First published in 1990, Songs of the Doomed is back in print -- by popular demand! In this third and most extraordinary volume of the Gonzo Papers, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson recalls high and hideous moments in his thirty years in the Passing Lane -- and no one is safe from his hilarious, remarkably astute social commentary.Read more...
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Date: Oct 1990
From the book
Let the Trials Begin
Let the Trials Begin
He that goes to law holds a wolf by the ears.
-- Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy
I wandered into a library last week and decided to do a quick bit of reading on The Law, which has caused me some trouble recently. It was a cold, mean day, and my mood was not much different. The library was empty at that hour of the morning....It was closed, in fact, but not locked. So I went in.
Far up at the top of the long stone staircase I could see a small man gesturing at me: waving at me, shouting....But his voice sounded crazy and scattered, like the screeching of a cat or the sound of beer bottles exploding in a garbage compactor. The only words I could hear were OUT and NIGHT.
When I got about halfway up the stairs I stopped and raised both hands. "Don't worry!" I shouted. "Police!"
He shuddered and fell back, saying nothing. His eyes were huge and a shudder ran through his body as I approached. "No problem," I said to him. "Just routine police work." I flashed my gold Special DEA Agent badge at him, then reached out to shake hands, but he moaned suddenly and leaped away...and as he collapsed awkwardly on the cold marble floor I saw that his left ankle was encircled by a heavy steel band that was strapped to a black box.
"What the fuck is that thing?" I asked him, reaching down to help him up. But he scuttled away again; and then he hissed at me.
"You know what it is!" he whimpered. "You filthy murdering pig!"
"What?" I said. "Are you crazy?" Then I jumped down on him and grabbed his foot so I could bring him a little closer. He uttered another sharp, terrified cry as I slid him across the smooth floor and pulled his ankle up to where it was right in front of my eyes.
"Be quiet," I said. "I want a look at this thing in good light." He struggled briefly, but I quickly stepped over his leg and hyper-extended his knee until he went rigid, then I braced him and examined the box. It was a standard-issue Body Beeper with a lock-on ankle bracelet -- one of the New Age tools now available to law enforcement agencies everywhere, for purposes of electronic House Arrest for those who have been brought within The System, but for whom there is no room in the overcrowded jails, pens, and prisons. The United States of America has more people locked up than any other country in the world, including Cuba and South Africa. Our prison system from coast to coast is bulging at the seams, and hundreds more are being crammed in every day -- more and more of them saddled with the mandatory Sentences and No Parole Provisions that came in with the first Reagan Administration, which began only ten years ago, but it seems like twenty or thirty....
Indeed. But that is another very long story and we will save it for later....So let's get back to the library and my new buddy, the unfortunate Prisoner that I seized and captured by accident at four o'clock in the morning when I caught him wandering aimlessly...