"FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS"
Terry Gilliam & Toy Grisoni
Based on the book by
Hunter S. Thompson
A desert wind moans sadly. From somewhere within the wind
comes the tinkly, syrupy-sweet sounds of the Lennon Sisters
singing "My Favorite Things." A series of sepia images of
anti-war protests from the mid-sixties appear one after
another on the screen.
In the violently scrawled style of Ralph Steadman, the title
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS splashes onto the screen. A
beat, and then it runs down and off revealing:
TITLE: "He who makes a beast of himself
Gets rid of the pain
Of being a man."
The VOICE OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON -- a.k.a. RAOUL DUKE:
We were somewhere around Barstow on
the edge of the desert when the drugs
began to take hold.
A red Chevy convertible -- THE RED SHARK -- wipes the black
EXT. ON THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
THE RED SHARK races down the desert highway at a hundred
miles an hour. THE STONES' "Sympathy For the Devil" blares.
AT THE WHEEL
STRANGELY STILL AND TENSE, RAOUL DUKE DRIVES -- SKELETAL,
BEER IN HAND -- STARES STRAIGHT AHEAD.
BESIDE HIM, FACE TURNED TO THE SUN, EYES CLOSED BEHIND
WRAPAROUND SPANISH SUNGLASSES, IS HIS SWARTHY AND UNNERVINGLY
UNPREDICTABLE ATTORNEY, DR. GONZO.
The music pounds DUKE stares straight ahead. GONZO froths up
a can of beer -- uses it as shaving foam.
I remember saying something like: "I
feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you
GONZO starts shaving.
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...
Close on DUKE -- shadows flutter across his face. The
reflections of bats swirl within his eyes. We push in close
to one eye ball -- SCREECHING SWIRLING BAT-LIKE SHAPES!
...and a voice was screaming: Holy
Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?
CUT TO WIDE SHOT OF CAR --
DUKE, eyes rigid, flails at the air. No bats anywhere.
GONZO casually looks over...
What are you yelling about?
DUKE SCREECHES to the side of the road. The sudden wrench
makes GONZO nick his face with his razor.
Never mind. It's your turn to drive.
No point mentioning these bats. I
thought. The poor bastard will see
them soon enough.
DUKE hops out of the car, keeping an eye out for bats,
frantically opens the trunk to reveal what looks like A MOBILE
POLICE NARCOTICS LAB. DUKE desperately rifles through the
We had two bags of grass, seventy-
five pellets of mescaline, five sheets
of high powered blotter acid, a salt
shaker half full of cocaine, a whole
galaxy of multi-colored uppers,
downers, screamers, laughers... Also
a quart of tequila, a quart of rum,
a case of beer, a pint of raw ether
and two dozen amyls.
DUKE, eyes darting madly as he hears what sounds like the
SHRIEKS OF BATS returning, grabs an assortment along with
another six-pack of beer -- slams the trunk shut and dives
back into the car.
Not that we needed all that for the
trip, but once you get locked into a
serious drug collection, the tendency
is to push it as far as you can.
THE RED SHARK RACES INTO THE DISTANCE... on the ground, weakly
flapping is a SEMI-SQUASHED, SLOWLY DYING ANIMAL... A BAT?
EXT. FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
IN THE RED SHARK
GONZO grips the wheel -- stares maniacally down the road --
a lousy driver.
The only thing that really worried
me was the ether. There is nothing
in the world more helpless and
irresponsible and depraved than a
man in the depths of an ether binge.
And I knew we'd get into that rotten
stuff pretty soon.
The radio news wars with "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" on a tape
An overdose of heroin was listed as
the official cause of death for pretty
19 year old Diane Hanby whose body
was found stuffed in a refrigerator
GONZO changes the station -- "ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE, SWEET
JESUS, ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE" vies with "SYMPATHY"... He
sings along -- washes a couple of pills back with a new beer.
The RED SHARK fishtails.
"One toke over the line, sweet Jesus."
(muttering to himself)
One toke. You poor fool. Wait till
you see those goddamn bats.
UP AHEAD -- AT THE SIDE OF THE DESERTED ROAD
A LONE HITCHHIKER spots them, jumps up and sticks out a thumb.
The RED SHARK roars past. Then, fifty yards down the road...
Let's give that boy a lift.
GONZO wrenches the wheel -- THE RED SHARK swerves to the
side of the road.
We can't stop here -- this is bat
GONZO JAMS THE CAR INTO REVERSE AND ROCKETS BACKWARDS. The
HITCHHIKER races to the car. A poor OKIE KID with a big grin.
Hot damn! I never rode in a
Then the big grin freezes on the OKIE KID's face at the sight
of: DUKE and GONZO looking out at him with HYPER-NORMAL,
Is that right? Well, I guess you're
about ready, eh?
The HITCHHIKER hesitates.
We're your friends. We're not like
No more of that talk or I'll put the
leeches on you.
DUKE turns back to the HITCHHIKER -- smiles reassuringly.
EXT. EVEN FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
The HITCHHIKER sits nervously in the back seat as the RED
SHARK screams down the road.
GONZO sings along to the tape player.
The HITCHHIKER's eyes go to the door -- considers jumping
out and taking his chances.
DUKE, sweating bullets, STARES AT THE HITCHHIKER in the rear
How long could we maintain, I
wondered. How long before one of us
starts raving and jabbering at this
boy? What will he think then? This
same lonely desert was the last known
home of the Manson family.
The HITCHHIKER's eyes notice a thin line of blood trickling
down GONZO's neck.
Would he make that grim connection
when my attorney starts screaming
about bats and huge manta rays coming
down on the car?
DUKE's mouth moves intermittently -- sometimes in sync with
the words, sometimes not.
If so -- well, we'll just have to
cut his head off and bury him
somewhere. Because it goes without
saying that we can't turn him loose.
He'd report us at once to some kind
of outback Nazi law enforcement
agency, and they'll run us down like
(out loud to himself)
Jesus! Did I say that?
Or just think it? Was I talking?
Did they hear me?
It's okay. He's admiring the shape
of your skull.
DUKE gives the HITCHHIKER a FINE BIG GRIN and the HITCHHIKER
Maybe I better have a chat with this
boy I thought. Perhaps if I explain
things, he'll rest easy...
(roaring over the
THERE'S ONE THING YOU SHOULD PROBABLY
The HITCHHIKER stares at him, not blinking.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
The HITCHHIKER nods -- giggles -- terrified. DUKE climbs
into the back seat.
That's good. Because I want you to
have all the background. This is a
very ominous assignment -- with
overtones of extreme personal danger.
I'm a Doctor of Journalism! This is
important, goddamnit! This is a true
(WHACKS the BACK OF
THE DRIVER'S SEAT
with his fist)
The CAR SWERVES SICKENINGLY, then straightens out.
Keep your hands off my fucking neck!
The HITCHHIKER makes a sudden lunge for freedom. DUKE GRABS
HIM BACK DOWN.
Our vibrations were getting nasty --
but why? Was there no communication
in this car? Had we deteriorated to
the level of dumb beasts?
The HITCHHIKER STRUGGLES IN PANIC.
I want you to understand that this
man at the wheel is my attorney!
He's not just some dingbat I found
on the Strip. He's a foreigner. I
think he's probably Samoan. But it
doesn't matter, does it? Are you
I didn't think so. Because in spite
of his race, this man is extremely
valuable to me. Hell, I forgot all
about this beer. You want one?
How about some ether?
Never mind. Let's get right to the
heart of this thing. Twenty-four
hours ago we were sitting in the
Pogo Lounge of the Beverly Wills
INT. THE BEVERLY WILLS HOTEL POGO LOUNGE 1971 - DAY
A uniformed DWARF, carries a shockingly PINK TELEPHONE through
the glittering, tranquil POGO LOUNGE CROWD. They are the
ELOI. HENDRIX AFROS and DROOPING MUSTACHES and BELL BOTTOMS
and LOVE BEADS and BELLS. ACTRESSES sip Singapore Slings and
PROMOTERS sip ACTRESSES in this MONIED, SANITISED VERSION OF
THE GREAT REVOLUTION YEARS.
...in the patio section, of course,
drinking Singapore Slings with mescal
on the side, hiding from the brutish
realities of this foul year of Our
The DWARF reaches DUKE -- T-shirt, levis, sneakers and shades.
GONZO -- white rayon bellbottoms and a khaki tank top
undershirt. They are in the middle of a serious conversation.
I'm telling you, the Salazar story
is getting too complicated. The
weasels have started closing in.
The DWARF sneers.
Perhaps this is the call you've been
waiting for all this time, sir...
DUKE lifts the receiver -- listens...
Uh-huh... Uh-huh... Uh-huh...
DUKE hangs up the PHONE with the DEAD-PAN EXPRESSION OF A
That was headquarters. They want me
to go to Las Vegas at once and make
contact with a Portuguese photographer
named Lacerda. He'll have the details.
All I have to do is check into my
sound proof suite and he'll seek me
GONZO, says nothing for a moment, then POUNDS the table!
God hell! I think I see the pattern!
This one sounds like real trouble!
You're going to need plenty of legal
advice before this thing is over. As
your attorney I must advise you that
you'll need a very fast car with no
top and after that, the cocaine. And
then the tape recorder, for special
music, and some Acapulco shirts...
(GONZO tucks his khaki
undershirt into his
white bellbottoms --
he means business!)
This blows my weekend, because
naturally I'll have to go with you --
and we'll have to arm ourselves.
Why not? If a thing's worth doing,
it's worth doing right.
DUKE and GONZO are up and off. The DWARF chases after them
with the (very large) check in his hand.
They sweep out through the Lounge door, unaware of it swinging
back into the face of the pursuing DWARF.
I tell you, my man. This is the
American Dream in action! We'd be
fools not to ride this strange torpedo
all the way to the end.
Indeed. We must do it. What kind of
story is this?
EXT. BEVERLY WILLS HOTEL - FRONT ENTRANCE - DAY
DUKE and GONZO emerge.
The Mint 400! The richest off-road
race for motorcycles and dune-buggies
in the history of organized sport!
(handing parking ticket
-- a fantastic spectacle in honor of
some fatback grossero who owns the
luxurious Mint Hotel in the heart of
downtown Vegas... at least that's
what the press release says.
Their car arrives -- rusted out, smashed door panels. They
We're going to have to drum it up on
our own. Pure Gonzo Journalism.
And they're off in a cloud of black exhaust as the nose-
bleeding DWARF stumbles out with the unpaid bill in his hand.
EXT. SUNSET BLVD - DAY
The PINTO races through shot.
Getting hold of the drugs and shirts
had been no problem...
EXT. POLYNESIAN BAR - DAY
The PINTO skids to a halt outside Polynesian bar, the back
window full of Hawaiian shirts.
...but the car and tape recorder
were not easy things to round up at
6:30 on a Friday afternoon in
INT. POLYNESIAN BAR - DAY
TORN YELLOW PAGES with dealer's ads ticked off lie in a pile
as GONZO yells into a PAYPHONE. DUKE carries over four
O.K., O.K., yes. Hang onto it. We'll
be there in thirty minutes.
(to DUKE -- hand over
I finally located a car with adequate
horsepower and the proper coloring.
What?! OF COURSE the gentleman has a
major credit card! Do you realize
who the fuck you're talking to?
Don't take any guff from these swine.
(GONZO slams the phone
Now we need a sound store with the
finest equipment. Nothing dinky. One
of those new Belgian Heliowatts with
a voice-activated shotgun mike, for
picking up conversations in oncoming
We won't make the nut unless we have
We will. You Samoans are all the
same. You have no faith in the
essential decency of the white man's
EXT. SUNSET BLVD - DUSK
The PINTO races down street.
The store was closed, but the salesman
said he would wait, if we hurried...
EXT. SUNSET BLVD - TRAFFIC JAM - DUSK
They're stuck in a traffic jam -- clouds of exhaust. DUKE
BANGS ON THE HORN IN FURY.
But we were delayed en route when a
Stingray in front of us killed a
Directly in front of them: BLOODY CARNAGE -- a covered corpse
is loaded into an ambulance by PARAMEDICS.
EXT. CAR RENTAL AGENCY - NIGHT
We had trouble, again, at the car
Behind the wheel of the RED SHARK: DUKE grins with
satisfaction -- checking it out. A nervous AGENT holds out a
clipboard. DUKE signs without looking at the rental papers.
Say... uh... you fellas are going to
be careful with this car, aren't
DUKE throws the car into reverse -- roars backwards past the
gas pumps to where GONZO is unloading their rusted out car.
Well, good god! You just backed over
that two foot concrete abutment and
you didn't even slow down! Forty-
five in reverse! And you barely missed
No harm done. I always test the
transmission that way. The rear end.
For stress factors.
GONZO transfers boxes of new sound equipment and a large box
of rum and ice into the RED SHARK.
Say. Are you fellows drinking?
Not me. We're responsible people.
He JAMS the car into LOW GEAR and lurches into traffic. The
AGENT runs into the street and helplessly watches them go.
There's another worrier. He's probably
all cranked up on speed.
EXT. RUNDOWN BEACH HOUSE - NIGHT
STRANGE AND MAGICAL. In the moonlight: the silhouetted figures
of DUKE and GONZO as they pack the RED SHARK.
We spent the rest of that night
rounding up materials and packing
the car. Then we ate some mescaline
and went swimming.
The surf crashes in the distance...
EXT. PACIFIC OCEAN - NIGHT
DUKE cries out as he dives into the ocean. He lets himself
float up through the silvery bubbles...
DUKE AND GONZO FLOAT BEATIFICALLY IN THE GLOWING, SHIMMERING
Our trip was different. It was to be
a classic affirmation of everything
right and true in the national
character; a gross, physical salute
to the fantastic possibilities of
life in this country. But only for
those with true grit...
EXT. AND EVEN FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
DUKE's intense face.
...and we're chock full of that!
My attorney understands this concept,
despite his racial handicap. But do
The HITCHHIKER nods -- giggles -- petrified.
He said he understood, but I could
see in his eyes that he didn't. He
was lying to me.
GONZO clutches his heart. The car veers off the road and
screeches to a halt. He slumps over the wheel.
Where's the medicine?
The medicine? Yes, it's right here.
DUKE spills out 4 AMYL CAPSULES from a tin.
Don't worry, this man has a bad
heart... Angina Pectoris. But we
have a cure for it.
DUKE and GONZO break 2 AMYLS apiece -- INHALE DEEPLY. GONZO
falls back on the seat, staring straight up at the sun. The
HITCHHIKER looks petrified.
his naked arms at
Turn up the fucking music! My heart
feels like an alligator! Volume!
Clarity! Bass! We must have bass!
What's wrong with us? Are you goddamn
(turns up music to
You scurvy shyster bastard! Watch
your language! You're talking to a
Doctor of Journalism!
What the fuck are we doing out here?
