The call that came in the previous evening from Danielle
had unnerved her parents to say the least. Their
leisurely dinner was soon forgotten, and Jimmys
thoughts of an amorous evening was also discarded out of
As he hung up, Ellen asked, Jimmy, whats
wrong? She could see by the look on his face, even
before he broke the connection, that something was
It seems that the Mayans werent perfect in
their predictions. The gathering seems to say that
were running out of time. Danielle says to get the
hell out of here as soon as we can!
Its going be a long night by the looks of it,
Uh huh, I guess Ill have to take a rain check
on my reward for being such a hard worker all day.
Hey, that was going to be my line!
OK, well both take a rain check, and have
twice the fun later.
They were still laughing over that, when Jimmy remarked,
Lets finish loading everything we can take,
and get the heck out of here while the getting is still
The large leaf bags were a godsend for packing their
clothing, sheets and blankets. Ellen had picked up three
large boxes of them while she was at the grocery store
getting the items for the barbecue. She had almost walked
on by them, now she was very glad that she hadnt.
Without bothering to make things pretty, they filled bag
after bag and stacked them by the trailer. Breakables
came next, and soon they were loaded in between the
cushioning leaf bags. Small items like the photo albums
were tucked in to keep the rest from shifting. The
plastic pails were stacked next. They were taped shut
with duct tape, and formed a veritable wall in the back
of the trailer. Canned goods, in their original boxes, were stacked over the axle from
floor to ceiling.
Jimmy commented, There, that will keep us from to
much or to little weight on the tongue of the trailer.
About four hundred pounds should be about right to keep
from having any problems, and the sway bars will help to
keep us going down the road, and not off of it.
At three-thirty in the morning, the truck was loaded, the
trailer was nearly full, and they were beat.
Ellen, lets get a quick shower and a couple of
hours of sleep. That way we can travel all day tomorrow,
and not have to stop early.
Sounds like the best plan Ive heard all
It was less than a half an hour later when both could
have been heard, sawing wood, totally
oblivious to the world.
Neither of them were what they would have termed,
refreshed, the following morning when the alarm went off
at daybreak, but they rolled out, and after a quick cup
of coffee, set about finalizing their preparations.
While Jimmy tied the beam type antenna, that had been
acquired with the ham radio, to the roof of the trailer,
Ellen was taking the fresh food from the refrigerator and
placing it into a large cooler chest. She had frozen
three gallons of spring water in the big chest freezer,
after she had removed a pint or so from each one to allow
for expansion. They would be used to keep everything in
the cooler chest fresh, as well as to provide a nice cold
drink, as they melted down.
Watching Jimmy place the chest into the space that had
been reserved for it in the back of the truck, Ellen made
an observation, Hon, if you move that box over just
a little, I think we can load your recliner in that space
right there. All youd have to do is make sure the
tarp keeps it dry til we get there.
With a big grin of happiness, he said, Im
sure willing to give it a try!
Fifteen minutes later, they gave the keys to the house to
Don and Ann, who had seen all of the activity at their
neighbors all night, and figured they were going to head
out early. They had set their alarm to get them up, in
time to say their goodbyes, because they didnt want
to miss their only chance to see them off.
Putting his .44 magnum Super Blackhawk under the seat
next to the bag of gold coins, Jimmy turned and shook his
friends hand. They all exchanged heartfelt good
wishes to each other, and as they pulled away, Ellen
yelled out the window, The freezer is over half full of
food, use it up before it spoils. They hadnt
even bothered to have the utilities turned off. They
figured that the wave would do it for them.
It was early enough that the city streets were still
quiet. The morning rush was just a trickle at this time
of the day, and it sure didnt break Jimmys
heart not to have to fight it, while driving the big rig.
East bound on the interstate a few minutes later, they
noticed that the traffic that was coming towards them was
increasing in volume, as the city workers came in from
the outskirts to their jobs in the city proper. Not too long after that, it had
mushroomed to the point that it had slowed quite
Glancing over at his wife, Jimmy commented, I sure
wouldnt want to be in a traffic mess like that when
that wave comes through. They all live in the desert, and
Ill give you good odds that most of them dont
have enough water to get to town, if they have to walk.
Not that it would do most of them any long term good if
they did get to the city.
