The always trembling, ever decisive hand of fate placed the body carrying the mind of moi into a small pickup truck. My boss, one of those to whom I have leased my body for their working pleasure in exchange for meager pay at various times throughout the week, asked me to take the vehicle and deliver some supplies to a sister store across town. The change of scenery made the proposition agreeable.

It was one of those days where the sun was lost behind a crowd of rolling gray clouds and the air was heavy with a cold dampness. The kind of day found uplifting for those suffering from too much sun or mania. Alas, it was a change of some sort, and not long on demands, useful for one being in a funk well described by the dark and foreboding clouds.

Having traveled most of the way to my destination, taking shortcuts through areas of town where the small, white commercial vehicle stood out for its newness — it was 5 years old — and cleanliness, I came upon a scene that called for me to take a role more active than spectator. A young man appearing near adult age was riding his bike along the side of the road, soaked from head to toe as if he made it his duty to sponge the wet from the air around him. Approaching the corner, the young man paused next to a sketchy van then continued to the corner where I sat behind the stop sign.

Out of what seemed to be the decent thing to do in a most humblingly indecent day, I rolled down the window to speak to Junior and offer him a ride to his destination in dry comfort (Yes, this is an offense for which I could be terminated, but should that impede a man from being decent?)

“Toss your bike in back and hop in.”

The young man immediately accepted the offer. He grunted upon entering the vehicle, avoiding eye contact. His shoes stuck out because they were flashy, new and expensive, a far different descriptors than what would be used for his clothes.

“Where can I take you?”

He pointed to an apartment complex across the street, then continued to rub his hands together to warm. How fortunate, the good deed did not require much of a detour.

“Where?” I asked upon entering the complex.

“Just drive around it a few times,” he requested.

I drove, not sure what Junior wished to avoid, hoping the refuge of the vehicle would give him a few minutes of comfort.

After a couple laps with him nervously looking behind us too frequently, he said, “You’ve been around, you know how this works. Cash up-front.”

It was worse than imagined. The fidgety kid was selling drugs.

“No thank you,” I rebuffed with politeness.

“Huh? What the fuh...”

There was a short pause in the conversation that felt long and awkward as I continued to drive around the complex. As the one trying to do a good deed, it was upon me to put him at ease. “Don’t worry about it, I have had people close to me in my life who were heavily involved in drugs, so I’m not going to say anything. You are safe. Though I would suggest another path, but you will need to make that choice.”

That was as far as my confession would go with the impressionable young lad. It was time to get him to his destination.

“Drugs? What you talkin’ ‘bout?” he asked sharply.

It now appeared the kid was backtracking, trying to disavow his request for a cash transaction. He had to be scared. I had to be moving along.

“Where would you like me to drop you off, so you don’t have to catch some nasty illness and need a chicken soup drip to recover?” I said with polite intent.

“You for reals? This ain’t what you wantin’? For reals?”

No need for a hurtful rejection of the peddler. Offering a generous smile, an affirmative nod was given.

“Jus’ drop me off where you pick me up. This is embarassin’. People gonna be laughin’ when they listen to this.”

Offering a wet young man a ride home and declining his offer to engage in a drug transaction, this is what people find funny? Perhaps he should not share the story. I seem to have lost my ability to be decent as me, let alone he of thee.

Returning to where the good-samaritan excursion began, the young man opened the door and gave a strange look, face askew.

“You for reals?”

Not having a clue as to what he was asking, I answered as politely as the ending scenario would allow. “I think we were having two different conversations. I’m not sure either knew what the other was talking about.”

“You got that right, pops. They gonna be laughin’ at me for this one,” he answered, removing his cap, shaking his head and chuckling as he exited the vehicle.

He closed the door and pulled his bike from the back. I began to slowly drive away, watching him go to the side of the van and begin an animated conversation...looking older, somehow.

The measure of a man should not consider how his acts are received but what acts he takes, and when a man takes steps to be decent, can that be anything but...decent?

Still, what was so funny...?