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I accidentally ran a train on a girl. Broke my heart and I think about it every day.
I was the fireman on the Southern Pacific out of Spokane to Boise. This was in '34, the darkest part of the hard times in the depression. Fireman was filthy work, shoveling tons of gritty bituminous coal into the firey mouth of that locomotive.12 hour shifts. But it was hard times and I was glad to have the job. Paid fifteen cents an hour, which may not sound like a lot today but it was plenty to live on.
When the locomotive went through a town, people would crowd close to the rails to gather the coal that fell off the tender. And because it was such hard times, they'd get a little too close to the rails, hoping to fight for the biggest chunks of coal. A few of those pieces of coal would heat a house for a day.
One day as we were coming around the mountain, I saw a spot on the track up ahead. I squinted, and sure enough I saw it was a girl. Pretty thing, face like Lillian Gish, the actress in those talkies we saw at the picture house.
And she was just standin' on the track. Waitin' for us. And you could tell my lookin' in her eyes, she'd had enough of life. Couldn't take any more of those hard times, and she wanted the train to do her in because she didn't have the courage to do it herself.
We applied the brakes. But she was only 1000 feet ahead of us. The train was moving at over a mile a minute. Do you think we could stop a 30 ton locomotive and 10 cars of freight in enough time? 'Course not.
Broke my heart and I think about it every day.
Or did I misunderstand your question?