A River Runs Though It, the backstory (Wash Post)

herkileez

WFF Supporter
He wondered how it would all go. The expat would know what came first. Was it the loud time? Or the bad time? In the hot he knew the angry time was like a comma. Something he did not want to use. But sometimes, he had to. He did not like hafting to do anything. Except fish. Or watch bullfighting. Or drinking with Chromers. Fishing was a good time. The best time. Even in the hot he wondered if this was now the good time. Soon he knew when the sun did not rise but instead fell that it would be the somber time. He watched chromers drink a bottle of Pliny. He watched the beads of water form up on the bottle.

He knew Roger Stephens would say it. He would say it on a day like today. It is too hot to fish. That is what Roger Stephens would say and he would be right and his being right meant no fishing. Which meant the chances of bad time would only be lowered by absinthe.
 
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dustinchromers

Active Member
He wondered how it would all go. The expat would know what came first. Was it the loud time? Or the bad time? In the hot he knew the angry time was like a comma. Something he did not want to use. But sometimes, he had to. He did not like hafting to do anything. Except fish. Or watch bullfighting. Or drinking with Chromers. Fishing was a good time. The best time. Even in the hot he wondered if this was now the good time. Soon he knew when the sun did not rise but instead fell that it would be the somber time. He watched chromers drink a bottle of Pliny. He watched the beads of water form up on the bottle.

He knew Roger Stephens would say it. He would say it on a day like today. It is too hot to fish. That is what Roger Stephens would say and he would be right and his being right meant no fishing. Which meant the chances of bad time would only be lowered by absinthe.

It was dawn. The hot Havana sun had yet to rise over the green tops of the land where they relented to the blue glass mirror of the morning sea. Chromers was weary. He had not slept well. Last night was the bad time. And today was fishing time, the good times, so he thought. Ernest was still snoring half on the couch and half on the floor. The green bottle lay next to him, depleted, empty, and spent like the man lying next to it. The bottle and the little green fairy within it had given its gift of chaos which only intensified as the cool Cuban moon rose to hang low like a testicle in the sky. Low and languishing in the evening heat.

Ernest in the cool night ran hot. His temper flared as he challenged all comers at the Wormwood Cafe to fist fights and other feats of strength. Chromers was beginning to grow weary of minding and indulging these episodes. Ernest did however promise billfish on the fly come morning. Chromers was willing to put up with some bullshit for that. But now as the new dawn was upon them Ernest was still in the bad time. Chromers liked good times. He liked good times so much that he squandered much of himself in search of them. The bad times were in the hot Havana heat and the green bottle. The good times were just beyond the blue glass ribbons dancing on the sands. Chromers grabbed his rod and headed toward the beach. It was time for the good times even if that meant going it alone.
 

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
WFF Supporter
Chromers walked like a bullfighter carrying a fishing rod. He did not walk like an ambulanceman carrying the Partisan along a dry river full of rocks and clay and dead fish. A boy walked beside him. The boy called to him in his kid voice,

"Cabron"
"Hey, Cabron, Ola."
"Ola, Cabron."


Chromers looked at the boy. The boy had a skin condition. The boy tugged Chromer's Black Flag t-shirt. The boy did not look like the American woman he had seen in the hotel. Chromers was glad he could tell the difference between the American woman, who was beautiful and had breasts, and the boy, who did not. The boy was small and was a child. The boy had a skin condition and was calling him Cabron. He knew what it meant. It did not mean anything beautiful. The woman was beautiful like a bullfighter with perfect skin and bullfighter breasts, if there was such a thing. But she had left days ago.

Ernest talked about big two-hearted Michigan bullfighter breasts. Then he talked about bitches. Oils from the sardines were hardening in his beard. Chromers watched them turn opaque. Chromers did not like that word, bitches. He knew it told more about the person that said it than it ever did about who they were describing. Then Ernest called Chromers a serious leper. Earnest was not good and Ernest was drunk.

Then Ernest called him Cabron. Called Cabron more than twice in six hours. The boy called him the same again and again. Like a bullfighter with a cape. The boy taunted Chromers oblivious to Chromers knowledge of bad time. Oblivious of his mastery of the angry time. The boy did not know how Chromers knew the inconsequence of separatists fighting partisans who might have been fascists and whose mothers and friends thought they were communitsts. All of them oblivious to Chromers, a bull in the ring, who was an American but not an expatriot and without breasts and yet still male. But not a boy either.

"Hey, Cabron."
"Ole ....Ole.....Cabroneole"


"What hell is this?" Chromers said.

