When Paul encounters the daughter of, former San Francisco Mayor Dwight Sinclair (Wendell Corey) in Las Vegas, he contacts his friend, and asks him to come and reason with her. The once promising student, Sarah Sinclair (Brooke Bundy) is now a casino go-go dancer, strung out on a cocktail of dangerous drugs, and being kept by a Mafia boss named Cappi.
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Chronology of Events
Paris - Spa - Brussels - San Francisco
June drove me to Belgium in her Porsche, and I was ready to ask her to join our team. Very nifty around the curves.
Pete finished a credible third at Spa - a lousy third, he said - and when I congratulated him, wearing my GB blazer, he looked genuinely delighted. Told him there was one for him in June's car, and we spent the night at an all-weekend house party thrown by one of the local moguls.
Lost track of Pete and June early in the evening, but met a fellow named Willem Van Rensselear who had two girls on his arm offering consolation that he'd crashed out of the race. (Pete told me later he's the son of Mona Martin, the much-married millionaires.)
After a few drinks with them I asked for a room in the quietest part of the house, and crashed myself, only waking to June's knock about breakfast and a drive to Brussels Airport.
Pete waited for my departure to drop the bombshell that, not only had he gotten confirmation of our inaugural race in Rio de Janeiro next month, but that I too would be driving.
I took off for San Francisco with the most extreme of emotions - elation over Brazil, and a dark feeling about keeping the appointment with Dr. Mason that's been on my calendar four months.
Quiet flight back to San Francisco, and no making dates with stewardesses. All part of learning the rules of the road. Soon as she met me at the airport, I regailed Kate with the news about GB's first race in Brazil, and that I would be driving.
She congratulated me, and said that Molly was there right now as part of her graduation present world tour (along with a couple hundred thousand in her purse), staying with the family of one of her sorority sisters.
But all in all, Kate seemed quite preoccupied, and over dinner, admitted that she just might need that shoulder to lean on.
Similar down vibes from Dwight Sinclair when I called to confirm our lunch date tomorrow. When I rang he was desperate like someone after crumbs that lead to a path out of the woods.
Here I am, going to find out if my time is shorter than expected, and everyone is leaning on ME for comfort. Where is it that I go for support?
Paul goes to see Pete Gaffney race in Belgium, and flies back to San Francisco to see his doctor
Monday, July 26
What a long, long day. Spent all morning in Gene Mason's office. He too said that there was something he wanted my help on, but would talk to me about it later.
He promised a brief, preliminary assessment of the incredibly lengthy new tests tomorrow - nothing I should put too much weight on, since he wanted to show everything to a couple colleagues, and would have the whole story on the 9th, then said he wanted to see me again in two months this time, and made an appointment for September.
Dwight told me that he'd finally located his daughter, and that she was a go-go dancer at a Las Vegas casino. The ballerina? Worse, she appears to be involved with some mobster.
That this could be the same Sarah Sinclair, bound for Wesley when I last saw her, daughter of the ramrod straight man I've always known her father to be, seemed more than impossible.
Thought that she was happily married, but Dwight said that the union had broken up in May, and he could no longer communicate with her. It wasn't that bridges were broken, but she was just a different person.
Remembering how she had had a crush on me when in her teens, Dwight asked if I might go to Las Vegas and talk to Sarah, at least find out how she was.
My mentor since college, the man who put my lost political career on the road, I couldn't turn down anything Dwight asked of me, and promised to fly out tomorrow.
What I found was on Kate's mind turned out to be the last thing I would have thought of. She said that her mother was having an affair, something she had begun to suspect when still in the clinic, and now knew for sure to be the case.
This just threw me. A handsome woman, surely, but I always thought of Alice Pierce as a mother figure, and can barely get my head around this ….. or know any way of offering support to Katie.
Then, after all that was over, she asked if I'd heard anything about the house. I told her that this might be our last night here, as Tim had told me he had a buyer who was ready to purchase - maybe someone from overseas, as they hadn't looked at the place, and all dealings had been with a lawyer.
“Maybe the buyer has already seen the house,” Kate suggested, then covered her mouth to conceal the embarrassed smile that was breaking out.
But her eyes gave it all away. I wanted to say no, I wouldn't sell to her, but then wondered why not. Because she would have fallen into the unhealthy state of living in a ghost's house?
Instead, I just shook my head chidingly, and said that some negotiation would be required. Then she insisted on washing the dishes. This domestic side of Dr. Pierce always fascinates me.
Paul goes for a battery of tests by Dr. Gene Mason, and is asked by his mentor and friend, millionnaire former San Francisco mayor Dwight Sinclair, to make contact with daughter Sarah, who has fallen into bad Las Vegas company.
San Francisco - Las Vegas
Tuesday, July 27
Tried to put Kate's idea out of my head, but every sentimental bone in my body crossed swords with every brain cell in my skull. I might pretend to myself to be a person of the mind, but my heart has won just about all the battles.
It was with the first genuine sense of fear that I rang Gene Mason this morning, just scared that the hazardous way I've been living might have escalated the course of the disease.
