Part 1: The Original Plan A
Part 2: The Re-evaluation
Part 3: Laundry Chute
Part 4: Desperate Measures
Part 5: Plan DD- Because Plans A-Z, AA-CC All Failed
Part 6: Plan DD- The Ultimate Miracle
Section VI: Plan DD- The Ultimate Miracle
Press play on the image below to hear this set of songs in the exact order.
Friday, December 18th: Exactly one week until Christmas, 2009- the final Christmas of the decade.
25. The Big Pink
"Crystal Visions" 3:55
A Brief History of Love
It was my first day off in seven days and I had grown increasingly frustrated with my job. My girlfriend was scheduled to fly out of town to visit her friends and family in her hometown for the holidays. I had made a new mix CD and my Plan A was to take her to the airport, go by work and get my check, then go home and listen to my new mix on headphones, and then maybe go out with some friends who I hadn't seen in a while. This was a day I had been looking forward to all week.
24. The Clean
Dunedin, New Zealand
The forecast called for possibly four inches of snow. With my girlfriend and I both being from regions of the country where snow is common, neither of us had any fears of the weather whatsoever. The city we were currently living in, on the other hand, was in a state of terror. School had been cancelled before the first flake even fell and most businesses closed. I woke up at my girlfriend's house, and yes, it did snow. We were both surprised by that, and it had snowed pretty good—the apocalypse had happened; it snowed the entire four inches. Staci packed her luggage and we headed to the airport. Generally, this is but a 15 minute drive; on this day, it took nearly thirty minutes.
23. Major Lazer
"Pon de Floor" 3:34
Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do
We got to the airport, got checked, we said our goodbyes, kissed, it was sad. Afterwards, I left and drove all the way back home—which again took longer than usual. By this time, it started snowing even more, actually coming down hard even for standards of the other regions of the country—something this community was not very accustomed to, if the first apocalypse wasn’t bad enough, this disaster falling from the sky was sure to kill everybody and leave behind no prisoners whatsoever. The roads were getting bad and not much was being done in the way of clearing them. In fact, people in this part of the country did not even know how to operate a snow plow. Some members of the snow removal crew had called in sick because the weather was too bad, and they wanted to be comfortable at home for when the world finally ended, which was slated to be any minute now being as there were now five whole inches on the ground.
San Francisco, CA
Work was extremely busy and in a state of panic. It should be known, I work at a grocery store…you know how people get at a grocery store during a snow forecast. I just wanted to get my check, pick up a couple things, and go. Somehow, I got suckered into working- even under the condition that I wasn't going to wear my uniform. My day off was somewhat ruined. Being as it had already snowed, mother fuckers were headed back out in the shit to get a loaf of bread, eggs, and milk…you know, to keep in the bomb shelter for when the world finally did end they would be able to make a sandwich. But, that just meant I resort to Plan B: Work for a few hours, then after work, do all the other items that originally contrive under Plan A.
I had to quickly go home first. Getting home, which normally takes 5 minutes from work, was a hassle. I barely got up my street because it was so slick. Disgruntled about having to work, I did take a minute to listen to a couple songs on headphones, make some coffee, and brush my teeth before leaving. My girlfriend texted me and said her plane hadn't taken off yet. I merely replied that I had to go to work and was pissed about it.
While walking to my car, angry about having to go to work, I slipped and fell in the driveway. Though it hurt my back, I must admit that sliding down the driveway was fun. I arrived back at work despite the fact I nearly slid off the road several times. They didn't say how long I had to work and I told them I would stay until whenever- however, I mentioned that my girlfriend's flight could possibly get cancelled and I may have to leave to go pick her back up from the airport.
21. Real Estate
"Suburban Beverage" 6:12
I wasn't working but twenty minutes before my girlfriend called my work and informed me her flight had been cancelled. She was bummed about not being able to leave on time and I told her I was on my way to pick her up. A significant amount of snow was falling and I informed her it might take me up to an hour before I could get there. An hour! To make a stinking 15 minute drive. Plan C now: Pick up Staci, then do all of the other shit that consisted of Plan A, except with Staci now.
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
The first portion of the trip went ok and I was making good time. I had not eaten a single thing all day and Staci ordered me a footlong sub from the Subway at the airport. I was starving and it sounded good. Plus, I was looking forward to spending another night with Staci, maybe even wear out that ass to the mix CD I made.
