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The Rockford Files

Eternal Memory

As we round the curve, the driver pulls up short—at least, as short as you can when you’re only going five miles per hour in the first place.  As the minibus shudders to a halt, we all shift in our seats to get a better view out of the windshield.  There, up ahead on the single-lane “road,” mired in the clay mud and tilted to the right, toward the sheer edge of the cliff and the valley thousands of feet below, is a bread truck.

Our driver takes stock of the situation,  shifts the bus into reverse, and begins backing down the side of the mountain, oblivious to the groans of his passengers.  The bread truck follows, its driver preparing to take another run at the mud patch.  Forty or fifty yards down, he believes that he’s got the distance to pick up enough speed to carry him through.  He throws the truck into drive and guns the engine.

Our driver hits the gas, too, not waiting to see whether the bread truck will make it through the mud.  We’re only about 15 yards behind when the truck driver cuts left again just as he hits the mud patch, and the bread truck’s wheels start spinning.  Our driver swings to the right—this curve is the widest spot we’ve seen on the mountain road, almost one-and-a-half cars (but not buses or bread trucks) wide, and, for a moment, he seems to think that he might be able to pass the bread truck on the cliff...

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