Captured by rebels when they declare a new state on the Indian-Pakistan border, Paul and fellow captives endure a night of siege as government forces bomb the rebel stronghold. In the morning Paul locates Jennifer Palmer (Karen Black) who feels in a confessional mood after the night of terror, and she admits to being a lingerie model as well as doing topless shows.
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Chronology of Events
Nairobi - en route to Calcutta
Wednesday, August 25
Took Julie to the airport where we met the ambulance and two nurses who would accompany Mark on his onward journey. Julie and I promised to keep in touch, and I held her until the last moment she boarded the plane, then went over to the Air India desk to turn in Kate's ticket and change the destination from Agra for my solitary flight. The Taj Mahal was not the place I wanted to visit right now.
Traveling through India and Pakistan
Thursday - Monday, August 26 - 30
From the plush gentleman's club atmosphere of the Masai Safari Club in its own - for me - exotic location where I composed my recent journal entries, I have traveled through a miraculously heady, and again totally new - and awe-inspiring - atmosphere to find myself in a bombed-out Mogul temple in the foothills of the Himilaya to start this page.
Cancelled the Srinagar house boat on arrival in Nairobi, but over the time in Kenya, decided to still concentrate my stay on the sub continent in the regions around Kashmir, to give my eyes a chance to feast on these sacred mountains and the Golden Temple.
My last stop - as profoundly important to me as any historical or religious shrine - was to visit the man who has been perhaps the greatest influence on the development of my adult thinking.
When he left Stanford last year, I think Warrington Turner began his own odyssey to dwell near these sacred peaks, and I felt an even closer kinship to him than ever. And for that reason, I made a point of visiting him on my 35th birthday - maybe my last, and a day I had also hoped to share with Kate.
Whether a tennis game, sailing or just an hour in a Palo Alto bar over a scotch, no meeting with Prof. Turner was ever ordinary, and in the spiritual atmosphere of the Himilaya, this reunion was the philosophical exchange that will provide the foundation of the next stage of my life's journey.
It took renting a vehicle to make it to his door, and chancing an altogether different driving challenge than racing, but I now feel renewed and adjusted to the most painful of my recent experiences, as well as a little more able to face my fate.
Told him about the diagnosis almost as soon as I walked in his door, and that made our conversation direct and honest from the first moments.
He said so much that I must write down again, but the thing he stressed most was that it is love that gives light to the darkness of human existence - from that of a brief match brought by a small kindness to the sun's glow that is total commitment between two people.
Driving back to the airport for the next leg of my journey, my mind was totally absorbed by all his words when I was stopped by some armed forces who confiscated my rental vehicle. It was the opening act of a most bizarre and troubling experience.
Was pretty sure that they weren't official, but at gunpoint, I did what the men told me - which included surrendering my documents. The soldiers put me in a truck with two American women - a “model” and an academic. We were waiting to see what happened next when a plane started bombarding us.
It was pretty horrific, and only luck saved us, but most of the militia men died. Luckily, I'd only taken an overnight bag with me to Prof. Turners, but it contained all my notes from this trip and my conversation with him - blown up with the rental car.
Before he perished, one of the leaders had advised us to proceed to this nearby temple, but we didn't get far before receiving a hostile escort, and the danger never let up. Being the rebel headquarters the temple was also under fire, and other captives were being executed as spies.
I find myself getting so intense about things lately, but for some reason - more than likely, Prof. Turner's influence - I was taking all this in my stride.
Two of the three other players who dominated the drama were open books - a slippery American who called himself a journalist (in some way attached to the rebel movement), and a lady of surely ill-repute named Margo (though a kick to have around).
But the surprise package was Dr. Jennifer Palmer, a girl one would have cast to play Bo Peep, but one who would have just as soon led her lambs to slaughter if they didn't have exactly the right kind of fleeces.
Dr. Palmer gave me a sneak preview of her real self when she asked if the execution of some of our fellow captives had been done “decently.”
As the serious bombing of the building started, it was Jennifer with whom I found myself - sheltering under a pool table. She'd been coming on to me, but became frightened out of her skin, and rightly so, but I did everything in my power to comfort her, hold her, and keep her spirits up.
I even told her about listening to Ed Murrow reporting on The Blitz, and crawling under our kitchen table to pretend I was experiencing what the Londoners did.
This was in one of the quieter moments of the night, but instead of being cheered and identifying with my childhood memory, she began talking about World War II in a philosophical way, saying that it was a shame how the Allies had drawn Hitler into the War, and distracted him from implementing his brilliant theories to perfect the human race.
The bombs may have failed to knock me out, but Jennifer did with that remark - and the many others of a similar nature that followed.
She also spoke of “biological immortality,” Hindu philosophy, the continuation of existence after death, and expressed so many conflicting beliefs that, in the end, I didn't know whether to feel sorry for her or despise the woman.
As an academic, she certainly wasn't harmless, with an ability to promulgate her theories to young minds, but even apart from her misguided, wacky or dangerous talk, I simply didn't like her.
Having spent the night warmly cuddling Dr. Palmer, I had added two more mistaken ideas to Bo Peep's basket, that she was in love with me - and that I might reciprocate the feelings.
By daybreak the bombing had ceased, and the rebels who'd survived had moved on, the only people alive in the temple being we four Americans.
