The Killing of Gus Hasford

From left, Bob Bayer, Gus and former Marine clerk Randy "Orphai" Cook in San Diego, 1991.

    The disgrace and ritual humiliation had already started to kill him by the time he left the San Luis Obispo lockup.  Ravaged by a cold and then intestinal flu, Hasford had dropped 40 pounds as a prisoner.  In time, he gained back some of the weight, but he never really regained his health or strength or spirit.
    Bob Bayer started telling me the end of Hasford's story...
    "Gus started drinking around that time -- drinking a lot of beer and wine at night.  Said he couldn't get to sleep otherwise.  He'd never had that problem before.  You know, he'd go out, maybe have a beer or two, but he never really drank all that much.  He was living in a motel in El Cajon so he could be close to his books, which he was reorganizing after trucking them down from SLO.  I was recyclingcans at home, and he'd bring over big trash bags full of tall Colt 45 empties every couple of weeks.  He drank those bythe case.  Plus, wine -- a lot of wine.
    "He just wasn't ever himself again after going to jail.  It weighed on him heavily, you know, on his mental attittides.  He was afraid to take planes afterwards, and he talked a lot about applying for political asylum in France.  And that big expose he was planning to write -- hiring private dicks and everything?  I told him, 'Gus, nobody's gonna care about this shit three years from now -- it's a smalltitne legal deal.  Focus the energy you've got on your bigger projects.'  But he wouldn't let go of it."

--from "The Killing of Gus Hasford", LA Weekly, June 1993


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