By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
News reports relayed to me from various friends seem to run in an identical Party Line that read like this AP item: "With a deafening boom, the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson were blown into the sky amid fireworks late Saturday, as relatives and a star-studded crowd bid an irreverent farewell to the founder of 'gonzo journalism.' " My wife read me this and I asked her, for reasons of my own, if they had capitalized the J in journalism. Her answer: "Neither the G nor the J." See what I mean? If you're saying yes, yeah you fuckin' right! If it's no, well, think about it; it'll come to you. I hope.
I'm sorry to be redundant, but I take no, that's NO, joy in giving you this news: Two weeks ago I was on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my four- and three-year-old grandsons, and I shot off $15 worth of Black Cat bottle rockets that was a better show. They say Johnny Depp, bless his heart, coughed up most of the reported $2.5 million "the event" cost. He got screwed. By my best calculations, I figure "they" spent $2.499 million on the booze for the party, and the Zambellis had to make do with the leftover.
As I stood out there on 82 for an hour waiting for a finale that had already happened, I thought of two young guys I had met at the Woody Creek Tavern, who had driven from north Washington State for "the event": Chad, a toned athletic Park Service Ranger candidate, and his charmingly dissolute cousin Sean. Sean, on a dare, had eaten all the psychedelic mushrooms they had with them as Chad drove through Utah. "Except for digging a few cloud formations," Sean said, "all I did was sweat and worry about Mormons." The last time I saw him before zero hour, Sean was steady drinking rough alcohol and chasing it with reefer. And I couldn't help but believe that Sean and his kin were the ones putting the grin on Hunter's face. And I couldn't help but think that "the event" would have made him bull goose loony.
To close on a personal note, Hunter: This is the shittiest place I have ever been in my miserable fucking life, and that includes the DMZ and Port-au-Prince in 1994. So long, pal. Stay on the Sunnyside.