Gonzo Today

Other Voices & Outside Sources

Hunter S. Thompson: The Champion of Fun

art by Nic Price

art by Nic Price


by Todd Brendan Fahey
originally appeared in the March 1991 issue of Fling

I remember very crisply my introduction to the cult of Hunter S. Thompson. Having already broasted the front side of my body under a thin ozone layer one warm August afternoon in Santa Barbara, I traded my beach chair for a friend’s towel so I could lie on my stomach and read from an orange and blue paperback, which had him laughing so hard he could barely hit off the joint we were trying to finish before the locals came begging around. Ralph Steadman’s insane sketching on the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had sucked me right into the rented fire-apple convertible, and into the giddy vortex where Dr. Thompson lives.

Later that afternoon, like any obsessive-compulsive personality, I drove to Earthling Bookshop and cleaned out their supply of Thompson works and began reading to the extent that I neglected basic human contact for as many weeks as it took to exhaust the six pieces of stone-madness. I became a True Believer, an historian, a collector — most likely a huge bore — emerging from literary hibernation and bringing Dr. Thompson with me to work, to parties . . . home to the folks for Thanksgiving. Dad was a bit miffed. He suffered through the introduction to The Great Shark Hunt, shaking his head spasmodically, and handed the book back to me, muttering, “Well, it isn’t James Michener.”

No. It is not. Hunter S. Thompson is a special breed, a variety of which will not likely be replicated in the near future.


And so, when Herr Doktor’s agent informed me of an impending “nightclub act” at The Strand in Redondo Beach, I was genetically enthusiastic. I was also a bit apprehensive: the scattered reports emanating from similar gigs, from people I trusted, were not real . . . positive. The first ugly feedback came from a girlfriend of mine, who had gone to see the Doc do his “Gonzo thing” at UC Santa Barbara. The outlaw journalist, she said, staggered onto the stage and proceeded to suckle from a bottomless flagon of Wild Turkey, alternately raving and mumbling in a uniquely demented fashion until he was booed off the stage by a band of angry preps feeling cheated out of their twenty-dollar cash drain. The other, less reliable, report came from a tainted source and had something to do with Dr. Thompson, G. Gordon Liddy, a mound of white powder and a blow-up doll — but the story was too disturbing to want to verify, and so I’ll have to take my gentleman source at his word. Continue reading


story by Ralph STEADman

art by Joey Feldman


IMG_0913I must’ve been early getting to the Latchmere Theatre that Monday. The theatre was situated above a recently renovated pub along Battersea’s conveyor-belt main street.  I was wearing my Allen Ginsberg skull-mask with glasses to avoid unwanted confrontations.  I found the back entrance up a newly erected iron fire escape and went inside.

Immediately on my left, there was a door. It was open. It looked like a toilet.  Inside, a dark figure hunched over the pan. My god, I thought, I hadn’t expected such realism, not so soon anyway.  I’ve been out in the country for two years, so I’m out of touch with theatre. I didn’t like to ask if he was okay. Actors get funny at rehearsals, though I didn’t remember a bag of plumber’s tools lying there in the actual book. So I moved on.

Stumbling down a dark corridor, over pipes and dangerously loose wires I made my way toward sounds of banging and out-of-tune whistles.

“Ah Hullo!” I grabbed the hand of a tall, slender character emerging from a door with light beyond. He was wearing shades.  I shook his hand warmly.

“My God, you look just like him,” I said.  He looked at me and he looked at the mask I was wearing.  “Oh, sorry, don’t worry,” I said as I removed it.  “It’s me, Ralpho Steadman.  You must be playing Hunter S. Thompson. It’s amazing! You could be him.”

“What!?”  he looked at me strangely.

“Hunter.” I continued, “You’ve got him off to a tee, the way you move, the nervous twitch.  The weird, deep voice ….. Amazing.”

“Er…” He looked a little nonplussed.

“Oh sorry,” I said. “Relax, it’s okay. I’m not spying. Just looking in. You know.  You’re great – keep it up. Ah…don’t I know your face. From telly perhaps? Great stuff.”

“Don’t think so,” he said shuffling uneasily.

“Oh sorry. It’s theatre, right?” I replied, looking for openers. “Real acting! None of those crappy re-takes. Straight off first time. Know your lines. Tradition. That sort of thing. What’s your name? I ought to know you.”

