Herewith a tiny bite...of What Comes Next:
They gray haired man raises his arms and gestures around, “This former city, this seaside village was eight hours from the nearest major body of water. Eight hours from the coast. On a good traffic day! Just fifteen or twenty years ago! Our generation is not one to rest on its laurels. Well not anymore, anyway. That’s ‘cause we don’t have any…” Pause, “Unless y’all count the fact that we are all here, and not at the bottom of the Gulf o’ Mexico. But even that don’t really cou-.”He coughs a couple of times and takes a cup of what passes for coffee given to him by a bedraggled young woman. The cup has no handle and looks nearly as old and cracked as he is. Sips from the cup and sets it on a nearby shattered piece of concrete.
“Thanks,” he rasps. Shrugs out of his duster. Something in one of the pockets clanks as he sets the black garment next to the coffee cup.He’s wearing a beat up pair of jeans that look to be the same material as the coat he just set down. A pair of boots that have definitely seen better days. The t-shirt he’s wearing is green, crossed by black diagonals, ‘No Problem,’ Mon! is emblazoned in yellow text across the chest of the shirt. Over this on his right side, there is a shoulder holster, only partially hidden by the brown flannel shirt he’s wearing. If you look closely at the back of that flannel, you see the telltale bulge of something tucked in the waistband of his jeans as he bends over to pick up the cup. He’s also got a large camp knife strapped to his left thigh. And he is not the most heavily armed person at this gathering.
He takes another sip out of the steaming cup, moves to sit down on his coat, and pain flashes across his weathered visage.He addresses the faces in the crowd, “Welcome to Austin, Texas,” he says wryly. “Or what’s left of it. Gateway to the Mexican Ocean."