Posts Tagged ‘Washingtonian’

The Washingtonian

 Westgate Serial Killer captured

March 23, 1998

By Jack O’Lies

Robert “Bobby” Dean Clasky, identified by police as the Westgate Serial Killer, was arrested and charged with eight counts of murder in the first degree Sunday. He was apprehended in the immediate vicinity of his eighth victim, Jennifer Elaine O’Lies of Seattle, who had been stabbed to death in a wooded area outside Seattle city limits. Clasky was found covered with blood and in possession of a weapon that police classified as a homemade bayonet.

Law enforcement from three jurisdictions worked in collaboration for 19 months to track Clasky, who is described by the King County Sheriff spokesman as a drifter. Clasky, who has an extensive arrest record in King County and the city of Seattle, confessed to the murder of Jennifer Elaine O’Lies upon being read his rights.

Clasky kidnapped the victim at the Ballard Stop ‘n’ Shop market near her home. He is believed to have forced the victim at gunpoint to drive her car to the murder site, where he raped and mutilated her with a crude weapon. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate the victim, who is estimated to have died just minutes before police arrived on scene. Her extensive wounds were inflicted while still alive, according to King County Coroner Harry Dekins.

“We had pinned him down to his last known [address], but we missed him,” said Seattle Police detective Allan MacIntosh. “We were just too late.”

Police were able to track Clasky to the remote murder site due to assistance provided by the victim’s 3-year-old daughter, who witnessed the kidnapping. The child was not harmed by Clasky.

Jennifer Elaine O’Lies, age 29, is survived by her husband, Jack O’Lies.




Sunday, March 25, 8:39 a.m.

We four pile into my Subaru. I am bereft of an awesome press car until the PR firms brings the next one to my office. Lucy grouses over the grubbiness of the back seat. Christopher protests mightily at being crammed between Lucy’s (seductive?) self and my daughter’s pointy-edged car seat.

I turn to Jack, seated next to me up front.

“Okay, seriously. What’s the plan, Jack?”

“Hurry up, mass starts at nine!” Lucy orders from the back.

“Hey!” Jack turns to glare in fierce father format at Lucy. “Do not speak to her like that.”

“Fine, look, we’ll drop you two off,” I call into the backseat, as I start the engine. “Just let’s all take a breath or something! You’re making me so nervous, the three of you—Jesus! Jeez, I mean. How the hel—heck do we get to this Belltown place?”

Christopher, The Expert Navigator, guides me. Jack and Lucy snap at each other. I think I am going to scream. Out loud. I’m already screaming in my head.

At last, an unendurable seventeen minutes later, I pull up in front of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish. The bells are tolling. Junkies, hungover barhopping computer programmers, and a few non-Lutheran Scandinavians from Jack and Lucy’s Ballard environs are streaming inside. Lucy unbuckles urgently and throws the car door open as I pull to an illegal stop in the fire lane by the immense front doors.

“Hurry up! We’re so late!” she shrills, jumping out. Christopher, equally urgent, pops his incredibly tall self out of the backseat like some kind of devout jack-in-the-box. To my surprise, Jack follows suit.

“Whoa, wait—where are you going?” I say.

Jack leans back into the car, not unlike he did when I dropped him off at the Ballard bar Thursday night.

“Find a parking place. We’ll save you a spot in the pew,” he says.

I recoil. I haven’t been to mass in nineteen years! Do they really expect me to sit through their church service, kneeling, standing, kneeling again, only to be humiliatingly denied Holy Communion by the priest, like back in the old days?

No way!

“Jack! No way!” I say.

Suddenly, Jack’s cell phone chimes. Still leaning into my car, both hands braced on the passenger door frame, he freezes. His eyes go wide and wild.

“Dad! Come on!” Lucy hollers.

“I told you,” he says to me. “I’ve been getting these weird texts.”

From the pocket of his gray Members Only or Eisenhower jacket (depending on how old it and you are), his cell phone chimes again.

