Tuesday, 22 February 2005

Farewell to Raoul Duke

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.I remember saying something like 'I feel a bit lightheaded, maybe you should drive....'
And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas.

And a voice was screaming 'Holy Jesus ! What are these goddamn animals ?'
Then it was quiet again. My attorney had taken his shirt off and was pouing beer on his chest to facilitate the tanning process. 'What the hell are you yelling about?' he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses.

'Never mind' I said. 'It's your turn to drive' I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastrad will see them soon enough..........

The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass,seventy five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.

The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

That's how Hunter S. Thompson started out his book 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. I was 18 years old and my girlfriend at the time, Ashley, had given me the book to read. If only she'd known the impact the book would have on me. I was an introverted extrovert teen looking for a creative outlet and in Thompson's book I found an outlet that seemd to fit just right.

The book was hillarious, twisted, full of images that appealed to a young man. Adventure on the road, beer, half rambling and half charging through life. Highschool had introduced me to smoking grass, to drinking beer and a few other things that are best left un-said. But here was a larger than life character who took it all to the extremes, to the edge and back. Kinda like running to the edge of the cliff and hoping the tether you'd tied to prevented a total freefall into the abyss.

Needless to say, the book was appealing and then Bill Murray came out starring as Raoul Duke in the movie "Where the Buffalo Roam". Both left their mark on me, I identified with the character. Afterall, isn't that one of the goals of any writer ? Being able to touch a person through your words & imagery ?

Well Hunter, in me you suceeded. You will be missed.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me your thoughts on what you read or ideas for future topics.