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The Fork in the Trail

A short story by O.Frank
or should I say a Tall Tale

Some stories are called tall tales for reasons but I assure you, by the whiskers on my face, that this is not one of them. This really happened, even though I know you probably won't believe me. You see, another reason that you probably won't believe me is that I'm not a man of means, in fact I have no means. I call myself a hobo. Now I know what you're thinking, but you are wrong. I'm not homeless. The outdoors is my home.

Homeless folks lay around on streets begging and such. I never begged in my life. I once got caught by one of those railroad yard bouncers, and he said that my train rides were stealing. But I don't believe that because I never took nothing in my life and that boxcar is moving, if I'm on it or not.

Well to get back to my story. It all started in the early spring a number of years ago when I was walking down this most beautiful trail somewhere in Oklahoma. Anyhow I had just jumped off this here train that has slowed down cause it was starting up a hill. As we had hit the top of the last hill, that we had just come over, I seen that there was a town just on the other side of the forest. Anyhow I was hungry and a Town meant food.

Then I found this trail and started following it. Suddenly I came upon this fork in the trail. "Drats" I said out loud. You see us hobos don't like making decisions, that's the whole reason were hobos. Anyhow I was kind of tired cause I'd been walking for a while. So I sat down, up against a tree, to think it over and take a breather. Well I fell asleep, and when I woke up the fork was gone! " Well I'll be? " I said out loud. I then walked up to where I thought the fork started and looked around as carefully as I knew how. It became obvious after a few minutes that I had imagined or dreamed the fork. "Oh well" I said out loud, I didn't like making decisions anyhow.

I then continued on down the trail. At first I was glad that I didn't have to make a decision, but then I got to thinking maybe I was going crazy. Years ago, I had got on a railroad car with a guy who was crazy. He told me about seeing some of the weirdest things, like pigs flying and such. He claimed that he could look right through the floor of the boxcar and see the railroad tracks the train was going over. I didn't believe him but this experience made me start to wonder.

Anyhow as I walked along I started feeling strange like I was missing something. I checked all my stuff and it was all there. But it just kept getting worse. It finely got so bad that I had to go back towards the train tracks. But I had only walked back for just a few minutes and I started feeling normal again. So, again I turned around and headed towards the town. But then the feeling started coming back. So I turned back around and headed down the path towards the train tracks.

As I got closer and closer to where my tree was a thought I saw someone through the trees walking the same way I was. " uh oh ", I said to myself, "This may be trouble". So I slowed down but kept on walking to see if they knew I was there. He slowed down too. "Oh no" I said to myself, "He knows I'm here". So I stopped and he stopped. "Oh my God" I said to myself. I just knew this was big trouble. I stood there real still for long time. But he didn't move either, So what could I do? I couldn't just stand there forever.

So finally I yelled, "who's there" Out loud. Just as he yelled too. The exact same thing! That was a relief, because he sounded just as scared as I was. I then said "I'm a friend" just as he said the exact same thing. I then start walking again, and looked up and he had started walking too. I could see the trees were getting thinner. Then there was my tree just up ahead.

Then, just when I got close to my tree. Suddenly there he was! He looked just like me! He had the same backpack as I did, and the same walking stick, and the same tear in his shirt. It was like looking at yourself in a mirror! We both just stood there shocked, looking at each other. I suddenly got so sleepy I couldn't hold my eyes open. Then the next thing I knew, I found myself waking up setting against my tree. I looked up and there was the fork just like it should've been. Now I can hear you thinking already. You're saying to yourself that it was just a dream. I know because that's what I thought at first. But I know it wasn't a dream, cause I could remember what was down both trails. And I knew just the right trail to take to get to the town.

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copyright 2005 O.Frank