Les Claypool. South of the Pumphouse (2006) 190 pp. [tpo]
Two brothers, Earl and Ed Paxton, who grew up in blue-collar El Sobrante, have recently reconnected following the death of their father. Earl still lives in “El Sob” and is a meth-addicted tweaker, showing more affection to his 1978 Trans Am than to his wife; Ed got out, went to college, moved to Berkeley, and married a black woman. They set out for San Pablo Bay to fish for sturgeon. Then Earl’s obnoxious, racist friend, Donny Vowdy, shows up uninvited at the dock and joins them. Ed takes psychedelic mushrooms, Donny tells crude stories about his sexual conquests, and Earl broods over his estranged wife and obsesses over finally landing the big one. When Donny takes things too far, the trip turns nasty and ends in murder. First-time author Claypool is better known as the frontman/bassist for the Bay Area funk metal band Primus. Fish on, indeed.