...and I climbed into the launch bucket. There was an audible gasp from the crowd. Women told their children not to look and men advised me not to do it.**********
I turned to my friend at the trigger and said, "On the count of five, pull it."
I started counting backwards from five. "FIVE..." I never got to four. My literal friend pulled the trigger right then.
Suddenly I was flying. I looked down and for an instant I was hovering, 30 feet over the river below.
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I had instant visions of crashing to the ground in a pile of twisted metal and shredded Tank meat, so I did the only thing I could think of.*
I lunged for a nearby sapling with my right hand and simultaneously leapt into space, hoping to put as much distance between me and the falling stand as I could.