By Tom Sloper

Monday, May 19, 2003

Column #44

Chinese Official (CMCR). Wei-Hwa was telling his friend about the great mah-jongg evening he'd had. "I kept winning hand after hand. I was really 'in the zone.' I could do no wrong, I tell you. Every play was right."

"Probably just luck," his friend opined.

Wei-Hwa's initial deal had had one pair, and not much else. His first pick gave him a second pair.

He thought the numbers a fairly good beginning for a knitted hand, but he didn't have the honors. It was a little far-fetched. But he was doing well already, so he decided to go for it. It may seem rather cavalier, but for his first discard, he threw the 1B he'd just picked, breaking up one of his pairs.

As the others discarded, Wei-Hwa paid scant attention. He couldn't call anything anyway, right? He picked an N, and discarded a 2B he'd picked somewhere along the way. Noriko chowed it for a 123. She discarded 1D, and Earl chowed that.

Wei-Hwa picked an R. The knitted hand was shaping up. He was sure now that Craks were his 147 suit, which meant that all 4s and 7s in the Dots could go. When he threw the 7D, Noriko chowed it for 789. Soon Earl chowed 6B from Noriko, for 567.

Danger, Will Robinson! Samantha just had two flowers up. Wei-Hwa had no exposures, of course, and no flowers. When he picked S, he had Six Stars.

Danger notwithstanding, he threw 4D, waiting for 2D, 8D, or White. He hoped for White, of course! There was only one on the floor, and it was entirely reasonable to think he could get another. ... So guess what Noriko threw next?...

You got it. 24-point hands don't come all that often, but that night Wei-Hwa was "in the zone."

When he left that night, he was waiting at the corner for a traffic opening. A car went by, its two round headlights on. "Two dot," Wei-Hwa thought. Then another pair of headlights went by. "Two Dot." Then another. And another. "How odd, all four in a row!" Wei-Hwa thought. But then when a fifth pair of headlights went by, shattering the illusion, Wei-Hwa realized just how much "in the zone" he had been.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.