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The Godfather of Bridge
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George Bernard Shaw was once at a dinner party which he found to be unspeakably dull and boring. He retired to a distant chair to ponder other matters. The hostess came over.

Hostess: Good evening, Mr Shaw! Tell me, are you enjoying yourself?

GBS: I am indeed, Madam. There's precious little else to enjoy here!


Likewise, I sometimes write humour for my own entertainment, for no one else finds them so.


Well, one such effort appears on the next page.

The Godfather of Bridge - A Play in One Act


The cast:

- WBF President, Jamie Ortiz-Patino

- Italian Bridge Federation President, Professor Luigi Firpo

The venue:

Ortiz-Patino's Geneva office


A large, luxurious office overlooks Lake Geneva. An annoyed WBF President Jamie Ortiz-Patino sits behind an imposing desk. His intercom buzzes. "Professor Firpo is here to see you, Mr Patino!"

Jimmy sighs. This nightmare just won't end. "Thank you, show him in".

A distraught FIB President Luigi Firpo takes a seat facing Jimmy.


Luigi: Jimmy, I'm really sorry. I know a few things have gone wrong lately...

Jimmy: A few things? Lately? Really? You know, the last time I saw Tobias Stone he was still bitching about 1958. Twenty years and he can't shut up about it. And John Gerber in 1963? All he had to do was read to the bottom of the page about the cheating methods and your guys were toast. That's your game-plan, is it? Hope the opposition can't read? What next, Mr Hoyle? Pray the Americans can't hold their cards up?

Luigi: Yes, Jimmy, I know. Perroux was furious about the Gerber Letter. Anyway, we found out who tried to let the cat out of the bag. But that was a long time ago...

Jimmy: Oh, yes? And Bermuda? Two years? A long time ago? Facchini and Zucchelli! Those hicks from Bologna couldn't follow suit and suddenly they were the best pair in Europe? They were so hot, they glowed in the dark and everybody knew it! So what did you do, Firpo? You put them on the Blue Team! What the hell were you thinking? Every man and his dog got to see them dancing the Tarantella under the table. You know how much bowing and scraping I had to do to get that "severely reprimanded for improper conduct" crap over the line? You think I like polishing the shoes of the Management Committee? "Yes, you can fly in my jet. Yes, you can come on my yacht. Yes, you can stay on my island." Yes, sir, no sir, three fucking bags full, sir! I hated every second of it. And those bums from Bologna, after I let them keep all that money they won, do you think they let me wet my beak? I tell you, they better keep their heads down. I have friends in Bologna.

Luigi: I'm sorry, Jimmy, I really am. I don't know what to say...

Jimmy: You don't know what to say? Well, Benito Bianchi certainly did! Gabbing away to Burgay for more than half an hour on the phone? Names, methods, details? Doesn't he know the golden rule? "Never say on the phone today what you don't want to see on page three of the newspaper tomorrow!"

Luigi: All right, Jimmy, all right! I know we made a mess of things, but what are we going to do now? I can't keep stalling on this report, the WBF Management Committee is going to ban us for real this time! I can't say the tape's account is true, that would be the biggest scandal ever! Italian bridge would be ruined! And I can't release a report saying the tape's account is false; Burgay's lawyers will eat us alive! So what do we do?

Jimmy: You made a mess, all right! I tell you, if you worked for me you'd be out of a job! Hmmm... you know what? I have an idea.

Luigi: [Leans forward, looks happy] That's great, Jimmy! What's the idea?

Jimmy: Nothing you're going to like, Firpo. First, heads must roll. Or, in this case, your head. You're going resign as FIB President.

Luigi: But Jimmy, after all I've done!

Jimmy: That's right, after all you've done, you're going to resign. Make it the old "Spending more time with my family" or "Looking forward to exciting new opportunities." Whatever. But you're out. Get one of those Blue Team captains you've had recently to replace you. I can't remember their names. Nice guys, I like them.

Luigi: Jimmy, there must be some other way! I like being President!

Jimmy: Shut up and listen. We're doing this my way. It's our only chance. Now, once you're out and we have a new FIB President, I can do things differently. You know, a new broom sweeps clean, and all that. What we do is we say... I know! We say, "We are convinced we can go forward together in the spirit of reconciliation!" Yes, the spirit of reconciliation! I like that! Let's bring feelings and friendship into it. The Americans love all that stuff.

Luigi: But Jimmy...

Jimmy: No buts! That's what we're going to do. This crap has been going on way too long. I want your resignation handed to the FIB board by tomorrow. Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have a busy day ahead.

Luigi: [Most unhappy, leaves]

Jimmy: [sits back, sighs, looks out over the lake] Go forward together in the spirit of reconciliation! Jesus, who's going to fall for that one? Well, we'll soon find out...

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