Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary
In Chapter 2, Thompson continues describing how their journey to Las Vegas began.
At his publisher’s Los Angeles office, Thompson was given $300, although he wanted much more money. His attorney was disheartened with the amount offered. Thompson chastised the big “Samoan” by saying that “this is the American Dream in action”: a telephone call that had come out of the blue for an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.
As he further reflects on the call, Thompson realizes that he does not know what kind of “story” he has been commissioned to write for the magazine. He supposes he will just have to decide for himself. This, Thompson emphatically declares, is “pure Gonzo journalism.”
Thompson thinks about what they had done to get the necessary supplies for their journey. A particular type of tape recorder was needed, and the two men did not take a store’s “Closed” sign as the final word. They bashed on the store’s glass doors until the clerk inside let them in and sold them the equipment. Even though they got what they wanted, the attorney was angry at what he considered their ill-treatment. He yelled that they would return to bomb the store. He raged that he knew the clerk’s name, would find out where he lived, and burn down his home.
There was more “trouble,” Thompson recalls, getting the rental car. Thompson remembers how he had terrified the lot attendant, driving in reverse at high speeds and nearly knocking over a gas pump. He thinks, too, about how the attendant had fretted that Thompson would be drinking and driving, a logical assumption since he watched Thompson load cases of alcohol into the shiny red convertible. Thompson assured the clerk that he would not be driving: they are “responsible people.” Thompson and his attorney sped away irresponsibly.
As they merged into traffic, Thompson thought of something else he would like to have for their trip: priest’s robes. The idea was ultimately abandoned because it would take too much time to find such robes. Plus, a lot of cops are Catholic, they reason. If they were pulled over, high on drugs and wearing vestments, the cops might get upset.