By Tom Sloper

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Column #96

Chinese Official (CMCR). Noriko had a "sound effects" hand. You know that evil laugh the villains make in the movies? "Muwa-ha-ha?" She started off making that a lot, then there was a lot of growling, a little crying, and finally the evil laugh again. But I get ahead of myself (as I usually do). For starters, Noriko had to figure out what to do with a nothing deal.

Her first pick was 9B. She thought about some options. Reversible was out, Clean couldn't hack it. Crazy idea - how about Knitted & Honors?

That looked like her best bet. To start without throwing away another option (which she might think of later), she started by getting rid of 8D.

Her next pick was S. In her mind she rubbed her hands together close to her chin, laughing the evil laugh. "The tiles are falling perfectly into my brilliantly conceived plan, muwa-ha-ha!" she thought to herself. Then she looked furtively at the other players to make sure it had been a thought balloon rather than an out-loud balloon.

She started breaking up the 6D pair. Her next pick was 5B, then S (which she threw back without any sound effects), then G. "Muwa-ha-ha!" Next pick was 3B. She threw it back. There followed a string of no-good picks, accompanied by a new sound effect: "Grrrr...." Noriko had chosen bams for the 258 set, and craks for the 369 set, but she kept getting 3s and 6s and 9s in bams, one at a time, after already throwing some.

She got another flower. Pretty soon Wei-Hwa had three exposures, eights and twos. She picked 6B and a third sound effect was born: "Boo-hoo-hoo!" She threw 7C to break the pattern. On her next pick she got F, replaced by Wh. "Muwa-ha-ha!" She threw 6B, and Earl chowed it. "Boo-hoo-hoo!"

She picked and threw 7B, 9D, and 4C. "Grrr!"

She picked 7D! "Muwa-ha-ha!" Throwing 5C, she needed 3C, 9C, or 2B. Oh wait, never mind 2B (Wei-Hwa had a kong of those out). And 9C looked pretty dead (three of those were out).

Noriko picked F, replaced by 9C. It was 33 points (41 all). Rubbing her hands together close to her chin, she laughed evilly: "Muwa-ha-ha!" And this time it was out loud.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.