Archive for the ‘Post 6.6’ Category

Wednesday, March 28, 10:07 p.m.

It takes me an hour and a half to extricate myself from the blogger bitchfest that yields me more than I ever wanted to know about Washingtonian newspaper crime reporter Jack O’Lies. When I get home, my house is dark and silent. The exact moment I turn the deadbolt on my front door, my cell phone rings. I recognize the number: Jack O’Lies’ cell phone. I’m tempted to ignore it and let it go to voicemail. After four rings, I grudgingly answer.


“Why haven’t you been answering your phone? Where are you? Are you okay?”

After listening to a litany of complaints about him, it’s hard to reconcile his concerned voice in my left ear. In the hushed darkness, I say, “Hold on.”

“What? You’re okay, right? Katherine? Katherine!” he sounds panicked.

“Will you chill out?” I hiss. “I’m going downstairs. My husband and kid are sleeping.”

“You’re home?” he says.

“Yes,” I say, closing the door of the one nicely appointed room in my house, made nicely appointed thanks to a writing assignment a couple years ago. “For God’s sake, Jack, calm down. Everything’s fine.”

Jack’s breath goes out long and slow. And hot, I imagine. My ear, plastered to the cell phone, is cold from the great outdoors.

“How about you?” I say. “Are you okay? I’m worried about you.”

“You are?” he says.

“Well, yeah, you know. You’re at home, too?”


“Drinking?” I say.


“Really?” I say.

“No,” he says. “I’m too scared.”

“Because of the picture of us?” I say.

“No. I went to the morgue after I called you.”

“Why? What happened? Is Lucy okay?” Now I’m the one who sounds panicked.

“Sure, she’s upstairs. Blaring some kind of Catholic heavy metal, doing homework, you know teenagers.”

“Why did you go to the morgue?” I say.

“Harry Dekins called me right after you hung up on me,” he says.

Ah, the guilt trip again! I remember that joyless ride!

“Can I record this?” I say.

“Why?” he says. “Don’t say ‘For both of our protection.’ What are you planning to do with this?”

“Nothing,” I say. “Well. You know what I’ll do with it. I just don’t want anyone to misunderstand things later.”

“Why can’t we just talk?” he says.

When I don’t answer because I’m hunting though my purse for my elusive recorder, he says, “Why do I want to talk to you?”

“I have no idea, Jack. Why do you want to talk to me?”

“I think about what I want to say to you all day long. I don’t get it,” he says.

“Well, neither do I. Maybe you’ve been bottling stuff up and you finally want to let it all out,” I say, as my fingers grasp the recorder.

He doesn’t agree, argue or sigh. There’s nothing from his end of the line for a long time.

“Jack? You still there? I hate this phone, I swear—Jack? Hello?”

“Still here,” he says. He sounds like he’s coming up from the deepest fathoms to gasp for air.

“Did you just take a shot or something?” I say.

“Yeah. A double. It was so bad today. Can I tell you?” he says.

“God, Jack, is this going to freak me out and give me nightmares, or something?”

Again, there’s nothing from his end of the line for several seconds, then the gasp for air.

That bad.

“I’m turning on my recorder,” I say.