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The Selfless Man

by W.S. Klass 11 months ago in fiction


Nolan stood as he had every morning, on the street corner of his favorite downtown block, begging for money. He was not panhandling. He was quite literally begging. Panhandlers often provided some sort of entertainment for passersby to engage in and be entertained. Nolan felt he had no talent worth showing off and simply begged. It was very cold this morning. Winter had just begun, and this was a frightening time for those who could not procure a proper shelter. Since programs had been defunded, Nolan and many like him were limited on resources. Shelters were overflowing and most were prioritized for battered women and children. COVID had even affected those programs since shelters were not easily able to practice social distancing. Shelters in general were scarce for all these days.

Nolan was aggressive with his begging and for a good reason. While he willingly froze at night and during the days as he begged for money, the money he did collect was used to feed and shelter those on the streets than he felt were more needy than he was. Once on the streets, it is very difficult to get off the streets. Nolan was neither a drug user nor an alcoholic. He was an individual who had as streak of bad luck and never took an opportunity to get himself off the streets because after living on them, he found there were other good people; families even that needed the opportunities more than he did. There were many street people that took Nolan for granted and many others who adored and appreciated him.

“Spare any change? Anything at all?” Nolan begged over and over to each person within earshot of him and his street corner. Many ignored him and avoided eye-contact as they strolled passed. A chosen few donated trinkets of change and in some cases food and drinks. “Thank you. Bless you.” He would say to those who were generous enough to give anything, even pennies from their pockets. Nolan was thankful for any help. A man in a suit passed within earshot as many more before had.

“Spare any change? Anything at all?” Nolan beckoned to the man. The man glanced nervously behind him before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a large bill and handing it to Nolan. The man walked off without saying a word to Nolan. Nolan eyed the crisp bill. A one-hundred-dollar bill. His eyes widened in awe. “THANK YOU! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!” Nolan cried out in the direction of the man, but the man was already out of view. Nolan shrugged and turned around. As he rounded another man wearing a similar suit bumped into him.

“I’ll take that,” the man demanded with an outstretched hand.

“It was given to me. It’s mine!” Nolan barked in response. The man in the suit reached into his jacket pocket and produced identification showing his authority as a special agent of the FBI. Nolan sadly handed over the crisp one-hundred-dollar bill.

“You understand that this is counterfeit money and that if you were to have used this, you would become an accessory?” The agent pointed out as though it made things easier on someone who was homeless and freezing.

“Yes, sir. I am compliant with the law.” Nolan replied with his head lowered to the ground like a peasant fearing to make eye-contact with royalty. The agent departed with haste and left Nolan on his street corner. Nolan looked in the direction of the man who had given him the counterfeit money and then back towards the FBI Agent who was also, already gone. Nolan noticed a Little Black Book on the ground where the agent had been standing. Was that the agent’s notebook? Nolan wondered. He picked up the notebook and opened it. Notes regarding multiple investigations were scribbled throughout the black-leatherbound book. Nolan sighed. This was important. He knew it.

“That agent needs this,” Nolan decided. He closed the Little Black Notebook and stuffed it away in a deep pocket of his raggedy coat. Nolan knew the FBI building was only a few blocks away and began walking towards it. He had a good heart and always tried to do the right thing, even if it meant sacrificing his time or wellbeing. The wind blew and the chill on eh air was enough to freeze any moisture on someone’s face or on the ground in an instant. Nolan still made his way to the government building. He reached the large glass doors leading to the lobby. He stopped as the building triggered a memory from his childhood.

“There used to be a spinning door here. I wonder why they got rid of it.” Nolan started to smile but his smile faded along with the happiness of the memory. He opened the door and entered the lobby. Armed security sat behind desks and some even patrolled the halls and lobby. He was not scared. He had done nothing wrong. He was about to pass through a metal detector when he was stopped by someone behind him.

“Hey,” a voice called as a forceful hand gripped his shoulder and prevented him from moving forward. “Come outside and talk to me.” Nolan turned around to see it was the man that had given him the counterfeit money.

“Oh—it’s you!” Nolan felt a sudden aura of panic fall over him.

“Come with me. I want to have a word with you.” The man in the suit said as he gestured for Nolan to follow him back outside.

“I need to use the restroom. The cold has got my sprinkler system ready to burst.” Nolan attempted to deceive the wanted man; a wanted man who dared to set foot inside a government—nay, an FBI headquarters.

“I only need a second of your time. It’s the least you can do for me since I gave you a hundred dollars.” The man in the suit attempted to guilt Nolan. Nolan knew however that the money was indeed counterfeit and felt no guilt.

“Sorry, but Nature calls!” Nolan offered and sped through the metal detector. He hoped the man would not flow after him. The man stood motionless for a moment before exiting the building. Nolan had made it to the lobby elevators and looked at a sign showing the floors and and what was on each accessible level.

“Can I help you?” A security guard offered as he approached Nolan. Nolan turned to make eye-contact in hopes that the security guard would sense he was not up to no good. Nolan noticed the man int eh suit passing through the metal detector and speeding towards him and the security guard.

“I was speaking to an agent—I forget his name even though he showed me his badge—but he dropped something, and I wanted to return it to him.” Nolan explained.

“Well—you need security escort to reach any of the upper floors. If you give the item to me, I can deliver it to the agent.” The security guard assured. Nolan pulled out the Little Black Notebook and handed it over to the security guard. He saw the man in the suit approaching as he did.

