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"I don't know," Ray said, "but I understand it's another pair that needs to win this last match to qualify."
A few minutes later our opponents sauntered over to the table. They turned out to be Henry Baer, Dallas attorney and Life Master, and James Jacoby, son of Oswald and himself a bridge columnist and international competitor. They had just lost to Jacoby Sr. and Curt Smith, and now they were desperate. A director came over and said we were going to play in the "fishbowl," the public arena where dozens of kibitzers can look on. We were famous! The public was clamoring to see Cave and me!
"Everybody's interested in this match," the director added coldly. "It's the Jacoby team's last chance to qualify."
"It's our last chance, too," I said huffily.
"Amazing," the director said, without intonation.
We were allowed to remain at the same table, away from the fishbowl, after I explained that kibitzers made me nervous. Ray also voted against the fishbowl on the grounds that he might faint. This satisfied the directors. Alfred Sheinwold, the boss of the whole tournament, came over to make sure that everything was in order for this crucial match between the Jacoby-Baer team and the Cinderella entry of so-and-so and so-and-so. A woman embraced young Jacoby and said, "I wish you luck."
"Wish him luck?" Cave grunted. "How could he have any more luck than to be playing against us?"
"Yes, but you guys are just horsing around," Jacoby said in mock seriousness. "This is my business. You are threatening my livelihood."
"Some threat!" I said.
On the first deal Henry Baer exposed a queen of spades and had to deal over again. It was obvious that, unlike Cave, he had not done his homework. By the third hand Cave and I were 1,100 points ahead. Aces and kings will always defeat queens and jacks, no matter who holds them. Now other greats began to flock around. When I saw Sheinwold pull up a chair behind me, and Tobias Stone sit down behind Cave, I knew that we had at last arrived in never-never land.