He asked me if I had any bandages in my pack. I said, “Sure do, if you count a couple ratty t-shirts.” He pulled open his coat to reveal a map of Russia, dark red and spreading. I said, “If you can still feel the pain, then maybe it’s not too late.” He nodded and tucked back up tight, pulled in his knees and asked me for something to drink. I told him, “I been saving this for when I get to Savannah. But I think I could spare a drop.” I tipped the bottle of homemade plum brandy into his mouth. “They call that slivovitz in the Balkans. I just call it dragon’s breath.” He coughed but smiled. That’s harsh, he said. I replied, “You should have tasted it six months ago when I distilled it. It’s illegal, you know, making spirits.” He said he hadn’t known that. He went on to tell me the temperature, cold. I corrected him, “It’s mid-August. If you think it’s cold that means you’re prolly dying.” He nodded. I mentioned, “I’ve got some beef jerky, store-bought, but it might take your mind off, you know, that.” I pointed toward his belly. He shrugged, but I tore him off a piece and he opened his mouth for it. While we chewed, I contemplated his predicament. We were stranded, at least fifty miles from anywhere, on a long route of BNSF’s line down from Yellowknife. I was headed back to the States, back to Georgia to bury my grandma. I knew I’d miss the funeral. But I needed to say goodbye. He’d been fighting with a company-man, took a broken bat, snapped to the shape of a Bowie, right in the gut. Left for dead. There wouldn’t be another train along for days. Riding a few cars up, I’d seen him fall, so I jumped from my car and watched the train vanish. A belly wound like that… “I’ll drag you someplace comfortable.” He groaned like a zombie while I moved him. “Wolves will prolly find you, but, here, you can have the bottle.” He received it and wrapped himself around it. “I get to Clifford-town, I’ll let someone know you’re up here.” He murmured his thanks. “Sorry I couldn’t help.” He shrugged again. I told him, “You should drink a bit at a time, until you feel numb. Then I suggest you finish it off.” He nodded one last time. I straightened and walked down the track. I didn’t look back. I imagine a bunch of folks have died with a belly full of slivovitz.