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Part 3 of Trout Fishing in America Analysis



Author: story of Richard Brautigan Type: story Views: 5

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TROUT DEATH BY PORT WINE





It was not an outhouse resting upon the imagination.

  It was reality.

  An eleven-inch rainbow trout was killed. Its life taken

forever from the waters of the earth, by giving it a drink of

port wine.

  It is against the natural order of death for a trout to die

by having a drink of port wine.

  It is all right for a trout to have its neck broken by a fisherman

and then to be tossed into the creel or for a trout to die from

a fungus that crawls like sugar-colored ants over its body

until the trout is in death's sugarbowl.

  It is all right for a trout to be trapped in a pool that dries

up in the late summer or to be caught in the talons of a bird

or the claws of an animal.

  Yes, it is even all right for a trout to be killed by pollution,

to die in a river of suffocating human excrement.

  There are trout that die of old age and their white beards

flow to the sea.

All these things are in the natural order of death, but for

a trout to die from a drink of port wine, that is another thing.

No mention of it in "The treatyse of fysshynge wyth an

angle," in the Boke of St. Albans, published 1496. No mention

of it in Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream, by H. C. Cutcliffe,

published in 1910. No mention of it in Truth Is Stranger than Fishin',

by Beatrice Cook, published in 1955. No mention of it in

Northern Memoirs, by Richard Franck, published in 1694.

No mention of it in I Go A-Fishing, by W. C. Prime, published

in 1873. No mention of it in Trout Fishing and Trout Flies, by Jim

Quick, published in 1957. No mention of it in Certaine Experiments

Concerning Fish and Fruite, by John Taverner, published in 1600.

No mention of it in A River Never Sleeps, by Roderick L. Haig Brown,

published in 1946. No mention of it in Till Fish US Do Part, by Beatrice

Cook published in 1949. No mention of it in The Flyfisher & the

Trout's Point of View by Col. E.W.Harding, published

in 1931. No mention of it in Chalk Stream Studies, by Charles

Kingsley, published in 1859 No mention of it in Trout Madness

by Robert Traver, published in 1960.

  No mention of it in Sunshine and the Dry Fly, by J. W.

Dunne, published in 1924. No mention of it in Just Fishing,

by Ray Bergman, published in 1932. No mention of it in Matching

the Hatch by Ernest G. Schwiebert, Jr,, published in 1955. No mention

of it in The Art of Trout Fishing on Rapid Streams by H. C. Cutcliffe,

published in 1863. No mention of it in Old Flies in New Dresses by

C.E. Walker, published in 1898 No mention of it in Fisherman's

Spring, by Roderick L, Haig-Brown, published in 1951.

No mention of it in The Determined angler and the Brook Trout,

by Charles Bradford, published in 1916. No mention of it in Women

Can Fish by Chisie Farrington, published in 1951. No mention

of it in Tales of the Angler's El Dorado New new Zeland

by Zane Grey, published in 1926. No mention of it in The Flyfisher's

Guide, by G.C. Bainbridge, published in 1816.

  There's no mention of a trout dying by having a drink of

port wine anywhere.

  To describe the Supreme Executioner: We woke up in the

morning and it was dark outside. He came kind of smiling

into the kitchen and we ate breakfast.

Fried potatoes and eggs and coffee.

  "Well, you old bastard, " he said. "Pass the salt. "

  The tackle was already in the car, so we just got in and

drove away. Beginning at the first light of dawn we hit the

road at the bottom of the mountains, and drove up into the

dawn.

  The light behind the trees was like going into a gradual

and strange department store.

  "That was a good-looking girl last night, " he said.

"Yeah, "I said. "You did all right. "

"If the shoe fits....."  he said.

  Owl Snuff Creek was just a small creek, only a few miles

long, but there were some nice trout in it. We got out of the

car and walked a quarter of a mile down the mountainside to

the creek I put my tackle together. He pulled a pint of port

wine out of  his pocket and said wouldn't you know."

"No thanks," I said.

He took a good snort and then shook his head, side to side,

and said, "Do you know what this creek reminds me of?"

"No," I said, tying a gray and yellow fly onto my leader.

"It reminds me of Evageline's vagina, a constant dream

of my childhood and promoter of my youth."

"That's nice," I said.

"Longfellow was the Henry Miller of my childhood," he

said.

"Good," I said.

I cast into a little pool that had a swirl of fir needles going

around the edge of it. The fir needles went around and around.

It made no sense that they should come from trees. They looked

perfectly contented and natural in the pool as if the pool had

grown them on watery branches.

  I had a good hit on my third cast, but missed it.

  "Oh, boy, " he said. "I think I'11 watch you fish. The stolen

painting is in the house next door. "

  I fished upstream coming ever closer and closer to the

narrow staircase of the canyon. Then I went up into it as if

I were entering a department store. I caught three trout in

the lost and found department. He didn't even put his tackle

together. He just followed after me, drinking port wine and

poking a stick at the world.

  "This is a beautiful creek, " he said. "It reminds me of

Evangeline's hearing aid. "

  We ended up at a large pool that was formed by the creek

crashing through the children's toy section. At the beginning

of the pool the water was like cream, then it mirrored out

and reflected the shadow of a large tree. By this time the

sun was up. You could see it coming down the mountain.

  I cast into the cream and let my fly drift down onto along

branch of the tree, next to a bird.

  Go-wham !

  I set the hook and the trout started jumping.

  "Giraffe races at Kilimanjaro!" he shouted, and every

time the trout jumped, he jumped.

  "Bee races at Mount Everest !" he shouted.

  I didn't have a net with me so I fought the trout over to

the edge of the creek and swung it up onto the shore.

The trout had a big red stripe down its side.

  It was a good rainbow.

  "What a beauty, " he said.

  He picked it up and it was squirming in his hands.

"Break its neck, " I said.

"I have a better idea, " he said. "Before I kill it, let me

at least soothe its approach into death. This trout needs a

drink. " He took the bottle of port out of his pocket, unscrewed

the cap and poured a good slug into the trout's mouth.

  The trout went into a spasm.

  Its body shook very rapidly like a telescope during an

earthquake. The mouth was wide open and chattering almost

as if it had human teeth.

  He laid the trout on a white rock, head down, and some

of the wine trickled out of its mouth and made a stain on the

rock.

  The trout was lying very still now.

  "It died happy, " he said.

  "This is my ode to Alcoholics Anonymous.

  "Look here !"





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