Who is the greatest boozer of all time?
We’ve posed that question before. In 2002 we resurrected 16 of the history’s hardest-pounding hoochers and squared them off in a ferocious, tournament-style, single-elimination, winner-walks-out-on-the-tab bottle-royale.
Legendary lushes like Winston Churchill and Babe Ruth crashed their vast appetites for booze into the cast-iron livers of monster inebriates Ernest Hemingway and W.C. Fields, and when the bar tabs cleared, a resurgent Jackie Gleason seized the crown from a stunned Charles Bukowski.
[su_spoiler title=”The Contenders” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]
1. Andre the Giant
2. Alexander the Great
3. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
4. Doc Holliday
5. Richard Nixon
6. Jack Kerouac
7. Truman Capote
9. Carson McCullers
10. Jim Morrison
11. Mark Twain
12. Oliver Reed
13. Li Po AKA Li Bai
14. Errol Flynn
15. Keith Moon
16. Calamity Jane[/su_spoiler]
The Exhaustive Selection Process Explained
The exquisitely logical answer that there simply wasn’t enough room for the whole bloody lot of them was met with more yawps, so here we begin again with 16 fresh contenders, each eager to seize the crown of top toper. Then, once the winner emerges triumphant, we’ll pit him or her in a king-hell showdown with the original Clash champion, the aforementioned Jackie Gleason.
First off, living drinkers were excluded because their story is not fully told; for all we know they’ll join the Anti-Saloon League and start bad-mouthing sweet mother booze.
Backsliders such as Jack London, who did turn against the booze in his latter years, were also disqualified because winners never quit and quitters never win.
Lesser-known hard pounders were also excused because everyone has an uncle who should be in the fight and we only have room for 16 contenders—and we’d have to take you and your aunt’s word for it and we personally don’t trust either of you.
Personality was a deciding factor, because who wants to watch two stoic behemoths trade pitchers of Miller Lite for 12 hours?
Finally, since this is the second of the series, if you don’t see your personal drinking hero in the fight, odds are he or she participated in the first Clash.
One final note—this is a drinking contest, and like any contest, there are psychological elements involved. Having a superior capacity for alcohol will not always win the day.
So place your bets, pour yourself a strong one, and let’s get ready to stumble!
- A coin toss determines who orders the first round.
- Contenders take turns ordering rounds of whatever alcoholic beverage they prefer.
- A drinker must finish his drink within 10 seconds of his opponent finishing his or face elimination.
- The contest will continue until a contestant loses by Passing Out (a PO), being unable or refusing to continue with the contest (a Technical Pass Out, or TPO) or vomiting (a VO).
- Contenders cannot make unwarranted physical contact with their opponent. Contact results in disqualification.
- Contenders cannot order a drink larger than a quadruple of straight liquor or a pitcher of a non-liquor. This rule can be waived if both contenders consent.[/su_box]
Hunter S. Thompson: Unpredictable, mercurial and highly explosive, Hunter is an oddsmaker’s nightmare. His legendary constitution allowed him to weather a lifelong barrage of powerful chemicals, including alcohol—reliable witnesses attest he is capable of drinking three days straight without rest. His extraordinarily broad palette for all things alcoholic equates a full arsenal and seamless defense: he can come at you with any possible combination of boozes and won’t be fazed by anything you can throw back at him. His highly-strung and quixotic nature, however, means he might storm out or similarly disqualify himself from any match at any possible moment.
Doc Holliday: Renowned for his hard drinking as much as his homicidal urges, Holliday was said to average an astounding three quarts of whiskey a day, which is especially impressive when you consider the vile chemical confabulations that passed for whiskey in the Old West. One of the finest gamblers of his time, he knows how to expertly bluff and manipulate his opponents. All that said, Holliday has been afflicted with tuberculosis since his early 20s, and his failing health and known addiction to a form of morphine has many bettors doubting his chances at advancing deep into the tournament.
Laurence Olivier: Though they lived a century apart, an uncanny number of common threads run through the lives of these famous outlaws.
