Authors Channeling Pigs







America authors, Royal Rosamond, and Thomas Pynchon, are in the Rosamond family tree. These writers adopted a pig as a mascot. In Roy’s story ‘Guilty’ that was published in Out West magazine in 1912, a crawfish catcher goes out to Santa Cruz Island to get sober, and befriends a wild piglet.

“I thought that the wild pigs of Santa
Cruz were entirely exterminated. Not
long ago the Island Company gave a
dollar bounty for their skins and they
were killed by the thousands. Am I

“Santa Cruz is rough; lots of brush
and chapparal and caves where they
can hide. There are plenty wild pigs
left. I killed nine while I was over
there. Killed the pig’s mother. He
wasn’t any bigger than my fist when I
got him, still sucking. I took him home
and fed him on canned cow.”

In ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ Pynchon writes a poem about a pig.

“A pig is a jolly companion,
Boar, sow, barrow, or gilt —
A pig is a pal, who’ll boost your morale,
Though mountains may topple and tilt.
When they’ve blackballed, bamboozled, and burned you,
When they’ve turned on you, Tory and Whig,
Though you may be thrown over by Tabby and Rover,
You’ll never go wrong with a pig, a pig,
You’ll never go wrong with a pig!”

Pynchon’s words could have been the testimony given to a judge by John Sifford.

“Go on,” urged the judge. “You
camped in Lady’s Harbor — you and the
pig, I understand.”

“Yes, I was alone over there — me and
the pig. I got him a few days after I
pitched camp and it would have been as
lonely as lonesome if it hadn’t been for

From the front porch of Pynchon’s apartment on 33rd. Street, you can see the ocean. Could you see the Channel Islands on a clear day? Above is a photograph of Tom’s arm and fingers giving the peace-sign. His friend, Phyllis Gauber has brought Tom a pig piñata that was named, Claude. Consider Clyde, the orangutan in Eastwood”s movie.

This pig theme is quite a coincidence. Royal was friends of Black Mask authors and camped with some of them on the Channel Islands. Royal’s granddaughter, Christine Rosamond Benton, is kin to Jessie Benton, who held a salon at Black Point where Mark Twain and Bret Harte discussed the literary Mecca the West had become. Thomas Pynchon is now included in this literary circle. How much influence did Harte and Twain have on Thomas?

Pynchon signs a book with a illustration of a pig emitting the word “LOVE”. Did our mutual ex, Mary Ann Tharaldsen, give birth to Clyde when she painted a human pig in her painting ‘Bottomless, Unfillable Nothingness’? One writer claims Pynchon had images and models of pigs all through his home on 33rd, that he shared with his wife, Mary Ann, whom I married in March of 1979. Claude comes from Claudius, the Roman Emperor. A Roman pig?

Like many Yuppie-Pigs, Big-brained Mary Ann got into real estate. Why didn’t she buy her old digs and run a the ‘Porky Pig Bed & Breakfast’?
Guests can choose what pet pig they want to snuggle with, and, how much bacon they want on their plate in the morning.

“Hug em. Smoke em. Eat em all up!”

Jon Presco

“When the Gebauers left Houston for Los Angeles Pynchon was right there with them — literally. They drove their Volvo and Pynchon drove their Hillman convertible. While living in Southern California — Pynchon is thought to have resided in Manhattan Beach, though Phyllis carefully avoided mentioning any specifics — their friendship continued, and the Gebauers brought Pynchon a pig piñata, which they named Claude.

A previously unpublished photograph of Phyllis, Claude and Pynchon — just his right arm,  extending from behind a door with his hand in a peace sign — appears at the back of “Tom and Us,” dated 1965.



By Roy Reuben Rosamond

JOHN Sifford, you are before this

^^ court charged with assault and

s^s battery. “Now it becomes the

We^ duty of the court to inform you

of your rights under the law. You are

entitled to a reasonable time for the

trial, to have witnesses subpoenaed in

your behalf, to employ counsel, should

you so desire, and to be admitted to

bail. With this information what say

you to the charge, guilty or not guilty?”

“Guilty,” answered the prisoner,

a man of perhaps thirty, tall, deep of

chest, ugly, bovine, a man no woman,

save his mother, had ever loved. A new

suit of black serge hung awkwardly upon

his ungainly figure.

