"Uh oh, we're in trouble now."
Danny finished taking a phone order and turned, "What's wrong?"
Folding the newspaper grimly, his boss stared out the window for a moment before replying, "They're shutting down all the Gulf Coast refineries before the storm hits as a precaution."
"Isn't that the smart thing to do?"
"Maybe yes, maybo no. It's just bad timing with the fires in Canada shutting the Alberta refineries and two in California are down for maintenance."
A woman waiting to pick up her pizza nodded emphatically, "You wait and see. The cost at the pump is going to skyrocket. My husband is a trucker and we're going to get screwed over. Well, I can tell you the truckers aren't going to take it lying down this time. It's going to get ugly."
Tapping the paper, he agreed, "And we need those truckers on the road. Without them, everything will fall apart."
Now Danny looked worried too. "But what can they do? If the refineries are shut down and the government has already released the oil reserves, where will it come from?"
"Well, they'll have to figure something out! It's not going to come out of our pockets this time." The customer thumped her purse down on the counter angrily.
Danny handed her order to his boss to ring up and went into the back to work on the phone order. He couldn't help brooding over the possibility of another crisis and wished Melody was working so they could talk it over.
It was after 11 p.m. before he finished closing up and got home that night. Knowing everyone he wanted to talk to was already asleep made his thoughts a heavy burden.
The next morning he made his way to Iris' apartment, hoping his mom wasn't too busy to talk. Inside, he found her working on a shopping list while Iris and Grace chatted. Joining them, he recounted the conversation between his boss and the trucker's wife and explained why he was concerned.
"Hmmm," Grace began. "I'm sure fuel prices will rise. They seem to go up at any excuse, but unless the storm actually damages the refineries, it shouldn't be extreme. I'm not sure what we could do about it anyway since none of us drive."
Danny thought Iris was focused on getting him to eat another muffin, so it startled him when she spoke. "Make sure you get extra baking supplies, Susan. I don't want to be caught short if there is a strike. And canned fruit, raisins, honey; I've gone hungry before. Remember, it's not wrong to stock up when there is plenty.
"Now, Danny, have another glass of milk and a banana. I insist."
Looking helplessly at his mom, he accepted the offer before asking, "What would happen in a trucking strike?"
"Food would be the first problem with no deliveries and the gas stations would run empty within days." Grace frowned at the thought and dug into her purse for her own shopping list. "Then there would be everything all the other stores stock plus what companies need to make their products."
Susan added, "Remember what happened in Brazil when their truckers went on strike? They blockaded the roads so nobody could travel. It was frightening how quickly things ran out."
"Mom, would it be okay if I ask Melody to drive me to the store? I could buy the biggest bags of beans and rice then. I have to work this afternoon, but if we went now it would be one less thing to worry about."
"That's a good idea if she doesn't mind. You know where the grocery money is; just be careful, that's all for the month."
"Thanks, Mom. I'll take care of it." He gave her a quick hug before dashing away.