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Across Narragansett Bay and into the Trees
by Edmund Conti

In the beginning God created Pawtucket, Rhode Island but He did not create Rhode Island.  And God saw that it was good. And the people of Pawtucket said, It is good, yes, Pawtucket. And God said, It is not that good, Pawtucket, with or without Rhode Island.  And the people were afraid. And God was afraid also.  He was afraid He would have bad news for Pawtucket.

In the summer of that year which the people of Pawtucket in their ignorance called Year 1, it was quiet. It was quiet in the village for that is what the people of Pawtucket called it. We should call it “Our Town,” said Pablo, but the people laughed and drank more wine. The wine was red and it was good. We should have white wine, also, said Pablo, a nice Chardonnay perhaps. And the people laughed some more and drank more red wine. But they wondered about the white wine, if it would go good with chicken.

God was troubled. He knew the people of Pawtucket could not live by bread alone. But he knew if He gave them butter then someone would want margarine. And then somebody else would want to celebrate Kwanzaa.  God knew he would have to re-think Pawtucket.

There was fear in the village.  There was fear in the town. There was fear in Pawtucket and there was  dissatisfaction also. We never get any Broadway shows, the people complained. The wine began to taste bitter and sour. There was no more dancing in the streets, especially when the bulls were running.

God knew that man could not be happy merely with cheap red wind.  Nor could the people of Pawtucket who were now complaining that Year 1 was not a good vintage year.  I will have to start over, He thought. And the world which was the village of Pawtucket trembled at the thought. God penciled in the week of the eleventh with the note, CREATE UNIVERSE.  And give man enough sense to create a Broadway show. I would like to see one also, He thought.  And Pawtucket trembled.

And then there was no Pawtucket.  Nor was there any good place to eat afterward. Years later there would be a Harry’s Bar where the pasta would be served al dente and Al Dente would be served pasta because he deserved good pasta and Mrs. Dente would have the chicken.

God re-created the universe.  It is my re-creation, He said and He laughed.  It was snowing hard outside but that was in Pawtucket.