“It does not appear to me,” the
judge resumed, quizzically, “that the
trouble, derived from the eating of a
pet pig, hog, or pork — or pig’s feet —
justifies the sentence I am about to

Dullness had impregnated the justice
court-room of Santa Barbara and re-
mained until the word was irksome. A
late spring rain was falling and human
nature attempting to content itself in-
doors. The judge was making the best
of it. There were but four other per-
sons in the court-room, the jail guard in
charge of the prisoner, the complainant
with his mouth showing the services of
a surgeon, and his lawyer.

“Go ahead with the sentence, the

sooner the quicker,” said the prisoner.

“The complainant’s lawyer has stated

the case clearly,” the judge went on,
“but pigs are indeed interesting and, as
you come before this court unrepresented,
I would like to hear your side of the

“The court has the facts at hand,”
stated the prisoner.

“Which are,” the judge continued with
no attempt to veil a smile, “that the
accused gave into the keeping of one
Joe Andrada, a Spaniard — and very
fond of pigs on the table — a pet pig, to
be housed and fed — and petted — by
said Joe Andrada during a period not
to exceed two weeks, in consideration
of the sum of ten dollars. And further-
more, it was solemnly pledged that, at
the conclusion of the two weeks, as afore-
said, said accused would return and
take unto himself the pig and all pertain-
ing thereunto.

“And,” — the judge was indulging him-
self — ” owing to the fact that said accused
failed to comply with the above stated
contract, returning two days later than
the time therein specified and finding
said pig in the stomach of said complain-
ant, said accused engaged said complain-
ant in pitched battle resulting in the loss,
to said complainant, of four teeth of
the cuspid variety, and otherwise in-
flicted serious wounds upon the body of
said complainat.

“And now the question naturally
arises, was the pig sacred, or — or one of
the family?”



“The pig had a damn sight bigger
heart than — ”

The judge rapped loudly with the

“Don’t forget that there is such a
thing as contempt of court.” The
judge’s lips were firmly set for the mo-
ment, anger took the place of humor.

“Pile two contempts on top of the
other charge, but let me blow my bazoo
in my own way. As I was saying, the
pig had & damn sight bigger heart than
some judges.”

“Complainant can best answer as to
that,” said the judge. “I see that it
was love of the pig rather than infidelity
on the part of complainant that caused
the trouble. Where did vou get the

“On Santa Cruz Island,” answered the

“You were craw-fishing over there
last season?”

“Yes, I went over when the season
opened, about six months ago.”

“I thought that the wild pigs of Santa
Cruz were entirely exterminated. Not
long ago the Island Company gave a
dollar bounty for their skins and they
were killed by the thousands. Am I

“Santa Cruz is rough; lots of brush
and chapparal and caves where they
can hide. There are plenty wild pigs
left. I killed nine while I was over
there. Killed the pig’s mother. He
wasn’t any bigger than my fist when I
got him, still suckHng. I took him home
and fed him on canned cow.”

The prisoner ceased talking.

“Go on,” urged the judge. “You
camped in Lady’s Harbor — you and the
pig, I understand.”

” Yes, I was alone over there — me and
the pig. I got him a few days after I
pitched camp and it would have been as
lonely as lonesome if it hadn’t been for
him. Lady’s Harbor is just a deep
gulch with a small stream of water —
awful good water — running down to
the sea. You can’t see out — only out
to sea, where the ships go by every day
or so to make one feel what a God-for-
saken place it is in winter. I wouldn’t
see a soul for a week at a time, and then

only for a few moments when the launch
stopped to buy my bugs and leave grub.

“There were men camping in the
other harbors, but they never came up
my way — heard of me, I suppose. I
would see them once in a while out in
the skiff pulling their pots and they al-
ways went two in a boat. Could work
better that way; one row and one pull
pots. One thing mighty certain, I never
went to them to break the spell.

” If you know anything about a craw-
fisher’s life, you know that he has a lot
of time for monkeying around after pul-
ling his pots in the morning. He has
to wait for the bugs to slip into the
traps. When I didn’t have to fish for
bait, I’d put in the time fooling with the
pig. He would keep things on the
keen jump.- > As good as a circus was that

“Over the hill to the right of Lady’s
Harbor is another little gulch and when
it meets the sea it forms a sand beach.
It is a wide little strip at low tide and
clams elbow each other for room to grow.
I tell you what, the pig learned to dig
clams right away; by watching me. I
suppose. And he would watch for the
bubbles they make before he’d get the
last one rooted out. After a while
all I had to do was to follow him with a
bucket and pick them up. Quick! That
pig was as quick after a clam as greased
lightening. He knew that he had to

“I used to take him with me in the
morning when I pulled the pots. I’d
turn the bugs loose in the bottom of the
skiff and watch the fun. He wasn’t
afraid of them when they were still; but
when they’d come toward him squeak-
ing their hinges he was some wild pig.
The bristles on his back would all stick
up straight.

