By Tom Sloper

Sunday, June 8, 2003

Column #64

American (2003 NMJL card). "Six dot."

"I'll take it." Wesley took it, put two more beside it from his hand, and added a joker.

"Hmm," commented Esther. "Very interesting." Wesley's second exposure clearly showed what hand he was working on.

Wesley had to discard. "Six crak."

"Call." Sophia exposed two and a joker. Now two players both had two exposures up.

Soon it was Wesley's turn again. "Four crak."

"Call." Sophia exposed again.

"Aha," Esther narrated. "You smoked her out real good that time!" If she'd looked at Wesley, she might have noticed the look on his face as he realized that he and Sophia were in each other's hair in a big way. Sophia discarded. "Flower."

"I'll take it, but this isn't looking good," Wesley said as he put up tiles.

Just as Wesley was discarding, Nora's cell phone rang. "West."

"What?" asked Esther. Wesley raised his voice to be heard over the ringing. "West."

Nora had wrangled her phone into position. "Hi, Sweetie. I'm playing mah-jongg."

Sophia picked. "Three Dot."

"Right, six o'clock tomorrow. You gonna pick me up?"

Esther picked. "One Bam."

"Oh, I don't know. It might be a little chilly." Cradling the phone on her shoulder, she picked and threw. "So maybe a light jacket. Soap."

Wesley looked at her. "Um, that's it."

Esther's hands went to her skull to keep it from exploding. "Oy!" Sophia leaned on her forearms, giving Nora a look. "That was my maj tile, too."

Comprehension dawned on Nora's face. "Oh my god, you won't believe what I just did. Listen, I'll call you back. Bye."

Esther said, "I'm not paying for that. That was just wrong. You can pay for everybody."

Nora cried, "What? That's not a rule! Yes, it was a mistake, but I only have to pay fifty cents."

Sophia pointed out, "We made a rule about throwing to three exposures. It's a dollar, and the rest of us don't have to pay."

"When did we make this rule?" Nora demanded to know.

Esther thought back. "It was that time Nancy played with us, and threw to a third..."

"Was I here?" Nora asked.

Sophia remembered, "No, now that you mention it. We told you later, I'm sure."

"Maybe you meant to, but this is the first I heard of it. It's not fair to enforce a rule you made without me, and never told me about."

Wesley spoke up. "Maybe you didn't know about the new table rule, but if it hadn't been for the phone call, you wouldn't have thrown a Soap. I think we ought to make a rule about phone calls too."

Nora dug in her purse. "Here, I'm giving you fifty cents. I'm not paying for a rule nobody told me about before it happened."

Esther and Sophia were adamant about not paying for Nora's action. Wesley put his hands up. "Look, I'm fine with the fifty cents. Later, we need to talk about phone calls. How about we just forget it and play some more, all right?"

Esther was grateful. "That's nice of you, Wes."

As they shuffled the tiles and built their walls, Nora apologized. "I'm sorry, that was really dumb." The others agreed, and that made them laugh.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.