An extract from Richard Brautigan, *Trout fishing in America* (1967, written 1961). I clipped this today having just found a pdf copy online, arbitrarily because it's set in Brautigan's childhood - his first trout fishing expedition - in Portland Oregon . . and Portland is where Ward Cunningham lives and works. Download here pdf ---
**KNOCK ON WOOD (PART TWO)** From Richard Brautigan, *Trout fishing in America* One spring afternoon as a child in the strange town of Portland, I walked down to a different street corner, and saw a row of old houses, huddled together like seals on a rock. Then there was a long field that came sloping down off a hill. The field was covered with green grass and bushes. On top of the hill there was a grove of tall, dark trees. At a distance I saw a waterfall come pouring down off the hill. It was long and white and I could almost feel its cold spray. There must be a creek there, I thought, and it probably has trout in it. Trout.
At last an opportunity to go trout fishing, to catch my first Trout, to behold Pittsburgh.
It was growing dark. I didn't have time to go and look at the creek. I walked home past the glass whiskers of the houses, reflecting the downward rushing waterfalls of night.
The next day I would go trout fishing for the first time. I would get up early and eat my breakfast and go. I had heard that it was better to go trout fishing early in the morning. The trout were better for it. They had something extra in the morning. I went home to prepare for trout fishing in America. I didn't have any fishing tackle, so I had to fall back on corny fishing tackle. Like a joke.
Why did the chicken cross the road? I bent a pin and tied it onto a piece of white string.
And slept. 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 dough balls from the soft center of the bread and putting them on my vaudevillian 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 an 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.