This early gem, The Number 26 by our own Diane M. Dickson, involves a group of lives which end with the cessation of one heart.
I’ve often wondered about the health of my bus drivers. Hmmm, that cough sounds like it could turn serious if left unattended. Twice in the last five years two local buses crashed (I wasn’t on either; only minor injuries and major lawsuits reported) due to a “medical emergency” experienced by both drivers. Bus drivers have tough jobs and I wouldn’t last an hour behind the wheel–but driving is not an activity noted for its cardiovascular benefits. And once you think about how often you casually place your life in the hands of a stranger who probably doesn’t get a lot of exercise, it’s a hard thing to get it out of your head.
Q: The choice of using various perspectives was commented on. I don’t think it was a case of later commenters seizing on the first thing previous commenters mentioned, for the angles of approach are what carry the piece. How did you arrive at the structure?
When I began to write this my idea was either a novella or a full length novel but it didn’t make it. I orginally imagined a full compliment of passengers each with a story to tell but though there are stories enough I realised that it would quickly become repetitive because they would either have to die or be a hero. Simply clambering off the bus and standing shaking with shock wouldn’t work.
Q: And as I always ask about older stories (well, “older” as in 2015), are you still happy with it?
I don’t think it’s one of my favourite pieces. I’ll be honest here it feels a bit cliched and rather a hack piece but I really do appreciate you giving it another moment in the sun. Thank you yet again for the hard work you’ve put into this feature for such a long time.