Every resident of San Francisco appreciates in their own way the difficult and sometimes fickle weather of San Francisco that shifts from cold to hot back to cold quickly and usually without notice. Today we’ve been lucky with a full day of sun, spring, and even girls in shorts and hills blanketed in warm rays – an escape from the more windy and foggy days. To remind you how quick the weather can shift – we invite you to read a short story from the Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan.
The Weather in San Francisco by Richard Brautigan
IT was a cloudy afternoon with an Italian butcher a pound of meat to a very’ old woman, but who knows
what such an old woman could possibly use a pound meat for?
She was too old for that much meat. Perhaps she had it for a bee hive and she had five hundred golden bees
at home waiting for the meat, their bodies stuffed with honey.
“What kind of meat would you like today?” the butcher said. "We have some good hamburger. It’s lean.
“I don’t know,” _she said. "Hamburger is something else. "
“Yeah, it’s lean. I ground it myself. I put a lot of meat in it.”
“Hamburger doesn’t sound right,” she said.
“Yeah,” the butcher said. “It’s a good day for hamburger. Look outside. It’s c1oudy. Some of those clouds
have rain in them. I’d get the hamburger,” he said.
“No,” she said. “I don’t want any hamburger, and I don’t think it’s going to rain. I think the sun is going to come out, and it will be a beautiful day, and I want a pound of liver.”
The butcher was stunned. He did not like to sell liver to old ladies. There was something about it that made him very nervous;. He didn’t want to talk to her any more.
He reluctantly sliced a pound of liver off a huge red chunk and wrapped it up in white paper and put it into a brown bag. It was a very unpleasant experience for him.
He took her money, gave her the change, and went back to the poultry section to try and get a hold of his
By using her bones like the sails of a ship, the old woman passed outside into the street. She carried the liver as if it were victory to the bottom of a very steep hill.
She climbed the hill and being very old, it was hard on her. She grew tired and had to stop and rest many
times before she reached the top.
At the top of the hill was the old woman’s house: a tall San Francisco house with bay windows that reflected a cloudy day.
She opened her purse which was like a small autumn field and near the fallen branches of an old apple tree,
she found her keys.
Then she opened the door. It was a dear and trusted friend. She nodded at the door and went into the house
and walked down a long hall into a room that was filled with bees.
There were bees everywhere in the room. Bees on the chairs. Bees on the photograph of her dead parents. Bees on the curtains. Bees on an ancient radio that once listened to the 1930s. Bees on her comb and brush.
The bees came to her and gathered about her lovingly while she unwrapped the liver and placed it upon a cloudy silver platter that soon changed into a sunny day.
First published in 1971, Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970, a collection of sixty-two stories, was Brautigan’s first published collection of stories.
Revenge of the Lawn is a book of short stories written by the American author Richard Brautigan from 1962-1970. Like most of Brautigan’s works, the stories are whimsical, simply themed, and often surreal.
The Revenge of the Lawn is available at Revolver San Francisco