August 30, 2008

I am Lono

We settled down at the bar and watched the rain lash the palm trees around on the beach. The Ho-Ho Lounge was open on three sides and every few minutes a gust of warm rain blew in from the sea. We were the only customers. The Samoan bartender mixed our margaritas in silence, a rigid smile on his face. To our left, on a rock in a small freshwater pool, two penguins stood solemnly side by side and watched us drinking, their unblinking brown eyes as curious as the bartender's. Skinner tossed them a chunck of sashimi, which the taller one caught in mid-air and gobbled instantly, whacking the smaller bird out of his way with a flip of his short black wing.
"Those birds are weird," Skinner said. "I've had some real peculiar conversations with them."

The Curse of Lono, by Hunter S. Thompson

I just finished this strange, wonderful, and enormous book. I think I've read them all now, and, with the exception of Screwjack, this one was the strangest--a mix of wild gonzo narrative, twisted illustrations by Ralph Steadman, and excerpts from an account of Captain Cook's ill-fated visit to the Hawaiian Islands.