Super Short Story: Please Give Responsibly

“I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” Paul said to Reese.
“I’m sure that I have no idea what you are talking about,” Reese said not even looking up from his computer. Reese could see Paul above him in the periphery of his vision.

Paul was slouched over the partition of Reese’s workspace. Paul was in danger of knocking over a picture of Reese’s daughter. Reese pursed his lips.

“The beggar, the one by the ATM at the plaza. I mean this time was different, last night I went out specifically to get cash. Had the cash in my hand and was walking over to her and then she had to ruin it by looking up at me”. Paul said.

Reese slowly nodded still looking at the monitor in front of him.

“Oh my goodness, how traumatic for you. I’m amazed that you are still here. You could take the day off on stress leave if you wanted.” Reese said.
Paul wiped his mouth and looked down and remained quiet for a few seconds longer before letting out a long loud sigh.
“It’s funny to you, I understand that you’ve been the one saying the whole time that if I want to do it then I should just go ahead and do it. I know that I should but it’s not that simple. It’s the intent behind the giving. I’m giving to this girl because I want to balance out my karma”
“If it makes you feel any better most people don’t give to beggars because they want to help them it’s because they want to make themselves feel less guilty. A few pennies here a pound there, it’s not going to make much of a difference. I mean even if someone were going to give them say one hundred or something they’re hardly going to put it towards a wall unit.” Reese said finally looking up at Paul.

The two men held eye contact for a second or two before breaking off. Paul nodded and smiled.

“I guess it’s trying to carry out an unselfish action but in the back of my mind all I can think of is this promotion coming up, I don’t want the universe thinking that I am kissing it’s ass or anything like that,” said Paul.
“Look getting a promotion depends on the criteria met, no one looks through someone’s file and goes, dependable, good, loyal, that’s what we would expect, hard-working sounds great. Hold on here we go, gave money to a tramp five years ago.” Reese said.
“Yeah you’re right, I know they don’t care about that but there are other forces at work,” said Paul.
“I’d be more worried about the sexism. The universe doesn’t look too kindly on that sort of attitude,” said Reese.
“I’m not being sexist”
“Oh come on you wouldn’t be giving her the money if she was a man”
“I haven’t given her the money”
“That’s also sexist”
“I’ve got to do something I can’t just stand by and do nothing”
“You’ve been doing nothing consistently about the homeless situation another day isn’t going to change how the universe views you. The universe doesn’t care about you and it doesn’t care about anyone. Whatever you do, it doesn’t matter. I hope that gives you some hope and it is just a promotion, a minor one, you won’t even be getting paid more”
“It’s not about the pay it’s about the responsibility,” said Paul.
“Well I hope you get the responsibility,” said Reese.
The office receptionist came walking towards the two of them and looked directly at Paul and said, “Paul would you head back to your desk and Check your email”.
“Thank you, will do,” Paul said. Paul looked at Reese. Reese shrugged and turned his gaze back to the monitor.
Paul returned to his workstation and sat down. Paul turned on his monitor and opened his email.
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