I took the blotter and ate
it. My attorney was now fumbling with the salt shaker
containing the cocaine. Opening it. Spilling it. Then
screaming and grabbing at the air, as our fine white dust
blew up and out across the desert highway. A very expensive
little twister rising up from the Great Red Shark. "Oh,
jesus!" he moaned. "Did you see what God just did to us?"
"God didn't do that!" I
shouted. "You did it. You're a fucking narcotics agent! I
was on to your stinking act from the start, you pig!"
"You better be careful," he
said. And suddenly he was waving a fat black .357 magnum at
me. One of those snubnosed Colt Pythons with the beveled
cylinder. "Plenty of vultures out here," he said. "They'll
pick your bones clean before morning."
"You whore," I said. "When
we get to Las Vegas I'll have you chopped into hamburger.
What do you think the Drug Bund will do when I show up with
a Samoan narcotics agent?"
"They'll kill us both," he
said. "Savage Henry knows who I am. Shit, I'm your
attorney." He burst into wild laughter. "You're full of
acid, you fool. It'll be a goddamn miracle if we can get to
the hotel and check in before you turn into a wild animal.
Are you ready for that? Checking into a Vegas hotel under a
phony name with intent to commit capital fraud and a head
full of acid?" He was laughing again, then he jammed his
nose down toward the salt shaker, aiming the thin green roll
of a $20 bill straight into what was left of the powder.
"How long do we have?" I
"Maybe thirty more
minutes," he replied. "As your attorney I advise you to
drive at top speed."
Las Vegas was just up ahead. I could see the strip/hotel
skyline looming up through the blue desert groundhaze: The
Sahara, the landmark, the Americana and the ominous
Thunderbird -- a cluster of grey rectangles in the distance,
rising out of the cactus.
Thirty minutes. It was
going to be very close. The objective was the big tower of
the Mint Hotel, downtown -- and if we didn't get there
before we lost all control, there was also the Nevada State
prison upstate in Carson City. I had been there once, but
only for a talk with the prisoners -- and I didn't want to
go back, for any reason at all. So there was really no
choice: We would have to run the gauntlet, and acid be
damned. Go through all the official gibberish, get the car
into the hotel garage, work out on the desk clerk, deal with
the bellboy, sign in for the press passes -- all of it
bogus, totally illegal, a fraud on its face, but of course
it would have to be done.
-- Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson