[King of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[7 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
What can I do? If I cover, Don takes the trick with his ace and returns the suit through dummy's 10. Mako, holding the king-nine, makes both. If I do not cover the jack with the queen, the jack takes the trick, quickly followed by the ace and king. Either way I'm set.
Alas, Mako led the two, not the jack. No way to set the hand now because by playing low in my hand, dummy's 10 will force Steele to play his ace and now my queen is sitting behind the king and will take a trick.
But as I said, nothing in television is easy and if Mako could not set the hand, I could. Trying to recall my thought process (obviously minimal), I was hoping Mako would continue diamonds so I could grab my 11 tricks. Forget that such a hand would not offer the viewer much in the way of an education. I was playing four hearts and I didn't care how I made the hand. So when I saw that Mako had led something black—and worse, a spade not a club—my mind left the table. I was aware of the heat from the lights and could almost feel the camera over my shoulder. I made the right play, low from my hand, and then saw Steele raking in the trick with the...with what? The jack, I thought. Almost assuredly the jack.
I was a little angry with Eddie. Big deal of a hand. Brings me all the way out to California and then gives my opponents an easy hand to defend. The spade switch was so obvious.
Steele returned a spade and in that instant I devised my great plan. No one's going to set me without a struggle, I thought. So when Mako produced the king of spades, I very slowly pulled the queen from my hand and placed it carefully at the center of the table with the other three cards.
It was at that moment that I heard a noise, a sort of shout, coming from somewhere, and I now judge it came from the earplugs of one of the technicians nearby who was listening to Kantar's commentary. And with the noise I realized that something was wrong, dreadfully wrong.
I had hoped, of course, that Mako would assume I was out of spades—no one in his right mind plays a queen under a king unless he has to—and that he would switch to another suit. Mako took his time but probably only because of the television format. I watched him carefully out of the corner of my right eye. Out came a card from his hand and onto the brown cloth it went—the jack of spades. The hand had to be down one anyway, but not quite the way Kantar had expected.
The worst part of the ordeal was that I then had to continue for nine more tricks. And slowly. There was nothing left to the play, of course, but the director, who was a snippy fellow, had insisted every hand be played out to the final trick, even if all you held were trumps and the opponents had none. So there I was on public display for another three minutes, mechanically leading out all my hearts while everyone in the control room was laughing.
Actually it made an exciting show. At least that's what the Warners said. They thought a little comic relief would be welcome. They also thought there might be a demand for another series, and if so I was welcome, but don't call them, they'll call me. I'm still waiting.