Scenes from the Bayou Sphere

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Three friends.
The latest employees at a business operating more than three decades. And the moment has come to move along in life, here in this energy dynasty of America.

For nearly 40 years, the Exxon station at Pease and Milam, a block from the Exxon Building, had been a symbol of a robust city -- complete with the sweet smell of gasoline and grease and the lingering aftertaste of all that's offered by the internal combustion engine.

It is one of the few full-service stations in the area, and virtually the only station of any kind to be found within the freeway boundaries of inner downtown.

And now it is closing, the latest relic of eras past.
From left, James Fulton, 59, James Taylor, 31, and Robert Green, 46, find themselves and their livelihoods looking from a full-service past into an uncertain future:

Fill 'er up. With high-test. There's a trip still ahead.

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