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FEAR & LOATHING

FEAR AND LOATHING(The Grind, Central West End) His theory went like this: Hunter S. Thompson was, in fact, not dead. No suicide had occurred; no bullets had been discharged into his head, nothing like that had happened. James believed that Thompson was actually alive and well and living in San Miguel de Allende. “Wouldn’t that be a Thompsonesque thing to do?” He searched my face for assurance. None found. Having for some time now lived with the impression that I knew nothing at all, I didn’t have the wherewithal to answer. I told James this; it didn’t register. A warm night breeze blew through the open door into the pool room. Through the large plate-glass windows you could see the swarms of people loafing around the tables outside. I asked James how the job search was going. He winced, shrugged. Nothing yet. An outrage. Even Jeff had finally found a job. Jeff: the most famously unemployed person we knew. The man who’d reached celebrity status for his gentleman-pauper routine. Now he had a fine job and new tabs on his license plates, ending an era in our little neighborhood. It wasn’t that James was underqualified. Nor was he undersearching. Just too long living anxiety-ridden -- one of many I knew in similar predicaments. “I’ve been focusing on points other than St. Louis,” he said finally. “I just might have to finally leave this dying city.”