It’s All Hallows Eve and There’s Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice for Miss BrightSide!

Nicole was a Mom. She put her kids first. She put everybody else first… My sister had the ability to live life, live it bright and live it large… She had fun.’

Tanya Brown

Even if I haven’t exactly been ‘living it large’ here at Nicole’s House as of late; I’ve certainly been having some ‘fun’ even though I have been so busy with moving furniture and shifting plant pots while packing away the toys and putting the cherished family photographs into temporary storage.

And the reason for this interior upheaval?

As today is All Hallows Eve and I’ve long wanted to host a spooky soirée here at Nicole’s House; I thought it would be a great idea to ‘brighten’ up the place with terracotta pots of gnarled tree branches, lashings of cobwebs, an colony of spiders, bats and other fantasy folk, an abundance of peevish pumpkins and with enough candy and cake in which to sink a ship, 12th scale or otherwise!

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As Nicole was always known throughout her life as a devoted and loving mother who loved nothing more than to decorate her home for a party, I’d like to think that I’ve managed to capture just a ‘little’ of her inspirational creative spirit this All Hallows Eve.

Now, where did I put my plate of cake?

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When witches go riding.

And black cats are seen.

The moon laughs and whispers

‘Tis near Halloween

I have loved this quote for as long as I can remember and with a passion for anything and everything to do with Halloween, I always wanted a black cat and was beyond thrilled when Minnie B came to live with us last year; even though she can get into the occasional spot of mischief which is usually when she wants to grab my attention or else she’s pestering for a few of my cat ‘treats’.

But, I remain smitten with her and now that she has been created in 12th scale by the talented Pearl from Literature in Miniature as a Little Big Cat; Minnie B is also the inspiration for this All Hallows Eve tale.

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At first Minnie B had been very excited to have received her special invitation to the party at Nicole’s House for this All Hallows Eve but as the day arrived and even with the promise of lots of delicious cake; she was not her usual happy self.

‘Tis Halloween and Orange IS the New Black for Little Big Cat!

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After THAT Verdict, Dominick Dunne Goes in Search of the Ghost of Brentwood…

A young woman named Moya Rimp, whom I met during the Simpson trial, called to tell me that she and her mother, Pauline Rimp, a prominent real-estate woman in Brentwood, had moved into Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo, the scene of the murders, in order to help the Brown family sell it. The Browns are eager to get rid of the condo, although as yet there have been no takers.

“What’s it like living there?” I asked.

“Very strange. Tourists are still coming by to look at it. When I walk the dog, I meet all these people in the neighborhood who tell me things. There’s one who swears she saw O.J. talking to Ron and Nicole before the murders, but she wouldn’t come forward.”

Moya Rimp invited me for dinner, I went. Robert Altman, the film director, and his wife, Kathryn, were also there…

With the reverence of a docent at the Getty Museum, Moya Rimp showed us through the condo. “This is where Nicole’s exercise equipment was,” she said stopping in an area outside the master bedroom. We stared at the empty space, then moved on.

“Now we’re entering Nicole’s bedroom. That was her bed, and beyond, in the bathroom, you can see her tub, which was filled with water that night and had lit candles around the edge.” We became caught up in her surreal thrall.

As many times as I had walked by the condo and looked at the pictures of the crime scene, I was still amazed at how large the place is – 3,400 square feet – and how small the killing area is.

I perched on the spot outside the picture window where Simpson would have sat when he reportedly spied on Nicole prior to the killings. It was the perfect place for a voyeur…

“We think he was watching Nicole through the window on the night of the murders before she came outside,” said Moya Rimp.

In the ill-lit, eerie space, I felt as if I could almost hear the scuffling of rubber-soled Bruno Magli shoes and sneakers in the dirt and on the walkway. “This is where Ron fell,” said Moya. “That’s where Nicole was.”

As I looked at the scene, remembering the horrifying photographs shown in court, I didn’t want to be there anymore, and we went inside.

Dominick Dunne Three Faces of Evil for Vanity Fair (June 1996)

A Peek Inside the Abode of a Has-Been…

Brentwood was definitely not my neck of the woods. The conventional wisdom about this upscale ‘hood was that it was a place where people air-kissed, compared implants, and did lunch. During my stint in Beverly Hills, I discovered that the cliches were pretty much true.

The hills north of Sunset were jammed with multimillion-dollar estates hidden behind many millions more dollars’ worth of landscaping. All to create the illusion of privacy. The farther north you went, and the higher you climbed into the hills, the narrower the streets became, and the more obscure the street signs were. I strained to find Rockingham Drive.

There was a cruiser parked up ahead, where a uniformed officer directed traffic. A few civilians milled around outside an iron security gate. Some of them had the nervous, unfed look of reporters. Still, the scene was not exactly bustling with activity. I got the impression that the main show had come and gone.

I slipped unnoticed past the press and through the gate, where I got my first look at the larger Tudor-style house overhung with old eucalyptus trees. The manicured grounds seemed to glow an unnatural shade of green in the midday light. In one corner of the lawn stood a child’s playhouse. O.J. Simpson might be a has-been, I thought, but he must still be bringing in serious bucks to manage the upkeep on this place.

A white Ford Bronco sat nosed into the curb on Rockingham. Extending up the driveway from the rear of the vehicle was a trail of reddish-brown spots. The rust-colored droplets stopped several yards short of the house. The front door was open and in the foyer I could see more droplets. They appeared to be blood. Gingerly, careful to disturb nothing, I stepped inside.

Search warrant or no, it always felt weird to me to walk into the house of a stranger. But there’s also a voyeuristic fascination: what a person chooses to surround himself with tells you a lot about him. This interior of O.J. Simpson’s house was exquisitely appointed with overstuffed white furniture, Lalique glass, and Berber carpeting. And yet the place gave off a faint odor of mildew and neglect.

“Hey, Marcia, come upstairs. I want to show you something.” It was Brad Roberts. I followed him up the spiral staircase, where the wall was lined with photographs, mostly shots of O.J. Simpson with various fat cats.

It was on that stairway that I got my first look at the face of Nicole Brown Simpson.

She was blond, with handsome, almost mannish, features. Her hair, teeth, and skin all had that gloss peculiar to the West Side elite. In some of the photos she was with a pair of lovely brown-skinned children, a boy and a girl. They all wore ski attire. Her face was difficult to read. The expression in all the photos was uniformly happy, but her eyes were glazed. She had – how would you describe it  – a thousand-yard stare.

By now,  I knew that the Simpson had been divorced for two years. I found it peculiar that he still had her pictures everywhere. The photos of my ex were long gone from the walls and end tables.

I peeked into the master bedroom suite. From that vantage point I could see only the top and one side of the bed. Brad Roberts knelt on the floor. He reached under the box spring and, using his fingertips, pulled out a framed photo. It showed Nicole and her husband in evening dress.

“Is that the way you found it?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied. “Just like that. Facedown. Under the bed.”

“Make sure they get a photo of that.” I told him.

Marcia Clark Without a Doubt (New York: Penguin Books 1998)