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ralph robert moore

Phil Allen's rewrite is copyright © 2001 by Phil Allen.

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every man a king
phil allen's rewrite

This is what I recall. The night that the worst heatwave of Northern New England's keeping weather records. The heatwave broke in a sudden deafening clap of thunder.

The entire western Maine skies were set afire with green and blue strobing flashes.

The most vicious of thunderstorms rumbled through the countryside.

The brilliant bolts of lightening crisscrossed the sky like an amazing fireworks display, rolling thunder vibrated through the countryside.

We lived on Long lake. The first of the storms came in unison. High winds beat waves from the lake against the shore.

The calm before the storm was suffocating.

No birds sang, no insects buzzed. Not a leaf stirred in the sweltering vacuum.

I felt as tired and ragged as the limp American flag my father put up in 1936.

I watched the dead flag remembering more pleasing weather in the past and of the red, white and blue snapping smartly in the brisk Long lake winds.

The heat of the sun bore down like that of an open blast furnace.

Our lungs labored for each breath in the thick humid air like coal miners that have been underground too long.

During the afternoon the three of us went ankle-wading in the lake at the water's edge, but the water was no relief unless you went further out to deep water to swim.

Steffy and I wanted to go into the deep water but we didn't want to leave Billy on the bank by himself. Billy is only five. Billy is afraid of the deep water. Billy wants none of us to go into the dark water as he calls it.

The soggy ham sandwiches were as appealing as the weather. Steffy's Potato Salad untouched baked in the sun on the deck table that faced the lake.

Nobody wanted to move much less eat.

Drinking Pepsi and crunching on melting ice cubes from the Igloo cooler gave little relief.

Phil Allen may be reached at

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