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Two Tales of Agnes

These stories were told to me by Mike Passell, who is not only one of America's finest bridge players, but also one of its great raconteurs. I thought you might enjoy them.  

Story 1

Agnes Bolden was an older lady with limited social skills. She had a habit of cornering a person in a social gathering and talking at them for hours. Like many people with this problem, she had nothing to say, but that never slowed her down. Agnes spoke in a high-pitched, deliberate manner drawing out her sylllllaaaabbbllessss, which made her conversation even more annoying. Agnes's bridge was worse than her conversation -- she was awful. However, she did have money to hire experts, so she was a social hazard that could not be completely ignored by bridge professionals.

On one occasion, Agnes approached Meyer Schleifer to ask his advice about a hand. Now Meyer, aside from being among the greatest declarers of all time, had a well-deserved reputation as a nice guy.

Agnes said, "Meyer, dooooooo youuuuu miiiiind if IIII asssssssk youuuu a questionnnn?"

Meyer responds, "Sure Agnes, what is it?"

"Whaaat would youuuuu bidddd, hooooolding Aaaaace-Kiiiing-Quuuueen-Jaaaaack-seeeeventh of spadessss?"

"Well what was the rest of the hand?"

"That's not important, whaaat would youuuuuu bidddd, hoooolding Aaaaace-Kiiiing-Quuuueen-Jaaaaack-seeeeventh of spadessss?"

"I need to know the rest of the hand..."

"Never mind about that, just whaaat would youuuuu bidddd, hoooolding Aaaaace-Kiiiing-Quuuueen-Jaaaaack-seeeeventh of spadessss?"

"I am sorry, but I can't answer your question unless you tell me the rest of the hand."

"Ohhhh alll righttt....Kiiiing-Quuuuueen-Jaaaaack-siiiiixth of clubsssss."    

Story 2

Many years ago, The Bridge World magazine was running a contest. The reader was given a defensive position, so you could see both your hand and the dummy, and the play was specified to a certain point. The problem was to figure out the exact position of all the unseen cards down to the exact spot cards in each hand based on this information. The prize for winning was a bridge date at the nationals with the editor at the time, Edgar Kaplan.

Now Agnes, who was playing in a California regional, was eager to win this prize. She approached all the expert players asking for help. Everywhere she went she was turned down. Shortly before the dinner break between sessions she approached Erik Paulsen. Unlike Meyer Schleifer, Erik was not known for tolerating fools, so his friends were surprised when he agreed to help Agnes. Pulling up a chair at an empty table, he told them to go to dinner without him, and promised to meet them later at the restaurant.

Well, the dinner break came and went, and Erik never showed up. When his friends returned to the playing site at 7:15, they found him at the same table, still working on this problem with Agnes. Since it was almost time to resume play, Erik excused himself, and Agnes said, "Thaaaaank youuuuu Misterrrr Paaaaaulssssennn" and toddled off to find her partner. 

Erik's partner was genuinely shocked that Erik had sacrificed his dinner for this, so he said, "Gee, I did not know that you liked Agnes Bolden..."

Erik replied, "I don't.  I can't stand her... But I HATE Edgar Kaplan."    

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