When I reached the next highway, a mere 9 miles from the Airport exit, traffic came to a complete halt. I texted Staci and told her about the traffic being stopped and it would take me a tad longer than I had expected. This was about 3:30 PM.
She and I continued to text each other while the traffic was stopped. We were both getting angry about our current situations. Then, around 5:00 PM when traffic still hadn't moved, we were getting worried. It continued to snow and snowed six more inches easily by 7:30 PM and traffic still hadn't moved. In case you are counting, that is 4 hours being stuck in traffic—with nothing to eat whatsoever. Also if you are counting, snow accumulation is now well over 10 inches total—four inches qualified for the apocalypse. Plan D: Just get to the fucking airport and get back home.
19. Animal Collective
"No More Runnin'" 4:23
Merriweather Post Pavillon
New York, NY
At this point, people had gotten out of their cars; a couple kids built a snowman in the median. As you can guess, not everybody trapped here is kids loving the snow. We all walked up and noticed an opening. Plan E: get through that fucking opening and do the rest of the shit that consisted of all the previous plans. Why this wasn't done sooner before there were 13 inches of snow on the ground with more still covering the roads is a mystery to me.
Pretty much all that could get through was 4x4 trucks. I attempted, barely made it through the first slither, than opted to pull off to the side so I wouldn't block the path and prevent others from being able to get through. Once off to the side, I got out and helped push people through the initial path.
There were about 10 of us pushing other people through the narrow path we created. We all made friends with one another, and somewhat enjoyed ourselves—all things considered. A couple of cars should not have attempted. One car slid and crashed into a truck pulled off to the side, another crashed into a semi and I ended up having to be the one to steer her car out and off to the side (her 60 year old ass was headed to the mall and contemplating walking the rest of the way (10 miles) because it was "so important". Later, the bitch did walk. My guess is she died.
"Status Quo" 3:37
After about a half an hour of this crap, a snow plow finally came- westbound on the eastbound highway. It cleared one lane and allowed cars to get through. We pushed out a few more cars through to get going and then finally I was pushed out and on my way. I texted Staci and told her of Plan F: Get pushed out this mess, and follow the freeway, which now had a lane cleared, get Staci’s monkey ass, and go back to what consisted of all the other plans.
17. Fever Ray
"If I Had A Heart" 3:50
I passed one exit with hopes the rest of the highway would be clear enough to get to the Airport Road exit. It wasn't. A few miles up, cars were stopped and these mother fuckers had even shut off their engines. The road was completely covered and I could only go about 15 miles per hour. I turned around on the freeway and travelled in the opposite direction back to the exit. I even got stuck once and needed a push. Traveling in the wrong direction on the expressway was not that crazy on this evening. And that brought up Plan G: Get off the freeway, and take the back roads to the airport, which reportedly had been cleared.
Being as I had only lived in this town for about a year and had spent most of my time either downtown or near my home, I was not familiar with this side of town and didn't know how to get to the airport from this particular exit. A couple pedestrians gave me directions and I had to get back on the highway, west this time, to the other highway, to 25 South, to Airport Road. This normally would take 15 minutes- I was hoping to do it in an hour- tops.
16. Atlas Sound
"Quick Canal [w/ Laetita Sadier]" 8:38
The trip up in the other direction on the highway in which I had been stranded all evening wasn't that bad, though I was only doing 15 mph. I exited onto the ramp to the other highway, made it almost all the way to the bottom which had been slightly cleared off, then got stuck in a snow pile right at the end of the ramp. This time I was nearly alone. One person attempted to get me unstuck but we failed.
Plan H: Bust myself out of this mess all by myself with force. I tried to bust myself out and nearly slid into a guardrail and ended up in a huge pile of snow (four feet this time, not inches anymore) that had been plowed from the expressway. I was stuck.
Determined to rescue my love from being stranded at the airport, I devised Plan I, and tried to dig myself out with my feet. In the end, my car was still stuck, and my feet were soaking wet. It was still pouring down snow and freezing fucking cold. My clothes were covered in snow. I kept digging and kept trying to bust myself out. After nearly two hours, I gave up. Worse yet, I was getting low in gas, the batteries in my mp3 player died so I had no music, and I still had not eaten all day.