Assembled together before a Swedish UN captain, we were assured that we'd be escorted to the airport in the morning. Right now, my only thought is some blissful sleep in a proper bed.
Thought it was just a matter of a quiet day of waiting - and catching up on the diary and some sleep …. until awakened by Jennifer to discuss her plans - for me.
When retrieving her own documents from the rebel command at the temple, she had apparently looked through my own confiscated papers, and found a letter from the clinic.
Armed with this information, she made the grand offer of her wonderful and unique gift to me - to give birth to a child and provide me with the biological immortality she'd spoken of last night. All gift-wrapped in a package of her love, of which she tried to provide a sample.
Maybe it was all the bombing we'd gone through, both out in the open and all night in the temple; certainly it was the disgust I have for this woman's thinking ….
But I simply snapped with rage …. at the audacity of anyone to make such a suggestion, most of all, this monster dressed up as a girl proposing it. The idea of her having ANYONE'S child was abhorant to me.
After I'd let Mt. Etna erupt, and she was gone, I continued to fume over her suggestions. The insidiousness of this pretext of love! A woman who would raise a child like it was something in a Petri dish.
When my Sicilian volcano was at last dormant again, and I began to become drowsy, my thoughts remained on what Jennifer had suggested - the thought of having a child, even if I couldn't be around to see it grow up.
I had to admit to myself that it was something that did cross my mind in June…. how Leslie had wanted to have ten children, and the thought of only one of them had flickered in my heart, especially since then, I might almost be sure of holding the child in my arms and have a face that I could project growing into adulthood.
Leslie …. How I admired her determination, then became enchanted by her charm and innocence, before falling insanely in love with this girl who crossed my path when I thought Kate was lost to me.
It wasn't a fake. I still do feel love for Leslie, but know that the passion was totally born out of desperation, an affair between a wonderful girl and a crazy man.
When she was gone, I saw the folly and selfishness of such an idea - to father a child who would grow up without me. And my last thought on the subject …. There was only one woman who should be the mother of my children, and it wasn't really Leslie.
Traveling through India, Paul finds he's driven into a just-declared country whose soldiers confiscate his vehicle and documents.
Captured along with two American women, Margo and Jennifer, the entire group are bombed severely from above by government forces. Most of the rebel soldiers are dead, but the Americans make it to the nearby temple headquarters of the new government's military commander.
An American journalist is supporting the unit, and he is suspicious of the three, pointing out how other captives are being executed as spies.
The temple is then bombed all night long with many of the rebels killed. Paul remains under a pool table with Jennifer, a young academic, who espouses her theories about the compulsion of every human being for a sense of continuity - as well as other comments which he finds distressing.
In the morning the rebels still alive have moved on, and the four Americans are advised that the UN will get them to the airport the next day.
While catching up on his sleep Paul is awakened by Jennifer who tells him that she's seen a letter saying that he is dying, and she wants to give him “immortality” by having his child. Paul is incensed, and pulls no punches telling her how abhorrent the idea is to him, saying that she wants to raise a child without a man's interference, and treat it like a specimen on a lab slide.
en route to Laos
Tuesday, August 31
Early in the morning the UN captain showed up with his jeep and armed guard for me to drive Margo to the airport. Before we left the temple we heard the announcement that the state that had lived for only 24 hours no longer existed, and original borders had been agreed by all sides.
How many were left from the one which held us was questionable. Their dead were all around.
My plans now were to go on to Calcutta, and after a couple more days in India, to fly on to Rome where Pete will be driving in the Amalfi Challenge …. I can't wait to find out how he did at the new Hockenheim circuit …. Margo had more or less assumed that she was coming with me to Italy, and I figured I'd just let things roll, and see what happened.
One thing she told me in the jeep reassured me that I hadn't been too hard on Jennifer. Margo recalled how, even before the dreadful night of bombing, just after Jennifer had come in with her documents, “the professor,” as Margo dubbed her, had declared that she wanted me, and I was THE man in all the world for her.
Margo had found it a riot, but to me, it was chilling. Unlike her claims in my bedroom, it wasn't really out of fear that she'd cease to exist from the bombs, or falling in love with the man who protected her, but a cold, calculated plot of a woman looking for a sperm donor.
The UN was brilliant, and had a fully staffed office at the airport where the American consul met us.
They were able to patch a call for me to Marcella, and her first news was that GB had come second at Hockenheim!
Since we'd spoken only a few days earlier, there wasn't much else, but what it was, was LARGE. Marcella said that I needed to urgently go to Laos - Laos? - to see a man named John Rick.
Of course, I told her that I didn't know anyone by that name, and she quoted the man as saying that he was the one who pulled Polo away from Bumble when it was time to go.
It was Johnny Deedrick, referring to the moment he always teased me about for years, when he and I went off to Korea. The UN couldn't do enough for us, and quickly had me booked on the journey to Vientiane, where I'm now headed, my last sight of Margo looking suddenly helpless, and getting instant attention from the young American Consul.
1 - 7 September 1965 ("Make the Angels Weep" / "Hoodlums on Wheels")
Paul drives Margo to the airport in a UN jeep, with Jennifer to be taken there with the American journalist later. Many have died, but a cease fire agreement has moved the borders back to the ones before the new state was declared.