A Good Deed

Posted: January 13, 2012 in #fridayflash, Short stories

The sky was clear and the air was crisp and it hit the back of Michael’s throat, like a fresh breathe mint.  He turned the corner and sprinting almost on tip-toes, he gave a small jig on the corner paving slab, psyching himself up for the two mile run around the local park.  As he jogged near to the park’s entrance, he heard a strange breathless noise, as if someone was letting the air out of a rubber balloon. 

Lying on the other side of the road was a young boy, physically fighting with the air that surrounded him, thrashing his arms in a sporadic motion. Without hesitation Michael ran over to where the boy lay.

“HHhhhiiinnn-halor!” he wheezed, as he lay on the floor gasping.

Michael crouched down beside the young boy and put a hand on his shoulder to reassure him.  “Where is it mate?” he asked scrambling around on the pavement to see if the boy had dropped it in his mission for oxygen.

The boy gripped his own chest, and tried desperately to catch his breath, but it was no good.  He pointed using his other hand before lying flat on the ground, rasped heavily and screwed his eyes shut as if the pain was almost unbearable.

Michael looked around and saw a sports bag a few yards down the path next to a parked car.  “Is that your bag mate? Is the inhaler in there?”  The boy attempted to nod but the concentration of his breathing was too intense.  Michael ran to the bag and dragged it to the young man, unzipping pockets and spilling the contents on the ground. 

“Front? Back? Side? Which pocket is it in?” he asked.  He lifted out a new games console, followed by an MP3 player that lay in the main compartment, amongst some CDs and video games.  It definitely wasn’t in this section.  He unzipped the side pockets but nothing was in there apart from a hat and gloves. 

The boy winched and tried to grab the bag from Michael’s grip, as he pointed to the back pocket.  “Its in the back?” Michael asked spinning the bag around lunging into the last zipped pocket, like he was diving into the sea to save a drowning man.  The boy nodded.  He pulled out a variety of necklaces, followed by the inhaler.  He shook it vigorously as he handed it to the youngster.  The boy immediately pressed the top of it trying every attempt to inhale the airborne medication, but his breathing was so erratic, it was clear he would need medical attention.

Michael felt around in his tracksuit bottoms for his mobile phone.  The boy looked at him horrified as Michael requested an ambulance and gave the operator their location.  He attempted to grab hold of Michael’s hooded sweater, but fell back to the ground in pain and still struggling to breath.  As Michael hung up the phone, he leant down and got closer to the boy, “Whats up mate?  You need an ambulance, you can’t breathe!”

The boy shook his head and then winced from the pain.  “Whats your name?” Michael asked, but the boy didn’t answer.  He must have been in his very early twenties.  He was a slim build, but slightly toned upper body.  His branded jogging bottoms, were dirty from where he was thrashing on the concrete footpath, but his trainers were pristine white. 

Micahel kept reassuring the boy and getting him to breath in more of a rhythm, but although he was improving it was still aggravated and Michael could see the pain he must have been in. 

They soon heard sirens and Michael began scraping all the boys belongings off of the pavement back into the bag.  “Must’ve been a good Christmas,” he smiled trying to ease the tension, “looks like you got a lot from Santa,” he chuckled.  The boy just looked at him blankly, still gasping but the rhythm of his breathing gradually slowing down. 

Once the paramedics had arrived Michael’s part was done, but he couldn’t help worry about the lad, who he’d now found out was called Peter.  Michael stood on the curb, watching the paramedics load the boy onto a stretcher and then into the back of the ambulance.

That was the first time in five years he hadn’t completed at least one lap around the park, but he felt even more vindicated than normal.  He went home to put his feet up.

*   *   * 

Strangely he didn’t think about the boy until the next day after he’d returned home from work and had a knock at the door.

Two men in suits stood one behind the other.

“Mr Michael Roberts?” the first man asked looking at him sternly.

“Yes, that’s me,” Michael replied a little taken a back.

They both held up leather wallets revealing their police badges.

“Mr Michael Roberts, I am arresting you on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods.  You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used as evidence in a court of law.”

“What?! Burglary, are you mad?” Michael spluttered, as the second officer spun Michael around, pulling his arms behind his back, and clicking the hand cuffs around his wrists.”

“We have forensic evidence to connect you with a number of burglaries.”

“Forensic Evidence?” Michael was walked to the Police car parked outside his house, with the second officer still behind him, forcefully leading Michael from behind.

“Finger prints,” the second policeman said, “finger prints and perspiration over stolen goods from three different properties.  All will be explained.  In you get.”

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Comments
  1. Aidan Fritz says:

    I doubt it is going to be easy to find Peter. I like the tension you achieve with the prolongation of his gasping for air plus his wanting to avoid the look into his bag.

  2. gailaldwin says:

    That had me really worrying about whether Peter would survive, but it seems it wasn’t him I should have been concerned for!

  3. ganymeder says:

    No good deed goes unpunished. Well told.

  4. Sonia Lal says:

    No wonder he didn’t want an ambulance! LOL Poor guy

  5. Ouch! No good deed goes unpunished, right?

    I figured the kid was up to no good, but thought Michael would be rewarded for bringing him in. More fool me!

  6. So, first things first, I really enjoyed this story and the path it took. I thought the idea was quite interesting. I also loved:

    “HHhhhiiinnn-halor!”

    I thought it captured the emotion and the reality of the moment perfectly. But (there’s always a but) I think the story let itself down in terms of grammar and style. In the first sentence you use ‘and’ twice when a comma would do (or even three short, punchy sentences.) There’s also a spelling mistake in that first sentence. The second sentence changes tense twice when it needn’t.

    I read a couple of your other stories and, like I said, I like the stories and the imagery, but you should grab a style guide because your grammar is letting some of your stories down. Don’t take this the wrong way…

  7. Icy Sedgwick says:

    See, that’s why you should never do anyone a good deed. However, it’d be difficult for them to pin it on him due to the ambulance records of picking Peter up!

  8. Helen says:

    I figured the boy was a burglar but I never saw that ending coming. Fun story.

  9. John Wiswell says:

    I knew that would turn out poorly for someone. Helping strangers is so much riskier in fiction than in reality.

  10. […] A Good Deed by Brainhaze ~ @Brainhazewp ~ Slice of Life […]

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