Brother Terry was a joker. Booker K. Grief, could he throw the
place into a spin! It was Brother Terry who was always taking
chances, always making faces behind the backs of the Nobles, always
going out on a limb to make us black-robe boys laugh. I remember he
found a way to the roof, and he got me to go with him. I didn't want
to, Dizzle, no! But I did, because he was such a fast talker. Maybe
Nobel Lucius was right; maybe there was a touch of Satan in Brother
Anyway, we got up through a hatch to the roof one night, and we could
see all of Beulahland from that height. What a daz! The searchlights
were going back and forth over the wheatfields, and I swear those
lights never looked so pretty! I mean, they were celestial! We could
see the worklights on way out in the fields, too, and the trucks where
the night shift was working. And the stars—mighty, mighty stars.
I'd forgotten what the stars looked like, because I went off night
shift when I turned eleven in the Ninth Year of Our Lord.
But we were up there real dazzing high and here it comes—God's Eye.
We could hear it, like a sewing-machine's hum. Brother Terry says,
"Get down! Flat!" I did, real dazzing quick, and God's Eye passed
maybe thirty yards away from us, heading west over the fields. Its
spikes were sticking out, and I figured somebody had jumped the wire
out on night shift. Yeah, somebody was going to get a shock that
night. I never found out who. Anyway, I sat up and watched God's Eye
speed away, and Brother Terry says, "I'm not scared of it. Are you?"
"No," I answered. But I was lying, and we both knew it.
Brother Terry was a real joker. I wasn't surprised when they took him
out to the Wall one day about a month later and shot him. I said,
"Praise the Lord," as the guns went off, just like everybody else,
but I had the taste of cinders in my mouth, like burned-up stars.