Hali Palombo
Jul 8 · 2 min read

“The Leaning Tower of Niles”

The Leaning Tower of Niles has me in tears. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I feel mean laughing this hard at it. I feel a weird guilt because other people are there, and I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be funny or not. I laugh into my fist at an audible volume.

“The bells inside are from the 17th century,” someone says.

I look up and there’s a woman there. I have no idea where she came from.


“The bells inside are from the 17th century,” she says again. She is visibly angry. “It’s not as funny as you think. It’s not some stupid thing.”

I know a bit about the tower. The Leaning Tower of Niles is a half-size replica of The Leaning Tower of Pisa located in the suburb of Niles, IL. It’s the height of a small water tower. It wears a crown of a ring of Italian flags, and a big American flag in the center. It was built in 1934. It is next to a Target store.

“They’re 400 years old,” she says. She’s so mad that she’s spitting a little. I am getting scared.

“I’m sorry. It is just- “ I try to choose my words carefully, but mess up. “It looks stupid. It is next to a Target store.”

“Did you choose where you were born?” She actually says this. Her glasses slip down her nose. I think it’s because she’s sweating.

“No, I didn’t.”

“People like you make me sick!”

“OK. Again, I am sorry. I think you may have misunderstood.”

She stares silently for about 10 seconds. It feels like she is turning my soul inside out with her mind, shaking all the pennies out of it. She turns on her heel and stomps away.

Hali Palombo

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