Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He chose to be glued back together

By Jim Parks

When the emergency surgeon offered him a choice between sutures and a new method of closing knife wounds, he chose to have the doctor super glue his flesh back together.

He was slashed twice, once across the chest over the pectoral muscle group, and once across the abdomen over the rib cage, just over the traversing colon and spleen. A day later, he was up and working again.

From behind a thousand-yard stare, as he talked, he gazed through the plate glass window of the Firestone Store, a middle-aged counter clerk more used to taking credit applications and processing orders for tires, batteries, wheel alignments and tune-ups than fending off deadly attacks by edged weapons.

"They were grown men," he said of the two blacks who attacked him because "They said they wanted all the money."

There was only a little bit of cash to be had. Most people pay with credit cards or have their purchases billed on their Firestone national account.

"I think it was drugs that affected their judgement," he concluded, looking back at the computer screen, ready to dismiss the moments of terror when the pair walked into the store, which is located just across the street from the Santa Fe division yards in the old railroad town of Temple, Texas.

In broad daylight, just a stone's throw from City Hall and the police station, the pair had walked in and demanded the cash.

"One of them struggled with me. We kind of wrestled back and forth; then he hit me with his fist and he cut me then. I didn't see the knife until I saw the blood and saw I was cut."

A day later, when the battery on my pickup failed and I wheeled in to have it replaced, he and other clerks were still cleaning up blood smears and the residue of black fingerprint powder left behind by detectives who had investigated the robbery the day before.

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