Sunday, May 14, 2006
I’ve seen the author Dominick Dunne on my train several times over the years. He is always very impeccably dressed and looks as if he is headed to a polo match or some swanky country club. I recognized him from his eyeglasses, which are horn-rimmed and round. They make him look oh so much like a senior member of the Harry Potter fan club.
The first time I met Mr. Dunne was on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Nicole Brown Simpson slayings. He had a garment bag slung over his shoulder when he got on the train in New Haven, which is about a 40 minute ride from his home in Old Lyme.
I knew Mr. Dunne’s work mostly from his coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial in Vanity Fair Magazine. During the trial he always sat with Nicole Brown Simpson’s family and became more than just a reporter—he became a friend to the Brown family. I was addicted (like much of the rest of the nation,) to the O. J. trial. I worked nights at the time and I spent my days glued to the TV, watching gavel-to-gavel coverage.
The opportunity to speak with Mr. Dunne was very tempting and although I usually don’t like to bother celebrities, I just had to talk to him.
After exchanging pleasantries, Mr. Dunne told me that he was on his way to New York to do the Today Show live the next morning. He said that he was in the process of writing a book on the O. J. trial.
“What happened to the NASA satellite photos of Nicole’s neighborhood on the night of the murders?” I asked him, “I heard they were going to present them into evidence.”
“You know,” he said, “ I’d heard that too, but for some reason they never presented it as evidence.”
We continued to discuss the aspects of the trial, but it was soon time for our train to depart and I had to make announcements and close the train’s doors.
I noticed that when I collected Mr. Dunne’s ticket, he was recording some notations in a small green journal. I wondered if he was recording our conversation and if it would make it into his new book.
Several months later I came down with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. Before entering the hospital I went into a bookstore to pick up some reading material. Mr. Dunne’s new book about the O.J. trial was on display. It was titled, Another City Not My Own.
The novel was Dunne’s thinly veiled memoir about his experiences at the O. J. trial and how he, somewhere along the way, lost the objectivity of a reporter and became emotionally involved in the case. The novel’s protagonist’s name is Gus Bailey.
In the last chapter of the book, page 343 to be exact, gossip columnist Liz Smith asks Gus if he ever gets sick of discussing O. J.:
“Yes, I get sick of him. Deeply sick,” replied Gus………..
“I talk about him to Deb at the gas station when she puts gas in my car.
I talk about him to the train conductor on Metro North.”