The boy stopped following him. The boy had legs that oozed liquids that were different to what a partisan shot in the gut leaks.

Chromers could see the beach. He could see the fish also rising. He could see the sun pushing up through thunderheads that stretched towards the Keys. Pilar would fish out there where the albatross flew and there would be billfish. And there would also be sharks. The bells were tolling.

The beach had children on it. Some were asleep. Chromers carried a rod. His white non-oozing legs settled into the sand. They made little regular noises as he stepped like the fascists did when they were hung one-by-one in the town square. The children awoke. They called to him:

"Cabron, hola..."

First one. And then many.

They all had skin conditions. Like the French he had met in Algiers. He did not think they were lepers. They were just French. Ernest Called Chromers Cabron and then he called Chromers a Nairobi Leper the night prior. Ernest slurred the words. But he said it.

Nairobi leper.

Chromers did not know what he meant, but he did not think the description fit. This was definitely becoming a bad time. It looked like it would be a good time. He should have left when the American woman with the breasts left. She was beautiful and not a bitch. He was correct in thinking the bad time could become the worse time. He planned much of his life around these possibilities, as anyone sane does. Then Ernest punched the waiter because there were no more sardines and no more bullfighters with beautiful skin and breasts. He called the waiter a Leper too. A dozen drinks is all you need to get Ernest to call everyone a leper.

And now in the morning all the Cuban children were calling him Cabron.

He had had enough

He said to the children.

No! No soy un Cabron..... Soy un...Soy un leproso......Soy un leproso.... de Nairobi

The children stepped back right as the bells tolled.

Chromers though it but did not say it: That's right you little shits, the bells toll for thee

The children swung away, like bullfighters pivoting from a horn. They left him alone, He made his way to the beach unmolested by anything other than his thoughts. Maybe this was going to be the good time...Chromers, the Nairobi Leper, without breasts or sardines, from America, would fish the morning sunrise.
 
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Driftless Dan

Driftless Dan
WFF Supporter
I subscribe to the WP, so saw this the day it was published - it'll be interesting to see if the son's writing is up to the standards of the father.
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
@Chris Scoones when are you going to start selling threads as NFT’s? I’d like to bid on this one, any others with boot’s writing, SealSkinz, Toney Pro, bobo, the “call you mother thread”, all threads where the first post in a newbie asking for a spot (always great reads) and Old Man’s first post to start.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
Chromers walked like a bullfighter carrying a fishing rod. He did not walk like an ambulanceman carrying the Partisan along a dry river full of rocks and clay and dead fish. A boy walked beside him. The boy called to him in his kid voice,

"Cabron"
"Hey, Cabron, Ola."
"Ola, Cabron."


Chromers looked at the boy. The boy had a skin condition. The boy tugged Chromer's Black Flag t-shirt. The boy did not look like the American woman he had seen in the hotel. Chromers was glad he could tell the difference between the American woman, who was beautiful and had breasts, and the boy, who did not. The boy was small and was a child. The boy had a skin condition and was calling him Cabron. He knew what it meant. It did not mean anything beautiful. The woman was beautiful like a bullfighter with perfect skin and bullfighter breasts, if there was such a thing. But she had left days ago.

Ernest talked about big two-hearted Michigan bullfighter breasts. Then he talked about bitches. Oils from the sardines were hardening in his beard. Chromers watched them turn opaque. Chromers did not like that word, bitches. He knew it told more about the person that said it than it ever did about who they were describing. Then Ernest called Chromers a serious leper. Earnest was not good and Ernest was drunk.

Then Ernest called him Cabron. Called Cabron more than twice in six hours. And now the boy called him the same, again and again.

"What hell is this?" Chromers said.

The boy stopped following him. The boy had legs that oozed liquids that were different to what a partisan shot in the gut leaks.

Chromers could see the beach. He could see the fish also rising. He could see the sun pushing up through thunderheads that stretched towards the Keys. Pilar would fish out there where the albatross flew and there would be billfish. And there would also be sharks. The bells were tolling.

The beach had children on it. Some were asleep. Chromers carried a rod. His white non-oozing legs settled into the sand. They made little regular noises as he stepped like the fascists did when they were hung one-by-one in the town square. The children awoke. They called to him:

"Cabron, hola..."

First one. And then many.

They all had skin conditions. Like the French he had met in Algiers. He did not think they were lepers. They were just French. Ernest Called Chromers Cabron and then he called Chromers a Nairobi Leper the night prior. Ernest slurred the words. But he said it.

Nairobi leper.

