What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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The Proud Highway
by Hunter S. Thompson

Field-Tested by Kevin Broome

in Bangkok, Thailand

This is how I wake up these nights: with a sick alien chill tracing down through the fluids of my spine. The last moments of my dreams leave me with the sensation of teetering at the peak of a midway ride whose rails have long since fallen away to flames. Somehow, I always manage to force myself awake, mid-plummet, hurling myself out of bed, literally pulling myself out from the depths of hell.

My god, what are these demons that have taken up inside my head, projecting their darkest whims upon the back of my skull? Vile, sick shit. Surely my own mind is not capable of conjuring such violence.

Or is it?

I blame the malaria pills, the Mekong whiskey, and the downright twisted combination of the two. I blame the paranoid and claustrophobic Thai heat. I blame the jet lag and the hangover brought on by a debaucherous encounter with three sheiks in the bar of the Bahrain airport that left me reeling through its opulent departure lounge amidst the echoes of a final boarding call.

Seven hours later, I stumbled into Bangkok, found a room with a cot and fan for two dollars a night and passed out to the world. When I woke up again it was dark. I ventured onto Kho San Road, my body craving breakfast, only to find the sidewalks spilling over with pirated techno, wasted backpackers, and tired whores.

So instead, I hole up in this squalid room, praying for sleep, but dreading the dreams that come with it. My only solace in this whole damned affair is a copy of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Proud Highway, a 700-odd-paged collection of his pre-gonzo correspondence. Brilliant. Vivid. Mythomaniacal. To read Thompson’s letters is to fill in the blanks between his articles; to realize that it is all the same great raging monologue; an angry young man railing at the inequities of our world.

I read this book to obliterate these undefined hours, until the call to prayer ushers in the daybreak from the mosque across the alley. I try to sleep but watch instead the patrol of ants that has found its way to the whiskey bottle discarded on the floor. So ordered and regimented on the way in; such turmoil spilling out.

Sleep comes, the book falls away, and, once again, I’m climbing on that midway ride for another time around.

Kevin Broome is a writer and creative strategist, working as the senior designer at Karyo Edelman. For more information about Kevin, visit his website.

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