|Oakland uber alles|
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist
I was just settling down to watch the end of the horrible 49ers-Bucs game Sunday when a meteor crashed into a deserted pasture somewhere above my house and all the lights went out. My first thought was that somebody in the neighborhood had touched off an underground nuclear device, or maybe another earthquake, like the one that hit San Francisco during the 1989 World Series.
I felt the house shudder for a few seconds, but there was not much real noise -- just a big Thump, then nothing. ...
"What the hell was that?" asked the sheriff, coming up from an underground sheep laboratory. "Are you people doing some shooting up here?" I just felt some kind of tremendous impact shock. It felt like a plane crashing."
"So what?" I giggled. "The real game is starting. Nothing else matters now. The joke is over."
Indeed. The mob in the coliseum was whipping itself into a frenzy as the Raiders took the field and began strutting and strolling around on the sideline and snapping footballs back and forth to each other, not talking much, just looking cool and acting sinister like any other gang of extremely high-priced, fine-tuned assassins on a big day at work. ... Near one end of the Raiders bench, Jerry Rice practiced sprinter starts and quick bursts of speed, then flapped his hands crazily to loosen them up. It is a trick I use frequently, for the same reason, and I recommend it highly.
You bet, buster. That Tampa game was so disgusting that I turned in my badge. It was humiliating. I wanted to hurt somebody. "Where is Al Davis tonight?" I said to Anita. "I want to be with him."
"No, you don't," she said firmly. "You'd better start concentrating on this game, or these gamblers are going to make a whimpering fool out of you. They still hold a grudge from what happened last year, when they pushed themselves to the brink of their own possibilities, only to be chopped off at their knees at the last moment, and they are still bitter about it."
"Are those creepy brothers, those bastards, finally out of the valley?" asked the sheriff. "I can never relax until they leave town."
"Then stay on your toes," I warned him. "Only one of them left. The other one will be here any minute, and he's all cranked up about being fleeced."
Just then the other creepy brother walked briskly into the room, wearing his usual polo outfit and smacking his boot with a stiff leather crop. "Are you boys ready to kick ass today?" he snapped. "Are you ready to take a Beating?"
"You bet," I said calmly. "I, for one, am resigned to a terrible beating today. I crave it."
He nodded happily. "We will bet heavily on every play, for this game -- every pass, every kick, every fumble. I want to see money moving around this room like a high-speed cockfight."
"Don't worry," I said. "Some people are going to be hurt badly today, and I may be one of them -- did you hear what happened to the Raiders quarterback?"
"No," he said eagerly. "What happened to him?
"He broke his thumb in a car accident," the sheriff said mournfully. "He is out for the year."
"Yeah," I agreed. "Too bad I am already stuck with them. I guess I'll need some points, now that Gannon is gone."
There was a moment of tense silence in the room, then he screeched at me & shook his fist. "Points?" he yelled. "Points? Are you crazy. Only a jackass would give you Oakland with points!"
I shrugged and laughed it off. "OK," I said finally. "What the hell? Why not? Forget the points -- I'll take it even."
Just then the Raiders kicked off, and the game was under way. No more haggling. He nodded quickly at me, but said nothing. It was a deal.
Indeed. And the rest is history, folks. It turned out that I didn't need those points, after all. ... The halftime score was 10-10, and the Jets were looking good -- so we doubled up/down and prepared for a long afternoon of raw, teeth-gritting suspense.
"Hot damn!" said the sheriff. "We have a real humdinger on our hands, don't we? This thing will almost certainly go into overtime, maybe two overtimes. We might be here far into the night -- and never mind those rumors about a meteorite. We don't need it now."
The polo prince was deeply committed to the Jets now and he was feeling pretty uppity about it. "How are you feeling now, tough guy?" he sneered at me. "Are you ready to be wiped out? Are you ready to suffer?" He smiled smugly and raised a bottle of sweet gin to his lips, smacking his boot again. ... He had weathered the shock of Rich Gannon starting the game at quarterback, and now he was riding high, preparing to seize what would soon be his. "I've been waiting a long time for this," he muttered. "The Raiders are doomed."
I nodded sadly, but said nothing. Anita laughed at me for being such a loser -- but she had also bet on Oakland. Ho ho.
Well -- what else can I say about it, without totally shedding my modesty and appearing to be unacceptably greedy and cruel? Why discuss it? Nobody needs that kind of rudeness.
Of course, Oakland won handily. The final score was 30-10. The Jets got run out of town. They couldn't handle the pressure and went all to pieces in the fourth quarter. Their boy wonder quarterback got swatted around like a Ping-Pong ball and the crowd began to hoot at them, causing their nerves to crack, and the Raiders ran wild toward the end. It was a massacre.
This Raiders team is the real thing. I have been saying that ever since they won in Denver on that Monday night in November to end their demoralizing streak of losses. ... Gannon will slice up the slower Tennessee secondary this week, and Oakland will go into the Super Bowl against the Eagles, and after that, it is out of my hands. Who knows? That is what gambling is all about. Ho ho ho. So let us rumble, young man, rumble. Good luck.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," 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 regularly on Page 2.