A Good Man

Jay sits there, sweating, smiling, mouth full. He has a good smile. He drops more sour cabbage into his son’s bowl. His son grins at me, he can’t be more than four or five. I wink down at him. Seems like a good kid.

“So, about the money,” Jay says, swallowing.

I shrug. He’d texted me a few weeks ago asking to wire him some cash in the Philippines. I said no. He called me an alcoholic and a devil. I didn’t disagree. I didn’t say anything. Today he asked me to lunch.

“I wanted to tell you a story.”

“Okay.”

“I was down there. I was in a bad place. I saw this woman. Here,” Jay fishes in his pocket. He pulls out his phone. He flicks around on it a moment. He turns it and shows me a picture of a dead woman. I put my fork down.

“I see her. Just lying there. No one is helping her. Fucking animals. You know, that is the only country they’d leave a dead woman on the road.”

I don’t agree. I don’t disagree. I smile, politely.

“So, you see, I called the ambulance for her. I stood there, over her. I prayed for her. I knew she was dead but I still prayed, to God, you know.”

Jay stuffs a bit of pork in his mouth. He puts a few slices in my bowl, then his sons.

“Eat,” he tells us. I do.

“So,” he continues, “after they took her away, I knew. It was time to come home. I took a taxi straight to the airport. I booked the first flight home. But, it wasn’t for a few hours. So, I went to the casino next door. Not with a lot of money. Not like before you know, just a little bit. A few hundred.”

I nod. I smile, politely. I take a bite of pork.

“So, I put ten American dollars in the slots. I sit down and I pull the lever. You know how slot machines have bonuses?”

I nod.

“Like, big prizes.”

I nod.

“Well, I pull the lever again. You see, this machine had five prizes. I pull the lever three times. The first prize was very big. One hundred thousand dollars, maybe. So, I pull the lever again. And then after six pulls, I won!”

I smile.

“Yeah! Well, not the big prize. The second one. Ten thousand dollars!”

Jay ruffles his son’s hair and laugh. His son eats a bit of rice.

“So you see, I know. I prayed over that woman and so God rewarded me. If I hadn’t prayed I wouldn’t have won. He knows I am a good man.”

He pulls a wad of cash from his pocket.

“You’re a good man,” he says, laying out bills for the meal. “Not like that, that, fucker.” He jerks his thumb at the 711 where he used to work. Where we’d met. I assume he is referring to another employee. I don’t ask.

“But, you,” he wags his finger at me, “you are a good man.”

He ruffles his son’s hair again. His son giggles, gagging on a bit of sour cabbage.

 

**If you enjoy out work, please check out our Instagram or Facebook for more images, stories, and the inspiration behind them. (Links in “Our Tragedy” page)

Author Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov created one story and one picture each day for one year. In May 2018 they published their first book, The King of FU

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