All rights belong to the author: Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir.
This is a short fragment for review the book. The full version can be purchased in the store.

Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir Power Play


Don't Read This Dedication

This is another improper dedication, which one could expect from improper people. In all these books, not one properly colored person has been honored by a dedication. There are many whites. The pages are littered with whites, but that is not surprising considering that the cheap white help who write these books tend to favor their own ilk. There are blacks. Many of the books are dedicated to blacks but not one properly colored person has been honored.

Why We Don't Care

It does not matter that I, Chiun, Master of Sinanju, who have made Sapir and Murphy rich beyond their wildest imaginings, have never been honored. Nor has any other properly colored person been honored, not even a Japanese or Thai, let alone a Korean or anyone from north of the 38th Parallel. I do not mind. Having dealt with Sapir and Murphy, I am well accustomed to basic ingratitude. I don't want a dedication.

A Simple Demand

What I do want is to review all future dedications, lest anti-Koreanism, virulent anti-Koreanism, slip its ugly tentacles into these very pages that should honor the House of Sinanju, on the beautiful West Korea Bay, possibly described as cold and bleak and rocky by those infected with anti-Koreanism.

Pskowski Not Korean

The first four names submitted to me are Pskowski, Cumerford, Freeman, and Cook. The last two are clear. A slave was given his freedom and therefore called Freeman. His name is David Freeman. The second obviously works in a kitchen and her name is Tammy Cook. (I have a vast knowledge of the white mind and its naming systems.)

Cumerford? Pskowski?

Yet in no English-Korean dictionary will you find a Cumerford. Or a Pskowski. And without verification, I cannot allow their dedications. One can be a Shoemaker or a Baker or a Tailor but nowhere have I ever seen in a book of vocations a Pskowski or a Cumerford.

Therefore rejected for dedication are Marge and Walter Pskowski, Mary and Jim Cumerford.

Saved Whose Life?

The Pskowski dedication came with a note that Walter Pskowski had helped bring Sapir to a nearby hospital, possibly saving Sapir's life in some way. And this brings up one of the problems of America. Many of you have suffered from junk mail, useless information which wastes your time reading it. That note about the hospital was junk information. There are few things less important in this world than whether Sapir's life is saved or not, and I have neither time nor inclination to ferret them out. I think the truffle season in the Loir Valley might be less important than Sapir's life.

Then again, there are people who like truffles. As far as I know, only Murphy likes Sapir.

In my awesome magnificence,

I am, with moderate tolerance for you,

Chiun, Master of Sinanju.

Chapter one

His dark, pin-striped suits were hand-tailored in London and cost over eight hundred dollars each. His shirts were single-needle white-on-whites that were custom-made for him for ninety-seven dollars and his shoes were black soft Italian leather slip-ons that cost two hundred eighty-four dollars a pair at a small bootmaker's in Milan. Wesley Pruiss bought twelve pairs at a time.

And he still looked like somebody you'd expect to see in the back seat of a bus bound for Baltimore.

Nature had not been kind to Wesley Pruiss. She had not given him the face or physique of a leader of men or a captain of industry. Instead, he was medium height with a medium weight problem. His hands were small and soft and his face was fleshy without being fat, the kind of face that had no discernible bone in it.

But Wesley Pruiss was a man with an idea. Before him, there had been three major revolutions in men's magazines. First, there was nudity, then pubic hair, then total tastelessness. Pruiss was the fourth revolution.

"If you like your magazine dirty, you'll love it when it's Gross," had read his first national advertisement. His first centerfold had been a photograph of an exquisite dark-haired woman, made up to look as if she were only fifteen years old, sitting naked on the back of a giant brahma bull that was sexually aroused.

The bull issue was snapped off the newsstands of America within three hours. His second issue was devoted to horses, all kinds of horses, bays and roans and palominos and Arabians, all stallions, all in heat. It was in the second issue that Pruiss made his next great contribution to the American sex magazine. He moved his main photo spread out of the centerfold and put it on the inside back cover with an extra fold-out panel. This got rid of the staples in the model's belly and made the picture more suitable for framing.

He also started to develop the distinctive Wesley Pruiss photographic style, which meant having his female model in very soft focus, as if seen through a fog, while the animal in the picture was stark and sharply outlined.

He was asked how he did it and replied that a lot of people rub vaseline on their lenses to get soft focus pictures.

