· SPRING /FALL 2013 | VOLUME 9 | ISSUE 1 ·

Rougarou, an online literary journal.

Good Samaritans Are out of Favor

Paul Beckman

Mirsky had always had the uncanny ability of hearing things he ought not to. It wasn’t that he had super hearing or anything like that; he was just able to focus in on any given conversation around him.

Two mornings ago at the local coffee shop he was drinking his mug of black and nibbling on a raisin bagel (toasted, no butter) when he turned the page on tabloid he was reading and saw a man at the next table he recognized but didn’t know.

The woman he was with was berating him in an under control voice leaking with anger. “Don’t tell me you’re not having an affair,” she said. “Stopped by your office Tuesday to have lunch and you were gone.”

“Why didn’t you call me on my cell?” he asked. “I was at Denny’s having lunch and you could have joined me. I would have liked that instead of sitting alone reading my Kindle.”

“Your cell was sitting front and center on your desk,” she said through clenched teeth.

Mirsky, still pretending to read turned the page and realized that it was at Denny’s where he saw the guy and it was Tuesday, this past, and he was sitting reading a Kindle. I should introduce myself and tell her that I was at Denny’s and saw him. No. I should mind my own business. No, I should help right a wrong — I would certainly want someone to do it for me. No. I’ve got five pounds in my four pound briefcase now and should and will mind my own business and so Mirsky, for once in his life folded his paper, left a tip on the counter and picked up his bill to pay the cashier on the way out. And that’s what he did.

Unfortunately or as Mirsky thought, as luck would have it, the woman that was berating her husband bumped his shoulder as he was standing outside the coffee shop toothpicking. “I’m sorry,” she said nicely and Mirsky could see that her eyes were red.

“No problem,” he said and then he told her that he happened to overhear her conversation and apologized for eavesdropping but that he was at Denny’s on Tuesday and saw her husband sitting alone reading his Kindle. “I don't know him and have never seen him before,” Mirsky said, “but I just wanted you to know what I saw and perhaps you were wrong.”

“You’re an interfering moron,” the once nice lady said.

“I’m sorry,” Mirsky said. “I thought that I was helping you. It’s not like I interfered in your conversation in the coffee shop.”

Red-eyed and red-faced she glared at Mirsky with her hands on her hips. “He’s having an affair with a waitress at Denny’s. Any other information you’d like you can get from my husband. He’s just coming out now.”

She turned left and walked away and Mirsky turned right and did the same as the husband looked at the two of them and followed Mirsky.