UnScripts:Fishing with Jim

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Episode I[edit]

Tom Waits, guest star on this episode of Fishing with Jim.

In our first episode noted author and raconteur Jim Harrison takes singer Tom Waits fishing for peacock bass along the Rio Apuaú. Our guide is Porcino "Pete" Aveguila, and our narrator is as always Robb Webb.

At the Hotel[edit]

Jim: Hola, Tom.
Tom: Hi there Jim.
Narrator: Tom and Jim greet each other in the dining room of the rustic sporting lodge upriver from Manaus.
Tom: Say, Jim, is it just me or is there a dead monkey on the buffet?
Jim: It's a dead monkey. But cooked.
Tom: OK.
Jim: It looks kind of underdone though.
Narrator: Tom and Jim are nonplussed by the sophisticated foreign cuisine.
Tom: I'm not going to eat the monkey, Jim.
The fishermen admired the pretty Brazilian women but respected their dignity.
Jim: Me neither. I think they got some lime Jello over there.
Tom: OK.
Narrator: Tom and Jim decide to make the best of it and get a good night's sleep. In the morning the fishermen awaken refreshed.
Tom: Is the monkey still over there, Jim?
Jim: Yeah. They didn't clear it away. Looks like somebody ate the left arm, though.
Tom: Well, I'm just going to have me some corn flakes.
Jim: Those are some good looking melons.
Tom: Yeah. And her legs are real pretty too.
Jim: I'm going to have some corn flakes too, Tom.
Tom: OK, yeah. They say --
Jim: What, Tom?
Tom (pouring milk on cornflakes): They say all these Brazilian women can kick box. What do they call it.
Jim: Capoeira fighting.
Tom: Yeah. You reach for the melons and next thing your chest is concave. Your sternum is sticking out your back.
Jim: You can't touch the melons.
Narrator: Over breakfast the fishermen agree to respect the native people.

Going Upriver[edit]

Narrator: The fishermen take a large riverboat up the Río Negro to the Río Apuaú. Both fishermen are covered with sores and boners.
Jim: You sleep OK, Tom?
A riverboat navigates the treacherous Rio Negro. The slightest mistake could be fatal.
Tom: Well, there was this dog outside. And it kept howling.
Jim: In the street?
Tom: And I looked out the window. And this dog only had two legs, and it was walking around on its back legs.
Jim: No.
Tom: Because those were the only legs it had, Jim.
Jim: I had a bear that lived in my basement.
Tom: And this dog. It was howling. Because it couldn't find its front legs.
Jim: You didn't sleep very good, huh?
Tom: I slept OK.
Narrator: Every fisherman has a story. Often more than one, and sometimes as many as fifteen hundred.
Jim: This bear would come and lay her head on my shoulder. Her breathing sounded like a locomotive.
Narrator: Usually a fisherman's story often has nothing to do with fish. Soon Jim and Tom are joined by their Brazilian guide, Pete.
Pete: Hokay! You guys ready to catch some goddam feesh!
Jim: Sure, Pete.
Pete: Biggest goddam feesh you ever see! Tucunaré, piranha, pirarucu, aruana, eh, catfish, peacock bass...you want cocaine?
Jim: No that's OK, Pete.
Tom: I'm all finished with that stuff, Pete. It just does evil to me.
Pete: Very good cocaine! But you no want, so I go get ready for the feeshing!
Tom: Watch out there --
Narrator: Pete has gone below decks to check out the fishing gear.
Tom: You think he's hurt, Jim? That was about, what, maybe a fifteen foot fall.
Jim: I can hear him moving around.
Pete (thrashing around somewhere below): Aiiiieee! Is very good cocaine! So good I fall through open hatch and I don't feel nothings! I go get the feeshing poles ready now!
Jim: He'll be OK, Tom.

