"Gonzo" journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson shot himself in his Aspen home Sunday.
My friend Doug called me four months ago and asked if I wanted to go meet Thompson in L.A. He was doing a book-signing at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip. I called the bookstore and they told me he wasn't doing any signings in San Diego. They also said, "He is supposed to sign 50 books, but he can be so weird, we can't even guarantee that. I'd hate for you to drive all the way up here for nothing."
Doug insisted we bring Thompson some MacAllan Scotch. Little did we know he'd have his own bottle at the table with him. He also had former UCSD student and Oscar winner Benicio del Toro sitting beside him. Del Toro was in the movie version of Thompson's autobiographical Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas movie (starring Johnny Depp).
After taking numbers to line up (we were the second and third in line), Doug handed the Scotch to Thompson. He said, "Oh, you brought me some good stuff. Open it." Doug said, "Excuse me?" Thompson said quickly, "You take a swig first! I want to make sure you didn't spike it with anything."
As Doug opened the bottle, Thompson grabbed it and said "Okay, thanks." He then drank a few big gulps. He leaned into us and said, "Do you have any hash? Do you have any cocaine? What else do ya got?" We laughed and said nothing.
In the book Doug handed him to autograph, Thompson wrote "To Doug, Eat shit and die. Hunter S. Thompson."
Thompson said something to Del Toro and followed it by saying, "This reminds me of the times in San Diego, over in El Cajon."
Doug said, "I was born in El Cajon." Thompson grabbed the next book to sign and we walked away. We heard yelling and turned around. Thompson had gotten on top of the table and was yelling at people. We knew he was weird. Aside from keeping many guns at his house, in 2000 (according to the Associated Press) he shot and wounded his assistant Deborah Fuller while trying to chase a bear off his property.