2001 FF@ Fiction Contest Winners


1: "Sigmund and George" by Richard Frank

2: "Sierra Vandera" by Bill Schudlich

3: "Back to Her Roots" by Tammy DiGristine


1: "September 6th" by Claude Freaner

Sigmund and George
by Richard Frank

In 1909 Sigmund Freud came to United States to deliver several
lectures in psychotherapy at Clark Institute in Worcester,
Massachusetts.  His lectures were attended by luminaries William
James, Franz Boas, and G. Stanley Hall. This was his only trip to
the new world, and Freud reputedly commented that he thought
America "a big mistake."  Perhaps he really meant that only
Worcester was a big mistake, but we will never know.  Before he
returned home, Freud sent a telegram to his wife.  "Success," was
all he wrote.  So, until recently Freud scholars and historians have
claimed that Freud was pleased about his performance at Clark,
but unimpressed by what he found on this side of the Atlantic.

This widely held perception is currently being challenged by the
recent discovery in Roscoe, NY of a journal entry written in Freud's
hand.  This fragment, discovered in an attic trunk that once
belonged to a chambermaid at the old Antrim. Hotel, has been
translated into English by Prof. Lem Skoorb of the Catskill Institute
of Psychoanalysis and Fly Fishing.  Dr. Skoorb believes that this
short fragment has serious implications for the interpretation of
Freud's later works, and he has kindly consented to allow us to
print his translation here.  An annotated version of the  work will be
published by CIPFF Vanity Press this fall.

* * *

May 7, 1909

800 p.m.

 Following Thursday's lecture I was accosted by a strange young
man who pleaded for my assistance.  He claims to have read all
that I have written, and he claims that he has attempted self-
analysis on several occasions without success.  I asked him how
much he charged himself for treatment.  He didn't get the joke. He
is very intense and obviously deeply troubled.  He asked me to
accompany him to a small town in NY in the hope that I might be
able to better treat him in familiar surroundings.  The prospect of a
long train ride was not appealing, but is much to be preferred over
remaining with the tedious James and Boas in Worcester.  So, I
have given Worchester, er Worcester, the slip. . . .

1100 p.m.

The train ride is long and George has been talking incessantly.  (I
really don't know why everybody insists on talking to me all of the
time?)  Still, he is a decent fellow a fly fisherman who yearns to be
a famous fishing author.  His problem is that of late cannot catch a
fish.  Ha!  That's a good one.  I am beginning to enjoy this.

May 8, 1909

Well, I have discovered a few interesting tidbits.  The first is that
the Catskills, where we are now settled, is called "The Birthplace of
American Fly Fishing."  So, any shmuck can see that this has
something to do with George's problem.  Anyone who fishes in a
metaphorical birth canal is just asking for trouble.  And, he tells me
that his mentor, Theodore Gordon, was the father of American fly
fishing before his death.  Well, there you go.  This putz is trying to
catch fish in the birth canal that his dead father once serviced.
How sick is that?  It's a wonder that he's functioning at all.  Ach,
the guilt!  There is much work to do.  I can't wait.  There must be at
least three books worth of material in this guy.  He is a potential

May 9, 1909

930 a.m.
We didn't fish yesterday. George is not well.  He complains of bad
dreams and fatigue.  I asked him about his dream.  He said that he
dreamt that he was fishing and that in the middle of the dream he
became the fly, and that his father was holding the rod and that the
fish rising below him looked just like his mother.  He feared being
swallowed up by her, but just as she reached him his father pulled
him away and he ended up in a tree branch. His father then broke
the line and left him up there.  He asked me to tell him the
meaning of his dream.  I told him it meant that he should lay
off fried foods after eight in the evening and maybe take a little
bicarbonate before bed.  He looked disappointed.

May 10, 1909

200 p.m.

