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Part 2 of Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan


And this is a very small cookbook for Trout Fishing in America

as if Trout Fishing in America were a rich gourmet and

Trout Fishing in America had Maria Callas for a girlfriend

and they ate together on a marble table with beautiful candles.

Compote of Apples

Take a dozen of golden pippins, pare them

nicely and take the core out with a small

penknife; put them into some water, and

let them be well scalded; then take a little

of the water with some sugar, and a few

apples which may be sliced into it, and

let the whole boil till it comes to a syrup;

then pour it over your pippins, and garnish

them with dried cherries and lemon-peel

cut fine. You must take care that your

pippins are not split.

And Maria Callas sang to Trout Fishing in America as

they ate their apples together.

A Standing Crust for Great Pies

Take a peck of flour and six pounds of butter

boiled in a gallon of water: skim it off into

the flour, and as little of the liquor as you

can. Work it up well into a paste, and then

pull it into pieces till it is cold. Then make

it up into what form you please.

And Trout Fishing in America smiled at Maria Callas as

they ate their pie crust together.

A Spoonful Pudding

Take a spoonful of flour, a spoonful of

cream or milk, an egg, a little nutmeg,

ginger, and salt. Mix all together, and

boil it in a little wooden dish half an hour.

If you think proper you may add a few

currants .

And Trout Fishing in America said, "The moon's coming

out." And Maria Callas said, "Yes, it is."

Another Method of Making Walnut Catsup

Take green walnuts before the shell is

formed, and grind them in a crab-mill,

or pound them in a marble mortar.

Squeeze out the juice through a coarse

cloth, and put to every gallon of juice

a pound of anchovies, and the same

quantity of bay-salt, four ounces of

Jamaica pepper, two of long and two of

black pepper; of mace, cloves, and

ginger, each an ounce, and a stick of

horseradish. Boil all together till

reduced to half the quantity, and then

put it into a pot. When it is cold, bottle

it close, and in three months it will be

fit for use.

And Trout Fishing in America and Maria Callas poured

walnut catsup on their hamburgers.


Mooresville, Indiana, is the town that John Dillinger came

from, and the town has a John Dillinger Museum. You can

go in and look around.

Some towns are known as the peach capital of America or

the cherry capital or the oyster capital, and there's always

a festival and the photograph of a pretty girl in a bathing suit.

Mooresville, Indiana, is the John Dillinger capital of America.

Recently a man moved there with his wife, and he discovered

hundreds of rats in his basement. They were huge, slowmoving

child-eyed rats.

When his wife had to visit some of her relatives for a few

days, the man went out and bought a .38 revolver and a lot

of ammunition. Then he went down to the basement where

the rats were, and he started shooting them. It didn't bother

the rats at all. They acted as if it were a movie and started

eating their dead companions for popcorn.

The man walked over to a rat that was busy eating a friend

and placed the pistol against the rat's head. The rat did not

move and continued eating away. When the hammer clicked

back, the rat paused between bites and looked out of the corner

of its eye. First at the pistol and then at the man. It was a kind

of friendly look as if to say, "When my mother was young she

sang like Deanna Durbin. "

The man pulled the trigger.

He had no sense of humor.

There's always a single feature, a double feature and an

eternal feature playing at the Great Theater in Mooresville,

Indiana: the John Dillinger capital of America.


I had heard there was some good fishing in there and it was

running clear while all the other large creeks were running

muddy from the snow melting off the Marble Mountains.

I also heard there were some Eastern brook trout in there,

high up in the mountains, living in the wakes of beaver darns.

The guy who drove the school bus drew a map of Grider

Creek, showing where the good fishing was. We were standing

in front of Steelhead Lodge when he drew the map. It was

a very hot day. I'd imagine it was a hundred degrees.

You had to have a car to get to Grider Creek where the

good fishing was, and I didn't have a car. The map was nice,

though. Drawn with a heavy dull pencil on a piece of paper

bag. With a little square for a sawmill.



How the Cobra Lily traps insects is a ballet for Trout Fishing

in America, a ballet to be performed at the University of

California at Los Angeles.

The plant is beside me here on the back porch.

It died a few days after I bought it at Woolworth's. That

was months ago, during the presidential election of nineteen

hundred and sixty.

I buried the plant in an empty Metrecal can.

The side of the can says, "Metrecal Dietary for Weight

Control, " and below that reads, "Ingredients: Non-fat milk

solids, soya flour, whole milk solids, sucrose, starch, corn

oil, coconut oil, yeast, imitation vanilla, " but the can's only

a graveyard now for a Cobra Lily that has turned dry and

brown and has black freckles.

As a kind of funeral wreath, there is a red, white and

blue button sticking in the plant and the words on it say, "I'm

for Nixon."

The main energy for the ballet comes from a description

of the Cobra Lily. The description could be used as a welcome

mat on the front porch of hell or to conduct an orchestra

of mortuaries with ice-cold woodwinds or be an atomic

mailman in the pines, in the pines where the sun never shines.

"Nature has endowed the Cobra Lily with the means of

catching its own food. The forked tongue is covered with

honey glands which attract the insects upon which it feeds.

Once inside the hood, downward pointing hairs prevent the

insect from crawling out. The digestive liquids are found in

the base of the plant.

