Hear Lies

Posted: 2011 in Post 1.7
Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, March 22, 12:04 p.m.

Thanks to the twittering danger signals of the reporters, I locate Jack O’Lies’ cubicle easily. It stands isolated amid dozens of empty desks along the west wall. He has removed one of the cubicle’s walls, giving him an unbroken view of the cobalt blue water of Puget Sound. I wonder how often he takes in the stunning vista. His head is down, his eyes on his keyboard.

“Excuse me?” I say. “Hi. Are you Jack O’Lies?”

He looks up from his computer keyboard. His eyes are pale blue: a shade not captured by the offensive blogger’s video camera, the KING 5 TV lens, or even my brief glance at him as he glared at his boss.

Impulsively, I decide that the best tactic I can employ is deceit. Dishonesty. Lying.

“I’m Katherine from the Journal. We had an interview scheduled for ten today. I’m kind of late,” I say. It’s two hours after our scheduled interview—more than kind of late. I force a phony giggle.

I ought to mention that I’m a terrible liar.

“Can we grab a cup of coffee?” I say. “My treat. This won’t take more than fifteen, twenty minutes.”

That’s what I always tell my interviewees—fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. Occasionally it’s true.

Jack O’Lies stares at me, but not in the slurred way he stared at his boss. He lets out a rough sound that isn’t a laugh.

“Coffee? Is that the new corporate buzz word around here? Are you from the legal department?”

“No. I’m Katherine from the Journal. Your editor set up an interview between us for ten today.”

“I’m supposed to interview you why, exactly?”

“No, no, I’m supposed to interview you,” I say.

There’s a long, long, long pause. I can hear my own breathing. I hold my breath.

“I’ve got work to do,” he says.

“It’ll just take a couple minutes,” I say.

“Not today.”

“Ten minutes, max,” I say.

His gaze slips back to his computer keyboard.

“I’m on deadline. Go write your blog and leave me alone,” he says.


“Not today,” he says again. He says it softly, but not kindly.


If he shouted, if he added a bit of choice profanity, if he shoved me, I would feel a sight less offended and put out.

“Okay, then,” I say.

I huff back to work, some twenty miles north in speedy, non-rush hour traffic. He actually thinks I’m a blogger. I am many things that journalists don’t want to be, but I’m not a blogger. I’m stubborn at inappropriate times. I hold a grudge…more than one. I can be insufferable when professionally thwarted. But I am not a blogger.

As the afternoon wears itself thin, I sit at my desk and assemble calendar copy to fill holes in the next edition of the Journal, while Jack O’Lies (I learn later) sits at his desk and assembles obituaries to fill holes in the next edition of the Washingtonian. Both of us brood.

He broods about…well, he never told me exactly what. But I was able to surmise later. I brood about my impending trip back to Seattle this evening.

His fellow Washingtonian journalist, Bididiana Gomez, told me plenty about his habits.

I know he likes to drink.

I know he is on deadline.

I know his deadline is five p.m.

I know he retires to the 3 Coins Restaurant (where “restaurant” is a loosely applied term) every night after deadline and drinks Scotch on the rocks. More than one.

I know that I will be joining him tonight.

“Not today,” he warned me. Too bad I’m obtuse. Things wouldn’t have gotten so out of hand if I had listened to him.

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