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I was being paid twenty-five dollars a day to ruin the only place I'd seen in ten years where I'd felt a sense of peace. Paid to piss in my own bed, as it were, and I was only here because I'd got drunk and been arrested and had thereby become a pawn in some high-level face-saving bullshit.

I sat there a long time, and thought about a lot of things. Foremost among them was the suspicion that my strange and ungovernable instincts might do me in before I had a chance to get rich. No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction—toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.

Finally I got drunk and went to bed. Martin woke me up the next day and we had breakfast in the drugstore before taking off for St. Thomas. The day was bright and blue, and we had a good crossing. By the time we came into the harbor of Charlotte Amalie I'd forgotten Vieques and Zimburger and everything else.

The Rum Diaries, Hunter S. Thompson, ©1998


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