Two Blows To The Knees

April 26, 2017

I sat there in my grey 1995 C320 Mercedes Benz. It was 6:00 am, and stores around town were just starting to open. I was parked a foot away from the curb, on 7th street. I lined myself up to have a direct line of view to the cashier in the Dari-Mart across the street. I lowered my tinted window about two inches. The fresh July Eugene, Oregon air seeped through the crack, allowing the cold light breeze to keep me alert. I sat there and thought about my two little brothers and  how hungry they must be. I thought about how defined Charly my six year old brother’s rib cage is. I sat there thinking so vigorously, that I cringed, and the leather squeaked in the driver seat. On the passenger seat to the left of me was a black cotton ski mask, and a black Springfield armory 1911 semiautomatic pistol that I stole from a house I robbed last June. I looked long and hard at them, and picked up the pistol. Cold to the touch, and more heavy than it appears, I secured it in my waistband using my belt as a rubber-band to my body. I picked up the ski mask next, and put it in the inside my jacket pocket. A million thoughts raced through my head as I felt the cold handle of the pistol press against my stomach. My heart started beating so rapidly that it increased my breathing along with it. I sat there an extra ten seconds, and said to my myself  “Alright man, don’t be a b****” and then got out of the car.
It was easy to see the cashier when I stepped out of the car. He was about 5’10, blond hair that flopped about two inches in front of his face.  He was restocking the Marlboro cigarette section behind the counter. No cars were on the road, and nobody was walking by. This was my chance. I ran across 7th street, my heart beating harder than ever. I got about ten feet away from the door and slid on my ski mask. I pulled my Springfield out of my waist-band and opened the door. “Get the f*** on the ground!” I yelled to the cashier. “This is a motherfucking robbery, give me your keys!”
The cashier got on the ground in panic. He kept saying, ”Please don’t shoot, please don’t.” I could see the keys to the store were on the glass counter top where the lottery tickets were.
“Get your ass over here, lock this door, and change the sign to closed,” I said with intensity in my voice. He did exactly what I said.
He grabbed the keys, and locked the door preaching, “ Please don’t shoot, please don’t,” the whole time.
“Close the damn blinds.” I yelled at him.
He was surprisingly calm for the situation. He kept saying, “Please don’t shoot,” but never cried it out. Something felt off about this, but I kept demanding things from him.
“Where is the f***ing money?” I said to him.
He pointed to the back room. “There's a safe back there. It has a couple grand,” he said calmly.
“Show me,” I said with my Springfield pressed into the lower part of his back. We walked into the back room, but the light was off. “Where is the damn light switch?” I said to him.
“It’s hard to find,” he said as he kept reaching around on the wall for it. “Here it is!” he yelled as he struck my head with a small fire extinguisher. Next thing I knew I was on the ground, my head throbbing, and my gun two feet away from me. I reached for it, but he stepped on my hand with his tan steel toe Timberland boots.
“F***!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. He picked the gun up, looked me dead in my eyes, then down at my knees. Next thing I knew two gunshots went off, and my knees were oozing out blood. He shot both my kneecaps. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and started coughing up blood. The taste of iron resonated in my mouth. The pain was so brutal I went into shock. My body laying there numb, and useless, I heard the cashier on the phone.
“I’ve been robbed. The shooter is down. He’s been shot. Get here fast!” he said into the phone. Feeling temporarily paralyzed from the overwhelming pain, I laid there thinking about my two younger brothers, and how our heroin addict mother wouldn’t be able to take care of them. How they would be placed in a foster home, and possibly separated from each other. As I started to cry, the cops showed up.
Rushing in one by one they yelled “Police, put your hands up!” as they came in. Their guns pointed at me and the cashier treating us both like suspects. They handcuffed me, then searched me for weapons. When they didn’t find anything besides the gun the cashier threw across the room, the paramedics took care of me. They put me in a stretcher and put bandages over my knees to stop the blood from coming out. The bandages were instantly absorbing the blood, but the pain didn’t go away. The burning, throbbing feeling radiated throughout my body. “Someone make the pain go away!”
After yelling that, they immediately asked me if I was allergic to morphine, and then gave me a shot to make the pain go away. I passed out in the ambulance on the way back to the hospital from the drugs. Next thing I knew, I was waking up to a doctor saying I would never walk again, and an officer saying I had a court date scheduled for the following week.
At court I felt like I was on an island. Sitting in my wheelchair felt like I was melting into the floor. My brothers sat behind me, with a look of concern and worry.
I have failed them, I thought to myself. I have failed them.

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