The Río Apuaú[edit]

Narrator: The fishermen have arrived at the mouth of the Río Apuaú. Now they must transfer to a smaller boat. This is a very dangerous moment. They must not slip and fall into the water.
Jim: You got the lunch, Tom?
Tom: It's in the cooler, Jim, yeah.
Narrator: Just beneath the surface of the river lurk vast shoals of savage piranha fish. These fish can strip the flesh from a fully-grown ox in less than thirty seconds.
Tom: Say Jim did they put some drinks in the cooler too?
Narrator: The piranha can rip through the hide of a rhinoceros and eviscerate it in less than a minute.
Jim: Yeah. Yeah, I think they put in some Bud Light and some lemonade.
Narrator: The vicious piranha fish has been known to tear the steel plates off a locomotive and eat both the engineer and the fireman in less than two minutes...on dry land.
Jim: OK, well, let's go then.
Pete: Hokay you guys we gonna go catch some goddam feesh!
A dugout canoe like the one which transported Jim and Tom up the Río Apuaú.
Narrator: Fortunately the transfer to the smaller boat is made without mishap.
Tom: Say, what do they call this kind of boat? A canoe?
Jim: It's a dugout, yeah.
Tom: It's kind of long and narrow.
Jim: Yeah.
Tom: Say, Jim, there's water in the bottom of the boat.
Jim: I didn't notice it when we first got in.
Tom: Must be about five inches of water there. Maybe the boat's got a leak, Jim.
Jim: I think these dugouts always leak a little bit.
Narrator: The fishermen are fascinated by the local culture.
Tom: That's more than a little bit of water. Maybe we ought to ask Pete about it.
Jim: Hey, Pete? Is this boat leaking?
Pete: We gots very beeg feesh in Río Apuaú! You bet! You have some cocaine you ain't give a damn 'bout no leaky boat!
Narrator: Their Brazilian guide reassures the fishermen that all is well. Deeper and deeper into the jungle they go.
Tom: You know what kind of tree that is, Jim?
Jim: The skinny one leaning out over the river?
Tom: No...the big one. It has, like, three tops.
Jim: The one with a kind of tree goiter halfway out the big branch?
Tom: Yeah. That one.
Jim: No.
Tom: Do you know what any of these trees are?
Jim: No.
Tom: How about them red flowers? They're on some kind of a creeper vine. You know what they are?
Jim: No.
Tom: Do you know what those birds over there are?
Jim: No.
Tom: Well, me neither.
Narrator: Well versed in the demands of their craft, the fishermen are expert naturalists. But suddenly their guide becomes excited.
Pete: Preguica-de-bentinho! Você dá-me a arma!
Narrator: Quickly their guide takes a shotgun from one of the boatmen and shoots into the trees.
Tom: Holy --! What's he doing?
Jim: He shot the tree goiter, Tom!
Pete: Yes yes yes! Is very good for eats. Is preguica...how you say, sloth.
Jim: It's a sloth, Tom.
Tom: Yeah. A South American sloth.
Jim: They have lots of sloths down here.
Tom: And this must be one of them.
Narrator: After some discussion the fishermen realize that their guide has shot a South American sloth. The two fishermen aren't too quick on the uptake.
Pete: We gonna take this nice fat preguica back to hotel! Eats him tonight!
Jim: He wants to cook it.
Tom: I'm not gonna eat the sloth, Jim.
Jim: Me neither. Think they'll have lime Jello again?
Tom: That was pretty good Jello.
Pete: We eats this sloth, and then we have some cocaine!

Returning to the Hotel[edit]

The fishermen will dream of peacock bass and jungle rivers.
Tom: I thought Pete was going to check the rods, Jim.
Jim: Yeah. Well, the rods were OK, though.
Tom: They didn't have the reels on them!
Jim: He left them behind on the big boat.
Narrator: Today the fishermen have had little success. The wily peacock bass has outwitted them.
Tom: What kind of guide forgets to put the fishing reels on the fishing poles?
Jim: Hey, Tom. Maybe you ought to just calm down.
Tom: What the hell kind of fishing guide is this guy?
Jim: He's a fishing guide who has been snorting cocaine steadily for the past ten hours, and who has a 12-gauge shotgun under his seat.
Tom: Oh. Oh, yeah, that's right.
Narrator: The fishermen decide to make the best of the situation.
Jim: Uh, I don't suppose we can try again tomorrow?
Tom: I got this gig lined up. I gotta catch the plane out in the morning, get to Madrid by Monday. It's a big show.
Jim: Yeah?
Tom: Can't let the folks down, Jim.
Jim: Well, this publisher's been on my case. I need to get back too.
Narrator: Regretfully the fishermen decide that they will not try again for the wily peacock bass. Not this decade, anyway.

Produced by Ted Atterbox, September, 2003. Filmed in Text-O-Vision with sound by Dead Ear, Inc.