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Unformatted text preview: t-sunned and
cloudless. The grass was overrun with Hitler Youths, parents, and a glut of brown-shirted leaders. Rudy Steiner
was in peak condition.
“Look,” he pointed out. “There’s Deutscher.”
Through the clusters of crowd, the blond epitome of Hitler Youth standards was giving instructions to two
members of his division. They were nodding and occasionally stretching. One of them shielded his eyes from
the sun like a salute.
“You want to say hello?” Liesel asked.
“No thanks. I’ll do that later.”
When I’ve won. The words were not spoken, but they were definitely there, somewhere between Rudy’s blue eyes and
Deutscher’s advisory hands.
There was the obligatory march around the grounds.
Only then could they begin.
When Rudy’s age group was called for the 1500, Liesel wished him luck in a typically German manner.
“Hals und Beinbruch, Saukerl.”
She’d told him to break his neck and leg.
Boys collected themselves on the far side of the circular field. Some stretched, some focused, and the rest were
there because they had to be.
Next to Liesel, Rudy’s mother, Barbara, sat with her youngest children. A thin blanket was brimming with kids
and loosened grass. “Can you see Rudy?” she asked them. “He’s the one on the far left.” Barbara Steiner was a
kind woman whose hair always looked recently combed.
“Where?” said one of the girls. Probably Bettina, the youngest. “I can’t see him at all.”
“That last one. No, not there. There.”
They were still in the identification process when the starter’s gun gave off its smoke and sound. The small
Steiners rushed to the fence.
For the first lap, a group of seven boys led the field. On the second, it dropped to five, and on the next lap, four.
Rudy was the fourth runner on every lap until the last. A man on the right was saying that the boy coming
second looked the best. He was the tallest. “You wait,” he told his nonplussed wife. “With two hundred left,
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13