I'm working late last night.
Goddamn store closes at 9:00 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Three days of doom. Absurd.
There was, however, a highlight to my night.
Guy comes up to the counter and asks me if we carry unique, one of a kind spirits. I ask him what he is looking for and he says "Woody Creek vodka." I told him we don't carry it, never heard of it and asked why he was looking for it.
My interest was piqued. Hunter S. Thompson lived in Woody Creek Colorado.
Guy told me he lived in Woody Creek Colorado and was curious whether we carried their vodka in NH.
It was as if I was jolted with 250,000 watts of electricity. Instantaneously alive. Swept up out of the coma my job induces every day right up into the world of the living. Whoever they are.
I asked the guy if he knew who HST was. He said yes. I asked if he lived anywhere close to where HST lived - Owl Farm.
He said not only did he live close, he had met the man. Many times. Had actually spent time at Owl Farm with Hunter.
This guy owns a limo company. A limo company that Hunter made frequent use of.
I was blown away. I wanted to lock up the store right there and then and just talk to this guy.
I told him I have read almost all of Hunter's books, seen a few documentaries, many interviews on screen and in print, watched the legendary movies. "Where The Buffalo Roam" starring Bill Murray as HST. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" starring Johnny Depp as HST.
I said "You must have some stories." He said "Oh yeah."
Told me Hunter once hired him to drive him to Las Vegas. Said it was one hell of a ride.
Towards the end of his life Hunter had a serious back operation. He was stuck in the hospital and not digging it. He called this guy up and said "Get me the hell out of here."
The guy was an hour and a half away from the hospital but he made the trip. Helped Hunter escape and drove him to the bar of his choice.
He told me contrary to the inflated image, Hunter was a pretty cool guy. Unless you made him angry. He had a vicious temper and used it to skewer you if you got in the way.
I knew all this. I have loved the man over my entire adult life. I know that once Hunter trusted you, he stuck with you. It makes sense that if he liked this guy he would keep going back to him. I have a feel for who the real Hunter was and I have read stories about his temper.
Could this guy have been lying to me? Of course. The world is overpopulated with shitheels.
I am sure my face lit up when the HST connection was made. Maybe he played me for a sap.
My gut says no. He seemed genuine. Besides, he had his 8 or 9 year old son with him. Would a dad lie in front of his son? I don't think so unless the kid caught him red handed with a hooker.
I was surprised at how much emotion and life this chance encounter dredged up in me. It felt so fucking good.
One more sign of how valuable it is to have passion in your life. To have interests that speed up your blood flow and bring you back from the dead.
If this guy was truthful, I was one human removed from Hunter S. Thompson.
That is as close as I'm ever going to get.
That moment electro-charged me and gave me the energy to keep hoping.