15. Comet Gain
"Brothers Off The Block" 5:18
Broken Record Prayers
Staci texted me stating she was worried. I told her I was getting ready to resort to desperate measures. We devised Plan J, contemplated walking to meet each other and get a hotel. Then came Plan K: I told her to call my some friends and see if we knew anybody with a truck. Nothing. I was stranded. My mind was still active though, I figured I could just rest, than run, and come up with something brilliant like a true revolutionary.
I got out again. I was not giving up. A mysterious, enormous, blast of green lightning lit up the sky. I had never seen anything like this. It flashed again. This was the sort of lightning only seen in science fiction movies. It was a sign of something, and I adopted Plan L as I would either be rescued by aliens or I was about to be killed.
14. Devendra Banhart
"Goin' Back" 3:45
What Will We Be
New York, NY
Shortly afterwards, a person in a truck stopped and asked me if I was stuck. Fortunately, he had a chain, and just a couple minutes later, I was pulled out and back on my way to the airport. What a miracle. I thanked this person and went to Plan M: Go, keep going, and don’t fucking stop for anything. Don’t slow down; keep moving at the exact same pace. You’ll make it. Things’ll be just fine.
The highway was slightly cleared, but nowhere near in good condition. I was doing 20 miles per hour. The 25-south exit was 3 miles away and I made it. I gunned it on this exit ramp and after a complete 360 and a stunt drive slide seen in action movies like The French Connection, I busted my way through and was on my way. There was hope and I was determined.
13. Karen O And The Kids
Where The Wild Things Are
New York, NY
After traveling down 25-south for about 3 miles in the snow, my car ran out of gas. Damn! I was so close. I had no gas can either, just a stupid anti-freeze jug. Fucking Plan N: Fill up an anti-freeze bottle with gas, and get back on the road. I emptied out the rest of my anti-freeze and started walking in the freezing cold to the gas station to fill up my anti-freeze jug.
The gas station was closed and would not allow pay-at-the-pump. There was not another gas station in sight. The first day I bought this piece of crap car, I ran out of gas on a different highway. That particular incident, the car started back up and drove a bit further. Plan O: I prayed that would happen again. Please car, start, and just make it to the next gas station. As I walked the entire way back to the car, this time uphill, sliding, snow blowing cold in my face, my clothes drenched, frozen hands carrying an anti-freeze jug without gloves, and my soaked shoes getting even wetter as I trudged through the piles of slush. I stepped in one pile of slush and it created that uncomfortable feeling of when cold wet slush goes down inside the shoe and soaks the sock with that initial feeling of shock when sub-freezing cold water soaks to through to the skin. That feeling sucks.
12. The Horrors
"I Only Think Of You" 7:07
My prayers were answered. It started back up, drove over the next hill and ran out of gas again with another gas station in my sight. I retrieved the anti-freeze bottle and walked again in the freezing snow and this time successfully purchased gas- which more than likely caused an overdraft my account because I could not deposit my check today due to the snow. With soaking wet feet, wet clothes, and now with gasoline spilled all over me because the lid to the anti-freeze bottle mysteriously disappeared, I walked back to my car, in the same aforementioned conditions.
Anti-freeze bottles are not designed to be poured into gas tanks. I spilled much of the gas all over me and down the side of the car. In an attempt to start the piece of shit, and because I had to leave my lights on in the road, my battery died. I was beginning to lose hope. I opened the trunk, removed my jumper cables, and hoped somebody would stop- for on this evening, people were being overly kind. Plan P: Hope and Pray Somebody Drives By and Stops. This would require yet another miracle.
At anytime I could have given up, but for some reason I anticipated that Staci was miserable at the airport and it was my duty to save her. I was attempting to be some sort of a hero, but it was proving much more difficult than I hoped. Furthermore, I had come this far, part of me just wanted to see if I could make it—no matter the circumstances.
