seventh strawberry

... shows movies in your head

12 strawberries
    Reading ... (The Hawkline Monster)
is like watching a movie
you believe it as long as it happening.
    Bruce Cook

1

They crouched with their rifles in the pineapple field, watching a man teach his son how to ride a horse. It was the sommer of 1902 in Hawaii.

They hadn't said anything for a long time. They just crouched there watching the man and the boy and the horse.

»I can't do it,« Greer said.

»It's a bastard all right,« Cameron said.

»I can't shoot a man when he's teaching his kid how to ride a horse.« Greer said. »I'm not made that way.«

2

One of the Logan brothers sat in a chair drinking a can of beer. Another one lay on the bed in the cheap hotel room reading a comic book. From time to time he laughed out loud. The aging wallpaper looked like the skin of a snake. His laughter rattled off the walls.

The third brother paced back and forth in the room, which was a slight feat in itself because the room was so small. He was displeased by his brother laughing at the comic book. He thought that his brother should not abandon himself to such easy pastimes.

»Where are those God-damn bowling trophies?« he yelled.

The Logan brother on the bed dropped his comic book in surprise and the one drinking beer stopped the can in mid-flight to his mouth and turned it into the statue of a beer can.

They stared at their brother who was still pacing impossibly in the tiny room.

3

»This is a murder weapon,« said Rink, dropping the letter opener on his desk. »It was found in a prostitute's back early this morning. No clues. Only her body in a doorway and this.«

»The murderer was confused,« I said. »Somebody should have taken them to a stationary store and pointed out the difference between an envelope and a whore.«


»The Hawkline Monster« (1) from 1974 is the first new novel after the best-seller »Trout Fishing«, because »The Abortion« still belongs to the series, which is arisen until 1966 by the option contract with Grove Press.

The sub-title »A Gothic Western« shows, which way Richard Brautigan goes during the 70's. He goes through trivial literature, writes books like B-Movies, books, from which one can draw Comic Strips without any problem. Such books do not fit however into the media image of the literary voice of the Hippie generation.


1

Miss Hawkline sat naked on the floor of a room filled with musical instruments and kerosene lamps that were burning low. She was sitting next to a harpsichord. There was an unusual light on the keys of the harpsichord and there was a shadow to that light.

Coyotes were howling outside.

The lamp-distorted shadows of musical instruments made exotic patterns on her body and there was a large wood fire burning in the fireplace. The fire seemed almost out of proportion but its size was needed because the house was very cold.

There was a knock at the door of the room.

2

John's key opened the front door lock and Pat pushed the door open. Across the room was the darkened outline of Willard like a dwarf tree and the religiously glowing bowling trophies.

The click of the light switch exploded Willard and the trophies into their full presence and the glory in that presence.

Willard looked curious. Sometimes the expression on Willard's face would change. He was artfully constructed.

»Hi, Willard,« Pat said. »You would have loved Greta Garbo. Hey, we should have taken Willard to see Greta Garbo.«


»Willard and his Bowlingtrophies« (2) from 1975 is a very versatile book. It is visual, critical, funny, masterly, sad and it has a true core. Willard and his bowlingtrophies are not an invention of Richard Brautigan. Willard is a papier mâché bird created by the artist Stanley Fullerton, which Richard Brautigan and his friend of many years Price Dunn put towards each other for keeping in a type of game. The collection of bowlingtrophies belongs likewise to Price Dunn (Abbott, p.17).

Also Richard Brautigan knows someone, who possesses the Greek Anthology, which the saddest figure of the book likes so enthusiastically: He himself possesses this collection of old Greek poems and fragments.

 

3

»I want you to steal a body from the morgue.«

She didn't say anything else.

She had very blue eyes. Even in the semidarkness of the car the blue was easy to see. Her eyes were staring at me. They waited for me to respond. ...

»Sure,« I said. »If the money's interesting enough I'll have Abraham Lincoln's body on your doorstep tomorrow with the morning paper.«

That was exactly what she wanted to hear. ...

» How does a thousand dollars sound?« she said.

»For a thousand dollars«, I said, »I'll bring you a whole cemetery.«


»Dreaming of Babylon« (3) is in 1977 the last game by Richard Brautigan with trivial literature. His privat eye parody probably offers the kaputtest of all kaputt private detective figures. He surely does not re-establish his literary reputation thereby. Keith Abbott quotes from a critique »... this ramshackle mass of bad jokes, stupid ideas, and plain nonsense.« (p.74).

The 70's do not go well for Richard Brautigan. He does not offer what one expects from him after "Trout Fishing". He writes funny books, so nobody takes him seriously, even in war ...

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