"But how do youdo it?"

"Me?" he said. "I rub my lenses with KY jelly because there isn't anything vaseline can do that KY jelly can't do better." The same issue had featured a long, scholarly article on sheep tupping and why it would always be more fulfilling than making love to cows and horses and goats and chickens.

At first, the press had tried to treat Pruiss as an aberration that would go away, if ignored. But they found it impossible. Grosswas selling two million copies a month and had to be dealt with as a full-blown national phenomenon. It didn't hurt either that Pruiss always travelled in public with a retinue of beautiful women and was not reluctant to share them with whatever reporter came to interview him.

He knew he had it made when Timemagazine did a cover story on him. The cover was a full-color cartoon of Pruiss, surrounded by beautiful women and by horses, bulls, sheep and goats, and its headline was:

"Wesley Pruiss. King of the Beasts."

Pruiss expanded into the nightclub field. Inside three years, he had opened eighteen Gross-Outs, nightclubs in big cities across the country, staffed by Grossie-Girls who worked topless in rooms that served liquor and topless and bottomless in rooms that didn't. A feature of each Gross-Out was a Plexiglass cage suspended from the ceiling over the main bar. In it, women dwarfs go-go danced naked.

The drinks were called Sheep Dip and Horse Dong and Bull Shot and sold for four dollars each, and the gift shop in each club did a brisk business in items like monogramed personal vibrators and molds to make your own frozen mayonaisse dildo. They also sold a lot of C-batteries.

The very first Gross-Out had been opened in Chicago and after a month of operation was picketed by women's groups who thought it was demeaning that grown women should be called Grossie Girls.

Pruiss replied to the press that none of the Grossie Girls were grown women. "I only use jail bait in my clubs," he said.

The women's groups were not pacified. They picketed the club, claiming that Pruiss was unfair to women. This was a viewpoint not shared by the Grossie Girls themselves who, counting tips, were averaging seven hundred dollars a week and paying tax on only three hundred dollars. They were not about to give that up for the honor of being called "Mizz," so they called the protest leaders to a consciousness-raising session, beat them up and stole their clothes. The lawsuits were still pending.

In fact, lawsuits were pending everywhere. It seemed every time Wesley Pruiss turned around somebody else was suing him or filing charges against him; he kept a staff of twenty lawyers working full time on salary just to defend him. And every time a new lawsuit was filed, and the press reported on it, the sales of Grossmagazine went up and the nightclub business expanded. And Pruiss got richer and richer and the magazine, the cornerstone of his empire, got wilder and wilder.

He now used pictures sent in by readers, in a department called "Readers' Slot." "Send us a picture of your slot in action," read the promo piece. The winning photo each month won five thousand dollars. Last month's winner was a woman whose specialty, if widely adopted, would have eliminated the world's flush toilet industry.

He had another standing feature called "Easy Pieces," which featured pictures of women, taken unawares, as they walked along the street. The pictures were accompanied with text that made long, lascivious guesses about the women's sexual habits and preferences. There were seven lawsuits pending on these unauthorized photos too.

Wesley Pruiss once figured out that if he lost every lawsuit and had to pay all the money demanded in the court complaints, he would be out 112 million dollars. And it didn't bother him at all. All he needed was ten minutes headstart and he would be on a private jet for Argentina where he had stashed enough money to live like a pharaoh — or a publisher — for the rest of his life.

So it wasn't lawsuits that occupied Wesley Pruiss's mind on a fresh spring day as he sat in his office on the seventeenth floor of a triangular building on New York City's Fifth Avenue.

First, where was he going to find a place to film the first picture of his new film division, Animal Instincts. He had applied to New York City for permission to film inside city limits. The application had asked for a brief description of the film. Pruiss had written: "The story of a man and woman who find happiness in nature — she with the collie and he with her, a goat, three girlfriends and Flamma, a girl who belly-dances while Sterno flames from her navel."

The city's letter of rejection had just arrived on his desk.

His second problem of the day was to find a model to pose for the main layout in his August issue. The layout was supposed to show a girl making love to a live Mako shark. He had never realized how frightened women were of sharks.

The third problem was those goddamn women marching downstairs in front of his building. Even through the double Thermo-pane windows he could hear them.

He got up from behind his desk and opened the sliding windows that looked down over Fifth Avenue. As he did, the chants of the women below grew louder.

