Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sixty-four thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1968 The inspirational genius of many Beat writers including Allen Ginsberg, Merry Prankster Neal Cassady (b. 1926) pulled his last prank – collapsing and dying along railroad tracks, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico.

Jack Kerouac's character Dean Moriarty in On the Road was closely based on Kerouac's friend Cassady. Cassady was also well known for being the driver of the bus Furthur on the Ken Kesey -- Merry Pranksters tours immortalised in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Cassady went for a walk by a railroad track to reach the next town, but passed out in the cold and rainy night wearing nothing but a T-shirt and his jeans. In the morning he was found in a coma by the track and brought to the closest hospital, where he died a few hours later. Kesey told the story of his death in a short story where Cassady is quoted with mumbling the number of nails in the rail he'd counted so far, as his last words before dying. The number: 64,928.

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