Raoul Duke: What was I doing here? What was the meaning of this trip? Was I just roaming around in a drug frenzy of some kind? Or had I really come out here to Las Vegas to work on a story? Who are these people, these faces? Where do they come from? They look like caricatures of used car dealers from Dallas, and sweet Jesus, there were a hell of a lot of them at 4:30 on a Sunday morning, still humping the American dream, that vision of the big winner somehow emerging from the last minute pre-dawn chaos of a stale Vegas casino.
Parking Attendant: You can’t park your car here.
Raoul Duke: Why not? Is this not a reasonable place to park?
Parking Attendant: Reasonable? You’re on the a sidewalk.
Dr. Gonzo: We won’t make the nut unless we have unlimited credit.
Raoul Duke: Jesus Christ, we will, man. You Samoans are all the same. You have no faith in the essential decency of the white man’s culture.
Move over you fat bastard!
Raoul Duke: And that, I think, was the handle – -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Raoul Duke: 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. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full with what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals?
Dr. Gonzo: Did you say something?
Raoul Duke: Hm? Never mind. It’s your turn to drive.
Raoul Duke: No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastard will see them soon enough.
Raoul Duke: How long could we maintain? I wondered. How long until 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, ’cause it goes without saying that we can’t turn him loose. He’d 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?
Dr. Gonzo: It’s okay. He’s just admiring the shape of your skull.
Dr. Gonzo: As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown flask in my shaving kit.
Raoul Duke: But our trip was different. It was to be a classic affirmation of everything right and true in the national character. A gross physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country. But only for those with true grit. And we are chock full of that, man.
Raoul Duke: Ah, devil ether. It makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel. Total loss of all basic motor function. Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue. The mind recoils in horror, unable to communicate with the spinal column. Which is interesting because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can’t control it.