Howard Cosell: You’re right, Larry. Both lost a parent while in their early teens, and both are sons of the South who went west to find their fortunes.
LO: Both were known to vacillate wildly between southern gentlemen and savage beasts. Each also has a predilection for high-strength bourbon, high-powered firearms, high-stakes gambling and the occasional drift into narcotics.
LO: Was trying to be polite. Frequent.
LO: Fine—constant. Both readily use the title “Doctor,” though you wouldn’t want either to operate on your spleen: Holliday was a graduate of The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, and Thompson holds a Doctorate of Divinity with the New Path Church.
HC: Finally, both spent much of their lives in the Colorado high country. In fact, they died less than 30 miles apart.
LO: With so much in common, you’d think they’d get along like Irish uncles.
LO: His stillness adds to the effect. Has he blinked yet?
HC: Around the poker table he was known for his penetrating stare.
LO: And his short and violent temper.
HC: Neither brought cornermen, which is unusual.
LO: Indeed. They face one another like two solitary and desperate gunfighters squared off on a dusty street. Except instead of six-shooters they have microphones, which is a precedent for the sport.
HC: That’s right, Larry. As a condition to his participation in the Clash, Mr. Thompson demanded both opponents have microphones “so they wouldn’t be misrepresented by those two goddamn vultures.”
LO: I believe he meant us.
HC: I’ve been called worse by better. And we’re underway.
(Hunter wins the coin toss.)
Hunter orders double Chivas Regals over crushed ice.
HC: He calls it a “snow cone.” A Thompson standard.
LO: Holliday seems fascinated with the ice. He probably didn’t encounter much of it in the saloons he drank in.
HC: Hunter casually drinks off half his glass. I don’t think he’s being competitive, he’s just drinking at his normal pace. Holliday has yet to—
Hunter S. Thompson: Turn on this goddamn microphone! Okay, there, now I can hear myself speak.
HC: It seems as if Hunter is saying something.
LO: Are you sure? It sounds like he’s gnawing on his hand.
HST: I can hear you sons of bitches.
LO: Not sure if I like this new—
HST: Of course you don’t like it. Do you think Louie the 16th liked it when they rolled out the guillotine? Okay, first I want to lodge a formal protest with the pigfuckers running this cheap hustle.
HC: I’m starting to understand him.
LO: The price of sight is ugliness.
HST: I can hear you fuckers! Okay, Mr. Holliday, I watched the movie about you . . . “I’ll be your huckleberry” . . . all that . . . the fact of the matter is Mr. Holliday here is a junkie . . . a degenerate morphine addict, as it were . . . not to mention a full-bore homicidal maniac . . . and now here I am, a respected member of the sporting press . . . forced to engage in a savage contest of wills with a man who is at this very moment under the influence of dangerous narcotics. It’s an outrage, and I won’t stand for it.
HC: Hunter seems to be having a bit of sport.
LO: I don’t think morphine would be the least bit advantageous in this contest.
HC: It wouldn’t, and furthermore, if there is anyone under the influence of dangerous drugs, it is plainly Mr. Thompson.
HST: What? What did that fat belly—
HC: Hold on—the ref has started counting! Holliday’s glass is empty!
LO: I don’t recall him moving, much less drinking.
HST: Wait, what? I have to finish my drink because the cowboy junkie finished his first? What kind of bullshit is this?
LO: It’s called a drinking contest.
HST: Well, I’m going to do it only because I want another drink.
HC: Hunter slides it down in one pour. Now I wonder what the crafty Mr. Holliday has in store?
HST: Dentists are naturally vicious characters. You have to have the mind of Caligula and the soul of a sadist to be a dentist. Most likely it’ll be viper poison mixed with the entrails of a gutted wart hog.
LO: Perhaps I should retire to the bar for a martini. Mr. Thompson seems to have the color commentary under control.
Holliday orders four fingers of Old Overholt rye whiskeys neat.
HC: I believe both have some experience with the liquor.
HST: Shit, I used to drink this rotten stuff when I was a kid. Where’s the music? Can’t we have any goddamn music? I won’t continue without music.