Somebody call the police! We need
Pay no attention to this swine. He
can't handle the medicine.
(he begins laughing)
(to the HITCHHIKER)
The truth is we're going to Vegas to
croak a scag baron named Savage Henry.
I've known him for years but he ripped
us off -- and you know what that
GONZO pulls out a .357 Magnum -- waves it around.
Savage Henry has cashed his check!
We're going to rip his lungs out!
And eat them! That bastard won't get
away with this! What's going on in
this country when a scum sucker like
that can get away with sandbagging a
Doctor of Journalism?
GONZO cracks ANOTHER AMYL.
The HITCHHIKER SCRAMBLES OUT OF THE CAR, DOWN THE TRUNK LID,
Thanks for the ride. Thanks a lot. I
like you guys. Don't worry about me.
Wait a minute! Come back and have a
The HITCHHIKER RUNS from car.
Good riddance. That boy made me
nervous. Did you see his eyes?
Jesus, this is good medicine.
DUKE glances back at the running HITCHHIKER.
into the front seat)
Move over!! We have to get out of
California before that kid finds a
DUKE GUNS THE RED SHARK -- TAKES OFF DOWN THE ROAD...
EXT. UNBELIEVABLY FAR DOWN THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
THE RED SHARK races -- DUKE at the wheel -- straight ahead
It was absolutely imperative that we
get to the Mint Hotel before the
deadline for press registration.
Otherwise, we might have to pay for
GONZO wrestles with a shaker of COCAINE. The top comes off
and the powder swirls away on the wind.
Oh, Jesus! Did you see what god just
did to us?
God didn't do that! You did it! You're
a fucking narcotics agent, that was
our cocaine, you pig!
(waving his .357 Magnum
You better be careful. Plenty of
vultures out here. They'll pick your
bones clean before morning.
GONZO tears up a BLOTTER OF ACID.
Here -- chew this. It's your half of
DUKE takes his half -- chews it.
How long do I have?
Maybe thirty more minutes. As your
attorney, I advise you to drive at
top speed. It'll be a goddamn miracle
if we can get there before you turn
into a wild animal. Are you ready
for that? Checking into a Vegas hotel
under a phony name with intent to
commit capital fraud and a head full
Thirty minutes. It was going to be
The RED SHARK screams along the highway past a billboard:
"DON'T GAMBLE WITH MARIJUANA! IN NEVADA: POSSESSION - 20
YEARS; SALE - LIFE!!"
EXT. LAS VEGAS MINT HOTEL - DUSK
The RED SHARK pulls up outside the MINT. A great banner
spanning the street announces the MINT 400.
DUKE can feel the drug surging up inside him. Clutching a
buckled beer can, sweat pouring, he stares fixedly at the
TICKET the ATTENDANT gives him.
I need this, right?
I'll remember your face.
DUKE stares -- losing it...
There is no way of explaining the
terror I felt.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY
DUKE waits in line at the front desk -- RIGID WITH PENT UP
ENERGY. GONZO's ahead of him -- muscling in -- trying to
queue jump and failing.
I was pouring sweat. My blood is too
thick for Nevada. I've never been
able to properly explain myself in
A COUPLE move off and DUKE jerks forward -- stops -- eyes
fixed on the stony FEMALE RESERVATIONS CLERK.
Be quiet, be calm... name, rank, and
press affiliation, nothing else...
DUKE moves ANOTHER RIGID STEP CLOSER to the desk -- the
tension almost snapping him in two. GONZO's FLAPPING AROUND --
absolutely no success.
Something catches DUKE's eye... He REMAINS ROOTED -- his
eyes turning to the VEGETAL PAISLEY PATTERNS ON THE CARPET
WHICH ARE SHIFTING -- UNDULATING. THE CARPET PATTERNS ARE
INEXORABLY CREEPING UP THE WALLS...
...ignore this terrible drug, pretend
it's not happening...
The LAST PEOPLE leave -- with A FINAL, STIFF MOVE, DUKE comes
face to face with the RESERVATIONS CLERK... AND EXPLODES!
HI THERE. MY NAME... AH, RAOUL DUKE...
ON... ON THAT LIST, THAT'S FOR SURE.
FREE LUNCH, FINAL WISDOM, TOTAL
COVERAGE... WHY NOT? I HAVE MY
ATTORNEY WITH ME, AND I REALIZE OF
As DUKE stares at her, BABBLING, her FACE BEGINS TO MORPH.
He tries to stop it happening by TALKING FASTER.
...THAT HIS NAME IS NOT ON THE LIST,
BUT WE MUST HAVE THAT SUITE. YES.
JUST CHECK THE LIST AND YOU'LL SEE.
DON'T WORRY. WHAT'S THE SCORE HERE?
DUKE sags -- grips the desk -- WHITE KNUCKLES.
(hands him an envelope)
Your suite's not ready yet. But
there's somebody looking for you.
Her face is CHANGING -- SWELLING -- PULSING...
NO! WHY? WE HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING
The FACE OF THE RESERVATIONS CLERK TURNS GREEN & GROWS FANGS.
DEADLY POISON! DUKE LUNGES BACK at GONZO, who GRIPS his arm
intensely -- REACHES OUT to take the ENVELOPE.
I can handle this. This man has a
bad heart, but I have plenty of
medicine. My name is Dr. Gonzo.
Prepare our suite at once. We'll be
in the bar.
GONZO maneuvers DUKE away from the desk. DUKE looks back --
the RESERVATIONS CLERKS is now a MORAY EEL -- green jowls
INT. NAUTICAL BAR - DAY
The bar -- OILY PEOPLE -- quiet music -- nautical theme.
DUKE and GONZO at the bar, a marlin spike hanging on the
wall behind them. DUKE has turned to stone...
(to the bartender)
Two Cuba Libres with beer and mescal
on the side.
(opens the envelope)
Who's Lacerda, he's waiting for us
in a room on the twelfth floor?
I couldn't remember. The name rang a
bell, but I couldn't concentrate.
Terrible things were happening all
DUKE is staring -- RAPT -- TERRIFIED. BLOOD FLOWS FREELY
onto the floor. DUKE keeps his voice low.
Order some golf shoes. Otherwise,
we'll never get out of this place
alive. It's impossible to walk in
this muck -- no footing at all...
DUKE looks up -- GONZO has disappeared.
DUKE looks around him -- the entire room has TRANSFORMED
into a ROOM FILLED WITH REPTILES IN CLOTHES, DRINKING AND
GNAWING AT ONE ANOTHER.
I was right in the middle of a fucking
reptile zoo. And somebody was giving
booze to these goddamn things! It
won't be long before they tear us to
GONZO IS SUDDENLY BACK -- AT DUKE'S SHOULDER.
If you think we're in trouble now
wait until you see what's happening
in the elevators.
GONZO removes his sunshades and we see he's been crying...
as he speaks he seems to be floating. Duke struggles to keep
him in his line of vision.
I just went upstairs to see this man
Lacerda. I told him I knew what he
was up to...
(GONZO rallies --
He says he's a photographer! But
when I mentioned Savage Henry he
freaked! He knows we're onto him!
But what about our room? And the
A GROUP OF REPTILES AT A TABLE ACROSS THE ROOM stares at
them, BLOOD DRIPPING FROM THEIR FANGS.
(grabbing GONZO trying
to hold him still)
Holy shit! Look at that bunch over
there! They've spotted us!
Cut to wider shot -- DUKE is holding on to a man standing
next to him at the bar. The room has returned to normality.
GONZO is sitting in his original position.
(downs his drink --
That's the press table. Where you
have to sign in for our credentials.
Shit, let's get it over with. You
handle that, and I'll check on the
No, no. Don't leave me!
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - DUSK
A TELEVISION shows the NIGHTLY NEWS. A BUDDHIST MONK,
protesting the war, sets himself on fire. A very nervous
BELL BOY is laying out GONZO's order. A marlin spike is on
the floor next to DUKE.
Four club sandwiches, four shrimp
There's a big... machine in the sky...
some kind of electric snake...
DUKE is curled by the window -- MESMERIZED by an unseen neon
sign outside the window. His eyes fill with a million colored
...a quart of rum...
...coming straight at us.
Not yet. I want to study its habits.
...and nine fresh grapefruit.
Vitamin C. We'll need all we can
GONZO sees the BELL BOY out the door -- turns and lays into
Look, you've got to stop this talk
about snakes and leeches and lizards
and that stuff. It's making me sick!
DUKE stares -- hears the drone of B52 BOMBERS...
On TV: The LAOS INVASION -- A SERIES OF HORRIFYING
DISASTERS -- EXPLOSIONS AND TWISTED WRECKAGE.
Newsreel footage of MAI LAI MASSACRE and the LIEUTENANT CALLEY
What are you talking about?
You bastard! They'll never let us
back in that place. I leave you alone
for three minutes and you start waving
that goddamn marlin spike around --
yelling about reptiles! You scared
the shit out of those people! They
were ready to call the cops. Hell,
the only reason they gave us press
passes was to get you out of there...
A knock at the door. DUKE and GONZO break out in a sweat.
Oh my God! Who's that?!
GONZO STICKS HIS GUN IN HIS WAISTBAND -- opens the door to
LACERDA -- BOUNCING WITH PUPPY DOG ENTHUSIASM. GONZO stares
at a man he instantly hates -- watches him with deep
Duke? I'm Lacerda your photographer.
Got your press passes? Good, good.
Too bad you missed the bikes checking
in. My, what a sight!
DUKE watches the B-52S DROP THEIR BOMB LOADS.
Looking down to the thick, patterned carpet, DUKE sees the
BOMBS EXPLODE like vicious flowers.
DUKE looks up: LACERDA is a war photographer -- bruised,
filthy and blood spattered. LACERDA approaches him -- talking
a foreign language.
Husquavarnas. Yamahas. Kawaskis.
Maicos. Pursang. Swedish Fireballs.
Couple of Triumphs, here and there a
CZ. All very fast. What a race it's
DUKE screws up his eyes -- WILLS NORMALITY BACK. LACERDA is
now just a keen photographer.
Well, we start at dawn. Get a good
night's sleep. I know I will.
And with a cheerful wave, he's gone. DUKE is in shock.
I think he's lying to us. I could
see it in his eyes.
They'll probably have a big net for
us when we show up.
DUKE's attention returns to the devastation on the TV...
Turn that shit off!
GONZO kills the TV.
Never lose sight of the primary
responsibility. Cover the story. But
what was the story? Nobody had
bothered to say.
EXT. DESERT - DAWN
Against A BIG ORANGE SUN, on a concrete slab, MEN FIRE
SHOTGUNS into the dawn sky. Clay pigeons shatter. The Mint
Next to them, MOTORCYCLES REV -- preparing for the MINT 400
RACE: A hundred BIKERS, MECHANICS and assorted MOTORSPORT
TYPES milling around in the pit area; taping headlights,
topping off oil in the forks, last minute bolt tightening.
DUKE wanders through.
The racers were ready at dawn. Very
tense. But the race didn't start
until nine so we had three long hours
A sign by a long trestle table: "KOFFEE & DONUTS." DUKE walks
past -- ignoring the SMILING LADY behind the stall.
Those of us who had been up all night
were in no mood for coffee and donuts.
We wanted strong drink. We were,
after all, the Absolute Cream of the
National Sporting Press and we were
gathered here, in Las Vegas, for a
very special assignment. And when it
comes to things like this you don't
INT. RACE BAR TENT - DAY
A real pit of iniquity. Slot Machines. Crap tables. Smoke.
Drunken shouting. The absolute cream of the NATIONAL SPORTING
DUKE is at the bar, engaged in drunken conversation with a
LIFE REPORTER... showing him his notebook.
See... "Kill the body and the head
will die"... the Frazier/Ali fight...
A proper end to the 60's... Ali beaten
by a human hamburger!
And both Kennedy's murdered by
A SHOUT goes up from outside. The sound of engines revving.
That's it! They're starting!
In a sudden rush the PRESS CROWD make for the door taking
DUKE with them.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
MOTORCYCLES REV -- tension builds...
A flag goes down. The CROWD cheers. The MOTORCYCLES ROAR
AWAY. A great cloud of dust goes up -- obscuring the RACERS
as they disappear into the desert...
Well, that's that. They'll be back
in an hour or so. Let's go back to
The CROWD turns and streams back into the tent.
INT. RACE BAR TENT - DAY
DUKE heads for the bar along with the REST. It's packed.
Drinks are ordered.
A shout from outside the tent goes up:
The CROWD rushes for the door. DUKE gets swept along.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
MOTORCYCLES REV. A flag goes down. The CROWD cheers. The
MOTORCYCLES ROAR AWAY. Another great cloud of dust goes up...
The CROWD head back for the bar.
INT. RACE BAR TENT - DAY
The CROWD surge back to the bar.
This time DUKE fights his way free of the CROWD.
There was something like 190 more
bikes waiting to start. They were
due to go off 10 at a time every 2
DUKE hits the bar.
A middle-aged HOODLUM in a T-shirt booms up to the bar.
God damn! What day is this --
More like Sunday.
Hah! That's a bitch, ain't it? Last
night I was home in Long Beach and
somebody said they were runnin' the
Mint 400 today, so I says to my old
lady, "Man, I'm goin'." So she gives
me a lot of crap about it, so I start
slappin' her around, and the next
thing you know two guys I never seen
before are beating me stupid.
Outside, another batch of motorcycles roar away -- kicking
up more clouds of dust.
Then they gave me ten bucks, put me
on a bus, and when I woke up here I
was in downtown Vegas, and for a
minute all I could think was, "O
Jesus, who's divorcing me this time?"
But then I remembered, by God! I was
here for the Mint 400. And, man, I
tell you, it's wonderful to be here.
Just wonderful to be here with you
A silence. A MAGAZINE REPORTER lunges across the bar -- grabs
(smacks the bar with
Hell yes! Bring us ten!
I'll back it!
(slides off his stool
to the floor)
Outside, motorcycles roar away. The dust cloud billows into
the tent -- getting denser.
(on the floor)
This is a magic moment in sport! It
may never come again! I once did the
Triple Crown, but it was nothing
A FROG-EYED WOMAN claws at the MAGAZINE REPORTER, tries to
haul him up.
Please stand up! You're a
correspondent for a major national
magazine who's name we can't get
clearance for! Please! You'd be a
very handsome man if you'd just stand
Listen, madam. I'm damn near
intolerably handsome down here where
I am. You'd go crazy if I stood up!
A feverishly eager LACERDA appears out of the dust cloud, 3
cameras slung round his neck.
Club soda, please.
(to MAGAZINE REPORTER)
Please! I love Life!
Man, it's great out there!
Meet you outside!
LACERDA downs his drink -- hurries out through the crowd and
out into the cloud of dust.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
Nothing. Except for a THICK CLOUD OF DUST.
Barely visible, a motorcycle comes speeding into the pits.
