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Tuesday, May 6, 2003
Updated: May 8, 12:27 PM ET
Seventh heaven

By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

I am sitting here with lovely Anita at Midnight on Monday and we are whooping it up in the aftermath of what will go down in the history of rural gambling as the great Woody Creek Fleecing of the 2003 basketball season. We are slapping each other's thighs with gleeful laughter, and also drinking the legendary Highland Park Scotch Whiskey (single malt, 18 years old) from a Tiffany crystal decanter, and smoking Jimson weed, for old times sake. It is wonderful.

We all understand what a really first-class Fleecing feels like, for good or ill. And tonight I feel Good. Why not? Even a Blind pig finds an acorn now and then. That is the law of Nature.

Tonight I lured a group of visiting priests into my gambling den and advised them to bet on the Lakers and give me the Spurs plus 10 points. It was beautiful. It was a classic of big-time fleecing. And they loved me for it. Money meant nothing to them. They were messengers from the Vatican City.

A fleecee is one who has just been dramatically fleeced -- as in "Shearing the sheep of his wooly coat," according to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language. He/she has been deprived of money or belongings by Fraud, Coma, Hoax or the like; swindled and stripped of all human dignity, if only for one long painful moment that will never be gone from your memory.

Being fleeced and humiliated right in front of all your friends and peers and loved ones is every gambler's most horrible fear. It is like being stripped naked, on a street not far from the ghastly hole that was once the World Trade Center -- and forced to walk, or run or slither or wander, all alone to the far northern tip of Manhattan Island.

That would be somewhere close to the old Harlem Bridge, as I recall, not far from where my friend William Burroughs was robbed and badly beaten, many years ago, by a gang of para-military dope addicts who had never even heard of him.

There is absolutely no end to the list of horrible things that might happen to a person who tries to walk naked from one end of Manhattan Island to the other. Nobody has ever done it. Not even George Washington, who spent a lot of time in New York and could wander around naked wherever he pleased.

But so what, eh? Nobody needs that kind of un-natural nightmare. Most of us have our own problems, and some of them are so depressing that the idea of wandering naked and alone all night to the far reaches of Central Park seems almost like a fun thing to try next weekend.

Which brings us back to the ominous fate that awaits the crippled Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow night in San Antonio. It will be the Alamo in reverse, with Shaquille O'Neal as Davey Crockett.

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What? No. That is an unacceptably morbid hallucination. Shaq would never fight to the death for some cheap white man's rubble like the Alamo. And neither would I, for that matter, just for the record.

The Lakers have lost five straight games to the Spurs, and there is no smart reason to believe they won't lose three more. But probably not: The TV networks would go crazy if San Antonio swept the series 4-0. It would be a financial disaster, for them and for us. Any 4-0 sweep in any playoff series means a net loss of three spectacular professional basketball games that I will never see. And neither will you. Ho ho.

Anita is doing the math now -- and, ye gods, the final numbers are more disastrous than I thought. Yes. If every one of these NBA playoff series was a 4-0 sweep, we would lose a grim total of 42 major games before the summer starts. To me, a professional Addict of the game, that would be worse than having my car stolen, or even than suddenly discovering maggots in my refrigerator. It would be a personal tragedy and very likely a Death Blow to the future of the NBA.

That means we must all pray vigorously for every series to go the full seven (7) games. That is all ye know, and all ye Need to know. Mahalo. Yes. Bring it on, bore it out -- three games a night until the Fourth of July. I crave it, and so does Anita.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," 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 regularly on Page 2.