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Screwjack: A Short Story

Hunter S. Thompson

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A rare collection of wild and outlandish short stories—long thought to be lost—by literary legend Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter S. Thompson’s notorious triptych 
Screwjack is as salacious, unsettling, and brutally lyrical as it has been rumored to be since its private printing in 1991.

“We live in a jungle of pending disasters,” Thompson warns in the opening piece “Mescalito,” a fictionalized chronicle of his first mescaline experience and what it sparked in him while he was alone in an Los Angeles hotel room in February 1969­—including a bout of paranoia that would have made most people just scream no, once and for all. But for Thompson, along with the downside came a burst of creativity too powerful to ignore. The result is a poetic, perceptive, and wildly funny stream-of-consciousness take on 1969 America as only Hunter S. Thompson could see it. 
Screwjack just gets weirder with its second offering, “Death of a Poet,” which describes a trailer park confrontation with a deservingly doomed friend. The heart of the collection lies in its final, title piece, an unnaturally poignant love story ostensibly written by Thompson’s alias Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What makes the romantic tale “Screwjack” so touching, for all its strangeness, is the aching melancholy in its depiction of the modern man’s burden.

Screwjack shows how brilliant a prose stylist Thompson really is, amid all the hilarity. As he puts it in his introduction, the three stories here build like Bolero to a faster and wilder climax that will drag the reader relentlessly up a hill, and then drop him off a cliff...That is the desired effect.”

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