On the way to LA from New Orleans the Amtrak takes a layover stop at San Antonio TX to refuel, restock and clean up a bit. The stopover is for two hours and it’s 1am as we arrive. I have been asleep for a couple of hours and hear the announcement that we are to remain at San Antonio for a while. I am wide-awake and feel a breakfast beer coming on. I wonder if the station bar is open. Its not – there isn’t one. I ask the conductor if there is a local bar I might visit. He smiles and says I am in luck. There’s a sports bar open till 3 am just around the corner from the tracks at the end of the platform. “It doesn’t have a name he says but you’ll see the ‘Open’ sign”, make sure you are back here by 2:45 – I’m not coming to get you from your stool”. I assure him I will be back in time and head off in the direction he has indicated.
The bar is only three minutes away. Fringed with a wooden porch, a few people are clustered in groups round tables on metal chairs and cushions. I clump up the steps saying ‘Hi’ and people nod in my direction. I walk through the door. A beautiful barmaid who is serving beers from a tub on the floor filled with ice says “I’ll be with you in a moment honey” then, when I order a beer, she says “Oh, Hi Steve!” I check that I haven’t inadvertently picked up a nametag from somewhere and ask how she knows my name. “But sure, you’re Steve from England aren’t you?” This is weird; either she is a prophet or an amazingly gifted detective in her other job. I must look confused as she says; “You rang earlier – asked to speak to Nick – wanted to know if we was open when the Amtrak stops over? I recognised your voice and well, here you are,” I tell her it wasn’t me who rang, that I never even knew the train stopped in San Antonio, but however, I am called Steve and I am from England. “Oh, wow” she says, “that’s crazy!!” “Oh well,” she smiles, “The Steve from England that’s not you hasn’t shown up, but the Steve from England that is you is here!!” “Yes I am!” I say. As I take my beer out to the porch I hear her relay the coincidence to the other customers, one shouts, “Man, you have a Doppelganger – you want me to hunt him down for ya?” “No thanks”, I say, “You might shoot me by mistake”