Chromers did not know what he meant, but he did not think the description fit. This was definitely becoming a bad time. It looked like it would be a good time. He should have left when the American woman with the breasts left. She was beautiful and not a bitch. He was correct in thinking the bad time could become the worse time. He planned much of his life around these possibilities, as anyone sane does. Then Ernest punched the waiter because there were no more sardines and no more bullfighters with beautiful skin and breasts. He called the waiter a Leper too. A dozen drinks is all you need to get Ernest to call everyone a leper.

And now in the morning all the Cuban children were calling him Cabron.

He had had enough

He said to the children.

No! No soy un Cabron..... Soy un...Soy un leproso......Soy un leproso.... de Nairobi

The children stepped back right as the bells tolled.

Chromers though it but did not say it: That's right you little shits, the bells toll for thee

The children swung away, like bullfighters pivoting from a horn. They left him alone, He made his way to the beach unmolested by anything other than his thoughts. Maybe this was going to be the good time...Chromers, the Nairobi Leper, without breasts or sardines, from America, would fish the morning sunrise.

I would teach from this book in English class if I were a teacher. Simply fantastic application of the iceberg theory. A wonderful full work that transports me to Cuba and the bad times.
 

miller special

Active Member
I wake this morning at the crack of dawn and reach for that increasingly time consuming tool with the orange screen. As I read this thread, I chuckle. I have to pee, I look out the window at the river as the morning mist shrouds the water. Makes me want to fish. Passing the bookshelf I notice the works of Hemingway and McLean side by side. I imagine the two next to one another on barstools , "what are you doing here? " Hemingway demands. " C'mon man, the movie! the movie! " states McLean. I keep moving, pulling on my clothes, head thru the garage, pulling on wadin'boot and grabbing the garage rod. As I head to my favorite hole, I can't believe my eyes. I don't know the man but there in my favorite hole is Chromers, in fact he is in every hole both up and down river. I ask my self "what is going on here?" Then it comes to me.... the movie, that fuckin movie!
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
Chromers walked like a bullfighter carrying a fishing rod. He did not walk like an ambulanceman carrying the Partisan along a dry river full of rocks and clay and dead fish. A boy walked beside him. The boy called to him in his kid voice,

"Cabron"
"Hey, Cabron, Ola."
"Ola, Cabron."


Chromers looked at the boy. The boy had a skin condition. The boy tugged Chromer's Black Flag t-shirt. The boy did not look like the American woman he had seen in the hotel. Chromers was glad he could tell the difference between the American woman, who was beautiful and had breasts, and the boy, who did not. The boy was small and was a child. The boy had a skin condition and was calling him Cabron. He knew what it meant. It did not mean anything beautiful. The woman was beautiful like a bullfighter with perfect skin and bullfighter breasts, if there was such a thing. But she had left days ago.

Ernest talked about big two-hearted Michigan bullfighter breasts. Then he talked about bitches. Oils from the sardines were hardening in his beard. Chromers watched them turn opaque. Chromers did not like that word, bitches. He knew it told more about the person that said it than it ever did about who they were describing. Then Ernest called Chromers a serious leper. Earnest was not good and Ernest was drunk.

Then Ernest called him Cabron. Called Cabron more than twice in six hours. And now the boy called him the same, again and again.

"What hell is this?" Chromers said.

The boy stopped following him. The boy had legs that oozed liquids that were different to what a partisan shot in the gut leaks.

Chromers could see the beach. He could see the fish also rising. He could see the sun pushing up through thunderheads that stretched towards the Keys. Pilar would fish out there where the albatross flew and there would be billfish. And there would also be sharks. The bells were tolling.

The beach had children on it. Some were asleep. Chromers carried a rod. His white non-oozing legs settled into the sand. They made little regular noises as he stepped like the fascists did when they were hung one-by-one in the town square. The children awoke. They called to him:

"Cabron, hola..."

First one. And then many.

They all had skin conditions. Like the French he had met in Algiers. He did not think they were lepers. They were just French. Ernest Called Chromers Cabron and then he called Chromers a Nairobi Leper the night prior. Ernest slurred the words. But he said it.

Nairobi leper.

Chromers did not know what he meant, but he did not think the description fit. This was definitely becoming a bad time. It looked like it would be a good time. He should have left when the American woman with the breasts left. She was beautiful and not a bitch. He was correct in thinking the bad time could become the worse time. He planned much of his life around these possibilities, as anyone sane does. Then Ernest punched the waiter because there were no more sardines and no more bullfighters with beautiful skin and breasts. He called the waiter a Leper too. A dozen drinks is all you need to get Ernest to call everyone a leper.

And now in the morning all the Cuban children were calling him Cabron.