“Well, that was all right for a while,
until the pig grew so heavy that he’d
rock the boat and just about capsize her
when he’d change from one side to
another. I wore holes in my pants and
then holes in the patches sliding from
one side of the seat to the other keeping
her balanced.

“The trouble began when I had to
leave him home. There is a little cave
over to the right of the cove a little way



up from the beach where the sun shines
in in the morning. The sea must have
been up there some time or another.
Anyhow, I put some old traps across
the opening and fastened the pig in
there until I got back. He stayed in
pretty well for a day or so; and then one
day when I was coming into the harbor
there he was standing on a ledge of rock
that thrusts its nose out to sea waiting
for me. He was just singing a little
squealing song, he was so glad to get out
of the cave and to see me; and then he
must have stepped on a loose rock for
I saw him fall off and go plumb under.
He came up sputtering and instead of
making for shore he came swimming
out to me and I lifted him aboard.
After that there was no holding him in
the cave. He’d be out and waiting for
me on the rock about every day and
when I’d come in sight around the point
of rock by the harbor he’d plunge right
in and meet me way out from shore.
One day he got out of the pen early —
right away after I left. Anyhow he
knew the direction I’d gone and followed
along the island until he got opposite
me. I was a good quarter of a mile
from shore and it was damn lucky my
next buoy was toward shore. While
I was looking for it I spied the little
devil swimming for me for all he was
worth. There wasn’t any wind but a
strong swell was running and the current
was against him. I rowed toward him
as if my life depended on it and when
I got to him he was just about to pass
to Christmas come. He didn’t shift
about the boat that day, but lay still,
wrapped up in some fish net I had thrown
in the bow of the skiff,

“He was true blue, was that pig. I
thought a lot of him — more than I ever
did of any human being, except my
mother. I could tell a lot more about
the things he did and the things he learned
but you’d swear I was nature faking.
Of course the pig and me would have
our troubles and quarrels like anybody
else. I kept a little paddle hung on the
tent pole for him; and he would get it
like sixty when he got into mischief.
One day I spanked him good for getting
into the dough. He didn’t run but
just grabbed ahold of the tent rope and
nearly shook it off the poles, he was so

mad. He would let go a continual
whine when he was hungry, grab me
by the pant leg and shake if I didn’t feed
him. He’d want clams when the tide
was high and he couldn’t dig them; and
then he’d run over the hill to the sandy
beach and see if the tide was low enough
to get them. He could express pleasure
and sadness. Could do everything but
talk. He would be right at my heels
as far as I wanted to walk. I’ve tried
to get away from him by climbing a hill
too steep for him, but he’d take a slant
and come up on top after a while crying
for all he was worth because he was
left behind.

“I suppose he got acquainted with some
of the wild pigs around there. I would
hear them up the canyon at night, but
he paid no attention to them. He slept
in a box of straw right outside the tent
and was free to go. But I guess that he
preferred to stay with me. I fed him
good and he grew sleek and fat. I sure
kept him clean, would send for soap
every time the launch come over from
the mainland. We’d go swimming to-
gether and he wasn’t afraid of any breaker
that ever lived. He learned to eat any
kind of fish, but clams were what he
swore by. And he took his meals regular
— wasn’t always nosing around and eat-
ing all the garbage in the country. Just
a cross word from me and he’d know he
was doing the wrong thing. He took as
much interest in making traps and paint-
ing the boat and so forth as I did, appar-
ently. He was always in action because
of which he didn’t give me time to sit
down and get lonesome and brood and
wish that I was ashore where there were
people and something going on. Even
when there was a storm on and I couldn’t
go out to the pots for a day or two or
three at a time we would always find
something to do if it wasn’t anything but
go over on the lea side of the island and
sit there in the shelter and watch the
whitecaps breaking and listen to the
wind blow. We built us a little dugout
among the rock and both of us would
curl up in there and go to sleep. I’d
lay down with my back against the
pig and we would breathe together and
be warm and fine and dandy. And
that’s about all about the pig — and
enough, I suppose.”



