When Ventura Star Free Press reporter, Kim Gregory, settled into a chair across the kitchen table for an interview about my odd-couple, 13 year ride-along with Jigsaw John, I was ready.
There were photos spead from one end of my oak table to the other. There was a stack of notes, Shari Milller's "To Do" list and Jigsaw's 50th anniversary invitation. My head was filled with Jigsaw stories and the complex details of the Bradford case that had consumed me for years and coffee was brewing.
I felt like an actress who had studied her lines for "Hamlet" and the curtain was about to rise. I had been given the opportunity to tell a story that is a huge part of who I am. This was my chance to connect with readers in a deep and meaningful way.
When Kim asked how I met St. John, I half-expected the cagey detective to come out of nowhere with: "That's not exactly how it happened, Jane. Here's my take."
When she asked what it was like to meet the snitch who gave St. John the break in the Freeway Killer case, I wouldn't have been at all surprised to hear St. John's growling voice behind me: "I couldn't believe it when Jane walked into Scott Fraser's apartment with a homemade quiche. And to boot, she served it on china plates. Scott was best friends with a serial killer! He lived in a hole-in-the-wall apartment, was dressed in a white t-shirt covered with holes and was used to hot dogs for dinner."
I realized in the middle of the interview how much I missed Jigsaw's vibrant, edgy, larger-than-life world. Pretty soon, Kim and I were chatting like sorority sisters planning the upcoming weekend. But the missing voice was Jigsaw's. Jigsaw would have dazzled her with his Irish charm. WOWED her with his gift for storytelling. Touched her with his warm humanity.
The extra seat at the table should have been his and I missed him. It is up to me to bring Jigsaw to life for the readers with my words. I promised him I would do that. That is exactly my plan.
Meanwhile, here's a link to the story: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/jan/16/the-beat-goes-on/?partner=RSS