LO: I knew this was a mistake.
HC: Once again, Holliday’s glass is empty.
HST: Goddamn you sneaky bastard!
LO: I spied Holliday’s trick. He palms the glass and drinks in between his coughing bouts.
HC: Hunter effortlessly knocks his back.
HST: I never thought drinking whiskey would feel like a job.
HC: Is that a Martini, Larry?
LO: Nothing gets past you, Howard.
Hunter orders 32-ounce frozen strawberry daiquiris.
HC: Holliday seems perplexed by the large colorful cocktail.
LO: How can you tell?
HC: I saw him blink.
LO: Ah. He whispers something to the referee, who signals a waiter.
HC: Who brings a spoon.
LO: He must think it’s some sort of fancy porridge.
HST: Well, hell. To each his own.
HC: Hunter uses a straw.
HST: I mean, if this goddamn hillbilly wants to drink with a spoon, who am I to say the befuddled old dingbat is wrong?
HC: Considering his rep for a short temper, Holliday is taking the insults well.
LO: He’s not armed. And he probably had to endure all manner of wild-eyed frontier vulgarians in his day.
HC: If by endure you mean shoot or stab, yes, he did.
Holliday orders double Red Eyes neat.
HC: Red Eye was a generic term for the sort of frontier whiskey you’d find in less reputable establishments.
LO: Calling it whiskey is like calling Hunter a journalist.
HST: What? What was that? What did the bullfruit say?
HC: As I understand it, the recipe involves raw alcohol “aged” with creosote, rattlesnake heads, ink, chewing tobacco, and red peppers.
LO: Good heavens! While it’s no surprise Holliday trundled out this cannon, I sense this is a counter, a punishment if you will, for Hunter’s fancy porridge.
HC: Holliday tips down half his drink, grimaces the slightest bit, then settles back with a sigh.
LO: Hunter has a taste. And spits it back in his glass!
HC: No spill, no foul.
HST: Ye gods! What is this swill?
Doc Holliday: A gambler’s ruin.
HC: You know, it wasn’t the voice I was expecting. He sounds more like a Kentucky colonel than a maniacal gunman.
HST: The Sphinx finally speaks. I was beginning to think you were a dummy.
DH: A dummy, sir?
HST: Yeah, a dummy. You know, deaf and dumb, a goddamn waterhead.
DH: I don’t know many waterheads who graduated dental school with high honors. And if you like, I can fix that mouth of yours.
HST: Oh no, I don’t want any of your frontier dentistry.
DH: I wasn’t speaking of dentistry.
HST: Oh-ho! Did you hear that? This junkie dentist just threatened me. That’s a nasty cough you got there, Doc. You should take something for it.
DH: I am.
HC: And with that, Holliday empties his glass.
HST: Goddamn you!
HC: Hunter jumps up, fills his cheeks, shakes his head violently and forces it down. Some sort of weird bullfrog system.
LO: And with his second call, Holliday has already found a gaping hole in Hunter’s much-hyped “seamless” defense.
HC: And he’s getting under Hunter’s skin. Holliday was a master of goading men into violence.
LO: So he could shoot them in “self defense.”
HC: It’s a good system. Especially if you’re best friends with the town sheriff.
HST: I ran for Sheriff, you know.
DH: You don’t say. I don’t suppose you were elected.
HST: No, I—
DH: Of course you weren’t. No town could function with that many fools.
HST: Well, you obviously haven’t been to Aspen. To hell with this. Why are we even here? Who cares that I can drink more whiskey than you?
DH: Or me you.
HC: I can almost hear the stomachs drop out of every heavy Thompson bettor in the room.
HST: Well . . . sure. Who cares if a junkie can out-drink me? How is that knowledge going to help anyone?
HC: Why should football teams play each other?
HST: Right . . . well . . . fuck that . . . my record stands for itself. I don’t need some dumb contest to tell me I know how to drink. Fuck this. I’ll see you fuckers—
LO: There was a lot of talk among the handicappers that Hunter lacked the fire in his belly, and here it is.