The water here is smooth and  covered with pink flies.  Fish are
rising everywhere.  Finally, George is making his way down to the
water to fish.  There is a small pig farm across the river.  Several
pigs are lined up at the fence. They oink in a mocking way.  It
almost seems that they understand what is going on, but then it's
hard to tell what pigs are thinking.  I will watch George now.  What
a shlemiel!


When George returned to the bank this afternoon, he asked if there
was anything I could do to help him.  I said that what I had to tell
him wouldn't be of much use if he didn't improve the timing on his

"Is that all?"

"No, no, you'll fix that," I said.  "Your problem is with Gordon."

"I knew it! It's Oedipal!"

"Oedipal, Schmedipal, George.  The problem is that you think of
Gordon as the father of American fly fishing when he is really just a
sissy, Englisher, doppleganger.  Look at his picture with his little
tweedy pants and funny hat, and that silly wicker basket.  What a
hoot!  And look where he fishes.  This is smooth English water.
This is not the rough, tumbling water that I saw from my train
window.  This is English water, George.  No, this is not the image
that I have of the father of American fly fishing."


"No."  He looked confused.  "George, you need to go out and find
turbulent American streams.  You need to fish frothing, tumbling
brooks, and swirling pockets of water.  You need to create
American dry fly fishing.  And then you need to write about it."

"Will, I become the father of American fly fishing, Herr Freud?"

"Grow up, George. Be a mensch!  Gordon has a lock on that
moniker, but what does it matter?  If you write about dry flies in fast
water, some people will be wise enough to recognize the
importance of your contribution."

"I will work hard, Herr Freud.  It's like you said, 'leben und arbeiten,'
love and work.  They are the keys to a happy life!"

"I said that?"


"Ach, is klop mir in kop!  It's time to call my putz editor.  That's
what you get when you rush.  I wrote that love and work and play
are the keys to a happy life.   What happened to play?  Where's
play?  How can you have a happy life without play, George? "

He looked relieved.  That was good. His hour was up.

May 11, 1909

1000 a.m.

The train back to Worcester leaves at noon.  George seems much
better today.  I guess he won't provide as much material as I had
hoped.  Ah well, these Americans are too transparent.   I will wire
Martha when I get back to let her know that my treatment of
another patient has been successful.

* * *

Sigmund Freud returned to Vienna a week later.  In 1914 George
M. L. Labranche published The Dry Fly and Fast Water.