The RIDER staggers off his bike. The PIT CREW gas it up and
sends it back with a FRESH RIDER.
DUKE watches him disappear back into the dust cloud.
By 10 they were spread out all over
the course. It was no longer a race,
now it was an Endurance Contest. The
idea of trying to "cover this race"
in any conventional press sense was
A HORN HONKS. A shiny BLACK BRONCO with DRIVER. LACERDA hangs
out of the window.
It's great, isn't it?! Jump in!
DUKE gets into the Bronco and they head into the DUST CLOUD.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
IN THE BRONCO.
DUKE hangs on with his beer. Nothing all around but the HUGE
IMPENETRABLE CLOUD OF DUST. LACERDA snaps madly away at
nothing at all!
I'll just keep trying different combos
of film and lenses till I find one
that works in this dust!
The SOUND OF MOTORCYCLES RACING...
We hear music and voices singing:
"...As we go marching on When I reach
my final campground, in that land
beyond the sun, And the Great
Commander asks me..." [What did he
ask you, Rusty?] "Did you fight or
did you run?"
A moment later, the Bronco races out of the dust. DUKE coughs,
chokes, drinks beer.
[And what did you tell them, Rusty?]
"We responded to their rifle fire
with everything we had..."
The sound of gun shots...
A DUNE BUGGY races toward them, loaded down with THREE RETIRED
PETTY OFFICERS, DRUNK AS HELL. The radio blares:
"THE BATTLE HYMN OF LIEUTENANT CALLEY."
The dune buggy is COVERED WITH OMINOUS SYMBOLS: SCREAMING
EAGLES CARRYING AMERICAN FLAGS IN THEIR CLAWS. A slant-eyed
Snake being chopped to bits by a buzz-saw made of stars and
stripes. A MACHINE GUN MOUNT on the passenger side. They
yell over the roaring engines.
DUNE BUGGY DRIVER
Where's the damn race?
Beats me. We're just good patriotic
Americans like yourself.
DUKE gives DUNE BUGGY PASSENGER #2 A NICE BIG GRIN. In
response, the PASSENGER #2 narrows his eyes -- tightens his
grip on an automatic weapon.
DUNE BUGGY DRIVER
What outfit you fellas with?
The sporting press. We're friendlies.
The DRIVER and DUNE BUGGY PASSENGER #2 exchange looks.
If you want a good chase, you should
get after that skunk from CBS News
up ahead in the black jeep. He's the
man responsible for that book, THE
SELLING OF THE PENTAGON.
DUNE BUGGY PASSENGER #1
DUNE BUGGY PASSENGER #2
A black jeep, you say?
And they ROAR away.
Take me back to the pits.
No, no -- we have to go on. We need
DUKE gets out of the Bronco.
After a moment's hesitation, LACERDA and the BRONCO driver
roar away leaving DUKE alone in the cloud of dust.
It was time. I felt, for an Agonizing
Reappraisal of the whole scene. The
race was definitely under way. I had
witnessed the start; I was sure of
that much. But what now?
EXT. LAS VEGAS STREETS - NIGHT
MUSIC PUMPS OUT. CRUISING IN THE RED SHARK IN VEGAS. THE SKY
SWIRLS WITH MILLIONS OF NEON LIGHTS CHASING EACH OTHER IN
BAROQUE PATTERNS ACROSS GIGANTIC HOTEL SIGNS. PSYCHEDELIC
LIGHT SHOWS TO LURE AND DERANGE THE INNOCENT. CITY OF LOST
Turn up the radio! Turn up the tape
machine! Roll the windows down. Let's
taste this cool desert wind! Aaah,
yes! This is what it's all about!
DUKE, beer in hand, drives -- a big smile for the world.
GONZO scans The Vegas Visitor.
Total control now. Tooling along the
main drag on a Saturday night in
Vegas, two good old boys in a fire
apple red convertible... stoned,
ripped, twisted... Good people!
How about "Nickel Nick's Slot Arcade?"
"Hot Slots," that sounds heavy. Twenty-
nine cent hotdogs...
Look, what are we doing here? Are we
here to entertain ourselves, or to
do the job?
To do the job, of course. Here we
go... a Crab Louie and quart of
muscatel for twenty dollars!
The Shark hits a bump.
As your attorney I advise you to
drive over to the Tropicana and pick
up on Guy Lombardo. He's in the Blue
Room with his Royal Canadians.
They hit another bump.
CUT to wide shot. They are DRIVING AROUND IN CIRCLES in a
large casino parking lot, bumping over the dividers.
Why should I pay out my hard-earned
dollars to watch a fucking corpse. I
don't know about you, but in my line
of business it's important to be
EXT. DESERT ROOM HOTEL - NIGHT
TWO BIG SCREAMING FACES.
What the hell are you doing?!
You can't park here!
Why not? Is this not a reasonable
place to park?
Reveal the RED SHARK parked on the sidewalk in front of the
Desert Inn. TWO DOORMEN loom over the car hood. The MARQUEE
says: TONIGHT. DEBBIE REYNOLDS.
GONZO leaps from the car, waving a five-dollar bill at the
We want this car parked! We drove
all the way from L.A. for this show.
We're friends of Debbie's.
A pause, then... the DOORMAN pockets the bill, hands them a
parking stub. DUKE and GONZO hurry into the hotel.
INT. DESERT FROM HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
DUKE and GONZO walk through the lobby. Black, mirrored, sleek,
Holy shit! They almost had us there!
That was quick thinking.
What do you expect? I'm your attorney.
You owe me five bucks. I want it
DUKE shrugs and hands over the $5.
This was Bob Hope's turf. Frank
Sinatra's. Spiro Agnew's. It seemed
inappropriate to be haggling about
nickel/dime bribes for the parking
A WINE-COLORED TUXEDO stops them at the entrance to the
Sorry, full house.
Goddamnit, we drove all the way from
I said there are no seats left... at
Fuck seats! We're old friends of
Debbie's. I used to romp with her.
GONZO and the WINE-COLORED TUXEDO get into an ugly arm-waving
After a lot of bad noise, he let us
in for nothing provided we would
stand quietly at the back and not
As DUKE and GONZO disappear through the door we can hear the
orchestra blasting out a HIGHLY BLANDIZED "SGT. PEPPER'S
LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND."
The door flies open and BOUNCERS manhandle DUKE and GONZO
out. Despite the rough treatment they're both SCREECHING
Jesus creeping shit!
Did the mescaline just kick in? Or
was that Debbie Reynolds in a silver
We wandered into a fucking time
EXT. LAS VEGAS STREETS - NIGHT
DUKE DRIVES FAST into the night. They're both LAUGHING
We wandered into a fucking time
THEN... GONZO finds a TINY TEAR IN HIS JACKET...
GONZO is instantly MOROSE.
GONZO twists round in the car -- SCREAMS back into the night.
SCUM! I know where you live! I'll
find you and burn down your fucking
EXT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS - NIGHT
A hundred foot high neon clown: BAZOOKO CIRCUS.
The RED SHARK pulls up beneath the sign.
This is the place. They'll never
fuck with us here.
Where's the ether? This mescaline
EXT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS CASINO - NIGHT
Into the GLARING, CHASING LIGHTS of the entrance canopy steps
DUKE in EC/U holding a KLEENEX SOAKED IN ETHER TO HIS NOSE.
Ah, devil ether. It makes you behave
like the village drunkard in some
early Irish novel... total loss of
all basic motor skills; blurred
vision, no balance, numb tongue --
(throws away kleenex)
The mind recoils in horror, unable
to communicate with the spinal column.
Which is interesting, because you
can actually watch yourself behaving
in this terrible way, but you can't
DUKE and GONZO approach the entrance with elaborate care-
taking one step at a time -- trying to keep ahead of the
You approach the turnstiles and know
that when you get there, you have to
give the man two dollars or he won't
let you inside... but when you get
there, everything goes wrong.
THE ETHER KICKS IN:
DUKE and GONZO BOUNCE off the walls, CRASH into OLD LADIES,
GIGGLE HELPLESSLY as they try to pay -- HANDS FLAPPING
CRAZILY, unable to get money out of their pockets.
Some angry Rotarian shoves you and
you think: What's happening here?
What's going on? Then you hear
Dogs fucked the Pope, no fault of
mine. Watch out!... Why money? My
name is Brinks; I was born... Born?
Get sheep over side... women and
children to armored car... orders
from Captain Zeep.
The ATTENDANTS indulgently escort them through the TURNSTILES.
Ether is the perfect drug for Las
Vegas. In this town they love a drunk.
Fresh meat. So they put us through
the turnstiles and turned us loose
INT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS CASINO - NIGHT
Flames shoot up from below the casino. Above, a HIGH WIRE
ACT with FOUR MUZZLED WOLVERINES, SIX NYMPHET SISTERS FROM
SAN DIEGO, TWO SILVER PAINTED POLACK BROTHERS, and THREE
The WOLVERINE chases a NYMPHET through the air. TWO POLACKS
swing at it from opposite sides and they are instantly locked
in a death battle.
All plummet to the nets suspended over the GAMBLING TABLES
and SLOT MACHINES. No one looks up. The GAMBLERS REMAIN INTENT
ON THE SPINNING ROULETTE WHEEL, THE TURN OF THE CARD, THE
ROLL OF A DICE.
Bazooko Circus is what the whole hep
world would be doing Saturday night
if the Nazis had won the war. This
was the Sixth Reich.
Something causes DUKE to look down. A dwarf carrying drinks
on a tray is tugging DUKE's pants leg trying to get him to
move out of the way.
A drug person can learn to cope with
things like seeing their dead
grandmother crawling up their leg
with a knife in her teeth but, nobody
should be asked to handle this trip.
GONZO and DUKE go upstairs walking past funhouse booths.
One of them is manned by an orangutan in costume. A FAIRGROUND
BARKER grabs DUKE.
Stand in front of this fantastic
machine, my friend. For just 99 cents
your likeness will appear 200 hundred
feet tall on a screen above downtown
On a TV monitor a 200 FOOT HIGH DRUNKARD looms over the Las
Vegas skyline screaming OBSCENITIES.
99 cents more for a voice message.
Say whatever you want, fella. They'll
hear you, don't worry about that.
Remember, you'll be 200 feet tall!
Step right up! Shoot the pasties off
the nipples of this ten-foot bull-
dyke and win a cotton candy goat!
INT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS REVOLVING MERRY-GO-ROUND BAR - NIGHT
DUKE and GONZO sit on the revolving platform. GONZO stares --
glassy eyed -- coming apart.
I hate to say this, but this place
is getting to me. I think I'm getting
Nonsense. We came here to find the
American Dream, and now we're right
in the vortex you want to quit. You
must realize that we've found the
That's what gives me The Fear.
Look over there. Two women fucking a
Please, don't tell me those things...
(signals the waitress
for two Wild Turkeys)
This is my last drink. How much money
can you lend me?
Not much. Why?
I have to go.
Yes. Leave the country. Tonight.
Calm down. You'll be straight in a
No. This is serious. One more hour
in this town and I'll kill somebody!
OK. I'll lend you some money. Let's
go outside and see how much we have
Can we make it?
That depends on how many people we
fuck with between here and the door.
I want to leave fast.
OK. Lets pay this bill and get up
very slowly. It's going to be a long
(signals waitress who
(suddenly to waitress)
Do they pay you to screw that bear?
He's just kidding.
Come on, Doc -- lets go downstairs
GONZO trembles with fear -- walks to the edge of the
When does this thing stop?
It won't stop. It's not ever going
DUKE carefully steps off the turntable.
GONZO, eyes staring blindly ahead, squinting in fear and
confusion, rooted to the spot, is carried away.
Don't move you'll come around.
DUKE reaches out to grab GONZO, who jumps back -- keeps going
The BARTENDER narrows his eyes at them.
DUKE steps onto the merry-go-round -- hurries round the bar --
approaching GONZO from the blind side and shoves GONZO from
behind. GONZO goes down with a hellish scream.
DUKE approaches him with his hands in the air. Smiling.
You fell. Let's go.
GONZO refuses to move and stands tense, fists clenched,
looking for somebody to hit... an old woman perhaps?
OK. You stay here and go to jail.
DUKE walks fast towards the stairs. GONZO catches up with
Did you see that? Some sonofabitch
kicked me in the back.
Probably the bartender. He wanted to
stomp you for what you said to the
Good God! Let's get out of here!
Where's the elevator?
(turning him in the
Don't go near that elevator. That's
just what they want us to do... trap
us in a steel box and take us down
to the basement.
EXT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS CASINO - NIGHT
DUKE and GONZO stumble out of the entrance.
Don't run. They'd like any excuse to
(in an extended fall)
You drive! I think there's something
wrong with me.
INT. MINT HOTEL CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THEIR SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE AND GONZO RUN MADLY DOWN THE CORRIDOR... DUKE TAKING
CARE NOT TO STEP ON THE PATTERNED PART OF THE CARPET.
GONZO STRUGGLES with the key in the lock.
Those bastards have changed the lock
on us. They probably searched the
room. Jesus, we're finished!
The door SUDDENLY SWINGS OPEN. DUKE AND GONZO fall inside.
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
Bolt everything! Use all chains!
DUKE locks the door. The suite is crowded with ROOM SERVICE
GOODIES. DUKE turns to see GONZO staring at two hotel room
keys. EVERYTHING STOPS.
Where did this one come from?
DUKE snatches a key.
That's Lacerda's room.
GONZO smiles a slow smile...
Yeah... I thought we might need it...
GONZO snatches the key back.
Let's go up there and blast him out
of bed with the fire hose.
No, we should leave the poor bastard
alone. I get the feeling that he's
avoiding us for some reason.
Don't kid yourself. That Portuguese
son of a bitch is dangerous. He's
watching us like a hawk.
He told me he was turning in early...
GONZO utters an anguished cry -- slaps the wall with both
That dirty bastard! I knew it! He's
got hold of my woman!
That little blonde groupie with the
film crew? You think he sodomized
That's right, laugh about it! You
goddamn honkies are all the same!
GONZO SLASHES A GRAPEFRUIT with a HUGE RAZOR SHARP HUNTING
KNIFE. DUKE blanches.
Where'd you get that knife?
GONZO SLICES THE GRAPEFRUIT -- MANIACAL.
Room service sent it up. I wanted
something to cut the limes.
GONZO SLICES THE GRAPEFRUIT -- INTO EIGHTHS!
GONZO SLICES -- SIXTEENTHS!
They didn't have any. They don't
grow in the desert.
SLICE! SLICE! SLICE!
That dirty toad bastard! I knew I
should have taken him out when I had
the chance. Now he has her.
SLICE! SLICE! SLICE! GONZO SLASHES INSANELY!
DUKE watches -- straight-faced.
I remember the girl. We'd had a
problem with her in the elevator a
few hours earlier: my attention had
made a fool of himself.