HST: Fuck you, you—
HC: He wouldn’t have gotten past Nixon anyway.
LO: If I may use Mr. Thompson’s vernacular, Nixon would have stomped him like a rat in a closet.
HST: Nixon! What sort of sick fuck let that monster in the contest? He can’t drink. He has four martinis and turns into a goddamn hyena. Which is an improvement, of course, but—
HC: It would be no contest. It explains why the doctor—so called—is throwing the match.
LO: Of course. He rightly fears the severe thrashing he would receive at hands of the vastly superior drinker, Richard Milhous Nixon, the former, and dare I say, finest president your country ever produced.
HST: You don’t think I know what you’re doing? Dangling that goddamn Nixon in front of me like a stinking piece of meat, trying to goad me into stomping this poor goddamn hillbilly.
LO: There is little doubt Hunter would end up groveling at Nixon’s feet, licking his shoes and whimpering for mercy like a whipped cur.
HST: Goddamn it to hell! Okay, fine, your evil little scheme worked. I want that bastard’s head on a pole! I’m all twisted up. I demand a break to, uh, freshen up, as it were.
LO: Why not? You’ve gotten everything else you wanted.
By mutual consent, both contestants leave the table to “freshen up.”
LO: Comfortable ground for Thompson.
HC: Maybe so, but he’ll never get past Holliday by ordering bourbon. On a good day, Doc was said to have tucked away up to six quarts of bourbon in a sitting.
HST: Bullshit! Nobody drinks that much. Did you?
DH: I don’t rightly know. After the fifth bottle I generally lose count.
HC: Both men seem to have taken on a different tone since returning from their “break.”
LO: Of course! They’re both high on drugs!
HC: The game has changed, Larry.
LO: Yes, but I don’t have to like it.
HC: I noticed you injected yourself with a number of large martinis during the break, as well.
LO: Why not? There are no rules anymore. If the drinkers get to commentate then the commentators get to drink.
HST: Yes, why not?
LO: You see? Even the bedlamite agrees.
HC: Back to the action, Doc Holliday has once again made an empty glass appear in front of him.
HST: Goddamn you!
HC: And once again, Hunter leaps to his feet to knock back his Turkey, while cursing at his opponent. Now he’s leaning in his face.
HST: I tried to treat you like a goddamn human being but now your treachery has pissed me off.
LO: Holliday pays no mind. If anything, he seems very relaxed. There’s more color in his cheeks. Either the liquor is settling him or—
HST: Do you hear that? They’re saying you shot up in the men’s room. Well?
HC: Holliday seems to be in a world all his own.
HC: Another high-proof brain-mangler manufactured in the filthy back rooms of frontier saloons. I think this one features gunpowder and chimney soot.
LO: Odd how, when the bartenders said they didn’t have any gunpowder, both men were able to produce live ammunition. From their pockets.
HC: Like a man checking his hole card and finding a big fat ace, Holliday takes a long draw and settles back with content. Hunter has a taste.
HST: Hot damn! Hot goddamn! That is actual straight-up fucking poison. How did you cowboys drink that godawful shit?
DH: It ain’t how but why. It eats holes in my memory and I fill them up with speculations of my kindness to my fellow man.
HST: What’s that, some old serial-killer wisdom?
DH: Here’s the truest thing I know.
HC: And with that, Holliday pours down the rest of his glass.
LO: I shudder to think what that tastes like.
HST: Shudder to think? I have to drink the goddamn stuff.
HC: He gets down half on the seven count then comes up for a bite of air then—
LO: Downs the last of it on the ten. That was very close. I’m starting to think it’s Hunter who’s mismatched. Holliday’s long study with bad liquor has gifted him with a special kind of hammer.
HST: He’s been bitten by cobras so many times he’s immune to their venom. Whatever shall Hunter do?
LO: I’m going to play a game of my own. Every time he talks, I drink. Waiter! A pitcher of martinis!
Thompson orders bottles of Heineken.
HC: Might as well. The bourbon isn’t making a dent.
