"Daaamn, girl, you mean you ain't heard da Legen' ah Poopy Runs? Ah cain't recall da las' time I met someone ain't nevah hearda ol' Poopy. You bin livin' undah a rock dis whole time?"
I shook my head and grinned, knowing I was in for a yarn from the mostly-toothless old man known in the yards as the Train-Hopping Hobo. His skin was as wrinkled as the highway map scrunched in the bottom of my knapsack, and he gave off a nauseating odor of soap and sweat and rail stink.
"Poopy Runs useta be known as a tough woman, a rock-hard woman, y'unnerstand, but lately she bin gettin' soft. Real soft. Word on da street was ol' Poopy done los' her edge. Time was when Poopy'd come bustin' out an' damn near blast a place tah bits, she got so much powah. She was the loosest ol' gal you evah seen.A goddamn firecrackah, ol' Poopy. She was always talkin' shit 'bout how she was gonna get it undah control, rein dem ol' urges ah hers in like a pair ah ponies nevah won a race." He stopped suddenly and looked at me.
"How ol' you?"
"Old enough," I told him.
He considered, cocking his head to the side and sucking on his diseased gums. "Nah, you ain't ol' enough. Jes' a kitten still, wet behin' the ears like yo mamma jes' finish cleanin' you up. Nope. You ride dese rails fuh a little longer, mebbe I tell you 'bout Poopy. Mebbe you learn a little sumthin' 'bout life and shit afore you virgin ears hear da legen'." He spat decisively into the railway dust at his feet.
"I hear dat ol' whistle comin' anyway. I gotta train tah catch." And as the locomotive roared by, the old man caught a handle, vaulted spryly into an open car, and was gone, leaving me with a loose, empty feeling in my guts.
I would learn the legend of Poopy Runs. I would go as far as it took. I had the bug now, and there was nothing to do but ride it out.