by Fred Colton
“The bus isn’t going to stop,” my friend whispered.
“I know,” I said, grinding my teeth into powder.
The setting: A rainy Chinese highway outside the city of Kunming, on a midnight in autumn. Our transport: A sleeper bus bombing down said rainy highway, a sleeper bus that I’d have bet my teacher’s salary had been both constructed and last inspected during the Nixon Administration. The driver, a ruby-red little smokestack of a man with a witch cackle for a voice, drove like an F-16 was chasing us, treating the speed limit as a sarcastic suggestion. “Forward” is the really the only direction you want to be going while on a highway, but we were doing a distressing amount of left/right skidding as the bus’s bald tires hit puddles.