Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary
This chapter begins with an Editor’s Note. It explains that Dr. Duke, also known as Thompson, had “completely broken down.” The hard copy of what Thompson had written was completely illegible. What follows in this chapter, the editor explains, is what could be pieced together from the audiotapes and was “transcribed verbatim”; absolutely no editing took place, and Thompson declined to read it at all. To summarize what follows, the editor managed to discern from the tapes that Thompson and his attorney had come to the conclusion that the elusive American Dream would not show itself at the boring and lifeless District Attorneys’ Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The transcription begins as Thompson and his attorney are driving down Paradise Road just outside of Las Vegas proper.
For a long time as they drive, the two men argue about where they will stop to eat. All Duke really wants is some coffee. The attorney insists that they stop for tacos. Duke would rather have a burger. Finally they find a place offering both. The attorney, as is his wont, gives the waitress a hard time. He quizzes her about where the city of Boulder is and gets frustrated by her answers. Finally he tries to explain to the confused woman that he and Thompson are searching for the American Dream and that they had been told they were getting close. The waitress completely misunderstands. She thinks that the American Dream is a particular place, a bar or a restaurant or something. She yells to the short-order cook, asking him if he knows where to find the American Dream.
The cook replies that he thinks it is a place in the city that used to be called The Old Psychiatrist’s Club. The attorney wants to know if it is a mental hospital of some sort. The waitress says it is not; it is a place where drug addicts and other degenerates hang out, but she does not think it is called the American Dream. Regardless, the attorney writes down the location and description of the building. Thompson and the attorney head out.
Another Editor’s Note concludes the chapter. He says the remainder of the tape was too garbled for transcription. Apparently some sort of liquid had been spilled on the cassette. He was able, however, to discern that Duke and the attorney located the dilapidated—closed—Old Psychiatrist’s Club. The building was in a vacant lot, crumbling, and overgrown with weeds. A gas station attendant across the street told them that the place “had burned down three years ago.” The American Dream was not there. The search continued.