Course Hero. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Sep. 2017. Web. 16 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/>.
Course Hero. (2017, September 26). Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide." September 26, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/.
Course Hero, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Study Guide," September 26, 2017, accessed July 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fear-and-Loathing-in-Las-Vegas/.
Dr. Gonzo catches a morning flight back to Los Angeles. Duke misses his turn off for the airport and ends up on the freeway, which runs parallel to the main runway. Dr. Gonzo is frustrated and fears he will miss his flight. Duke assures him and he has never missed a flight yet, except once in Peru. He says he stayed in the bar chatting with a Bolivian drug dealer and heard the plane engines starting. He made a run for the flight, but the airport cops stopped him and beat him. He woke up later in a bar in downtown Lima with his luggage. He went to sleep and caught the flight the next day.
Dr. Gonzo is not interested in stories about Peru right now. Duke takes drastic action. He drives the Cadillac down the median between the freeway lanes, across the oncoming lane, and through a field. He runs over a fence but gets Dr. Gonzo to his plane. Dr. Gonzo makes Duke drop him off behind a van so no one sees how he got there. However, there is no sign that anyone is alarmed. Duke wonders if this sort of thing is typical in Las Vegas.
Duke believes their only hope at avoiding arrest is that no one in a position to punish them would believe the things they have done in Las Vegas. Las Vegas tends to punish petty criminals, such as Duke's neighbor who spent a week in jail for vagrancy, but larger felonies often go unnoticed. The neighbor describes being kept in a cell with 75 other guys and a cab driver who might have shot him if he had moved on the way to the airport. The neighbor vows never to return to Nevada.
He relates the story about his missed flight in Peru to illustrate even in the worst-case scenario, things tend to work out okay for him. After days of fear and paranoia about the room at the Mint, the drug conference, and Lucy, Duke is beginning to realize he has gotten away with a lot. He credits his brazen manner and the scale of his misdeeds with enabling him to get away with them. By contrast, people who come to Las Vegas and get picked up for minor offenses see time in jail and large fines.
Duke's magnificent drop-off for Dr. Gonzo at the airport provides a perfect example of how Duke's rule-breaking sees few consequences, and how the more brazen his actions the less people seem to notice. Duke decides this is simply how Las Vegas works. In a sense, this is also how America works. Large scale crimes sometimes are caught and prosecuted, but just as often, they tend to go unnoticed or covered. Everyday offenses are the ones that take people down.
The airport drop-off also shows a role-reversal for Dr. Gonzo and Duke. For much of the narrative, Dr. Gonzo has been irrational, often near the point of psychosis, and violent while in the throes of drugs. He is reasonably sober as he heads back to work in Los Angeles, and now he is the rational one in the duo. He worries about making his flight, but he also expresses terror at Duke's means of getting him to his plane. The guy in the bathtub with a knife in Part 1 would likely have a different reaction.