There was this movie theater on Geary Street in San Francisco, now long gone. I can’t even remember what movie it was that brought me there that night with a woman who could have been a second or third date, but I do remember that we were inside the theater lobby waiting for the audience of the last show to depart.
As we stood there I happened to look across the room and saw a familiar face. I couldn’t place it right away. I kept looking until I said to myself, “Wait a minute! I know that guy, because he looks exactly as he does on the cover his novel, ‘Trout Fishing in America.’ That’s Richard Brautigan!”
So I said to my date, “You see that guy over there? That’s the writer Richard Brautigan. Have you ever read his work?”
She responded that she hadn’t. I went on to say something like, “He’s a fine writer, and very funny at times. I recently finished one of his novels!”
Not long after that, I came across his obituary: committed suicide at his place in Bolinas, which is about an hour drive from my house.
From then on, whenever I read something by Brautigan, I pictured him standing there in the lobby of that movie theater. Looking exactly as he did on the cover of that book. . .
© 2017 by Jeff Zable