darmok47 (darmok47) wrote,

Acts of Ironic Kindness


a short story

by John Veitch

He runs to the bus stop.  He has to make this meeting.  The bus comes around the distant corner and pulls up.  He reaches into his pocket for change - it's empty.  He has his wallet - but it only contains plastic cards.  He curses.

He could get the train.  But the later departure and the longer distance from the station would make him half an hour late.  Still, by now it seems his only option.  Would it be better to arrive at the meeting late or miss it altogether?

"You need some change for the bus?" asks a man in a heavy jacket.  He hadn't seen him at the stop until now, but he gratefully accepts his offer of a few coins - enough for the fare.  A small but signifcant favour - he must repay him sometime.

The man in the heavy jacket does not get on the bus with him.

He arrives at the stop - a ten minute walk and he's in plenty of time for the meeting.  On his way he hears gunshots and panicked voices.  He sees a man in a ski-mask dart out of a convenience store in front of him.  He sees the man waving his gun around and accidentally letting it off.

He feels a small lead projectile sear through him.  Within a few hours, he's past the point of feeling anything again.  But it doesn't stop there.  The circle of pain spreads out.  He dies, and the people who knew him mourn.

The man in the heavy jacket may not be the only one of his kind, but it's also highly unlikely that he had only one appearance.  He is always willing to help out a fellow traveller, and they are always grateful for his small acts of kindness.  And well they should be.  He has changed their fortunes forever.

Comments?  Critiques?  Questions?
Tags: short story

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