The book is about Hunter S. Thompson being commissioned to follow the 1980 Honolulu Marathon for a magazine called "Running." He meets his friend Ralph Steadman there, who flies to Hawaii with his family [Note: Steadman is the famous English artist that is responsible for most of the illustrations in Thompson's work, including the illustrated copy of "The Curse of Lono"]. Before he arrives in Hawaii, he meets an obscure character on the plane and we're introduced to him right away with yet another great opening line to a novel by Thompson:
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like 'I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . .' And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming, 'Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?'"