Monday 20 May 2013

The Field Part III

Well, they finished the railroad overpass and it was a wonder to behold. The field was no longer needed as a staging area for men and equipment, so I thought that it would once again revert to a field where kids could play and get into trouble. It turned out that the powers that be had a different plan for the field than I did.

Almost right away the machines came in and started digging down to build a foundation for what was to be a strip mall with about eight stores. Our parents didn’t even have to give it much thought and banned us from the site right from the get go. I imagine they assumed that we would somehow get into trouble if they didn’t tell us to stay away. We didn’t stay away of course and we sort of thought of ourselves as the after hours building inspectors, keeping an eye out for anything that might be even remotely interesting.

It was towards the end of the summer between grade nine and ten that we found ourselves pretty much bored to tears. We had done everything interesting that there was to do, several times and although we would never admit it, we couldn’t wait for school to begin. One day Ken R. and I called on Mike to drag him along with us into boredom. He was at least as bored as we were, so he couldn’t get out of the house fast enough. Well, he didn’t get out fast enough, because before the door had closed him mom called out “Stay away from the construction site.”

We actually did. We went to the field that faced the construction site and spent a couple of hours climbing in and around the big double billboard. I was thin enough back then and could climb like a monkey, so I could get to the top and survey the whole neighbourhood. It was pretty cool and I kind of wish that I could do that again. Unfortunately they make them almost kid proof now; I suppose it is some kind of insurance thing.

On the way home we found our feet taking us to the construction site. We figured that we might as well put our lives in our feet’s hands. We started at the furthest unit and worked our way towards the other end. Just about half way, we wandered in one bay and to tell the truth, they were all pretty much the same. Mike was standing beside what would eventually be the stairs to the basement, but now was just a gaping hole in the floor near the door. I walked past Mike to leave and he took a step to the right to let me pass. Unfortunately for Mike, one step to the right was into the hole. Shit!

Ken and I looked down and saw Mike laying face down in a muddy pool filled with jagged rocks about ten feet down and he wasn’t moving. We called and he remained immobile. It was too far to jump down, but there was a wooden ladder two units away. See, it was a good thing we hung around the site. We grabbed the ladder at a run and I was first out of the door. I turned a little early, and Ken nearly fell down that hole. By now we were starting the nervous giggles. We put the ladder down the hole and Ken started to climb down. All of a sudden, Mike began to scream in pain. Ken asked “What’s wrong?” and Mike replied “The ladder is on my leg!”

Both Ken and I made it down and Mike wasn’t looking too good. We’d have to carry him up the ladder. Well, we would have if either one of us had any upper body strength. I went up top and Ken kind of pushed Mike up the ladder from behind. Mike was really out of it and couldn’t seem to keep the story straight that we were only passing through. We lucked out when we got to Mikes, there was no one home. We got him out of the wet, muddy clothes and put him in his bed in wet underwear. We drew the line at his underwear. I don’t think we knew what a concussion was, but we needed to ge out and quickly.

Just as we were going out the door, Mike’s older brother Jim was there and said “Where’s Mike?” Well, the story had to come out of course and that fucking field got us in trouble again. I don’t remember the punishment, but for years afterwards, Mike’s mom didn’t have much of anything to say to me.

The strip mall was built, and one of the stores that went in was a variety store that was run by a pretty cool younger guy. It was our go to place when we were stoned, because he seemed to get a kick out of watching us take an hour to pick out a candy bar. I don’t have the same trouble with candy bars now, I do look at all the variety, but I rarely buy because I’m an adult and I know they aren’t good for me. I can look though… 

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