Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary

Hunter S. Thompson

Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary

Thompson is hastily packing his bags, about to make good on his promise to leave. He wants none of the trouble Lucy might bring to them both. His attorney, however, stops him. He calls Lucy and tells the still-hallucinating girl that he has beaten up Thompson, who is no longer a threat to anyone; he is not dead, the lawyer assures her, but he is seriously hurt. Then the lawyer tells her he is about to leave the hotel. He claims Thompson has written the Flamingo a bad check and that she needs to be careful because Thompson had listed her as a reference. As such, he warns, the police will be looking for her to recover the hotel’s money. The attorney also cautions Lucy to not call the Flamingo or their room again because the line is likely bugged. Suddenly, the attorney starts to yell into the receiver, “O MY GOD! THEY’RE KICKING DOWN THE DOOR!” He pretends to talk to the intruding cops, loudly enough so that Lucy can hear; he says he does not know where she is, that she has gone and they will never find her. He makes her think he has been cuffed, and finally the attorney hangs up the phone.

Thompson is convinced by his roommate’s over-the-top performance. He does not believe Lucy will ever bother either one of them again. He relaxes, puts down his bag, and opens up the drug kit. The attorney begins to help himself to the stash; Thompson mumbles that it is getting very low. Not to worry, the attorney tells him. He has acquired something new for their experimental pleasures: adrenochrome.

Adrenonchrome, he explains, is extraordinarily powerful. Just a little bit of the liquid on the end of a matchstick and touched to one’s tongue is all that is needed. Thompson wants to know what “monster client” this drug came from because he knows there is only one source for adrenochrome: the adrenal glands of a “living human body.” The attorney nods. He knows the source. He says it was offered to him in lieu of payment by a client who practices Satanism.

The narcotic has an immediate and intense effect on Thompson. He begins talking rapidly and wildly. Then his body begins reacting: his jaw locks and his tongue swells. He feels like he is experiencing “total paralysis”; even his eyeballs will not move. His attorney assures him that this initial phase will not last long.

The paralysis does begin to subside but hallucinations begin. Thompson watches President Nixon on television but cannot make out any word other than “sacrifice” over and over and over. Finally he feels well enough to leave the hotel room. He and his attorney head out to a restaurant for a cheap steak and lots of coffee. Thompson realizes he has not slept in almost four days and that the drug conference he is supposed to cover will begin at noon the next day.