“I Thought You Were a Trout Stream”

From Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America:

The next morning I got up early and ate my breakfast. I took a slice of white bread to use for bait. I planned on making doughballs from the soft center of the bread and putting them on my vaudevilliean hook.
I left the place and walked down to the different street corner. How beautiful the field looked and the creek that came pouring down in a waterfall off the hill.
But as I got closer to the creek I could see that something was wrong. The creek did not act right. There was a strangeness to it. There was a thing about its motion that was wrong. Finally I got close enough to see what the trouble was.
The waterfall was just a flight of white wooden stairs leading up to a house in the trees.
I stood there for a long time, looking up and looking down, following the stairs with my eyes, having trouble believing.
Then I knocked on my creek and heard the sound of wood.
I ended up by being my own trout and eating the slice of bread myself.
The reply of Trout Fishing In America:
There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t change a flight of stairs into a creek. The boy walked back to where he came from. The same thing once happened to me. I remember mistaking on old woman for a trout stream in Vermont, and I had to beg her pardon.
“Excuse me,” I said. “I thought you were a trout stream.”
“I’m not,” she said.

via wood s lot

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