the friendly hobo

As she marched down the street Dorothy saw a very strange man sitting in the gutter. He was dressed in dirty clothes and holding a piece of cardboard with writing on it that was so old and grimy that it was illegible. He looked like he hadn't shaved or washed in a long time and he kept calling out in a scratchy voice, "Change... Please... Every bit counts... Change..."

            Dorothy was so saddened by the sight of this poor man that she stopped walking and rifled through her bag in an attempt to find some spare change. After a thorough search of her bag she had come up with three dollars and forty six cents, it wasn't quite as much as she had hoped to find but it was still something. She tucked Toto back into the bag and ran over to the man to give the small stash of coins to him. He looked up as she walked his way and as she got closer Dorothy could see from the large purple bags under the man's pale blue bloodshot eyes that he had not had a good sleep in quite some time. Silently she held out her fistful of change and as he held out his dirty palms to receive it a small smile formed on his grime covered face. "Bless you little miss." The man said in his worn, scratchy voice.

            Dorothy smiled back at him and did a small curtsey as she replied "You are very welcome, I only wish that I could offer you more than that."

            The man chuckled to himself, "Aren't you a good little girl. But why in the world are you wandering around in this part of town? You should go home to your parents before something bad happens to you."

            "Well you see sir, that's what I am trying to do." Then Dorothy told the man her story about being late for the bus and ending up far from home, about the angry munchkin and the wicked police man. "And now I am on a quest to find the wizard in the Empire state building and get back to Kansas." She concluded.

            The man whistled and ran his hand though his greasy brown hair. "that's some story you have there little miss. So you have no idea where you are?"

            Dorothy shook her head, "I don't have a clue sir. And you can call me Dorothy instead of little miss."

            With a small chuckle the man heaved himself up from the gutter and held out his hand, "Well in that case you can call me John, it's nice to meet you Dorothy"

            Dorothy shook John's hand and they laughed a little, because they realized how funny they must look. A little girl in a blue farm dress and a dirty hobo shaking hands in the middle of the street. John stretched before spreading his arms and motioning to the towering city in front of them. "Well let me be the first to welcome to New York City! The most amazing place on earth."

            "New York City." Repeated Dorothy. "So that's where I am! Thank you very much John, do you by any chance know where to find the Empire state building?"

            John pointed a dirty finger towards one of the huge towers, "Do you see that big one right over there? That is the Empire State building."

            Dorothy stared in awe. "Its HUGE!!! ...and its in the direction that I just came..." She sighed at the thought of more walking but was absolutly elated that she knew were to go. "Thank you very much! Well if you will excuse me im off to see the wizard!"

            She had only taken a few steps before John caught her shoulder, "You are going to go there alone? With no protection of any sort?"

            "Of course." Replied Dorothy niavely. "Don't worry, I'll be fine."

            "Don't worry? You won't stand a chance out there! It may have been different back in Kansas but around here its really dangerous for a little girl like you to go wandering around. There is a lot of bad people that could hurt you and your little dog if given the chance, its a miracle that you got this far!"

            This idea had never occurred to Dorothy, she shivered at the thought of something bad happening to herself and Toto. "What am I to do if that's the case?" asked Dorothy, her glimmer of hope was fading fast and she had no idea what she would do to get to the Empire State building now.

            John scratched his stubble covered chin. "Well... you definitely can't go alone..." Then suddenly and idea lit up his face, "I know! I will accompany you!"

            "You will? But we have hardly met, why would you do something so nice for me?"

            "You have got to be the nicest little girl i have ever met, think of it as repayment for your little gift earlier. Plus, in case you haven't noticed, I definitely don't have anything better to do." John smiled down at the little girl who was beaming up at him, "There may not be anything I can do to get myself off the street but I can definitely try and help this girl get back home." He added silently.

            "Oh thank you, thank you!" Dorothy jumped up and down with joy. "I bet the wizard can make your dream come true as well if you ask!"

            "Maybe he could" Replied John with a bit of un-sureness in his voice.

            Dorothy had told him that the wizard sent her a sign and said that he could make all her dreams come true. John had no idea how this could happen but he trusted the little girl so he followed her as she skipped down the street in the direction of downtown. Dorothy felt so happy that she thought she could just burst, her twinkle of hope had returned stronger than ever thanks to John, now she was sure that they could make it to the wizard! As the two unlikely companions walked down the dirty side road under the cover of clouds it felt like the sun had dawned on them both because with each other at their sides the world seemed a bit brighter.

The End

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