By Martin Rehder
The news of the interchange bombing put Dallas again on the TV sets of the nation and the world.
Helicopters with camera crews captured the destruction of the highway interchanges and broadcast it
live around the globe. Large blocks of concrete and twisted steel beams lay among crushed cars and
trucks. In between were pools and rivulets of blood, oil and radiator fluid. Strewn all over the roadways
were the crushed bodies of humans, vehicles and various parts of both. The long summer evening
afforded the cameras plenty of good daylight before night came and the emergency crews brought out
In another part of the city, a different drama unfolded. So many people had decided to leave the city that many of the gas stations were running out of product. The tanker trucks weren't able to get through to make deliveries and several stations had begun to turn away customers. Only the stations that had received fills earlier in the week still carried enough gasoline. Lines formed where gasoline was still available and tensions rose proportionately with them.
For many of the people waiting in lines, the nervousness was for the same reason as it was for the people stuck in traffic gridlock: another set of car muggings could occur while they sat waiting. In this case, however, they were free to pull out of line anytime they wanted to and move along, provided they had the gasoline to get where they wanted to go. Waiting in the gasoline lines required more than just patience and nerve. It required the sense of a master poker player. One had to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
Marvin Klemens had waited in one line already and was waiting in his second. Marvin had gotten up early and packed his Chevy Bronco SUV with a few days of clothes, some food and water, his fishing gear and his Ruger 9mm pistol. His beer belly jiggled with each step as he went back and forth from the house to the truck with an arm load of supplies. He worked up a good sweat in just a few minutes of work, which, for Marvin, wasn't very unusual. Marvin was a big boy, standing 6'2" and weighing in at 280 pounds, most of which was gut. A Texas-size portion of it hung out from beneath his shirt, which dropped over his enormous stomach. Marvin tucked in his shirt in the back of his pants, but the front was just to much trouble and it was already hotter than a campfire outside, so he let it hang free. He climbed into the truck, put on his cowboy hat and pulled the Bronco out of the driveway.
Marvin planned to wait out this business of terrorism in some other town, maybe East Texas or Arkansas, depending on the traffic to get to either direction. He would spend a few days fishing while the police or National Guard or whoever was in charge cleaned up the mess and rounded up all the terrorists. Marvin was actually looking forward to the small, unscheduled vacation away from the nightmare that the city had become. He left his driveway in the northern suburb of Garland with everything he needed. Except for gas. He had less than an eighth of a tank and needed to fill up soon. His Bronco was notorious for drinking gas like a kid drinks Kool-aid.
Marvin went to the first station nearest his home and found they had already sold out. He traveled southeast out of Garland toward I-30. The Terrorists had hit the highways to the north and west, so he figured it was going to be east and south for the least amou
nt of traffic. The problem was that everyone else in Dallas was thinking the same thing. The next station had a line of 15 to 20 cars and Marvin waited for 45 minutes to get his fill of gasoline. He sang happily along with the country music on his CD player while he waited. He was only two cars away from the pumps when the attendants waved everyone off. They were empty. No more gas. He jammed the big truck into gear and sped off. He would be the first to get to the next station before the others in the previous line even figured out what was going on.
Marvin avoided the major highways and headed for highway 66. He'd be able to find a station there before heading across Lake Ray Hubbard and out of the city. The next station Marvin found had a long line of cars, too. He passed it, cursing his luck and the shit-heads who caused this mess. Marvin finally saw a Stop-N-Go with less than 10 cars waiting in line. He breathed a sigh of relief at this. Once past this, he'd be heading out to Dalrock and across the lake, where gas stations would become scarcer. He needed fuel soon and this might be his last stop. This time, Marvin waited in line and he wasn't singing. He watched the activity of the people in line ahead of him and looked for anything that would suggest an emptying tank. The longer he waited the more nervous and agitated he became. He looked at his gas gauge and thought he wouldn't have enough to travel very far if this one didn't pan out.
"Come on, Mother fuckers!" Marvin shouted to his dashboard. This was taking too long and he worried that he'd get up to the pumps only to get stiffed again on the fill-up. His agitation started to take over and Marvin started mulling alternatives. He decided he would take matters into his own hands and if he couldn't buy gas, he'd simply take it.
Marvin spotted a young couple in a car just now filling their car with fuel. He was still five cars back and watched with envy as they pumped, the man washing the windows while the woman held the pump. Both of them smiled and talked over the top of the car, knowing they would be able to get out of the city now that they had a full tank. Marvin pulled out of line and passed the convenience store, watching the couple as he went by. In the first residential street past it, Marvin pulled in and made a quick u-turn. He parked at the curb and waited for the couple to finish. He pulled his 9mm out of the glove box and checked the clip.
When the couple finished pumping, they got in their car and headed east in his direction. He knew they would head his way. Going back toward town wouldn't make any sense. East was where safety and freedom lie. Just not for them. Not this time. As their car approached the residential street, Marvin edged out his Bronco. He made as if to turn left in front of them and they slowed. He could see the man looking at him through the windshield with a questioning look. Marvin stopped his truck in the road and the man made as if to swing around him. He goosed the truck and moved forward, blocking him. The man quickly backed up to maneuver around him and that's when Marvin jumped out of the truck, pointing the 9mm at them.
"Just stop right there mister." He said as menacingly as he could. Marvin walked around to the driver side. He kept his pistol trained on the man. "Now, get out of the car, both of you."
The woman got out. She looked as if she were about to cry. The man hesitated and Marvin opened the door of the car and grabbed him by the collar. "I said get out, asshole."
"Please, don't hurt us. We don't want any trouble," the woman pleaded.
"Good. Then come here." He walked around to the rear of his truck and opened up the rear gate. He had them both carry his clothes, food, and water out of the back. "Put this in the back seat of the car." Marvin grabbed his fishing gear, his pistol still trained on the couple. He stuffed the poles into the back seat, bending the poles to get them in to the cramped space.
"I'm sorry to do this to you, but I got to get out of here." He said. "You can keep my truck. The keys are still in it."
He waved them out of the way with the pistol and got into their car. He shoved it into reverse and squealed the tires as he backed up. He swung it around his Bronco, the tires complaining loudly as he spun out. He laughed as he made for the lake. He had a full tank of gas and a heavy foot on the pedal. He was happy to be on his way out of this place. Before he'd gone another mile, he cursed himself, wishing he'd gotten his country music CDs from the truck before he drove off. The couple's car had a full collection of shit he'd never even heard of before, mostly Christian music from the CD covers. He thought it was going to be a fucked up couple of days if he had to listen to this shit the whole time. Regardless, he was on his way out of town and for now, that was good enough.
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