The Walking Man made his way across the hanging bridge. He wasn't sure if he'd ever been on a hanging bridge before, and it was making him a bit queasy. The rope railing was frayed and there were some boards missing from the walkway. But he was the Walking Man and turning around was disallowed. Had he ever turned around? Surely not. It was, after all, disallowed.

So he carried his tall frame onward over the very deep gorge on the flimsiest of rocking planks. The name of this place in which he found himself was appealing to him because it was so true. These mountains really were smoky, and you could actually look out a very long way from that one peak they named so well. So many years he'd passed the old barns with See Rock City painted on them; he knew he was bound to end up here sooner or later.

When the swinging portion of his journey was over, he made his way along the path laid out by so many tourists before him. There were no tourists here today. It was the middle of winter, and normal folks would have found it much too cold for a hike.

As he turned a sharp curve in the path, he saw something which took him aback. Here was a passageway the locals seemed to have named the "Eye of the Needle." At least, that's what the gaudy little sign on the trail said. And it became obvious to the Walking Man that he had a problem. Turning around was disallowed, and (yet) there was an overweight woman/girl stuck in this needle's eye.

He approached the woman/girl and said, "I must pass through this passageway. How long are you planning on remaining there?"

She looked at him with a desire to kill mixed with a plea for help. "Do you think I want to be here? Is that what you think?"

Her voice was as unattractive as her form, thought the Walking Man. Thus, two of his senses were busy being offended when he noticed the odor. "You have been here quite some time, haven't you?"

"I've been stuck here for two days now. I have frostbite on my toes and fingers. My hip is bleeding from this jagged piece of rock I've torn loose trying to escape. I've managed to drink some of the snow as it melts during the warmer part of the day, but I'm starving and I want to die." She looked to the ground as she spoke this last, and he felt a semblance of concern rumbling around inside him.

"Why are you here in the first place?" he said. He normally did not like long, drawn-out conversations with the people he saw along his way, but he seemed to be stuck here for a while, just like this woman/girl.

"I'm here to die. I didn't expect it to happen like this. I am going to throw myself off of Lookout Mountain if I ever get out of here."

"What is the point of that? You're young. Leave dying to the old, why not?"

"Look at me. I'm hideous. I'm a fat blob of corpulence and I can't change, so I'm going to relieve myself of the tyranny of mirrors."

"Suit yourself. But I've got to get through that pass, and I've got to do it soon. Let me see if I can help get you out." And the Walking Man heaved all his strength against the overweight female. He heard her dress tear as she fell to the ground on the other side of the Eye of the Needle.

As he stepped over her and walked on around the bend, he said, "You should go home and walk more and eat less."

He heard her very unpleasant voice reply as he turned the corner, "Home is the other way for me, you know?" But his concern for her had vanished as he gazed into the smoky clouds.

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