We—us kids—we used to climb that tower!
Boom. The door would open, we’d jump in, and shut it behind us.
Inside was a circular stair winding up and up and up.
Then there was a little platform. From the platform on up there was a ladder—inside a tube—running up through the water tank itself.
Then there was another platform at the top of the ladder. Stand on that and you were inside the tank. Shine your flashlight down at the water—and it was always scummy and covered with mats of algae or bacteria or—just scum.
Then there was another ladder up to the top of the tank. This ladder was kind of scary, because it went up at an angle, and you were out over the scummy water.
Whoever was the first up the last ladder would—ease—open this big hatch and lower it gently onto the tank top.
Then you’d go through the hatch and onto the top of the tank.
It was scary! The top of the tank was curved and seemed to slope sharply. No railings.
But! You could see for fucking ever! I told people I could see all the way to Waseca, about thirty miles to the east.
Maybe I could just see the lights of Waseca reflecting up into the clouds. Still—a long way.
My only time as the first up the ladder, I didn’t gently ease the hatch to the surface of the tank—I fucking dropped it and it BANGED and echoed around and my buddies cussed me out. Still we went up through the hatch and stretched out on the tank, looking out at the world.
Then there was someone yelling at us down below.
“Mike Westlund! I know you’re up there!”
It was Mike’s sister, who lived in those apartments. I guess she heard the banging of the hatch.
“You get down from there right now or I’ll tell mom!”
So—we came down off the tower before we even had a chance to engage in youthful bad behavior. I fucked everything up.