PAUL BRYAN'S JOURNAL
From the diary about this episode:
Thursday, September 9
After broken sleep filled with bound and gagged elephants, flew from Paris to Nice, and Pete was there to meet me. We had a long session sharing our lives since Rio. He was horrified about the kidnapping, asking again and again if I were all right.
Finally, I tried to compare the experience with a crash, but failed to admit that I was still munching the tranquillizers the doctor had given me.
Pete filled me in on track gossip, and described his Burgundy win in detail along with the credible - and lucrative second at Amalfi.
When I told the story about Johnny and Rosintha, Pete looked troubled, but said nothing. I'm starting to read indictments of Johnny everywhere, but though they were acquainted since our teens, Pete never knew Johnny like I did.
On our way out for the evening, we ran into none other than Rachel Pike, who apparently owns two floors of Pete's building. (had recognized her yacht …. steamship …. in the harbor on arrival in Monte Carlo.) She said I must fly out to “the island” for Sunday, as “Ken” Galbraith would be over for dinner.
Turning on the most feminine charm, Rachel took my hand, and said how much she wanted me to be there. With those eyes looking deep into mine, what else could I say, but that I'd be honoured.
Wasn't even thinking about the race I'd come for, mesmerized by this powerful financier, and she was gone in a flash, but not before giving Pete a peck on the cheek. I decided not to ask him about that. Pete Gaffney is a man one could find anywhere.
We ate devilled lobster in the open air, and talked about Saturday's race. Over brandy Jeff Daulton came by, lamenting how his navigator had gotten injured in a sailing accident this afternoon. “Paul could fill in for you,” Pete said, as if on cue, and I found myself agreeing to take the seat.
The three of us talked for another hour until I had to excuse myself rather than fall asleep at the table, making a date in the morning to meet Jeff for testing. At the hotel was a note from Rachel giving details for the trip to St. Andrews.
Friday, September 10
Driving with Jeff is nothing like navigating for Pete. A totally different style that made me wonder if I'd made the right decision. Maybe it's some aftershock from the terror at the lake, but I'm just edgier in his car and at his turns.
A lovely surprise when I met Pete for lunch. June had arrived for the race, and was in top form, just back from her father's sugar plantation in Hawaii.
Pete was urging her to stay on for the race celebrations on Sunday night (very interesting that!), but she said that she had to be in the Tampa office on Monday, and was bringing a crowd of executives with her on a chartered jet.
Popping up with another suggestion to manage my life, Pete said she should take me along to make connections to Rachels's, and the always loose and easy June just replied, “of course.”
She was casual, but I found myself suddenly becoming emotional. Yes, it was nothing with plenty of room in the plane, but I started to think about what a haven her Paris apartment has been to me.
That and the knife-edge stress I'd been through only three days ago caused me to leave the table for a few minutes to pull myself together. I went to the men's room and splashed water on my face, let some held-back tears flow away as well, and returned to Pete and June.
They were kissing as I approached, and we all quietly addressed our desserts then, probably a little closer as a trio. Know that I can never tell Pete about the diagnosis, but the sometimes desperation to do so almost gets the best of me.
Things seemed to go a little smoother in the afternoon with Jeff, and we qualified in the middle of the field. Put in a couple hours with the charts and maps to make sure I'd do my job credibly before sampling a little of the Monaco high life with Jeff and what seemed like thousands of beautiful women whose prime object appeared to be becoming acquainted with us.
Nevertheless, I cut out at midnight alone, determined to regroup and get my mind straight, but find myself thinking again of Leslie. The race course includes the spot where we crashed - and a few other places we were together.
It's strange that she's never written. So often I see her face in a crowd, and then it turns out to be someone else. Thought her father might be here, but no sign of him. I was hoping to find out how she is.
Monte Carlo - en route to Florida
Saturday, September 11
A race day on the Riviera is probably something I could never take in my stride, were I …. to live to be a hundred. Like hopping to a different planet populated by people who look so much like humans. Dazzling, delightful and totally eccentric!
