She came running, along with her children. I sent the kids back and urged her to come on in.
"Apparently, Claude tried to take his life with a bullet, but he failed and is hanging on by a thread. He is unconscious, however, and we need to get him to help. First, though, we need to pack the wound with some clean cloth, so we can keep it compressed when we move him. Could you look in a bedroom here and find a clean sheet, perhaps?"
She hurriedly left the room and spoon returned with one that looked well-worn and soft.
"Perfect! Since he is still in a half sitting position, we can wrap it around him, underneath his shirt and pull it tight as possible. I'll carry him out the front door and lay him in the back of your station wagon. I'll sit in the back floor of your wagon, the kids can pile in the front seat next to you, and off we go to the hospital."
Without even considering, I had taken charge of the situation, and surprisingly, she did not question my directions.
"Where did you learn all this first aid?" she wanted to know when we were all on our way to the hospital.
"You seem to forget where I spent the last four years," was my reply. "I saw more than my share of bullet wounds, shrapnel bits, and bomb explosions."
Katy's eyes were round with awe as she stared at me over the edge of the front seat.
"Katy, how many times have I told you to sit down while we are in the car? Now sit down; I have to keep my eyes on the road."
"Mr. Zeb, did people shoot at you?" Katy spoke, even though she could not see me."
"Of course, they did, you dodo," replied her brother. "That's what they do in a war!"
I had to smile at his response, even though it made me a bit sad that young people had to be so savvy about the things we as humans choose to do to one another.
Within minutes we were pulling up to the emergency room doors, and I was soon carrying Mr. Wilson into it. It seemed to be a madhouse, apparently with the people that had been in the wrecks already there in triage. Nurses were attending them, and looked at me with Claude in my arms.
"He has been shot and is in dire need of attention," I explained loudly, for the din was at a fairly high level.
We stood at the nurses receiving station. The nurse began asking questions about name, address, and of course, insurance. I couldn't believe it. The man was maybe dying, and she thought those questions were important?
I answered them to the best of my ability, and then she asked how it happened. I told her I didn't see it happen, but found him in his home, wounded, and his neighbors and I brought him in.
"You understand this has to be reported to the police, since he is a gunshot victim."
"Yes, ma'am. I know. I have already called them once, but please, can we put him on a gurney? He is beginning to get heavy."
"Yes, of course, I see an empty one, now."
I gladly lay my burden down and then sat down myself. Katy came over to me and placed her hand on my knee.
"Will he be okay, Mr. Zeb? Who shot him? Why would anyone want to hurt him?"
"I'm sorry, Katy. I don't have any answers, but I know someone who does!" I replied.
"Why, Jesus does, that's who! Why don't we talk to Him and ask Him to take care of your neighbor?"
"Okay..." She folded her hands, as children do when praying, and asked Jesus to help Mr. Claude to feel better, and I added a few words and we both said "Amen".
I turned to Mrs. Walsh and suggested she might want to take the children back home and I would be back after I talked to the police. I was sure it wouldn't be long before they came.
Sure enough, as she was leaving with the children, here they came.
(To be continued)