U.S. At War: The New Ursula Parrott Story

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The guard at the Miami Beach Army stockade saw the woman, aging (40) Ursula Parrott, author of Ex-Wife and herself four times married, hide the handsome boyfaced soldier prisoner in the back of her car. He shouted for her to halt. She stepped on the gas and charged for the exit gate. Escaping in this reverse Lochinvar was Private Michael Neely Bryan, 26, once a very hot guitar player with Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. He had been locked up for flying to New York without permission; also the FBI was investigating charges that he was involved in the transport of narcotics.

To many a Hausfrau, wrinkling into middle age, this saga of the popular author of slick, sleek magazine pap was a thrill beyond her daily hopes. They quickly bought up almost every Ursula Parrott book on the drugstore shelves. But what produced a bitter-sweet romantic sighing in Ursula's readers fetched another emotion in the breast of the FBI. Ursula was charged not just with love's old sweet song gone boogie-woogie but with aiding the desertion of an army prisoner.

Readers could turn to any of Author Parrott's 14 books to find many a lush passage written in that hot chocolate sauce that has pleased so many followers of her (up till now) fictional romances.

"She stared at him and he did not hurry her. So she understood very completely that he was asking her to stay, not for an hour or two, or another evening, but permanently. . . ."

In Ursula's book Next Time We Live it was that simple. But the author's real-life current hero was also charged with helping run a reefer flat in Manhattan where marijuana cigarets were smoked by soldiers & sailors. This sort of thing might enchant the shade of Baudelaire, but it is vexing to narcotics squads.

After the Miami Beach escape Ursula drove Bryan to her surfside home, outfitted him with civilian clothes. "I remember I wanted to give you things . . . smart sport roadsters and pearls—the moon in general. . . ." In her books one could freely do such things; when arrested, Ursula said it was all just "an impulse. . . ."

The FBI felt it was a large, bad impulse. Ursula, still game after hectic questioning, haggard, her impulsive uncombed head under a badly tied turban, was freed on $1,000 bail. The near future held for her, first, the star witness part in an approaching Federal narcotics case. Those of the ex-bandsman's jive-plucking friends that could be reached mostly made the same comment: "Mike always was a damn good guitar player. . . ."