The southern route was not too bad as far as steep grades
went. The few hills that they encountered werent
enough to make them show any signs of overheating, or to
slow them down enough to be noticeable.
Coming through the next big city was a piece of cake.
They were too late for the morning rush, and too early
for the lunch brigade, just like Jimmy had anticipated.
With most of the city now behind them, Ellen asked him,
How about some breakfast for your hard working
I was just about to mention that my stomach was
getting a little too close to my backbone, and that I
could hear them talking to each other down there.
Ha, those two are always talking to each other.
Theres a truck stop that looks as busy as it can
be, up ahead. Ill bet you and your talking insides
can get enough food to keep all three of you quiet for an
hour or two in there.
Jimmy hit the turn signal and eased over to the exit
lane. Im sure willing to give them the
chance, before I start feeling faint or something.
Uh huh, Whore you fooling. You could live off
the fat of the land for a week at least Hon.
Well, it sounded good til you came up with
The food was as good as the full parking lot indicated it
might be, and as usual, Jimmy was so full he
couldnt hardly take care of the servicing of the
truck and trailer as they prepared to get back on the
But Ellen, Im just eating for the hunger
thats coming. It was one of his lines that he
used before the wave to elicit a laugh from her. Now her
serious look said that she knew it might just be so.
Lets hope not, Jimmy.
The big ford V-8 didnt have any problem with the
rolling hills that they began to encounter as they made
their way southeast towards the New Mexico line, and not
long after that milepost had been left in the rear view
mirrors, the terrain once again flattened out as they
crossed the desert. With only the distant mountains to
mark their seemingly slow progress across the open
expanse, Jimmy commented, Howd those early
settlers ever get across this hell hole with horses, or
oxen and wagons? Its bad enough in a truck.
They must have been tough as nails. The ones that
didnt die out here, anyway.
Well, Im glad were heading for a place
thats, more than a little bit, more hospitable to
A few miles past the first big desert town, they stopped
at a roadside table and had a quick lunch out of the big
cooler chest. Giving thanks for their good fortune so
far, they had no idea that Don and Anns flippant
skepticism had degenerated into real paranoia. Ann had
begun to fill every available container with fresh water,
carefully adding a couple of drops of bleach to each one.
Don was out trying to buy some non-perishable foods at
the same time. Unfortunately, it was a classic case of,
too little... too late...
With a beautiful setting sun just touching the horizon
behind them, they crossed the Texas border, and not to
long after dark swung into a chain type motel, and were
soon checked in, showered, and dining in the
establishments eatery. Jimmy wasnt very
impressed by the venue.
Why cant they attach truck stop diners to
these motels, so you can sleep well, and eat well
I think you just like the portion size more than
the food at those diners.
No way! I like them first because it tastes more
like what I like to eat, and I like them second best,
because they give you all you want to eat. When I get
that yuppie chow, I end up paying twice as much money for
half as much food, and it invariably ends up tasting like
something that never makes it to my list of things to do
Well, Ive got to admit, this dinner is not a
culinary masterpiece, by any stretch of the imagination.
Oh well, itll hold us til tomorrow, I
Like many Arizonans, they had crossed over into the land
of Tex-Mex, Mexican food, and the first taste of it was
one too many. They were used to the chili verde, or in
plain English, green pepper Mexican food. The ground up
dried red peppers that were so prevalent around here were
not exactly unused where they came from, but they
werent used so indiscriminately either. It was the
equivalent of having a meal in Boston, and the next one
in Atlanta. Even a big bowl of beans didnt taste
the same in both places by any stretch of the
Reentering the room, Jimmy put the bag of coins in the
top drawer of the small nightstand, and put the big Ruger
on top. He would be able to reach it by simply stretching
his arm out, which is just how he wanted it.
Everything had been loaded into the rig with forethought
to prevent the most valuable items from easy
accessibility, and although he had parked under the big
mercury overhead lamp, he was up to check on it several
times that night. At least once every two hours or so,
Ellen woke to the sound of the running shower. Slipping
out of bed as stealthily as she could, she tiptoed into
the bathroom, and slid her hand behind the curtain.
Stretching her arm out, she gave his posterior a quick
As the sound hit her ears, his hand caught her wrist and
drew her into his steamy embrace. Their plans for an
early start, were but a distant memory.
