Late on Sunday night a single figure dressed all in black cut his way through the chain link fence at Airgas National Welders on East Market Street in Greensboro. Quietly he made his way to one of the trucks parked there and crawled underneath. A minute later he was back out and disappeared somewhere along the NCRR railroad tracks that run right behind the building.
On Monday morning Wayne Washburn. manager of the East Market branch of Airgas, unlocked the gate and went inside where he found the fence had been cut. He immediately called 911. Security camera video had only caught fleeting images of an all black figure quickly moving in and out the shadows.The alarms on the building had never gone off and because nothing dangerous or valuable is stored outside the police assumed it was just another failed attempt to steal Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas. Still, Wayne wasn't so sure.
On Tuesday morning an Airgas delivery truck making its scheduled weekly delivery to Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport stopped in front of an entrance to a tunnel leading under the airport where the driver pushed a button on an intercom mounted on a pole next to his truck. "How can I help you?" a voice said.
"Airgas with a delivery for concessions," the driver replied looking up at the camera. Just as had happened for over two decades the doors rolled up and the driver drove inside to the dock where he was to unload carbon dioxide gas to be used in the soft drinks served in the airport concessions above. And just like every week over a dozen bottles of highly explosive liquid Hydrogen plus acetylene, propane and numerous other flammables plus various oxidizers were packed on the same truck. "Thanks," the driver said wondering if anyone ever heard him.
Former Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins was in his real estate office at NAI Piedmont Triad when he felt the explosion from somewhere in the distance. Perkins had been at the top of the world before running for mayor but infidelity, his inability to manage his business in anything other than an up economy and a number of local bloggers who had exposed all that and then some had been his undoing. Now, instead of owning NAI Piedmont, he just worked there.
Less than a minute later another broker, Nancy Cox, stepped into Robbie's office and said, "The terrorist just blew up the airport."
"Was that what we just felt?" Robbie asked.
"I think so," Ms Cox replied.
"The airport is over 10 miles away," Perkins exclaimed, "the whole thing must have blown up."
"I'm reading the news on my phone, "Cox said. "The police are evacuating the entire area, closing all roads in and out. It must be really bad."
"Let's go turn on the TV," Robbie said, "everything else can wait."
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan was setting in her new office at the Guilford Green Foundation balling her eyes out as she read the news on her smart phone. Then an anonymous text message came for her, "This time we're coming for you."
Please continue reading Chapter XIII, Oh Give Me A Home