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Published: 14 years ago

If I Robbed Him

An exclusive excerpt from O.J.'s next book

OJ Simpson 

By Timothy Noah, senior writer at Slate

Determined not to be upstaged by the Goldman family's publication of If I Did It, O.J. Simpson's "hypothetical" memoir of wife-beating and double homicide, Simpson announced today that HarperCollins, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., will publish a sequel, If I Robbed Him: That Son-Of-A-Bitch Is Lucky To Be Alive After He Stole My Damn Souvenirs. On the day of publication, Simpson will be interviewed about the book on Fox News by L. Gordon Crovitz, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, prefatory to the book's serialization in the Far Eastern Economic Review. In a unique compensation arrangement, News Corp. has contracted with the German/Russian firm Eurockot to launch into outer space 5 million Swiss francs plus two pairs of John Lobb elephant-skin golf shoes in size 12 (if the shoe doesn't fit, someone's lip will get split). The rocket will carry O.J.'s book advance to the Andromeda galaxy, where it will be stored in a black hole that is believed to lie outside the jurisdiction of the $33.5 million civil judgment against Simpson in 1997.

Slate has been leaked an advance copy of the manuscript. An excerpt appears below.

A lot of people think they know what went down in that Las Vegas hotel room. Well, they don't know. I've seen the evidence. I've listened to the audiotape. I've posed for the mug shot. I've negotiated the deal for the HBO docudrama. And of course, I've heard all the theories.

That I did it.

That I did it but I don't know I did it.

That killing Nicole and that Goldman dude back in 1994, who were really asking for it, not that I'm saying I did it, but if I did do it then it wasn't that big a deal, she had it coming, that no-good blood-sucking c—

Ahem. That, anyway, thirteen years after killing Nicole and whatshisname, Goldman, I'm consumed with guilt and feel a compulsion to confess, blah blah blah, and that my suppression of what I know to be the hideous truth about my terrible deeds has started to undermine my grip on reality. If you believe that, my friend, then you'll believe that NASA space missions are on the up-and-up, and not faked at a remote Army base in the desert!

Let me tell you what really happened Sept. 13 at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino. Picture this.*

An auctioneer in California named Thomas Riccio contacted me to say that some guys in Vegas were secretly trying to sell souvenirs from my football days. I asked Riccio to set up a meeting in Vegas. On Thursday I met Riccio in the hotel lobby with my pals Clarence Stewart, Michael McClinton, Tom Scotto, and Walter Alexander, who has a really, really big mouth. (Way to stand up for a buddy, Walter! I'll take care of you later.)

There was also a sixth guy, whom the Las Vegas police won't identify. I'll call him Zeppo. Zeppo tried to talk me out of confronting the sellers. "Don't do it, O.J.!" he said. "It's unlawful to rob somebody at gunpoint!" As events progressed, Zeppo keened and wailed like a Greek chorus. "Look, O.J.! They have bingo! Why don't we play a little bingo instead?"

Some people think Zeppo is a figment of my imagination or a lame literary device to voice conscience-stricken sentiments that I've repressed. But Zeppo was there, and to be honest I was sorely tempted to plug the guy just to shut him up.

Anyway, we took the elevator up, entered this hotel room, and lo and behold there were Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong. Beardsley collects O.J. Simpson memorabilia, and I've tangled with him in the past over whether I agreed or didn't agree to sign some autographs in East L.A. Fromong, another collector, was kind enough to testify on my behalf at the civil trial. They're a pair of lowlifes, but with my liquidity problems you can't be too choosy about who your friends are. Anyway, with them in the hotel room was a pile of memorabilia that my former sports agent, Mike Gilbert, stole from my mother's storage locker. Mike claims something lame, like he took them because I didn't pay him. Which actually may be true. But let's not get bogged down in minutiae here.

Riccio, the auctioneer, brought a concealed tape recorder, because he thought we'd get the guys to admit they were fencing stolen goods and then we could call the cops on them. He was kind of shocked when instead my buddies pulled guns out and pointed them at Beardsley and Fromong.

Way I see it, the tape is a good news/bad news thing. It's good news because I don't have to go all fuzzy in this book like I did in If I Did It about what happened when my explosive rage crossed the line into criminality.

Uh, if it crossed into criminality. Which it didn't.

The tape is also bad news, however, because Riccio gave it to the cops, and now I guess it will be entered into evidence. Where it can be used to show that we robbed Beardsley and Fromong at gunpoint. Which of course we did.**

Here's how we did it:

"Don't let nobody out this room," I shouted as my buddies pulled out their heaters. "Motherf__kers! Think you can steal my s__t and sell it?"

Beardsley (or was it Fromong?) said, "No" and looked scared.

"Don't let nobody out of here," I said. "Motherf__ker, you think you can steal my s__t?"

Then somebody said, "F__k you. Mind your own business."

Then one of my homeys said, "Look at this s__t." Then one of them told Fromong (or was it Beardsley?) "Get over there."

"You think you can steal my s__t?" I repeated, because I really felt this was the central point these two collectors needed to grasp.

"Backs to the wall," one of my peeps said. "Walk your ass over there."

"Think you can steal my s__t?" I asked once again.

"Mike took it," Beardsley (or perhaps Fromong) replied.

"I know f__king Mike took it," I said.

Then we told the two dealers to stand the f__k up. Then we took the stuff, which was mine, so I don't see what the big deal is. Unless Mike sold it to retire my debt to him. I don't really remember. Anyway, he should have asked first. And I can't believe he took my photo with J. Edgar Hoover!

Beardsley, who called the cops, now wants the charges dropped. He's even apologized. So I guess my plan to rob him scared him. If I had a plan to rob him. Which I didn't.

Now I just need Fromong to drop the charges, too. How hard can that be? If he doesn't drop them, he isn't very bright. Let me put it to you this way. Would you want to make O.J. Simpson mad?

* My fingers and toes were crossed when I dictated what follows to my ghostwriter. (Return.)

** Hypothetically, that is. I wish to hell the tape were hypothetical, too, but its seizure by the police has unfortunately compromised its preferred status as a thought experiment. (Return.)


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