17 September 2007

If I Didn’t Do It

Author’s note: If I didn’t do it, this is what happened.

Out in Las Vegas, over at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino, this guy was selling sports memorabilia. Some of it used to belong to me: autographed items, old family photographs, including some that were taken by my late wife, God rest her soul; even the suit I wore the day I was acquitted of her murder. You gotta remember the good times. That’s what memorabilia is for. That, and making a potload of money.

Now, in the world of sports, memorabilia is like mercury: it slips through the cracks when you’re not looking. You get home and you open your gym bag, and pow — your cleats are gone. You say to your wife, “Where are my damn cleats, woman?” And she says, “Ouch! You never came home with them!” Then the next thing you know, somebody is displaying the same cleats in a museum, or offering them at auction for some goofy charity, or selling them on the Internet, with your name on ’em, and you never get a dime. That’s happened to me so many times, man. To be honest, I never did find out what happened to the jockstrap I used to wear in the Avis commercials. Or the black ski mask I didn’t wear, or the knife I didn’t carry on Bundy Drive.

Because other times you get home, and to be honest, somebody’s put stuff in your gym bag that wasn’t yours to begin with. This one time, it was a vial of my late wife’s DNA, sprinkled all over my socks, and some ugly-ass shoes that I wouldn’t ever wear and a pair of gloves that didn’t even fit. Go figure. Sometimes you even find Joe Montana’s cleats in your gym bag. Or autographed baseballs. You know, things that make you go, “Hmmm.”

The point is, if some huckster has got a boxload of your memorabilia in his hotel room, some people might have tried to get back that memorabilia. Even if it meant a creating a misunderstanding. Or a disturbance. Or tossing around a few threats. Or shouting, “This is mine! And this is mine!” Or maybe even going all the way and breaking into the hotel room with a few buddies, some of whom may have been carrying a few handguns. And some of whom may have accidentally picked up memorabilia belonging to other people and may have accidentally put it in my gym bag. The way people are always putting things in my gym bag.

But I want to tell you: I am not the kind of person who would do such things, nor even permit the circumstances to arise. To be honest, I don’t have a problem with my temper or violent outbursts that would’ve led me to get in trouble with the law several times already since my wife’s death at the (gloved) hands of Real Killers.

No, on Thursday, September 13, I wasn’t even in Las Vegas. All kinds of crazy stuff goes on in that town, and you know what they say: “What doesn’t go on in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas.” I was in my humble two-room rented apartment in Los Angeles, next to the freeway.

The day began much like any other. Over breakfast, I got all the kids together from both my marriages, and we had a long family counseling session. We had a really meaningful talk about violent impulses, irrational anger, and negative attitudes toward women, and how these influences can be passed from one generation to another. It’s not easy to talk about these things. But to be honest, I want my kids — all my kids — to grow up well-adjusted, happy and proud. I’d do whatever it takes to give my kids that kind of a future.

Later that morning, I went looking for the real killers. Those fiends are still out there, hiding in some hole somewhere. But I’m going to find them and bring them out of that hole, and I’m looking every day, sometimes searching as many as 18 holes a day. Justice will be served.

In the afternoon, I attended a friend’s wedding. Although it’s bittersweet for me as a widower, I often find that the newlyweds — especially the brides — are really moved when they see me at the reception. My late wife put her finger on it, I think, when she said, “Seeing you there helps them understand what marriage is really like.”

(You can’t beat that! Am I right, guys?)

Some buddies of mine were at the reception, but I didn’t tell them about my pilfered memorabilia. To be honest, those guys can be real hotheads sometimes. It just made sense to walk away.

Somebody else's memorabilia...

When I got home, I called my broker, but the New York markets had already closed. A couple of my stocks are doing pretty well, and I wanted to raise money for the families of my late wife and of Ronald Goldman, the man whom Real Killers murdered on Bundy, all those years ago. So I told my broker to sell $400 thousand worth of stock, first thing on Friday morning, and to transfer the money to the families’ accounts as speedily as possible. It’s only a little, but it’s a step in the right direction. Honestly, it’s not as if there’s any court order, compelling me to do this. I just know in my bones that it’s the right thing to do.

Finally, I returned home, where I quietly read a book, as I often do. Reading improves the mind, calms the troubled spirit, and makes it incredibly difficult to break into a room at the Palace Station Hotel and wave a gun around. I mean, you try holding a book in one hand and waving a gun with the other. You just keep losing your place! Even when you’re not wearing gloves! Nothing’s more frustrating when you’re enjoying a really good novel. Why, you can’t even read a comic book with one hand and then sneak up behind a person and with your other hand slit his throat, the way I did in the pilot for that TV show about Frogmen, but never, ever in real life.

So that night, I read a few chapters and went to sleep. After all, I was tired from a long day. But, to be honest, I slept the sleep of the righteous, knowing that I’m not the kind of guy who’d punch a photographer, experience road rage, or race my boat over manatees, or run into a hotel room in a disturbing and violent manner and start taking memorabilia.

Yet somehow I find myself in a bit of a jam this morning. All because some fool who looks like me went and got himself audiotaped doing things I would never do, in a town I would never visit, while shouting, “Motherfucker!” Not that I would ever use that kind of language.

I sure wish Johnnie were here to give me a pep talk. (Although don’t forget, I was never charged, and only briefly questioned, in the circumstances leading to his death.)

Because it sure looks bad for me right now. A
s Johnnie might say, “If that’s you on the tape, you must escape.” And to be honest, maybe I did goad the police just a little teeny bit, by writing a book confessing to a crime for which I was acquitted. I guess anybody might jump to wild conclusions and arrest me on different charges the minute the book came out. But everything will turn out fine, especially for my book. And for those of the defense and prosecution teams, the jury, the judge, the detectives, several witnesses, and maybe a bailiff. As Johnnie used to say when he was director of marketing at Random House: “To make the sale, go straight to jail.”

On the other (ungloved) hand, I’m not worried. Very shortly, people will realize that the man in the audio recording isn’t me. It's probably one of those professional impressionists, maybe Rich Little. I’d start by asking him a few questions, if I were the cops. After all, he’s in Las Vegas all the time, isn’t he? But it could have been a lot of people. To be honest, it would be very helpful to me if you, as a nation, could rally once more to my defense, and help me start looking for the Fake O.J.

I want you to keep looking for the Real Killers, too. But also to look for the Fake O.J.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but listen, we’ve all got to multi-task in a tough economy. I’m going out to look for him right now. Did anybody see where I left the keys to the Bronco?