An Afternoon With Frank

by Roy Wilson



A really long time ago, when I was a beginner in the game of bridge, I played occasionally with Frank Jones, a self-described bridge bum.  We didn't play very well but we played with enthusiasm and enjoyed the friendship.   Often, after the game, we would go for a beer and a bowl of chili and spend the time discussing our bridge mishaps or the women in our lives.  Both of us were single at the time but I had become interested in Elizabeth McClellan, who thought I was the best bridge player she had ever played with.  I think she fibbed.  She also played with a young woman, Karen Horn, who Frank thought he might like to see more of, but she had no interest in him other than as an occasional bridge partner.  Anyway, one day the four of us decided we would go play at a tournament in Riverside.  Frank had the key to a house that a friend owned, which was a rental property, and Frank told me that the renters had just moved and we could use it for the weekend.  Both Liz and Karen had to work on Friday but they agreed to meet us in Riveside for dinner.  Frank and I drove out that morning.

About noon we found the address and discovered the front door unlocked, so we went in...to a gawd-awful mess!  There were dirty dishs everywhere and piles of cardboard boxes in the living room.  Nobody had ever used a broom on the place and there was a bad smell in the kitchen.  Even so, we agreed that you couldn't beat free rent and decided to stay.  We had a number of hours to get it cleaned up, so while I washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen Frank ran a vacuum and carried junk to the back porch, where he just dumped it in a pile.  I put several loads of sheets and towels through the washing machine, which Frank folded and took to the bedrooms.  Both of us were thinking we might get lucky that night if the place wasn't too bad when Liz and Karen arrived.

About five o'clock we heard steps on the front porch...  and in waddled, as Frank would say later, about 650 pounds of flesh distributed about evenly between two very ugly women who looked to be sisters.  "What the hell are you two doing in our house!"

Ever truly been tongue-tied?  I was.  Frank was.  We looked at the two women and we looked at each other and neither of us could get out a complete sentence.  "WELL?"

At last Frank found his voice and asked, "Isn't this George's rental house?"

"No, that's the house across the street.  Why are you in our house?"  By that time one of them had reached behind the door and brought out a bat.

With hands held high Frank stammered out our mistake and both of us apologized profusely for cleaning their house while we moved toward the open front door.  It took almost no time at all to get in the car and gun it down the driveway, with me shouting, "Sorry, ladies, we won't do it again!"
    Rest in peace, Frank, it was fun knowing you. -- Roy Wilson

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