INT. ELEVATOR - DAY (FLASHBACK)
An elevator door opens to reveal the SMILING FACES OF LACERDA,
THE BLONDE TV REPORTER AND HER CREW.
DUKE and GONZO stagger in.
LACERDA drops his smile. He's standing beside the BLONDE TV
REPORTER. A trembling GONZO moonily turns his eyes onto her.
BLONDE TV REPORTER
You must be a rider. What class are
Class? What the fuck do you mean?
BLONDE TV REPORTER
What do you ride? We're filming the
race for a TV series -- maybe we can
Mother of God, I thought. Here it
GONZO is TREMBLING BADLY. There's a moment of uncomfortable
I ride the BIG ONES! The really BIG
GONZO shows his teeth to LACERDA. DUKE laughs trying to defuse
The Vincent Black Shadow. We're with
the Factory Team.
GONZO stills -- becomes dangerous -- zeros in on the TV
CAMERAMAN -- groin to groin...
Wait a minute, pardon me lady, but I
think there's some kind of ignorant
chicken-sucker in this car who needs
his face cut open. You cheap honky
faggots! Which one of you wants to
Ding! The elevator door opens, but nobody moves. The door
Next floor. Ding! The door opens again. A middle-aged couple
start to get in. Change their minds. The door closes.
INT. CORRIDOR - DAY
DUKE and GONZO run down the corridor. GONZO LAUGHS WILDLY.
Spooked! They were spooked! Like
rats in a death cage!
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - DAY
DUKE and GONZO CRASH into their hotel suite -- BOLT THE DOOR.
GONZO stops laughing.
Goddamn. It's serious now. That girl
understood. She fell in love with
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
SLICE! SLICE! SLICE! GONZO with the BIG HUNTING KNIFE --
sliced grapefruit segments everywhere.
Let's go up there and castrate that
GONZO pauses -- A MAD THOUGHT -- turns to DUKE.
Have you made a deal with him? Did
you put him on to her?
(backing slowly towards
Look you better put that blade away
and get your head straight. I have
to put the car in the lot.
One of the things you learn, after
years of dealing with drug people,
is that you can turn your back on a
person, but never turn your back on
a drug. Especially when it's waving
a razor-sharp hunting knife in your
INT. CASINO/LOBBY MINT HOTEL
The MAGAZINE REPORTER is on the telephone.
Las Vegas at dawn. The racers are
still asleep, the dust is still on
the desert, fifty thousand dollars
in prize money, slumbers darkly in
the office safe at Del Webb's fabulous
DUKE walks past the REPORTER -- into THE CASINO, THE SAD,
MEAGER CROWDS AROUND THE CRAP TABLES. No joy. DUKE watches.
Who are these people? These faces!
Where do they come from? They look
like caricatures of used car dealers
from Dallas. And, sweet Jesus, there
are a hell of a lot of them at four-
thirty on a Monday morning. Still
humping the American dream, that
vision of the big winner somehow
emerging from the last minute predawn
chaos of a stale Vegas casino.
DUKE stops at the Money Wheel, puts down a two dollar bill
on a number, the wheel turns, he loses.
No. Calm down. Learn to ENJOY losing.
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE walks back into the room. We hear the LOUD STRAINS OF
THREE DOG NIGHT'S "JOY TO THE WORLD."
He walks to the bathroom and opens the door.
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE BATHROOM - NIGHT
Submerged in green water, GONZO WALLOWS in the steaming tub.
Soap labels and grapefruit rinds float on the surface. A
large empty pack of Neutrogena soap lies on the floor. The
shower is on -- the tub overflowing. THE TAPE RECORDER PLAYS,
from where it's plugged into the razor socket over the sink.
DUKE turns off the shower -- notices a HUGE HUNK OF CHEWED
UP WHITE BLOTTER.
You ate ALL THIS ACID?
(turning down the
You evil son of a bitch. You better
hope there's some Thorazine in that
bag, because if there's not, you're
in bad trouble.
Music! Turn it up. Put that tape on.
Jefferson Airplane. "White Rabbit."
I want a rising sound.
You're doomed. I'm leaving here in
two hours and then they're going to
come up here and beat the mortal
shit out of you with big saps. Right
there in that tub.
I dig my own graves. Green water and
the White Rabbit. Put it on.
OK. But do me one last favor, will
you. Can you give me two hours? That's
all I ask -- just two hours to sleep
before tomorrow. I suspect it's going
to be a very difficult day.
He switches on the tape. "WHITE RABBIT" begins to build.
Of course, I'm your attorney, I'll
give you all the time you need, at
my normal rates: $45 an hour -- but
you'll be wanting a cushion, so, why
don't you just lay one of those $100
bills down there beside the radio,
and fuck off?
How about a check?
DUKE moves the radio as far from the tub as he can and leaves,
closing the door behind him.
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE goes across to the sofa and crashes -- exhausted.
Suddenly a great ripping and crashing noise in the bathroom.
Help! You bastard! I need help!
DUKE JUMPS up -- crosses to the bathroom door, muttering.
Shit, he's killing himself!
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
DUKE RUSHES IN. GONZO flails -- trying to reach the radio
with the shower curtain pole which he has ripped from its
I want that fucking radio!
DUKE GRABS THE RADIO.
Don't touch it! Get back in that
Back the tape up. I need it again!
Let it roll! Just as high as the
fucker can go! And when it comes to
that fantastic note where the rabbit
bites its own head off, I want you
to THROW THAT FUCKING RADIO INTO THE
TUB WITH ME!
DUKE stares down at GONZO.
Not me. It would blast you through
the wall -- stone dead in ten seconds
and they'd make me explain it!
BULLSHIT! Don't make me use this.
HIS ARM LASHES OUT OF THE WATER, HOLDING THE KNIFE.
Do it! I want to get HIGHER!
DUKE considers this. He's had enough.
Okay. You're right. This is probably
the only solution.
(holds the PLUGGED IN
TAPE/RADIO over the
Let me make sure I have it all lined
up. You want me to throw this thing
into the tub when "WHITE RABBIT"
peaks. Is that it?
GONZO falls back into the water, smiling gratefully.
Fuck yes. I was beginning to think I
was going to have to go out and get
one of the goddamn maids to do it.
Are you ready?
He switches "WHITE RABBIT" back on. GONZO HOWLS AND MOANS
AND THRASHES TO THE MUSIC, straining to get over the top.
Meanwhile, DUKE picks up a grapefruit from the sink -- a
good two-pounder, he gets a grip on it... and when "WHITE
RABBIT" peaks... HE HURLS IT INTO THE TUB LIKE A CANNONBALL.
GONZO SCREAMS CRAZILY, THRASHING AND CHURNING -- CAUSING A
DUKE JERKS THE RADIO CABLE OUT OF THE SOCKET -- SLAMS OUT OF
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE slumps onto the sofa.
GONZO RIPS OPEN THE BATHROOM DOOR, his eyes unfocused. HE
WAVES THE RAZOR SHARP BLADE out in front of him -- LUNGES at
DUKE. DUKE WHIPS OUT A CAN OF MACE.
MACE! YOU WANT THIS?
GONZO stops -- hisses.
You bastard! You'd do that, wouldn't
Why worry? You'll like it. Nothing
in the world like a Mace high. Forty-
five minutes on your knees with the
You cheap honky sonofabitch...
Why not? Hell, just a minute ago,
you were asking me to kill you! And
now you want to kill me! What I should
do, goddamnit, is call the police!
There's no choice. I wouldn't dare
go to sleep with you wandering around
with a head full of acid and wanting
to slice me up with that goddamn
Who said anything about slicing you
up? I just wanted to carve a little
Z on your forehead. Nothing serious.
GONZO shrugs and reaches for a cigarette on top of the TV
(menaces him with the
Get back in that tub. Eat some reds
and try to calm down. Smoke some
grass, shoot some smack -- shit, do
whatever you have to do, but let me
get some rest.
GONZO turns toward the bathroom -- suddenly sad.
Hell, yes. You really need some sleep.
You have to work. Goddamn. What a
bummer. Try to rest. Don't let me
keep you up.
GONZO shuffles back into the bathroom. DUKE wedges a chair
up against the bathroom doorknob and puts the mace can next
to the clock.
DUKE turns on the TV. WHITE NOISE FILLS THE ROOM. He collapses
onto the sofa and lights up his lightbulb as pipe.
Ignore the nightmare in the bathroom.
Just another ugly refugee from the
The WHITE NOISE snow storm on the TV is reflected in his
face. The camera pulls back revealing THE ENTIRE WALL BEHIND
HIM TO BE SWIRLING WITH THE FIZZING SNOWSTORM PATTERN.
My attorney had never been able to
accept the notion -- often espoused
by former drug abusers -- that you
can get a lot higher without drugs
than with them. And neither have I,
for that matter.
The pattern on the wall changes to A 60'S VISCOUS OIL
LIGHTSHOW PATTERN. With DUKE still sitting in the foreground,
the projected image widens to reveal the interior of A HAIGHT
ASHBURY DANCE HALL full of DANCING PROTO-HIPPIES.
INT. MATRIX CLUB - NIGHT
A slightly YOUNGER DUKE moves through the throng. All the
action is in a DREAMLIKE SLOW-MOTION.
I recall one night in the Matrix.
There I was -- a victim of the Drug
Explosion. A natural street freak,
just eating whatever came by.
A ROAD-PERSON with a big pack on his back is shouting. The
sound of his voice, like his movements, is in slow-motion.
Anybody want some L... S... D...? I
got all the makin's right here. All
I need is a place to cook.
The camera pushes right into the ROAD-PERSON's mouth.
INT. MATRIX MEN'S ROOM - NIGHT
Still in slow motion, the YOUNGER DUKE is trying to eat a
HUGE SPANSULE OF ACID. With difficulty.
I decided to eat only half at first.
Good thinking. But I spilled the
rest on the sleeve of my red Pendleton
DUKE stares at his sleeve, uncertain what to do. C/U of the
door to the men's room as a MUSICIAN enters speaking in slow-
What's the trouble?
(also in slow-motion)
Well, all this white stuff on my
sleeve is LSD.
The MUSICIAN approaches and looks down at DUKE'S arm. A long
Cut back to tight shot of door as it opens and a very clean-
cut, PREPPY, STOCKBROKER TYPE enters. He freezes in horror.
We cut to his POV. DUKE is standing in the middle of the
men's room with the MUSICIAN hunkered down at his side...
sucking on his sleeve. A very gross tableau. The STOCKBROKER
slowly eases out of the room.
With a bit of luck his life was ruined --
forever thinking that just behind
some narrow door in all his favorite
bars, men in red Pendleton shirts
are getting incredible kicks from
things he'll never know.
INT. A BAR - YEARS LATER - NIGHT
The STOCKBROKER LOOKING CONSIDERABLY OLDER sits looking lost,
confused, a nervous wreck. The image flares out in a TV white
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE sits staring at the TV.
Strange memories on this nervous
night in Las Vegas.
(he gets up, pours
himself a drink)
Has it been five years? Six? It seems
like a lifetime -- the kind of peak
that never comes again. San Francisco
in the middle sixties was a very
special time and place to be a part
of. But no explanation, no mix of
words or music or memories can touch
that sense of knowing that you were
there and alive in that corner of
time and the world. Whatever it meant.
DUKE throws open the curtains. Light streams in.
EXT. 1965 STOCK FOOTAGE
We are in SAN FRANCISCO. IMAGES OF THE TIME FLOOD IN.
There was madness in any direction,
at any hour... You could strike sparks
anywhere. There was a fantastic
universal sense that whatever we
were doing was right, that we were
winning. And that, I think, was the
handle -- that sense of inevitable
victory over the forces of old and
evil. Not in any mean or military
sense; we didn't need that. Our energy
would simply prevail. We had all the
momentum; we were riding the crest
of a high and beautiful wave...
DUKE'S FACE IS SUFFUSED WITH A SADNESS AND SERENITY WE HAVE
NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
So now, less than five years later,
you can go up on a steep hill in Las
Vegas and look west, and with the
right kind of eyes you can almost
see the high water mark -- that place
where the wave finally broke and
The memories dissolve into the night skyline of Vegas.
Suddenly towering over the casinos is a 200 foot high Nazi
shouting "WOODSTOCK ÜBER ALLES!"
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE closes the curtain. The room is in darkness again.
INT. MINT HOTEL SUITE - DAWN
A harsh door buzzer. DUKE jerks awake. Alone. Looking like
shit. Around him is the wreckage of their stay.
The decision to flee came suddenly.
Or maybe not.
DUKE opens the door to a BELL BOY with a trolley load of
fruit, drinks and flowers... and a smile.
The BELL BOY wheels the trolley across the room -- already
stacked with EVEN MORE BOXES OF GOODIES.
Maybe I'd planned it all along --
subconsciously waiting for the right
moment. The bill was a factor, I
think. Because I had no money to pay
DUKE slams the door -- starts FRANTICALLY PACKING.
Our room service tabs had been running
somewhere between $29 and $36 per
hour, for forty-eight consecutive
hours. Incredible. How could it
DUKE sees the DISCARDED WRAPPINGS OF EXPENSIVE, HAND TOOLED
LUGGAGE. A sudden thought. He rushes to GONZO's room -- empty.
His plastic briefcase remains on the bed...
But by the time I asked this question,
there was no one around to answer.
DUKE opens the briefcase -- finds the .357 MAGNUM inside.
My attorney was gone. He must have
QUICK CUT TO:
EXT. LAS VEGAS AIRPORT - DAY
GONZO WAVES GOODBYE as he boards an airplane with a set of
brand-new fine cowhide luggage.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HOTEL SUITE - DAY
DUKE emerges with his bag and Gonzo's plastic briefcase --
leaves the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door -- checks both
ways, then hurries away down the corridor.
It crept up my spine like first rising
vibes of an acid frenzy. All these
horrible realities began to dawn on
INT. MINT HOTEL ELEVATOR - DAY
An anxiety ridden DUKE watches the floor numbers as the
elevator descends. He searches his pockets...
Here I was, alone in Las Vegas, with
this goddamned incredibly expensive
car, completely twisted on drugs, no
cash, no story for the magazine. And
on top of everything else I had a
gigantic goddamn hotel bill to deal
DUKE finds a last crumpled $5 bill.
The door opens. A SECURITY GUARD enters with an OLD LADY IN
DUKE hides the bill -- crams back into the corner. Doors
I didn't even know who had won the
race. Maybe nobody.
INT. MINT HOTEL LOBBY - DAY
DUKE hurries out of the elevator -- eyes on a hovering
MANAGER. Past the curious look of the reception CLERK.
(muttering to himself)
How would Horatio Alger have handled
EXT. MINT HOTEL - DAY
Motoring, DUKE gives his $5 bill to the HOTEL FRONT DOORMAN
with a smile. The DOORMAN blows a frantic whistle and waves
at the CAR BOY.
