Monday, April 10, 2006
So... I read this terrifying account yesterday evening. It left my heartbeat racing. And so in one of those funny, serendipitous kind of ways, it made me think of an incident that happened, oh, maybe ten years ago. It was one of those things that if it happened today would be posted in those "weird news" sites on the Internet, but in those days there were no weird news sites, or if there were no one knew about them, so it was just a story in the local paper:
The Florida East Coast Railroad runs through the county where I live, and about ten years ago a train was chugging through a semi-rural area when the engineer noticed an old man, with white hair, wearing a gray suit, lying lengthwise in between the rails, in the middle of the track, up ahead. The engineer slammed on the brakes, but a train does not stop on a dime (and it would flatten the dime if it did), and so the train ran over and past the spot where the old man was lying. The engineer jumped down and ran back to where the old man had been, but he was gone. There was no trace of him.
About three weeks later, the same thing happened again -- old man, white hair, gray suit, lengthwise between the rails, gone by the time the train stopped. It wasn't in exactly the same place, but it was in the same area.
About three weeks later, it happened again.
I'm sure you've noticed the pattern by now, and the police did, too: Three weeks apart. So they gave the train engineers radios that could communicate on the police band, and when another three weeks had gone by they made sure there was a cruiser in that general area whenever a train went through. Sure enough, there a radio call from an engineer that the old guy was on the tracks again, and this time the police were waiting as the train slowed and the old man rolled out between the wheels.
They took him into custody and asked him what the heck he was up to. The old man told them that he had a heart condition, but he couldn't afford his medication, so he had to stop taking it. Mostly he was okay, but about every three weeks he could "feel" his heart "weaken," and he had to give it a jolt to get it going again. He jolted his heart by laying between the tracks and letting the train run above him.
So, Liz (and Murrita), all I can say is that if I had a heart condition, and I was unable to afford my medication, and I needed a jolt to get the old ticker going, your post provided it. Thanks!