Take Care of Joey by Theodore Sturgeon
This story starts in a bar where, Joey, a little banty of a man comes strolling in eying all the customers, then chooses the bigest one there to pick a fight with. Of course the bartender has called Dwight, who comes to stop Joey from doing something that might get himself killed. But this story isn’t about Joey and Dwight, it’s about the narrator who is sitting at the bar when the story starts and decides to help Dwight take care of Joey.
You see, the narrator is trying to puzzle out why people put themselves in danger to save another person. he doesn’t understand why someone would throw themselves on a grenade or rush into a burning building if there wasn’t something in for them. And he especially doesn’t understand Dwight because he’s not related to, or friends with, or even a lover of Joey’s. He has no reason to follow Joey around and keep him from getting himself killed, or so we are led to believe. And the ending is so perfect that you find yourself laughing out loud.
From the collection, “Sturgeon is Alive and Well…