A joke

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Really short story.

A little boy froze stiff on the street. A truck was heading for right where he stood.

Of course I had to act.

Dropping my bag, I rushed forward between the cars, to the street. Seconds were ticking in my head, the truck was hurtling closer and I was dashing closer, walking, because there was no time to start running.

One step, another one.

I grabbed the boy’s collar and jerked him forward, without stopping. A multi-tonn car whooshed behind us. A wave of air hit me. I almost felt a wall of metal and plastic in several inches behind my back.

Another step, and we were on the sidewalks.

His mother was young and pretty but pale as death. She snatched her kid and hurriedly started to berate him and thank me at the same time. I gave her a wave of the hand:

"It’s nothing"

Then she tried to give me money. Now, that made me really uncomfortable. Not knowing how to make her quit, I said:

"When I was a kid, someone saved me like that too. One can say that now I’ve paid my dues."

Boy’s mother blinked, stared at me then at her kid. Then again at me. I looked at the boy too, this time carefully, and discovered that he resembled me somewhat. I guess that’s about how I would look if I were seven. That’s funny, I thought. Almost as if I was him, back from the future to save myself. Science fiction story, right there.

To play this joke a bit further I said to his mother:

"Don’t scold him too much, would you? He’s already scared to death."

And added, before leaving:

"He will be more careful from now on."

Smiling to my own joke, I crossed the street again, took my bag, stood up and…

…met myself.

No, that wasn’t me. If you look closely, we weren’t even that similar. Different features, different hairdo. Still, his face somehow resembled mine.

The guy was sporting bright jacket and jeans just like me. He had a bag very similar to mine.

For a moment I froze, staring at him in shock while he was staring at me. We remained silent.

Then he uttered:

"And here I was, thinking it will be me who saves myself. Years of studying spent to make this possible…"

Hesitating for a moment, he added:

"Thank you."

"It’s nothing, really", I answered.

We shook hands and went our separate ways.

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