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«Balance Of Power», Warren Murphy и др.

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DESTROYER #44: BALANCE OF POWER

Copyright (c) 1981 by Richard Sapir 'and Warren Murphy

FORWARD

Warren Murphy lives in New Jersey. He has been a newspaperman, a sequin polisher and a political consultant. His hobbies are mathematics, chess, martial arts, opera, politics, gambling, and sloth. Occasionally married, he is the father of four children.

He tells how the Destroyer series got started:

"The first Destroyer was written in my attic in 1963. It finally got published in 1971 and was an overnight success. In those days, Dick Sapir was my co-author and partner. He retired from the Destroyers a couple of years ago and took his name off the books when he decided he didn't want anybody to know he knew me. I helped him make this decision by locking him in my cellar for eight days without water.

"Nevertheless, he still hangs around. Various characters that appear in these pages are Dick's. Occasionally, he writes sections when someone or something annoys him. Anyone who knows him knows that this guarantees a certain frequency of appearance.

"Dick used to write the first half of books and I would write the second half. When he was mad at me, he would just send me 95 pages without a clue on how the book might be resolved. He would never write more than 95 pages. He stopped at the bottom of page 95 no matter what. Once, he stopped in the middle of a hyphenated word.

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"We used to get a lot of letters and answer them, but then Dick took over answering them and lost all the letters and forgot to pay the rent on our post office box. He said he was sorry.

"In answer to the questions we get asked most: there really is a Sinanju in North Korea, but I wouldn't want to live there. There really isn't a Remo and Chiun, but there ought to be. Loud radios are the most important problem facing America. The Destroyer is soon to be a major motion picture. We will keep writing them forever."

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AFTERWORD

What have they done to Richard Sapir? And why is only Warren Murphy's picture on the cover? These and other vital questions are casting gloom over the tenth anniversary of the Destroyer.

By Richard Sapir

Why am I asking these questions? Because none of you did. For a year now, my byline has failed to appear on Destroyer, on the more than 20 million copies sold. These mind-wrenching questions have crossed exactly one other mind besides mine. And I say to the fine, sweet, noble lady: "Thank you, Mom."

The tragic fact is none of you have missed me. Sales have increased. Readership has jumped. Complimentary letters abound.

Warren Murphy, whose name now appears alone, has not even gotten a phone call in the middle of the night, perhaps saying: "You scum bag. Where's Dick Sapir? You're nothing without him."

Warren claims his phone is as quiet as a midnight kiss over a baby's crib. I know this is not so, but professional ethics forbid me from revealing my source. Just for your information, however, let it be known that he gulped and was stuck for an answer and wanted to know who the caller was.

Well, Warren, I will tell you who it was. It was your conscience.

Enough of that. I am not a bellyacher. But where

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were your letters to me? Where was the begging I so richly deserved? Is a simple grovel too much to ask?

Did one of you possibly consider that you had done something wrong? Did you think you were the cause of my leaving?

Where was a simple act of contrition? All I got was a wedding invitation from an old friend now living in Colorado . . . and that was three months late and said nothing about my leaving the series. Just had some printed nonsense about his daughter getting married.

So I am gone.

And you don't care.

Well, I don't care that you don't care. In fact, I never cared that you didn't care. I was just somewhat taken aback by the depths of your not caring, its broad base and cross-community penetration.

But why should I be surprised at this time?

In the ten years that my name appeared on the series, did one of you ever dedicate your lives to me? Where were the hallelujahs? What about a Richard Sapir festival? I would have settled for nude photos and obscene propositions.


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