Stay calm. Stay calm. I'm a relatively
respectable citizen -- a multiple
felon, perhaps, but certainly not
The CAR BOY pulls up with a screech. DUKE jumps in. The back
seat is stacked with bars of Neutrogena, piles of Mint 400 t-
shirts, boxes of grapefruit.
Luckily, I had taken the soap and
grapefruit and other luggage out to
the car a few hours earlier. Now it
was only a matter of slipping the
DUKE shifts into drive. Deliverance!
Mr. Duke! We've been looking for
The game was up! They had me.
Well, why not? Many fine books have
been written in prison.
Resigned, DUKE turns off the ignition. A young CLERK arrives
breathlessly with a smile and a YELLOW LETTER IN HIS HAND.
(thrusts out a TELEGRAM)
This telegram came for you. Actually,
it isn't for you. It's for somebody
named Thompson, but it says 'care of
Raoul Duke'. Does that make sense?
(barely able to speak)
Yes... It makes sense.
DUKE stuffs the telegram into his top pocket.
The CLERK peers into the car -- sees part of the enormous
I checked the register for this man
Thompson. We don't show him but I
figured he might be part of your
He is. Don't worry, I'll get it to
He fires up the engine -- eases the RED SHARK into low gear.
SECURITY GUARDS are looking across -- sharing a quiet word
What confused us was Dr. Gonzo's
signature on the telegram from Los
Angeles. When we knew he was right
here in the hotel.
You did the right thing. Never try
to understand a press message. About
half the time we use codes --
especially with Dr. Gonzo.
Tell me. When will the doctor be
Awake? What do you mean?
DUKE's eyes are on the SECURITY GUARDS -- moving closer.
Well... the manager, Mr. Heem, would
like to meet him. Nothing unusual.
Mr. Heem likes to meet all our large
accounts... put them on a personal
basis... just a chat and a handshake,
Of course. But if I were you, I'd
leave the Doctor alone until after
he's eaten breakfast. He's a very
DUKE edges the car forward, but is stopped by the CLERK.
But he will be available? Perhaps
later this morning?
Look. That telegram was all scrambled.
It was actually from Thompson, not
to him. Western Union must have gotten
the names reversed. I have to get
going. I have to get out to the track.
There's no hurry! The race is over!
Not for me.
He waves the CLERK off the car -- roars away.
Let's have lunch!
EXT. ROAD OUT OF VEGAS - DAY
DUKE drives the RED SHARK out of Vegas.
A "YOU ARE LEAVING LAS VEGAS" sign flashes past.
Bob Dylan plays: "Memphis Blues Again -- "Aaww, Mama, can
this really by the end...?"
A sign: LOS ANGELES -- 400 miles.
Jesus, bad waves of paranoia, madness,
fear and loathing -- intolerable
vibrations in this place. Get out!
The weasels were closing in. I could
smell the ugly brutes. Flee!
DUKE drives fast.
Do me one last favor Lord: just give
me five more high-speed hours before
you bring the hammer down; just let
me get rid of this goddamn car and
off of this horrible desert.
A sign flashes "YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE."
A patrol car pulls out behind him, lights flashing.
You evil bastard! This is your work!
You'd better take care of me, Lord...
because if you don't you're going to
have me on your hands.
The patrol car screams after the RED SHARK.
Few people understand the psychology
of dealing with a Highway Traffic
Cop. Your normal speeder will panic
and immediately pull over to the
side. This is wrong.
DUKE floors the gas pedal.
It arouses contempt in the cop heart.
THE SPEEDOMETER CLIMBS STEADILY.
Make the bastard chase you. He will
follow. But he won't know what to
make of your blinker signal that
says you're about to turn right.
DUKE signals right. The RED SHARK screams at 120 mph.
This is to let him know you're looking
for a proper place to pull off and
AN EXIT OFF RAMP: MAX SPEED 25.
DUKE hits the brakes. The COP brakes.
It will take him a moment to realize
that he is about to make 180 degree
turn at speed... but you will be
ready for it, braced for the G's and
the fast heel toe work.
The patrol car spins and fishtails crazily out of control.
EXT. SCENIC PICNIC AREA - DAY
The patrol car comes skidding around the corner. DUKE stands
beside the RED SHARK, completely relaxed and smiling.
The HIGHWAY PATROLMAN gets out of the car, screaming.
Just what the FUCK did you think you
May I see your license.
Of course, officer.
DUKE reaches for it. And BOTH MEN look down at a beer can --
which DUKE had, somehow, forgotten was in his hand.
I knew I was fucked.
The COP relaxes -- actually smiles... He reaches out for
DUKE's wallet, then holds out his other hand for the beer.
Could I have that, please?
Why not? It was getting warm anyway.
The HIGHWAY PATROLMAN takes it, pours out the beer -- glances
in the back seat of the RED SHARK. Amongst the bars of soap...
A case of warm beer. DUKE smiles back at him.
Yeah. I know. I'm guilty. I understand
that. I knew it was a crime but I
did it anyway. Shit, why argue? I'm
a fucking criminal.
That's a strange attitude.
He looks at DUKE thoughtfully.
You know -- I get the feeling you
could use a nap. There's a rest area
up ahead. Why don't you pull over
and sleep a few hours?
A nap won't help. I've been awake
for too long -- three or four nights.
I can't even remember. If I go to
sleep now, I'm dead for twenty hours.
The HIGHWAY PATROLMAN smiles.
Okay. Here's how it is. What goes
into my book, as of noon, is that I
apprehended you... for driving too
fast, and advised you to proceed no
further than the next rest area...
your stated destination, right? Where
you plan to take a long nap. Do I
make myself clear?
How far is Baker? I was hoping to
stop there for lunch.
Not my jurisdiction. The city limits
are two point two miles beyond the
rest area. Can you make it that far?
I'll try. I've been wanting to go to
Baker for a long time. I've heard a
lot about it.
The PATROLMAN holds the door for DUKE who gets in.
Excellent seafood. With a mind like
yours, you'll probably want to try
the land-crab. Try the Majestic Diner.
The PATROLMAN slams the door shut.
EXT. DESERT ROAD - DAY
DUKE drives away -- teeth gritted.
I felt raped. The Pig had done me on
all fronts, and now he was going off
to chuckle about it -- on the west
side of town, waiting for me to make
a run for L.A.
DUKE drives past the rest area to an intersection where he
signals to turn right into Baker. As he approaches the turn
he sees the HITCHHIKER! As DUKE slows to make the turn their
eyes meet. DUKE is about to wave -- but the HITCHHIKER drops
Great Jesus, it's him.
DUKE, spooked, SPINS THE RED SHARK round -- ROARS BACK THE
WAY HE CAME.
EXT. BAKER TRUCK STOP - DAY
DUKE on the public phone booth -- screaming.
They've nailed me! I'm trapped in
some stinking desert crossroads called
Baker. I don't have much time. The
fuckers are closing in. They'll hunt
me down like a beast!
INT. GONZO'S OFFICE - DAY
GONZO sits surrounded by legal papers and law books. Mexican
Day of the Dead masks hang from the walls -- flame-red demons.
Who? You sound a little paranoid.
EXT. BAKER TRUCK STOP - DAY
DUKE screams -- sweat pouring.
You bastard! I need a lawyer
INT. GONZO'S OFFICE - DAY
What are you doing in Baker? Didn't
you get my telegram?
EXT. BAKER TRUCK STOP - DAY
What? Fuck telegrams. I'm in trouble.
You worthless bastard. I'll cripple
your ass for this! All that shit in
the car is yours! You understand
that? When I finish testifying out
here you'll be disbarred!
INT. GONZO'S OFFICE - DAY
You're supposed to be in Vegas. We
have a suite at the Flamingo. I was
just about to leave for the airport.
INT. BAKER TRUCK STOP - DAY
DUKE pulls out the telegram from his top pocket.
You brainless scumbag! You're supposed
to be covering the National District
Attorney's conference! I made all
the reservations... rented a white
Cadillac convertible... the whole
thing is arranged! What the hell are
you doing out there in the middle of
the fucking desert?
DUKE stares at the telegram.
Never mind. It's all a big joke. I'm
actually sitting beside the pool at
the Flamingo. I'm talking from a
portable phone. Some dwarf brought
it out from the casino. I have total
credit! Can you grasp that?
Don't come anywhere near this place!
Foreigners aren't welcome here!
DUKE, breathing heavily, hangs up phone.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
C/U of .357 Magnum cylinder being spun.
Well. This is how the world works.
C/U An IGUANA basks in the sun.
All energy flows according to the
whims of the Great Magnet.
C/U Barrel of the gun. It fires. An explosion of desert dirt.
What a fool I was to defy Him.
The IGUANA sits unfazed.
Never cross the Great Magnet. I
understood this now...
(another blast from
...and with understanding came a
sense of almost terminal relief.
DUKE stands alone in the vast desert firing at nothing, the
thuds of the explosions echo away.
EXT. ROAD INTO VEGAS - DAY
The RED SHARK driving back towards Las Vegas.
I had to get rid of The Shark. Too
many people might recognize it...
...especially the Vegas Police.
(tight C/U of DUKE)
Luckily, my credit card was still
PULL BACK TO REVEAL:
DUKE, now driving a white Cadillac Coupe de Ville -- THE
DUKE pushes buttons -- lowers the top.
This was a superior machine -- ten
grand worth of gimmicks and high
price special effects. The rear
windows leapt up with a touch like
frogs in a dynamited pond. The
dashboard was full of esoteric lights
and dials and meters that I would
EXT. FLAMINGO HOTEL - AFTERNOON
A GIANT SIGN: THE FLAMINGO WELCOMES THE NATIONAL DA'S
CONFERENCE ON NARCOTICS & DANGEROUS DRUGS.
If the Pigs were gathering in Vegas,
I felt the Drug Culture should be
represented as well... and there was
a certain bent appeal in the notion
of running a savage burn on one Las
Vegas hotel and then just wheeling
across town and checking into another.
The WHITE WHALE turns into a VIP parking slot, immediately
attended by impressed MINIONS.
Me and a thousand ranking cops from
all over America. Why not? Move
confidently into their midst.
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL LOBBY - AFTERNOON
DUKE enters -- old Levis, grubby sneakers, 10 peso Acapulco
shirt coming apart at the seams, 3 day growth, eyes hidden
behind mirror shades. He heads for the check-in line.
My arrival was badly timed.
THE PLACE IS FULL OF COPS. 200 of them, on vacation, all
dressed in cut price Vegas casuals: plaid Bermuda shorts,
Arnie Palmer golf shirts, and rubberized beach sandals.
Ahead of DUKE -- A POLICE CHIEF argues with the DESK CLERK.
The POLICE CHIEF'S AGNEW STYLE WIFE stands to the side,
weeping. The POLICE CHIEF'S FRIENDS stand uneasily around.
What do you mean I'm too late to
register? I'm a police chief. From
Michigan. Look, fella, I told you.
(waves a POSTCARD)
I have a postcard here that says I
have reservations in this hotel.
I'm sorry, sir. You're on the "late
list." Your reservations were
transferred to the... ah... Moonlight
Motel, which is out on Paradise
I've already paid for my goddamn
It's actually a very fine place of
lodging and only sixteen blocks from
here, with its own pool and...
You dirty little faggot! Call the
manager! I'm tired of listening to
FRIENDS restrain the POLICE CHIEF.
I'm so sorry, sir. May I call you a
The POLICE CHIEF's screamed insults fade away...
Of course, I could hear what the
Clerk was really saying...
(IN DUKE'S IMAGINATION)
Listen, you fuzzy little shithead --
I've been fucked around, in my time,
by a fairly good cross-section of
mean-tempered rule-crazy cops and
now it's MY turn. "Fuck you, officer,
I'm in charge here, and I'm telling
you we don't have room for you."
DUKE steps to the desk, around the raging POLICE CHIEF.
Say. I hate to interrupt, but I wonder
if maybe I could just sort of slide
through and get out of your way.
Name's Raoul Duke -- Raoul Duke. My
attorney made the reservation.
DUKE snaps a credit card down onto the counter. EVERYONE
goes silent. The POLICE CHIEF GROUP stares at him like he
was some kid of water rat crawling up to the desk. The CLERK
hits the bell for the BELLBOY.
Certainly, Mr. Duke!
My bags are out there in that white
Cadillac convertible. Can you have
someone drive it around to the room?
ALL EYES turn to the gleaming WHITE WHALE.
Oh, and could I get a quart of Wild
Turkey, two fifths of Baccardi, and
a night's worth of ice delivered to
my room, please?
Don't worry about a thing, sir. Just
enjoy your stay.
Well, thank you.
DUKE gives the POLICE CHIEF a polite smile -- crosses to the
elevator -- turns to face the GAWPING COPS -- pops a can of
beer and toasts them. The doors close.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE SUITE - DAY
DUKE rams the key home -- swings the door open.
Ah, home at last!
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - AFTERNOON
DUKE enters. The door hits something with a thud.
A 16-year-old GIRL with the aura of an angry Pit Bull.
GONZO stands in the bathroom doorway -- stark naked with a
drug-addled grin on his face.
You degenerate pig!
It can't be helped. This is Lucy.
You know -- like "Lucy In The Sky
LUCY eyes DUKE venomously.
Lucy! Lucy, be cool, goddamnit!
Remember what happened at the airport!
No more of that, okay?
LUCY keeps her eyes on DUKE. GONZO idles over and puts his
arm round her shoulder.
Lucy... this is my client. This is
Mr. Duke, the famous journalist.
He's paying for this suite, Lucy.
He's on our side.
DUKE flops onto the sofa.
Mr. Duke is my friend. He loves
DUKE notices for the first time that the room is full of
artwork. Maybe 40 or 50 portraits, some in oil, some in
charcoal, all more or less the same size and same face.
Lucy paints portraits of Barbra
I drew these from TV.
Fantastic. She came all the way down
here from Montana just to give these
portraits to Barbra. We're going
over to the Americana Hotel tonight
to meet her backstage...
DUKE's voice rises above GONZO.
I desperately needed peace, rest,
sanctuary. I hadn't counted on this.
Finding my attorney on acid and locked
into some kind of preternatural
Well, I guess they brought the car
round by now. LET'S GET THE STUFF
OUT OF THE TRUNK.
DUKE fixes GONZO hard.
Absolutely, LET'S GET THE STUFF.
Now, we'll be right back. Don't answer
the phone if it rings.
Jesus freak sign)
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE SUITE - DAY
DUKE collars GONZO -- serious.
WELL? What are your plans?
(struggling to focus)
Shit. I met her on the plane and I
had all that acid.
You know, those little blue barrels.
I gave her a cap before I realized...
she's a religious freak... Jesus,
she's never even had a drink.
Well... It'll probably work out. We
can keep her loaded and peddle her
ass at the drug convention.
GONZO stares uneasily at DUKE.
Listen, she's running away from home
for something like the fifth time in
six months. It's terrible.
