FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
Terry Gilliam & Toy Grisoni
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 should drive..."
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
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?
DUCK 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 impressive stash.
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
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
THE RED SHARK RACES INTO THE DISTANCE... on the ground,
weakly flapping is a SEMI-SQUASHED, SLOWLY DYING ANIMAL... A
EXT. FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO LAS VEGAS - DAY
IN THE RED SHARK
GONZO grips the wheel - stares maniacally down the road - a
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 last week...
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
(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
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, shit-eating SMILES.
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
(out loud to himself)
Jesus! Did I say that?
Or just think it? Was I talking?
Did they hear me?
(reassuringly to HITCHHIKER)
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 UNDERSTAND --
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 story!...
(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
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 Lord, 1971.
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
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,
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 out.
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
bellbottoms -- he
This blows my weekend, because
naturally I'll have to go with
you -- and we'll have to arm
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
ticket to Valet)
-- 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.
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
... 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
What?! OF COURSE the gentleman has
a major credit card! Do you
realize who the fuck you're talking
Don't take any guff from these
(GONZO slams the
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 cars.
We won't make the nut unless we
have unlimited credit.
We will. You Samoans are all the
same. You have no faith in the
essential decency of the white
EXT. SUNSET BLVD - DUSK
The PINTO races down street.
The store was closed, but the
salesman said he would wait, if we
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 the pump!
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
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 you?!
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 the sky)
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 old ladies?
(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 means, right?
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
Wait a minute! Come back and have
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 at Duke)
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 the acid.
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 of acid.
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 this climate.
A COUPLE move off and DUKE jerks forward -- stops -- eyes
fixed on the stony FEMALE RESERVATIONS CLERK.
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
Be quiet, be calm... name, rank,
and press affiliation, nothing
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...
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
...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
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 COURSE...
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? WHAT'S NEXT?
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 manoeuvres DUKE away from the desk. DUKE looks
back -- the RESERVATIONS CLERKS is now a MORAY EEL -- green
jowls and fangs.
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 shreds!
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.
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
... 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
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 gonna be.
DUKE screws up his eyes -- WILLS NORMALITY BACK. LACERDA is
now just a keen photographer.L
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 to kill.
A sign by a long trestle table: "KOFFEE & DONUTS." DUKE
walks past -- ignoring the SMILING LADY behind the stall.
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
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 fool
INT. RACE BAR TENT - DAY
A real pit of iniquity. Slot Machines. Crap tables. Smoke.
Drunken shouting. The absolute cream of the NATIONAL
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
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 people.
A silence. A MAGAZINE REPORTER lunges across the bar --
grabs the BARTENDER.
(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.
MAGAZINE REPORTER (CONT'D)
(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 like this.
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
Listen, madam. I'm damn near
intolerably handsome down here
where I am. You'd go crazy if I
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 absurd.
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,
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,
"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. Hired geeks.
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 total coverage.
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
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
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
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,
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 now.
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 lot attendant.
A WINE-COLORED TUXEDO stops them at the entrance to the
Sorry, full house.
Goddamnit, we drove all the way
I said there are no seats left...
at any price.
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-
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 Afro wig?!
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
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
(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 control it.
DUKE and GONZO approach the entrance with elaborate care-
taking one step at a time -- trying to keep ahead of the drug.
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 inside.
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.
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
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
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 Las Vegas.
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
Step right up! Shoot the pasties
off the nipples of this ten-foot
bull-dyke and win a cotton candy
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 The Fear.
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 Main Nerve.
That's what gives me The Fear.
Look over there. Two women fucking
a Polar Bear.
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
OK. I'll lend you some money.
Let's go outside and see how much
we have left.
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
(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, squiting 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
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
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 shoot us.
(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
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 you in?
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 use you.
Mother of God, I thought. Here it
GONZO is TREMBLING BADLY. There's a moment of uncomfortable
I ride the BIG ONES! The really
GONZO shows his teeth to LACERDA. DUKE laughs trying to
defuse the scene.
