Run For Your Life
Starring Ben Gazzara

Paul Bryan's Journal
4 - 9 March 1966

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4 - 9 March 1966 ("The Colc Cold War of Paul Bryan")

After the avalanche, everyone's nerves are on edge as Paul tries to devise a plan to destroy Carlos Portaz, the dictator who killed his friend and teacher. The next morning, at breakfast, Paul learns that the girl he'd been romancing has decided to go away with the General.

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Return to "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan" page or read from Paul's journal about the events of the episode below

Journal Entry
Chronology of Events
Friday, March 4

Slept through most of the flight to Copenhagen, and felt refreshed when arriving on the connection in Zurich. Coming into Montenaro was something else on the private rail car. The place was heavy with snow.
Certainly her father never said one word about my looking after his daughter at Montenero, so I am not sure where she got the idea, but Miss Laura is under the impression that I am here to propose marriage to her.
Something in this girl's manner reminds me so much of Nicole. This blind faith in her own opinion - a belief that is drawn out of the most far-fetched place in the atmosphere.
As she apparently didn't know a thing about Kate, figured the best thing to tell her was that I'm a confirmed bachelor. Certainly hope, I didn't get it wrong, and Laura is not the reason Phil Beaumont invited me - and that he won't suddenly toss me off the mountain if I don't seem to be courting his daughter.
With that possibility in mind, am going to hit the slopes, and get at least something out of this “dream destination” before I'm expelled. It certainly IS all it's cracked up to be.


After tackling some fairly tricky slopes in Zermatt last month, I felt ready to take on an incredibly advanced one here, but had a lousy tumble - though nothing harmed, only my ego with Laura giggling above. Still, it was some run while it lasted!
But all the joy went straight out the window - or down the steepest slope - when the last guests of the week arrived. General Carlos Portaz and two of his thugs.
The very man responsible for the death of one of my dearest friends and mentors. A crime I could not forgive if my life lasted 100 years. Unfortunately, Portaz and his thugs went out for the afternoon session with us, and it felt like the snow had turned dirty to have him around.
He was all charm in the evening, however, willing to act the fool with a balance board, and had obviously lured Laura in, hook, line and sinker.

Paul arrives at the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Montenaro, and is told by Laura Beaumont that she doesn't want to marry a man picked out by her father. They go skiing together, and then the evil dictator Carlos Portaz arrives at the hotel. Everyone goes skiing, but Paul is greatly disturbed by the presence of Portaz, as are Laura's parents who see that she's interested in the man.

Saturday, March 5

The whole place rocked this morning - worse than any earthquake I've experienced in San Francisco, and the entire mountain seemed to fall in as an avalanche cut us off completely during breakfast.
There's a good back up system here for electric generation and heating - but of course, that depends on how long it takes to get to us.  Not being on a regular railroad line, it certainly won't be right away.
Took a few volumes from the excellent library to my room, but was just as happy to meditate and rest.  The air here is certainly conducive to sleep, and I'm catching up on what I lost in the last week.
In the evening, Laura was coming on to Portaz shamelessly - embarrassing all the other guests, and driving her father up the wall. But never a word to me on the subject, so it's clear that my being marriage material for her must be the last thing in his mind.
After he broke up the dance at midnight, she joined me for a drink - obviously so her father wouldn't see her going up to Portaz' room. The thought of it disgusted me, but I tried to listen to Laura's serious talk about fearing death with understanding.
That we might die here is nothing I would have considered. But it is so peaceful without all the bustling activity now, I could easily imagine this place as some kind of way station on the journey to eternity.

In the morning, there is a major avalanche, and Montenaro is cut off. The guests try to amuse themselves.

Sunday, March 6

Breakfast with Laura who declared she was going with Portaz to his island. Tried to explain how evil and corrupt he is, and even told her about Juan del Real, but she remained as cock sure of herself and her own opinions as ever.
 How did I ever find Laura so pleasant in Hawaii? The manager confided to us that it might be wise to conserve the heat, so we all voted to keep the thermastat down and wear some extra clothing.
When one of Portaz' thugs wanted to raise the temperature, I told him about the democratic vote which his boss had chosen not to participate in, and a fight ensued, only stopped by the man himself.
He's playing it friendly in this jet set company, his reputation bound to get a boost by their onward conversation if he plays the PR right.
To check fraying nerves, he suggested the men play poker, but I tried to take his own idea and turn it into a way of destroying him with the fifth-card draw and minimum required bet against the pot.
I could see that Portaz loved the idea, and he began playing with relish, if not wisdom, as the pot grew and grew until we felt too exhausted to play anymore.

Monday, March 7

Can see how irritated Laura is becoming, watching Portaz play with so much recklessness against my own cool ambivalence. The game is exhausting, and I come up to my room unable to open a book or even start meditating before nearly falling asleep without taking off my clothes.

Laura tells Paul at breakfast that she intends to go away with Portaz, and Paul informs her how the dictator was responsible for the death of his friend and law professor.

As everyone's nerves are on edge by the second day, Portaz suggests the men play poker, but Paul comes up with a card game that he believes will break Portaz

The game continues. Portaz has staked millions on the game, but continues to lose.
Tuesday, March 8

The total available to win reached $6 million - most of it Portaz' checks from his massive failed bets against the pot, and when I got a dream hand, that truly couldn't be beaten, I wagered it all.
Portaz tried to stop me, questioning my ability to back a check for the sum, but I went ahead and won. That was the end of the game, and he came to my room, threatening to kill me if I cashed his worthless checks.
Was as weary as I was filled with hate for the man, and what might have been wonderful side stepping and counter threat on my part seemed weak to me, but I don't think he really felt sure of me when he left.

Wednesday, March 9

Before everyone got up to leave I announced to the assembled throng that Portaz didn't have the money to back up the six million he had staked. Plain and simple.
One of the thugs tried to stop me, but I was ready for him, and feel sure that, courtesy of all the garrulous individuals in the guest contingent - not to mention the staff - that word of his insolvency will quickly be broadcast in all the right circles, most especially to anyone thinking of backing his return to power.
Even Laura seemed finally to be convinced, regretting already the fact (again this self-certainty) that she and I would never meet again. If she only knew what I was thinking.
Since Pete spoke so often about Gstaad, I decided to head over there and see it before my sailing tomorrow, and there, of all people, was Dena Fuller, in the midst of trying to get over a romance with a ski bum of some sort.
Met him briefly in the afternoon, and then at night with his brother - a nasty piece of work, and am sure that she is better off without him. Dena seems to still have a crush on me, and the moment I foolishly suggested that she sail back with me to New York (assuming accommodations were full), she was packing.
Gstaad is definitely a place I'd like to come back to and stay a while, but the calendar pages will probably preclude that.

10 - 20  March 1966 ("The Grotenberg Mask")
When the pot reaches $6 million (most of it Portaz' money), Paul bets the lot on a good hand and wins it all. Portaz goes to his room, and admits that he can't cover the checks Paul is holding, and says that if he makes an attempt to cash them or let the his financial situation be known, Portaz will have Paul killed.

The rail line is cleared, and everyone is able to leave, but before they do, Paul exposes Portaz' financial situation.

Paul then travels to Gstaad and meets Dena Fuller, her boyfriend and his brother.