Last night, Allie and I watched the ABC Primetime JonBenet sensationalism special. I don't believe this John Mark Karr guy did it. It just doesn't add up. I still stand behind what I've said all along: The Silver Fox did it. True. He died a year before the murder. But still.
Anyway, this seems as good an occasion as any to truck out my Patsy Ramsey story.
In 1996, a few months before the crime, I was in a continuing education painting class at the University of Colorado with the soon-to-be-famous mom. I didn't know who she was at the time, but she left a lasting impression on me.
This was a beginning painting class, and my fellow students and I were so unskilled all we could manage were some muddy streaks across our canvases.
Except for Patsy. She painted a picture of flowers on a porch that was not spectacular but it was good enough to prove that she had some painting experience.
Yet she walked around at the end of class holding up her painting for all to see, asking each one of us, "What do you think of my painting? It's the first one I ever did."
So odd, I thought. Here's this woman in an expensive sweater, the kind with 3D embroidered flowers, lying to me, a $12-an-hour-twenty-something stranger, for approval.
In the ensuing weeks I would abandon any hope of mastering realistic oil painting. I began smearing the luscious colors all over the canvas with my fingers and with paper towels. Meantime, the guy at the next easel started coming to terms with his sexuality by way of a paint brush. One week he painted an optimistic picture of a landscape in Spain -- site of his honeymoon. The next week he came in with the same picture, only now with a man's leg spread across it and a giant red cock dangling down. For the rest of the time all he did was paint penises, and all I did was smear paint. His marriage eventually fell apart, I eventually started smoking pot again, and we became pretty good friends.
But I'll always remember that first night when he and I let go and embraced our paint therapy. Patsy sidled up beside us and regarded our work. She forced a smile and nodded. "Interesting," she said. She didn't show up for the next class, nor any thereafter.
Months later it was the class's teacher who informed me this was the now-famous mom. And still more months later that her painting of flowers on a porch made the news.
Larry Schiller's ponderous, disorganized book about the case was released, and I read in it that there was a painting of flowers on a porch among the things in the basement room where JonBenet's body was found. I was working at the Boulder Weekly at the time, so I wrote up a short little bit about the story I've just shared with you. Apparently, the cops read it, because within hours the class's teacher got a call from the homicide detectives, and she answered questions about whether or not Mrs. Ramsey used duck tape, or something like that.
And the point of all this, I suppose, is only to prove, unequivocally, that Charlie Rich killed JonBenet.