Directed by John Frankenheimer
It wasn't that Paris was bleak in the winter exactly. It's that it wasn't like anywhere else that Jack knew about. He'd spent two and a half weeks in the city several years ago as part of a vacation he'd bought himself after a tough case. That had been the autumn though, which the city now greatly resembled. It was mostly just wet, with a constant threat of rain or the rain that had been threatened.
He walked up to the third floor flat and knocked on the door. He had been expecting an old French man and was surprised when a rather energetic English man met him at the door. This man had a full head of blonde hair and all his teeth, even if they were stained an odd shade of yellow. He had a smile that look distracted and nervous, like something had gone hideously wrong.
"Mister Collier?" He asked in an excitedly energetic tone.
"That's right." Jack said shaking his hand, which mostly meant sticking his hand out and letting it be grasped by both of the other man's. "Mister Pujol?"
"That's right." He said his nervous widening his smile and pulling a wallet out of his suit coat. "Well almost. I'm the man who came here to talk to Le Pétomane. My names Brisbane, Her Majesty's Secret Service."
"So where is Pujol?" Collier asked.
"You'd better come see." Brisbane said waving his hand.
They walked through a narrow kitchen and into a small room where a man was encased in a large amount of brown bread. Pujol wasn't a big man, but even so it had to be quite a large pudding to hold him. There was a large crack down the middle and Collier could see the man's body which was resting in a place where it had been encased. Collier walked towards it and poked the boiled bread and leaned back. The Englishman was smiling nervously, like he had been a clerk who had been asked to fill in for the day during the emergency.
"Is this a Buddha Day pudding he's been boiled in?" Collier asked.
"Yes." Brisbane nodded and Collier could understand the man's look. He rather felt a similar smile like look on his face. "It get's worse I'm afraid. There is a steak of holly that's been plunged through his chest."
"So, a warning then?" Collier asked.
"It would seem so."
There was something in the room that had gotten up Collier's nose and he sneezed suddenly. It was quite a violent and sudden sneeze that caused his head to snap forward to where he was almost bent over double. As his head snapped forward a picture frame exploded. Collier fell to the ground and looked at a small hole through the window. Had he not sneezed at that moment there would have been a big hole through what was left of his head. Brisbane fell to the ground, his hand already drawing out a small pistol.
"There is a hole in the window." Brisbane said.
"I see it." Collier said calculating the trajectory of the bullet from the two holes. "You shoot much?"
"Not really." Brisbane said.
"Then stay there." Collier then stood up suddenly, aiming at the window where the sniper had come from. He fired all eight rounds from his Walther and then slipped back to the ground. He saw a shape get up and run from that room. "He's on the move."
He got up and ran out of the room, reloading the Walther as he ran. As he got to the door he heard Brisbane behind him. He ran down the stairs with the Englishman at his heels. Both of them seemed to have the same idea as they rushed out of the building and saw a gray Mercedes idling across the street from them with the back door open. A man in black clothes stuck himself out the passenger window and started to fire at them over the roof as some one rushed from the building and into the car. The car then started to rush away.
"My car's right there." Collier said as he pushed the button unlocking his rental. "Let's go."
"We can't catch them!" Brisbane said as they rushed towards his BMW that Miss Cashnickle had arranged for him. "We should call it in."
"Do that." Collier said as he started the engine. "But those fuckers aren't getting away from me."
The car moved forward so fast and smoothly that it took Brisbane back a moment. It was, he said later, like driving with a formula one racer. Collier weaved through the traffic with masterful ease. A truck managed to block the road at one point and Brisbane was sure they'd lost the other car, Collier simply turned the car up onto a section of the pavement where it dipped low enough for a ramp and drove around until the truck had passed and flew back onto the road. Collier's eyes flicked quickly back and forth as he drove through the street, the gray Mercedes still several car lengths ahead of them.
It would be pointless to attempt to explain the entire chase, which took them through half of Paris and the better part of ten minutes. It would be fair to say that while the driver of the Mercedes was a good driver, Collier was better and he kept gaining on them by degrees.
"Where did you learn these tricks?" Brisbane asked. "Some sort of technical driving school?"
"No." Jack said turning the car on a hard corner and sliding in a slight drift before catching control of the car again and racing back down after the Mercedes. "I'm from Michigan, we all drive like this."
"Good lord." Brisbane muttered. "You mean they teach you drive like this?"
"No." Collier said as he snapped to the right to avoid a group of pedestrians too close to the street for his liking. "I mean everyone on the roads drives just like this. It's very frustrating when I have to drive other places because no one else in the world seems to know how to use their damn cars."
"That corner, we can cross on that walk way." Brisbane said pointing as the car started down a boulevard.
"Nope." Collier said and then suddenly turned to drive down the wrong way on the street.
"What the hell!" Brisbane screamed as Collier snapped to avoid one oncoming car after another. "You did it before."
"There was a kid too near pavement." Collier said. "Don't want to hurt anyone."
He twisted the BMW back onto the right side of the road and then nearly had to twist it back off again as the man who had shot at them did so again. The bullets tore up the road around the tires, but Collier felt sure that the car was fine after a moment and he gunned the engine again. He put the Mercedes on the left side of the BMW which Brisbane took as a signal and rolled his window down. As Brisbane stuck his arm out the window and fired a few times at the back window the grey car Collier yanked on his arm.
"No!" Collier yelled. "Better idea and they might live to talk."
He got the right front corner of the BMW up to the back left corner of the Mercedes. He then gently turned the wheel and pressed the bumpers together and gunned the engine. He turned the wheel gently again and the Mercedes started to turn sideways until he yanked the wheel hard and the gray car drifted entirely sideways, starting to spin out of control. Collier hit the brakes and then gunned the engine, smashing the front of BMW into the rear of the Mercedes. The gray car spun around and flew up onto the pavement, flying into a high stone wall. The Mercedes tilted onto its side and then fell back down onto a large concrete flower bed, trapping its wheels off the ground.
Collier barely waited for the BMW to come to a complete stop before yanking up on the hand break and throwing the door open. The Paris police were already rushing towards the place where the two cars had stopped as Collier ran around the BMW aiming his Walther at the car. He shouted at the men in English for the dual reason that the reckoned they could speak it and he couldn't manage more than four words in French.
"Get out of the car and on the ground!" He shouted. "On the ground now or so help me I'll kill you and fuck your corpse with a piece of grandma's peanut brittle!"
Brisbane was waving his credentials at the police and explaining that Collier was indeed on their side. The three men, the one in the back wounded in the shoulder, got out dazedly from the car and were taken into custody by the police. Collier slid the gun away and looked at the rental car which probably would have to be taken away by a wrecker now.