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Part 5 of Trout Fishing in America Analysis



Author: story of Richard Brautigan Type: story Views: 4

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THE SALT



CREEK COYOTES












High and lonesome and steady, it's the smell of sheep down



in the valley that has done it to them. Here all afternoon in



the rain I've been listening to the sound of the coyotes up on



Salt Creek.



  The smell of the sheep grazing in the valley has done it



to them. Their voices water and come down the canyon, past



the summer homes. Their voices are a creek, running down



the mountain, over the bones of sheep, living and dead.



  O, THERE ARE COYOTES UP ON SALT CREEK so the



sign on the trail says, and it also says, WATCH OUT FOR



CYANIDE CAPSULES PUT ALONG THE CREEK TO KILL



COYOTES. DON'T PICK THEM UP AND EAT THEM. NOT



THEY'LL KILL YOU. LEAVE



UNLESS YOU'RE A COYOTE.



THE M ALONE.



  Then the sign says this all over again in Spanish. i AH !



HAY COYOTES EN SALT CREEK, TAMBIEN.   CULDADO



CON LAS CAPSULAS DE CIANURO: MATAN.   NO LAS



COMA; A MENOS QUE SEA VD. UN COYOTE.  I12ATAN.



NO LAS TOQUE.



It does not say it in Russian.



  I asked an old guy in a bar about those cyanide capsules



up on Salt Creek and he told me that they were a kind of pis-



tol. They put a pleasing coyote scent on the trigger (prob-



ably the smell of a coyote snatch) and then a coyote comes



along and gives it a good sniff, a fast feel and BLAM! That's



all, brother.



  I went fishing up on Salt Creek and caught a nice little



Dolly Varden trout, spotted and slender as a snake you'd ex-



pect to find in a jewelry store, but after a while I could think



only of the gas chamber at San Quentin.



  O Caryl Chessman and Alexander Robillard Vistas ! as if



they were names for tracts of three-bedroom houses with



wall-to-wall carpets and plumbing that defies the imagination,



  Then it came to me up there on Salt Creek, capital pun-



ishment being what it is, an act of state business with no



song down the railroad track after the train has gone and no



vibration on the rails, that they should take the head of a



coyote killed by one of those God-damn cyanide things up on



Salt Creek and hollow it out and dry it in the sun and then



make it into a crown with the teeth running in a circle around



the top of it and a nice green light coming off the teeth.



  Then the nitnesses and newspapermen and gas chamber



flunkies would have to watch a king wearing a coyote crown



die there in front of them, the gas rising in the chamber like



a rain mist drifting down the mountain from Salt Creek. It



has been raining here now for two days, and through the trees



the heart stops beating.




















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