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Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Getting weird for
Devil's Day


By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

Hot damn, it is Halloween again, and I am ready to get weird in public. Nevermind anthrax for today. The Yankees won, but so what? That's what I said to that fruitbag who claimed to be Sean Penn when he called earlier. "Screw you," I said. He was drunk, so I knew right away that it wasn't Sean Penn. "Get out of my face!" I screamed at him. "You are the same squalid freak who called here a few days ago and said he was Muhammad Ali. What's wrong with you?"

"I need advice," said the voice. "Should I jump into the Honolulu Marathon this year? I desperately need a Personal Challenge to conquer. My blood is filling up with some kind of poison."

"Nonsense," I said. "You are just another jackass looking for attention. I'll give your lame ass a beating if I ever catch you sneaking around My house, you sleazy little Freak!"

I didn't care who he was, by then. He was just another geek in a Halloween parade, to my way of thinking. And for all I knew he was dangerous -- maybe some kind of murderous off-duty cop with two guns and a bottle of whiskey in his pocket. I wanted no part of him, especially not on a day like Halloween.

But why not humor him? I thought. Nobody needs this kind of Foul Ball drunk coming into his yard at night. So I lowered my voice and gave him a break. "OK," I said. "I will help you, just don't come anywhere near me."

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"I am Sean Penn," the voice said calmly. "Should I or should I not enter the Honolulu Marathon in December? That's all I need to know."

"Yes," I said. "You should definitely enter it. I will go with you, if necessary. But don't call them today. Do it tomorrow, not today. Nobody will believe a thing you say on a horrible day like Halloween. ... And don't use the damn telephone anymore! They'll hunt you down and dice you up like a squid -- just go to bed and stay out of sight until noon. That is when the bogeyman sleeps, and so do I. So get out of my face and never call me again!" Then I howled in a low animal voice and hung up the phone.

"These freaks should all be put to sleep," I said to Anita. "Let's go out on the town and get weird."

"Wonderful," she chirped. "We will put on our costumes and throw eggs at foreigners. What are you going to wear?"

"Only this turban, and a jock strap," I said. "And some lipstick. They love lipstick."

Anita was dressed up as the coach of the New York Giants. "They are Losers," she said. "It is OK to mock Losers, right?"

"Yes," I said, "It is righteous to mock Losers in this country. We are Number One."

"Thank you," she said. "You must be a sportswriter."

"You bet," I replied. "We are going to fly to Hawaii with Sean Penn next month. You will probably need a new Rolex."

"Yes." She nodded. "We will have to be inconspicuous for that kind of travel. Is he still Drinking?"

"No." I replied. "He is going into training for the Honolulu Marathon. Perhaps we should stop drinking too."

Jim Fassel
Hunter S. Thompson's friend Anita in her clever Halloween costume.
"Not today," she said with a wink. "Today is the Devil's day."

She was right, of course -- although some people will tell you that the Devil has had a lot of Days, recently. They see him behind every bush. He lurks like an Evil spirit. He is terrifying.

And who is to say they are wrong? Which of us will hurl the first stone at these chicken-heads? Not me, buster. I know these people. They are Devils. ... Which may be true, but so what? Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.

Just then my phone rang. "Not that Freak again," I muttered -- but I was wrong. It was my old friend John Wilber, calling from Hawaii, and his voice was very excited. "You'll never believe this," he said. "Sean Penn wants to run in the Marathon. He just called Doc Barhal and confirmed it."

"No!" I shouted. "That's impossible. He's asleep downstairs in my basement, and there is no phone in that room. Don't you know what day this is? It's Halloween, you jackass!" And then I quickly hung up on him.

"I can't stand this crap anymore." I said to Anita. "Let's get out of here. We can watch the game at the Jerome. What do these swine think I am -- a fool?"

  "You brainless animal!" I snarled at the bartender. "You just lost the whole ESPN account. You'll be fired for this!" 
  

"Who cares?" She said with a shrug.

"No," I said. "I'll do the driving tonight. We might run into the Saudi Ambassador along the way -- and you know how he flies off the handle if he thinks he sees a woman driving a car."

She agreed, and we drove into town without incident and got to the Jerome Bar just as the Knicks-Wizards game was getting under way. ... But no. I was wrong again. All five TV sets, including the 50-incher in the back room, were tuned to the World Series. And the bartender laughed when I asked him to switch at least one of them over to the basketball game. "Are you nuts?" he jeered. "This is a men's bar! We don't watch no stinking basketball here."

"You brainless animal!" I snarled at him. "You just lost the whole ESPN account. You'll be fired for this!"

"Get out of here!" he yelled. "Or I'll set fire to that rotten-looking turban you're wearing!" He lit a book of matches and waved it at me.

So we left and went down to the county jail, where I knew the prisoners would be watching the NBA game, because I knew the jailer hated baseball. He was a Michael Jordan fan -- so I gave him the Wizards and five points, and I was wrong again. They lost by only two, which completely ruined my night. I had to pay off all the prisoners, too. I can still hear them laughing at us on our way out.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears each Monday on Page 2.