We had our own Eiffel tower on the prairies. We were pretty excited to get it – some kind of telecommunications contraption stuck right there in a wheat field.
The thing is that none of the farmers seemed to even notice.
That is what happens to you when the wheat seeds get into your boots and sprout and grow into your body and overtake your brain. Your head is kept fixed solidly on the combine and your whole world becomes straight lines etched into your field.
Some of those farmers could be savants with a little practice.
But we noticed. We, the younger generation, hungry for a world beyond the wheat fields and the cow patties, we noticed. We saw the tower and it beckoned to us, whispering to us in our sleep, daring us to see it.
No vision is more clear and focused than that which has been heightened with a 26er of Lemon Gin, fueled by the promptings and the dares of those you both hate and love the most … your fellow farm captives. We were the youth of the wheat . . . not unlike the children of the corn, only more dangerous because we had gluten. So we answered the call of the tower, that night long ago, one hot summer night, the week before we were supposed to go back to school.
Some would say it was the madness of a summer . . . our misspent youth. None of us had any change left between us and nothing to show the money we had clearly lost probably because we never even knew we had any. Lucky someone had a bottle of lemon gin that we could drink to bolster our courage which had to be lacking after another loser summer without even a hickey to show for it. Going back to school knowing our first english assignment would be to write about our summer vacations and that 12 years of that essay trying to make “jack squat” sound different and grammatically correct had drained us all. We had one last kick at the can and this was it.
First we drank the lemon gin. Then we got in our cars and drove.
We pulled up into the wheat field and stood in awe of the tower. Lit up in the night and that close, it towered above us, shaming the wheat with its pathetic attempts to rise and smell sweet even with the wind coming right behind the rain. And we said “Yeeow! Aye-yip-aye-yo-ee-ay! Come on my honey lamb and I, let’s not just watch the hawk making lazy circles in the sky . .. . let’s climb this sucker!”
And we did.
Well I did.
The rest of the whiney babies got up about 1/4 of the way and when someone lost their shoe they all got scared and climbed down and started screaming at me that I would probably die and I should come down right now.
I can’t be sure but I think there was a bunch of people square dancing at some barn raising in the distance. The music was like a drum in my head because everyone knows that square dancing and its music is the gateway drug into Satanism. I was possessed.
I climbed to the first little landing, and then the second, booted the hawk out of the way, was grateful not to be tethered down by any honey lamb, and kept climbing. I was going to touch the moon. Lemon Gin really helps you reach for the stars but in a practical kind of way . . . I knew the stars were a ridiculous, impossible goal. The moon was definitely do-able.
I’d like to say I touched it but I don’t remember anything after I passed out on the upper level.
They say the fire department had to come from the city and everyone was there. They finally had to get a helicopter and put me in one of those beds they attach to the end of a rope and swing you through the air while flying off at high speed. Damn I missed all the good bits.
They say I threw up a lot.
I woke up in the hospital. I had a heck of a headache … not so much from the alcohol as from the lectures on blood alcohol limits and how I could have died and what was I thinking blah blah blah. Parents always want to contain kids. They bubble wrap us against life and talk about how we were so lucky something awful did not happen.
But it didn’t.
I climbed the Eiffel Tower and touched the moon. I flew through the sky.
I got to miss 3 days of school.
Best time of my life, ever.