11. The Fiery Furnaces
"Take Me Round Again" 6:35
I'm Going Away
Oak Park, IL/New York, NY
Somebody stopped, and the kind soul utilized the tool to jumpstart my battery. He even cut up a water bottle for me to use as a funnel to insert anti-freeze bottle and fill more gas into the tank. Once again, I was back on track. And, I completed the entire journey down 25, turned on Airport Road, made it all the way to the airport, and accidentally turned in the wrong entrance- this was their corporate offices or whatever. There was absolutely nobody around in sight. When I tried to turn around, I was stuck once again and then could not get up the hill back out onto the main road. No way was I going to be denied this after coming all this way. Plan Q: Get out of this mess! And get out with such authority, it will scare the world into creating another obstacle. With the type of determination heroes are comprised of, flooring the gas pedal, rpm- buried- I fucking busted the fuck out, sliding sideways up and around the slope of the hill, and back on the road. Fuck this shit!
10. Cymbals Eat Guitars
"Cold Spring" 5:49
Why There Are Mountains
New York, NY
At 11:30 PM, I finally arrived at the airport. It was a 9 hour nightmare to get here. Soaking wet, soggy freezing cold socks on my frozen feet, completely covered in mud and snow, and reeking of gasoline, I found the love of my life and we embraced in a passionate hug. This was by far the happiest we ever were to see each other. After gathering her things, we decided on Plan R: leave the airport, have dinner, and spend the night at the closest hotel.
We left the airport and headed in the direction of the hotels, merely a few blocks away. Waffle House was open and we were starving. Also fortunate, Waffle House was right next to the hotel we planned on staying.
By this point, I was getting tired; I was starving, cold, frustrated, and simply sick of being in the car. We contemplated fueling up at a gas station, but it was not cleared and I feared the car would get stuck. Plus, we were right by the street that featured Waffle House and the hotel.
9. White Denim
"Paint Yourself" 5:12
Due to the fact that I was tired, I made a bad decision, which at the time I no longer cared. The street featuring the hotel and Waffle House had not been cleared at all, a semi was blocking the road, and I feared if I stopped I would surely get stuck. I opted to whip my piece of crap vehicle into Waffle House's parking lot- which wasn't cleared either, and my car slid off and partially submerged into a ditch. I didn't care at this point. That was a legitimate enough parking spot for this night and we were right next to the hotel. Plan S: Deal With the Car in the Morning After Some Rest and After Shit Had Been Cleared.
8. The Flaming Lips
"Silver Trembling Hands " 3:59
Oklahoma City, OK
Waffle House was fucking packed. At this point, the highway in which I was originally stranded had been completely shut down, and people deserted their vehicles in the middle of the road or had them shut off and were sleeping in them. Surprisingly, most of the people were discussing the snow. It was officially a record snowstorm for this particular city. We went inside the restaurant, and there was a long wait. At least it was warm, and I was still having motion sickness feeling as if I was still sliding in my car. Staci utilized the wait to walk next door and book us a room while I awaited the table.
The table came first. The coffee tasted so good. Everything on the Waffle House menu looked like a gourmet meal because I was so hungry. Staci returned and said the hotel was completely booked and had no more rooms. She was angry because she claimed to have seen two rooms open and thought the hotel clerk was merely being lazy. We did not worry about it then, it was a simple solution; Plan T: Just Get a Different Hotel.
Vancouver, BC Canada
It was the first thing I had eaten all day—well after midnight, following the disastrous day I just had. My God, Waffle House never tasted better! Staci phoned her parents, let them know we were getting a hotel and the car was stuck- she calls her parents for everything. They offered AAA, but it was no use here. After paying the bill, which took forever because Waffle House was completely packed with people stranded on the highway, we walked to the next nearest hotel. They were all booked. There were no rooms anywhere. Rumor had it; one hotel on a different street had some vacancies. Plan U: Get the car unstuck and go to that fucking hotel…wherever the fuck that may be, back out on the road again I did not even feel like driving anymore.
Staci is so beautiful. Her big eyes and pretty smile make my heart flutter. She looked so cute and was dressed to meet her family for the holidays. Unfortunately, my beloved girlfriend is not designed to push a submerged car out of the snow, especially dressed as she was. She gave it her best though, but fell down in the snow and she herself was now soaking wet. As we tried to push the car out, the piece of shit ran out of gas again.
