After their nightly walk, Cutler pulled a small, somewhat circular pink device from his pocket. “Here, put this in your ear.”
Snyder put it in his right ear, and classical music began streaming. “Hey, what is this? I thought we weren’t allowed media players during basic.”
“I got an exception from the captain,” said Cutler. “Classical music can improve your thinking and reasoning skills and give you an edge. Don’t use this while drilling or in class. Just tonight and when you take the GED tomorrow.”
Snyder grunted. Personally, he preferred classical country such as Toby Keith; at least when he didn’t have to impress any gang-bangers. But it was definitely worth a try if it might give him an edge on his test. “Thanks, Sarge.”
“Get some sleep, Snyder. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
Snyder stood by the instructor’s desk as Sergeant Cutler read his test results.
“I’m sorry,” said Sergeant Cutler. “I was wrong. You are an idiot.”
Black-hooded executioners entered the classroom. “Your gallows await.”
They grabbed Snyder’s arms and dragged him out of class, down to the Boise greenbelt. Someone tossed a noose over the lone massive pine tree.
Tío Rodrigo screamed, “I’m going after all your gang, one by one, and you won’t be able to stop me!”
Snyder cursed and struggled, but couldn’t break free of his executioners.
The leader of the Canadian recruits smiled. “Hey boys, looks like the Yank’s gonna go.”
The French punk waved Grandfather’s copy of the Constitution and lit it afire.
Tío Rodrigo dropped the noose around Snyder’s neck. “It is my pleasure!”
The noose began to tighten. A kitchen knife flew through the air, cutting the rope.
Snyder burst through his attackers and made a dash for Ann Morrison Park. He scrambled up the tree heavy with large, oval nuts.
Pain shot through his back, and he fell. And fell. And fell . . . .
Snyder screamed and sat up, soaked in a cold sweat. He looked at the clock. “2300 hours.” No way am I sticking around for this.
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