Hunter S. Thompson on Apes
July 27, 2011, 04:07 PM
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Seeing the animal rights documentary Project Nim about the famous ape Nim Chimpsky (my review here) reminded me of the penultimate chapter of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

So I picked up the phone. It was my friend Bruce Innes, calling from the Circus-Circus. He had located the man who wanted to sell the ape I’d been inquiring about. The price was $750. …

“Maybe you should come down and argue with the guy,” said Bruce. “He’s here in the bar with me. I told him you really wanted the ape and that you could give it a fine home. I think he’ll negotiate. He’s really attached to the stinking thing. It’s here in the bar with us, sitting up on a goddamn stool, slobbering into a beer schooner.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be there in ten minutes. Don’t let the bastard get drunk. I want to meet him under natural conditions.”

When I got to the Circus-Circus they were loading an old man into an ambulance outside the main door. “What happened?” I asked the car-keeper.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “Somebody said he had a stroke. But I noticed the back of his head was all cut up.” …

I found Bruce at the bar, but there was no sign of the ape. “Where is it?” I demanded. “I’m ready to write a check. I want to take the bastard back home on the plane with me. I’ve already reserved two first-class seats — R. Duke and Son.”

“Take him on the plane?”

“Hell yes,” I said. “You think they’d say anything? Call attention to my son’s infirmities?”

He shrugged. “Forget it,” he said. “They just took him away. He attacked an old man right here at the bar. The creep started hassling the bartender about ‘allowing barefoot rabble in the place’ and just about then the ape let out a shriek — so the old guy threw a beer at him, and the ape went crazy, came out of the his seat like a jack-in-the-box and took a big bite out of the old man’s head … The bartender had to call an ambulance, then the cops came and took the ape away.”

“Goddamnit,” I said. “What’s the bail? I want that ape.”

“Get a grip on yourself,” he said. “You better stay clear of that jail. That’s all they’d need to put the cuffs on you. Forget that ape. You don’t need him.”

I gave it some thought, then decided he was probably right. There was no sense blowing everything for the sake of some violent ape I’d never even met.