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 get cut?!
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
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?
towards the door)
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 eyes.
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 Mint Hotel...
DUKE walks past the REPORTER -- into THE CASINO, THE SAD,
MEAGRE 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.
DUKE (V/O; CONT'D)
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
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
DUKE turns off the shower -- notices a HUGE HUNK OF CHEWED
UP WHITE BLOTTER.
You ate ALL THIS ACID?
(turning down the volume)
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
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
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
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 tub)
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
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,
Why worry? You'll like it. Nothing
in the world like a Mace high.
Forty-five minutes on your knees
with the dry heaves...
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
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
Who said anything about slicing you
up? I just wanted to carve a
little Z on your forehead. Nothing
GONZO shrugs and reaches for a cigarette on top of the TV set.
(menaces him with the MACE)
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
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
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
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
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 noise snowstorm.
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
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 rolled back.
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 for it.
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 happen?
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
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 me.
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 with.
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 this situation?
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 dangerous.
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.
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
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
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
(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, you understand.
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
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
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 talk.
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 were doing?!
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
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
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 his thumb.
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
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
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
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
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 never understand.
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
(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
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
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
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
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,
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 Consensual
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 are you?
It just occurred to me, that she
has no witnesses. Anything that
she says about us is completely
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
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
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
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 out.
That's good. You can't be subtle
in this town.
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 or something.
INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - DAY
booming over the
lousy sound system)
On behalf of the prosecuting
attorneys of this county, I welcome
you to the Third National DA's
Conference on Narcotics and
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
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
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.
DR. BLUMQUIST (CONT'D)
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 goddamn cockroach!
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
DUKE and GONZO listen in disbelief.
DR. BLUMQUIST (CONT'D)
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 belong here!
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 inner tension...
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 -- including yours...
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 come from...
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 TAG)
You're another one of these
California boys. Your friend
here's been tellin' us about dope
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 it's witchcraft.
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
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 had M-16s.
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
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
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 too late.
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 Bloody Mary.
(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 nobody's safe.
(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
Cut their goddamn heads off. Every
one of them. That's what we're
doing in California.
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
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 and strong.
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
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
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
Twenty years... and Double
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 DUKE)
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 teeth out...
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; moans)
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
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 human body!
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
(laughs -- struts
round DUKE -- eyes
bright with expectation)
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
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 happens.
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
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
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
A TAIL LASHES, HOOFS STRIKE THE FLOOR. GONZO TOWERS -- A
FLAME RED DEMON!
DUKE is now so wire 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
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.
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 had happened?
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
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
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 door.
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 -- the manager?
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 hate dope!
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
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
Inspector Rock will pay you. In
cash. A thousand dollars on the
ninth of every month.
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, will we?
Whatever you say, gentlemen. I
can't tell you how sorry I am about
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
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
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
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
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
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 a check.
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 ape away.
Goddamnit! What's the bail? I
want that ape! I've already
reserved two first-class seats on
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 to them.
Hey, honkies! Goddamnit, I'm
serious. I want to sell you some
pure fucking smack!
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
Shoot! Fuck! Scag! Blood!
Heroin! Rape! Cheap! Communist!
Jab it right in your fucking
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...
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
The possibility of physical and
mental collapse is very real... No
sympathy for the devil; keep that
in mind. Buy the ticket, take the
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 even hungry.
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 bastard.
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?"
DUKE (V/O CONT'D)
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
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 automatic)
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 at night.
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 plane!
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
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 wildly around.
Goddamnit! We're lost! What are
we doing out here on this
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
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
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
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
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 create...
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
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 flashes beer.
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
I know. I'm a triple Scorpio.
That's a fine combination. You
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... muttering)
Oh, my God!...
This is my granddaughter...
(leans forward in confidence)
... 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
The WHITE WHALE WIPES THE SCREEN BLACK.