From seventeen floors up, the women looked small, the way he liked women to look. Small and down around his feet. There were twenty of them carrying placards and signs and marching back and forth, chanting "Pruiss must go" and "Grossis gross."

Pruiss's face reddened. He grabbed a portable bullhorn he kept on a table next to the window, clicked it on, and leaned far out the window.

"Grossis gross," came the voices.

"Gross, hah?" Pruiss shouted. His electronically magnified voice swelled over the street and the women stopped chanting and looked up.

"I'll tell you gross," he yelled. "Three hundred and fifty million a year. That's gross."

One of the women also had a bullhorn. She was a former congresswoman who had been causing Pruiss trouble since he started the magazine. He had offered a ten thousand dollar-bounty in Grossfor anyone who could write about an unnatural sex act he had performed with the woman. There were no answers. He raised the reward to twenty thousand. Still no takers. He broadened the category to include natural sex acts. He still got no replies. After running the advertisement in Grossfor six month, he finally dropped it and did a cover story on the woman, calling her "America's last virgin. And why not?"

The woman aimed her bullhorn at him and shouted "You're sick, Pruiss. Sick. And so's your magazine."

"Never been healthier," Pruiss shouted back. "Three million readers a month."

"You belong in an asylum," the woman yelled.

"And you belong in a zoo," Pruiss shouted back. "You want a job?"

"Never," the woman called.

"I'll hire all of you. For photo spreads."


"I'm booked up on girls for the next three years," Pruiss yelled. "But I got openings for two cows, a jackass and a lot of pigs. You all qualify."

"The law will get you, Pruiss," the woman bellowed back. The other women around her began chanting again. "Pruiss must go. Grossis gross."

"What do you have against making it with a bull?" Pruiss demanded. "You ever make it with a horse? Don't knock it if you ain't tried it."

Passersby had stopped to listen to the electronic debate, the participants separated by almost two hundred feet of open space.

"Hey, you. You with the flowered hat," Pruiss called. "Don't tell me you ain't made it with a bull."

The woman with the flowered hat resolutely turned her back on Pruiss.

"If you ain't made it with a bull, you ain't made it with nobody," Pruiss shouted. " 'Cause who else would stick it to a cow?"

"You're sick, Pruiss," the woman on the loudspeaker called.

"Go away, you dykes," Pruiss yelled. "The slut of the month feature is booked up until 1980. I'll call you then."

He closed the window, put down his bullhorn and with a sadistic smile went to the telephone.

"Send a photographer downstairs to shoot pictures of those dykes," he snarled. "If they want to know what for, tell 'em we're starting a new feature, 'Pig of the Month.'"

Pruiss was inspecting the page proofs for the next issue when a woman walked into his office. She was dark-eyed with long black hair that trailed straight and full down her back. She wore a thin white dress of some jersey material that clung to her full body as she moved. She had three file folders in her arms and she smiled at Pruiss as he looked up at her.

"What do you want first? The good news or the bad news?" she asked.

"The good news."

"There is no good news," she said.

"Still having trouble with that shark layout?" Pruiss asked.

The woman nodded, and some of her hair splashed forward onto her shoulder. "Still tough," she agreed. "Everybody's afraid they're going to get their boobies bitten off. We can always use Flamma to pose for it."

Pruiss shook his head. "Flamma's done too many gatefolds already. I don't want to make it look like we can't find girls willing to get screwed by a shark."

"I'll do it then," the woman said.

"Theodosia," Pruiss said. "You know how I feel about that. You did the first one with the bull. And that was enough. Those dingdongs that buy Gross will have to get off on somebody else. Not you, you're mine."

"Aren't you sweet?" Theodosia said. "I'll keep interviewing. We'll get somebody."

"I know," Pruiss said. "What about the movie?"

"We just got turned down by New Jersey."

"Why the hell'd they do that?" Pruiss asked.

"They said they didn't like the content."

"Did you tell them I was a Jersey boy myself?"

"I did even better than that," Theodosia said. "They set up this commission to bring movies to the state so I had lunch with somebody near that commission."


"And I offered him five thousand dollars. And Flamma for three months."

"And he still turned you down?"

Theodosia nodded.

"Jerks," Pruiss said. "Don't they know I'm the wave of the future? A hundred years from now, people will look back and call this the Pruiss era."

