At a certain point in the convergence of people, events, and accidents, I climb aboard the train on that night. In the night beyond the windows, men with lanterns are calling to each other, switching out the engines. Inside, it is cold, and we arrange blankets to resume our journey. Just then the car jolts--upsetting the lamp and spilling a trail of flame across the upholstered seat. In a moment, the train begins to move. We are trying to put out the fire; then we realize that the train is moving backwards, down the canyon towards Bakersfield.
The train picks up speed--faster and faster back down the hill. The fire has jumped to some packages in the upper rack--it licks across the roof. Another lamp overturns on the floor boards. We fly through the darkness in an eternity of
fiery disbelief.


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last modified: 11/6/96 7:03:52 PM