Sierra Vandera

by  Bill Schudlich

 Sierra Vandera Creek.  It's a strange name indeed.  A name that makes 
you think about the history of the area;the geology, and the people that 
came before.  Place names here in the southern rockies are often strange.  
The Spanish explorers that came here hundreds of years ago were far from 
home, searching these mountains with oro filled dreams.   These mountains 
carry the name "San Juan," a testament to the strength of their catholic 
faith so many miles and so many months from the nearest church.
     "Sierra," meaning "mountain" is obvious, but "vandera?"  Where does 
the word come from?  If you live around here long enough, you learn about 
some of the perversions of the Spanish language that have happened over the 
centuries.  Many times "v" and "b" are substituted freely in the American west, 
giving a clue at least to the definition of the word. "Vandera" becomes 
"bandera," and that then translates to "flag."
     Flag Mountain Creek?  Even with the name translated, it leaves many 
questions as to what it really means.  There is no "Flag Mountain" anywhere 
near here, nor any "Sierra Vandera."  Maybe there was a flag on the ridgeline 
several hundred feet up and four hundred years ago.  Maybe there was a flag 
here at the mouth, where the creek dumps into La Rio de las Dolores, the 
River of Sorrows, indicating the easiest way to the top.These are the kinds 
of thoughts that occupy my mind as I shoulder a pack up into these mountains 
is search of some native truchas.  A train of thought like that can get me 
a couples miles up the trail without thinking of the heavy load 
on my weary back.  Hey, it's better than humming the theme song to Gilligan's 
Island to myself over and over again.
     These mountains and rivers mean a lot to me.  They offer incredible 
solitude for the small price of a day's hike.  Many peoples have used this 
wilderness of the last couple millennia, and I'm sure many more will for 
thousands of years into the future.  From the archaic peoples, to the Puebloans, 
to the Spaniards, to the Anglos, many have made there way up this river valley.  
Knowing this adds a certain amount of reverence and respect to the way I 
approach my trips up here.  I'm sure the mountains meant just as much to 
those who have gone before me.
     Once evening arrived, I stopped hiking set up camp.  Several miles in, 
and far away from the all too many people that occupy this land now.  I can't 
really complain though, as I'm one of those people.  
     In the night I dreamed.  A big vibrant dream, most likely induced by 
the nut-filled trail mix I had for dinner; being too tired to set up the 
stove and cook something proper.  I dreamed of Juan Rivera's exploration 
party; of the Spanish explorers who trudged through these mountains so many 
years ago.  I dreamed of the River of Sorrows, of Sierra Vandera Creek, and 
of truchas, many many truchas.
     In my dream I rode with the exploration party.  While in reality they 
probably rode scraggly looking mustangs, in the dream we rode big Andalusian 
stallions, 17 hands high.  The horses were wore elaborately patterned saddles 
and tack adorned with silver conchas.  We were dressed in hammered armor chest 
plates and hats that you typically see in old paintings of the Spaniards that 
rode this land.  I rode with a rod case slung over my shoulder.  My duty was 
to catch fish for the party, and catch fish I did.
     The river of my dream was teeming with big fat fish.  I threw big 
colorful dry flies tied with blue and gold macaw feathers brought with me 
from Mexico. The flies looked like large, oddly colored bivisibles.  The 
fat Colorado River cutthroats smashed these flies without hesitation.  
On every cast a fish took my fly.  Each fish that came to hand had 
bold black spots over a deep gold and green base with brilliant rose-colored 
cheeks.  As I unhooked each fish, I tossed it towards shore where it was hauled 
in by the next man in line.  All the men in the party were queued up waiting for 
their dinner.
     Then it happened.  My line stuck on something.  I thought it was the 
bottom, but as I pulled, it pulled back.  It was an enormous fish maybe four 
feet long, and I could do little to control it.  I would reel in a couple inches 
of line, and it would ploddingly pull the line back out.  I watched its darkly 
colored back as it moved from one deep hole to another, back and forth across 
the stream.  As one arm would tire of fighting this monster, I would switch the 
rod to my other hand.  A raven appeared and landed on my shoulder as I fought 
this huge fish.  Being a dream, I thought nothing of it.  Every time the fish 
would move from one hole to another, the raven would caw.  The fish would move.  
"Caw, caw," belted the raven, the sound ringing in my ear.
     After what seemed like hours, suddenly the fish turned and headed right at me. 
My line went slack as there was no way I could strip it fast enough to keep pace. 
The fish opened its incredibly large mouth and jumped from the stream towards 
the raven still sitting on my shoulder.  I could see the blue and gold bivisible 
was hanging from its jaw.  As the fish flew through the air, a brilliant white 
light washed out my eyesight and I could see nothing.
    I bolted upright in my tent.  The bright sunlight had just crested the ridge,
 hitting my tent and turning night into day.  As I slowly made my way back into 
the real world, the sunlight warmed the tent to the point where I felt 
comfortable facing the day.  
     A raven shouted just outside the tent, "caw, caw."  He was probably eyeing 
up my backpack, wondering what this strange new red object was.
     "Finally!" I said aloud even though there was no one to hear me.  I heard 
the raven spook and fly away to a safer perch.  Today I would get to fish for 
some of those cutthroats.  Maybe, I would even hook into that huge fish in my 
dream. Well, hopefully one of its children.