"I told him that. He seemed more interested in the five thousand dollars," Theodosia said.

"But he turned us down anyway."


"Maybe we should just go ahead and shoot the damn thing," Pruiss said. "Shoot it anywhere."

"They'll kill us," Theodosia said. "Even if you do it on the estate, they'll kill us. Some blue nose'll get in and see what we're doing and before you know it, all our asses..."

"Don't swear, Theo. It's not ladylike."

"Sorry. All of us will be before a grand jury and then in jail."

Pruiss nodded glumly, then in a small burst of anger, pounded his tiny fists on his desk.

Theodosia walked behind him and began massaging his neck muscles.

"There might be a way," she said.

"What's that?"

"There's a county for sale in Indiana."

"A county?"

"Right. A whole county. It used to have one industry, something to do with knitting. Then that folded. The whole county government went broke and now it's for sale."

"What's that got to do with Animal Instincts?" Pruiss asked.

"Buy the county and it'll be yours. You can do anything you want there."

"I'll still get busted," Pruiss said. He tilted his head to one side, so Theodosia could work on a particularly irritating mass of tightness in his neck.

"How'll you get busted? Every cop and every judge will work for you."

"The people will go apeshit," Pruiss said.

"Cut their taxes. That'll quiet them down," Theodosia advised.

"It won't work," Pruiss said. He sat upright in the chair and flung his hands into the air. "Unless..."

Theodosia worked around the clock for sixty hours, putting all the details in order. And one day later, Wesley Pruiss bought Furlong County, Indiana. With a check. From his personal account.

He was the owner of 257 square miles of American heartland, mineral rights, water rights, fields, town hall, police departments, county courthouse, everything.

He announced it to the world at a hastily called press conference in the New York Gross-Out club. For the occasion, the Grossie Girls were almost clad and the dwarf-a-go-go had been closed down.

"Why are you buying a county?" one of the reporters asked. "What do you want with a county?"

"Because there weren't any countries for sale," Pruiss said. When the laughter had subsided, he looked earnestly at the reporter. "Seriously," he said. "For a number of years, I've been concerned with the nation's energy crisis. The government seems unwilling to break the stranglehold the big oil companies and the Arabs have on America."

"What's that got to do with you buying a county?"

"I'm buying Furlong County to make it a national laboratory for solar energy," Pruiss said. "I'm going to prove that solar energy can work. That it can heat and light and cool and power an entire American county. And to that end, I'm putting all the resources of Gross into the project. We're going to make it work."

He looked around triumphantly. Staff members applauded. Grossie Girls sitting in the audience next to the press members nudged them into applause too. Pruiss looked around the room, nodding vigorously, then stepped back from the microphone and whispered to Theodosia:

"Yeah, we'll make it work. But it may take twenty years. In the meantime, we'll make our movies too. Tell me, did you check? Do I own the sun in Furlong County?"

"Honey, you arethe sun in Furlong County," Theodosia said with a tight-lipped smile.

* * *

The people of Furlong County had been prepared to be outraged when they heard that Wesley Pruiss, that filthy disgusting easterner with the dirty filthy mind who thought money can buy anything, had bought their county. Then they received letters from Pruiss announcing that whatever they had paid in real estate taxes last year would be cut in half this year. They decided they could not understand what all the fuss was about. After all, Mister Pruiss had a right to make a living and nobody forced anybody to read his magazine, and if you didn't like it, you didn't have to read it, and that, Mister Gentleman from the New York Times, is what freedom of speech is all about, and we're surprised at you all picking at a fine gentleman like Wesley Pruiss who wants to do something about the energy crisis and we're all proud to be helping him and playing a part. This is America, you know, or maybe you don't, because we hear what goes on there in New York City, fella.

The combined bands of Furlong County High School, St. Luke's High School, Lincoln Junior High School, Ettinger Junior High and the police and fire marching society were playing when Wesley Pruiss arrived in Furlong.

He was with Theodosia. He introduced her as his secretary. She wore a white cotton top and matching houri trousers and the sun behind her made them transparent.

One woman in the crowd looked at Pruiss and said, "He don't look like no perverter, Melvin."

"Who?" said Melvin, staring at Theodosia and gulping a lot.

