I’m currently reading William T. Vollmann’s excellent story collection The Atlas. You can find several of its stories on the Internet, like this one, called “The Prophet of the Road”, printed by the L.A. Times. Excerpt below.
I was drinking from my canteen (which I’d filled at a gas station in Portland) when another hitchhiker came thumping down the road toward me. He was like a prophet from the old times. He wore a long robe and carried a great wooden staff that he slammed down at every step. He was not so old, and yet his beard was long and gray (possibly from dust), and his gray hair fell to his shoulders and his eyes were wild like a bull’s. His face was caked with dust. He licked his lips as he came near me, and his eyes were on mine unwaveringly, so I offered him water and he came closer and closer, continuing to stare into my eyes, and then he shook his head sternly and walked on. I did not live up to his ideals. There was another hitchhiker I’d met in Washington state who’d been crazy and called himself the Angel Michael and whispered to me that he didn’t know anymore whether he was a boy or a girl and I believed him because he was so angelic: In the same way, I believed in the prophet wholly. I could not but admire him for rejecting me.