Instead of ham and cheese omelets at the restaurant, they
had donuts and coffee that was procured at the mini-mart
while Jimmy fueled and serviced the rig. Ellen smiled as
she handed her husband one of the raised glazed. We
lost an hour, but I think we can live with it.
Little did she know what an hour could mean...
Negotiating the worst grades of the trip later that
morning, without any problem, they soon entered the
rolling hills that would eventually take them to the
southern portion of the great plains.
The town that was just west of where interstate 10 headed
south to San Antonio, and I-20 went nearly straight east
towards Dallas was chosen for a lunch break. Finishing
his sandwich under the big mesquite tree sitting on the,
much to hard, cement bench at the picnic table, Jimmy put
in a call to his daughter.
Hi dad. How far have you come?
Hi yourself. Were at Kent, Texas. What have
you learned since I talked to you last?
Nothing new. We just know its to close for
comfort. Gary and I are working nonstop trying to take
care of everything we can. By the time you get here,
well have enough room for your supplies and most of
your stuff. If you will leave your tools in the trailer
so we can use it for a workshop, well have plenty
of room for you, mom, and the rest of your stuff. Gary
says we can make a wood heater out of a barrel, and have
a place where we can do any kind of project that we need
to get done.
Thats better than just letting my trailer sit
empty, huh? We can use your horse trailer to haul
anything that we need to haul.
Those are Garys words exactly. He said it
would be nice to have a place where he can work out of
the elements. And with the weather conditions that are
expected to be headed this way, no one will want to work
Well Hon, were ready to get on the road, so
Ill talk to you later. Bye.
Gbye dad. Stay in touch. Keep on
Setting out a couple of minutes later, Jimmy commented,
It sounds like we might not make it before the wave
hits. At least Danielle is worried about it. I could hear
the concern in her voice for us.
What do you want to do about it?
What can we do Ellen? Its beyond our control,
thats for sure. About all I can think of is, to do
what Danielle said, keep on driving. If we dont
stop except to eat and fuel up, we should be able to make
it by tomorrow morning.
That sounds good, but were not kids anymore.
Can you hold up?
I think I can, if you can give me a break once in a
while. I dont see any reason why we cant, if
we pull together.
I do just fine in my old wagon, but Ive never
pulled a trailer before.
As soon as its time for a pit stop, Ill
let you give it a try. With the sway bars, its not
too different than driving your car. Just remember, no
sudden moves. Not to the left, not to the right, and
remember that it wont stop as fast as it would
without the trailer, even if it has its own
Two hours later, Ellens white-knuckle grip
threatened to break the steering wheel as she slowly
brought the truck up to cruising speed. Under
Jimmys quiet instructions she slowly came to
realize that it wasnt really all that difficult to
keep the truck in her lane without swaying into oblivion.
This isnt as bad as I thought it would be
Youre doing fine. Just as long as you
dont do anything sudden, and remember to leave
plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of
you, youll be fine
Fifteen minutes later, she started to comment to Jimmy
that she thought that she was getting better at her new
job, when she realized that he was fast asleep on the
seat next to her. She nearly woke him up, but thought
better of it, well aware that he had a long night in
front of him, and this was the best time for him to rest.
The thought of driving the rig at night didnt
enthuse her in the slightest, did. Nearly one hundred and
fifty miles had accumulated on the odometer before he
finally started to stir, and he probably would not have
awakened then, but he felt the truck slowing down and
woke with a start.
Nothing Hon. Im just pulling into a rest stop
before I explode
Now that Im awake, that sounds like a good
thing to me too.
They went ahead and fixed a snack before they left the
rest area, and Jimmy took over at the wheel while they
finished their sandwiches and cup of lukewarm coffee on
Were going to have to stop for fuel soon.
When we do, be sure to fill both thermos bottles with
coffee. This stuff leaves a lot to be desired. Im
going to need some of that truck stop coffee. You know
what I mean, the forty weight that those
truckers are always talking about, its coffee as thick as
motor oil. It really isnt, but its still
designed to keep you awake, and moving down the road. We
are still a long way from our sanctuary, and I wont
be happy til we pull into the front gate.
