Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, and other American stories

Fear and Loathing

in Las Vegas

A Savage Journey to

the Heart of the American Dream


To Bob Geiger,

for reasons that need

not be explained here

—and to Bob Dylan,

for Mister Tambourine Man

Table of Contents

Part 1


2. The Seizure of $300 from a Pig Woman in Beverly Hills

3. Strange Medicine on the Desert . . . a Crisis of Confidence

4. Hideous Music and the Sound of Many Shotguns . . . Rude Vibes on a Saturday Evening in Vegas

5. Covering the Story . . . A Glimpse of the Press in Action . . . Ugliness & Failure

6. A Night on the Town . . . Confrontation at the Desert Inn . . . Drug Frenzy at the Circus-Circus

7. Paranoid Terror . . . and the Awful Specter of Sodomy . . . A Flashing of Knives and Green Water

8. “Genius ‘Round the World Stands Hand in Hand, and One Shock of Recognition Runs the Whole Circle ‘Round”

9. No Sympathy for the Devil . . . Newsmen Tortured? . . . Flight into Madness

10. Western Union Intervenes: A Warning from Mr. Heem . . . New Assignment from the Sports Desk and a Savage Invitation from the Police

11. Aaawww, Mama, Can This Really Be the End? . . . Down and Out in Vegas, with Amphetamine Psychosis Again?

12. Hellish Speed . . . Grappling with the California Highway Patrol . . . Mano a Mano on Highway 61

Part 2


2. Another Day, Another Convertible . . . & Another Hotel Full of Cops

3. Savage Lucy . . . ‘Teeth Like Baseballs, Eyes Like Jellied Fire’

4. No Refuge for Degenerates . . . Reflections on a Murderous Junkie

5. A Terrible Experience with Extremely Dangerous Drugs

6. Getting Down to Business . . . Opening Day at the Drug Convention

7. If You Don’t Know, Come to Learn . . . If You Know, Come to Teach

8. Back Door Beauty . . . & Finally a Bit of Serious Drag Racing on the Strip

9. Breakdown on Paradise Blvd.

10. Heavy Duty at the Airport . . . Ugly Peruvian Flashback . . . ‘No! It’s Too Late! Don’t Try It!’

11. Fraud? Larceny? Rape? . . . A Brutal Connection with the Alice from Linen Service

12. Return to the Circus-Circus . . . Looking for the Ape . . . to Hell with the American Dream

13. End of the Road . . . Death of the Whale . . . Soaking Sweats in the Airport

14. Farewell to Vegas . . . ‘God’s Mercy on You Swine!’

“He who makes a beast of

himself gets rid of the pain of

being a man.”



We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. . . .” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?”

Then it was quiet again. My attorney had taken his shirt off and was pouring beer on his chest, to facilitate the tanning process. “What the hell are you yelling about?” he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses. “Never mind,” I said. “It’s your turn to drive.” I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The