It was one of those summer days where we had nothing to do. So, being the children of our father, we went looking for something to keep us entertained. We went all over the neighborhood looking for friends but everyone was busy doing something inside (that usually meant they were grounded!) So we kept looking. I suggested that we explore the area around the water tower, so off we went.
There was a gravel road that made its way up a hill and at the top was the water tower. Well, it was more a storage tank than a tower. Think of the oil storage tanks at a refinery, about thirty five to forty feet tall with a flat top. We arrived to the top of the hill and proceeded to check out the boonies. We noticed on the side of the tower there was a ladder that went to the top. I looked over to Donnie and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” “Let’s do it!”
The ladder started about ten feet from the ground. We spent a few minutes jumping up to catch the bottom rung. No go, we were too short and could not jump that high. After a few more minutes of problem solving, Donnie gave me a boost up. I was able to grab the rung and then interlocked my fingers around the ladder. Donnie then used me as an extension of the ladder and climbed over me. At last we were on our way to the top.
The view was great! We could see the entire neighborhood. We walked the perimeter of the tower and took it all in. On the back side of the tower you could see where they had to clear out part of the rock structure that the hill was made of to get the tank to fit. (Actually it was coral, not rock. It’s an island!)What we failed to realize is that as we could see the neighborhood, the neighborhood could see us!
We heard the car driving up the gravel road before we saw it. We went to the road side and then we saw the flashing lights of the Military Police vehicle. Oh crap! Busted! We backed away from the side so they could no see us. That’s when we heard it. The bull horn, “Get off the tower now!” I looked at Donnie, “What the hell do we do now?” “Dads going to kill us!” he proclaimed.
We had little time to think it over. We got on our bellies and crawled over to the edge where the ladder was located. There were two MPs standing at the bottom trying to reach the bottom rung. They tried and tried with out success. “We’re saved” I thought as I saw one walking back to the car. Then my heart fell when I realized what they were doing. They were pulling the car up to the tower so they could climb on the car to reach the ladder. We backed away and started looking for a way out.
The back side of the tower where the hill was excavated was our only chance. The ledge of the hill was about ten feet down and about fifteen feet away from the tower. We had to make a decision and fast, we could hear them coming up the ladder. “Let’s do it” I whispered. I went to the middle of the tower and ran as fast as I could. I made a running leap and landed about a foot onto the ledge and rolled to the tree line. When I looked up I saw Donnie running in mid air. It was like it was in slow motion. He landed in about the same place I did and rolled over to the tree line as well. Talk about a pounding heart!
We ducked into the trees and laid flat against the tall grass. We could see the MPs walking the top of the tower. Reaching up and wiping the sweat off their brows. They looked very perplexed. They couldn’t figure out what happened to us. It was as if we disappeared into thin air! We headed off down the back side of the hill and off into the boonies. We were hauling butt because we could not be sure if they would investigate further.
We made it to Hells hole and then stopped for a breather. There was no way they could catch us now. We sat down and I looked over at Donnie. He had blood on his leg! The bleeding had stopped and didn’t look stitches bad. The only thing we could figure is that when he rolled with the jump he must have scratched it on a piece of coral.
We made our way through Hells hole and slowly through the neighborhood, making sure that no one was looking for us. What had started off as a boring day turned into a great adventure.