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Crime Fiction is Silly
[ The Writer of The Kool-Aid Wino ]

Early on a lazy Sunday afternoon I stopped whatever I was doing (not much to be sure) and was shocked by my brain dredging up a name that I hadn't thought of in years : Richard Brautigan. It ' came at me like a thunderbolt'. It was 'completely out of the blue'. It was also 'way too weird to mention'. And so on ad infinitum. Last time I saw his name was on a tattered paperback that I'd stolen from my high school library (but more of that later). 

Brautigan was an LSD and marijuana drenched writer, linked to the Beats and the nascent San Fransiscan psychedelic scene. He wrote funny, slightly off beat novels, short stories and poems with wonderfull titles like 'Trout Fishing In America' and 'A Confederate General from Big Sur' that had somehow interesting cover photos with the author posing stoicially (in typical late 60's garb reflecting a US pioneering spirit) next to different women that he'd obviously had sex with. And these books had a lot of sex in them - at least it seemed like a lot for someone (like…ummmm, let's say. me, for example) who actually hadn't had sex at the stage of reading the books. 

But I can honestly say that it wasn't prurience which made me love them. My friend Lindsay and I found a couple of the novels in our High School library, tucked away in some far corner where the Dewey decimal system put them. We picked them up, scanned the covers with rabid eyes and instantly wanted them - 'like a thunderbolt', I suppose. Borrowing them from the library just wasn't good enough for some reason - we had to have them in our possession forever more. So we tucked them down our trousers and left the library : we got away with it too. We took them home, read them, then swapped them, then read them again and again until, finally, Lindsay had just about enough and gave his one to me. I just didn't care that I was depriving my school 'mates' of the priviledge of reading such glorious books - they were mine, mine, all mine. [Please see this for more light fingered adventures with literature]. 

Ofcourse, after remembering all this, I got on the Internet and looked him up - which is often a mistake. [Have a read of this for a sample of his style which, I think, must have thoroughly infected me without me knowing it]. 

It turns out that this much loved writer of gloriously humorous and all too human books lost most of his friends in the late 70s as he slowly turned into an absolute arsehole and, in 1989, he commited suicide with a gun shot to the head. 

I suppose there's gotta be a moral in there for all nascent Cranky Old Bastards like me.

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