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The green was greener with the night lights blazing down on the empty field. The hickory trees, the sweet gum trees, the tall elms that surrounded the stadium with their black branches and dark leaves seemed to be holding up the moon.
It wasn't quite midnight but on the closely cropped grass there was already dew that picked up the blazing night lights and transformed the playing area into a huge emerald rug.
The man on the ladder propped against the scoreboard called to the woman below, "Got anything I can cut this with?"
"I've got scissors."
"The cord's too thick. What about the penknife in the glove compartment of your car?"
"Right! Hang on. I'll get it," the woman called as she headed for the car they'd parked near the entrance.
He called out, more to himself than to her, "Hate to take this down," as he detached the corner of white canvas sign that proclaimed INDIAN FESTIVAL OF TULSA.
On his precarious high perch, surveying the fairyland of field and bleachers, he felt like the king of the realm. He was picturing the kids, two hundred of them dancing the tribal dances. He smiled, remembering the speech the woman had given over the stadium mike, the way it echoed, the proud look of her as she led the audience, six thousand voices into "I pledge allegiance . . .one nation under God.. . liberty and justice. . . ."
A shrill, awful cry pierced the air. It tore at his heart, his brain. It hit him so hard that he cringed, closed his eyes for a mere second and when he opened them a gang, a bunch of men or were they boys—a monstrous creature with more legs, arms, heads than he could count was on her, tearing at her, ripping her clothes, forcing her legs apart while one of them pulled out a gleaming knife and cut off her underwear.
He screamed. It cleaved the air. They swarmed over to him. Cursing and taunting him, they shook the ladder. He held on tight as the ladder pulled loose from the scoreboard. The ladder swayed back and forth across the moon, tilting farther and farther till he couldn't hold on anymore. The night air burned his skin as his body arced out in space and fell.
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