I bought him brandy at Enrico's in San Francisco, and
so he talked:
My name is Chuck Cody, I'm a fisherman, and I'm 59
years old, but I look ten years younger with all my
black wavy hair. I have spent three years growing my
beard, and I like drinking brandy.
I have epilepsy because I drink. My hair hides the
scars from epilepsy. My hands have large scars, too.
The scars there come from stingrays. I got eight
stitches here, five here, one there.
That stingray, he slapped me, so I slapped him back
with my other hand. He got me again.
That soundthat paddy wagon sound makes me nervous.
You know how Indians gets treated.
I am a Sioux Indian. I was born in Texoma. Grew up on
the Delta in Louisiana. Grew up fishing for catfish.
Before I came here to San Francisco, I was in the
Florida Keys. The sand fleas left me scarred on the
When I fish for white bass, I make $45 a day.
I still fish for shrimp. Fat shrimp, that is. I won't
tell you my bait. But I go out to the mudflats. Two
hours later I got boxes. I caught 180 pounds
I know how to cadge a meal. I know where to get
loaves of bread free or free steaks, too. A hundred
years ago I would have been a pioneer. Instead I was
a saddle tramp and a bum.
I drove taxicab in Chicago. Yellow Cab.
I was driving along Lake Shore Drive, got two little
old ladies in the back seat. I seen this jetty
sticking out. Hell, I did it. I drove off the jetty
into eight feet of water.
I didn't get fired. My boss, he couldn't fire me. I
owed him a hundred bucks. Boss ain't gonna fire you
if you owe him money.
My wife—I was married for thirty-seven years. We
worked the cotton fields
together. She's dead now. She was riding her horse
and my dog ran between
the horse's legs. She fell off and started spitting
She and my dog—When she steps on his tail, she
would cuss him in Indian and then in Italian. I don't
know where the Italian came from.
She likes drinking brandy, too. She'd come on to you,
then say, Can you give me a ride to the bus terminal?
Then she'd borrow five bucks, but then she would buy
you a drink.
My dog was part wolf. Lemme tell you, you treat women
like your dog. Not as some souvenir, not as a pet.
You treat her as a companion.
I get misty. I'm still repeating myself. I reach out
in bed. Aw, forget it. She was gone. I went out and
looked at the full moon instead. Yeah, I get
I went to a funeral in Diego. Indian funeral. Real
rare Indian he was. He was going bald. Going bald for
an Indian's like losing your manhood.
He sliced his own throat just for going bald.
No guts to do that.
Bury me standing up and facing east. I want the
largest processional of Caddys they can find.
I want an Indian burial. It's in my will that I'll be
facing east. It's insured. Eight feet down and two
feet from the bottom.
Can you give me a ride to the East Bay Terminal?
(He borrowed five bucks, then he bought me a drink.)
I gotta get home. I'm suppose to show up at Al's
Liquors in Oakland at 5 am. I'll be on the boat by 6
Want to know my secret?
Come by the Lorraine by DiMaggio's at Fisherman's
Wharf. It's the third boat, the one with LA plates.
LA is Louisiana.
My bait is a sardine can slightly opened up. Sardine
oil, that's what brings the shrimp.
Come by and I'll buy you a brandy.