps...

It occurred to her that there was another possibility – that Roger, sitting smugly and puffing on a Lucky as though he didn't have a concern in the world, had been dealt the king and jack and one other heart. If that was the case, there might be a chance to show him that there was more to feminism than underwear abuse.

And would Joan have doubled for takeout second time 'round holding the K? Or was that a sign of shortness?

“Go for the Gold,” Draper was always telling her. So Peggy played a small heart from her hand.

Roger wasn't used to thinking long about anything, but there was reason to hesitate here. Why was that babe from the Bronx, or was it Brooklyn, playing trumps this way, missing the king and jack. The only possible reason, he thought, was that his partner had a singleton honor, in which case he'd look pretty silly going up with the jack, thereby compressing his side's trump honors from three to two if his partner's assets included the A. And even if she held the queen, crashing two trump honors would look pretty silly.

Roger played low, the T came from dummy, and Joan – to the amazement of the senior Sterling Cooper partner – followed not with the Q or A, but the 3!

Peggy placed her cards on the table. “I still have one heart to lose, plus a high spade and the A. Making four." Roger was crestfallen, but he still appreciated a good con. “Well done, little lady,” he said, “I didn't know a woman could be capable of that kind of deception. I guess that comes from all that reading you've been doing, of bridge books and magazines.”

Don Draper chuckled softly. Little did Roger know that the other day he'd told Peggy about a similar caper. He hadn't, however, revealed that he learned it back at Auntie's “house” from one of the girls, EmmyLou, who'd never in her born days read a bridge book – or, that matter, any other book.

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