Posts Tagged ‘lake washington’

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.

The Washingtonian

Lake Washington Killer strikes again

March 26, 2011 

By Jack O’Lies

On Friday, police discovered the fifth victim of what they are officially calling a serial killer on the shore of Lake Washington. Dubbed the Lake Washington Killer as early as last August, when the third body was discovered in North Seattle, the unidentified assailant appears to be escalating, according to a spokesperson from the Seattle Police Department. The victim in the latest killing is an obese Caucasian man with the Star of David tattooed on his left heel.

Wow. What a nut graf. I wish I could write like that.



The Washingtonian

Another body discovered in the vicinity of Lake Washington


March 28, 2011
By Jack O’Lies

A body was discovered by Seattle Police on Wednesday morning in a condo located on the shore of Lake Washington

The body, tentatively identified as female, was extensively mutilated. Police believe more than one killer may have been involved.



Saturday, March 31, 8:14 a.m.

“Hi, this is Katherine. Please leave me a message,” my voice, in recorded format, says to me.

“Jack?” I say into my cell phone’s voicemail. “It’s Katherine. Our cell phones got switched last night. Lucy’s okay. She’s not that dead girl in Ballard. I’m coming over. Are you up? We need to talk about Leo. I think he’s the man in the green suit. I think he’s the Lake Washington Killer. Do not open your door until I get there. We’ll go get breakfast.”



Saturday, March 31, 8:32 a.m.

I knock on Jack’s motel room door.

“Jack?” I call. “It’s me. Sorry, I didn’t bring your car back. I hate stick shifts. Why do they even make them anymore? They’re impossible. Jack? You up?”

The door opens. I’m yanked into the room.

By Leo.

He kicks the door closed. I can’t be sure whether I yelp in terror or just stare at him in mute shock. He leans against the door, trapping me. Leo isn’t pointing a gun at me, but he acts as if he is. He looks like a menacing member of the Trench Coat Mafia.

Columbine killer photo

“About time you got here,” he says.

“Where’s Jack?” I say.

“How the crap should I know?” he says. “You’ve got to help me. I pissed them off. They’re on their way here right now!”

Leo looks utterly panicked. I am confused.

Leo stalked Jack. And me. He photographed us and sent us threatening texts. He stole Lucy’s school records. He tracked Jack all the way through two counties to this obscure motel. He must have hacked my credit card records to do so. Maybe he knows where I live. Maybe he’s going to kill me.

“What did you do with Jack?” I say.

Leo claws impatiently at his floppy hair.

“Nothing! I haven’t seen that worthless S.O.B. in…wait. Are the two of you staying here together?” Leo cocks his head at a lascivious angle, his fingers meeting to twiddle under his chin. “I thought you’re married.”

“I am!” I say. “Jack’s staying here. Alone.”

“This is Jack’s room?” Leo asks. He sounds confused.


“But you paid for it with your credit card,” he says.

I knew he hacked my account! Now I’ll have to cancel everything. What a hassle.

“And your cell phone’s here,” he says, pointing at my phone, which sits abandoned on the side table.

“Our phones got switched last night,” I say.

“But his car isn’t here,” says Leo.

“I stole—borrowed it. It’s at my house. Where is he?” I say.

“I don’t know, I said! I don’t care! You’ve got to help me—he’s useless.”

Stone cold killer Leo, the murder of my hypothesis, yet again strikes me as barely able to kill the mood. I ought to fear for my life. Instead, I roll my eyes and huff over to the bed where Jack lay sprawled the last time I was in this room. I sit.

“You’re a stalker,” I say. “You investigated Jack.”

That was supposed to be my job.

Leo, still barricading the door with his redoubtable scrawniness, lets out a snort.

“Big deal. He’s an ass-jack. He deserves it.”

“You sent him all those creepy texts,” I accuse.

Leo hesitates.

“Technically,” he says.

“You took that photo of us on his porch,” I say.

Leo grins.

“Oh, holy yeah!” he says.

“I was handing him his car keys, pervert!”


“So that means you also took the picture of him outside the bar in Ballard,” I say.

Leo blanches. The color in his already pasty face actually drains, like a weird species of chameleon turning white to match the door he’s leaning against.

“Yeah,” he says.

“But,” I say. “In the picture, Jack’s standing over a man in a green suit. I thought you’re the man in the green suit.”

“No!” Leo chokes. “No…he’s…he’s coming for me. I made him mad. You’ve got to help me.”

Despite Leo’s essential dorkitude, my skin crawls.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

Leo sinks to the floor, his back still pressing hard against the door. He wraps both arms around his knees. He’s not trying to keep me in, I suddenly realize. He’s trying to keep “them” out.

“They’re going to kill me,” he whispers.



Saturday, March 31, 9:11 a.m.

The door, against which Leo is leaning, beeps suddenly.

We both freeze. The door opens slightly, bumping against his back. Out in the hall, there’s a masculine grunt.

“It’s him!” Leo hisses.

