This was the day before we were scheduled to play 48 hands of bridge against some of these people, and we both had the shakes. At dinner that night a spot of red showed up in my vichyssoise, and that's how we found out my nose was bleeding. Cave was very intolerant about the whole thing. He had had his nosebleed at lunch. Lena Home came onstage to entertain us—that was included in the $200 tournament fee—but I failed to hear a note. I was too busy worrying. What would happen in the morning when everybody found me out? How could I face my friends back in Gilpin, Colo. when the scandal was exposed? It wasn't just that I was a bad player. I didn't know how to keep score! For 15 years I had been playing bridge and pushing the score sheet toward somebody else. But the rules of the Sands Hotel First Annual International Bridge Tournament clearly specified that everybody had scoring responsibilities. I was certain to be found out.
I noticed that Cave was barely picking at his medallions de boeuf. "What's the matter with you?" I whispered. "You're not paying any attention to Lena Stone."
"Horne," he said. "And I can't tell you what's the matter with me. I'm too ashamed."
"You're gonna have another bloody nose?"
"Worse than that."
"What is it? You can tell me. I'm your partner."
Cave looked around to see if he could possibly be overheard. Then he whispered, "I can't shuffle."
I jumped. "You can't shuffle?" I said.
"For God's sake, keep your voice down!" Cave said.
"You've got us into a $20,000 bridge tournament, and you can't shuffle?"