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every man a king
jon treliving's rewrite
The air had been a corpse for weeks, shrouding Long Lake like a dry blanket. My father, always the patriot, had set up the American flag on the roof of the boathouse in 1936. It now hung limp, a moribund testimony to the dead heat.
It was July 19th when the thunderstorms struck western Maine.
There was no warning. An hour before, the flag had hung flat against the pole, and the heat stuck to our clothes like glue. We could only watch, awe-struck, as the first of them rolled towards us in the dusky haze like some ethereal juggernaut.
In the early afternoon the three of us chose to go for a swim in the lake. That provided little relief; the heat had soaked into the shallows, sparing only the murky depths toward the centre. As much as Steffy and I wanted to, we didn't anywhere near. Billy was only five.
At five-thirty the three of us sat down on the deck facing the lake to consume our cold suppers. Picking at the ham sandwiches and potato salad without enthusiasm, we stared blankly at the still waters. None of us wanted anything but the Pepsi, which lay in a steel bucket full of quickly melting ice.
Jon Treliving may be reached at J.Treliving@exeter.ac.uk