LO: A sign of weakness. After all the tall glasses of whiskey, this is like a cry for help. He—
HST: Cry for help, the hell—
LO: Why are we even here? This match doesn’t need commentators, it needs a game warden. I won’t do another match where he gets to talk.
HST: There’s a rhythm to drinking, you understand. As long as you stay in that rhythm, that groove, you can drink for hours, days, decades. If you fall out of the rhythm, even just for a second, you fall to shit.
DH: Delphinum natare doces.
LO: He said, “You’re teaching a dolphin to swim.”
HST: Dolphin! More like a hammerhead shark. Sir, are you aware of how many people you killed?
DH: Well, that ain’t something a gentleman—
HST: Twenty by most historians’ count. Did you know that?
DH: Well, that’s a mighty high number.
HST: Twenty men in the ground. Do you ever think about them, staring up at the wood of their coffin lids with dead eyes?
LO: Is he trying to be clever? Is he trying to play on Holliday’s—
DH: Are you asking if I have a conscience?
HST: I suppose I am.
DH: I coughed that up with my lungs a long time ago.
HST: Listen, I’m not interviewing you for a dime western. Don’t give me your pat little answers when I—
HC: Holliday tilts his bottle and sucks out the beer like a vacuum. Hunter manages to finish on the six.
Holliday orders triple Forty Rods neat.
HST: Only triples? This one must really suck. What’s in this awful shit?
LO: If you’d shut up we’d tell you. Tell him, Howard.
HC: This kind of “whiskey” was particular to Texas. It was called Forty Rod because it was supposedly so powerful that it could kill you at forty rods, which is about 220 yards.
HST: Ho-ho. Kill you at forty rods. And I’m going to drink a big glass of the fucker.
LO: Oh look, he’s to his feet again. How unexpected!
HST: Goddamn this! I don’t have time for this dimwit shit-kicker. Do you understand me, huckleberry?
HC: Have you noticed how Doc’s right hand has slipped beneath the table?
HST: This junkie is jerking off under the table! I’m a doctor of divinity in good standing. I can’t be expected to put—
LO: Probably a reflex. Probably where he kept his .44 derringer.
HC: The hand comes out suddenly! He’s got a—
LO: He’s got a handful of fingers. He’s just making his fingers into a gun.
HC: He smiles briefly, coughs, picks up his glass and tips it down with three big gulps. My God!
LO: Hah! Now he’s got him!
HC: Hunter stops pacing, seizes his glass and—
LO: Gets down barely a third.
HC: He shakes his head savagely, like he’s trying to shake the taste out of his mouth. He tips again on the six count. He’s doing that bullfrog thi—
LO: He’s done! Auf Wiedersehen, herr doktor! Don’t forget to send us a postcard from—
HC: He’s still drinking! Nine, ten! And he’s done! Once again he finished just in time.
LO: He’s doomed. He’s just bouncing around off the ropes while Holliday lands skull-cracker after skull-cracker. Doc is going to murder him next time.
HC: Hunter pounds the table furiously.
LO: Holliday remains eerily still. I wonder how many times Holliday would have shot or stabbed Hunter by now if he were—
HC: Well. There’s your answer.
HST: Just six? Hell, I’ve got to try harder.
LO: You know who should really try harder? These bloody waiters. This pitcher has been sucking air for what feels like minutes.
Thompson orders double Very Very Old Fitzgerald bourbons neat.
HC: Stubbornly, some would say foolishly, he keeps coming back with bourbon.
LO: This is not your typical bourbon. The Very Very Old is 12 years in the barrel and 100 proof. Top tier. Perhaps I’ll—
HST: I’m trying to bring civilization to this savage.
DH: This man, if that’s what this creature claims to be, speaks like a patient far-gone in a fever dream. If he were in my office, I’d prescribe a potion of hot peppers and laudanum settled in a pint of whiskey.
HST: Hell, I’d probably drink it. I think I drank that last round.
HC: Suddenly Hunter is civil and folksy.
LO: Maybe they’ll join hands and sing Kumbaya.
