Orenthal James Simpson sat in the polished black wood chair with fat arm rests and a green and black madras patterned cushion that was affixed to the seat. The chair presented itself as heavy, but when OJ sat in the chair and slid it a few inches to sit, the wood seemed to be hollow. OJ thought “Pottery Barn.” It was typical for corporations to buy stuff that looked good from a distance, but when up close the quality was suspect. He did not expect that of ReganBooks. Judith Regan sat in a similar chair with a higher back behind a black wood desk. The whole office seemed to have been ordered from a Pottery Barn catalog. This was the influence of Rupert Murdoch whose company owned ReganBooks. Murdoch was know to be cheap with anything that smelled of executive excess.
“Thanks for agreeing to meet with me,” said Judith Regan.
“Sure. It’s not like I am so busy,” said OJ with a smile. This had become the usual response from OJ when someone asked he was up to. He had decided that just to get through the day he woul dhave to have a sense of humor, self-humor, about his situation.
“You turn sixty next year,” said Judith.
OK, thought OJ. So she googled me. But it was still creepy.
“Yes. You got it,” said OJ.
“And I think you should start thinking about the written legacy you wish to leave,” said Judith as she tapped the end of a fat Mont Blanc fountain pen, an item that was not ordered from Pottery Barn.
“There’s already too much of a written legacy. I do not need more,” said OJ.
“May I make a proposition?” asked Judith.
“I used to get a proposition a day right after my acquittal. Now it is down to a proposition a month,” said OJ. He actually was amused by this fact, and smiled when he said it. OJ felt that everything was a gift after the acquittal, and so he was enjoying life.
“That is my point. When the propositions stop completely, you will have lost your opportunity to tell your story,” said Judith Regan.
“I told my story,” said OJ. OK, so he hadn’t really told his story. He told a story, but not the story. And it was not like anyone would believe him anyway. So why bother. The story he told stuck, at least with the jury, and so he was best to leave it at that.
“OJ, listen to me, you have a story to tell, and quite frankly I am not interested in you telling me or the public anything except for a hypothetical,” said Judith.
“A hypothetical?” said OJ.
“What if you did kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Brown, hypothetically speaking, of course. How would it have happened, or under what circumstances could it have happened at all. That is what I am interested in,” said Judith.
This woman was nuts, thought OJ. She wanted OJ to get drunk with the guys at a bar and laugh off a few “what ifs” about killing his wife. It seemed to OJ that Judith Regan was trying to throw more dirt into his grave.
“It sounds crazy,” said OJ.
Judith had picked up on a certain “wink” to the audience from OJ, as if he knew he had gotten away with murder, literally, and that he felt lucky and was going to not let anything bother him.
“Clearly you have come to terms with what has happened to you. That is evidence of a man who can sleep at night, a man whose conscious is clear. Given your contented sense of self, I would think that it would be a clear statement of pride to discuss a hypothetical circumstance where you could kill your wife, and it may very well be that you conclude that no such circumstance exists,” said Judith Regan with the sober determination of a college professor.
OJ slept just fine at night, more due to medication than a clear conscious.
“My conscious is clear,” said OJ.
“Think about how the media has ripped you of your pride. I know you may not think about this, but pride and honor are the last pillars that keep us standing. The media has struggled to de-construct you, removing your human foundation. You must re-build. You must regain your pride and your honor. And you must do it with a bold statement,” said Judith.
“De-construct? Human foundation? I am trying to….”
“Yes. Sorry. I get pedantic,” said Judith.
“Pedantic?” asked OJ.
“The point is I can have someone write the book, your record of pride and honor, and you can work with our writer to restore your manhood,” said Judith.
“My manhood is fine,” said OJ.
“Of course. No question. But the media has a way of changing your legacy, stripping you of something that you have, though no one knows it,” said Judith.
She’s got that right, thought OJ.
“Do I get money for this project?” asked OJ. Money was really the only issue remaining for OJ. Everyone wanted a piece of him. He was allowed to keep some money he made as it came in, but the civil judgments, the lawyer fees, the huge financial fallout from the criminal and civil trials had decimated his net worth. Indeed, OJ had no net worth.
“Of course there is money involved,” said Judith. Judith knew that OJ endured a constant financial strain, and money was usually the drug that got most people to agree to anything, even if it was for an outlandish proposal.
“I’ll think about it,” said OJ. That was also a standard response. It was celebrity speak for “yes” let’s proceed, but I have an out whenever I feel like it.
“Absolutely. But I will have my writer contact you. set up a meeting. Start the process. See if it goes anywhere. No cost to you,” said Judith.
“No cost to me? I thought I was getting paid?” said OJ.
“Actually, I will be glad to give you a retainer to meet with the writer for, let’s say, seven five-hour sessions. How about a two thousand per session,” offered Judith.
“How about three thousand, and I’d like you to pay a third party,” said OJ.
“Deal,” said Judith.
“This ain’t going to go anywhere, you know. It smells bad,” said OJ.
“We’ll make it smell good,” said Judith. She did not know whether to believe her own shit, but she at least got OJ to accept the idea and do the first step. One step at a time. That’s the way it worked.