By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2

My friend Cromwell called from Washington last night and invited me to accompany President Bush on his long-awaited visit to the Olympic Games in Greece this summer.

"We're trying to keep it a secret," he said, "so keep this news to yourself until we give the OK. But I thought you should know immediately."

"Thank you for tipping me off," I said. "But traveling to Athens with the President of the United States is not what I really want to do right now. Are you nuts?"

He laughed and called me chickens---.

"You sportswriters are all the same," he said with a sneer in his voice. "You're all talk."

"Nonsense," I replied. "What kind of fool do you take me for? I would never come back from that trip, and you know it. I am persona non grata at the White House. They would welcome the chance to kick me out of a jet plane at 25,000 feet."

And then I hung up on him. It was not what I wanted to hear at that hour of the night.

By the time he called back again, I was already on the phone with a man named Loftus at John Kerry headquarters in Washington.

"You'll never believe this," I told him, "but the White House is planning to send George Bush to Greece for the Olympic Games in September. Ho ho ho."

"What?" he screeched. "Don't you ever call this headquarters with that kind of stupid bulls---! That yoyo would never leave the country at a desperate time like this."

And that was all he said.

"What was that?" Anita asked. "Why are you smiling?"

"Never mind," I said quickly. "We have just stumbled onto a huge story. The President is not going to Athens next month. The Olympic Games will almost certainly be canceled for security reasons."

"Oh my God," she exclaimed. "That's horrible! I can't believe it. The Olympics would never be canceled. Never! Don't tell me that crap. It makes you sound like a jackass."

I said nothing for a moment, then I burst out laughing and slapped her hard on the back.

"Hot damn!" I cried out. "Now we can go to Boston for the convention. This is wonderful luck. It means we won't have to worry about getting our heads chopped off on world-wide TV."

Olympic Games
If you're a fan of American athletes, better book a ticket to Beijing in 2008.

"You are right," she giggled. "That kind of hideous violence could never happen in Boston! We can go to a Red Sox game and drink gin with John Kerry for a few days without being afraid for our lives. I feel better already. I never really wanted to go to Greece, anyway. Athens will be like a steam bath this summer. We could die from heat exhaustion."

It was sometime after midnight on the Fourth of July, so we went out to work on a massive fireworks display that we were planning to explode in the morning to scare the snot out of the neighbors. They know me as a gentle, fun-loving boy with a goofy sense of timing, but they would never in their darkest dreams expect to be blasted out of bed before sunrise for no good reason at all. Only a vicious imbecile would do a thing like that, and they knew I was not an imbecile.

It was the late George Plimpton, in fact, who turned me into a bomb junkie, and I have never forgiven him for it. He was a genuine swine whenever explosions were mentioned. George never saw a fuse that he didn't want to set on fire, regardless of where he was in the world or who might be standing nearby. George Plimpton loved explosions and he didn't mind admitting it.

He was one of a kind, for sure, and one of the finest natural athletes of his time. He beat me at every sport I played against him. It was humiliating, but I still respected him despite his occasional weirdness. George was aristocracy in any room he walked into. He was absolutely fearless. The grace he brought to the strange world of Sportswriting was a gift to us all.

And so much for that. I am running late for my deadline and Anita is starting to act a little crazy, so I will wrap this up and prepare to set off my own crude bomb, as we like to say in the press box when we work.

My final prediction for today is that the U.S. will not send any teams to the Olympic Games this year. And the World Series will also be canceled or at least postponed for a National Security emergency that will never be explained in public until long after George Bush is gone from the White House, which will happen in early November -- or at least before Groundhog Day next year.

We are all going for a very wild ride for the next few months. So good luck and drink all the cold beer you can get your hands on for as long as necessary to guarantee victory and lasting peace in the nation and the world.

Buy the ticket, take the ride. Mahalo.

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.