In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar.

I live near iDEATH. My shack is made from watermelon sugar. I was getting attuned to nature. There are watermelon fields nearby. Bridges, rivers, greenery all cover the landscape.

Margaret. Someone was at my door. I didn’t respond as I didn’t care. Finally, they left the house and crossed the bridge, making a sound.

My Name. I do not have a regular name. I am a mystery to you. I wished Margaret would leave me alone.

Fred. Fred came to my door and we chatted. He came from Watermelon Works and wanted me there tomorrow. Fred was my good buddy. Pauline would be cooking tonight. Fred took out an object and I didn’t know what it was too. Fred thought of showing it to Charley, who was knowledgeable. Fred didn’t step on the board, unlike Margaret.

Charley’s Idea. I started writing again. We were at Charley’s. I wrote about a lot of things. Something bad used to happen to inBOIL and its gang. I wrote about my life in watermelon sugar. I liked Pauline. Apparently, the Forgotten Works was a scary place, so was it piles.

Sundown. It was time for dinner. The Gentle Cricket. I made a statue of my deceased mum and a cricket a long time ago.

Lighting the Bridges. I ventured into the woods now. Old Chuck was about to light lanterns on the real and abandoned bridge. Even though he was ill, he wanted to occupy his time. The lanterns were shaped of a child and of a trout. Pauline made Old Chuck promise not to tell me what the dinner was.

iDEATH. I returned to my shack and there was no one there. Almost everyone was in the kitchen, including Charley, Fred and Pauline. Pauline was cooking stew. Her dress was made from watermelon sugar. People suspected Margaret of conspiring with the gang and didn’t like her.

The Tigers. Old Chuck feel asleep and dreamt that tigers were back again. However, they could play musical instruments. Pauline didn’t believe him.

More Conversation at IDEATH. I held Pauline’s hand. She was curious about my book. Fred found something in the Forgotten Works but didn’t show it.

A lot of good nights. Charley would spend the night with Pauline. Vegetables. It is a small town. Many statues suddenly appeared of plants and fruits. Everyone didn’t know what the statutes meant.

Margaret Again. I didn’t care how she felt. Pauline and Margaret were good friends and it was a pity to see them like that. Now, I headed to her shack.

Pauline’s Shack. Her shack was made of watermelon sugar. We rarely sleep at iDEATH. We made out in her shack.

The Tigers Again. We started talking about the tigers. In the past, people killed all the tigers. I was a little upset and headed for a long walk.

Arithmetic. Watermelon is cooked into sugar in the Watermelon works. The tigers ate my parents in the past. The tigers said they didn’t hurt children and they could talk. They admitted they had to eat to keep themselves alive. They helped me with my maths. Charley liked them too.

We’re awfully sorry we had to kill your parents and eat them. Please try to understand. We tigers are not evil. This is just a thing we have to do. – Tiger

I was now sleeping with Pauline again. A Lamb at False Dawn. Pauline liked to talk in her sleep. She smelt nice.

The Watermelon Sun. The air outside was dusty and grey. Each day, the sun would change colour and affect the watermelon skin. Pauline wanted to cook me breakfast after she woke up. We held hands.

Margaret Again, Again. Margaret was my ex. Margaret and Pauline used to be very close.

Strawberries. A girl left strawberries behind. She told Pauline where to get the best watermelons.

The Schoolteacher. Fred and I visited Watermelon Works to see the plank press. We chatted with a schoolteacher. He was interested in my book. During our conversation, Fred managed to connect with the children.

Under the Plank Press. We saw the factory process. Edgar and Pete worked in the place. They were making golden planks. We both crawled under the press and saw a bat hanging upside down.

Until Lunch. I joined Fred for lunch. The Tombs. I went to the river to see people putting in a new tomb. The Tomb Crew were at work. It was to be placed at the bottom of the river to bury the dead. In the past, tigers attacked and killed people. The trout were staring at the burial process.

The Grand Old Trout. The Grand Old Trout could be identified from its iDEATH batch. He liked to watch the tombs being placed in. I observed the trout.

Nine Things. I threw away a note Margaret left me. I started planting potato seeds in the garden. The tigers liked my statues.

Margaret Again, Again, Again. The board where Margaret used to step on was gone. A Nap. I decided to take a nap. I dreamt of the gang at inBOIL.

Whiskey. The gang lived near Forgotten Works. inBOIL hated living in iDEATH. A lot of digging was going on in the Forgotten Works. People who worked with them would be paid in whiskey.

Whiskey Again. inBOIL was a 50 year old man. Later he began mad for no reason. The Big Fight. Charley and inBOIL had a big fight one night. inBOIL’s laughter was too loud and he was drunk all the time. One day, he criticized iDEATH and wanted to leave. inBOIL was actually Charley’s brother.

Time. The men there were perpetually drunk. Margaret came to visit one day. She wanted to visit the Forgotten Works and poke around. She said the men were harmless. At that time, we were still in good terms.

The Bell. I was making a bell. Pauline was going to make us dinner.

The Forgotten Works. It is a huge place with no end in sight. Margaret and I explored the Forgotten Works.

