Nov 25, 2008


(Continuing saga of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson in Houston, Texas, reporting on the Miami Dolphins and the Minnessota Vikings duking it out in Super Bowl VIII. Read Part 1 here. Excerpted from The Great Shark Hunt - Ballantine Books )

I howled at the top of my lungs for almost 30 minutes, raving and screeching about all those who would soon be cast into the lake of fire, for a variety of low crimes, misdemeanors, and general ugliness that amounted to a sweeping indictment of almost everybody in the hotel at that hour.
Most of them were asleep when I began speaking, but as a Doctor of Divinity and an ordained minister in the Church of the New Truth, I knew in my heart that I was merely a vessel - a tool as it were - of some higher and more powerful voice.
For eight long and degrading days I had skulked around Houston with all the other professionals, doing our jobs - which was actually to do nothing at all except drink all the free booze we could pour into our bodies, courtesy of the National Football League, and listen to an endless barrage of some of the lamest and silliest swill ever uttered by man or beast . . . and finally, on Sunday morning about six hours before the opening kickoff, I was racked to the point of hysteria by a hellish interior conflict.I was sitting by myself in the room, watching the wind and the weather clock on the TV set, when I felt a sudden and extremely powerful movement at the base of my spine. Mother of Sweating Jesus! I thought. What is it - a leech? Are there leeches in this goddamn hotel, along with everything else? I jumped off the bed and began clawing at the small of my back with both hands. The thing felt huge, maybe eight or nine pounds, moving slowly up my spine to the base of my neck.
I'd been wondering all week, why I was feeling so low and out of sorts . . . but it never occurred to me that a giant leech had been sucking blood out of the base of my spine all that time: and now the goddamn thing was moving up towards the base of my brain, going straight for the medulla . . . and as a professional sportswriter I knew that if the bugger ever reached my medulla I was done for.
It was at this point that serious conflict set in, because I realized - given the nature of what was coming up my spine and the drastic effect I knew it would have, very soon, on my sense of journalistic responsibility - that I would have to do two things immediately: First, deliver the sermon that had been brewing in my brain all week long, and then rush back into the room to write my lead for the Super Bowl story . . .
Or maybe write my lead first, and then deliver the sermon. In any case, there was no time to lose. The thing was about a third of the way up my spine now, and still moving at good speed. I jerked on a pair of L.L.Bean stalking shorts and ran out on the balcony to a nearby ice machine.

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