A playmaker who was manning the electric fans started to say something, shut his mouth, paused and finally said, "It is our amoeba, and it is for playing with. Take off your shoes and go inside and see."
As if they had been instructed to exercise for good health and a trim figure, the couple obediently entered and spent a few minutes padding around the amoeba after the fashion of visitors to a modern art gallery.
"Well, it certainly is different," said the woman when she crawled out.
"I'm going to see if I can get a game of racket ball before I shower," said the man.
The culminating event of the Play IV Mayweek was the Festival of Ascending on High, a kite fly which the Advocate had been touting for some time in its own oracular style: "There will be a great and terrible calamity which will befall all of the Emporia State Community. The only way to escape this GRAVE CALAMITY (about which we must be vague in order to heighten the suspense) is to participate in our re-creation of the Festival of Ascending on High. While gleefully swaying in song and from drink you will fly your kite joining others in boisterous MERRYMAKING. Or else. Heed our warning."
The arrangements for the Festival of Ascending on High were less elaborate than the promotional prose, but the Play Factory did deliver the goods. Previously the playmakers established a kite shop in a downtown mall so that no one anywhere in the Emporia area could claim lack of equipment as an excuse for not festivaling. On Ascension Day the factory provided a large, unlined field, 12 kegs of free beer and several bluegrass and folk music groups. It was a gorgeous fresh day, the kind the prairies get now and then, and when they do, this is the best weather in the world. Five hundred people flew kites or forgot to fly kites, got their kites snarled in trees, climbed up and freed them or left them there, drank beer, danced, shouted, bounced on airplane tires, sunbathed, necked, napped, sat or lay in circles on the grass.
At the edge of the festival grounds a pair of policemen watched the proceedings. "They never do anything," said Bill Harper, waving to the security men, "but they always watch. I suppose if you are a cop this looks like a thing that needs to be watched."
As it developed, something quite irregular did happen. There was a couple who struggled hard but unsuccessfully to get a very large, triple-decker kite off the ground. Like a cavalryman charging to the rescue, one of the cops revved up his scooter and came rolling across the field. He tied the kite string on to the buggy and, thus powered, the kite finally rose. There was a big hand for the cop.
Mayweek was the showcase for Play IV. But the Advocate remains the principal guide to and product of Play O which, the newspaper notes, "is for those persons who do not play and yet who are actively thinking about play or who may be wondering about the meaning of play or who may be living a creative play spirit.
"You most probably believed that you could escape our reach if you simply were not publicly caught playing. You have managed very well, until now. Your fatal mistake was to read the Advocate and thereby think about play. For you see, in order to be free of our nasty subversion you must neither play nor even think about play. Woe to you workers who have been caught. Trapped. The game is up. Now that we have your number, why not dial ours? "Come play with us—see the future. It plays."