Not revealing a thing, he said there was “nothing to worry about” …. amazing choice of words …. In his preliminary reading of some of yesterday's tests.
But he suggested that I come by his office in the afternoon, as he had something he wanted to discuss with me. Anywhere but his office, I pleaded, and we made a date to get together at Fisherman's Wharf at 4.
Went by the gallery, to pick Kate up for lunch and spring my surprise, asking if she'd like to travel with me for a while after the race in Brazil.
She said something about going to the moon with me, then produced her own surprise, handing me this morning's copy of the Chronicle, opened to the page which declared, “Distinguished San Francisco art historian Dr. Kathryn Pierce to give major lecture at Columbia.”
I couldn't believe that she hadn't told me, but Kate said that the paper was making too much of it. Just something routine, she claimed, and the situation with her mother - “and you,” she tried to say in a throwaway kind of way, had compartmentalized the talk in a small place of her mind.
Her speech the same weekend as the race in Rio, I wondered if we might do the travelling thing some other time, but we came up with something even better than flying out of San Francisco, and decided to meet in the Bahamas.
So I went on to meet Mason with a lighter heart. Over a snack at DiMaggio's, and emphasizing that I shouldn't put too much weight into such a cursory look at only some of the tests, Dr. Mason told me he'd seen no advancement in the disease, and his prognosis remained the same.
I couldn't help asking if that might mean that I might still have the nine to 18 months, but he told me that I'd have to wait until he and colleagues looked at all the data. He then asked me about the race, and I could see that any further discussion of my tests was impossible.
Of course, I couldn't help lighting up, speaking about the prospect of driving in company with some of the top names in the world in a brand new race in Rio, and to my surprise, Gene went back to my condition, saying that it was incredible, how I had “adjusted” to my situation.
That brought him to the favor he wanted, for me to speak to a young girl who “had a similar prognosis,” and might benefit from talking with me. He actually wasn't sure whether her father had told her yet, but thought that the man could also use my support.
As they're living in Africa at the moment, I should be able to see them on the little tour Kate and I are planning. She and I had a quick dinner out at the airport, and I told her that I'd rung Tim and instructed him to take the house off the market, then handed her the key.
To her protest that she already had one, I said that this one was THE key, and reminded her that the house was already hers in the will. This unfortunately clinical remark by the lawyer left the man - and the woman - unable to meet each other's eyes, and we were both grateful for the disruption caused when the Las Vegas flight was called a minute later.
Checked into the hotel where Sarah is working, and saw her in seconds, wriggling in a cage above the bar. When we met it was instantly clear how much she'd changed.
Whatever schoolgirl crush she may have had, it was going to be of no use to me now, but she did agree to meet me at a soda shop in the wee hours. I've set the alarm for two, and will get a little shut eye in case this turns out to be a long night.
Paul meets Sarah Sinclair in a Las Vegas casino. She is only mildly friendly.
Las Vegas & Grand Canyon
Wednesday - Saturday, July 28 - 31
The girl who met me at the soda fountain wasn't even a relation of the Sarah I'd last seen before she went off to college. Obvious now why Dwight was so torn up, there wasn't an ounce of the old substance left. I felt completely dejected, and suspected that she was not just brainwashed, but high on something.
Not really meaning it, I invited her to go to the Grand Canyon with me, and she appeared to take such an outing as little more than a joke.
Back at the hotel I was interrogated by three heavies about my plans, and though she wasn't mentioned, it clearly had something to do with Sarah. As a reminder that they meant business, one nearly broke my fingers.
The next morning, though too sore to hold a pen, I was able to take off for the Grand Canyon, and amazingly found a note from Sarah, saying that she'd like to come along.
During our talk on the drive, I became convinced that everything in her manner screamed that she wasn't just jaded, but definitely on drugs. She seemed to enjoy the Grand Canyon, but the physical signs she was displaying by the end of the long day made me decide that she was strung out on something pretty strong - maybe even heroin.
Went back to her room after we parted, and found her setting up to inject herself, her cocky manner turning to begging when I ripped the needle out of her hand. She admitted the substance she was about to take not only contained both heroin and cocaine, but other addictives as well.
The heavies had apparently been following us, and burst in with their boss man, Cappi, who'd been the one to turn Sarah into a drug slave. They made sure I had two bad hands now, and were roughing me up when the manager knocked.
I don't know what he saw, but later got him to sign an affidavit about the incident in order to get Cappi extradited to Arizona for the assault. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised that, when appearing before a judge on Friday, he and a cab driver suddenly lost their memories.
Decided that Dwight needed to intervene, but could see how he and Sarah had come to live on different planets.
His arrival at the casino proved that it was a lot more than not communicating, and after one difficult meeting with her, Dwight just gave up, telling me that she was a grown up beyond his influence.
Though initial appeals couldn't change his mind, I found myself suddenly representing Sarah instead of my mentor. Trying to empathize with her position, I reminded Dwight that he was all she had in the world.
It felt like I was pleading for someone about to face a death sentence. Their lives had obviously diverged since his wife's passing, but whether he remembered something from Sarah's childhood or a father's responsibility, Dwight came back with me from the airport to try and save her.