“Dad!” Lucy shouts.

“Go in,” he shouts back at her. “I’ve got to go with Katherine.”

“But I thought we were all supposed to be together today,” Lucy says. “Dad, I though she—”

“Go in. Take the bus home. Christopher, get her home afterward.”

Christopher, The Perpetually Smirking, smirks.

“Dad…” Lucy says.

Jack climbs back into the front seat. He turns hunted eyes on me.

“Drive. Please. Hurry,” he says.

“Are you sure? Your daughter—”

He slams the car door.

“She’s fine. Christopher will get her home safe. You’ve got to help me,” he says. “You owe me.”

Were anyone else to make such outrageous requests from my front seat, I’d formulate a cogent counterargument. But with Jack…damn, he must have been such a good investigative reporter. He’s compelling. And I do owe him.

Wait, did he say “owe” or “own?”

“Where do you want me to take you?” I say.

“My office.”

“Why?” I say, though I’m already driving.

Jack hesitates. His cell phone chimes again. He puts his hand over it to hide or muffle it.

“I think I did something terrible,” he says.



 Sunday, March 25, 9:07 a.m.

I drive Jack to the Washingtonian newspaper office. His car is still parked in the 3 Coins lot. It’s untowed and within walking distance.

“So, let me give you your keys and your license,” I say, digging through my huge purse, which doubles as a briefcase and occasionally triples as a lunch box. “And your cigarettes. You ought to quit. I did. It was totally worth it. So…I guess I’ll be seeing you around, if I ever happen to cover a crime scene in Seattle again. Fat chance, huh?” I laugh.

I hold out Jack’s property. In the passenger seat of my Subaru, he doesn’t reach out to take it. He stares at me. His cell phone chimes. He flinches.

Another text.

“They won’t stop,” he says. He pulls his cell phone from his jacket pocket and holds it out to me. “See for yourself.”

“Jack, I don’t want to read your private messages, or whatever. I think…well, this is goodbye, right? Thanks for your help on the ol’ book project and all. So, here…”

My hand left grips the steering wheel. My right hand awkwardly holds his keys, his driver’s license and a nearly empty pack of Marlboro cigarettes. Jack doesn’t reach for them. He holds out his cell phone, which I don’t want. Our fingers don’t brush as the unintelligent turn of the millennium Nokia finds its way into my left hand. I don’t remember reaching for it. I clumsily press a button with my thumb.

Letters on the small screen spell out, “WE SAW U. WE KNOW WHAT U DID. U WILL PAY.”

I look at Jack. We share a chilling of the spine in my overheated car.

“What is this?” I say.

“You tell me,” he says. He fingers the dark bruise on the left side of his jaw. “Please, can you tell me?”

“I…I don’t know. The caller is listed as Unknown.”

“How does that work?”

“Telemarketer?” I say.

“No,” he says. “Could you check something for me? It’s on my computer.”


“No, work.”

His work computer is inside the dull gray building just outside my car.

I sigh.

“I don’t know…”

“You’re young. You know more about computers than me,” he says.

Flattered in two ways, I demur—and giggle, probably.

“Okay,” I say. “But I can’t promise that I can do anything.”

What can it hurt?

When will I realize that lately I keep on learning exactly what it can hurt?



Sunday, March 25, 9:14 a.m.

Jack leads me through the deserted Washingtonian building. We pass the weekend reporters, holed up in the first floor newsroom. They barely acknowledged us, busy with their typing and tweeting. We take the elevator up to the third floor. It’s empty and the lights are off. Weak sunlight filters through the bank of windows along the west wall, guiding us through the rows of cubicles that stand vacant like coffins at the rapture.

“I’m scared,” Jack says. “I don’t know what I’m dealing with.”

We reach his cubicle. He stops. I stop. I consider his computer. It looks harmless enough.

“Turn it on and I’ll have a look,” I say.