HC: Wait—are you drunk?
LO: Why not?
HST: Yes, why not?
HST: You know, Mr. Holliday, it’s an interesting observation of popular culture. I mean, you’ve been portrayed in dozens of movies and books, you’re a fixture in American history. Why? When it comes down to it, you were just a psychotic croaking people left and right for no good reason at all. They should have put you in a cage and yet here you are, a national hero. I mean, more Americans know about you than Albert Schweitzer.
DH: How many men did Schweitzer kill?
HST: None, as far as I know. That’s just it. You represent the dark side of America, and the dark side has a very deep memory.
DH: They tried hanging me four times.
HST: Exactly! Why couldn’t they get it done? What’s your secret?
DH: Knowing when to leave town.
Holliday orders quadruple Taos Lightnings neat.
HC: Yet another whipcrack whiskey from the Old West. Though this was more of an adulterated moonshine, coming in at around 130 proof.
HST: Jesus! How much more of this cheapjack bullshit can I be expected to take? Why can’t you order good whiskey? Did you like the Old Fitz?
DH: I did.
HST: Then why don’t—
DH: Because I’m trying to kill you, you self-satisfied son of a bitch, and they took away my goddamn gun.
HC: Hunter, for once, is speechless.
LO: Maybe he’ll shut up for awhile so we professionals can—
HST: All right. Well, hell, at least now we know what kind of party this is.
DH: The coon speculates why the coon dog don’t just bring him the chicken.
HST: Yeah, I got it. It’s a fucking war. I tried being civil with you, remember that.
LO: Rather familiarly, Hunter lunges to his feet and begins pacing in front of the table.
HST: I’d leave, but these jackals would say I ran from Nixon.
LO: That’s right. The winners get to write history.
HST: That’s what’s wrong with—
DH: I’d rather hear the howl of a wolf than the whine of a whipped dog.
HST: Are you calling me a whipped dog?
DH: I ain’t lifted a finger. You’re ringing your own bell.
HC: And, again, Holliday sinks his drink in one go.
LO: He punctuates his big sentences with big action. I like this fellow.
HC: Hunter tries to screw his mouth around his drink and—
LO: Can’t do it. Fucker is doomed.
HC: So this is the drunk Laurence Olivier.
LO: That’s me. Hullo!
HC: Hunter shouts something guttural at the waiter, who immediately gives him two straws.
LO: Sure, he gets quick service.
HC: Hunter jams them in the glass and sucks furiously.
LO: Holliday is actually laughing.
HC: Eight, nine—he got it down.
LO: By using a sorority girl trick!
HST: Alright, fuck this. Whipped cur, am I? Get ready for the brutal ten thousand pound shit hammer!
Thompson orders Brutal Ten Thousand Pound Shit Hammers.
HC: So it’s an actual cocktail. Hunter supervised the making of these huge beasts. The main gears seem to be vodka, red wine and some unknown dark powder.
LO: Hunter reaches under the table and comes up a boombox.
HST: It’s time to put the zap on this geek.
LO: He jabs a button. Some sort of off-key caterwauling with voodoo drums and—
HC: “Sympathy for the Devil,” by the Rolling Stones.
LO: My, aren’t you hep. Holliday seems rattled.
HST: Now I’ve got you, swine!
HC: This time it’s Hunter who begins chugging the murky concoction. Annnnnnnd, boom, it’s down.
DH: Fast is fine, but accuracy is final.
HST: You’re accurate, huh?
DH: We shall see.
LO: Holliday collects himself, picks up his drink, doesn’t bother smelling it, and lays it back. He smacks his lips and considers.
DH: In my day we called that Cactus Wine.
HC: I think he finished it faster than Hunter. Thompson’s weird gambit has failed.
HST: The hell it has.
DH: We’re gonna ride with the devil tonight.
HST: Oh, yes we are.
Doc orders Dr. Holliday’s Patent Pain Killers.
HC: In a tit-for-tat, Holliday mixes up his own special cocktail. I saw pure grain spirit, some herbs and something from a dark brown bottle—I’d guess laudanum.
