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The shame of Indianapolis
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist
Indianapolis Colts owner James Irsay called me last week and demanded to know what I meant by calling the Colts "chicken-crap." He sounded very agitated.
"Nonsense," I told him. "I would never say that, James. The term I used was chickens---, as in 'dung,' cowardly dung."
"Oh, God," he moaned. "I thought you were my friend. We are a lot better than chicken-crap!"
"Not for me, James," I said sternly. "The Colts are a rotten team to bet on. You have fleeced me for the last time. Fortunately, I bet on New Orleans last week." Which was true. I had bet on the Saints, Green Bay, San Francisco and even the Washington Redskins to beat Denver -- which was three out of four, and I still don't understand what happened to the Packers. How can a solid team with Brett Favre at quarterback beat Chicago, Tampa Bay and Baltimore, then lose to bums like the Vikings and the Falcons? It was embarrassing.
Bugwa! Any half-bright Waterhead coach can win if he inherits a team that won last year's Super Bowl. Look at George Seifert with the 49ers: They couldn't lose -- at least not until Crimes against the salary cap forced them to send most of their star players across the Bay to Oakland, where they continue to tear up the NFL, despite the sleazy greed of Al Davis.
Whoops. Never mind Al Davis. He is a swinesucker, but he does have a fine eye for bargains and over-ripe fruit. The Raiders roster has been stocked from the start by veterans and malcontents from other teams on the slide. That is what makes them a winning Team -- or at least a Good team, as opposed to piles of pus like Carolina or Buffalo. The Raiders may be Losers, individually, but as a team they are a reliable bet, most of the time. Let's say 77.8 percent of the time, which is not a bad batting average.
Only St. Louis is better, at .889, and the Rams are clearly the class of the league. New Orleans beat them by two, San Francisco came Close, very close, losing by four …. The 49ers would be 88.9 percent right now, tied with the Rams for first in the NFC West -- except for that horrible disaster in Chicago, when the Bears scored twice in 30 seconds and won in overtime.
Right, but that's like saying, "I would have won all the sprints at the Sydney Olympics, except for this gosh-darn wooden leg."
Ho ho. If is a big word, to sane people. Hell, the New York Giants would be Super Bowl champions today, if not for the Baltimore Ravens. And Bill Clinton would be President if he could have run in 2000. If the queen had balls, she'd be King.
Yes, sir, and if I hadn't flipped out over Terrorism, I wouldn't be having these hideous problems that plague me today, with this Woman stuck in my attic and Cops hammering on my door. It seems impossible, but it could happen to anybody. I was only trying to be a good citizen, to help my fellow man -- or Woman, as it happened -- but somehow things went sideways, and now my standing in the neighborhood is diminished. I am under suspicion of being an enemy sympathizer, a jackass and a bigot.
That is why I don't want to talk about Princess Omin and that skunkish Omar, at this time. People started snickering at me when I went out in public. Obviously, they don't understand My side of the story. Every time I pick up a newspaper, I see grim headlines about Bombs, Economic disasters and unknown foreigners being put on trial and even Executed by ad hoc Military Tribunals for secret reasons. The White House laughs it off, but we are creating what looks oddly like a police state. Secret trials with secret evidence are not what George Washington had in mind at Valley Forge. He well understood the political meaning of Terrorism -- and anthrax, for that matter: It was a wool-handlers' disease.
Ah, but that is a different story, and we will save it for later. Our motto now is: Thank God for Football.
OK. Stop begging. I'll tell you what happened with Princess Omin. It was just before halftime of the Indianapolis-New Orleans game on Sunday when Police invaded my house. I paid no attention to them, at first -- Peyton Manning was running for a touchdown with no time left on the clock, and people were getting excited -- but the cops refused to stop hammering on my door. "Get away!" I shouted. "We are asleep." It was a weak thing to say, but I needed a few seconds to sweep a pile of money off the table and hide the Jimson Weed.
I heard a jiggling noise in the lock. Whack! The door flew open, and they swarmed in. "Hello, Hunter," said Grady, who seemed to be in charge. "Don't worry, we're not after You this time -- but where is that woman you're hiding?"
"What woman?" I said. "Wait a minute! I am confused. Was that a touchdown? Did Manning score?"
"Never in hell," snapped the Coroner. "He was cheating. They called it back."
Just then the Colts kicked a field goal, with no time on the clock, to tie the game 17-17. The cameras switched off to show cheerleaders and players running for the locker room. None of it made any sense -- the game or the invasion of my home..
The cop laughed. "She is on the White House list of suspected terrorists, and that makes You an official Terrorist sympathizer." He leered at me and jerked a new ESPN magazine off my leather-covered refrigerator. "What is this?" he snapped. "Is this the issue with the Olympic Venue maps?"
I grabbed it out of his hand and threw it in the fire. "Watch your mouth!" I told him. "I am on my way to Utah right now. I am a member of --"
"Freeze!" he yelled. "Put your hands on your head!"
I saw the other cop moving to get behind my back, so I fell against the ice-box and cut him off. "Stand down!" I shouted. "Don't embarrass yourselves professionally." I flashed a badge at them -- a Lyle Lovett security badge, as it happened -- and they momentarily stood down. "I am a Sportswriter," I said calmly. "I am a member of the SLOC press security committee!"
I had read it all before, but the presence of armed policemen in my home somehow put a new and more human face on it. I saw that I was about 95 seconds away from being locked up as a hostile foreign agent, so I caved.
"Thank God, you've come," I said. "She's right up there in the attic. You are saving my Life! She Threatened me! Please take her away."
I was sorry to see her go, but in truth I had no choice. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears each Monday on Page 2.
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