Helping the Other Fellow (Henry)

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Helping the Other Fellow
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man helped his friend overcome alcoholism and save a country, but couldn't improve his own life. He declined a job offer to stay with a woman he loved, realizing everyone has their own weaknesses.

A man named William Trotter found himself stranded on a beach in Aguas Frescas after being thrown out of a ship for assaulting the first mate. While sitting on the beach, he met a well-dressed, educated man named Clifford Wainwright, who was also a heavy drinker.

William Trotter — narrator; ragged, industrious, and caring; loyal to his friends.
Clifford Wainwright — educated, talented, but struggling with alcoholism; helped save a country.

Wainwright was frustrated with the president of the republic, President Gomez, for his inability to manage the country's affairs. He invited Trotter to accompany him to the president's summer palace to offer his advice.

At the palace, Wainwright impressed President Gomez with his knowledge of economics and politics, and the president offered him a position as his private secretary with a generous salary. Trotter, who had helped Wainwright overcome his alcoholism with the help of a local girl named Timotea, declined several job offers from Wainwright, as he did not want to leave Aguas Frescas.

Timotea — beautiful, kind-hearted woman; helped William cure Wainwright's alcoholism.

One day, Trotter received a letter from his brother offering him a well-paying job in the United States. As he was considering the offer, Timotea, who had been away for a month, returned to Aguas Frescas. Trotter decided to stay with her, acknowledging that everyone has their own weaknesses and cannot always help themselves.

Ain’t it funny how we can’t do nothing for ourselves, but we can do wonders for the other fellow?

Meanwhile, Wainwright, who had relapsed into alcoholism, was executed by a firing squad for betraying state secrets to a rival republic. This served as a reminder that despite their ability to help others, people often struggle to help themselves.