How the Beans of Egypt, Maine, Sprouted a Militia

With a jumble of grizzly and wide-eyed allies from left, right and center, the novelist Carolyn Chute thinks of leading Maine out of the Union

Erik Jacobs / Polaris

Author Carolyn Chute reads letters while her husband cleans her AK-47.

In early October, the Second Maine Militia opened its meeting with the traditional shooting of the televisions. The 50 or so "members" (there are no rolls and no one pays dues) chatted quietly as the blasts rang out. A small cannon was fired into the woods, parting the trees and shaking the windows of the house nearby.

But no real televisions were harmed. The sets were just cardboard boxes painted with inane smiley faces and decorated with slogans like "Feel good!" "Proud to be USA!" "Safe in the homeland!" The aluminum-foil antennas, however, did collapse miserably from the...

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