FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS – HUNTER S THOMPSON (incomplete)

1. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive….” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundread miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?” (p.3)

2. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough. (p.3)

3. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers…and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. (p.4)

4. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. (p.4)

5. “No more of that talk,” I said sharply. “Or I’ll put the leeches on you.” (p.5)

6. How long can we maintain? I wondered. How long before one of us starts raving and jabbering at this boy? What will he think then? This same lonely desert was the last known home of the Manson family. Will he make that grim connection when my attorney starts screaming about bats and huge manta rays coming down on the car? If so – well, we’ll just have to cut his head off and bury him somewhere. Because it goes without saying that we can’t turn him loose. He’ll report us at once to some kind of outback nazi law enforcement agency, and they’ll run us down like dogs.

Jesus! Did I say that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? (p.5)

7. (…) …admiring the shape of his skull. (p.6)

8. “Because I want you to know that we’re on our way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream.” I smiled. “That’s why we rented this car. It was the only way to do it. Can you grasp that?” (p.6)

9. Our vibrations were getting nasty – but why? I was puzzled, frustrated. Was there no communication in this car? Had we deteriorated to the level of dumb beasts? (p.8)

10. And it was extremely important, I felt, for the meaning of our journey to be made absolutely clear. (p.8)

11. (…) …I tell you my man, my man, this is the American Dream in action! We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.” (p.11)

12. The only way to prepare for a trip like this, I felt, was to dress up like human peacocks and get crazy, then screech off across the desert and cover the story. Never lose sight of the primary responsibility. (p.12)

13. There was also the socio-psychic factor. Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas. To relax, as it were, in the womb of the desert sun. Just roll the roof back and screw it on, grease the face with white tanning butter and move out with the music at top volume, and at least a pint of ether. (p.12)

14. “Well, good god!” he said. “You just backed over that two-foot concrete abutment and you didn’t even slow down! Forty-five in reverse! And you barely missed the pump!”

“No harm done,” I said. “I always test a transmission that way. The rear end. For stress factors.” (p.13)

15. (…) …glazed eyes insanely dilated behind tiny black, gold rimmed greaser shades, screaming gibberish…a genuinely dangerous drunk, reeking of ether and terminal psychosis. (p.18)

16. (…) old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars. (p.18)

17. But out trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country – but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that. (p.18)

18. …But that was some other era, burned out and lone gone from the brutish realities of this foul year of Our Lord, 1971. A lot of things had changed in those years. And now I was in Las Vegas as the motor sports editor of this fine slick magazine that had sent me out here in the Great Red Shark for some reason that nobody claimed to understand. “Just check it out,” they said, “and we’ll take it from there….” (p.23)

19. “Good,” I said. “But what about our room? And the golf shoes? We’re right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody’s giving booze to these goddamn things! It won’t be long before they tear us to shreds. Jesus, look at the floor! Have you ever seen so much blood? How many have they killed already?” I pointed across the room to a group that seemed to be staring at us. “Holy shit, look at that bunch over there! They’ve spotted us!” (p.25)

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