The Tower
A Short Story by Jim Nasium

Just a few blocks from the house I grew up in is a rather large concrete dispatch and a cinder block plant. It is owned by the Nyce family: a local family. Nyce Crete has been around for three generations [that I know of] and they plan to keep passing it down thru all of the generations to come.

My brother and I used to like to play in their supply yard and we went there all the time when ever no one else was there, especially on Saturday afternoons, and Sunday's. We liked to think of this place as our own on these weekend days and we would even bring our lunch and something to drink with us when we went there to play so we didn't have to go home to eat.

There was so much to do there for two young adventours boys like my little brother Freddy and me...

There were giant mountains of white, brown and yellow sand to play in and there were giant mountains of multi-colored crushed stone too. There were giant stacks of cinder blocks and bricks there also. We liked to climb to the top of these stacks of blocks and run across them jumping from one stack to another stack.

That was a lotta' fun for two adventurous boys!

Sometimes we would take the cinder blocks out'a the giant stacks and build walls with them, these would be the walls to our top of the block pile forts. We had forts all over the place there on top of these large stacks of cinder blocks. There also were trucks in the yard, all kinds of great big really neat trucks: concrete delivery trucks and block delivery trucks, dump and pick up trucks and there were giant forl lift like trucks and the back hoes, one big and one smaller.All the trucks and things were parked near one of the big buildings that they made the cinder blocks in. There were a few large buildings in the "yard" out there too, but only one of them had this great big large circular tower thing attached to it that goes way up in the sky about 400+ feet !

There is a giant conveyer belt that runs on a 45 degree angle that goes from the ground all the way up the top of the tower. The tower is used to store the dry goods needed to make concrete and the dry goods get up to the top of the tower and into the right bin on this conveyer belt, each somehow being dropped into it's own bin: one for the stone, one for the sand and one for the dry powder cement that is used to make the concrete that you see poured from the big concrete trucks.

The conveyer belt had a cat walk on one side of it and this was what we decided was the only way for us to get up to the top of the tower. We talked about climbing up the cat walk to the top of the tower many times but we never did. Then one day while we were in the "yard" playing we got this brilliant idea to climb up on top of the conveyer belt and walk it all the way up to the top of the tower once and for all... we thought that it would be neat to sit up there, look out over the world and eat our lunch. We climbed up on top of the conveyer belt slowly, then started walking up on it even slower... after all this was the first time either of us has ever done this and with each step we took we were higher and higher off'a the ground. After a long slow climb we found ourselves about 400 feet up in the air and the view was unlike anything either of us had ever seen before, we could see our whole home town below us. We were picking out the places we knew as we sat there and ate our lunch meat sandwiches.

After a while we started to wonder what was behind the door that we were leaning against up on the top of this tower, higher then we had ever been before.

We decided to check it out and behind that door we found a room, a room with no windows in it. We still had to eat our apples so we decided to do that in the room we found behind the door.

Unknown to me my brother had taken my mothers favorite knife out'a the drawer we are not allow to go in with him "to cut our apples" and as we sat in the middle of this small room, on top of the tower higher than we had ever been before cutting and eating our apples all of a sudden at the same time we both noticed 3 trap doors on the floor of this new place we had just discovered.

We were so excited to find these "trap doors", after all neither one of us had ever seen a real trap door before in our lives. We slowly open the first door but it was so dark down in the hole it exposed that we couldn't see if anything was in there or not, so we decided toopen another trap door. When we opened the second trap door it was as dark in there as it was in the first hole that the first trap door exposed to us, so we opened the last trap door. Once we opened the last trap door all of the way we thought we could see the bottom of this pit, it didn't look very deep at all. My brother said "lets see how deep this pit really is" and he threw my mothers favorite knife [that he took out'a the drawer we were not supposed to go in] into the pit.

The knife quickly disappeared into the darkness of this mysterious pit and just as quickly as it did my brother said "I'll get it" and he jumped into the pit that the trap door had open to us to get the knife.

We didn't know it then but this was the powder cement bin and what we thought was the bottom of the pit was really the top of the powdered cement in the bin that was about 50 foot deep. My brother sank with a thud into this well of dry cement powder up to his knees and before I knew what he did he was screaming "help, help me! get me out'a here", I can't stop sinking....

I was panicked ! I was scared too!!
I looked around for something to throw down to him that he could climb out on and there it was, laying on the floor of this little room way up in the tower: a piece of a board... I threw the board down into the hole that the trap door opened to us and as soon as it hit the powder it sank. By this time my brother was almost up to his waist in the dry powder cement that filled the 50 foot bin.... I told him not to be scared and that i had a plan to get him right out'a there... of course i didn't so i started to look around the little room for something else to throw to him, so he could climb out... He was down way too far for me to reach in to pull him out.

I found a small wooden folding ladder in the corner so I threw that down to him but the ladder sank as soon as it hit.

My brother was now full of the fear of dying, he was crying and begging me to help him; but what could I do ?

I told him to stay still and that I would be right back, I was gonna go find something to get him out of there with. I ran just as fast as I could back down the cat walk next to the conveyer belt and once I was back on the ground I looked every where trying to find something I could use to get my brother out'a that hole with, before it was too late. Before my baby brother sank all the way in and was lost forever...

After much running around I finally found a length of strong rope on one of the block delivery trucks... I grabbed it and as fast as I could I ran back to the conveyer belt,climb up on the cat walk next to it, and then ran all the way back up to the top of the tower, where the room with the trap doors were. By the time I got back up to the room on top of the tower that was higher than either of us had ever been before, my brother was in the powder cement up to his neck ... he was crying and so was I now. I didn't want to lose my brother, he was my best friend in the whole world! He and I had been through so much together in his seven years of life. We had so much fun exploring the woods and the creek behind our house and going for long bike rides and building tree and ground forts and playing army men and swamp fox and all'a the things that two young boys do together...

I threw one end of that rope, that I found on the block delivery truck down into the hole that the trap door had exposed to us to him just in time, and with God given strength I pulled with all'a my might and pulled him out'a that certain death. I swear there was an angel there that day helping me...

My brother brushed some of the cement powder off his clothers, stood there crying, and he looked at me with a look I never saw on his face before or since. We both just stood there in silence for a long moment looking at each other and then we hugged each other, and cried some more.

After many more tears we both finally settled down. Then, after another long silence my little brother looked at me and he said "I got *the knife". My brother had held on to my mothers favorite knife through the whole ordeal.

We went back up to the top of that tower many times after that day, we took all'a our friends up there to show them the wonders we found so high up above the world. But the one thing we never did again was jump down into the bins...
©1994 Jim Nasium

By the way, *to this day my mother still uses that same knife and I found out that it was her mothers knife. She aid "some day it will be my sons knife"

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