She's perfect for this gig. These
cops will go fifty bucks a head to
beat her into submission and then
gang fuck her. We can set her up in
one of these back street motels,
hang pictures of Jesus all over the
room, then turn these pigs loose on
her... Hell she's strong; she'll
hold her own.
GONZO's face twitches badly.
Jesus Christ. I knew you were sick
but I never expected to hear you
actually say that kind of stuff.
It's straight economics. This girl
is a god-send. Shit, she can make us
a grand a day.
NO! Stop talking like that.
I figure she can do about four at a
time. Christ, if we keep her full of
acid that's more like two grand a
day. Maybe three.
You filthy bastard. I should cave
your fucking head in.
In a few hours, she'll probably be
sane enough to work herself into a
towering Jesus-based rage at the
hazy recollection of being seduced
by some kind of cruel Samoan who fed
her liquor and LSD, dragged her to a
Vegas hotel room and savagely
penetrated every orifice in her body
with his throbbing, uncircumcised
GONZO starts crying.
NO! I felt sorry for the girl, I
wanted to help her!
You'll go straight to the gas chamber.
And even if you manage to beat that,
they'll send you back to Nevada for
Rape and Consentual Sodomy. She's
got to go.
Shit, it doesn't pay to try to help
somebody these days.
The only alternative was to take her
out to the desert and feed her remains
to the lizards. But, it seemed a bit
heavy for the thing we were trying
to protect: My attorney.
We have to cut her loose. She's got
two hundred dollars. And we can always
call the cops up there in Montana,
where she lives, and turn her in.
What?... What kind of goddamn monster
It just occurred to me, that she has
no witnesses. Anything that she says
about us is completely worthless.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - SUNSET
DUKE is speaking into the phone in hushed tones.
Hotel Americana? I need a reservation.
For my niece. Listen, I need her
treated very gently. She's an artist,
and might seem a trifle highstrung...
In the background GONZO helps LUCY and her paintings out the
Okay, Lucy, it's time to go meet
I felt like a Nazi, but it had to be
EXT. ON THE STREETS - A CAB STAND - DUSK
The WHITE WHALE pulls up -- DUKE at the wheel. GONZO helps
LUCY and her paintings from the car.
Lucy was a potentially fatal millstone
on both our necks. There was
absolutely no choice but to cut her
adrift and hope her memory was fucked.
GONZO unrolls a couple of bills -- pays off a CAB DRIVER --
waves to LUCY in the back with her paintings. She's starting
to come down...
GONZO gets back in the WHITE WHALE and slaps his hands
together as if washing his hands of the situation.
Well that's that. Take off slowly.
Don't attract attention.
They pull out into traffic.
EXT. LAS VEGAS STREETS - DUSK
I gave the cabbie an extra ten bucks
to make sure she gets there safe.
Also, I told him I'd be there myself
in an hour, and if she wasn't, I'd
come back out here and rip his lungs
That's good. You can't be subtle in
As your attorney, I advise you to
tell me where you put the goddamn
Maybe we should take it easy tonight.
Right. Let's find a good seafood
restaurant and eat some red salmon.
I feel a powerful lust for red
The electric WHITE WHALE heads off down the Strip. The sun's
going down behind the scrub hills, a good Kristofferson tune
croaks on the radio in the warm dusk.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - BATHROOM - NEXT MORNING
GONZO throws up in the toilet bowl.
In the background, DUKE opens curtains. Daylight blinds him.
Come on, we're going to be late.
GONZO looks up at his sick reflection -- wipes his mouth
with a towel.
This goddamn mescaline. Why the fuck
can't they make it a little less
pure? Maybe mix it up with Rolaids
INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - DAY
(crackling and booming
over the lousy sound
On behalf of the prosecuting attorneys
of this county, I welcome you to the
Third National DA's Conference on
Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -- well groomed, GOP businessman type --
speaks from the podium. A banner behind him reads:
NATIONAL DA'S CONVENTION 1971. "If You Don't Know, Come To
Learn... If You Know, Come To Teach."
A BIG MIXED CROWD: TOP LEVEL STRAIGHT COPS, UNDERCOVER NARCS
AND OTHER TWILIGHT TYPES -- beards, mustaches and super-Mod
dress. Just because you're a cop, doesn't mean you can't be
WITH IT! However, for every URBAN-HIPSTER there are around
A dozen big, low-fidelity speakers mounted on steel poles
distort and feed back the EXECUTIVE's voice through the room.
At the back, under a loudspeaker, sits DUKE -- $40 FBI
wingtips, a Pat Boone madras sportcoat, and an official name
tag: RAOUL DUKE, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, L.A.
GONZO sits beside him. His name tag: DR. GONZO. EXPERT,
CRIMINAL DRUG ANALYSIS. He's nervous -- close to the edge.
(lowers his voice)
I saw these bastards in Easy Rider,
but I didn't believe they were real.
Not like this. Not hundreds of them!
They're actually nice people when
you get to know them.
Man, I know these people in my goddamn
Don't mention that word around here.
You'll get them excited.
This is a fucking nightmare.
Right. Sure as hell some dope-dealing
bomb freak is going to recognize you
and put the word out that you're
partying with a thousand cops.
COP IN BACK
DR. BLUMQUIST -- a "drug expert" -- takes the stage.
We must come to terms with the Drug
Culture in the country... country...
The sound systems echoes.
The reefer butt is called a "roach,"
because it resembles a cockroach...
What the fuck are these people talking
about? You'd have to be crazy on
acid to think a joint looked like a
It was clear that we had stumbled
into a prehistoric gathering.
Now, there are four states of being
in the cannabis, or marijuana,
society: Cool, Groovy, Hip, and
Square. The square is seldom if ever
cool. He is not "with it," that is,
he doesn't know "what's happening."
But if he manages to figure it out,
he moves up a notch to "hip."
DUKE and GONZO listen in disbelief.
And if he can bring himself to approve
of what is happening, he becomes
"groovy." After that, with much luck
and perseverance, he can rise to the
rank of "cool." A cool guy... cool
guy... cool guy...
COP IN BACK
Dr. Bloomquist, do you think the
anthropologist, Margaret Mead's
strange behavior of late might
possibly be explained by a private
I really don't know, but at her age,
if she did smoke grass, she'd have
one hell of a trip!
Roars of laughter.
I know a hell of a lot better ways
to waste my time than listening to
He stands, knocking the ashtray off his chair arm, and plunges
down the aisle to the door.
COP IN BACK
Down in front!
Fuck you! I have to get out! I don't
COP IN BACK
He stumbles from the room. DUKE turns his attention back to
The lights go down. A black & white film -- REEFER MADNESS! --
illustrates his now evangelical talk.
KNOW YOUR DOPE FIEND! YOUR LIFE MAY
DEPEND ON IT! You will not be able
to see his eyes because of Tea-Shades,
but his knuckles will be white from
DUKE turns his attention to a 340 pound TEXAN POLICE CHIEF
who necks with his 290 pound WIFE beside him.
...and his pants will be crusted
with semen from constantly jacking
off when he can't find a rape
DUKE gazes at the TEXAN and his WIFE. -- Feigning sickness,
he gets up, hand over mouth.
Pardon me, I feel sick.
He will stagger and babble when
questioned. He will not respect your
badge. The Dope Fiend fears nothing.
He will attack, for no reason, with
every weapon at his command --
DUKE heads for the exit.
Sorry, sick... Beg pardon! Feeling
BEWARE. Any officer apprehending a
suspected marijuana addict should
use all necessary force immediately.
One stitch in time [on him] will
usually save nine on you.
DUKE CRASHES OUT THROUGH THE DOOR.
INT. CASINO BAR - DAY
DUKE sees GONZO at the bar -- talking to a SPORTY LOOKING
COP about 40 whose name tag identifies him as a DISTRICT
ATTORNEY FROM GEORGIA.
I'm a whiskey man myself. We don't
have much trouble from drugs where I
You will. One of these nights you'll
wake up and find a junkie tearing
your bedroom apart.
They'll climb right into your bedroom
and sit on your chest with big Bowie
knives. They might even sit on your
wife's chest. Put the blade right
down on her throat.
Not down in my parts.
DUKE joins them.
Rum and ice, please.
(looks at DUKE'S NAME
You're another one of these California
boys. Your friend here's been tellin'
us about dope fiends.
They're everywhere. Nobody's safe.
And sure as hell not in the South.
They like warm weather... You'd never
believe it. In L.A. it's out of
control. First it was drugs, now
Witchcraft? Shit, you can't mean it!
The BARTENDER cleans his glasses, one ear straining for the
Read the newspapers.
Man, you don't know trouble until
you have to face down a bunch of
these addicts gone crazy for human
Naw! That's science fiction stuff!
Not where we operate.
Hell, in Malibu alone, these goddamn
Satan worshippers kill six or eight
people every day. All they want is
the blood. They'll take people right
off the street if they have to.
Just the other day we had a case
where they grabbed a girl right out
of a McDonald's hamburger stand. She
was a waitress, about sixteen years
old... with a lot of people watching,
The BARTENDER keeps cleaning the same glass -- more and more
What happened? What did they do to
Do? Jesus Christ, man. They chopped
her goddamn head off right there in
the parking lot! Then they cut all
kinds of holes in her head and sucked
out the blood!
(DA ad-libs a summation
of the crime)
And nobody did anything?
What could they do? The guy that
took the head was about six-seven,
and maybe three-hundred pounds. He
was packing two Lugers, and the others
They just ran back out into Death
Valley -- you know, where Manson
Like big lizards.
...and every one of them stacked
Yeh, naked!... except for the weapons.
They were all veterans.
Agog with the horrors of the story, the BARTENDER polishes
the glass -- faster and faster...
Yeh. The big guy used to be a major
in the Marines.
We know where he lives, but we can't
get near the house.
Naw! Not a major.
He wanted the pineal gland.
That's how he got so big. When he
quit the Marines he was just a little
Usually, it's whole families. During
the night. Most of them don't even
wake up until they feel their heads
going -- and then, of course, it's
The glass smashes in the BARTENDER's hand.
Happens every day.
DUKE turns to a WAITRESS with a warm smile.
Three more rums. Plenty of ice. Maybe
a handful of lime chunks.
Are you guys with the police
We sure are, Miss.
I thought so. I never heard that
kind of talk around here before.
Jesus Christ! How do you guys stand
that kind of work?
We like it. It's groovy.
The WAITRESS stares -- sickened -- at GONZO.
What's wrong with you? Hell, somebody
has to do it.
Hurry up with those drinks. We're
thirsty. Only two rums. Make mine a
(whacks his fist on
Hell, I really hate to hear this.
Because everything that happens in
California seems to get down our
way, sooner or later. Mostly Atlanta.
But that was back when the goddamn
bastards were peaceful. All we had
to do was to keep 'em under
surveillance. They didn't roam around
much... But now Jesus, it seems
(with a conspiratorial
You're going to need to take the
bull by the horns -- go to the mat
with this scum.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean. We've done it
before and we can damn well do it
Cut their goddamn heads off. Every
one of them. That's what we're doing
Sure. It's all on the Q.T., but
everybody who matters is with us all
the way down the line.
We keep it quiet. It's not the kind
of thing you'd want to talk about
upstairs. Not with the press around.
Hell, no. We'd never hear the goddamn
end of it.
Dobermans don't talk.
Sometimes it's easier to just rip
out the backstraps.
They'll fight like hell if you try
to take the head without the dogs.
(muttering in a daze)
I don't think I should tell my wife
about this. She'd never understand.
You know how women are.
DUKE gives the DA a brotherly slap on the back.
Just be thankful your heart is young
DUKE and GONZO leave the stunned DA -- staring into the
swirling ice in drink.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - DAY
DUKE and GONZO fall into the suite in fits of laughter.
GONZO feels the nausea rise suddenly -- heads for the
bathroom. Immediate sounds of retching.
The phone message light is blinking. DUKE opens a beer, picks
up the phone.
What's the message? My light is
Ah, yes. Mr. Duke? You have one
message: "Call Lucy at the Americana
Hotel, room 1600."
DUKE slams the phone down. GONZO emerges from the bathroom --
looking like death.
GONZO sags visibly -- like an animal taking a bullet.
The telephone rings. DUKE answers.
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL - RECEPTION - DAY
A worried CLERK speaks in to the phone.
Mr. Duke? Hello, Mr. Duke, I'm sorry
we were cut off a moment ago... I
thought I should call again, because
I was wondering...
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - DAY
(hand over the PHONE)
What was that crazy bitch said to
There's a war on, man! People are
IN VIETNAM! ON THE GODDAMN TELEVISION!
Oh... yes... yes... This terrible
war. When will it end?
Tell me. What do you want?
In the background GONZO is upturning a sofa to retrieve his
stash from the lining.
The woman who left that message for
you sounded very disturbed. I think
she was crying...
Crying? Why was she crying?
Well, uh. She didn't say Mr. Duke.
But since I know you're here with
the Police Convention...
Look, you want to be gentle with
that woman if she ever calls again.
We're watching her very carefully...
this woman has been into laudanum.
It's a controlled experiment, but I
suspect we'll need your cooperation
before this thing is over.
Well, certainly... We're always happy
to cooperate with the police...
Don't worry. You're protected. Just
treat this poor woman like you'd
treat any other human being in
What? Ah... yes, yes, I see what you
mean... Yes... so, you'll be
Of course. And now I have to get
back to the news. Send up some ice.
He hangs up. GONZO zaps TV channels -- commercials.
Good work. They'll treat us like
goddamn lepers after that.
Lucy is looking for you.
No, she's looking for you.
She really flipped over you. The
only way I could get rid of her was
by saying you were taking me out to
the desert for a showdown -- that
you wanted me out of the way so you
could have her all to yourself.
I guess she figures you won. That
phone message wasn't for me, was it?
A look of stunned realization from DUKE...
INT. FANTASY COURT ROOM - DAY
LUCY is on the witness stand.
Yessir, those two men in the dock
are the ones who gave me the LSD and
took me to the hotel.
A doomed DUKE and GONZO await their fate.
I don't know for sure what they done
to me, but I remember it was horrible.
Twenty years... and Double Castration!
The JUDGE bangs his gavel.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - DAY
DUKE is madly stuffing his suitcase.
Wait! You can't leave me alone in
this snake pit. This room is in my
DUKE KEEPS PACKING. GONZO is looking worried.
OK, goddamnit!... Look... I'll call
her. I'll get her off our backs.
You're right. She's my problem.
It's gone too far.
Relax. Let me handle this.
(dials the PHONE,
snaps angrily at
You'd make a piss-poor lawyer...
Room 1600, please.
As your attorney, I advise you not
(nods towards bathroom)
Take a hit out of that little brown
bottle in my shaving kit.
DUKE goes in the bathroom. He finds a little bottle -- a
label: "DRINK ME."
What is this?
You won't need much. Just a little
tiny taste, that stuff makes pure
mescaline seem like ginger-beer.