“It’s Arnold,” he said. “I’m the electrician.”

“Ah…yes – just the man I want to see. Look – er, my wife’s thinking of opening a nursery school in our outbuilding.  Nothing grand. About 30 kids. Proper thing. Not just child-minding. The place needs electrifying of course. You ever work out of town? Never mind. I’m looking for Lou Stein. Is he here?”

“Try up those stairs. Take a left, along the corridor, then right down the end.  They’ll know.”

“Thanks. And don’t forget – day in the country – do you good.” I scribbled out my number and turned to leap upstairs.

“Oopsaaaieeeeeeee!!” A sharp pain, like thirteen cattle prods all at once, took my breath away as I drove my shin bone into the bonnet of a huge, red fibreglass Chevy convertible being carried across my path.

“Ouch and Hell!” I screamed, as I tried to hold in the agony and sorrows I’d long forgotten. “Sorry, my fault!  Is that it? The red convertible? Oh no! Arrrgh! No!”

“Are you alright?” The voice came from a tiny girl in a cream-white fluffy V-neck sweater who had been carrying the Chevy with another figure in the shadows.

“Blood!” I screamed. “I’m bleeding! Oh God, all over my pants. Get me a doctor quick! A real doctor. Nothing Gonzo – I don’t want to die ….!”

“Relax man. It’s only red paint. We just sprayed the Chevy.” Continue reading

The Real Truth About the Ten Commandments

By: Connor Hoon

The Ten Commandments as laid out by the late great Charlton Heston have been a source of scrutiny. Especially the first five. The first five are the laws about God and the last five are for man.

You will notice that the last five are pretty much everything that man breaks on a daily basis. These rules are the basic laws laid out to lead a good life.

The first five are not neccessary in life. They are like the sub-rules about not masturbating. You just can’t subdue the human condition. If a man wants to not be Christian, he can! If a man wants to say God Damn, why the Hell not?

You don’t yell at the dog for being gay, don’t yell at gay men and women!

Here is the breakdown of the hypocrisy and utter bullshit that can be the Ten Commandments and the common sense that should be the Ten Commandments.

Thou Shalt Have No

Other God Before Me


Can you dig that shit? God tells you to put no other God before him. How can anybody do that? The Christian God was not the first God worshiped. Basically God walked into a Super Walmart and went through the aisles to get all of His milk, eggs, and went over to the bakery to get those amazing donuts. Then He came up to the line, decided it was too long and parted it like the Red Sea!

What the Hell is wrong with him?!? There were many Gods before him and he just comes in to declare everyone that he is the best like some loudmouthed wrestler going for the Heavyweight Championship of Gods. I don’t think he would have taken out all the Gods on Mount Olympus by himself.

Thou Shalt Not Worship

Any Graven Image


Well I guess everybody can just go straight to Hell then! Everybody from elementary schools to strip clubs have different idols ahead of God. And He hates that! As it is said, He is a jealous God, or is that just teenage God from the Old Testament?

Ronald McDonald can eat a fiery shit in Hell, sport mascots, every hippie with a Buddha in his smoking room, and all of the different religions around the world are going to get throat jammed by Satan and his cronies.

Thou Shalt Not Take God’s Name In Vain


This particular Commandment just confuses me. I know that you should always have respect for people, including your chosen God or Goddess, but is it really damnable?

Take the phrase “God damn it!” This phrase is a direct violation of the third commandment. Even though the phrase is really more of a call to action verse taking the Lord’s name in vain.

When a person is frustrated in some situation, like getting blue balls and is in physical pain and he tilts his head back and merely gives a simple grown, “God.” That really isn’t taking His name in vain either. The man is simply in pain and asking for help. That’s all. Simple as that.

Remember the Sabbath To Keep It Holy


This is a commandment that I and the rest of the Christian working world wishes was kept by people. Really it would make a lot of people very happy, especially when other religions do keep Sunday Holy.

Go ahead and tell your boss that you are a good Christian and you need Sunday off. See how far that actually gets you. It will get you put on the unemployment line a lot faster than God will put your boss next to Satan and his infinite inferno for breaking the fourth commandment.

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother


This is good. This teaches good moral values. What if your Mother and Father don’t honor and respect the child? There are plenty of parents that abuse their children. There are parents that pawn their kids off on every babysitter they can. There are plenty of parents that use their kids to get money from the government and a higher tax return. Those kids have no business respecting their so-called parents. NONE!

