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The International Writers Magazine
: On the death of Hunter S

The King Is Dead. Long Live The King
Brodie Parker on Hunter S Thompson

"It occurred to me one evening, as I sat by myself in Al’s patio, that a man can live on his wits and his balls for only so long."
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

The Rum Diary
So I’m sitting in the glow of my computer this morning with a cup of coffee and a burning cigarette, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, still in my underwear, when it hits me. In unmistakable black and white with pictures of the good Doctor in vivid color, the news of Hunter Thompson’s abrupt end threatened to reverse my blood flow. The coffee got cold and the cigarette burned itself to ash as I wept like a little girl.
"No! No Goddamn you, you selfish bastard! You can’t do this to me! You can’t leave me here alone with the forces of darkness roaming the countryside. You can’t extinguish the light at the end of the tunnel."

Of course he could, and he has. My heroes continue to prove themselves mortal. Lennon in ’80, Heinlein in ’88, Zappa in ’93, Ginsberg in ’97, and now Dr. Gonzo. But I’m not alone. The soul crushing weight of first devastating impact gradually recedes and I reflect that there must be others sharing my grief, and I take some consolation from it.

I’ll miss the surly old crank. In the quiet emptiness of the Mark Twain cosmos, and the darkness of the H.L. Mencken nights, burning with the fire of Allen Ginsberg verse, and rolling with the rhythm of Kerouac I’ll think of him and remember why I write. Apron strings severed with bullets. My world is a poorer place for his passing.

Robert Frost said nothing gold can stay, and he’s half right. Thompson may have left us, but his legacy is alive and drinking scotch, chain smoking and trashing hotel rooms. A legacy is what everyone strives for after all. To be remembered after we leave, and to thus live on. To make a lasting mark that offers proof that we are more than passing dreams. If that isn’t gold, what is?
I won’t ask why; even rhetorically. The answer will never come, and I wouldn’t understand it if it did. One of the wisest of men said that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Our loss is Heaven’s gain, and God sure has His hands full now.
© Brodie Parker Feb 21st 2005

See Brodie's The Great Beyond


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