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The only excitement came when Sly beat the huge Russky like a mule and the whole crowd of fog-windowed cars in the audience, as it were, came alive with a blast of honking horns and harsh screams.

I joined in, leaning heavily on the horn of my fully loaded Camaro, but when I tried to get out of the car and speak seriously with the other patrons I was menaced by a pack of wild dogs that had gathered around my car to gnaw on the fresh chicken bones.

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.

There was no need for police, until later.

I was part of the mob, for some reason, along with Bill Murray and Bob Arum and a dozen or so punk rockers shouting things like "Bastarde! Bastarde!" and "J'accuse!"

Nobody knows how did the actual beating, but I'm sure it was none of the fight crowd, although Arum later tried to take credit for it, and Murray had blood under his fingernails for the next two days. "I tripped on the curb," he explained. "All I remember is clawing at the legs of people running over me."

Nobody believed either one of them, but in the end it made no difference. All memories are gray when the time comes to start sorting out details of mob violence. The truth is that we had gone temporarily wild like the others, behaving like beasts and borne along by a frenzied crowd … and in fact there were no real injuries, not even to the original hit-and-run victims. The only certified loser was the driver of the bread truck, who had his whole load of croissants scattered like popcorn all over the street.

One of the things you have to deal with in this business is being whipped on by brainless freaks and special-interest pleaders. It never ends. On some nights they gnaw on your doorknob, and on others they plot rotten lawsuits and fondle themselves like chimpanzees in rooms lit by 25-watt bulbs.

It was midnight when I got back to Phoenix; the temperature was 103 and there was no sign of life at the baggage carousel. An elderly man with a whisk broom told me the conveyor belt had been shut down earlier in the evening by a bomb scare.

No baggage had come down the chute since the emergency, he said in broken Spanish. It had all been "torn up by the dogs," then taken out and dumped in the Salt River.

Generation of Swine — The Gonzo Papers, Volume Two, Hunter S. Thompson, ©1988


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