Jack complies. While the machine is laboriously booting up, he says, “Someone knows.”

“Someone knows what?” I say. “You mean the IT department knows? If this is some porn thing—”

Jack’s cell phone chimes. He flinches. He hands it to me.

“You read it,” he says.


“Weird,” I say. “What did you do?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Do you think this has anything to do with that blogger you shoved at the murder scene?” I say.

Jack’s icy blue eyes switch from side to side as he considers this. They alight on my face.

“No,” he says. “I think I did something after you left me at the bar. I was real drunk.”

Jack’s computer is on. I double click on his email program. It takes forever to open. When it does, hundreds upon hundreds of unopened emails clog the inbox. Including all of mine from the past few weeks.

“I don’t check my email,” he says. “But I thought you might try to get ahold of me. My car keys and all. So I opened it.”

“It” is a very phishy looking email at the top of his digital heap. It has odd capitalization and an overall Nigerian bank fraud air.

“You’ve got yourself a virus. Supposedly Macs are soooo secure,” I snark, my dislike of the newspaper industry’s mandated adoration of all things Apple bleeding through. (Yes, I use one too, and I hate every minute of it).

“Read it,” he says.

“It’s just some kind of spam,” I say.

“Katherine,” he says. “Read it.”

He’s already infected his system. What harm can it do? I open it and read.

The subject line spells out: “On aN ImpoRtent AnniveraarY”

The body states: “JackOLIes, today is a signivicant One for you and we kno all about it.”

“It’s junk,” I say.

He leans across me and taps his finger on the screen. His nail clicks on the icon of an .exe attachment.

“I clicked on that,” he says.

“And there’s your virus,” I interrupt.

“No,” he says. “It was a picture. Of me. It was me standing outside that bar by my house on Thursday. It’s blurry as hell, but…I was doing something awful.”

“What were you doing?”

Jack shakes his head.

“I don’t know. The photo was too grainy. But when I woke up Friday morning, there was blood on my shirt.”

“Blood?” I say. “How much?”


“A lot?”


“‘Some,’ like maybe you got a nosebleed? Or ‘some,’ like you killed somebody?” I joke.

Jack doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t smile. He stares at me balefully.

“Maybe,” he says.



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.



Monday, March 26, 12:47 p.m.

My work line rings.

Journal Newspapers, this is Katherine,” I say.

“I saw a terrible nurse,” Jack says, without preamble.

“A nurse? What?” I reply, attempting to type while holding the receiver cradled at a neck-cramping angle between my shoulder and cheek. My paper goes to press tomorrow. I’m kind of busy.

“She was on the bus,” he says.

“I’m kind of busy,” I say. “Are you at home?”

“No,” he says.

“Didn’t you get my voicemail? About your daughter? You probably should go home and be with her or something. She was pretty upset.”

“In a little bit,” he says.

“I read your article,” I say. “I thought all you write these days are obituaries.”

“It was like an obituary.”

“No it wasn’t,” I say. “It was exceptional.”

I feel quite bitter as I type and talk. While I coddled his daughter through her school’s Career Day and her subsequent trauma, he filed an amazing article. And what did I get for my pains? No copy at all!

“A byline, front page above the fold and everything,” I say, forcing a bright note into my voice. “So…are you back, baby?

There’s a heavy silence on the other end of the phone.

It’s an old TV quote. I didn’t mean it like that. I feel my face turning red. Especially as the silence on Jack’s end extends and extends…and extends.

“So, a nurse?” I say. “Are you sick?”

“Do you have a minute?” Jack says. “To talk?”

“Look, I’m kinda busy, here—”

“When I went to get coffee with Harry on Saturday, I took the bus because you had my car keys.”

“Right?” I say, as I type.

“There was this nurse. Old style. Like in a movie. White dress. White tights. White shoes. One of those white origami caps, even. Like in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

“Never seen it. Is it any good? I got about fifteen pages into the book, but—”

“She stared at me,” he says.