DUKE stares wonderingly at the bottle.
Hi, Lucy? Yeah, it's me. I got your
message... what? Hell, no, I taught
the bastard a lesson he'll never
forget... what? No, not dead, but
he won't be bothering anybody for a
while. Yeah. I left him out there, I
stomped him, then pulled all his
I remember thinking, "Jesus, what a
terrible thing to lay on somebody
with a head full of acid."
DUKE dips a match head into the brown bottle -- studies it --
TASTES IT -- NOTHING -- TASTES SOME MORE...
But here's the problem. That bastard
cashed a bad check downstairs and
gave you as a reference. They'll be
looking for both of you. Yeah, I
know, but you can't judge a book by
its cover, Lucy. Some people are
just basically rotten... Anyway, the
last thing you want to do is call
this hotel again; they'll trace the
call and put you straight behind
bars... no, I'm moving to the
Tropicana right away. I have to go,
they've got the phone tapped. Yeah,
I know, it was horrible, but it's
all over now... OH MY GOD! THEY'RE
KICKING THE DOOR DOWN!
(throws the PHONE
No! Get away from me! I'm innocent!
It was Duke! I swear to God!
(stomps the PHONE;
No, I don't know where she is. You'll
never catch Lucy! She's gone! I swear,
I don't know where she is! DON'T PUT
THAT THING ON ME!
(slams the PHONE down)
GONZO sits back in his chair... watching MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
Well. That's that. She's probably
stuffing herself down the incinerator
about now. That's the last we should
be hearing from Lucy.
(fumbling with the
Where's the opium?
DUKE stares at the back of GONZO's neck. SOMETHING VERY
STRANGE IS HAPPENING TO HIM...
I remember slumping on the bed, his
performance had given me a bad jolt.
For a moment I thought his mind had
snapped -- that he actually believed
he was being attacked by invisible
enemies. But the room was quiet again.
DUKE CLUTCHES THE BROWN BOTTLE.
Where'd you get this?
Never mind, it's absolutely pure.
Jesus... what kind of monster client
have you picked up this time? There's
only one source for this stuff --
the adrenaline gland from a living
GONZO turns to smile at DUKE.
I know, but the guy didn't have any
cash to pay me. He's one of these
Satanism freaks. He offered me human
blood -- said it would take me higher
than I've ever been in my life.
(laughs -- struts
round DUKE -- eyes
I thought he was kidding, so I told
him I'd just as soon have an ounce
or so of pure adrenochrome -- or
maybe just a fresh adrenaline gland
to chew on.
I could already feel the stuff working
on me -- the first wave felt like a
combination of mescaline and
methedrine -- maybe I should take a
swim, I thought...
DUKE sees that GONZO is TOYING WITH HIS HUNTING KNIFE...
Yeah, they nailed this guy for child
molesting. He swore he didn't do it.
"Why should I fuck with children?"
he says. "They're too small." Christ,
werewolf is entitled to legal counsel.
I didn't dare turn the creep down.
He might have picked up a letter
opener and gone after my pineal gland!
GONZO JABS WITH THE RAZOR BRIGHT KNIFE. DUKE'S BODY IS GOING
RIGID -- HE SPEAKS THROUGH GRITTED TEETH.
Why not? We should get some of that.
Just eat a big handful and see what
Some of what?
Extract of pineal!
(staring at Duke with
a strange smile)
Sure. That's a good idea. One whiff
of that shit would turn you into
something out of a goddamn medical
GONZO GROWS HORNS -- HIS FACE BECOMES A MEXICAN DEMON MASK.
Man, your head would swell up like a
watermelon, you'd probably gain about
a hundred pounds in two hours...
A CLOVEN HOOF BURSTS THROUGH GONZO'S SHOE.
...grow claws... bleeding warts.
GONZO'S CHEST EXPANDS -- BONY RIBS BURSTING HIS SHIRT.
...then you'd notice about six huge
hairy tits swelling up on your back...
A TAIL LASHES, HOOFS STRIKE THE FLOOR. GONZO TOWERS -- A
FLAME RED DEMON!
DUKE is now so wired that his hands are CLAWING UNCONTROLLABLY
at the bedspread, JERKING IT RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER HIM. His
heels are dug into the mattress with both KNEES LOCKED,
GONZO-DEMON LOOMS AGAINST THE CEILING.
you'd go blind... your body would
turn to wax... they'd have to put
you in a wheelbarrow and...
GONZO'S VOICE FADES AWAY -- DUKE'S frenzied gaze reveals
GONZO REVERTED TO NORMAL HUMAN SHAPE AND SIZE.
Man I'll try about anything; but I'd
never touch a pineal gland.
FINISH THE FUCKING STORY! What
happened?! What about the glands?
GONZO, a small smile on his lips, backs away warily... towards
the TV -- NOW A HUNDRED FEET AWAY IN THE DISTANCE...
Jesus, that stuff got right on top
of you, didn't it.
VEINS stand out on DUKE's forehead. He is purplish-red.
OVER THE TOP! Too late, he realizes he is NEAR DEATH!
Maybe you could just... shove me
into the pool, or something...
GONZO shakes his head disgustedly.
If I put you in the pool right now,
you'd sink like a goddamn stone. You
took too much. Jesus, look at your
face, you're about to explode.
GONZO sits back down... watching the TV.
Don't try and fight it, or you'll
get brain bubbles. Strokes, aneurysms.
You'll just wither up and die.
DUKE FALLS TO THE GROUND, WRITHING, CATATONIC, SINKING INTO
AND THE SOUND, SUDDENLY AND STRANGELY, OF THE VOICE OF RICHARD
NIXON AND HIS DISTORTED FACE ON THE TV SCREEN.
Sacrifice... sacrifice... sacrifice...
DUKE PASSES OUT.
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
Darkness. Insanely, somewhere NILSSON plays -- "Put the lime
in the coconut and mix em all up..."
What kind of rat-bastard psychotic
would play that song -- right now,
at this moment?
DUKE opens his eyes and the hotel suite rushes in. He lies,
awkwardly twisted -- unable to move. He could have been there
days -- months.
When I came to the general back alley
ambiance of the suite was so rotten,
so incredibly foul. How long had I
been lying there? Hours? Days? Months?
All these signs of violence. What
DUKE moves his eyes -- taking in his surroundings: Like THE
SIGHT OF SOME DISASTROUS ZOOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT involving
whisky and gorillas. Blue and red Christmas tree lights
replace lightbulbs, used towels hanging everywhere,
pornographic pictures ripped out of a magazine are plastered
on a shattered mirror.
There was evidence in this room of
excessive consumption of almost every
type of drug known to civilized man
since 1544 AD.
DUKE manages to move -- stiffly gets to his bare feet --
HOBBLES ROUND THE TRASHED ROOM like a newly risen ape.
But what kind of addict would need
all these coconut husks and crushed
honeydew rinds? Would the presence
of junkies account for all these
uneaten french fries? These puddles
of glazed ketchup on the bureau?
Maybe so, but then why all this booze?
And these crude pornographic photos
smeared with mustard that had dried
to a hard yellow crust...
DUKE peers into Gonzo's room -- HIS BED LIKE A BURNED OUT
RAT'S NEST -- blackened springs and wires.
These were not the hoof prints of
your normal god-fearing junkie. It
was too savage, too aggressive.
GONZO SMASHES THE TEN FOOT MIRROR WITH A HAMMER:
BACK IN THE ROOM:
DUKE stares at the smashed mirror.
Grim memories and bad flashbacks.
In the bathroom, DUKE'S unlaced boots CRUSH BROKEN GLASS IN
VOMIT AND GRAPEFRUIT RINDS.
DUKE unzips and pisses. THERE IN THE TOILET BOWL IS THE MAGNUM
Something ugly had happened. I was
sure of it...
DUKE stares at the golden stream SPLASHING ON THE GUN.
The SOUNDS OF VOMITING come from a closet near the front
DUKE looks into the room. He sees GONZO's ass sticking out
of the closet. He opens his mouth to speak when, IN THE
SMASHED MIRROR HE SEES THE FRAGMENTED REFLECTION OF HIMSELF...
sleeping on the sofa.
The ominous SOUND OF A KEY TURNING in the room lock.
A hellish scream wakes up the SLEEPING DUKE. He sees GONZO
grappling naked with the maid -- gun to her head. GONZO is
muffling her screams with an ice bag.
Please... please... I'm only the
maid. I didn't mean nothin!...
(jumps up from the
bed, flashing his
YOU'RE UNDER ARREST!
She must have used a pass key. I was
polishing my shoes in the closet
when I noticed her sneaking in -- so
I took her.
DUKE shakes his head.
(barks at the MAID)
What made you do it? Who paid you
Nobody. I'm the maid!
You're lying! You were after the
evidence. Who put you up to this --
I don't know what you're talking
Bullshit! You're just as much a part
of it as they are!
Part of what?
The dope ring. You must know what's
going on in this hotel. Why do you
think we're here?
I know you're cops, but I thought
you were just here for that
convention. I swear! All I wanted to
do was clean up the room. I don't
know anything about dope!
Come on, baby don't try to tell us
you never heard of the Grange Gorman.
No! No! I swear to Jesus I never
heard of that stuff!
Maybe she's telling the truth. Maybe
she's not part of it.
No! I swear I'm not!
In that case, maybe she can help.
Yes! I'll help you all you need! I
So do we, lady.
(helping her up)
I think we should put her on the
payroll. See what she comes up with.
Do you think you can handle it?
One phone call every day. Just tell
us what you've seen. Don't worry if
it doesn't add up, that's our problem.
GONZO hustles the MAID to the door.
You'd pay me for that?
You're damn right. But the first
time you say anything about this, to
anybody -- you'll go straight to
prison for the rest of your life.
What's your name?
Alice. Just ring Linen Service and
ask for Alice.
Alright, Alice... you'll be contacted
by Inspector Rock. Arthur Rock. He'll
be posing as a politician.
Inspector Rock will pay you. In cash.
A thousand dollars on the ninth of
Oh Lord! I'd do just about anything
You and a lot of other people.
The password is: "One Hand Washes
The Other." The minute you hear that,
you say "I fear nothing."
I fear nothing.
She repeats the password several times while they listen to
make sure she has it right.
Oh, and don't bother to make up the
room. That way we won't have to risk
another of these little incidents,
Whatever you say, gentlemen. I can't
tell you how sorry I am about what
Don't worry, it's all over now. Thank
God for the decent people.
She smiles, repeating to herself "One Hand Washes The Other"
as GONZO hangs the DO NOT DISTURB sign and shuts the door.
CUT BACK TO THE PRESENT.
A grimy tape runs through a grunged-up portable tape recorder.
GONZO ON TAPE
...Thank God for the decent people.
DUKE sits in the middle of the wrecked suite with his mangled
tape recorder in front of him.
Memories of that night are extremely
DUKE fast forwards through the tape -- SEARCHING: "Awwww,
mama... can this really... be the end...?"
EXT. SAFEWAY SUPERMARKET - DAY
The WHITE WHALE waits -- gleaming -- beautiful.
There is a definite obligation, when
you boom around Vegas in a white
Coupe de Ville, to maintain a certain
DUKE and GONZO burst out of the supermarket riding a shopping
basket loaded with COCONUTS, GRAPEFRUIT and TEQUILA. They
send DEFEATED SHOPPERS sprawling.
The trolley collides into the WHITE WHALE. SHOPPERS gather
at the supermarket entrance to watch -- baskets loaded with
junk, SCREAMING KIDS and EMPTY WALLETS.
DUKE switches on the music: JUMPING JACK FLASH. He selects a
coconut -- ceremonially balances it on the hood. GONZO pulls
out a silver claw-hammer. A sly look at the gathering CROWD...
then he smashes the hammer down on the coconut!
A GASP from the surly SHOPPERS.
DUKE places another coconut. SMASH! Milk and white meat flies
Hey! Is that your car?
SMASH! Coconut fragments fly.
Any of you folks want the milk? We're
after the meat. This is honest coconut
essence. Real meat.
Meat, hell! Look what you're doing
to that car!
Fuck the car. They should make these
things with a goddamn FM radio.
Yeh... This foreign made crap -- is
sucking our dollar balance dry!
Someone should stop them!
You poor fools don't understand, do
you? This car is the property of the
World Bank! That money goes to ITALY!
Somebody should call the police!
Police? Are you people crazy?
GONZO confronts the CROWD, hammer in one hand, a coconut in
You folks every heard of ole Patrick
Henry? Know what he said?!
Silence -- the CROWD uncomprehending of this STONE DEGENERATE.
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!
GONZO brings the hammer down on the hood. CLANG!
A gasp from the CROWD. Getting ugly.
In Samoa we LOVE THE CONSTITUTION!
The CROWD move in.
Call the goddamn police!
GONZO SWINGS THE HAMMER. CLANG!
Look what they've done to that
DUKE jumps in behind the wheel.
This crowd is not rational. They
can't relate to us. Let's go!
A final CLANG! GONZO jumps in.
DUKE floors the accelerator -- screams at the CROWD.
You people voted for Hubert Humphrey!
You killed Jesus!
They swerve round and through the CROWD.
The crowd broke ranks. Nobody wants
to be run over by a Coupe de Ville.
INT. HOTEL FLAMINGO SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE FAST-FORWARDS... PLAYS THE TAPE...
VOICE ON TAPE
You found the American Dream? In
DUKE ON TAPE
We're sitting on the main nerve right
INT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS REVOLVING MERRY-GO-ROUND BAR - NIGHT
DUKE and GONZO (wearing a single black glove) talk
conspiratorially to a 3RD MAN. A PLACID ORANGUTAN in a bow
tie sits next to him. THE BAR IS REVOLVING FASTER THAN NORMAL.
DUKE IS INSANELY TALKATIVE -- WIRED!
The manager told me a story about
the owner of this place... about how
he always wanted to run away and
join the circus when he was a kid.
Well, now the bastard has his own
circus, and a license to steal, too.
You're right -- he's the model.
Absolutely! Pure Horatio Alger...
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE playing the tape.
DUKE ON TAPE
...how much do you think he'd take
for the ape?
DUKE fast-forwards again -- searching... TRAFFIC NOISES.
SCREECH OF BRAKES.
VOICE ON TAPE
A TERRIBLE GRINDING NOISE.
EXT. CAR RENTAL AGENCY - NIGHT
Holy God!, how did this happen?
They beat the shit out of it.
The top's completely jammed!
The CAR RENTAL AGENT wrestles with the trashed car.
Yeah, something's wrong with the
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE ON TAPE
...The generator light's been on red
ever since I drove the thing into
Lake Mead on a water test...
A HUGE SPLASH...
The tape's gone too far.
No, no. Shit...
DUKE races the tape BACKWARDS... Then, SIRENS HOWL.
