I’ve asked myself a thousand times how a simple newspaper article of fewer than one-hundred words had started my heart racing, fired my imagination, and steeled my determination locked and loaded. But why him and why me? What was there about that story about a homicide detective who’d just received a medal that I wouldn’t let go?
None of this scenario made sense. I had no previous experience in law enforcement and was never interested in writing crime stories. I had no publication history, no contacts or friends in police departments, not one contact with law enforcement other than the time my car was stolen. I was never interested in an FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department, or Sheriff’s Department career. I never dreamed of law school so I could become a prosecuting attorney.
For Pete’s sake. I wanted to write a sportsbook for kids. Instead, I read an article about a detective who’d solved a major serial murder case and in the craziest and most spontaneous moment of my life, I picked up the phone and called him.
It was the moment that changed my life and his.
How did that moment happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t I put the article down and head to the tennis court where my doubles partner waited? And why, after his partner told me he was on vacation, didn’t I breathe a huge sigh of relief and put that insane notion out of my head? Why did the persona of Detective John “Jigsaw” St. John get so stuck in my brain I didn’t think about anything else but calling him the next day?
I called him the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that – seven calls in total. He finally gave in saying he’d meet me if I promised never to call him again.
Going back to why that phone call changed my life. I knew a truth that resided in a deep and honest part of me, that if I didn’t meet John St. John the life I desperately wanted, the person I wanted to become and the journey I needed to be on wouldn’t happen unless I met him.
And I was right. Because I rode shotgun with Badge Number One for thirteen glorious years. He changed me and I changed him. That’s what we both wanted.