Tuesday, December 14, 2021

the nice guy

by nick nelson

samson needed to be a nice guy.

where to begin?

what did nice guys do?

they helped old people, preferably female, to cross streets.

they left good tips to waiters and waitresses and other people who expected tips.

what else?

they took hints when bosses and other people wanted things done, and said, oh, i will do that!

but how could you be sure that the recipients of all this niceness really thought you were a nice guy?

you just had to wait until one of them actually said to you, you are a nice guy.

or until you overheard one of them say to somebody, what a nice guy!

all of this could take time.

but there was nothing else for it.

samson decided little old ladies crossing streets was his best option, as they seemed the most likely to say to his face, thank you, young man, what a nice person you are.

so he found a good busy crossing in the downtown area and waited for his chance.

there were quite a few elderly persons, male and female, crossing the street, but none who seemed clearly needing assistance.

finally, when night was starting to fall, samson decided to be proactive, and seeing a lady with a cane starting to across the street, he boldly approached her, and asked, excuse me, madam, do you need any help?

the woman, who was not as old as he had first thought, jumped back from him, and almost screamed, no, i do not!

samson quickly got back on to the sidewalk, and when he did, found a hard faced individual in a heavy overcoat staring at him and taking a badge out of his pocket.

what is your game, my friend? the plainclothesman asked, after giving samson a good look at the badge.

game? i don’t have any game. i was just - trying to be helpful.

you have been standing here for at least forty-five minutes, because that is the time i have been watching you.

samson did not know what to say.

why don’t you just move along? don’t let me see you hanging around here again. remember - i have you on file - right here. and the policeman tapped the side of his head.


after putting a few blocks between himself and the policeman, samson decided to try a bar. it might cost him a bit but surely nobody would question his motives if he actually gave money away, would they?

five hours of moderate drinking and heavy tipping later, he seemed no closer to his goal. he had been served by three different bartenders, a man, an older woman, and a young woman, but none had interrupted their busy routine to comment on his largesse.

suddenly the booze seemed to hit samson all at once. he quickly got up and managed to get out the door without actually staggering.

he breathed in the cold night air.

and heard a voice - excuse me, mister, can you help a guy out?

of course - a panhandler! why had he not thought of that to begin with?

samson looked down at the bum’s sad, unthreatening eyes.

i tell you what, samson said, i will give you something on one condition.

and what might that be?

that you tell me what a nice guy i am.

you are the nicest guy i ever met in my life.

thank you! samson gave the fellow his last six dollars cash and watched him disappear into the night.

mission accomplished.

now he had to get down to business and do what had to be done.

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