Thou Shalt Not Kill


We will talk about this commandment. This one is particularly funny to me. I feel like this is one of the most forgotten commandments in the bunch; forgotten and compartmentalized heavily!

God simply put it that you should not kill. Sounds good. He didn’t say that, thou shalt not kill except in wartime for a bunch of money hungry anus puffers who are breaking one of the seven deadly sins feeding their greed. He just didn’t.

In God’s court of law by engaging in war the persons involved would be racking up numerous violations of God’s laws. Let me break this down for you.

(Keep in mind that by violating the Ten Commandments you are racking up some sin, violating the Seven Deadly Sins is like some serious Federal time)

  • Hundreds of counts of murder – direct violations of the Sixth Commandment
  • One count of greed – by fighting for a greedy cause you are guilty, breaking one of the Deadly Sins
  • Many counts of anger – breaking another one of the deadly sins numerous times
  • One count of Pride – By engaging in war you have blindly followed your pride and ignored your God.

God didn’t say anything about any points where killing was good, even though He Himself committed murder in the Old Testament.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery


You probably shouldn’t do this. It is never a good idea to cheat on people, but people do it every single day.

I’m all for a good time, but I have to cut some slack on Moses for bringing this one down. Don’t cheat on your wife or husband, not cool.

(See the Tenth Commandment)

Thou Shalt Not Steal


This is another one that people do every day. It doesn’t make it right, but they do. Good Christian people deny this one exists with justifications like, “What if your family was starving?”

Look you criminal, your family doesn’t need three Yoo Hoos, two packs of cigarettes, condoms, and a pack of blunt wraps!

This is one of the most basic ideas, this can in fact hurt people. You hurt businesses and the people that own them. You also can’t justify it by saying that you stole from a big corporation because they are greedy and have tons of money. You aren’t Robin Hood man!

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness


This will hurt someone if you do it right. You don’t want to start rumors about your neighbor. It just isn’t a good idea to crap all over your neighborhood. You could get away with that more 2,000 years ago; there wasn’t social media, there was no recording devices, and people didn’t live in little culdesac in their tiny little subdivisions.

On top of that, you really don’t want your neighbor coming over and breaking your nose or shooting you if you’re in Florida or Texas.

Thou Shalt Not Covet


This is going back to adultery as well as not stealing anything. Even though this was covered earlier. People a lot of the time wrap this commandment up with not sleeping with your neighbor’s wife. You shouldn’t.

Even if she comes after you, you should probably not be a dick. The best way to go about sleeping with your neighbor’s wife would be this easy.

After she/he gives you the full court press, respectfully decline and tell her to give you a week. Go to your neighbor and tell him that you didn’t sleep with his wife, but that she is a little whore and tried to get you to sleep with him. It will be uncomfortable at first, but he will thank you in the end when he gets out of all that alimony because she is a street corner skank.

Now as you see the first five commandments of God are really just a bit of a footnote. They don’t really have much of a reason in the 2000’s. They just don’t. The last five commandments however are timeless.

The last five really just say…DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE! You don’t need to believe in God in order to be a good person…you asshole!

Terrible Neurosis at a Trump Rally in Iowa

By: Joseph Siess

Des Moines, Iowa in this twisted year of our Lord 2016 is a strange moment in time and space to find oneself. The political landscape in these far flung northern reaches of the high plains are so warped, so degenerate, so strangled by the choking fog of modern existential angst, that anybody with any sense would stay far away.

Donald Trump’s political survival depends on this cerebral crisis of middle America, and this is precisely why he and his campaign can’t get enough. Trump probably doesn’t enjoy descending from his tower in Manhattan to fly a thousand miles inland to mingle with bread basket America, but unfortunately for him, Iowa is a swing state, and swing states carry a lot of weight as far as presidential politics go. Yes.

However, from personal experience I can say there is nothing more bizarre and preternatural than a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa. I suppose I came up here in a quest to better understand the political forces at play, but what I discovered in the end was something a lot more visceral, confusing and much more troubling than I previously imagined.

Aside from the “Chinese Americans Love Trump” people, and the Afro-American guys selling “Hillary Sucks but not like Monica, Trump that Bitch” shirts in front of the convention center, I suppose everything else seemed completely normal in comparison. None of this resembled the old and ancient backwater tales from America’s grim past, but then again none of this makes any sense at all when you really think about it.

