Excerpt from Stood Up, my new release from Rebel Ink Press
“Hey!” A woman’s voice startled me. I turned and saw her coming. “Was it you?” There was an assertiveness in her voice bordering on hostility.
“Was what me?”
“You the one who paid for my dinner?”
“What’re you talking about?”
“Someone paid my bill. Was it you?”
“Are you asking everyone who comes out?”
“Did you do it?” It was more an accusation than a question.
“Someone paid for your dinner? Lucky you.”
“Yeah, lucky me. I’d like to know who it was.”
“So I can thank ‘em.”
“Well, if he didn’t make the offer in person maybe he doesn’t want to be thanked.”
“He? Then you admit it was man and, oh look, you’re a man.”
“I was using the old fashioned, grammatically correct form but it if makes you feel better, maybe he slash she doesn’t want to be thanked. For all you know it was the waitress. Maybe she wrote it off for some reason.”
“It wasn’t the waitress.”
“How do you know?”
“Because she told me someone paid.”
“Oh.” I felt a momentary clench of anxiety. I hadn’t actually told her not to reveal my identity, although it seemed like a no brainer I obviously didn’t want that, otherwise I’d have made the offer directly. On the other hand, she was asking if I paid so it seemed as though she didn’t know. “Well, then I go back to my original assumption. Maybe he, or she, doesn’t want to be thanked.”
“He, or she, is some kinda Good Samaritan, huh?” Her tone softened but only a little.
“Maybe something like that.”
“Why not? It could happen.”
“Whatever. I don’t want to be somebody’s charity case.”
It struck me as odd anyone would question an anonymous gesture of kindness, much less look at it as charity. “Don’t think of it as charity, then.” On the assumption that ended the conversation I turned for my car. It was a mistaken assumption.
“How should I think of it?”
“I don’t know. Call it a good deed. One of those random acts of kindness you see touted on bumper stickers.”
“So, you’re Robin Hood. Is that it?”
She caught me off guard and I had to gather my wits fast. “You think it’s me?”
At this point I might have just admitted it and moved on but she’d gotten into my head and for some reason I thought of that old line: admit to nothing, even if they’ve got pictures. “Good Samaritan. Robin Hood. Next thing you’ll accuse me of is being Santa Claus.”
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