The lights of Dallas were just a glow in the rear view
mirrors when Jimmy hit the piece of metal sitting in his
lane. Actually, he followed his own advice about not
making any sudden moves in the steering department. He
had seen the object in the headlights, but not in time to
completely avoid it. The right front tire on the trailer
took a direct hit, and exploded like a cannon shot. His
equally loud, Damn! left Ellen sitting
straight up, with very big eyes, as she was rudely
awakened from a very sound sleep.
Letting off the gas, and letting the trailer slow down on
its own, Jimmy eased the truck over to the berm and
came to a stop. Putting his flashers on, he went around
to the passenger side, and walked back to the trailer.
Shining his flashlight on the tire, he could see that it
was ruined, just as he had figured. His only consolation
was the fact that it hadnt taken both of the tires
on that side out. Not only would it have been hard to
control, but he only had one spare tire for the trailer!
Pulling the tire from its mount, on the front of the
trailer, he got out his hydraulic jack and the four-way
lug wrench. Mumbling under his breath, he went to work on
getting the tire change behind them.
He was just starting to pump the jack up, after cracking
all five of the lugnuts loose when he heard the sound of
tires crunching on the gravel behind him. Looking back,
he saw the highway patrol car, at about the same time
that its emergency lights came on.
Good evening officer.
Hi. Youve got some trouble?
Nothing serious. I hit a piece of some kind of
metal on the road and cut a tire. Ive got a new
spare, and a good jack, so the missus and I should be
Shining his own light into the back of the truck the
officer commented, Thats quite a load.
Sure is officer. Were headed for a place
thats green for a change. I finally retired, and
now were going to say good-bye to that desert for
What year is that ford?
Its a nineteen-seventy.
I havent seen one that looked that good in a
Thanks. I get a lot of compliments on it.
Jimmy hadnt stopped working while he was talking,
and it wasnt to long until he was retightening the
lugnuts, and throwing the spare and the tools into the
back of the truck.
Do you know of a place thats open and has a
tire that I can buy, and have mounted, to replace my
If you take the Titusville exit, about four miles up the
road you should find what you need, about a half mile to
the north. That would be a right turn off of the exit
Great! Ill stop and take care of it there. By
the way, thanks a lot for staying and holding the light
for me, it sure made it easier to change that tire.
Pulling back onto the interstate, Jimmy couldnt
help but breathe a sigh of relief.
You sure were extra polite to that officer.
All wed need is for him to find my cannon and
a bag of gold under the front seat! We would have been
laying face down in the dirt while they ripped everything
we owned to shreds. By the time that they figured out
that we werent transporting any drugs, theyd
take the gold and all of my guns as,
evidence, and leave us our food, and all of
our possessions scattered over five acres. Classic
government over-kill in the war on drugs. Now I can
finally think of one damn good thing that the wave will
bring. We wont have to put up with any more of that
kind of crap, or the drug trade that fostered it.
They dropped the tire off at the small station, and drove
down the block to a diner that had its light on.
They ate their first hot meal of the day, and filled the
thermos again with fresh coffee.
They crossed over the border into Arkansas just as the
first hint of the predawn began to lighten the sky, and
much to their amazement, watched as the vehicles around
them lost their lights, and seemed to slow to a stop, as
Uh oh.....Somethings up!
Ellen watched as the effects of the wave unfolded
around them. Even the big rigs were coming to a stop.
Their diesel engines were still running, but they all had
computerized light controls and other switches, so they
just sat in the dark, wondering what had gone wrong.
When the accumulated fuel pressure dropped low enough,
they would sputter and die, just as their gasoline and
electric contemporaries had done, seconds before.
An old truck came at them from the east. Its lights
and engine unaffected by the burst. It was moving quite
slowly, and Jimmy imagined that the driver didnt
have the faintest clue why he was still moving in a world
that had suddenly come to a grinding halt around him.
All of the big highway illuminating lights were black,
and no sign of lights were visible anywhere within the
limits of their vision.
Damn it! Were only about an hour from
So much for that hour I said wouldnt matter.
Im sorry Jimmy.
Dont be silly. It was one of my better hours
in the last decade or two. Well get there, as long
as we keep our wits about us.
Slowing the rig to twenty-five miles an hour or so, to
avoid the vehicles that hadnt managed to get clear
of the roadway, they both seemed to hold their breath for
The traffic had been fairly light when the wave hit, but
there were more and more people wandering onto the
roadway, seemingly in a state of shock.