Or why else would a bunch of working class middle Americans blindly support some kind of megalomaniac billionaire from New York with a rotten track record. It’s all part of some twisted political landscape that shatters all preconceptions. Forget everything you think you know. Welcome to Trumplandia people.


I recall shuffling through security, wearing my red, white and blue ‘Super Chevrolet Service’ hat, white shorts, blue polo shirt and red tennis shoes, and proceeding into the auditorium amidst a haggardly crowd of natives. “They keep themselves down”, one woman told me about black people. “Anybody who wears their pants down to their knees…”

I remember feeling completely shattered, raped and confused when I heard Mick Jagger’s voice on the PA system. A podium, splashed in florescent lighting, ‘Trump-Pence’ scrawled across it, loomed menacingly from the stage. “Impossible,” I thought. “How could they…”

“Anyway,” the lady said to me and another guy standing in the auditorium. “Trump likes it rowdy. So we got to be all like ‘lock her up!’ and ‘build that wall!’” I chuckled nervously and nodded. “Well, Roudy’s my first name,” said the other guy. “No shit,” I muttered. The guy grinned and whipped out his drivers license. Lo and behold the guy’s first name was ‘Roudy’.

Moments later, Born on the Bayou by Credence Clearwater Revival bubbled up on the PA. ‘I can remember the fourth of July…’ At this point I recall feeling winded, weak in the knees, and fearful to the point of possible mental collapse. “How?” How could such a political imposter and faux populist hijack such a pure and integral moment of American music and culture and bend it to such warped degeneracy? Donald Trump for the people? Madness…

I wandered up into the top bleachers where I could get a birds eye view of the Trump people below and at the same time watch the guy spew his rancid swill from the stage. I sat awkwardly and scribbled into my notebook. At some point a middle aged woman and her husband sat next to me. “How’s it going?” the woman asked with a smile. “Well, you know,” I said with a grin.

After awhile the lady started chatting me up. She was a Ben Carson supporter who eventually settled on Trump as an alternative to Clinton. Her husband was a democratic defector from Kansas City. “So how long have you been supporting Trump?” she asked me. “Well…” I thought for a few seconds. “As soon as he won the nomination I guess.” She nodded in approval.

The lady started jabbering at me about her children and the national polls. “So what kind of chance do you think Trump has?” she asked. “Nonsense!” I muttered. “The polls mean nothing. Trump could absolutely win! I mean these polls don’t mean a Goddamned thing!” I jeered.

At this point an elderly man a row ahead of us slapped me on the knee and yelled, “I was listening to Limbaugh on the way up!” I nodded and gave the guy my full attention. “And he was saying the same damned thing,” he muttered with his head cocked. “Damn right,” I said smacking the bleacher with my fist.

Moments later somebody got on stage and started firing up the crowd with mindless political platitudes. Meanwhile, another middle aged woman sitting next to me finally struck up a frivolous conversation. She asked me why I was there supporting Trump, adding that it was encouraging to see young people involved in politics. “Well, this thing is just too important to sit out…” I told her shaking my head. Then she asked me, “are you a believer?”

“Oh yes, absolutely,” I said solemnly. We locked eyes.”Like have you taken Jesus into your heart?” “You know it,” I snapped. “No doubt. It’s something I hold deep inside me.” Mike Pence came out at this point and the crowd went manic. Secret service agents sliced through the crowd. The guy next to me kept howling “over here!” at the kid passing out ‘Veterans for Trump’ signs.

Donald Trump finally came out and the spectacle was more akin to some kind of sporting event than a political rally. Lights flashed and music sounded as the candidate emerged before an applauding crowd.

Trump began by castigating Clinton, plunging the arena into bouts of hissing and jeering. He went on about the Iran money drop deal in the news lately, and spoke about getting American allies to pay up. Figuring I could just watch the speech later on YouTube, I eventually tuned Trump out to focused on the meat and potatoes of this thing. I realized I had not boomed all the way up to Des Moines to listen to Trump ramble, but I was there to get a feel for his supporters, and the anxiety-riddled environment of a swing state Trump rally.

Essentially the main nerve of middle American existential angst channeled into the most unnatural and farcical of political jest. Yes.