It was really all about getting rid of this hood Cappi, and we put together a story about how a group of rich and powerful politicians like Dwight were going to initiate a Constitutional amendment harnessing the other 49 states disapproval of gambling to have the practice outlawed everywhere in the US.
We presented the news to the man identified to us as Cappi's superior in the local mob, telling him this was all because of a vendetta towards Cappi, and though he dismissed us as meaningless, the next day, my Arizona witnesses had regained their memory and Cappi's two dozen alibis for the time of the assault also changed their stories.
The Las Vegas prosecutor assured me that Cappi was now likely to be extradited and convicted. No surprise that the man went on the warpath, and Sarah was his target.
She came begging her father for help, meaning drugs, but Dwight said that he would only take her to a hospital, and I agreed that it was the only deal in town for her, now that Cappi had shut off the cash and made sure that no one would supply her with heroin or anything else.
In Sarah's state of desperation, it was obvious that she'd say yes to anything, and the three of us walked out of the hotel, a police escort having been supplied by the prosecutor who was also in our party.
Then, in one frightening moment, shots were being fired at us. Both Sarah and the marshall were hit, and whereas in hindsight, I know that I should have thrown myself to the ground and taken cover, something made me grab the lawman's gun from the pavement, and try to see where the shots were coming from.
It was Cappi, and now he started firing at me. Maybe I was the target all along. I got a lucky shot in, and he fell back in the car, dead.
A case of self defence, and he was a monster, but I had taken a life - in the same way as my bombs had done in Korea. Another combat situation, but a horrible feeling.
Though it seemed like several minutes went by, it was only seconds later that I heard Dwight calling for an ambulance. The marshall was standing, but Sarah hadn't made it.
A hundred witnesses had seen or heard shots fired from Cappi's car at our party, but no one saw who hit him. Nevertheless, the marshal is being given a new identity, and the statements of our party have been sealed.
The Prosecutor called me a hero, but I couldn't help thinking about the people I'd come in contact with since the diagnosis who had preceded me in death. Henri, diving in Actif, Ned Loomis, accidentally killed by the police chief in Pine Grove, the young boy mistakenly shot by Carl Hague, my dear, dear friend Doug Haynes, taken by a fever in the New Guinea jungle, Angie Zeno gunned down by a rival in Las Vegas, Bud and Lee, massacred by police in Acapulco, and the Commandant who shot his sergeant and was then killed by Gillan in Yugoslavia.
Now this human detritus Cappi, erased at my own hand, the hand that he had prophetically tried to disable.
Just as I've slowly finished writing all this, got a call from Marcella that Barbara Sherwood urgently needed to get in touch with me from London.
When I reached her, she said that her sister had drowned in Milan, and asked if I could meet her there. The poor thing was in floods of tears, and even seemed to think there was foul play. So on it goes. I have to be everyone's tower of strength.
There was a time when I would have viewed such responsibility ambivalently with a sense of duty, but now, though I feel the weight more, and my resources seem diminished, I find myself reaching out to even more people - often strangers.
Used to pontificate that the joy of life was in giving, but the wisdom has taken on ever greater significance in the last months, since there is no more precious commodity to me than time, and when I devote mine to others, it seems to expand so greatly in volume and value, that I become the beneficiary of any support I might offer.
As my mother used to translate Ecclesiastes, “if you feed the sea with bread, it will come back Torta di Ricotta.”And it's her Cassata that I taste every time I do.
1 - 5 August 1965 ("Beware My Love")
Paul is deeply disappointed by Sarah's shallowness when he gets together with her, remembering a brilliant scholar.
He invites her to see the Grand Canyon with him, and though she's not interested, hotel thugs brutalize Paul and tell him to go to Arizona alone.
However, Sarah changes her mind and joins Paul on the drive. But by the end of the day, she is desperate for a heroin/cocaine fix.
When he catches her with the drug paraphernalia, he tries to stop her, but the mob boss Cappi, who has gotten her hooked arrives, and has Paul beaten by his henchmen.
Paul makes an attempt to get Cappi extradited to Arizona for the assault, but any witnesses suddenly lose their memory at the preliminary hearing.
As a last resort Paul brings in Sarah's father, but the meeting with his daughter goes badly, and he decides to go back to San Francisco, only relenting when Paul passionately pleads that Dwight Sinclair is all she has.
They go to the top mafia boss in town, and ask him to censure Cappi, saying that otherwise, they are going to form a committee for a Constitutional amendment to outlaw all gambling in the United States.
He shows disdain, but nevertheless, the next day, Cappi's alibis have vanished and Paul's witnesses have gotten their memory back.
Cappi himself has taken action, and shut off all drug supplies to Sarah. She appeals to her father, but all he will offer is rehabilitation.
Desperate, she agrees to go to the hospital with him, but Cappi fires on the group which also includes Paul, an armed guard and the local prosecutor.
Sarah is killed, and Paul takes the fallen marshal's gun, and goes after Cappi, mortally wounding him as he ducks the assailant's shots.