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Good Samaritan | Edogawakun | 2


It took every bit of willpower to not step back or make a face, and even it wasn't enough to keep your eyes from flying open. In the middle of the road was a wizened old man, waving his arms and screaming incoherently; the most you can comprehend being something about a pickle eating a porcupine before it could get to knitting, and you have a feeling his tale went off on several tangents afterwards. A cursory glance revealed his clothes could have been older than him, and you silently appreciate that the moths and accidents only ate away at his collared shirt and trench coat while ignoring his dress pants. The set in stains on each garment told you the only water they've ever met was probably either mixed with alcohol or a gift from the sky, and the pit stains and rank smell in the air indicated he never took them off more than he'd need to for a potty break. His unwashed face and long gray beard revealed the black on his head wasn't very thin hair while also drawing attention to his four teeth, greener than his eyes. You didn't know what misfortune fate had dealt to this man, but a slight pang of sorrow rapidly coursed through your body, simultaneously making you thankful for your current mental and financial stability.

At the moment, the road itself was unused, but the faint hum of several motors and the distinctive idle engine of a motorcycle told you this probably wouldn't last another red light. On the other hand, the sidewalks were more congested than someone with the flu. Many people were sparing only passing glances before they turn away, either to sneer between chuckles or hide their faces, hoping to avoid attracting attention from the poor prune. Some were stepping out of the crowd slightly, hoping to get a clear shot for their camera phones and gain online notoriety with videos their chuckles promised to ruin. Worst of all, however, was the minority that took to taunting the poor guy, either with sardonic questions he'd answer seriously or by hurling whatever refuse they found along the sidewalk.

Even before the minority caught your attention, you'd had all you could take. You certainly weren't foolish enough to violently demand apologies, but you knew the show had to end, for everyone's sake - the crowd and man in the road could only mean trouble, either for the commuters or the folks in the road. Unfortunately, the time constraint affected your reasoning abilities, making your only plan one step worse than terrible.

"Grampa!" you call out, running into the street yourself. "Grampa, you can't wander off like that!"

Ignoring the chance of the crowd turning on you for your kill-joy attitude and the humiliation that could stem from this video going viral, it placed you on a road just moments before the arrival of motor vehicles and arm's length from someone whose mental capacities made the cars seem like a minor danger. Then there's the problem of the next step - getting him to stay with you - which you haven't considered even slightly. About the only decent move you made was the prior call for an ambulance.

Fortunately, the senior seems to have accepted the lie. "What happened to you, Billy? You ran off suddenly! Why in my day..." That didn't stop him from yelling, or you from ignoring his ravings again.

Now that the distance has been reduced, the horrific smell has only gotten worse, but it's only body odor - not single waft of alcohol is emanating from him. The holes on his upper garments show no tread marks, or any other sign of substance abuse for that matter. The most notable abnormality of his body is a criss-cross burn mark on his left arm. Far stranger were the clothes on his back. From a distance they looked too old for good will, but up close you recognize them as the latest men's line from Alexandra Pemberton, a local fashion designer who has been taking the world by storm. It's strange that they've become so dilapidated in such a short amount of time, but even stranger is why someone discarded them already; the least expensive garment of Pemberton clothes usually sells for the price of a computer.

A distinct siren call breaks you from your thoughts, forcing the mysteries to remain unsolved for the moment. The crowd quickly spreads, automated to respond to the approaching ambulance, as you flag it down in hope that it came for the poor guy. A relieved sigh and slight smile escape you, admiring the sight of the stopped ambulance, and an end to the worst of this nightmare.

You explained the situation to the paramedics on scene, and adamantly insisted on riding with them in case the geriatric was in need of more help, such as a blood transfusion. Fortunately, the doctors confirmed the only physical wound was the burn, which you learned was a common ailment for the homeless - a result of sleeping on heating grates and other hot surfaces to stay warm during a cold night. Mentally, they hint at a problem, but don't actually inform you of anything specific, hoping to track down his real family. In spite of a rotten feeling in your stomach, you follow the hospital staff's urging to head home, only to find concern enveloping you, leaving you restless through the night.

In hopes of easing your conscience, you return to the hospital early in the morning, hoping to be allowed in and help the poor guy some other way, even if you give only a few corny jokes to brighten his mood.

Instead, you first encounter a voice piercing through the hospitals thick walls to the sidewalk outside. Within is a fashionably dressed man around 40 years of age - and not handling it well, as evident by his poorly blackened hair - hollering about lawsuits, poor care, and more while his face takes on the appearance of a demon. You had to cover your ears to avoid going deaf, but the staff was quick to quiet him.

"ALL RIGHT!" the doctor calls, his voice loud enough to shake the whole hospital. He continues quietly, "Your wife and her lawyers are already discussing this with our lawyers. If you want more of the story, there's the guy who found him." His statement was punctuated with a finger, aimed directly at you.

The middle aged man follows the doctor's trail, turning his brown eyes upon you. In an instant, his face becomes jolly and inviting, almost to the point of making your stomach lurch. His palpable gaze trails up and down your length, taking in everything about you. Before you can respond to his change in demeanor, he steps forward and firmly grasps your shoulders. His mouth moves, but no sound is made. Moments later, he finally gets his act together.

"Thank you!" His statement was followed with a hug that couldn't have been tighter or rougher if it was from an over-sized polar bear. "The man you found yesterday was my father-in-law."

While he's teaching you every way to thank someone, a sultry, familiar voice interrupts. "Who's this, darling?"

"No way," you mumble. Behind you is a woman you've long admired for all the wrong reasons, and whose presence answered the question of the old man's attire. You'd recognize that button nose and deep green eyes anywhere, even without the cascade of golden locks framing it. The iconic magenta power suit kept all her best bits hidden, but still wrapped her curves tightly and enhanced what must be an already wonderful hourglass figure.

You have to resist the urge to pinch yourself. You've never been this lucky.

"This is the gentleman who found your father," the gentleman answered. "Uh...I'm sorry, I still haven't gotten your name."

Snapped from your stupor, you reply, "Uh, , ."

"Well , I'm Peter Clark, and I get the feeling you know my wife, Alexandra Pemberton."

"Pleasure," she greets with an extended hand and a wide smile. "And I don't know how to say thank you."

Grinning, you say, "I don't think your husband did either."

Peter dons a wry smile, unable to resist the humor in spite of his dislike of the comment, while you and Alexandra are less restrained with a light chuckle.

"Actually I do," he says once the merriment has ended. "One look at you and your casual, impoverished clothes that normally identify Dungeons and Dragons players, no offense, and I knew exactly what we could do to repay the debt."


What is Peter's solution to their debt?


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