Working class middle Americans howling and whooping like foaming savages at some disconnected Billionaire who lives in a blinking tower a thousand miles away on Manhattan Island. Don’t get me wrong. Hillary Clinton is a wretched candidate for the presidency, but to flock around a man like Donald Trump is merely the sign of the times. These warped, twisted, degenerate times we are facing here in this shattered America.

I guess only time will tell. All I know is that madness abounds, and if you can accept that, you are one step closer to getting it together.

Flight of the Empath

By: Arianne Dragoo

I feel energy in everything. Animate. Inanimate. To me, they are the same. Granted, I see beauty and design and am attracted to that, but what drives me is the energy.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all mind control on you. It is a scientific fact that things possess energy. Vibrations. Let’s face it, whether you believe in Scientific Theories or a Creator, the common denominator is energy. A great force that brought everything about. Why wouldn’t some energy be left behind? Why isn’t it possible to leave energy with things dear to us or things we have frequent contact with?

My parents didn’t raise me telling me I was special. I will turn 36 in a few months and it wasn’t till earlier this year that my mom actually used the word special. Stating that I was her “special daughter”. However, I have known since I began to learn that whatever I was, I was different. Thought different. Felt emotions differently. Spoke differently. When I was a toddler my father loved watching me charm insects. I would walk up to a fly and simply pick it up. I would catch frogs and toads with ease. Lizards too. The same way. Regularly. I grew out of this as I grew older but have since learned that I could put them in a trance. I am able to do this again. Not as consistent but I am improving.

I have cheated death numerous times. I am on my 12th life.


As an example, I went camping with a friend and her family. They were playing cards and I began to get a bit sleepy. I laid down in the tent my friend and I were going to share. I woke during the night to activity in the campsite. Not knowing what it was I began to listen intently. I soon realized that it was a bear. I also realized that I was alone. My friend wasn’t sleeping there with me. The bear must have hit the lantern because light and shadows began to sway. Then the motion and breathing started to get louder. It was approaching my tent. I was, by this time, paralyzed with fear and telling myself this couldn’t be happening. I then saw its shadow. It began sniffing the top of the tent. Making its way down. Of course my head was right there. It could smell me and no doubt smell my fear. The last thing I remember was it smelling and pushing against the tent which coincidentally was pushing against my head. Still petrified I don’t even remember blinking. Each breath shallow and silent. My hearing heightened. I shed one tear and felt it glide down my cheek and around the back of my neck. With the bear pressing its muzzle against the tent and my head, it all goes black. I do not know what happened after that. I couldn’t begin to tell you or explain it. I wasn’t there. I have no recollection. No dreams. Only dark. For those of you thinking this was a dream, night terror or sleep paralysis, that is a reasonable assumption.

I awoke in the morning still petrified. But it was morning. I had to urinate so bad but I was still afraid. I finally got the courage to raise up and reach for the zipper. I counted to three a few times before I unzipped the tent and ran as fast as I have ever ran to the campground restrooms. (Running was a strength back then) Walking back I am telling myself that I had a bad dream. It was vivid but a dream nonetheless. As I approach the campsite, I see that there were things knocked over. The adults had left food out and only remnants remained of that. I realized as people were beginning to stir that my friend slept with her parents on a mattress in the bed of their truck that had a camper-top on it. And that’s when I saw it. A footprint. I had studied tracking because again, I was different and am bit nerdy. A trail led from my tent to the grouping of trees by our site. I was 12, maybe 13 years old.

This isn’t an article of self-promotion. This is an article explaining the struggle and misunderstanding I face on the daily. Feeling and thinking on a different plane leads to apologizing and correcting misunderstandings on the regular. The ability to feel energy as strongly also leads to humans questioning and misreading your interest in them and intent. It’s not like I can say to anyone, Hey! You have such great energy, I would like to hang out with you and get to know you. I have done that. It either freaks people out because they do not understand or they think I’m coming on to them but I’m usually not. I say that because I respect the relationships (if I feel a strong connection to a male) and they are already in a great place. I don’t want to get in the way or ruin that. When I do have a serious physical interaction and it goes next level, it revives me. I am recharged. That’s when I am more likely to solve problems, new ideas blossom, my spirit is restored. I can’t really explain why or how. I am still growing in understanding and regarding the subject there is a lot of conjecture. I do know that what I experience is real.

