Archive for the ‘Post 1.4’ Category

Thursday, March 22, 9:11 a.m.

On my own, with the aid of the internet, I’ve discovered that Jack O’Lies was a crime reporter at the Washingtonian in the late 1990s. I get that.

In 1998, he was covering the ongoing hunt for the Westgate Serial Killer. I get that.

His wife was killed by the Westgate Serial Killer in 1998. That I don’t get.

His wife’s killer was caught. I get that.

Jack O’Lies covered the trial of the Westgate Serial Killer, his wife’s murderer, for his newspaper. I decidedly don’t get that.

He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the trial. I get that all too well.

He came in second and got nothing more than a two-paragraph write-up in his own newspaper for his trouble. I so do not get that!

He is still a crime reporter at the Washingtonian. I don’t know if I get that or not.

After weeks of shady cyberstalking on my part, the question remains: Why did he cover the trial of his wife’s killer? According to my admittedly superficial research, he was also a witness at the trial. He went to court in the morning, he testified, then he went back to the Washingtonian and filed copy. Day after day.

Was it all a detachment thing for him? A coping mechanism, to keep himself emotionally removed so that he didn’t have to deal with the pain? Or is he a cold-hearted bastard? He has managed to stay employed as the industry bleeds print journalists. I vote cold-hearted bastard. But I want to find out for sure.

Four days after promising that Jack O’Lies would get back to me, his editor calls. I have no idea why. He, John Whiteclay, deputy assistant editor at one of the last print dailies in the U.S., surely has at least twenty-two better things to do at 9:11 a.m. on a Thursday. Could it be professional courtesy? One print editor to another?

“Hi, this is John Whiteclay at the Washingtonian.”

“Hi there,” I say. I try not to sound too eager.

“Sorry, I set up a thing to have Jack O’Lies call you today at ten, but I had to send him to Lake Washington. Breaking news. Can I have him call you to reschedule?”

“Okay…sure,” I say, though I doubt I’ll ever hear from him. Among those who know me, “Jack O’Lies” has become a slang term for a person who doesn’t return phone calls.

“So you’ll handle this between the two of you,” he says. It’s not a question. It’s a managerial brush-off. I’ve never had the chance to do this, since I have no staff. I’ve had it done to me plenty of times, however.

“Yeah,” I say. “Sure.”

“Great. Bye,” he says.

He hangs up. I hang up. I brood for thirty seconds. I know I’ll never hear from Jack O’Lies. Even with his editor involved. Especially with his editor involved. Particularly now that his editor had explicitly un-involved himself.

Breaking news at Lake Washington? Lake Washington is about 45 minutes from my newspaper office in morning rush hour traffic.

I put a Post-it note on my office door stating:

Interview in Seattle. Back noon-ish.

Though given my poor handwriting, it probably reads as:

In stes m Settle. Be bl nons.

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