He had had enough

He said to the children.

No! No soy un Cabron..... Soy un...Soy un leproso......Soy un leproso.... de Nairobi

The children stepped back right as the bells tolled.

Chromers though it but did not say it: That's right you little shits, the bells toll for thee

The children swung away, like bullfighters pivoting from a horn. They left him alone, He made his way to the beach unmolested by anything other than his thoughts. Maybe this was going to be the good time...Chromers, the Nairobi Leper, without breasts or sardines, from America, would fish the morning sunrise.

As chromers striped the line off his reel into the white hot sand to make his first casts he couldn't help but dwell on the night before. The bad times he thought. The bad times with Ernest used to be the good times. He should be on Ernest's boat hunting billfish and Cuban fascists with the prominent canon Ernest insisted on installing. When did the good times to bad he thought. His casts became longer to reach over the waves to a roosterfish he saw cruising earlier when the children accosted him with their evil childish ways and leper skins. As the line grew longer so too did Chromer's want to be around Ernest in the night times, the bad times. A dozen drinks he thought is all you need for a bad time with Ernest. A dozen drinks for Chromers is a good time, not the bad times. But it was the best of times at times and the worst of times as well. These were complicated times. Fishing was simple. Chromers while a complex man romanticised himself a simple man in his mind. The fish would not bite. A stalk and refusal from the big bull rooster. Was this the harbinger of bad times? Would a male rooster be called a cock fish? Chromers pondered these thoughts alone on the hot sand doing his best to keep his mind on the good times.

He reeled in and began to walk down the beach. Alone with his thoughts Chromers was at peace. Alone in his own head was a place he came often to be at peace. The bell tolled again in the town square. What horror was about to befall some poor soul? Chromers couldn't help but wonder about the bigger things. Just down the beach he could see an old man preparing his simple boat for a trip out to sea. He stopped and spoke with the old man about to go to sea. He told Chromers that the fishing was bad. The bad times were forcing him further out to find marlin and other high prized quarry for market. Chromers commiserated with the old man in the ways men commiserate in bad times. He wished the old man luck and told him to be cautious of both symbolic and real sharks, especially tiger sharks. The old man traded him with a cautionary parable of truth about a man named Kino who had found a pearl as big as one of those leperous children's fist. Chromers didn't want to hear about the children or the pearl. Those were different issues and different stories about different times. Chromers grew tired of the old man's rambling and strolled down the beach with the ominous bell tolling in the background of the music of the day and his mind. Stay in the good times he thought. Stay in the good times. The sand massaged his feet in strange ways and the heat was almost too much for his tender Northwest feet to take. Stay in the good times he thought. The bad times are the hot times. Stay away from the bad times. He adjusted his path to the wet sand lapped by the waves. He could see less being lower down the beach but he could none the less make out a rooster should one show itself. Chromers disappeared into yet deeper thought as the old man set out to sea. Yet two things haunted him in the long hallways of his thoughts. The first was Ernest calling him a Nairobi leper. "Fuck him," thought Chromers. What did it even mean? The second was the American woman with her full breasts and beautiful skin glistening in the hot Havana heat. Not a leper for certain. Why had Ernest called her a bitch? Him doing so made an anger well up in Chromers and his fists grew tight even now at the thought of it. Stay in the good times he thought. The good times, stay with them.
 
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wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
WFF Supporter
As I head to my favorite hole, I can't believe my eyes. I don't know the man but there in my favorite hole is Chromers, in fact he is in every hole both up and down river. I ask my self "what is going on here?"
In terms of Hemingway's "The Good Time" vs " The Bad time" barometer, where does this fit?

Hemingway's psychiatrist(s) treatment plans suggested If it is on the side of bad, pretty much the things Ernest could do to help move his emotional valence the other way were consuming sardines (or anchovies or pulpo) + alcohol with italicized names (doesn't really matter what kind it just needs to be italicized eg Modelo Negra and Pabst Blue Ribbon) and decompressing by watching bullfights with expatriats and partisans.
 
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miller special

Active Member
In terms of Hemingway's "The Good Time" vs " The Bad time" barometer, where does this fit?

Hemingway's psychiatrist(s) treatment plans suggested If it is on the side of bad, pretty much the things Ernest could do to help move his emotional valence the other way were consuming sardines (or anchovies or pulpo) + alcohol with italicized names (doesn't really matter what kind it just needs to be italicized eg Modelo Negra and Pabst Blue Ribbon) and decompressing by watching bullfights with expatriats and partisans.
Probably closer to the side of bad, but I'm fresh out of sardines... Enjoyed your posts!
 

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