For instance, I have helped a family’s cat. It hid behind the couch and I didn’t know it existed. On a day I was over and feeling down, it crawled out and sat in my lap. The family all looked and told me that she doesn’t do that to anyone except a few people I am the first stranger she has done that with. As I sat looking and petting her, I felt her pain. Then I felt her emotion. I was able to see the reason why she did not like the owner’s wife. (As I was petting her the family explained why she stays under the couch.) She felt replaced. I spent a few days without anyone knowing what I was doing. It was all mental interaction. One occasion she walked over to her owner and she looked at her owner’s wife then looked at me. In my mind I told her that it was alright. I told her, She loves you and wants you to be part of their life. That she was loved. I showed her (the cat) what love was. I, in a way, channeled it for her. She looked back and forth between the two of us. I told her, again in my mind, that it was ok. She didn’t approach any further. She did let the wife pet her. The following day I arrived and she (the calico) was sitting out in the open. The family said that she had been doing that all day and it was, for her, strange behavior. On that day she sat in the wife’s lap and walked over to a friend that was there and jumped in his lap. He asked, Are you seeing this?!?! I didn’t say a word but smiled at Mamma Kitty when she looked back at me.

Since I can feel so deeply, I tend to collect humans and things. Not to use and toss aside but to appreciate and assist.

I know my purpose. I have for awhile but I am beginning to appreciate it more than I ever have. My purpose is to fill the gaps. Help when I can. Mend relationships, broken hearts and broken souls. I hold to that and do what I can, when I can. There is a reason I am still on this planet and for that I am eternally grateful.

An Arizona Wingnut in Maggie Thatcher’s Court

image by Christopher Hunt

Excerpt of Chronicle III of Hell Bottled Up: Chronicles of a Late Propaganda Minister [Far Gone Books, 2016]

by Todd Brendan Fahey

Ahhhh…tired, brain-dead, need stimuli badly–and not the kind that the University would ever sanction. I put out the feelers, and trusted my instincts regarding cost, quality, risk of deception… All the things potential drug-buyers must be aware of in advance.

There were twenty hours left in London, and they had to be good. Either a rabid gang bang, involving no less than twenty seniors at neighboring St. Mary’s Preparatory, or a high-speed helicopter cruise to Faroe Island, stuck between the Upper Hebrides and Iceland, or…

Through cigarette smoke, I saw a black beret rising slowly up the hotel stairs from the vantage point of my room. It was Felippe, which meant trouble of some rare and virulent form. And I knew, just out of simple goodwill–in the Christmas spirit–that I would buy whatever he was hawking  and consume it instantly, in large quantities, and remained dazed throughout the tortuous eleven-hour flight back to LAX.

He carried a duffle bag with a huge Masterlock around the zipper. I felt a little giddy. Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway played on a stereo nearby. The company was an odd mix: three guys in the program, but not terribly close friends…just that ‘hey, it’s the last night here, so let’s figure out what this guy is all about, anyway’-type crowd. Which was neither good nor bad. In fact, it presented a unique challenge in coping with three mere acquaintances with a head-steam of black microdot. Which was what Felippe was carrying.

“This stuff’s burning my fingers, man!” he complained. “Take all you need. Cheap. Only five pounds a hit.”

Put on a simple sliding American/British scale, that wasn’t cheap. In fact, it converted to $8 a hit, compared to an average of three bucks in the United States…for acid. LSD. Yes, that’s what we’re talking about. Haggling over a five-dollar difference for a drug that will make you instantly forget such things as Money and Responsibilities and Basic Reality for at least ten hours.

So we bought a paltry five hits and shooed Felippe off like a dungfly, and then moseyed on downstairs to a larger room shared by Sam and Barry and Charlie. Sam preferred Marlboro’s to LSD, so we counted him out, and divvied up five hits between myself, Charlie–a happy-go-lucky leather/rocker, with the hair of Buffalo Bill and the temperament of Robin Williams–and Barry, who was a bit harder to figure.

Our first meeting hadn’t gone well. After cracking something about welfare bums and Social Security fraud, in one of Professor Schwartz’ lectures, Barry remarked that his father was on constant kidney dialysis, and that their family unit would not have survived without Federal assistance. And I felt bad. Not because of my opinions or theories, but that I might have caused this young man to consider his dad a loafer, a cheat and a parasite. Which wasn’t my intent at all.