“What the hell?” Jack’s voice says on the other side of the door.

Leo jumps up and dashes into the bathroom. He slams the door with a staccato “wham!” as Jack shoulders the motel room door open and enters.

He sees me sitting on the bed. He stops short.

“Hi,” he says. “Did you lock it?”

From his slightly red eyes and his difficulty with consonants, I can tell he’s had his breakfast, and it consisted mainly of Guinness.

Oh Jack…getting in touch with your Irish roots before noon!

“Where were you? Did you go to that nasty pub across the freeway?” I accuse. “I warned you about it.”

“What happened to my car?” he counters, setting his keycard on the table beside my cell phone.

I sit primly at the foot of the bed. The pillow is dented from his head, the blankets screwed into a hectic tangle. I consider them casually while I consider my response.

“It’s at my house,” I say.

“What’s it doing there?”

“I had to get home last night, didn’t I?” I say. “I left you a note. I thought we were going to get breakfast. Why didn’t you wait for me?”

“I got hungry,” he says.

He sounds like a defensive husband. I sound like a shrewish wife. But he’s a widower and I’m someone else’s spouse. I suddenly feel mean and deceitful. Especially given the young man hiding commedia dell’arte style in the bathroom.

Marriage of Figaro by Mozart

“I talked to someone who knows what happened outside the bar in Ballard,” I say.

Jack recoils. He collects himself almost instantly and leans against the cheap armoire that conceals the TV. He folds his arms across his chest.

“Oh yeah?” he says. “Who?”

“A reporter. Of sorts,” I say.

“Of sorts?”


“You mean a blogger?” he says.

“Maybe,” I say.

Jack ponders this for a moment. I can chart the course of his comprehension as it dawns in his face.

“You don’t mean…that little bastard!”

Jack’s face goes purple. Cords stand out in his neck. His hands ball into fists that resemble a pair of sledgehammers.

I rise.

“Before you freak out—do not freak out, Jack!—will you let me tell you the most important thing he had to say?”

“That horrible little punk!” Jack shouts.

“You didn’t kill anyone! Isn’t that great?” I say, forcing enthusiasm. Oh desperate cheerleader that I am!

Jack’s pale blue eyes are aflame like the gas burners on my stovetop back home. He looks like he did in the shaky video from the Lake Washington murder scene, right after he pushed Leo into the mud.

He crosses the room and puts his face too close to mine.

“Let me tell you,” he hisses. “Exactly what that miserable little bastard is capable of.”



Saturday, March 31, 9:29 a.m.

Jack says, “What are you doing here?”

Leo says, “The same thing you’re doing here, idiot!”

Jack says, “This does not go on your pathetic blog. None of this, you hear me?”

Leo says, “You can’t suppress the press, man.”

Jack says, “You’re not the press. You’re barely literate.”

Leo says, “Says the guy who hasn’t written an article in a decade!”

Jack says, “You aggregated my piece on the Lake Washington murder. You’re a car thief and a plagiarist, you little bastard!”

Leo says, “So, you read my blog after all! You’re a freakin’ hypocrite!”

Jack shouts, “You’re not a journalist!”

Leo shouts, “You’re an a-hole!”

I interject, “Guys! Can we just calm down for a minute here?”

Leo and Jack turn on me.

Leo says, “Wanna talk car thieves? Right there: she stole your car last night!”

Jack says, “Yeah, real classy, Katherine. And what the hell did you do with my cell phone?”

Leo says, “You think you’re so much better than me because you work at some lame print monthly? You’re barely better than a blogger!”

Jack says, “You only care about that book you’re supposedly writing.”

Leo says, “Want to talk about bad writers? Look in the mirror, baby! Have you even heard of the inverted pyramid?”

Jack says, “You are the most frustrating woman I’ve ever met!”

I say, “Yeah?”

Jack glares at me. Leo sneers at me.

I shriek, “Way to gang up on me! I thought you two hate each other. But no, as soon as you get a chance to lay into a woman, off come the goddamned gloves and suddenly you’re on the same team, aren’t you, frat brothers? To hell with you both!”

I think I actually twang, “Ta hell with the botha youse!” in an unintentional imitation of James Cagney. What I really want to do is slap both of them in an intentional imitation of James Cagney.

Instead, I snatch up my purse and march myself to the motel room door. If either of them grabs my arm to detain me, I will go all Cagney on them and it won’t legally be considered assault on my part.

Neither of them lifts a finger to stop me. I grab the door handle, yank it, and stalk out into the hall. They let me go without a word.

I stomp down the hall to the elevator. They don’t come after me. At the end of the hall, I realize the elevator is located in the opposite direction. I turn around and walk less and less assuredly as I approach the closed door to Jack’s room. It doesn’t open as I pass by. I reach the elevator and push the down button. I glance back at the empty hall.

I started off deeply offended. Now I’m deeply hurt. How can they gang up on me, then not come after me to apologize?

I get on the elevator and meanly take solace in the possibility that they’re too busy beating the shit out of each other to bother with me.