The prisoner sat down.

The judge let go a supercilious laugh,
ending in a few bars of cackle. ” When
I was a kid I went to a side show and saw
a pig that could play seven-up. I
suppose yours could play poker; or
perhaps crib? If he couldn’t the show
pig could put it all over him for wisdom,
and your pig story should have come last.”
The judge ended with a sneer. “How-
ever,” he continued, “were the pig as
wise as Solomon, it would have no bear-
ing on the sentence about to be im-

“Which is?” the prisoner’s face shaped
itself into interrogation,

“Ninety days in the county jail with
a membership in the chain-gang.” answer-
ed the judge, chuckling.

All at once the prisoner arose to his
full height, his breast heaving, his eyes
flashing fire.

” Why, you spineless supine of a Judge,
with grocery cord for tendons, damn,

you. I’ve told you

about the pig. But that isn’t the story
at all. Did you know that I went to
hell with the boose and left home when
I was eighteen, the very day I started
for college? During that time up till
now I’ve been everything but a murderer
and a cut-throat. Don’t you know what
boose will do for a man? I’ve counted
the ties and slept in the jungles and stole
chickens and cooked them in a coal oil
can. I’ve stolen money and bought
boose with it when I’d fasted for three
whole days. I would have done worse
than that but the cops were always on
my trail. I sure looked suspicious to
the third degree and I don’t blame them.
I’d get arrested every time I’d stick
my head out in daylight, so I got to
slipping around like a night hawk, to the
rear of the saloons, mostly.

“One night I tried to kill a man for
money for boose, I got my picture in the
rogues gallery for that. That was going
some. Mother found it out. Judge,
you didn’t think I had a mother did you?
Well I did have. One time she sent
for me — registered letter with money in
it and all that. I went home and’ got
on clean clothes and she prayed for me
and fed me up and sent me to the “Gold
Cure. It didn’t do any good. I went
off on a tare when I got back, I would be

gone for six months or a year or so — until
she raised some more money — father
was dead; and then I’d reform for about
a week. And this was the way for ten
years or more.

“The last time I didn’t go home at all.
My drunk lasted two weeks that time,
and I ended up in jail. About a month
after that I learned that mother was
sick in the county hospital up where
she lived. My crippled brother had died
a week before and she had spent all her
money to bury him right.

“Well, that woke me up. I wrote to
her and her answer was a message from
on high. I had a chance to go to the
island and fish and I grasped at the
chance to get away from boose and
make some money like a drowning man
grasps at a straw. The owner of a launch
outfitted me, boat, pots and all. But
could I stay over there, away from boose
and the world, you might say. I tried
to get a pardner, but my looks scared
them away.

” Well, I went. And then the pig came
into my life. Many a time I would have
lit out for the boose if it hadn’t been for
him. One day the spell came over me
and the day the boat was due I was all
packed up and waiting. And then while
I was there on the beach monekying with
the pig until the boat hove in sight, I
got to thinking about what I would do
with the little devil. He’d swim after
me if I left him ashore, and I didn’t want
to pen him up, not knowing whether
he’d get out or not. We’d become pals
I tell you. Men would shy away from
me, but not him. Well, the upshot was
that I put the tent up again and stuck
it out for a few more days.

” I’d done pretty well with the bugs and
the money was burning my pocket, I
suppose. And my stomach was burning
for liquor, too. Anyhow, I made up
my mind to hike again. I made a sail
for the skiff and was about to start across
the channel to Santa Barbara. The boat
would be over in two days, but I couldn’t
wait. It was about twenty-five miles,
but I thought I could make it. Well,
there was the pig again. He was grown
too big to take in the boat and I wouldn’t
leave him. So there I was again.

“When the boat came it brought me
word that mother was in serious condi-



tion. I got aboard, pig and all and went
across the channel, the first time for six
months. Somehow, I forgot about the
boose and when I got a place for the pig,
I took the first train for home and got
there just in time, with good clothes on
and money in my pocket — enough to
bury the happiest mother in the world
and come back here to get the pig only
to find him — “. The prisoner was con-

sumed in livid wrath,
“Judge, go on and send me to jail,

you ; but some day I’ll be a free

man, and then I’ll meet you in the
road and make you respect the pig or
give you what I did the devil over there.
And, Joe Andrada, some day I’ll meet you
and finish the job, meanwhile I’ll ask
my guard here to show me the way to
jail, I can’t see very well to-day.”


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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