While recently chauffeuring a friend on a trip to south Texas to interview for teaching jobs, I didn’t realize that it would be so dangerous.
The first day in Killeen a would-be terrorist was arrested with bomb-making equipment for attacking Fort Hood soldiers in a local restaurant.
We had just eaten at TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) — which I’ve renamed Terrorists: God Isn’t Fighting.
I may have spotted the AWOL soldier earlier that day in a bookstore reading “I’m Not the Brightest Bulb in the Chandelier.”
In Marlin, the fine elementary principal, Nathan Pope (from Gilmer — just down the road from my hometown of Mt. Vernon), drove us around in his pickup to look for housing for my newly-hired friend.
Later, at one apartment complex, I called the listed number.
Soon, a young man showed up in a bucking truck blaring loud “narcocorridos” music.
The only thing redder than his three Budwieser tall-boys on a plastic ring were his eyes.
He led us to the top floor, then knocked on a supposedly vacant apartment. A few minutes later, a shirtless, tattooed man peeked out.
After shutting the door in our faces, they whispered words like “gringo,” “cocaina” and “mucho dinero.”
Before they emerged, we sped off in my “ruedas de bonito” (nice wheels).
So much for Killeen being the fortress and Marlin being the peaceful fishing village I had envisioned.