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A Day At The Cafe

Posted by Elwin Green on September 23, 2017 at 12:50 AM

When the young man first rushed into the Everyday Cafe today with his hand to his face, I thought he had a nosebleed.

But there was too much blood. There was way too much blood. Going all over the floor and splashing across the front of the counter as he walked dazedly in a small circle.


"Call 911! I need an ambulance!" Not loud, but urgent. Desperate.

His face, not his nose, was bleeding from an open wound, his one visible eye wild with fear.


I had been sitting with employee Dorian Robinson, who rose to help. I got up, too, but he was closer, and the two women workers - one whom I know as Ms. Shar (spelling? Char?) and one whose name I don't know - were looking for a phone and I grabbed one of mine and called 911 while they sat the young man down and tried to talk him down from panic and tried not to panic, themselves.


And later we were grateful for being the only ones there, so that there was no mass panic, just the three of them tyring to help the young man and me answering the 911 operator's questions, some of which I had to ask the young man.


"How old are you?"


"Where were you when you were shot?"

"I don't know."


A string of questions for me to answer or to re-ask, and the women losing patience with the 911 operator and the 911 operator seeming to be about to lose patience with me because I was responding to both them and him.


While the young man bled and asked for help and asked them to hurry.


Too many questions. Way too many questions. I know that he was doing his job, but the sooner that he would have said, "The ambulance is on its way," the sooner I could have said that to the young man and to the women and imparted a sense of calm.

I was still on the phone with the 911 operator when the first police officers arrived. They asked questions and looked the young man over prepared him for the ambulance, which came soon after.


And the ambulance took the young man and the officers said, "He'll be okay."


The best news of the day - he'll be okay.


Physically, at least. Psychically? Hmm. Let's see - he's walking down the street and suddenly one side of his face is ripped open and there's all the pain that a bullet causes and he doesn't know who did it.


And he's 16.


When I was 16, I barely survived the slightest hint that my girlfriend did not love me as crazily as I loved her.


This is where I rant about how adolescence SHOULD be the last surge of childhood, not a time to dodge, or fail to dodge, a bullet. But we all already know that, so I won't.


I'll say that the young man should be okay, and that I pray that he truly is.


And the Everyday Cafe folks got busy cleaning up the blood and detectives came and asked questions and by the time I left, a few of the many officers (there was a fleet of cruisers by then) had a suspect in custody. The second best news of the day.


Marred slightly by the fact that he looked like he might be 16, too.

EDIT, 9/24: Police now say that the gunshot victim may have been victimizing someone else when he got shot.

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