Back To Her Roots...

by Tammy DiGristine

 She had traveled a long ways. She had left her place in the city and her
rock and roll behind her and had found herself, not by choice, in the
mountains down south. She was back in the country from where she had come.
There were no rock and roll radio stations, there were no clubs. There were
only folks who were not in a hurry, though she was, and she drove behind
them cursing until she coud find a straight place in the road to pass them.
She missed her home. She missed her swamps and the hard core, balls to the
wall world that the saltwater gave her when it was time to unwind and go

 She finally gave up, as the vehicle she was in for work had no cassette
player that she could plug her CD player into and listen to her tunes on and
so she turned it to a country station and turned it up to drown out the
sounds around her. Before she knew it, she was singing along to some of the
older songs. Soon, she was taking her hair down, putting her ball cap on and
rolling the windows down. She looked for the roads on the map that were only
light gray lines and took them. She slowed down. Something was happening,
but she was not yet quite sure what it was.

 The time came to stop for the day and she did so in a rather good sized
city. She thought she knew a place, though. She opened her fishing bag and
got out her fancy fishing clothes. One look at them, though, and she was
repulsed. She could not tell why. She went to her suitcase and grabbed out a
pair of jeans, grabbed her other bag, and a few minutes later, had the
perfect pair of fishing shorts. She would have time to regret ruining her
favorite pair of jeans later. Right now she had some fishing to do. She put
away the fancy shirt and grabbed a big, baggy T shirt she usually slept in
and put it on, along with her old sneaks and left.

 There was no fishing to be done in the city, though, so she turned back and
went down the little gray line of a road about 20 miles to a large pond she
had seen on the way in and thought that a large bass or two MUST live in.
There was a sign on the tree in front of it. NO TRESPASSING.. PRIVATE
PROPERTY, it said. She looked around and finally found the house of the
people who must own it. A knock on the door produced a rather stout woman
who opened the door cautiously. The lady in the house looked at the woman
standing there and smiled. The smile spread to her eyes and the woman knew
it would be ok. She asked the woman in the house if it would be all right if
she fished in their pond, promising that she would not kill any fish and
would not leave anything behind but footprints. The lady in the house smiled
again and said it would be just fine with her. She even told the fisherlady
where she could dig some worms up behind the house in the shade if she would

 Several hours passed. She walked the edge of the pond and made her casts
with her flyrod, occasionally catching a few small bass and some panfish.
She had forgotten that she was on someone's private property until a small
girl about 8 years old finally spoke. "Ma'am," the little girl said, "Mama
said I should bring this glass of iced tea out to you. She says you've been
out here an awful long time and you must be hot and thirsty." The woman
turned and thanked the little girl and drank the tea so as not to be
impolite. She wondered if that was a hint to make herself scarce, but was
soon answered when the mother herself came down and started talking to her.

 The woman asked the fisherlady how she was doing and told her that her
husband always did better later in the day and that it would only get
better. She said it was nice watching the fisherlady cast her flies, as she
had only before seen it on the television and had never seen anyone
flyfishing in real life. She told the flyfisher that she hoped she would
stay long enough to meet her husband. She then left.

 The flyfisher kept on fishing, stopping now and then to sit on the pond's
edge and rest. It was not long before an old pick-up truck pulled into the
drive. At about the same time, a good sized fish had taken her fly and it
was a few minutes before she hauled in the 6 pound bass. She was happy. She
had known all along that a good sized bass lived in there, and the woman in
the house had been right, it was better fishing later. She was just about to
make another cast when another kid came out, this one a boy child of about
14. He looked at the woman fishing in their pond and smiled and said to her,
"Mama said dinner is ready and she would like you to come up the house." The
fisherlady thought for sure that now it was time to go home, as the family
would not want someone fishing in their pond while they were eating their
dinner and getting ready to settle in for the night. Once again she was

 As she put her stuff into her vehicle, the man came out on the porch and
told her to hurry up and get in the house, dinner was going to get cold. The
fisherlady walked up the steps and into the house, once again, not sure what
to expect, but not wanting to offend. She was directed to a bathroom where
she could wash up and then to a seat a big long table in the dining room
where the family was gathered. A fine country meal was laid out upon it. She
could not believe her luck. This would be the best meal she had eaten in a
long time. Fast food was all she was used to.