6. Built To Spill
"Good Ol' Boredom" 6:31
There Is No Enemy
Plan V: Fill the stupid anti-freeze bottle back up with gas again. I hated this anti-freeze bottle, cussed at it as we walked to the corner Gas Station, and even took a few personal shots at it’s mama. As I filled it, I spilled more gas all over me because the pump wasn't working right, shit I was a mess and it was too fucking cold to be this soaking wet, muddy, and covered in gas. It’s a good thing I kept that water bottle because I needed to use it as a funnel again. I put the gallon in and this time we had help pushing- a man who said he would help us push…he was a kind random soul who happened to be entering Waffle House as we were walking to the gas station.
He had his fiancé and another woman with him. Plan W: All of Us Push, Get the Fuck Out of Here, Go to Bed. These three people, plus Staci, attempted to push with moderate success. We were slightly out of the ditch but not entirely. This gallon of gas sucked. Maybe it was because I was gunning the gas pedal so much, but while trying to get out, we ran out of gas again. It was hopeless.
5. The Heartless Bastards
"Hold Your Head High" 5:05
Plan X: Staci’s Parents AAA Card. We figured it was worth a try, but it proved useless. The tow truck company merely laughed at us. Plan Y: We could just walk back to the airport. Staci did not feel like walking all that way back to the airport. Part of me was happy about this, because if we had simply ended up back at the airport, it would have made the entire trip a waste. Plan Z: We walked back to the hotel and asked if we could pay to sleep in the lobby. They rejected the offer, said it was against policy, and that would be loitering. Plan AA: Call a Cab. Nope, they were closed. Plan AA: The Act of Desperation. Some random lady I was chatting with while stranded on the highway gave me her number and said her husband drove a tow truck, that I could call her if I ran into any troubles. We called, but there was no answer. None of the choices were wise at this point.
I looked at the car, and getting this thing unstuck was far beyond my control. All I could do was reflect on my bad decision to attempt to whip it into Waffle House. Then, I thought about all of the bad decisions I made the entire way. I should have just told her that I could not make it. That seemed so long ago. But, my whole life can be defined with a fascination for the wrong way to go, but somehow conquering the obstacles. This one was going to require years to fix.
"The Human Factor" 10:29
New York, NY
By this point, we were desperate and reaching absurd desperate options. Plan BB: I could sell the car. I did not like that car anyway, and a series of Plan DD’s on how I was going to get rid of it; which included raffling it as a prize for $1 a ticket, painting a happy face on the roof and letting it float downstream, or exploding it for a movie scene. We were going to knock on all the doors of the hotel, and offer whoever was staying there the car, plus we’d pay for their room, if they let us in and sleep on the floor. We were both too tired to do that.
We attempted to just stay in Waffle House, but it was too crowded. There were no empty seats available, and we no longer had the energy to stand for too long.
3. The Silent League
"Here's A Star" 4:11
But You've Always Been The Caretaker
New York, NY
Plan CC: Sleep in the fucking car. Many people were sleeping in their cars, so we decided to do the same. I walked back to get gas yet again so we would be able to start the car and have heat. The guy who had attempted to push us out of the ditch asked us if we had any money and we informed him all we had was her card. Staci thought maybe he was asking us for money because people in this city do this often. The guy met with the two other women and returned with $8 that he just gave to us without us even asking. This 18 inches of snow brought out the good in everybody. I felt guilty thinking he was going to bum money from us and we were not going to give him any.
I filled up the anti-freeze bottle again and funneled it through the water bottle again. However, because the car was on a slope, the gas couldn't quite get to the carburetor right away. Then, the battery died again. We had no heat. No music. We were soaking wet. We had no plan. We were stranded at Waffle House with no ability to leave whatsoever. Dead battery, no gas, no heat, stuck in a ditch, zilch. It was about 0 degrees outside and the wind was howling.
2. Band Of Skulls
"Cold Fame" 6:11
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
Without any hope whatsoever, Staci and I attempted to fall asleep in the freezing cold out in my car. As I tried to sleep, it still felt as if my car was sliding all over the place. I was worried we would freeze to death outside in this cold being as we were both soaking wet. We huddled up close to each other, snuggled each other with a gear shifter and emergency brake in-between us. Staci claimed this proved our love for each other. What a cost?