DUKE ON TAPE
Where's the ape? I'm ready to write
INT. BAZOOKO CIRCUS BAR - NIGHT
DUKE is standing in the middle of A SEMI-DESTROYED BAZOOKO
CIRCUS REVOLVING BAR. Mirrors are broken. People are
recovering from some kind of battle. THE BAR SPINS MADLY.
DUKE IS INSANELY WIRED.
Forget it, he just attacked an old
man... he took a bite out of the
bartender's head! The cops took the
Goddamnit! What's the bail? I want
that ape! I've already reserved two
first-class seats on the plane.
There was every reason to believe
that we had been heading for trouble,
that we'd pushed our luck a bit far...
INT. WHITE WHALE ON THE STREETS OF LAS VEGAS - NIGHT
GONZO SCREAMS ABUSE out of the window at a Ford alongside
the VOMIT STREAKED WHITE WHALE. DUKE MAKES A SUPERHUMAN EFFORT
TO STAY ON THE ROAD.
Hey there! You folks want to buy
In the Ford: TWO COUPLES -- MIDDLE-AGED AMERICAN FACES FROZEN
IN SHOCK -- stare straight ahead. GONZO leans out -- close
Hey, honkies! Goddamnit, I'm serious.
I want to sell you some pure fucking
Cheap heroin! This is the real stuff!
You won't get hooked. I just got
back from Vietnam! This is scag,
folks. Pure scag!
The lights change. The Ford bolts. DUKE keeps pace with them.
Shoot! Fuck! Scag! Blood! Heroin!
Rape! Cheap! Communist! Jab it right
in your fucking eyeballs!
The MAN IN THE BACK SEAT suddenly loses control -- enraged,
lunges against the glass, trying to get at GONZO.
MAN IN CAR
You dirty bastards! Pull over and
I'll kill you! God damn you! You
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
BACK IN THE SUITE:
THE TAPES RUNS:
MAN IN CAR ON TAPE
You dirty bastards!
An ugly squeal of brakes.
GONZO ON TAPE
Shit, he was trying to bite me! I
shoulda maced the fucker!
DUKE fast forwards the tape. The TAPE MANGLES -- the sounds
ski to a halt...
DUKE grabs the nearest tool -- uses it to hook out the tape,
then realizes... IT'S GONZO'S RAZOR-SHARP FOLDING KNIFE... A
DUKE turns the knife over... THERE'S A DRIED CRIMSON SPOT ON
THE BLADE... OR IS IT DRIED MASHED POTATOES?
READ ON TO FIND OUT!
Back door beauty!
The mentality of Las Vegas is so
grossly atavistic that a really
massive crime often slips by
DUKE SCRAPS A LITTLE OF THE CRUST -- TASTES IT...
The possibility of physical and mental
collapse is very real... No sympathy
for the devil; keep that in mind.
Buy the ticket, take the ride...
HE HEARS THE SOUNDS OF SOMEONE BEHIND BEATEN UP...
Shit! Faggot! Bastard!
EXT. NORTH STAR COFFEE LOUNGE - NIGHT
WHACK! SHADOWY FIGURES beat up a MAN -- give him A GOOD
KICKING. BRUTAL AND UGLY.
North Vegas is where you go when
you've fucked up once too often on
The Strip and when you're not even
welcome in the cut-rate Downtown
PAN to reveal a seedy diner -- THE NORTH STAR CAFE in the
background. Through the window -- DUKE and GONZO sit at the
INT. NORTH STAR COFFEE LOUNGE - NIGHT
The North Star Coffee Lounge seemed
like a fairly safe haven from our
storms. No hassles, no talk. Just a
place to rest and regroup. I wasn't
GONZO stuffs a hamburger down PAYING NO ATTENTION TO THE
BEATING going on outside the window. Duke reads a newspaper.
There was nothing in the atmosphere
of the North Star to put me on my
Two glasses of ice water with ice.
The WAITRESS brings the ice water.
She looked like a burnt out caricature
of Jane Russell. She was definitely
in charge here...
GONZO gulps down his glass of water and hands her a napkin.
He did it very casually, but I knew
that our peace was about to be
What was that?
The WAITRESS stands at the end of the counter with her back
to them while she ponders the napkin... She turns.
What is this?
THE WAITRESS slams the napkin down on the counter.
Don't give me that bullshit! I know
what it means! You goddamn fat pimp
That's the name of a horse I used to
own. What's wrong with you?
You sonofabitch! I take a lot of
shit in this place, but I sure as
hell don't have to take it off a
GONZO GOES VERY VERY STILL AT THIS...
Jesus. I thought, what's happening?
DUKE picks up the napkin. On it is printed in careful red
letters: "BACK DOOR BEAUTY?"
The question mark was emphasized.
Pay your bill and get the hell out!
You want me to call the cops?
GONZO's hand goes inside his shirt. He PULLS OUT THE RAZOR-
SHARP HUNTING KNIFE.
GONZO KEEPS HIS EYES ON THE WAITRESS. He walks about six
feet down the aisle and lifts the receiver of the pay phone.
He SLICES IT OFF, then brings the receiver back to his stool
and sits down.
I was stupid with shock -- not knowing
whether to run or start laughing.
How much is the lemon meringue pie?
Her eyes were turgid with fear, but
her brain was functioning on some
basic motor survival level.
(blurting -- on
I mean the whole pie.
The WAITRESS MOANS. GONZO places a $5 BILL on the counter.
Let's say five dollars. Okay?
GONZO walks round the counter TAKING THE PIE OUT OF THE
The sight of the blade had triggered
bad memories. The glazed look in her
eyes said her throat had been cut.
She was still in the grip of paralysis
when we left.
DUKE IS ROOTED TO THE SPOT.
GONZO urges him out the door. The camera retreats with them.
The WAITRESS STANDS THERE -- PETRIFIED. Alone in a lousy bar
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
DUKE's face as he stares at the knife -- remembering...
Drive! Drive! Drive! We have fifteen
fucking minutes to get me on that
EXT. ROAD ON OUTSKIRTS OF LAS VEGAS - DAY
The WHITE WHALE, looking like shit -- it's TOP HALF UP, TORN,
SLAPPING IN THE WIND -- ROARS THROUGH AN INTERSECTION as the
light turns red.
DR. GONZO FRANTICALLY PAWS OVER A MAP.
DUKE drives -- SILENT AND FURIOUS -- sick to his stomach
with the PSYCHOTIC GONZO.
What are you doing? You were supposed
to turn back there!
We had abused every rule that Vegas
lived by -- burning the locals,
abusing the tourists, terrifying the
help. The only chance now, I felt,
was the possibility that we'd gone
to such excess that nobody in the
position to bring the hammer down on
us could possibility believe it.
DUKE suddenly SLAMS ON THE BRAKES.
There, crossing the road in front of them, is LUCY -- her
paintings under her arm -- looking lost. SHE LOOKS UP WITH A
VAGUE SENSE OF RECOGNITION...
DUKE throws the car into a SKIDDING REVERSE TURN AND ROARS
EXT. DESERT ROAD OUTSIDE LAS VEGAS - DAY
THE WHITE WHALE TEARS DOWN THE DESERTED FREEWAY. GONZO looks
Goddamnit! We're lost! What are we
doing out here on this godforsaken
GONZO sees that THEY'RE RUNNING PARALLEL WITH THE AIRPORT
The airport is over there!
Never missed a plane yet.
DUKE HITS THE BRAKES and wrenches the wheel -- takes the
WHALE down into the grassy freeway divider. WHEELS CHURNING,
HE MAKES IT UP THE OPPOSITE BANK, nose of the car straight
up, then BOUNCES ONTO THE FREEWAY and keeps going right OVER
A FENCE, dragging it through a cactus field and onto the
GONZO is FROZEN WITH FEAR -- GRIPPING THE DASHBOARD. He throws
a worried look at DUKE.
I'll drop you right next to the plane.
They SPEED UNDER A PARKED AIRPLANE, SHOUTING ABOVE THE JET
No! I can't get out! They'll crucify
me. I'll have to take the blame!
Ridiculous! Just say you were
hitchhiking to the airport and I
picked you up. You never saw me
before. Shit, this town is full of
white Cadillac convertibles. I plan
to go through there so fast that
nobody will even glimpse the goddamn
license plate. You ready?
Why not? But for Christ's sake, just
do it fast!
EXT. AT THE AIRPLANE - DAY
DUKE SCREECHES UP in front of the DESERT AIR 727. GONZO JUMPS
OUT -- HEADS FOR THE PLANE.
DUKE watches him go -- RELENTS.
GONZO stops -- turns.
Don't take any guff from those swine.
Remember, if you have any trouble
you can always send a telegram to
the Right People.
Yeah... Explaining my Position. Some
asshole wrote a poem about that
Probably good advice, if you have
shit for brains.
GONZO turns and RACES TOWARDS THE STEPS JUST AS HE IS ABOUT
TO ENTER THE PLANE HE PAUSES AND LOOKS BACK... SMILES... AND
LEANS FORWARD AND VOMITS.
There he goes -- one of God's own
prototypes -- a high powered mutant
of some kind never even considered
for mass production. Too weird to
live and too rare to die.
DUKE watches for a second then ROARS AWAY. PULL BACK WITH
THE WHITE SHARK -- LEAVING THE AIRPLANE FAR BEHIND.
INT. FLAMINGO HOTEL SUITE/APOCALYPSE - NIGHT
On the TV an airplane soars thru the sky. Pull back to find
DUKE barricaded in GONZO'S BEDROOM. He is typing on his
We are all wired into a survival
trip now. No more of the speed that
fueled that 60's. That was the fatal
flaw in Tim Leary's trip. He crashed
around America selling "consciousness
expansion" without ever giving a
thought to the grim meat-hook
realities that were lying in wait
for all the people who took him
DUKE records like A WAR CORRESPONDENT. The CAMERA slowly
rises -- DUKE alone in the room with the TV SPEWING OUT IMAGES
OF WARS AND CIVIL UNREST OF THE 90'S.
All those pathetically eager acid
freaks who thought they could buy
Peace and Understanding for three
bucks a hit. But their loss and
failure is ours too. What Leary took
down with him was the central illusion
of a whole life-style that he helped
RISING HIGHER -- THE WALLS OF THE ROOM APPEAR TO BY 20 TO 30
FEET HIGH. DUKE SEEMS TO BE AT THE BOTTOM OF A WELL... THE
CAMERA RISES UP THROUGH BROKEN TIMBERS...
...a generation of permanent cripples,
failed seekers, who never understood
the essential old-mystic fallacy of
the Acid Culture: the desperate
assumption that somebody... or at
least some force -- is tending the
light at the end of the tunnel.
HIGHER STILL -- DUKE ALONE IN THE ROOM -- AN ISOLATED BOX
SURROUNDED BY THE TWISTED METAL AND RUBBLE AND SMASHED NEON
SIGNS OF THE DEAD CITY -- A BLASTED LANDSCAPE WITHOUT LIGHT --
SHARDS OF A CIVILIZATION.
EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY - DAY
A BURNING FLARED-OUT SUN. The camera pans down to DUKE DRIVING
THE WRECKED WHALE. A piece of the fence flies out of the
back seat as he takes a bump.
There was only one road back to L.A.
US Interstate 15, just a flat-out
high speed burn through Baker and
Barstow and Berdoo, then on to the
Hollywood Freeway straight into
frantic oblivion: safety, obscurity,
just another freak in the Freak
DUKE sees THE HARDWARE BARN, A RUSTIC OLD FARM BUILDING facing
the road with a single gas pump outside and a neon sign that
DUKE PULLS OFF THE ROAD and parks. Gets out and walks in.
INT. HARDWARE BARN - BAKER, CALIFORNIA - DAY
DUKE enters the DARK, CLUTTERED INTERIOR. Scattered all about
the store are BITS OF AMERICANA... OLD BARRELS, WAGON WHEELS,
WOODEN YOKES. A STUFFED HORSE HANGS FROM THE RAFTERS. The
sunlight shafts through high windows. AN OLD MAN is repairing
an iron pot-bellied stove near the wooden bar. A NORMAN
ROCKWELL PAINTING... ONLY REAL.
What'll you have?
DUKE can't quite believe this place -- too good to be true.
THE PROPRIETOR serves the ale up ice cold. DUKE SMILES AND
Hard to find it served like this
As he drinks, DUKE toys with a rack of key chains -- LITTLE
AMERICAN ICONS... A REMINGTON COWBOY, A BUGS BUNNY, A TWEETY
PIE, BETTY BOOP, A BASEBALL PLAYER. The logo on the rack
reads: AMERICAN DREAM KEY RINGS.
Where ya comin' from, young man?
A great town, that Vegas. I bet you
had good luck there. You're the type.
I know. I'm a triple Scorpio.
That's a fine combination. You can't
A LOVELY GIRL appears. Seeing DUKE, she smiles. CAN THIS
REALLY BE HIS LUCKY DAY? She approaches him... and...
KISSES THE PROPRIETOR.
(caught off guard...
Oh, my God!...
This is my granddaughter...
(leans forward in
...and I'm actually the District
Attorney from Ignoto County.
Just another good American like
A MOMENT. THE PROPRIETOR'S SMILE DISAPPEARS.
Wordlessly the PROPRIETOR and his GRANDDAUGHTER go to the
back of the store -- GET ON WITH THEIR WORK -- IGNORING DUKE.
WHO FEELS ASHAMED.
DUKE puts some money down on the bar and SLOWLY LEAVES.
EXT. HARDWARE BARN - DAY
A CHASTENED DUKE approaches the vomit streaked WHITE WHALE.
Gets in -- sits there -- deflated -- miserable...
A state bus draws up across from the Hardware Barn.
Somberly, DUKE watches as TWO YOUNG MARINES with duffel bags
step off -- chatting like TRUE BROTHERS...
DUKE switches on the ignition. Something rolls off the
trembling dash... DUKE catches it...
ONE SINGLE BEAUTIFUL AMYL CAPSULE...
DUKE CRACKS THE AMYL -- INHALES. THE RUSH MAKES HIM GASP --
TEETH BARED LIKE A MADMAN.
DUKE GUNS THE ENGINE with a laugh -- leans out -- YELLS AT
GOD'S MERCY ON YOU SWINE!
DUKE ROARS AWAY. AN AMERICAN FLAG FLIES UP FROM THE DEBRIS
IN THE BACK SEAT, MADLY UNFURLING ITSELF AS IT SNAGS ON THE
CONVERTIBLE-TOP FRAME OF THE TRASHED WHITE WHALE!
The TWO MARINES look after him CONFUSED.
EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY
DUKE drives fast -- TEETH GRITTED IN FROZEN ECSTASY!!
DUKE CRANKS UP THE TAPE RECORDER.
My heart was filled with joy. I felt
like a monster reincarnation of
Horatio Alger... a man on the move...
and just sick enough to be totally
The WHITE WHALE WIPES THE SCREEN BLACK.
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