 She took her seat and bowed her head out of respect as the boy child led
them in grace. The mother then made a fuss about piling her plate high with
food. They sat and ate in silence, only speaking when asking someone else to
pass something over to them. When dinner was done, the children got up and
cleared the table while the mother got up to make coffee and tea.
Afterwards, everyone returned to the table and the talk began. It seemed as
if this was an every night occurence and the flyfisher woman was honored to
be included. The kids talked about their day, the parents talked about
theirs, they asked the stranger about her life, her work, her fishing, her
town. The parents talked about their days. The kids talked to their parents
about their worries, their problems, their dreams.

 The woman finally got up to leave after a fine dessert was served an hour
after tea. She thanked the family for their hospitality and got in her van
and drove away. As she hit the road, she found herself passing up a rock and
roll station and looking for a country station on the radio. She took off
the hat and shook her hair loose and rolled the window down and sang along
loudly with the radio. She had changed for a moment, though she knew that
when she got back home, it would be rock and roll and lights and swamps for
her again. For now, though, she felt a different kind of peace. She drove
on. Tomorrow would be a long day for her, and she had used up most of her
sleeping time sitting around that big table...

 She got back to the hotel and she got out her fishing journal. In it, she
wrote the following words... "Today I fished a pond in a little town. I
caught several bass and a lot of panfish. Life is good. Somehow, though, I
think the world would be a better place if there were just more big tables."

Tammy DiGristine
Copyright 2001
All rights reserved.

September 6th

by  Claude Freaner

The engine stops.  Silence...
but for the "tick, tick, tick" of the cooling metal.
The breeze gently flowing through the window,
ruffles my hair, cools my brow.
I can see the warm ripe grain on my left,
insects flying here and there.
To my right, the little stream beckons.

I don my gear waders, boots, vest, hat;
turn and stare at the edge of the grain
small hoppers leaping, bounding, flying.
The fly of the day selected, I plod to the water.

Sitting, observing  insects flying, hoppers jumping,
stream gurgling past the rock,
whispering as it moves past the fallen tree,
wind sighing gently in the trees behind me.

There!  By the rock, beneath the overhanging tree
a small disturbance in the smooth flow of water,
spreading slowly in concentric rings of sparkling light
as it moves downstream with the current.

Again!  And Again!  Steady, rhythmic, the fish feeds.
The food...what is the food?
There! A mayfly, drying it's wings.
Then a hopper, struggling in the water larger ripples!

Slowly, ever so slowly, I arise from my rock,
crouching, quietly moving to the water's edge.
Small stream here, barely fifteen feet across.
Quietly pull some line from the reel;
one chance - that's all!

Check behind for room - an opening in the trees.
Slowly step back from the water's edge a bit,
strip out another few feet of line.
Cast parallel to the water,
load the rod, turn slightly, cast across.

The hopper floats slowly, slowly.
Gentle twitch just a bit.
Six more inches and the hopper is gone
sucked down; a hopeful meal.

The rod is lifted, gently, pointed downstream;
the line tightens, the water explodes!
Bright droplets, sprayed all over,
half-hides the golden yellow and brown that quickly dives.

The line stops, then pulses the quarry sulks,
shaking its head.  I wait, one heartbeat, then ten.
An easy twitch the water erupts, more spraying drops!
The leaping, the springing - a ballet of nature.

Tiring, it comes closer.
A gentle scoop with the net, a final thrashing wiggle,
the dancer rests, depleted.
A quick removal of the now-bedraggled hopper,
a gentle push into the current
The tail flips, hard, the fish disappears;
my glasses now spotted with the water,
I turn and head back to the car.
Enough.  I am content.