“Let him know that Nolan, the street beggar returned it to him, even though he took my money away.” Nolan exhaled as he walked away from the security guard and entered the restroom. The security guard watched him curiously. The man in the suit smiled and nodded to the security guard as he entered the restroom a short while after Nolan. The security guard smacked the Little Black Book into his hand as he pondered a thought. He opened the notebook and recognized the writing and identified the agent who owned it. The security guard shoved the notebook into his pocket and grabbed his radio.

“Dispatch, would you get Special Agent McMurray on the line and have him meet Security in the lobby?” The security guard ended his communication.

“Copy that,” Dispatch replied. The security guard had a hunch and briskly made his way to the restroom. As he entered, he did not see either men. Something told him to reach for his sidearm. Instead, he continued into the restroom and looked for evidence of the two men. A toilet flushed and the man in the suit brisky exited a stall, dropped something int eh trash, and passed by the security guard with all haste. The security guard moved to investigate the empty stall and saw Nolan slumped over covered in blood. He drew his sidearm and spun round but the man int eh suit was already out of view. He holstered his sidearm and rushed to Nolan as he grabbed his radio.

“Arrest that Caucasian man leaving the building. He’s wearing a fancy suit and may be armed,” the security guard barked over his radio as he inspected the wound on Nolan. After assessing the wound the guard applied pressure with one hand and called on his radio once more. “Dispatch I need EMS in the men’s restroom on the lobby floor ASAP. I have a stab victim bleeding out. Hang in there, buddy.” The security guard felt the blood pushing passed his hand. The wound was deep.

Nolan awoke in a hospital room. Monitors chirped about him. An IV kept him hydrated and medicated. His vision was blurry. His chest hurt. He remembered being stabbed int eh bathroom stall by the man in the suit.

“What an A-HOLE!” Nolan groaned as he pressed the call-button for the nurse. A short while later a nurse entered the room.

“You’re awake,” the nurse said with a smile as she neared his bedside. “How are you feeling? Do you know your name? Can you tell me what day it is?”

“My name is Nolan,” Nolan managed to answer one of the questions.

“Excellent! Can I get you anything?”

“I don’t have any insurance. I can’t pay for this stay. I need to refuse care.” Nolan grumbled as he reached and tried to remove his IV. The nurse stopped him.

“The FBI is covering the care. You just worry about healing and leave that IV alone. You still need it.” The nurse said promptly.

“I don’t understand.”

“I have instructions to call a Special Agent McMurray when you wake. I’ll le hm explain everything.” The nurse said with a wink. “Are you hungry?”

“I could go for a burger,” Nolan said without a thought.

“Ill call the cafeteria and see what they can do,” the nurse left the room as fast as she had arrived. Nolan felt groggy. Maybe it was from the blood he had lost or perhaps the pain pills. He passed unconscious.

Nolan woke up suddenly, shaking his head as though he had awakened from a horrible dream. He looked around and saw a blur of a man sitting in a chair suddenly stand up.

“Hey there,” the blur of a man said as he approached. Nolan recognized the voice.

“Special Agent McMurray?” Nolan asked.

“Yes. You are an amazing man, Nolan. Do you have any idea what you did?” Nolan’s vision corrected itself and he could see clearly that Special Agent McMurray was standing beside him with a wide smile on his face.

“I don’t understand. Oh—did that security guard get your Little Black Notebook to you? You dropped it by mistake when you showed me your badge I guess.”

“Nolan… He did. And he also handed over a notorious and wanted man. We would not have been able to hold him but since you gave up that counterfeit bill, we had his prints on it and because he stabbed you and left the weapon in the trash, we had that to link him to your assault. He thought he would get asway with everting I had documented in my notebook but thanks to you we had something solid and now we have time on our side to workout the details of everything else. He works for some dangerous people, Nolan and thanks to you we have him.” Special Agent McMurray disclosed what little he could with extreme excitement.

“I’m glad I could help you. Thank you for covering my medical expenses. I was scared at first.” Nolan was humble and naïve. He had no idea why the agent was so excited. He could not know since most of the details could not be shared publicly just yet.

“Nolan, your efforts helped us apprehend a VERY wanted man and for that the FBI is not just paying your medical bills, for which we are responsible anyhow—we are also paying you a reward of twenty-thousand dollars for the successful arrest of Wyatt Pelor.”

“Wait—THE Wyatt Pelor?” Nolan recognized the name. The name of a man mentioned in several televised documentaries being linked to multiple murders and counterfeit rings, but all evidence had been circumstantial.

“Ten years, this guy had gotten away with heinous crimes. You managed to bust him in one night through your acts of selfless kindness.” Special Agent McMurray said as though he were speaking as a proud parent.

“That’s wonderful!” Nolan said with a smile before passing unconscious once more. Nolan lived and recovered from his wound. He was released from the hospital and had a check from the FBI for twenty-thousand dollars. Karma had finally given notice to a humble man whose selflessness had blessed so many others in need. Nolan managed to get himself and several others off the streets. He started a business that allowed homeless folks to work rather than panhandle. Nolan never stopped giving back or helping those in need.


W.S. Klass

"I never apologize for who I am!"-W.S. Klass.

A childhood cancer and epilepsy survivor, he survived reality and embraced fiction to keep his sanity. While he may reference real-ity, W.S. Klass sticks to fiction with his works.

Read next: CSI

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