Sometime after posting what I announced to be the third and final version of the Tulsa discussion, I decided Alex and Julie went to Tulsa before they went to Texas to find Carlos. Although all of this happens offstage, and Miranda only learns about it from what Alex and Julie tell her separately, the whole trip to Texas became increasingly important, and involved so many revisions that I've lost track (it's pretty much all I spent working on yesterday).
So here's the fourth and I really really hope final version of Alex telling Miranda about Tulsa:
"Who was in Tulsa?" I asked. "Or did you just pass through there?" It was easier to ask Alex questions with us both facing forward and no danger of eye contact.
"We thought we'd find our aunt and uncle," Alex said. "They set out for there last June. We spent a few days looking, but no luck."
"It's hard to picture cities," I said. "Cities with people."
"They're not like before," Alex said. "There are bodies. Mostly skeletons now, piled up. Even the rats have died. And only some buildings have heat, so you share apartments."
"Are there schools?" I asked, remembering my idea about places for politicians and millionaires to live. "Hospitals? Could you and Julie have stayed there?"
Alex held onto the steering wheel a little tighter. "The plan was for me to leave Julie with our aunt and uncle. I was going to get to Texas, find Carlos, let him know where we were, and then go back and work at the oil fields. But I couldn't leave Julie alone, so we went to Texas together."
"But you didn't stay down there," I said. "Couldn't you have worked in the Texas oil fields instead?"
"I could have," Alex said. "But there was no one to look after Julie."
"Julie's a good kid," I said. "She wouldn't have gotten into trouble."
"Trouble would have found her," Alex said. "We couldn't take that risk."