Wesley Pruiss said he was happy to be among his people. The band played some more. It kept playing as Pruiss and Theodosia left the airport.

Pruiss had already decided that the only building in the county that he would consider spending a night in was the Furlong Country Club, so he closed down the golf course and took it over as his home.

The bands lined up alongside the practice putting green as Pruiss and Theodosia went inside. They played "Hail to the Chief" a lot. Pruiss told them to go home. They cheered and played some more.

Pruiss told them he loved them all.

The audience cheered. The band played "Hail to the Chief."

Pruiss told the crowd that they must have more important things to do than just greet him.

They shook their heads and cheered. The band played "Garryowen."

"And now I am weary and must sleep," Pruiss said, working hard at keeping his smile.

"We'll play soft," the bandleader shouted. He raised his hands to put the bands into Brahms's Lullaby.

"Get the fuck out of here!" Pruiss screamed.

* * *

The longer he had been away from the Jersey City slum he grew up in, the more golden it had grown in Wesley Pruiss's memory. He had invested the town with some kind of mythic quality, an ability to create toughness and smarts, which he credited for his success in the world.

In talking to the press, Pruiss always referred to himself as a street kid, a slum lad, a kid who learned to fight almost as soon as he learned to walk. A kid who had to fight to survive. He gave bonuses to members of the Grosspublic relations staff who could get that point of view into any national publication. He relished reading about himself as the tough urchin, the child of the streets.

Across the street from the Furlong Country Club, there was a small cluster of three-story frame buildings. One of them looked to Pruiss a little like the cold-water tenement building in which he had been raised in Jersey City. He sent for an architect.

When he explained his idea, the architect said: "You sure you want to do this?"

"Just do it," Pruiss said.

"It'll cost a lot of money."

"Do it."

"You really want me to import garbage and break windows and throw rubble in those lots?" the architect asked.

"That's right."

"You could do it a lot cheaper by starting an affirmative-action housing program," the architect said. "Those people litter a lot faster than workmen on an eight-hour shift."

"That's all right," Pruiss said. I'm interested in quality, not quantity. You do it."

The architect tore down the two end buildings in a three-building cluster. He showed up with contractors and plans and took the structurally-sound, neat, three-story building and turned it into a six-family cold-water walkup. He grumbled a lot and refused to let his name be used in any promotion Pruiss might do about the building.

Every day, as his little transplanted slum area took shape, Pruiss looked from the window of his bedroom, which used to be the country club's card room, and nodded approvingly.

It was done in two weeks.

"You want to inspect it?" the architect said.

"You did it just the way you were supposed to?"

The architect nodded.

"It looks just like the building in Jersey City?" Pruiss asked.

"Exactly. God help me."

"Fine. Send your bill to Theodosia. She'll pay you right away."

That night, there was a full moon over Furlong County. Theodosia was downstairs in the country club's suite of offices, working on Pruiss's personal profit and loss statements.

Pruiss looked out his bedroom window and the top of the three-story building across the street was bathed in a soft white moonglow. He put a light sweater over his T-shirt and walked across the street.

As he stepped inside the door of the replicated tenement, his palms began to sweat.

He looked up the steps. There was a bare bulb burning at the top of the second-floor landing. It cast long shadows down along the wooden steps, each stair meticulously swaybacked in the center, duplicating tenement steps curved and bowed from years of being walked on in the center. Pruiss stepped on the first stair. It squeaked, as it always had when he was a boy. The smell of urine in the hall was strong and bitter.

Sweat broke out on Pruiss's forehead.

He was frightened, just as he had always been frightened, every time he walked up the stairs of that building, the bare wooden steps that led to hallways lined with green linoleum, worn through in spots, installed in a desperate and futile attempt to make the building cheery.

For all his talk of being a child of the streets, the streets had terrified Pruiss. He was smaller than other boys his age and they didn't like him, and whereas they seemed not to mind living in dangerous, dirty slums, Pruiss was frightened for his life every moment of his childhood. It was as if he alone, of all the boys, knew how impermanent life was and that his life was precious, something to be guarded. He had taken to spending more and more time in the family's apartment with his hardworking mother and rarely-seen father, dreaming of what life would be like when he was grown and powerful and rich.

Both mother and father were gone now. He wished they had been around to see him make it. ...

All rights belong to the author: Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir.
This is a short fragment for review the book. The full version can be purchased in the store.