Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary
The men arrive at the Mint Hotel and Casino, parking properly this time so as not to attract unwanted attention. As they go up to their room and try to unlock the door, Thompson sees that he has two different room keys. One, his attorney explains, is to Lacerda’s room. He thought they might need it at some point, so he stole it. An argument ensues. The attorney is certain Lacerda has been trying to steal his "girlfriend." Thompson knows the attorney is delusional. He remembers that the attorney had outright insulted the girl when they were all on an elevator together. She certainly has no interest in the attorney.
No matter how ridiculous the argument is, no matter how misplaced the anger, Thompson knows not to disregard his attorney's ravings. “You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug,” he warns. This is especially cogent advice since his enormous friend is now wielding a very sharp knife.
Thompson orders his attorney to take a shower. He locks the man in the room and hurries downstairs to the casino, taking both of the keys with him. He watches the gamblers like an anthropologist, documenting their behavior but not taking part in it. He watches as they “hump the American Dream,” everyone hoping that somehow they are going to be the “Big Winner.”
Back in the room, Thompson finds the attorney submerged in a bath and incredibly high on acid. The man is demanding the tape player be thrown in the tub with him—an act, of course, that would cause death by electrocution. Thompson devises a plan to trick him. He throws a grapefruit into the water rather than the tape player, a ruse that works for just a moment. Enraged, the wet, enormous man climbs out of the tub and threatens Thompson, but Thompson has armed himself with Mace. They scream at each other until suddenly both break into laughter.
The attorney claims he never would have seriously hurt Thompson. He just wanted to “carve a little Z” on his forehead, “nothing serious.” Thompson is not sure his psychotic rage has completely abated, however. He orders the man back into the bathtub and to stay there so that Thompson can get some sleep. The attorney agrees. Thompson knows that his attorney is about to go into the next phase of his high, a period of “hellishly intense introspection nightmares.” To be safe, Thompson pushes a chair against the bathroom door and keeps the can of Mace on the nightstand.