Good Samaritan by Kevin Hopson

Andrew and Daniel are cycling to their friend's house when they come across a body in the street; by Kevin Hopson.

When Andrew and I arrived at Josh's house, the last thing we expected to see was a body in the street.

"Whoa," Andrew said, coming to a stop on his bike. "Is that a dead body?"

I squeezed the brake lever on my bike's handlebar, skidding to a halt beside Andrew. The figure was dressed in blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and sneakers.

"I hope not," I finally said.

Andrew got off his bike and dropped it against the curb. "Let's check it out."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"They may need help."

I pondered. "Maybe we should call 9-1-1."

"Not until we know," Andrew insisted, already approaching the body. "Come on."

I walked my bike over to the curb and rested it there.

"I think it's a man," Andrew said.

The figure's big build and short brown hair seemed to confirm Andrew's hunch.

"Maybe he fell, and he's unconscious," I said.

Andrew shrugged. "Maybe. But we won't know until we get closer."

I eyed Andrew, and Andrew met my gaze, the two of us staring at one another for several seconds.

"Fine," Andrew said. "I'll do it."

"I didn't say I wouldn't do it."

"You didn't say you would either."

I glimpsed the body, watching as Andrew took a few steps toward it. The man was face down on his stomach, and Andrew knelt beside him.

"What do you see?" I asked.

"I can't tell if he's alive or not."

I reluctantly inched closer, examining the man's body. Since his back wasn't rising and falling, I immediately feared the worst. "I don't think he's breathing."

Andrew extended a hand and reached for the man's shoulder.

"We probably shouldn't touch him," I said.

Andrew glared at me. "If you were laying in the street, wouldn't you want someone to help?"

"It wouldn't matter if I was dead."

Andrew huffed. "You know what I mean."

I took a moment to mull things over. "Maybe we don't have to touch him."

"What do you mean?"

"Can you tell if his eyes are open?"


"If his eyes are closed, he could be unconscious or dead. But if his eyes are open, he's probably dead."

Andrew's brow furrowed. "You must watch a lot of crime shows or something."

"No. It's something called reading."

"Whatever," Andrew said, waving a dismissive hand at me.

"Just check."

Andrew took a breath and leaned in for a better look. "I can't tell."

"How can you not tell?"

"His face is flush to the road."

"Still," I said. "You should be able to see."

"I just told you I can't tell."

I didn't care to get any closer, but Andrew's dilemma forced me to squash my fears and have a look myself. I knelt next to Andrew and craned my neck. It appeared as if the man's eyes were open, but I couldn't be certain.

"You're right," I confessed. "It's hard to tell."

"I told you!"

"We should have called 9-1-1 from the start. Then we wouldn't have to worry about doing this ourselves."

"You know what happens when you call 9-1-1?" Andrew said. "They ask you if the victim is breathing. We'd have to check either way, so what's the difference?"

I didn't want to admit it, but Andrew was right.

"Okay," I said. "So, what do we do? Flip him over?"

Andrew nodded. "That's what I was thinking."

I hesitated. "Okay. You push his shoulder. I'll grab his waist."


Andrew placed his hands on the man's shoulder, and I planted both of my palms on the man's waist.

"On three," Andrew said.

Andrew counted to three. Then I pushed. But Andrew had more leverage and quickly turned the man on his side without much help from me.

When I glanced at the man's face, my eyes bulged. "I think he's dead!"

A honking noise interrupted, and I noticed a pick-up truck barreling down the street.

"What the heck?" Andrew said, releasing his hold on the man. The man returned to his original position, falling face down on the asphalt.

The truck was heading straight for us and showed no signs of slowing. My first instinct was to run, so I did, heading for a line of shrubs in front of Josh's house. I crouched behind them, and Andrew quickly followed, panting from the sprint.

Since the shrubs were too thick to see through, I was tempted to peek over the top, but I chose to keep my head down instead. A creaking noise came, then the slamming of a truck door.

"Damn it, Carl," a man said.

I looked to Andrew and whispered. "Carl?"

Andrew stretched his neck to see over the shrub. "I guess that's the guy's name," he muttered back. "The one laying in the street. The man in the truck is standing over him right now."

"Do you think he killed him?"

Andrew shrugged, then ducked behind the shrub again.

"Did he see you?" I asked.

"I think he might have."

"Hey, you two," the man shouted. "I know you're behind the bushes. Come out and give me a hand."

"Give him a hand?" I said to Andrew.

"This guy's nuts," Andrew replied.

"It's not what you think," the man said. "But I need some help loading him into my truck bed."

Andrew craned his neck to see again. "He's coming our way."

My pulse accelerated, and I debated what to do next. When Andrew popped up, I had no choice but to do the same. The man approaching us looked as if he hadn't shaved in a few days. He wore faded blue jeans and a flannel shirt, similar to the man in the street, and also sported a trucker's hat.

"Can you give me a hand?" the man asked.

I pursed my lips and gawked at him.

"It's not a real body," the man said. "It's a dummy. But you wouldn't know that by looking at it."

"Seriously?" Andrew said.

The man nodded. "Yeah. His name is Carl. The company that makes them used to work in the movie industry. They're special effects artists. But this one is going to be used for medical students at a local university. I was on my way to deliver it. I happened to look in the rearview mirror, and I noticed that the gate on my truck bed was down. I stopped the truck to look and, sure enough, Carl was gone."

I let out a much-needed breath.

"So, can the two of you help me?" the man asked. "Carl weighs as much as a real person, so I could use some extra hands to get him in the truck bed again."

"Sure," I said.

I followed the man across the front yard with Andrew by my side.

The man stopped at the curb and turned to me. "My name's Rick, by the way."

"This is Andrew," I said, pointing a finger at my friend. "I'm Daniel."

"It's nice to meet you guys." Rick bent over and hooked his arms through Carl's armpits. "If each of you can hold one of his ankles, this should go pretty quickly."

Andrew grabbed one ankle, and I grasped the other.

"Now," Rick said.

With both hands wrapped around Carl's ankle, I proceeded to lift his leg. Rick walked toward the truck, resting Carl's torso on the truck bed. I repositioned my hands and pushed the heel of Carl's shoe, helping slide the dummy into the truck bed.

"I appreciate the help," Rick said, closing the gate. He took a wallet from his pants pocket and pulled a couple of bills out of the fold. "Here's five dollars for each of you."

"That's not necessary," I said.

Rick shook his head. "I insist."

I took the money and smiled. "Thank you."

"Yeah," Andrew said. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Rick said. "And thanks again."

Rick got into the truck and drove off.

"That wasn't so bad after all," I said. "We even made a little money."

"I guess," Andrew said.

"What's wrong?"

Andrew shrugged. "I don't know. I just have a weird feeling."

"Like what?"

"Like we just got played."

I raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"

"What if Carl isn't a dummy? What if he's a real person? Rick could have tricked us into thinking otherwise with a bogus story."

Andrew was probably being paranoid. Then again, we never did get a good look at Carl's face, and his body felt real enough when lifting him into the truck. I watched as Rick's truck shrunk in the distance, soon disappearing from view, and I couldn't help but wonder. Had we just let a murderer go free?


  1. Beautiful narration!

  2. I was suspicious the entire time. I thought the guy lying in the street heard the kids and was waiting for them to come by and was up to no good. At the end, I bet it was a dead body. :) A dummy doesn't weigh what a grown man would weigh. Interesting story!

    1. Thanks, Susan. Actually, you would be surprised. I did research when writing this and they do have dummies that are completely realistic and weigh as much as a real human. So, the ending can go either way. That's the point of it. To create uncertainty and let the reader decide.