Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dying at a Convenience Store

After I completed my three days of Clerk University at the training store, I went to work for Russ at my home store. We were right next to a highway. We had a large, unruly apartment complex right next store with a French name and a bar/clubhouse above the rental office. Behind that, the suburbs. They came in for milk. The oilfield workers came in for their daily beer and T.V. dinner, and the bar-hoppers came in for smokes.

On my first day at my home store, my manager worked with me. At shift change, Tran came in to work graveyard shift. And right about then, a guy came in all shot up.

"Are you all right?" I asked.
"Hey, buddy. Hey, buddy. Don't fall down," Russ said.
The guy fell: wham! I ran over.
"Get the first aid kit!" I yelled.
"We don't have one!" Russ yelled back. "It's not on the supply list."
"Well get me some towels!"
Tran ran to get paper towels.  He broke open the wrapper, shoved them at me, and ran away.
"No, no!" Russ yelled. "You can't use those. They're on the inventory. Here. Use these. They don't count."

He was holding out paper napkins. Little hot dog napkins cascaded to the floor from out of his hands. He wouldn't even come out from behind the counter.

"Have you called the police?" I'm trying. Do I know first aid? O hell no.

"Hey, there. You're still with us. Don't conk out on me now."
"I was at the Des Pleux," he told me. "My girlfriend's boyfriend got mad. He waited for me in the parking lot."
"Sounds bad," I said. "Just lie still."
"I got in my car and drove over here."
"Good for you. You got away. Do you know who we should call?"
"My wife."
Oh-kay, that was a new one. I didn't have anything to offer for that.
"Just hang in," I said. "I need more towels!"

I think the two guys must have drawn straws. One of them finally gave me paper napkins. They are not absorbent.
Thank God the cops came, although, they weren't too happy with me, either. I hadn't gotten names or descriptions. Just a pretend nurse, dirtying up the scene. Now totally irrelevant.

They ran the man to the hospital. I looked at my boss. "Why the hell don't we have a first-aid-kit?" I asked. "Don't we like, get shot sometimes?" He shrugged. Tran got the mop.

He worked eight hours alone in the store after this. There's all kinds of bravery in this world.

The man had a bullet in his spine they couldn't get out. He died six days later.
Weeks afterward, all this was gone from Russ's mind. He told me he wanted to be a cop and would be taking the exam again. I didn't see how that would work, but I kept my mouth shut. I worked there for over a year.


Slamdunk said...

Sounds like your presence there was a blessing--of only for a year. I have found the "inventory" comment to be applicable at more places than I would care to think about.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
The bean-counter mentality is everywhere. It truly sucks.

I hope it was a blessing, but that night I was equally useless as anyone else. The only difference was that I intervened/interfered.

Tran ended up getting fired for stealing. It took me that full year to figure out the person who was stealing was actually Russ, the cop wannabe. What a jerk. He ruined I don't know how many reputations--and it was really him.

Ann T.

Capt. Schmoe said...

I wonder if his wife would have shot him if the girlfriend's boyfriend hadn't beat her to it.