Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary
Thompson wanders around the airport. He is still wearing his police badge from the conference. The badge reads, “Raoul Duke, Special Investigator, Los Angeles.” He had forgotten about it until he sees it in the mirror while in the men’s room. He tells himself to get rid of it. The meaningless of the conference greatly annoys him and he does not want to be associated with the gathering that he now considers a “cheap excuse” for a thousand cops to hang out in Las Vegas. He is disgusted that this entire conference, whose main purported purpose was to educate law enforcement personnel, had done no such thing. Nothing was learned.
The only thing Thompson takes away from the conference is that those in authority are easily ten years behind the times. As proof of their lack of understanding, Thompson points to the “thousands of dollars” taxpayers still are paying to produce films on “the dangers of LSD” when that drug has gone very much out of vogue. Everybody but the cops, Thompson says, now considers acid to be the “Studebaker of the drug market.” It is no longer much of a factor at all, yet the police continue to act like LSD is a major threat to the fabric of society.
The drugs of 1971 are not about consciousness raising or consciousness expansion. Instead, the most popular drugs are those that “short-circuit” the brain. Additionally, there are no longer levels of experimentation. Kids today go straight for heroin, skipping less potent drugs like speed altogether. Nixon ushered in the era of the “downer.” Consciousness raising, Thompson argues, “went out with LBJ.”
Finally, it is time to board the plane. Thompson is too exhausted to care are about the “ugly vibrations” he feels as the other passengers glare at him as he walks down the aisle. He finds his seat and is glad the stewardess senses he is on the verge of either “cry[ing] or go[ing] mad.” She sees to it that he gets his requested Bloody Mary quickly. She even gives him one of her own cigarettes. Before the plane hits the runway, Thompson falls asleep.
Thompson awakens when the plane jolts to a stop. Looking out the window, he is startled to see not Los Angeles but the Rocky Mountains. He knows there is not much he can do, so he deplanes and goes to the airport drug store, where he talks the pharmacist into selling him some amyls.
As he is leaving the store, two Marines are coming out of the bathroom. He yells to them, “God have mercy on you swine!” The men look confused but do not respond. Thompson says he feels like a “monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger.” He is pleased with himself and suspects that might be just “sick enough to be totally confident.”