HST: Hot damn. Now we’re having a party.
HC: I wonder what that green powder—
LO: Ask the son of a bitch. It’s not like the old days where we had to guess what the son of a bitch thinks.
HST: Larry, I’m starting to like you.
LO: Well, whoop-de-fucking do.
HST: How do you feel, Doc?
DH: I feel fine.
HST: Just wait until it gets on top of you.
LO: I could be mistaken, but Holliday’s pallor just keeps getting better. He looks almost human now.
HC: Both men seem to have settled down, each sipping their Painkillers.
LO: This is never going to end. This is going to go on forever. A week from now we’ll still—
HST: Tell me what it was like back then.
DH: Death was always there. I mixed up with everything that came along so I could forget myself. It occupied me and took my mind off my troubles.
LO: It’s strikes me that Hunter has been engaging in a deliberate strategy: his sudden outbursts, then kindly chats, then more vicious shouting. It’s all designed to wear down his opponent emotionally, to make—
HC: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any sort of conscious strategy involved, so much as a psychotic personality being allowed to roam free.
HST: Richard Fucking Nixon!
LO: He blames everything on Nixon.
HC: No, he just showed up. Standing behind Holliday is none other than Richard Milhous Nixon.
Richard Nixon: Hello, Hunter.
HST: Jesus! Here he is. The fiend behind the fiend! It’s all very clear now . . . what back alley of Hell did you crawl out of?
Richard Nixon: Just stopped by to see how my good friend Dr. Holliday is doing.
HST: Richard Fucking Nixon!
RN: Doc, did you know I raised the funds for my first political campaign on poker tables?
HST: What the hell does—
RN: In college they called me “Iron Butt” because of all the hours I’d spend in the library. Did you know that, Hunter?
HST: Sweet Jesus! What kind of vicious mindfuck is he trying to lay on me?
LO: A grinning Nixon shoots two victory signs in the air—not to be confused with peace signs—and fades back into the crowd and—just like that, he is gone.
HC: That was odd. And what was with that strange handshake with Holliday?
LO: Perhaps it was some sort of Masonic thing. Were they Masons?
DH: Damn, this is funny.
HST: Oh-ho. Starting to get on top of you, eh, huckleberry?
DH: Not that. This.
HC: Knife! Holliday has a knife!
HST: Holy shit!
DH: Here’s your huckleberry, you son of a bitch.
HC: Holliday lunges forward and Hunter leaps back like a mongoose!
LO: It missed him by a bare inch!
HC: He’s not done! He chases Hunter around the table like—
LO: Get him!
HC: Are you—
LO: The ref tackles Holliday from behind! Security piles on top!
HC: That’s it. The ref can’t signal it yet, but surely Holliday is disqualified! Hunter Thompson advances!
LO: Think so? Are we sure knifeplay is against the rules now?
HC: Yes, I’m sure. Pretty sure. So all along he was packing a—
HST: What the fuck are you talking about? Nixon gave him that shiv!
LO: Come to think of it—did Nixon pass him that blade?
HST: Of course that rat bastard did. He’s wanted a piece of me for decades.
HC: Well, there’s no proof.
HST: Check the video tape!
HC: You insisted that there be no video tape.
HST: Son of a bitch!
LO: The salient question is this: if Nixon did indeed pass that knife, was his intention to eliminate Hunter—literally—from the tournament or disqualify Holliday so he can stomp Hunter later?
HST: I can’t believe this! I was almost gutted on the floor and all these bastards can talk about is Nixon’s Big Plan.
HC: I have to say, the first two bouts of this Clash have given the game a much stranger character.
Hunter S. Thompson wins by disqualification.
HST: What can I say? They worked me over like a cheap punk. Selah. I’m taking Nixon down and whoever gets in my way will be stomped. I’m coming for you, Nixon! Do you hear me, ratfuck? I’m coming for you!
DH: I sincerely do regret letting my anger get the best of me. And even more deeply and sincerely I regret not getting my knife between the ribs of that son of a bitch.