LOS DESAPARECIDOS

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Whatever was burned onto this CD is forever unavailable to us, like a love letter whose ink has run. But at least we can speculate about how it ended up next to the railroad tracks, and construct a bit of romance from that. Maybe it belonged to a programmer who had fallen on hard times and was hopping a train because he had heard there was work in West Virginia (this is a coal train line). But the CD fell out of his "bindle" as he leapt into the boxcar. And when he discovered that this CD, which carried the only proof that this bedraggled, greasy loner could write code with the best of them, was missing, he threw himself off a trestle a few miles outside of Christiansburg. But, as luck would have it, he survived the fall and was discovered by a right-wing militia member, who took him to St. Albans Hospital, and while he was there recuperating, he heard two doctors talking outside his door about the big computer crash the hospital had just experienced when a local militia unit blew up the transformer down the hill, and man, did they need an experienced programmer who could restore their system and save countless lives, but just then he had a stroke and, try as he might, he couldn't speak, but the doctors outside the door noticed his efforts and brought him a pencil and pad, but just as he started writing, a small plane piloted by a drunken personal-injury attorney crashed into his room, killing him and the two doctors.And then months later I was walking along the tracks in Norfolk and found the CD and drew it for my newspaper sketchbook, so all was not lost.