As the story's title indicates, it was dusk--the time right between the ending of the day and dark. Gortsby was a quiet observer of the type of people who come out at dusk. These people often have sketchy backgrounds or else they have troubled lives. Gortsby says they live defeated lives. While Gortsby is sitting on the park bench, an older man joins him. Gortsby imagines he is depressed for he gets no respect at home. The older man leaves and a younger man sits down. This younger man is talking about how he left his wallet at the hotel and now he can't remember how to get back to the hotel. He is hinting that he needs some money. Gortsby does not fall for his story at first. The young man insists that he only left his hotel to get a bar of soap. Now, he cannot find his way back. Gortsby would have believed this story if the young man could have produced a bar of soap.
The young man leaves. Gortsby rises and notices a bar of soap on the ground. He runs to find the young man and gives him his soap and money that can be repaid later.
As Gortsby walks past the bench where he had been sitting, he notices the older man is looking for something. When Gortsby asked what he had lost, the older man replies that he lost a cake of soap.
Gortsby was right in his first judgement of the younger man. Gortsby will never see his money again.