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A Parody Outline of History(3)

2006-09-07 21:49

  CHAPTER III

  MAIN STREET: Plymouth, Mass.

  In the Manner of Sinclair Lewis

  1620.

  Late autumn.

  The sour liver-colored shores of America.

  Breaking waves dashing too high on a stern and rockbound coast.

  Woods tossing giant branches planlessly against a stormy sky.

  Cape Cod Bay——wet and full of codfish. The codfish——wet and full of bones.

  Standing on the deck of the anchored "Mayflower", gazing reflectively at the shores of the new world, is Priscilla Kennicott.

  A youthful bride on a ship full of pilgrims; a lily floating in a dish of prunes; a cloissone vase in a cargo of oil cans.

  Her husband joins her. Together they go forward to where their fellow pilgrims are preparing to embark in small boats.

  Priscilla jumps into the bow of the first of these to shove off.

  As the small craft bumps the shore, Priscilla rises joyously. She stretches her hands in ecstasy toward the new world. She leans forward against the breeze, her whole figure alive with the joy of expectant youth.

  She leaps with an irrepressible "Yippee" from the boat to the shore.

  She remains for an instant, a vibrant pagan, drunk with the joy of life; Pan poised for an unforgettable moment on Plymouth Rock.

  The next minute her foot slips on the hard, wet, unyielding stone. She clutches desperately. She slides slowly back into the cold chill saltness of Cape Cod Bay.

  She is pulled, dripping and ashamed, into the boat. She crouches there, shivering and hopeless. She hears someone whisper, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

  A coarse mirthless chuckle.

  The pilgrims disembark.

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