"The supposition that it is necessary to feed the Cobra

Lily a piece of hamburger or an insect daily is erroneous. "

I hope the dancers do a good job of it, they hold our

imagination in there feet, dancing in Los Angles for Trout

Fishing in America.


The autumn carried along with it, like the roller coaster of

a flesh-eating plant, port wine and the people who drank that

dark sweet wine, people long since gone, except for me.

Always wary of the police, we drank in the safest place

we could find, the park across from the church.

There were three poplar trees in the middle of the park

and there was a statue of Benjamin Franklin in front of the

trees. We sat there and drank port.

At home my wife was pregnant.

I would call on the telephone after I finished work and say,

"I won't be home for a little while. I'm going to have a drink

with some friends. "

The three of us huddled in the park, talking. They were

both broken-down artists from New Orleans where they had

drawn pictures of tourists in Pirate's Alley.

Now in San Francisco, with the cold autumn wind upon

them, they had decided that the future held only two directions:

They were either going to open up a flea circus or commit

themselves to an insane asylum.

So they talked about it while they drank wine.

They talked about how to make little clothes for fleas by

pasting pieces of colored paper on their backs.

They said the way that you trained fleas was to make them

dependent upon you for their food. This was done by letting them

feed off you at an appointed hour.

They talked about making little flea wheelbarrows and

pool tables and bicycles.

They would charge fifty-cents admission for their flea circus.

The business was certain to have a future to it. Perhaps they

would even get on the Ed Sullivan Show.

They of course did not have their fleas yet, but they could

easily be obtained from a white cat.

Then they decided that the fleas that lived on Siamese

Cats would probably be more intelligent than the fleas that

lived on just ordinary alley cats. It only made sense that

drinking intelligent blood would make intelligent fleas.

And so it went on until it was exhausted and we went and

bought another fifth of port wine and returned to the trees

and Benjamin Franklin.

Now it was close to sunset and the earth was beginning to

cool off in the correct manner of eternity and office girls

were returning like penguins from Montgomery Street. They

looked at us hurriedly and mentally registered: winos.

Then the two artists talked about committing themselves

to an insane asylum for the winter. They talked about how

warm it would be in the insane asylum, with television, clean

sheets on soft beds, hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes,

a dance once a week with the lady kooks, clean clothes a

locked razor and lovely young student nurses.

Ah, yes, there was a future in the insane asylum. No

winter spent there could be a total loss.


I walked down one morning from Steelhead, following the

Klamath River that was high and murky and had the intelligence

of a dinosaur. Tom Martin Creek was a small creek with cold,

clear water and poured out of a canyon and through a culvert

under the highway and then into the Klamath.

I dropped a fly in a small pool just below where the creek

flowed out of the culvert and took a nine-inch trout. It was

a good-looking fish and fought all over the top of the pool.

Even though the creek was very small and poured out of a

steep brushy canyon filled with poison oak, I decided to

follow the creek up a ways because I liked the feel and

motion of the creek.

I liked the name, too.

Tom Martin Creek.

It's good to name creeks after people and then later to

follow them for a while seeing what they have to offer, what

they know and have made of themselves.

But that creek turned out to be a real son-of-a-bitch. I

had to fight it all the God-damn way: brush, poison oak and

hardly any good places to fish, and sometimes the canyon

was so narrow the creek poured out like water from a faucet.

Sometimes it was so bad that it just left me standing there,

not knowing which way to jump.

You had to be a plumber to fish that creek.

After that first trout I was alone in there. But I didn't

know it until later.


The two graveyards were next to each other on small hills

and between them flowed Graveyard Creek, a slow-moving,

funeral-procession-on-a-hot-day creek with a lot of fine

trout in it.

And the dead didn't mind me fishing there at all.

One graveyard had tall fir trees growing in it, and the

grass was kept Peter Pan green all year round by pumping

water up from the creek, and the graveyard had fine marble

headstones and statues and tombs.

The other graveyard was for the poor and it had no trees

and the grass turned a flat-tire brown in the summer and

stayed that way until the rain, like a mechanic, began in the

late autumn.

There were no fancy headstones for the poor dead. Their

markers were small boards that looked like heels of stale bread:

Devoted Slob Father Of

Beloved Worked-to-Death Mother Of

On some of the graves were fruit jars and tin cans

with wilted flowers in them:


To the Memory

of John Talbot

Who at the Age of Eighteen

Had His Ass Shot Off In a Honky-Tonk

November 1, 1936

This Mayonnaise Jar

With Wilted Flowers In It

Was Left Here Six Months Ago By His Sister

Who Is In

The Crazy Place Now.

Eventually the seasons would take care of their wooden

names like a sleepy short-order cook cracking eggs over a

grill next to a railroad station. Whereas the well-to-do

would have their names for a long time written on marble

hers d'oeuvres like horses trotting up the fancy paths to the sky.

I fished Graveyard Creek in the dusk when the hatch was on

and worked some good trout out of there. Only the poverty of

the dead bothered me.

Once, while cleaning the trout before I went home in the almost

night, I had a vision of going over to the poor graveyard and

gathering up grass and fruit jars and tin cans and markers and

wilted flowers and bugs and weeds and clods andgoing home

and putting a hook in the vise and tying a fly with all that stuff

and then going outside and casting it up into the sky, watching it

float over clouds and then into the evening star.
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