A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, December 31, 2010


Munsterville was a gated community. A guard stood at the gate checking automobiles and their occupants as they came and went. Why, I do not know. Inside the wrought iron fence wet, stinking garbage lined the curbs, swept there by the wind when dry, only to be plastered there by the rain later. Shards of broken glass glistened across the streets. Crack was dealt openly. So was sex. There was no fear of the law inside that gate. Yeah, Munsterville was a gated community........The kind of fenced in cage that kept the animals inside. Even the ramshackle, crime infested and starving community surrounding Munsterville feared what was contained in those black bars.

Thus, when I received word that a patient was waiting inside for me, I was not without trepidation. I had worked all throughout the area surrounding M'ville. I was familiar with the risks. A po-po escort was out of the question, even though a nurse had been assaulted there only weeks before. The po-po only entered in pairs there....pairs of squad cars, at least four officers at a time, and only on raids. I thought about having someone ride along with me, there is security in numbers. The wrong person would have needed my protection though, and the right people were unavailable. If I would have owned a German Shepherd at that time I would have gone home and picked the dog up to reside in the Grand Cherokeee while I took care of the patient. Alas, Chester was not up to the task.

I always carried stored Little Darling's aluminum softball bat in the rear of the Jeep. It could perform double duty as a non-lethal weapon if needed. I knew I was most vulnerable when I left a home, not when I arrived. Upon leaving, any assailant would know about when I would be exiting, and certainly where I would be going.......Back to my vehicle. I had a convex mirror stuck on my hatchback glass just so I could see behind me right before I opened it to place my nursing bag inside. My nursing bag itself was actually a concealed carry soft sided leather brief case with a stainless .357 magnum in a hidden center compartment. In my SmartCarry holster was a Colt Compact. You would think I would have felt invulnerable. I did not.

I was entering Munsterville to care for a patient. I worried about the teenagers junkies and crackheads the most. The crackheads would bust out your car windows to steal change from your center console, and the junkies, on learning you were a nurse, would want syringes, and believe you were carrying medication dope. The kids would just swarm you like hornets on bicycles to get at your valuables, or to steal what they could to trade to the junkies and crackheads. Munsterville was indian territory, and I wasn't dancing with wolves.

The patient I was to see, Antonio, had no telephone. He was a paraplegic, bound to a wheelchair and fighting decubitus ulcers. To expect him to have a telephone so I could call ahead was to much to ask.

A fat uniformed "guard" manning the gate hailed me as my Jeep approached. I rolled down my window and told him I was going to apartment 234C. He scribbled down the information as I moved on. I suppose he would send out a search party in a few days if anyone came looking for me. I noticed there were banks of locked mailboxes just inside the gate. "Neither snow nor rain not heat nor gloom of night".........Just the derangement of a crackhead and the threat of not leaving in one piece.

Five or six kids jumped joyously on top of a urine soaked mattress and box springs beside a rusty graffitti covered dumpster. They stopped and stared in bewilderment as I drove past. Boney feral cats ran free, hunting rats and spreading disease. I tried to dodge the broken glass, and cringed as it grated underneath my tires. I drove throughout the place, trying to locate 234C. Not a single unit had a number. My Jeep crunched over more glass as I returned to the guard to ask directions. He referred to a crumpled Xeroxed map and directed me around the cul-de-sac.

I parked as close as I could. 234C was on the top of a "dog-trot" unit, so named because of open area between two quadplexes covered by a roof ajoining them. The rusty metal and concrete stairs to the second story units were underneath the roof. I scanned the surroundings before I got out of my vehicle. All was well. I exited, got my bag from the rear, and locked the Jeep. As I slogged through the mud and dead grass towards the building, a kid on a to small BMX bike waddled up. "What you want man?" he inquired.

I glanced his way and turned to face him. "I'm here for a patient. You know Antonio?"

"Yeah, I know Ant. What you want with Ant? You a doctor?"

"Naw man, I'm a nurse."

A nurse? You don't look like no nuss to me. I think you be five-0."

I smiled inscrutably. That could be a good thing. Maybe. "So what if I was?"

"So I'd"........ His words were cut short by a gesture from a young black man in a wheelchair, in the shadows underneath the dogtrot. I walked up and said I'm looking for Antonio.

"That's me," said the young man, his loose short jeans still sagging despite the wheelchair.

"I'm Xavier.....I'm here to take care of your wounds."

I struggled with Ant's wounds for over a year, going into M'ville each day to meet up with him. When I first met him, I explained that I did not carry dope or syringes. I asked him to spread the word. He must have, because my Jeep was never broken into. Ant's apartment was on the second story. His handicap was ignored by whoever rented him his apartment. He solved the problem himself by living with someone on the ground floor. I never saw his actual apartment.

As time wore on, I began to see other people in Munsterville. Ant was just the first.



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