A surprise highlight was looking up from a map to see Mark Shepard standing before me along side Pete, saying how well The Farm was represented in the pit today. I gave him a hug, and asked if he still had OUR car, and he said she was running well enough to join the race.
Which was about to start, so I headed over to Jeff's car with Pete's words, “good luck with the mad man,” ringing in my ears. It wasn't that bad, but I decided to confine my navigating to GB in future. Stay with the winners!
Pete came in first for the second time in three races, and I didn't mind at all being in the car which finished 15th. Difficult to know which was the highlight of the day - the race or the parties afterwards.
At the second, GB's principal and driver invited me to navigate for him at the Kölön Test For, and being the junior partner of the team, I accepted humbly, agreeing to meet Pete in Paris on Tuesday, and went on to party number three.
At the fourth, I felt a kiss on my cheek coming from behind my back. Anticipating a warm embrace with another jet set glamour girl, I found it to be a jet set business woman - June - telling me it was time to go to the airport. The plane couldn't be more luxurious. This is really the way to fly!
Tampa - Cuba - Tampa
Sunday - Monday, September 12 - 13
When she took that tumble into the ground, Alice couldn't have had a comparable experience to mine after June dropped me off to pick up the sea plane for Rachel's island.
Instead of a short hop, I was flown to Cuba as part of a plot to kill Fidel Castro. The hijackers claimed it was only an accident they didn't get the seaplane away before I boarded, but as the plot thickened, it became clear that I was a key ingredient in the plan - the American fall guy who'd be blamed for the assassination.
And what is so incredible, it was I who kept volunteering to go with them when they told me to stay back. I followed their breadcrumbs everywhere.
I wasn't the only pawn in the game. So was the wife of Ramon Diaz, one of Castro's early comrades, whom the President later jailed.
The group explained the seaplane was to spirit Anita Diaz and her escapee husband away from the island, but in actual fact, Diaz had died in prison, and these guys who passed themselves as his friends were no more than mercenaries ….. acting for whom, that's anybody's guess.
Anita was waiting on shore when the sea plane landed near the town of Las Crusos, and said that her husband hadn't met her as she'd been told he would.
I freely went to her house, and when he still wasn't there, also accompanied the hijacker into town, though both times he told me to stay behind.
He counted on a certainty that I would go against him, and then started giving instructions - go into a bar where I drew public attention when drawn into an altercation …. Go into the church tower and watch him walking down the street.
But when the shots were fired at Castro from the roof above me as he alighted from his limousine, everything clicked in my mind - even before the guns were thrown down from the trap door above me - or I heard myself being locked in.
It was only some residue of all I put in trying to outdo Tony Oliviera at high school gymnastics that got me out of that church tower before the militia broke down the door I had so freely entered.
But the exhilaration of escape was turned around by something awful that happened when Anita and I got back to the beach. We'd taken along the leader of the gang at gunpoint, and his comrades followed us.
They wounded him and kept on shooting at us. Firing back, I killed both of them. A terrible feeling, no matter what they had planned for me or that it was in self defense.
It will take me a long time to sort through everything that happened, but the whole thing is in the hands of the FBI in Tampa now. Anita Diaz and I spent hours being debriefed by them, and they sent men over to Rachel as well.
Unfortunately, the leader who led me down so many false paths, died on the return flight, and there can be no information forthcoming from him.
Between the limited amount they told me and what I got from Rachel on the phone, it appears that some Cubans on her staff at the island had the plan ready to go, but mixed me up with someone else named Peter Byron, whose plans to visit Rachel were cancelled as suddenly as mine were made.
He had a lot of interests in Cuba before the revolution, and would have made a plausible assassin, having also been in the OSS during the War. Rachel said she'll be replacing her entire island staff, and is also planning to make contact with Anita Diaz, to see if she can do anything for her.