With less than twenty miles remaining in their epic
journey, they saw a big tractor-trailer stopped in the
right hand lane, and a highway patrol vehicle blocking
the left one. A police officer was standing between the
two, with a flashlight in one hand and a revolver in the
Jimmy, hes motioning for you to stop.
Thats not going to happen. Just smile, and
Nearly stopped, he floored the old truck and whipped the
wheel to the left. Down into the shallow median, around
the obstruction, and then another fairly severe turn,
this time to the right. It was over in a few seconds, but
it felt like an awfully long time to the pair. They had
heard a lot of yelling, but no shots.
Honey, what was that all about?
I think that eighteen wheeler must have hit a
stalled car. He must have been trying to keep on trucking
without his lights, and hit that car before his fuel
Why didnt you stop for that officer?
They would have commandeered our truck for sure.
There isnt much running out here, and Im
going to keep heading for Danielles, no matter what
happens. There are going to be lots of people that will
take anything we have, and if we let them, well end
up out of luck. I was counting on the fact that, that
officer didnt have a clue about the scope of the
problem hes dealing with, and rather than blasting
away at the public with his revolver, he got our license
plate numbers if he was lucky, and figured hed nail
us for leaving the scene of an accident, reckless
driving, and anything else he can think of.
Jimmy couldnt help himself, as he started laughing.
Who do you think hes going to report our
transgressions to? Hell be doing well if he can
make it home to take care of his own family.
Turning off the interstate, they slowed even further, as
the lane changing option that theyd been using to
avoid the inevitable stalled cars, became tougher on the
rural two lane highway.
Turning into the west driveway at his daughters
house was the signal for Jimmy to literally collapse over
the steering wheel, at about the same time, as the rig
came to a halt.
Jimmy, are you OK?
You bet...Now I am!
On the big mountain overlooking the city, an old man
sitting in a decrepit pickup truck, that was parked on
the lovers lane, turned to watch a huge airliner
slam into the darkened city far below. He was also headed
for greener pastures. Hed wandered these mountains
for years, and one of his expeditions had led him to an
old tunnel that went far into the very mountain that he
now stood upon. Nearly a quarter of a mile into the
tunnel, hed found a diamond drill hole that the
miners had put in to try to find the elusive vein of ore
that had pinched off where the test hole began. Tilted up
at a slight angle, the hole produced about a quart of
water an hour, twenty-four hours a day. It was far more
valuable than any ore that they might have discovered in
the drill cores. The old man drove the truck down the
nearly invisible jeep trail that went to within a quarter
of a mile of the entrance, and started carrying the first
load of supplies to the mine from the back of his old
truck. He had already cached many truckloads in the back
reaches of the drift, and he figured this one would be
the last that hed need for several years. The old
man walked an invisible trail right to it. He was a man
that had survived longer by around him and heeding
everything that was available for his evaluation.
Standing at the entrance of the tunnel, the moonlight
showed his face to be as craggy as the convoluted
mountain range that encompassed his newest refuge, but
his eyes seemed to be those that would be found on
someone who was wearing a younger mans clothes. The
wave had passed. Hopefully his soul mates parents
were now safe. Down through the ages, he had met very few
like her, and to keep her from pain made his heart sing
When she had told him that her parents were living in the
desert, many years before while she was at his mountain
cabin, he resolved to try to save them from this day, if
he could possibly do it. Her many incarnations had
suffered much pain over the ages, and if he could save
her any more, he would do so at almost any cost.
He had tolerated the Mayans long enough to instruct them
in astronomy, math-ematics, construction, and written
language, but at their graduation had forsaken them and
their bloodthirsty ways. They had used his knowledge to
set their oral traditions into stone for those
civilizations yet to come. His final gift had been the
knowledge of the day that the present, Great
Age, would come to an end. He wasnt sure why
his calculations had been off by so many days, but he
figured hed have plenty of time to work on it.
Far below, Don and Ann held each other, trembling and
crying. The noise of the airliner slamming into the
ground, less than a mile from their house, had nearly
thrown them from their bed. Theyd tried the lights,
the portable radio, and even the car, but all were dead,
and they knew for sure that they had made a potentially
fatal, life decision, when they ignored their
neighbors warning just a few days before.