Part 2, Chapter 12 Summary
It has been nearly three days since the encounter with Alice, the maid, who now thinks she is secretly an informant for the police. The suite has not been cleaned for many days, either by Alice or by any other maid. The state of the rooms is getting progressively worse. Dirty towels are everywhere. Dried vomit coats the floor, as do grapefruit rinds and broken glass from the shattered mirror.
Thompson considers the depth of depravity the scene represents. He knows when it is discovered it will be immediately apparent that this scene was not caused by your run-of-the-mill drug user. It is “too savage, too aggressive.”
As he contemplates the sheer mass of the horror, the phone rings. It is a friend, Bruce Innes, calling from the Circus-Circus. He says located the ape about which Thompson has been asking (although this is the first mention of an ape anywhere in the narrative). Thompson is eager to get the beast. He tells Innes he will be there in ten minutes.
At the Circus-Circus, a valet immediately attends Thompson. At first Thompson thinks he has become a familiar customer, but then he realizes he is still wearing his police badge from the conference. He also thinks the superb treatment might just come from acting crazy on a regular basis. In Las Vegas, people seem to assume that if you act crazy and tip well, you “must be important.”
Thompson heads to the bar and finds Innes. He wants the ape immediately but Innes has bad news: The ape attacked a man. The man was taken away by ambulance and the police took away the ape. Thompson is furious and threatens to go bail the ape out. Innes advises Thompson to stay away from the jail because he is likely to get arrested. Thompson decides his friend is probably right.
Thompson tells Innes he has decided it is time to go. Innes is surprised. He asks, did he find the American Dream? Thompson says he has—right here, at the Circus-Circus. “We’re sitting on the main nerve right now,” he declares. He reminds Innes of how the Circus-Circus came to be. The man who built it had always wanted to join the circus when he was a child. Innes looks around and understands. “Now the bastard has his own circus, and a license to steal too,” he realizes. Thompson nods. “It’s pure Horatio Alger,” he says.
It is time to go. Five days in Vegas is enough for any one. Some people may say they would like to stay longer, but “some people like Nixon too.”