Tuesday, December 11, 2001 Updated: December 13, 11:59 AM ET
Madness in Honolulu
By Hunter S. Thompson Page 2 columnist
OK, folks, let's talk about the good life in Hawaii now, about beautiful beaches and naked women and ukuleles wailing in the darkness of a football Sunday morning in Honolulu. I am familiar with these things, and I want to pass them along to you, because I am a writing fool on the run with a
charming smile and a total-access Press pass. Yes sir, I am a tortured man
for all seasons, as they say, and I have powerful friends in high places.
Birds sing where I walk, and children smile when they see me coming.
Are you impressed yet? Are you ready to cough it up? No? Well stand
back and try this: We are all Beasts, when it comes right down to it, and
the only thing that really matters in the end is Who wins the Rose Bowl.
What? That is nonsense. That is Gibberish in overdrive. Nobody
believes it and Nobody should. I pass it along only because it came to me in a random E-mail blurb from the Greed heads who run a College football racket known as the Bowl Championship Series, the ill-fated BCS.
Those people are dirt-bags, hired swine in the pay of other swine who
control the glitzy machinery of College Football.
Right, and so much for that, eh? How did I get off on that evil tack
anyway? I was sitting here in this elegant beachfront Suite in the Kahala
Oriental Mandarin hotel, thinking of nothing at all except the vastness of
the Pacific Ocean and the incredible language skills of George Bush, when my
brain locked up and I veered off on some meatball rap about the upcoming
Miami Nebraska game. Who knows why? It means nothing at all, absolutely
nothing -- except to both teams, who will pocket $15,000,000 each showing up in Pasadena on Jan 1. Suck on that nut, bubba. Ho ho.
Whoops! Have I discussed the world-famous Honolulu Marathon yet? Have I
done my job as a suave professional? If not, I will do it now. When the
going gets weird, the weird turn pro. That is my personal motto, and it has
made me what I am today. I am a generous man, by nature, and far more
trusting than I should be. Indeed. The Real world is risky territory for
people with generosity of spirit. Beware.
I was reminded of this when I chanced to see my notebook from last weekend
and saw what was happening back then. It seems like the good old days now,
but in fact it was not so long ago at all -- less than five or six days, my
notes tell me, but I can only dimly remember it.
That is what notebooks are for, I think, so let's have a look at what I
wrote, to wit:
It was four o'clock on a rainy Sunday morning when the long white limousine
came to the hotel to take us downtown to what they called the Starting Line,
where 20,000 half-naked fanatics waiting to grease us up for the race. I was nursing a bottle of green Gin and feeling vaguely desperate, but I saw no way to escape. We had made the wretched commitment long ago, and now the time had come. The deal was about to go down.
Far across the deserted lobby, dressed in a cheap black suit, and orange
running shoes, I saw Sean Penn slumped on a leather bench and weeping dumbly
and pounding his fists against a wall of orchids. I bit my tongue and tried
to ignore him, but he cried out when he saw me, and I had no choice, so I
paused. "I don't think I can do it, Doc," he sobbed. "I am going all to
pieces. I am weak and I'm afraid. Please help me"
I had never seen him like this, and I knew I couldn't help him. Quitting
now would be humiliating. We had shot off our mouths and now we were going
to pay for it. "Get a grip on yourself," I said sharply "people are watching us!" Then I handed him my green bottle of gin.
He grasped it eagerly and put it to his lips, swallowing deeply and
rolling his eyes -- then he dropped it on the floor, where it bounced and
"You fool!" I shouted. "You stupid little Bastard! We can't get any
more of that stuff until Noon!"
"Oh no," he mumbled. " I have money. They will give me whatever I want"
Just then, I saw our limo driver. "Get away from us!" I yelled. "Can't
you see that Mr. Penn is feeling poorly?"
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"So am I," he replied. "It's raining Hard outside and my wife ran off
with a sailor -- but I have a Job to do and I am going to do it. Get that Sot in the car."
What? I thought. Are you calling Sean Penn a sot? Are you nuts? I had
dealt with this driver before, and I knew him to be a thug with no morals at
all. Two days earlier, he had abandoned us for three hours in a dangerous
downtown park where criminals lurked in the darkness. There were nine of us, including six women and children. We were utterly helpless. So we huddled behind a concert stage where sleazy old men wearing wigs were singing "God Bless America," and pretending to be the Beatles. It was disgusting. Our only weapon was a knobby-headed cane about four feet long, which I waved at the trees and occasionally pounded on the hood of a nearby Cadillac car. It was a long and nasty three hours.
And now, on this horrible Sunday morning, the same irresponsible thug was
spitting insults on a major Hollywood talent. It was ugly. We were the
biggest celebrities in the race. I stared down at Penn for a moment, saying
nothing, then I turned away and walked quickly back to the elevator, which I
took upstairs to my suite and locked both doors. Anita was still asleep, so
I called room service for some Crab St. Jacques and watched the War on TV
until dawn. That is how we handle emergencies in the tropics.
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.