Roger L. Simon

Hunter Does a Hemingway

Hunter.jpgStill convalescing from my gall bladder surgery, I woke up very late for me today (9AM) to the sad news that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, the founder of gonzo journalism (wow what a blogger he would have been!), died by his own hand in his Aspen-area home yesterday.

It’s been a while, but I knew Hunter back in the days when we were both among the first authors being published by Rolling Stones‘ Straight Arrow Press (early seventies) — his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and my The Big Fix. Those books got that then new indy press off to a good start (his far more than mine). When I was I late on the deadline for my second mystery (again nowhere near as late Hunter of course) I was installed by our mutual editor/publisher Alan Rinzler in a San Francisco motel room (the oh-so-hip Seal Rock Inn) previously occupied by Hunter to finish my book. The friendly housekeeper, a heavyset black woman, watched me bring my stuff in. I could see her in the mirror as I unloaded my toilet kit (aspirin, etc.) into the medicine cabinet. “You don’t got nearly as much in there as Mr. Thompson,” she observed. No, I didn’t.

Rest in peace, Hunter. I’m going to see if I can dig out my old copy of Fear and Loathing.

UPDATE: Yes, in answer to several questions, Dr. Gunther Thomas in my novel Wild Turkey, the same one I wrote a great deal of then in the Seal Rock Inn, is a very thinly disguised Hunter Thompson. The most he ever said to me about the characterization was one word “nasty.” I thought it was affectionate.