“DAMN IT!” Marvin Casey shouts his frustration as the cab of his 2006 Kenworth T600™ quakes after driving over a small pothole. “That air leak is getting worse! It feels like there is no air in the suspension at all!” the truck driver says to himself as he looks at the air level gauge on the dash of his truck. “Ninety-five pounds,” he says aloud, “another thirty pounds of air loss and my “pins” will pop out!” Marvin would think about the possible outcome if that were to happen. Over the road trucks with air brakes need a constant supply of air, sixty-five pounds or better to operate properly. The truck's compressor keeps the air pressure at or near 120 pounds per square inch (PSI) to ensure there is enough air to continue operations after sessions of heavy braking or, as in this case, overcoming potholes. “105 psi,” Marvin sighs with relief as he watches the air pressure gauge rise, the needle stops at 120 psi and holds steady for a moment before dropping again. Marvin removes his foot from the accelerator placing more distance between his Kenworth and the Acura TL in front of him. He knows he cannot do a lot of braking; he will lose pressure with each press of the brake pedal.
Interstate Thirty-five (I-35) South from Waco to Austin, Texas is currently one long construction zone. Adding the multitude of cars, trucks, DUST, HEAT, heavy equipment and potholes and you have one long slow ride from Dallas to Laredo. Marvin Casey requested this “run” as a wedding gift to Rita, Marvin's newlywed wife of eight months. Running back and forth from Dallas to Laredo keeps him intrastate. He is at home two nights a week, well, sometimes anyway, and weekends if he doesn't get stuck. It is not uncommon for a driver to spend a week sitting in Laredo waiting for his product to cross the border from Mexico. The pay isn't great, it barely pays the bills, but “we eat every day and Rita is not complaining,” he considers, well…. not about his home time anyway. “SHIT!” Marvin screams again as his truck shakes frantically from another small pothole encounter, his logbook falls from his dashboard to the floor, as well as his pillow from his bunk. Again he looks at his air supply gauge and removes his foot from the accelerator. With 325 miles still to drive Marvin can't help but worry, “I need money!” Marvin says as he watches a car entering into his lane, he knows he must slow down to greaten his following distance. Asking for a loan isn't an option, “not with my credit!” he says with a laugh, and he continues to think of options. Better paying loads mean more miles, but also the contention with traffic, hills, and mountains. “Not with this truck in this condition!” the newlywed husband says aloud also aware his wife would not be willing to let the truck driver spend more time on the road, this truck driver is pretty much immured. “I need “quick, easy money,” he says attentively thinking of how he could get it. Rita's uncle “Tony,” but dealing with a man such as Antonio “The Lion” Trejo could be life threatening. Drugs, guns, still both equal money, and lots of it! Rita's uncle is an anathema to most people; still, Marvin considers the economic advantages and everything he could do if he could just get the money. “We could move!” he thinks, his eyes light up as he imagines a house just outside of the city with a long driveway and a parking place for his truck and dream trailer. He would not have neighbors complaining about the amount of space his big rig takes when he is home. No one would be close enough to hear “The Beast,” Marvin's truck when it is idling. Best of all his truck could shine in the sun, “all pimped out!” Every repair made. The Beast is his dream truck again!
With all the daydreaming Marvin realizes he's driven past the scale and inspection station at “MM 119” (Mile Marker), where there is always a Department Of Transportation (D.O.T.) officer sitting in observation or inspecting a truck. He soon arrives at the I-35 Border Patrol Crossing; fortunately, the truck driver is going south, the many infrared cameras take only snapshots as vehicles pass along the roadside. It’s 3:30 pm, the truck driver looks at his watch and then surveys for officers with drug-sniffing dogs. Marvin has made a mental list for opportune times to enter the crossing; he is now “fine tuning” the list for accuracy trying to ensure the times of day less likely that there will be dogs to walk alongside a car or truck sniffing for drugs. Going south to Laredo is the easy part. Only a few cameras with no stopping and no questions. It's going north to get out of Laredo that's the challenge! There is a banner warning of the number of commercial driver's licenses seized to date. “600 so far this year,” Marvin says to himself, and again he looks at his watch feeling confident with the belief that he could transport an illegal substance or alien across the border, ensuring a significant payday!
“Forty-two miles to go!” Marvin says with relief; he pats his dashboard with a smile and sense of completion. “We made it Girl!” Again the money-seeking driver begins thinking about the payday if he were to do a job for Uncle Tony. “Rita would kill me if she knew,” the newlywed husband considers. Marvin struggles with his decision; he could lose his truck, his license and maybe his wife, not to mention the jail time! But one job would tip the scale in Marvin's favor. Marvin has been a model citizen since he was seven. He thought he would lose his life the day he was caught trying to steal candy from the corner liquor store, Marvin believes there are steal lash marks on his ass from his mother’s strap. The truck driver soon arrives at his place for delivery, after he checked in with the receiving department and given a door to back his trailer into Marvin returns to his leaning Kenworth. Once inside the truck Marvin looks down at his phone, “I think I will give Uncle Tony a call!”