A Hot Time in the Old Town

"Bobby finally got himself completely moved in. Late in the afternoon of his first full day in his new digs, he knocked on my door--said he'd made too much supper and he offered to split it with me. Great guy. Great food, too. Some kind of blackened fish, a really spicy vegetable stew--I don't know what they were. Better than my usual bachelor fare, that's what they were.

"The house was too hot to eat in, so we adjourned to the front porch with our food. It wasn't much help. In fact, it was so hot out there we could sit and watch the shrinking ice cubes in our drinks--we could see them changing shape. It couldn't get us down, though. We shot the breeze out there for hours, waiting for evening to bring some relief from the heat, but no such luck. If anything, it got even hotter after sundown.

"And don't even think for a minute I was able to fall asleep that night. An hour I lay awake in that third-floor hothouse, staring at the ceiling, sweating into my mattress. I opened every window in the apartment--nothing. Not the slightest breeze. In fact, the window glass itself was warm to the touch.

"I got dressed and went downstairs to check on everyone else and see how they were coping. Still early enough, I figured. It wasn't even eleven o'clock yet.

"The kid in the basement didn't answer my knock. No surprise there--that was par for his particular course. The door was locked, so I left him to his own devices. Didn't break my heart a bit.

"The newlyweds on the first floor did answer. They were hot--they looked like they'd been out swimming, their clothes and hair were so soaked--but holding up well. Nothing ever bothered them.

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