By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Editor's note: In the early hours of March 22, 2000, a mysterious intruder entered our offices through the unguarded lackeys' entrance, consumed all the beer in the fridge, slapped 2,183 tiny luminous stars on our ceiling and left the following diary excerpts, which were written on stationery swiped from the Southern Belles Talent Committee (SBTC). Since we have not yet been granted exclusive access to John and Patsy Ramsey, we were unable to confirm the work's authenticity by press time, but what the heck.
March 12: Some of the reporters are being difficult. Well, we had to provide blood and hair samples, so why not them? No DNA, no interview. Katie Couric screamed when John snatched at her scalp, and I don't think Paula Woodward appreciated me scraping under her nails with a paring knife, but so what? There's a killer on the loose, and we can't rule out anyone.
March 15: Out to lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant with that nice woman from the Rocky Mountain News, Lisa With the Three Names. John was explaining to her that the killer was into autoerotic asphyxiation, strangling somebody during sex (yuck!). This creepy woman at the next table overheard, and she butted in with, "What are you talking about? Nobody strangles somebody else to enhance sex. What do you think 'autoerotic' means, you moron?"
Dear Diary, John was so offended, he had his napkin stretched across his chopsticks and was going to wrap it around her scrawny neck. "John!" I cried. "Use that good Southern common sense of yours!" He said he was just going to teach her some manners. I told him, "Don't try to grow a brain, John." Lisa was polite enough to pretend not to notice any of this. Thank God not all journalists are as hard-hitting and hateful as Barbara Walters!
March 17: Speaking of Baba Wawa, I must say I think we did a fabulous job there. It was a lot like preparing for the Miss West Virginia pageant. We watched that wonderful Michael Tracey documentary again, went over the talking points with the lawyers, and were able to give virtually the same responses about bed-wetting and so on ("I am a stage-four cancer survivor" -- I just love the way I say that!) that we did two years ago, without fear of a single follow-up question from that lisping witch.
What kills me about this media misinformation campaign is the way the same stupid, stupid questions keep coming up. "Patsy," they ask, "don't you think there's something sick about dressing up your six-year-old daughter in sequins and tights? Teaching her to vamp with a feather boa? Tarting her up with lipstick and mascara?" Well, they're sick for thinking that, aren't they? I know you are, but what am I?
March 18: Woke up early to the sound of a note being slid under our hotel door. Got up, threw on the party outfit I had on last night (people think this is odd, but it's been a habit of mine for the last three years) and retrieved the paper. At first I thought it was from the publicist, but it turned out to be an invitation to a polygraph test in Boulder, Colorado. It seems the intruder is still stalking us, trying to trick us.
March 19: I believe our redemption is at hand. They want me to hand out the prizes at the Schaefer Penmanship Awards. Regis Philbin called John and asked him to be the guest on the debut episode of a new show he's developing, Who Wants to Acquit a Millionaire? And John Walsh wants us to come up with a new composite picture of the intruder, to be aired on America's Most Wanted. The old one was too vague; he said there must be a couple hundred Santa Clauses in Boulder alone.
March 20:So I'm channel-surfing this morning in my pink taffeta square-dancing rig, looking for The 700 Club, and what do I come across but that Gumby-faced governor of Colorado on Good Morning America. It's really not a good morning, America, when evil-minded politicians can pick on grieving parents just because it's the popular thing to do. He says he doesn't want to talk to John, he wants to talk to me. Well, I want to talk to him, too -- and would have, if John hadn't snatched the phone out of my hand. That Bill Owens makes me so mad, I wish I had a stun gun and his old Gumbypuss in front of me now.
March 21:Book-signing at Barnes & Noble on Peachtree in Atlanta. I'm getting better at this writing thing. People ask me to write in their books, "Listen carefully!" Or, "Yours truly, a small foreign faction." I can do it all in a flash and hardly ever misspell a word, except "bussiness" and "posession" still give me fits.
Some people want very personal inscriptions, though. Today this large, nice-looking black man in these ugly-ass Italian loafers came up to me and asked me to sign his copy, "To Juice -- A fellow victim of injustice. May the search for truth go on and on and on and on." What do you suppose he meant by that?