Cy the Cynic's former job, which he refers to as "cruel and unusual employment," remains an object of speculation at my club. Cy won't provide any details, only gag answers to our queries.

"Cy, did you work on a farm?"

"For a while. Problems cropped up."

"Were you a warlock?"

"Only for a spell."

After I watched Cy go down at today's four hearts - a cold contract - my belief in his dummy play was suspended. He ruffed the third diamond and cashed the K-A of trumps. When West showed out, Cy shifted to the king and another club. East correctly discarded instead of ruffing a loser, and the Cynic won and ruffed a club in dummy.

If East had overruffed, Cy could ruff the diamond return, draw the last trump, and run the clubs. But East discarded again, and Cy felt like a retired ethicist: demoralized. Stuck in dummy, he cashed the ace of spades, ruffed a spade, and took the queen of trumps. East won the last two tricks with a high trump and a diamond. Down one.

Cy's play was like his stint at a dry-cleaning place: depressing. He must make sure of keeping control and using the clubs. Cy can (as the cards lie) take the ace of trumps at Trick Four but should next lead the king and a low club. If East discards, Cy wins and ruffs a club in dummy. If East discards again, Cy can lead dummy's last trump to take his K-Q and then run the clubs, losing only to East's high trump.