It got set off when City Council blocked the high-speed rail to Austin again. The trip would’ve taken less than half-an-hour. The people could’ve worked in Austin and stayed living cheap at home. The people could’ve gone to 6th Street and back on a Friday night. City Council was old and afraid of everything.
On the steps of the Alamo, as the news broke, Martin gave a speech that shook the sleepy city awake. “City Council, more like City Fossil. They do not speak for us, we who look toward the future. We’re the Futurists. We celebrate speed, violence, technology, and progress!”
Martin was inspired by the early 20th century Italian Futurism movement mentioned in his art history book. He was a student at San Antonio College but would transfer to UT as soon as he finished his basics. He found a PDF of the The Manifesto of Futurism online. He read more on Wikipedia. The Futurists celebrated speed, violence, technology, and progress.
Nothing represented the city’s complacence, he said, more than the rotting fort behind him. “Last time I checked, we lost the Battle of the Alamo! Our first step into the future, better yet, our first stomp into the future, will be on this dusty microcosm of this city’s archaism!” The crowd swarmed the monument in a fever, but the limestone facade proved sturdier than they expected. They moved on to the gift shop and smashed the coffee mugs and miniature clay Alamos. They vowed to return the next day with a bulldozer.
Next the Futurists overtook the Kiss FM radio station and had the DJs get on their knees and face the wall. They hadn’t changed their rotation since 2001. “Our future will be free of Nu-Metal. No longer will we be subjected to the greatest hits of Disturbed and Staind,” they declared before the DJs were shot. They set fire to every mall’s Hot Topic, which caused the malls to burn down. They said that the other stores were collateral damage. They weren’t afraid of collateral damage. Malls were relics anyway.
Traditionalists had formed a camp outside the Alamo the next day when Martin and his followers showed up with the bulldozer. A megaphone got passed along to Martin. “We’re giving y’all one hour to move. We’re not afraid of violence. We celebrate violence. It’s in our manifesto.”
The Traditionalists talked among themselves. Some left, and Martin paced around the big machine. After 10 minutes he got on the megaphone again. “Fuck this. The future can’t wait. Move now or die!” He climbed back into the bulldozer, cranked the ignition, and stomped on the pedal.
The campers scattered and left their tents behind, all but one. An enormous man stood calm with his arms at his sides. The number 50 glowed from his chest. No goddamn way. He didn’t flinch, and Martin couldn’t stop himself from hitting the brakes. It was his childhood hero, 10-time All-Star, 2-time NBA Champion, and Spurs legend, David Robinson, The Admiral. “Get out of the way, David Robinson. I’m gonna run you over,” Martin shouted over the engine.
“You can run me over, but I’m not moving until you tell me why you’re doing this.”
“I told y’all why. This goddamn city.”
“No, no. I wanna know what’s really eating at you, Martin.”
“We’re stuck in the past, man!”
“I’m gonna walk around to you, but first I need you to cut the engine for a minute.”
“Five minutes of your time, young man. If you still feel the same way in five minutes, I won’t do a thing to stop you.”
Martin saw on the legend’s face that he was for real. He turned the key back, and David gently came around. “Now look me in the eye and tell me what’s really bothering you, son.”
There was no way to lie to The Admiral. “I’ve been at SAC for a year now.”
“This whole time I’ve been telling people that I’m gonna transfer to UT in Austin as soon as I finish up my basics, but it’s not gonna happen. They’d never take me. I’m not even sure I’m gonna pass my basics at SAC. After all the shit I’ve talked, I’m gonna fail out of community college. You wouldn’t understand though. You’re a Hall of Famer.”
David smiled. “Believe it or not, Martin, even superstars deal with shame and embarrassment sometimes. Back in 1995, I was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA. The Spurs were the number one seed heading into the playoffs. In the Conference Finals against Houston, I absolutely got my butt kicked by Hakeem and we lost. He put moves on me that I’d never even dreamed of. Life has a way of humbling us, Martin. Looking back on it, I’m glad we lost that series.”
“Yeah, if we’d won that year, it wouldn’t have felt as special in ‘99 when we finally brought the title home. There’s no rush, young man. You can always stay in San Antonio awhile longer. You’re always welcome. We love you.” He held his hand out and helped Martin down the from the bulldozer. He wrapped his huge arms around him, and Martin felt a safety he’d never felt in his whole life and forgot what the Futurists stood for.
Drew Buxton has work in Hobart, Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Hotel, and The Opiate among other publications. He lives in South Texas. Image: A horse-lightning, David Burliuk, 1907