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Part 2 of Trout Fishing in America



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.
PROLOGUE TO GRIDER CREEK 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.
GRIDER CREEK 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.
THE BALLET FOR TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA 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.
A WALDEN POND FOR WINOS 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.
TOM MARTIN CREEK 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.
TROUT FISHING ON THE BEVEL 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: Sacred 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.

Poem by Richard Brautigan
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