Filmmaker, novelist, and novelist Sameul Fuller had an amazing life: in addition to scripting and directing pictures which would inspire folks like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, and Quentin Tarantino - he was a decorated combat veteran whose WWII experiences included landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and participating in the liberation of the Falkenau concentration camp.
That’s a helluva run by any measure, but only the tip of the proverbial iceberg for this gentleman. For example: in the early 1980s, Fuller ended up butting heads with Paramount over his adaptation of Romain Gary’s novel WHITE DOG - a film the studio declined to release fearing fallout from its racially charged subject matter. This turn of events very much rubbed Fuller the wrong way, ultimately compelling him to enter into something of a self-imposed exile in France.
Despite this relocation, Fuller's career did not end. He continued to direct, also authoring a novel called BRAINQUAKE which was issued in 1993. Previously offered only in French, BRAINQUAKE has never been available in English - until this week’s release from Titan Books. It’s now finding its way to shelves, and is orderable HERE.
The fine folks over at Titan sent over an excerpt from their awesome new release. Enjoy.
Eyes shut, meerschaum in mouth, Mr. Grigor in bright blue trunks enjoyed the warm sand under his back. No day to be at work. Especially not with all the hijackings raising everyone’s blood pressure. Let the Boss hold his people’s feet to the fire if she wanted to—wouldn’t do any good, and he just as soon preferred not to be there for it.
His tilted ground umbrella protected him from the sight of the three young girls down the beach tossing an inflatable ball around. He preferred to ignore them, and be ignored by them. Not that he’d never been tempted, in his younger days. But he loved his wife, his family, and didn’t need temptation at this point in his life. Not that sort, anyway.
He enjoyed the feeling of the sun beating down on his face.
It made him look and feel younger.
He sighed. Tomorrow, back to the Laundry. Lie detector tests! They were obsolete—like the Boss. She was smart, sure, but he was smarter. It had taken him sixteen years but he had outsmarted her. He felt no guilt about betraying her. She was a sucker for having chosen him, for having trusted him. Over the previous two years he had devised a foolproof plan for how to launder his own heist, how to filter it through cunning outlets. It all had to be done very gradually so that when he was old enough to retire, and that would be years from now, he could bask in the sun for the rest of his days, with security for his family and no trace of sudden wealth.
He had meticulously planned the string of hijacks. By now they were over, the last of the money safely stashed, and no one the wiser…
The corner of a Polaroid photo tapped against the bowl of his pipe. His eyes opened in anger that changed to shock. Held up, side by side in front of his eyes, were the two photos of the dead pirates.
“You thought we couldn’t trace the Griff brothers back to you?” The voice behind the photos was soft.
Father Flanagan, on his knees, tossed the photos on the sand, pushed the pipe deep into Mr. Grigor’s mouth to the bowl, twisted Mr. Grigor’s head around and slammed his face into the sand. Mr. Grigor’s body struggled, his feet kicked sand into the air, but the steel hands of the priest kept the suffocation process going smoothly.
Humming very softly, Father Flanagan caught a flash of the lovely movements of an 18-year-old beneath the edge of the umbrella. Her legs, then her hands as she bent to pick up the ball. Mr. Grigor stopped struggling and kicking.
The priest felt the pulse on Mr. Grigor’s neck behind the ear. Twisting Mr. Grigor’s sand-smudged head around, the priest couldn’t understand why his victim had arranged the umbrella to block off his view of those girls. If it had been him… But then, if Mr. Grigor hadn’t blocked the view he’d have had to find someplace else to carry out his assignment, so in that sense it was just as well. Producing a handkerchief, which he shook out, he brushed off all the sand from Mr. Grigor’s face. He gently closed the eyes, brushed off more sand. Then he brushed off sand from the pipe, pulled it out until it was in a more natural-looking position in the dead man’s mouth. Still humming, he slowly looked behind the umbrella. The girls were tossing the ball, laughing. He rose to his feet and walked off.
He didn’t really like making the hit on a beach.
Suffocation was amateurish. Degrading. He missed his hammer, his spikes, a good solid wall. But this hit was an emergency, and when, in an emergency, an opportunity this good presented itself, one did what one had to.
Father Flanagan disliked emergency hits. They always altered his modus operandi.
But Mr. Grigor was a major hit, and it had been clear when the instructions came down that it had to be completed the same day.
He reached the parking lot, climbed into his car.
Well, it was completed now.