Around 9 each morning, Mary Fraces Reilly, 28, a petitc redhead with blue-green eyes, would step out of the Webstr House near Dutpont Circle and catch a cab to her tiny office downtown where she spent the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] beneath fluorescent lights, typing [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and reports for an international management consulting firm.
About three nights a week, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] she cleared her desk of papers and turned off the light, Mary Fraces Reilly would head for the Thies It topless nightclub on 14th Stree and by room in the basement illutminal by a single electric bulb hanging rom the deiling.
In that cubicle - between the women's toliet and the boiler ro - before a lipstick-smeared mir she would shed her office clothes put on the costume of a topless dicer.
Late last Friday night, The Is It's yellow marquee lights were turned off and the club itself - normall bustling with a Friday night cliente of servicement and tourist - was dark.
it was abo)t 9 that night recalled club manager William A. Johnson, that he and Reilly's coworkers learned that she had been identified by Prince George's County police as the homicide victim found about 9 that morning by a jogger ina wooded area in Oxon Hill along side Indian Head Highway.
Police said her body was fully clothed and had two bullet holes in the chest.
Johnson said he closed the club because many of employees in the club were friends of Reilly and did not feel like working upon learning of her murder.
The two lives of Mary Reilly were known to most of her friends, but non of them said they found the dichotomy hjard to accept. She was described by her employer at International Management Resources as an efficient office worker who typed 95 words a minute and recently completed an IBM course.
Her friends say she was an avid reader, a plant lover, a talented artist - "a very intelligent girl." They portray her as a woman who, at 28, was still seeking stability in life and constantly seesawed between making plans for her future and then seeing those plans fall through.
Reilly had worked for about four years at This Is It, but according to her friend Hans Lobisch, "She never quite fit in the 14th Street crowd. She was one up on them . . . She was somebody with class."
"Every so often, Mary would get bored with dancing when she felt degraded. You know, sometimes you have to deal with a bunch of ignorant had known Reilly since the early 1970's when they danced in the same club. "She'd stay away (from dancing) for a month or two then come back when she was hard up for money."
Thompson said Reilly's life seemed to be moving in a new direction recently. "She knew she was getting older and would have to settle down. Like me - I'm 29 - Mary knew her body wasn't going to hold out gor ever.
"I guess she was waiting for the right person to come along, but she knew your basic decent guy, the kind you'd want to marry, wasn't going to show up in a bar like this," Thompson said as she looked up at the colored light flashing over a dancer's body.
John Zawhorodny, a friend of Reilly's who works at Benny's Rebel Room not far from This Is It, said a dancer could earn as much as $200 a night when her tips were counted.
According to Irene Burrows, Reilly's sister, Reilly grew up in New Market. Md. When their mother died, the family split up and Reilly "went out on two sisters did not meet again until about eight years ago, Burrows said.
According to her friends, Mary Reilly began dancing in Washington nightclubs in the lat 60s after an unsuccessful teen-age marriage that left her destitute with three children. Reilly told her friends that two of her children were living with relatives of her estranged husband and that her 8-year-old son was living with her sister on a farm in Charlotte Hall, Md., in Charles County.
When those same clubs - Dolly's Clancy's, 007, the Lone Star - went topless in the early 1970s, Reilly changed too.
"Mary never really went topless topless. She was modest. She 'd always have a well over or she's wear pasties," Lobisch said.
Reilly, Lobisch said, danced mainly for the money., Friends said she was saving money so that her 8-year-old son could come back to live with her.
"Let face it, Mary liked to live well . . . If she could afford it, she'd take a taxi to work instead of the bus. She liked to go out to clubs at night . . . any place where she could start up a game of backgammon, Mary loved backgammson," Lobisch said.
Reilly was paid $35 a night for doing a one-step dance on the stage above the bar in This Is It's dark, velvet and wood-paneled main room, according to Johnson, her employer. The bottomless dancers are paid $50.
"She might make about $10 to $15 in tips," Johnson said.
At the consulting firm, Reilly rarely talked about her night job, her co-workers said. "But she wasn't at all embarrassed about it. She said it was something she liked the people (she worked with) and thought of them as family," one coworker said.
Reilly had worked late last Thursday at the firm, according to her employer Ike Gibson. Police said that she left the office and went to This Is It, stayed for a few hours and then left accompanied by a man, whom she apparently knew. Police said they cannot reveal the identity of the man because of the investigation.
Paul Shey, a friend who was with Reilly that night at the club, said he thought she left about 12:30 a.m. They had talked about plants - one of Reilly's interests - and about the food signs she had drawn for This Is It, Shey said.
Her mood, he recalled, was cheerful.
Her body was found about nine hours later.