A Fool Hardy hike

By Nison Milkhaylov

A man walked along the edge of a many-mile long cliff. Sometime during his foolhardy hike, he came across a man sitting on the edge of said cliff, obstructing his path.

“Pardon me, sir,” said the walker, “do you mind standing up for a moment while I pass through?”

The squatter looked up at the walker. “You crazy?” asked the squatter. “Cliffs ain’t for walkin’, they’re for sittin’.”

“Diff’rent strokes, my friend.”

“You want to pass, you gotta pay the toll. Or, you could always get off the edge and go around me. You’ll be able to see most of the sights just the same.”

The walker thought for a moment. “How much?” he asked.

The squatter examined the walker. “You look like a nice guy; I’ll charge you 20 bucks.”

The walker thought again for a moment, eventually paying the toll and going on his merry way.

Moments later, another walker approached the squatter.

“Toll. 20 bucks.”

The walker paid and moved on.

Another walker came up from behind the second one and handed the squatter 20 bucks. “For you,” said the squatter, “50 bucks.”

“This is outrageous,” said the walker. “You only charged that guy 20.”

“Well, circumstances have changed. This path is much more heavily trafficked than ever before. Maintenance costs have increased, so too must the toll.”

The walker thought about it and decided to pay the toll. He went on his way, but not merrily.

A fourth walker approached the squatter and put a gun to the squatter’s head. “Move it, pal,” said the walker. The squatter let him pass and the walker went on his merry way.

Yet another walker approached the squatter. “I see you have a good business going on here,” he said.

“He, he, he. Not too bad at all.”

“That’s nice,” said the walker as he pulled a gun out on the squatter. “You’ll be able to make back your losses in no time.”

The squatter sullenly handed over the dough.

“Consider this as a tax; I’ll be back weekly for my cut,” said the walker before going on his merry way.