If I was trying to squeeze 30 years of living into one or two, think I've already accomplished the job. It's difficult to believe that the whole incident took less than 24 hours. Sitting here on the flight to Paris, I look down at my hand and know that it has taken two lives since I last wrote in these pages.
Dozed off twice, and both times had a version of the elephant dream. In this one, a room in my house was made into a nursery. The baby elephant was standing in a large play pen, and stroking a picture of the creature I had shot.
The man on the dock asks if he can come along
Paul finds his plane has been hijacked
Paul says their plan won't work
Anita Diaz apologizes to Paul
Paul learns about why Diaz was imprisoned
Anita hands Paul a fresh shirt
Another patron starts an altercation with Paul
Paul is instructed to watch the street
Castro is within Felipe's gun site
At gunpoint the leader admits that Diaz is dead
Anita can't find the fuse rack in the car
The leader asks to be left in Cuba
Anita believes the leaders statement is true
They wait in the plane for the patrol boat to leave
Paul expresses sympathy to Anita
Puzzled, the leader asks, "who's Che Guevara?"
Paul is in Tampa, Florida, about to board a private seaplane to take him to the island of St. Andrews.
As he is driven up, he sees a plane about to take off, and races over to ask if it's his.
A man at the dock confirms that it's indeed the plane reserved for Paul, and asks if he might come along on the flight, and Paul says he welcomes the company.
After a while Paul notices that the plane is flying in the wrong direction for his destination. The man accompanying him pulls out a gun, and says they're headed for Cuba, having knocked out the regular pilot of the plane.
He claims to have spent five years in Castro's prisons, and tells Paul that Felipe, who is at the controls, spent two, Now they are going to pick up a compatriot, Ramon Diaz, who has escaped after being sentenced to 20 years.
He says that Paul arrived at the dock just as they were about to take off, and so were forced to bring him along. He adds that he never would have survived prison without Diaz, and swore he'd get Diaz out of Cuba if his comrade ever managed to escape, which he did two days earlier. The local patrol boat has been put out of order by the underground, and they plan to fly under the radar. Paul says that's impossible, and suggests that they land five miles out at sea. When they arrive, there is a light signal from the shore from Diaz' wife.
She tells them that there is a rumor that Castro is going to be in the locale today, and this must be the reason that her husband didn't meet his contact, with militia swarming the area.
She asks Paul if it was his plane they took, and apologizes, saying that the men who knew her husband would risk their life out of loyalty for him.
While she has prayed for their safety, Anita tells Paul she knows what they've done to him is wrong
Paul says that he's heard of her husband, and thought he was a close friend of Fidel Castro.
Anita Diaz explains that her husband was his second in command when they were fighting in the Sierre Maestra, but when Castro decided to throw in his lot with the Communists, her husband expressed disapproval, and Castro gave him a 20-year prison sentence for protesting.
She puts this in context by telling him that when Castro led a revolt in 1953, Baptiste only sentenced him to seven years.
The group reassembles, and Paul is told to stay by the plane, but insists on going with the others who proceed to the Diaz house.
Ramon Diaz has not arrived, and the group plans to go into town. Again, it is suggested that Paul stay back, but he reckons, if they have to make a quick getaway, he might be left behind. So Felipe, the pilot remains at the house instead, and Paul is given a gun. When they're gone, Felipe assembles a rifle.
They drive into town, and the leader suggests they go in the bar separately while Anita waits in the car. In the bar Paul orders a beer, then realizes that he only has American money. Another patron comes over and starts making accusations at him, bringing Paul to the attention of everyone in the place.
Paul doesn't respond, and the bartender tries to calm the protester down, then the leader comes over and brings him away from Paul. Two militia men come into the bar and look around, then the leader leaves, and the bartender tells Paul to follow him.
Outside, the leader beckons Paul to an upstairs room. He says that Diaz is hiding in the church, and gives Paul instructions to watch if anyone is following him when he walks in the street, and hands him a flash light to signal whether if it is safe. Then he will bring Diaz out, and they will all go quickly to the car, where the plane's fuse block is hidden.