“Right?” I say.

“The entire ride.”

“Huh. Weird, I guess. Look, I’ve got to finish this piece—we’re about to go to press. So…”

“I’ve seen her before. She stared at me like she knew me and wanted to kill me,” he says.

“Where are you right now?” I say.

“Work,” he says.

“Work—are you kidding me?” I exclaim.

I have an office with a closeable door. Jack, however, is talking crazy out in the open, his three-walled cubicle providing him no buffer zone at all. He’s going to be fired for sure in the next round of layoffs, today’s fantastic front page article not withstanding.

“Why did you write a second piece on the Lake Washington murder?” I say.

“I can’t let it go. I know something about it, but I can’t put my finger on how. Besides, it gives me an excuse to look into what I did on Thursday night. I’ve been checking police reports, the morgue—just in case anyone was killed outside that bar. Do you think I’m really capable of something like that?” he says.

Forget being fired, he’s going to be arrested before the week’s out.

“Jack. Go home. Your daughter’s classmate got raped today. She’s extremely upset,” I say.

I hang up.

When Jack is arrested for manslaughter or whatever dark deed he did outside the bar by his house, I’ll probably get stuck as Lucy’s guardian, the way things are going. And so far, I’ve written not one word of the book that was my sole reason for getting to know him in the first place. Well, not one decent word.



Monday, March 26, 9:47 p.m.

“Hey. It’s me.”

I’ve got to throw my cell phone away! My household has a good five or six dead pay by the minute cell phones that I could resurrect. They’re sitting in a box a few feet away from me, awaiting donation to the domestic violence shelter. We’ve delayed dropping them off for fear of identity theft, but I’m starting to think it might be great if someone else was Katherine for awhile. I’ve got to get off the O’Lies clan’s radar.

“Hi Jack,” I say. “What’re you doing?”

“Nothing much.”



“A lot?”

“My share.”

“Nice. On a work night.”

“And you aren’t.”

“Not yet.”

Given the day I’ve had with his daughter, his interruption while I was on deadline, and this unanticipated follow up call, I’m sure I soon will be.

“How can I help you?” I inquire professionally.

“You still have my car keys,” Jack says. “And my driver’s license.”

Damn it!

“Oh damn it, I forgot!” I exclaim. “Why didn’t you just take them when I kept trying to give them to you on Sunday? You sure took your damned cigarettes no problem! Damn it!”

“What’s the big deal? Come over and drop them off.”

“That’s the big deal—that right there. Do you realize how long of a drive it is from my house to your place? Why don’t you drag yourself up here and pick them up? No, no, don’t do that,” I amend quickly.

I do not want Jack to know where I live. He’ll start dropping by unannounced and drunk, I have no doubt.

“Fine, I’ll drop them off. Crap. We’re going to press tomorrow. How soon do you need them? Crap. Damn it!” I say.

In between one “crap” and a “damn it,” I do indeed uncork a bottle of red wine and self-pityingly pour myself a glass. I detest driving south to Seattle. The stop and go traffic makes me feel homicidal.

“I need to talk to you,” Jack says.

“Lucy told you what happened at school today?”

“No. She’s holed up in her room with Christopher.”

“She’s so gonna get pregnant,” I mutter.


“Nothing,” I say. “I’ll bring your keys and license to your work. How about that? When? I need to go grab my planner.”

“I looked at his autopsy file today.”

“Whose?” I say.

“The floater from Lake Washington.”


“It was right before I called you at work,” he says.

“Oh. How was it?” I inquire idiotically.

“It was…the first since my wife’s.”

“You read your wife’s autopsy file?”

“Harry let me. That’s where I got the photo of her.”

“Why? Why would he do that to you?” I say.

“He’s my friend. I asked him to.”

“There’s no way I’d have given it to you,” I say. I take a drink of wine and recall that I’m not Jack’s friend. Is that what friends are for? Giving each other their dead spouse’s autopsy file?

