Joyce Kilmer Was Wrong
by Barry Baldwin
The trees you see were not not made by God but Vladimir Petrosian, 'mad' (he still worshipped Trofim Lysenko, Stalin's pet geneticist) Russia scientist, for Salvatore Totti, mid-echelon gangster anxious to accelerate to the top of New York's criminal industry.
A mutual Can't Refuse deal was instantly struck. Totti grub-staked the penniless Petrosian to a comfortable laboratory and living on his Connecticut estate in return for vow of silence and exclusive dibs on the promised invention.
After several months, the Eureka message came. Totti's sidekick broke all speed records from Manhattan to rurality. The waiting Petrosian feverishly led them down to the orchard and pointed at the clump of lurid-leaved trees, simultaneously seductive and sinister in the moonlight. Totti grabbed one, scrutinised it, seized an axe providentially abandoned there by his gardener and went to work, strewing Petrosian's bloody remains among the branches.
"What the hell, boss? The guy promised you a money tree, He delivered, didn't he?"
Indeed he had. Trouble was, there isn't much call for Russian currency in the Land of the Free.