And now I had to make it up to this figure with long stringy hair, two-inch black-painted fingernails, and the capacity to lash out an essay before the start of a class–longhand–half­ scratched out…and set the course curve. I admired Barry, although I wouldn’t trade whole lives.

Charlie was clearly game. But Barry was nervous, so I asked him if he’d ever taken mushrooms.

“Twice,” he said.

“No freakouts? No random spurts of yelling or thoughts of instant reincarnation into an Albanian bladderwort as being a beautiful thing?” I probed, hoping he could handle it.

“Nope,” he said simply, looking at the five children’s aspirin-sized pellets being crushed into a fine powder by Charlie, as he gleamed at the mock petri dish, “it was fun.”

Get it on. Continue reading



illustration by David Dees


I was at the levee, a seedy little dive in south Kansas City, MO when an ominous CNN news bulletin buzzed my iPhone to life. My eyes hovered down towards the screen, and I was instantly whacked into a rattled ball of nerves.

It was reggae night at the Levee and it also happened to be my birthday. The atmosphere was light and jovial. I enjoyed a Red Stripe with my friends and the band covered ‘Lively up yourself’. I was feeling good, at least until 11:01 p.m. CT.

“U.K. votes to leave the European Union. Results show Leave campaign winning with over 51% of the vote”, flashed across the screen.

Bam. As if a baseball bat swatted me across the mouth I felt stunned and confused. My stomach hit the floor and the room morphed into a post-apocalyptic scene. Smiling young people clutched beers and bobbed up and down along with the chick-chack of the reggae music. The chattering and laughter seemed almost distant, muffled in a grim haze. The news was so unexpected and shocking that I began twitching. My eyes darted around the room, and I struggled to maintain.

I snapped a screenshot of the bulletin. I tapped my friend on the shoulder and thrusted the phone into his face. He scanned it and fixed me with a wide-eyed stare. I showed the bulletin to another friend sitting on the other side of the table, and after reading it a second time, she looked at me and mouthed, “what… the… fuck”, accompanying each word with a tiny back and forth movement of the head.

The band finished a set and the people clapped and whooped. A skinny, middle aged white woman in a flowing gown ululated from the other side of the bar.

I b-lined to the door and went outside for some air. My buddy was already outside smoking a cigarette and we exchanged concerned looks. I stared down at the sidewalk. “Dude, this is big,” I muttered. He took a draw and reflected in silence. “This will give the Trump campaign a tailwind,” I added.

A group of people glided across the parking lot, chuckling and jabbering and sliding towards the Levee. My friend stabbed out a cigarette into an ashtray, coughed, and said, “it’s not that big of a deal, a tiny footnote… not a big deal.” His words registered like some kind of bleak incantation.

“A tiny footnote”, in history, presumably.


About an hour later I was standing on some smoky, dimly lit outdoor patio that seemed to exude a kind of slumping, third-world degeneracy. People chatted and the mood was positive, however I felt tense and trapped.

Moments later, I received a private Facebook message from a friend of mine who is a financial analyst in Denver. The message contained a screenshot of a page off cnbc.com with a headline, “US futures take a dive”, and a bunch of red arrows pointing down. “DOW FUT -730.00 (-4.07%), S&P FUT -106.75 (-5.07%)”, etc.

After looking over the thing, I was overcome with a stifling sense of fear and loathing. People were lined up outside of the Levee, and the reggae band was covering another upbeat Bob Marley song.

It was impossible to shake the notion that at that very moment, the world was shaking in the wake of a referendum that could potentially be a game changer for global affairs. At that moment, I realized how interconnected everything really was. Disastrously interconnected.

The world is not like it used to be. The digital age has proliferated an era of instantaneous repercussions to global events. From the way news is reported to the way geopolitical events, like the ‘Brexit’, ripple across financial markets; to the way trends and ideas bubble up and spill across boarders. Even across seas.


The next day, Donald Trump was in Scotland promoting a golf club. Trump promptly demonstrated his solidarity with the the Leave campaign, Tweeting, “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take American back. No games!”

Despite the erroneous nature of his Tweet – The majority in Scotland voted to stay – Trump’s support for the Leave campaign and the ideology that accompanies it, is terribly upsetting for those of us dreading the now very real possibility of a Trump presidency. Continue reading