Dear Ladies of the Wednesday afternoon bridge club:
I am sorry to inform you that, due to the unfortunate incident between my cousin Gertrude and me that occurred at yesterday’s get-together, I am suspending our weekly bridge game until further notice. While I am not admitting fault, I do acknowledge that I could have conducted myself in a more demure manner, and apologize to you for my temporary loss of propriety.
For those of you who were too engrossed in your play at one of the other tables to have noticed, the trouble all began when I made a wholly innocent comment after bidding game on the strength of a six-card, club suit headed by the ace-king, bolstered by my partner’s enthusiastic jump-raise over my opening bid. I believe that my exact words were, “Five clubs … just what our great president Donald Trump should use to quiet that noxious New Yorker Chuck Schumer, who keeps trying to tie Donnie to the Russians.”
It was after this offhanded observation that Gertrude – who I think I spotted wearing a pink, knit hat last spring – expelled a not too subtle “harummmph,” before loudly declaring five notrump, despite having not entered the auction up to that point.
Well, I was so flustered by Gertie’s unexpected outburst, that when it came time (after two passes) for me to bid again, I now admit I raised my voice just a smidgeon more than was appropriate, and called out “six clubs” without first considering that I held but a solitary ace, and that my three-card diamond suit was headed by a ten. Of this bid I am a bit ashamed.
Much to my surprise and consternation, Gertie immediately bid six notrump with a decided emphasis on the NO part of her bid – a tone more appropriate to the Fulton Fish Market than an upper eastside coop. I am sure that Gertrude did not mean so sow any discord when she blurted this out, though you could forgive me for thinking so at the time.
After another two passes, I again forsook good judgment and bid seven clubs while staring Gertrude directly in the eye. I suppose at this point you could not fault her for an immediate riposte of “Seven NO TRUMP! You old biddy!” Nor could you blame me, in my shocked state, for picking up my martini glass and tossing the contents in her direction. Fortunately, there was only a sip of the extra dry, apple martini left in the glass, although the uneaten olive did leave a small mark on Gertie’s cheek before landing on our 150-year-old Persian. It took our maid, Juanita, quite a while to remove the unsightly stain it left.
Unfortunately, my undignified reaction – which was completely out of character, as I hope you all know – cut our game short, and I never did get a chance to run my club suit, which would have inflicted a nasty (and well deserved) penalty on Gertrude and her long-time partner, Florence. I have to say, though, I was disappointed to hear several of you ladies at the other tables take up the chant “NO Trump! NO Trump!” in support of Gertrude. (I am sincerely hoping it was not meant to show any animus toward our conservative standard-bearer, Donald.) A little more decorum was clearly in order.
Fret not, though, ladies for I also bring good news: as of next Wednesday, I will be hosting a weekly Mahjongg gathering that will meet from 2-5 in the afternoon right here in my Trump Plaza coop. In keeping with the new theme, Har Gow (aka crystal skin, shrimp dumplings, for those of you still ordering egg rolls or, heavens, Peking raviolis) will be served in place of the usual canapés. We will also be delighting in lychee liqueur martinis in place of our usual libation to get into the Oriental spirit – although a three-drink limit will be enforced in an effort to avoid another “incident.” All are welcome to bring their own Mahjongg tiles, but please, only those made in the USA as we want to continue our campaign to support domestic craftsmen, or craftspersons, as I am told is the proper appellation these days.
One final note: To be absolutely certain that there is no repeat of yesterday’s altercation, everyone is asked to refrain from praising or condemning any political events during our afternoon soirees – a toast to the totally deserved tax cut excepted.
PS: Juanita’s niece Carmela, of the Mexicali Mendozas, is expected to arrive in New York any day now, and is looking for employment as a live-in cook. I have heard that she makes an excellent mole poblano. Ring me up on the tele if interested in interviewing her.
Rick Blum has been chronicling life’s vagaries through essays and poetry for more than 25 years during stints as a nightclub owner, high-tech manager, market research mogul, and, most recently, old geezer. His writings have appeared in The Literary Hatchet, The Satirist, and The Moon Magazine, among others. He is also a frequent contributor to the Humor Times, and has been published in numerous poetry anthologies.