In the Midnight Hour
Adolescence is a time of discovery. One such discovery was that the day had twenty-four hours- it didn't end at 10:30 PM. There was another world which sprang into existence in the middle of the night. Everyone's parents worked in the morning, so if one was discreet one could leave the house at midnight, meet up with a friend or two, and prowl the streets, looking for adventure.
My childhood friend Kevin had a special knowledge of secret places. One of these places was the roof of Our Lady of Victory, the local catholic K-8 school. There was a certain section of the roof which overhung a railing next to the playground. There was only a 5 foot gap between the railing and the gutter, anyone who had the nerve (and could do a pull-up) could hoist themselves up. From there it was any easy job to attain the roof of the classroom building, a good forty feet above the ground.
We lived on the northern edge of North Minneapolis, a housing development on what only a generation prior had been a potato field. The land was table-flat, any elevation was an anomaly. When we stood on that roof, we could see for miles- taking in a vista of treetops, only broken by distant grain elevators. We could see the boundaries of our world: banal, small- a bedroom community with no attractions. There were no bars, no pubs- we lived in a "dry" ward. As we raced around on that roof-top, going from one side to the other, we felt excited by our double transgression- trespassing, and on the Church's property!
We managed to get down without killing ourselves, but there would be other midnight excursions, which gradually morphed into our late teen years, when booze, girls and other worldly temptations (in other parts of the city) replaced these childish games. We never found a bigger thrill, though.