Paul asks about why the man attacked him in the bar, and the leader responds that the patron thought Paul didn't look Cuban, and resembled a man who'd seduced his sister.
Meanwhile, the leader joins Felipe on the roof above Paul, and they take out rifles. Paul keeps his eye on the scene where much action breaks out in the street as the militia prepares for the entrance of Fidel Castro. Then the door of the room where Paul is waiting is locked by Fernando, the man who'd attacked Paul in the bar. Paul panics, and sees Castro step out of his car. Shots ring out from the roof above him, and the militia fires back. Castro's car drives away at speed, and from an opening in the ceiling, the assassins throw rifles they used into the room where Paul is locked in.
Already, the militia is banging on the door of the room Paul is in. He steps on a small case, and tries to reach the opening in the ceiling. Just to grab the catch is near impossible, but he finally manages to lever himself up and pull himself through the space and onto the roof just before the militia men get the door open.
The leader gets to the car, and tells Anita that they have to leave. She asks about her husband, but is only told to get going when Paul suddenly appears, pointing his gun at the leader, and telling him that despite Felipe's best efforts, Castro is still alive.
Anita asks again about her husband, and the leader reveals that Diaz was killed in prison three months earlier. At gunpoint Paul also makes him admit that Fernando purposely drew attention to the foreigner in the bar, and the whole thing from the dock in Tampa was a set up to make it look like the assassin was an American. It also turns out that the fuse rack, necessary to get the plane running, is not under the back seat of the car as Paul had been told. He asks Anita if such a plan might have been devised by the underground, but she responds that they'd never create a plot like that against the United States.
The radio broadcasts no word of the attempt on Castro's life.
Back at Anita's house, the leader finally offers to give Paul the fuse rack if he can stay in Cuba. He tries to stall until Felipe and Fernando arrive, but Paul's threats finally get to him, and Anita is able to retrieve the device under a bureau.
Driving to the beach, Paul keeps asking who hired the group, but gets nothing but evasive answers until he says, “I'm still looking for an excuse to kill you. Now, one more lie, and I've found it.”
With Paul's gun cocked in front of his face, the leader says that he's a member of the Cuban Communist Party, and his group offered Castro a ready-made organization.
Anita confirms to Paul that there were no Communists fighting with Castro in the Sierre Maestra, and explains that he only joined with them later. She says they were sure that they were using him, but he used them instead.
Anita insists that the Communists wouldn't dare assassinate Castro without having an American to blame it on.
On arrival at the beach, Paul tells the leader that he's taking him with them, though he imagined that Paul had promised to let him stay. Felipe and Fernando then drive up and fire shots at them.
The opposition is quelled, but the leader is shot, and Paul drags him through the water to the plane.
It is then a tricky matter of reinstalling the fuse rack into the plane with the patrol boat back in operation. In the end Paul decides to wait until it has left the area again.
Paul tells Anita that he is sorry about her husband, then that she will like the United States
When the patrol boat has finally disappeared at dawn, Paul takes off
The leader says that Paul is bringing him back as proof of what happened, but the proof is going to die.
Paul tells him that he'll be in the hospital soon, and asks again who planned the operation.
“Who knows?” the leader responds, and admits that he lied earlier, meaning that he was not a Communist, but only a man for hire. Paul doesn't believe him, and asks who was supposed to take Castro's place.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” answers the failing man. Paul says that his own guess is that the successor was to be Che Guevara. Anita looks shocked, and Paul asks the leader if it was a good guess. Both eagerly await his answer, but the man looks puzzled, and then asks, “who's Che Guevara?”
Notes & Comments:
An interesting story idea. The concept that some events we watch may not be what they seem to be might leave some viewers confused - with no opportunity to make everything in the episode gel clearly in their minds without video replay in 1967.
Director of Photography
John McCartey &
Robert C. Bradfield
Color by Technicolor
Editorial Dept. Head
Assistant to Producer