The Mood of the Bridger

Contributed by the author: Sridharan Kidambi

Date: 1985


I was inspired to write this poem in 1985 after reading Dorothy Hayden’s (who later became
Dorothy Truscott) book, ‘Winning Declarer Play’, in which she refers to a bare-footed Bridger
walking the London Street. But out of consideration for the poor Bridger, I have provided him
a pair of sponge slippers, which makes the funny ‘flip flop’ noise and arouses me to engage
him in conversation and learn the moods of a Bridger, who does not mind braving the unkind
London weather.

For my poetic tempo I have picked on the repetitive phrase of Prof. Higgins, “Let a woman in your life
in ‘My Fair Lady’, the popular movie version of George Bernard Shaw’s immortal play, Pygmalion.

1. Once I saw a man walk the London street,
Carelessly with flip flop slippers on his feet,
I felt I should ask him as soon as he stood still,
“Why walk with silly slippers? Is it not very chill?”
2. Said he, “I feel awful as though I am heading for hell.”
“What’s the cause for this cursed feeling, please tell?”
“At a game of bridge last night I played an outside Ace
Before drawing trumps. My Ace was ruffed with a deuce!”
3. I met him the next day and queried, “Did you play the Ace
Before drawing the trumps?” I could see the agony in his face,
But said he, “This time I drew all the trumps and had none
Left in hand to ruff the losers, thus ruining a slam and the fun.”
4. A few days later, I happened to see the same guy,
Walk with flip flop slippers and I asked him “Why?”
Said the fellow, “I feel wretched and I can’t care less!
I killed the entry and all the winners became useless!”
5. And again I saw the same guy, crestfallen and wry,
Walk with flip flop slippers and I asked him “Why?”
Said he, “Last evening I bid a game in spades in style,
But a small slam was a cold contract needing no guile!”
6. Not many days passed and I saw the distraught guy
On the pavement bench and I asked, “Why, dear why?”
Said he, “Yesterday I tried to finesse the queen offside,
But Her Highness was sitting snugly on the onside!”
7. Yet again I met the poor guy of flip flop slippers,
And asked him why he had switched to the flippers.
"I wish to jump into the river to cool my fraying temper!
Yesterday a four-card overcall drowned me in a whimper!"
8. A few days later, I met the guy of flip flop slippers again.
“How is bridge?”, I asked. Reluctantly he began to explain.
"Last night I doubled a game with four sure tricks in hand,
But the double squeeze was too much. I couldn’t withstand."
9. Another day I met the guy of flip flop slippers at the ridge.
I greeted him with a smile and asked, “How is your bridge?”
“Well, man to man, I can tell you what happened last night.
A Lebanese lady strip teased me and made a slam straight!
10. Even before I greeted him, the guy called me to relate a tale.
“Last night I was partnering a pretty lady from Bloomingdale.
While I was figuring out how to make the game she had bid,
She scratched her back to suggest dummy reversal, and it did!”
11. There was the flip flop guy sitting on the pedestrian’s bench.
I greeted him as usual and he said, “Last night, it was a wench
I played against and she would bend frequently to pick a card
To distract me from making a game. I had to be on my guard!”
12. As soon as I saw the guy of flip flop slippers, he greeted me first.
Said he, “Have you given away your wallet for peanuts in a fist?”
He just went on, “I was thrown-in with a trivial obvious winner,
But was cruelly end-played to drop my vital king of Hearts dear.”
13. The guy of flip flop slippers went on with another sad incident.
“Yesterday, I faced a nasty Vienna Coup, which was no accident.
It involves some clever unblocking and some serpentine squeeze.
Gosh, two of my tricks vanished and I can’t tell you my unease!”
14. One day, I saw the guy of flip flop slippers surrounded by books.
Said he, “Have you heard of Sherlock Holmes of searching looks,
And how he traced the stolen horse?” While I blinked in answer,
He said, “The clue lay in the dogs that didn’t bother to bark, Sir!”
15. "What has Sherlock Holmes to do with your bridge last night?”
He smiled and said, “We Bridgers are at least half Holmes-right.
Whenever our opponents pass, with a hand that warrants a bid,
We think of the dogs, which let a friendly thief to steal as he did.”
16. That day when the ground was wet after a drizzle, the guy
Of flip flop slippers was sitting on a pavement bench nearby,
With sparkling shoes and suit of exquisite taste and style.
To my ‘hello’, he responded affably with a beaming smile!
17. I said, “Nice to see you suitably dressed for the weather.”
And he said, “Last night I bid a very unusual slam, brother,
The LHO doubled and my partner nonchalantly redoubled.
The opponents hardly guessed the deadly two-suiter I held!
18. I asked, “How often are you dealt such a two-suiter hand?”
“Dear me, it is as rare as a month of two full moons, and
Should I come upon such a deal again, I would be flying
Without wings and would walk the London street whistling!”