A Conversation with Trash. We met inBOIL and chatted with him. All the men were very messed up. It was a massive place. In There. We were afraid of being lost. There were no plants or animals there at all. Later I saw an ice frozen thumb with a hump on it.

The Master of the Forgotten Works. Margaret had not found anything she liked yet. We continued following inBOIL. We climbed among the piles. Margaret smiled at him. The forgotten things were the size of inBOIL.

The Way Back. Margaret had a lot in her basket now. Margaret could sense I was mad at her.

Something is Going to Happen. Margaret continued heading to the Forgotten Works. Nowadays, she headed to the place herself. Why did she like to go there?

Rumours. inBOIL criticized the way things were at iDEATH. There were rumours that we were sissies. I confronted inBOIL. He and his gang were drunk and nonsensical as usual. The Way Back Again. Margaret thought the items were cute.

Dinner that Night. Everyone didn’t eat well because they were fearful of inBOIL. They were afraid of being killed. Pauline was a little suspicious.

Pauline Again. I was very upset at Margaret. Pauline painted a setting of iDEATH that was years ago. I was impressed by it.

Faces. I started towards my shack. We killed the last tiger and burned its body at iDEATH.

Shack. My lantern was lit by lighting watermelon-trout oil. The Girl with the Lantern. I caught a glimpse of a lantern faraway. It was a girl. I couldn’t make out who it was. I didn’t bother seeking her out to find out who she was.

Bacon. Margaret was not present at that time. Later, inBOIL was at the door and demanded to see everyone. As usual he was drunk. He demanded to visit the hatchery. Charley agreed.

You people think you know about iDEATH. You don’t know anything about it. We’re going to show you what iDEATH is really about. – inBOIL

An Exchange. Pauline was furious at the way inBOIL was. The Trout Hatchery. The hatchery was built after the last tiger was killed.

The tigers were the true meaning of iDEATH. Without the tigers there could be no iDEATH and you killed the tigers and so iDEATH went away, and you’ve lived here like a bunch of clucks ever since. I’m going to bring back iDEATH. – inBOIL

inBOIL’s death. He pulled out a knife. He cut off his thumb and threw it in the river. All of his gang did that. Later, inBOIL decided to cut off his nose. They all cut off their noses now. Pauline was mad with anger. Later, it would be their ears. The hatchery was filled with blood. Everyone was bleeding to death. inBOIL proclaimed: This is iDEATH. Finally, just before he died, he proclaimed that he was iDEATH.

Wheelbarrow. We all cleaned up the place. A Parade. We didn’t want the bodies in iDEATH. Pauline suggested bringing them to the Forgotten Works and burning them. Later, we all worked towards the Forgotten Works, and carried the bodies in the wagons.

Bluebells. Everyone was relieved that the gang was dead. I pressed my body against Pauline.

Margaret Again, Again, Again, Again. She suddenly appeared. Margaret couldn’t believe the gang was dead. She didn’t know a thing. Now, she appeared in utter shock.

Shack Fever. Charley lit the bodies. Later, the ashes were scattered in the wind.

I met Fred at a café. Fred and Doc were doing fine. We all ordered meat loaves. Apple Pie. Fred thought I was still mad at Margaret. She seemed heartbroken and upset over Pauline and I. I still suspected she had links with inBOIL.

The Way. I didn’t have motivation to write and headed to the Statue of Mirrors instead.

The Statue of Mirrors. I could see how everyone was doing from this statue. Margaret was crying. Later, she committed suicide.

The Grand Old Trout Again. Margaret was dead. The Grand Old Trout was staring at me. Later after a swirl of water, I could spot him anymore.

Getting Fred. Margaret hung herself from an apple tree. We wanted to let her brother know. The Wind Again. Fred wondered why she killed herself.

Margaret’s Brother. Fred and I informed him about her death. ‘It’s for the best. Nobody’s to blame. She had a broken heart.’ Margaret’s Brother. We went to pick up her body.

Necklace. We wrapped her in a bedspread that had iDEATH printed on it.

Couch. Pauline was sobbing profusely. It was clear she liked Margaret. Pauline felt a little guilty and thought that it was because she liked me and that made Margaret upset.

Margaret’s Room. The funeral would be held tomorrow morning. She would be buried and the tomb crew would assist. Her room would be bricked up and closed forever.

Bricks. We realized that her room was filled with things from the Forgotten Works. Her brother didn’t want to take anything and wanted the whole place bricked up. The forgotten things would be sealed off forever.

My Room. Pauline was undressed in my room.

The Girl with the Lantern Again. I had difficulty sleeping. I went for a walk. Since we were together, Pauline seldom went for a long walks with the lantern.

Margaret Again, Again, Again, Again, Again. I went to the hatchery to see Margaret’s body. The trout had difficulty sleeping.

Good Ham. Pauline cooked for us breakfast. It was the day of the funeral.

Escutcheon. It was the funeral now. Over 30 or 40 people came. We carried her body to the steps of iDEATH. The silence was deafening.

The Tomb Crew. The Tomb Crew sealed up the glass door of the tomb. We paid our proper respects.

The Dance. Everyone engaged in waltz to commemorate the event. We all started waltzing.

Their Instruments Playing. People from all over town came to dance. The musicians had their instruments ready.



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