I was compelled today by Dr. Thompson’s ghost to type in this entire chapter from The Curse of Lono. The Doctor has more and more taken over this blog in the last week because honestly, whose words would I rather type, his or mine? No contest.
No commentary I could add is going to do justice to this passage, which forms the true conclusion of the book (there’s another chapter after it, which could just as well have been left out). Presented in the form of a letter to Ralph Steadman, it wraps up the threads of the Lono business, the City of Refuge, the war club, and all the rest of it with a savage elegance that only Hunter Thompson was capable of.
July 1, 1981
City of Refuge
(24 hours later)...I must be getting old, Ralph, eight pages is about all I can do in one night; so I took a break and got some sleep. I also felt I should back off and have a long look at this I am Lono business, because I am wary of being fooled by another false dawn.
That was the problem, Ralph. We were blind. The story we wanted was right in front of our eyes from the very start — although we can be excused, I think, for our failure to instantly understand a truth beyond reality. It was not an easy thing for me to accept the fact that I was born 1,700 years ago in an ocean-going canoe somewhere off the Kona Coast of Hawaii, a prince of royal Polynesian blood, and lived my first life as King Lono, ruler of all the islands.
According to our missionary/journalist, William Ellis, I "governed Hawaii during what may in its chronology be called the Fabulous Age"...until "(I) became offended with my wife, and murdered her; but afterwards lamented the act so much, as to induce a state of mental derangement. In this state (I) traveled through all the islands, boxing and wrestling with everyone (I) met...(I) subsequently set sail in a singularly shaped 'magic' canoe for Tahiti, or a foreign country. After (my) departure (I) was deified by (my) countrymen, and annual games of boxing and wrestling were instituted in (my) honor."
How's that for roots?
Don't argue with me, Ralph. You come from a race of eccentric degenerates; I was promoting my own fights all over Hawaii fifteen hundred years before your people even learned to take a bath.
And besides, this is the story. I don't know music, but I have a good ear for the high white sound...and when this Lono gig flashed in front of my eyes about 33 hours ago, I knew it for what it was.
Suddenly the whole thing made sense. It was like seeing The Green Light for the first time. I immediately shed all religious and rational constraints, and embraced a New Truth.
It has made my life strange and I was forced to flee the hotel after the realtors hired thugs to finish me off. But they killed a local haole fisherman instead, by mistake. This is true. On the day before I left, thugs beat a local fisherman to death and left him either floating facedown in the harbor, or strangled to death with a brake-cable and left in a jeep on the street in front of the Hotel Manago. News accounts were varied....
That's when I got scared and took off for The City. I came down the hill at ninety miles an hour and drove the car as far as I could out on the rocks, then I ran like a bastard for the Kaleokeawe — over the fence like a big kangaroo, kick down the door, then crawl inside and start screaming "I am Lono" at my pursuers, a gang of hired thugs and realtors, turned back by native Park Rangers.
They can't touch me now, Ralph. I am here with a battery-powered typewriter, two blankets from the King Kam, my miner's headlamp, a kitbag full of speed and other vitals, and my fine Samoan war club. Laila brings me food and whiskey twice a day, and the natives send me women. But they won't come into the hut — for the same reason nobody else will — so I have to sneak out at night and fuck them out there on the black rocks.
I like it here. It's not a bad life. I can't leave, because they're waiting for me out there by the parking lot, but the natives won't let them come any closer. They killed me once, and they're not about to do it again.
Because I am Lono, and as long as I stay in The City those lying swine can't touch me. I want a telephone installed, but Steve won't pay the deposit until Laila gives him $600 more for bad drugs.
Which is no problem, Ralph; no problem at all. I've already had several offers for my life story, and every night around sundown I crawl out and collect all the joints, coins and other offerings thrown over the stakefence by natives and others of my own kind.
So don't worry about me, Ralph. I've got mine. But I would naturally appreciate a visit, and perhaps a bit of money for the odd expense here and there.
It's a queer life, for sure, but right now it's all I have. Last night, around midnight, I heard somebody scratching on the thatch and then a female voice whispered, "You knew it would be like this."
"That's right!" I shouted. "I love you!"
There was no reply. Only the sound of this vast and bottomless sea, which talks to me every night and makes me smile in my sleep.