That's not a Doctor of Journalism. This is a Doctor of Journalism.*

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our arrival was badly timed. Most of the pigs from The American Spectator had already arrived. I saw this at a glance. They were just standing around trying to look casual. It was a terrifying scene.

"I thought you should know about this," the boy said finally.

"Know? Me? Know about what?" I asked.

"Nothing. Nothing at all. Just that this guy . . . this white supremacist guy . . . he says he's you."

My brain locked up. I couldn't think. The drugs were taking over. "Is he?"

"No . . . I don't think . . . but he did say something about guns and booze."

"Guns and booze? Guns and booze? Must be me." Jesus. What a terrible thing to lay on somebody with a head full of acid. Alright, I thought.

"Alright," I said. "This Nazi me with guns and gin, where . . ."

"No gin . . . he's just talking about gin like you talk about it when you . . ."

"Look," I said. "I'm a Doctor of Journalism. If I can't minister to my own sober self, what good am I?" I demanded the boy take me to myself.

He led me to a dense thicket of birches fit for Frost and introduced me as Manuel. "Well," I said. "Pleasure to make my acquaintance."

That me looked at this me confused. Something there is that loves a wall, I thought, and ain't that bastard something.

There he was, talking about my Samoan attorney, and here I was, looking at myself talking about my Samoan attorney . . . but what white power me said made no sense.

"Wherever you find guns, cigars and whiskey, good-looking womenfolk are sure to be flocking 'round, and I had my camera handy for the occasion."

"Flocking 'round"? Sounds nothing like me. Strange memories of nervous nights on who knows what I can handle . . . but this was an impostor. No . . . a robot.

I was being impersonated by a robot. Programmed to say what I say but like I was Rhett Butler. To trick it would require saying something it wouldn't expect me to . . .

"All this white shit on my sleeve is LSD," I heard myself say. Shit. I stole a glance at myself and saw his face turn white. I noted the effort it took for him to keep up my fa├žade. Not that he didn't try.

"Folks around Sperryville won't go anywhere near the place at Pig Roast time, what with the rumors of cannibalism, human sacrifice, bizarre pagan rituals and so forth."

"And so forth?" I asked. "And so forth?"

"Wherever you find guns, cigars and whiskey, good-looking womenfolk are sure to be flocking 'round, and I had my camera handy for the occasion."

"You already said that you fucking robot!" I threw myself at the robot but must have licked my arm on the way there because the next thing I remember I was in a bathtub surrounded by six angry pairs of Dockers.

"You shouldn't have done that," one said.

"Stacy is delicate," said another. Fuck, I thought. I'd attacked some poor girl.

"Sorry," I said. "I went after the robot." They shot me looks I deserved. Calm down. Learn to enjoy pain. The important thing now is to leave with my balls intact.

"Stacy is not a . . ."

Intact and where they should be. My balls. Fuck would I miss them.

"Stacy wants you to apologize."

"Send her in." Don't run, I thought. They'd like an excuse to shoot you. Menacing vibrations . . . I felt them all around me. The door creaked open and there she was . . . there he was . . . there I was . . .

"Some fucking robot you are!"

"Get back here!" he shouted, but I knew she couldn't catch me.

*Written in honor of the lamest Thompson impersonation I've ever read . . . and I spent four years teaching literary journalism to starry-eyed undergraduates who idolized Thompson, so I know of what I speak.


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