As I looked over at Staci, who had offered me some dry socks from her carryon bag, and seemed to be sleeping soundly, I felt inadequate with myself. This poor girl deserved better, and all I could provide was a cold ass car stranded in a Waffle House ditch with a dead battery and no gas. She would have been better off sleeping at the airport. I felt as if this entire adventure had a negative outcome, and we would have all been better served had I just stayed at home and stuck with Plan A. Plus, the people had been so kind, that $8, I felt as if I did not deserve it; and I definitely did not deserve the comfort of being loved by somebody as wonderful as Staci. I was angry, and I felt sad. With nobody looking, I wept to myself silently. Even when I tried to do good deeds for others, the results ended in failure. I could not even help anybody in return, it would just cause a curse for that person in need, and their already bad situation would just get worse. My name is Dan; I’m a piece of shit.
At the moment, I had no solution. I was freezing cold, soaking wet, drenched with gas… they had me talking to the bluebirds, and I was suddenly very afraid. The only solution would require a miracle, and all I could think was Plan DD better work.
#1! Cotton Jones
"Cotton & Velvet" 3:54
PLAN DD, THE ULTIMATE MIRACLE. The sun came up, and Murphy decided he was going to eat at Waffle House. There had been a terrible snow storm the night before, the worst this city had ever seen. Dan and Staci entered, they looked miserable. She was cute, but he looked like he had been in a battle and lost miserably. It was freezing cold outside, and this guy was soaking wet, covered in mud, and stunk like gasoline. His eyes were bloodshot; he shivered, and looked as if he were injured because he could barely walk. It would not have been a shock to any person in there if he dropped dead at the table; it was obvious he had become stricken with illness and a fever.
There were finally tables open, and Dan and Staci took a table right next to Murphy and the person he was having breakfast with.
Murphy and his friend were discussing politics. Dan and Staci were searching for answers. The previous night, Dan had run out of cigarettes. It wasn’t like him to bum cigarettes from strangers, but at this moment he had no choice and really needed one. Murphy was smoking, and Dan asked Murphy if he could buy a cigarette from him for $1. Murphy did not take the dollar, just gave him a cigarette.
“Man,” Murphy looked over Dan who was a mess, “what the fuck happened to you?”
Staci and Dan explained the whole situation, the airport, the journey, the gas problems, and ultimately, how they had to sleep in a ditch last night in the freezing cold.
It had been a couple months since Murphy received his injury settlement, since he devised his own Plan DD. He was still working out what he needed to do, saw it as if he were repaying his debt to society, his crappy automobile finally died for good, and he had to utilize some of his settlement on a truck. Murphy was doing well though, what came around, went around.
“Hell,” said Murphy, “that ain’t no problem. Just give me your gas can, we’ll put some gas in it, jump the battery, pull you out, and have you on your way. Actually,” Murphy could tell Dan and Staci had lost whatever battle they tried to fight, “just wait until I’m done eating, and I’ll take care of all of it.”
“All you have to do,” the friend intervened, “get us a cup of coca cola. We’re going to need it for the battery.” Dan went out to the car to retrieve the gas can, which was actually an anti-freeze jug. “Fuck that thing,” joked Murphy, “that thing’s a piece of shit. Just throw that fucking thing in the trash.”
Murphy spent some of his injury settlement on a new gas can for Dan. While Dan and Staci waited comfortably in the warmth of Waffle House, Murphy filled their car up with gas, fixed the battery with the Coca Cola, had it started and running better than ever, and within minutes, the two were pulled from the ditch courtesy of Murphy’s truck. They offered Murphy money, but he refused to take it. “Someday, somebody might need you. Just be there for them. What comes around goes around.”
Over time, none of the three would ever see each other again. Dan and Staci both told hundreds, maybe even thousands of people about this mysterious Murphy who had saved them from ultimate disaster. As did the other people who experienced hardships similar to Dan and Staci’s and it was Murphy who provided a miracle and saved the day. Word even travelled to the Grand Scheme of Things Board Committee, where Murphy is now only one of four people to be listed in the registry highlighted in green with an asterisk by his name.
END CREDITS. Cotton Jones
"Blood Red Sentimental Blues" 4:36
Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal
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Final section, "The Ultimate Miracle" is a 100% true story; Extra special thanks to Murphy, whoever you are, wherever you may be, you will never be forgotten.