“You read her whole file?” I say.

“Yeah,” he says.

“Didn’t they need that crime scene photo of her for the trial?”

“They had over four dozen shots. Nobody missed it,” he says.

“God, Jack…I don’t know what to say.”

I usually don’t know what to say, but that doesn’t stop me. My method is to babble until comprehension is achieved on the receiving end. Jack has this uncanny ability to shut me up. It disturbs me no end.

“Do you want to tell me about it? Is that why you called?” I say.

Jack audibly inhales, then sighs.

“I don’t know. No. Yeah. It’s just…I knew the floater from Lake Washington would have a tattoo of the Star of David on his left heel, and he did. I knew his nickname was ‘Big Boy’ and then, boom, they found it penned in blue ink on the inside of his right wrist. How did I know that?”

I shrug, forgetting that he can’t see me.

“Life’s been off kilter ever since you came along,” he says.

“What does that mean? I don’t have time for this, Jack. It’s late. My paper goes to press tomorrow. I need to get up early.”

“My wife bled to death. You know that, right?”

“Yes, Jack, I know.”

“He tortured her in the woods.”

“I know.”

“He raped her so many times. Harry couldn’t even tell how many. He mostly did it with that blade he made.”

“Jack—I don’t think I’m the person you should be talking to about this. Have you got a counselor or a psychiatrist, or—”

“He cut her face and her body up slowly, like the old Chinese torture. The death by a thousand cuts. And…I shouldn’t tell you this. Right?”

“Right. You shouldn’t. I’m not trained for this.”

My Washington State Registered Counselor card expired years ago. I haven’t taken this kind of unpleasant confession in years.

Jack sighs long and slow. Pain flows through the phone into me.

“Will you please talk to Lucy tonight? Before you’re too drunk? She was so upset about that girl from her school who got raped,” I say.

“She doesn’t talk,” he says.


“To me. She won’t. Could you?”

“Could I what?”

“Talk to her. She really likes you.”

My silence, which lasts nearly two minutes, contains several phrases, including:

1)    “Jack, are you nuts?”

2)    “On what planet does Lucy, the future nun, like me?”

3)     “Are you really that drunk?”

I settle on a neutral query: “What makes you think she would talk to me?”

“She took you to that Career Day thing today, right?”

“Yes, she did,” I say.

And gave me no copy! No copy! I silently add. And gave me a guilty obligation to her, because I took her home, looked at the picture of her dead mom, and tucked her into bed after her freak-out at school.

Damn these lies…O’Lies, I mean.

“Look. How about we just—” I begin.

My cell phone’s call waiting beeps.

This never happens. I’m not that popular. I glance at the caller ID. It’s Jack’s home phone number. I answer it, accidentally hanging up on him.

“Hello, Lucy,” I say.

She and I have such a chat.

I learn so much about her. Including:

1)     She believes that rape is a punishment for slutty thoughts. That’s the phrase she uses: “slutty thoughts.”

2)     She believes that rape is a purifying act, like martyrdom. For the victim—not the perpetrator. The perpetrator will reunite with Satan to burn in the fires of hell forever.

3)     She has been buying her own underwear since the age of eleven, when her dad humiliated her by taking her to the lingerie department of the J.C. Penny at the mall, where he loudly requested a training bra for her. And she wanted to die, because he made a jovial joke, likening it to the bicycle training wheels he’d once bought her at the same J.C. Penny. Ever since this humiliation, she has refused to wear a bra.

4)     The kids at school are making fun of her for not wearing a bra. They accuse her of doing so for slutty reasons, rather than shame.

5)     She has zero sexual interest in Christopher, The Future Priest. Zero.

6)     She is very much ashamed of having chestile regions that require a bra. That’s the phrase she uses: “chestile regions.”

7)     She will never, ever have sex. She hates boys because they’re all future rapists.

8)     Could I help her buy a bra tomorrow?

Oh Lord, I’ve got to throw my cell phone away!