CONCEALMENT 3 Preview – Treating Gunshot Wounds Frankie McRae Join the Conversation Illustrations by Joe Oesterle Learning Proper Life-Threatening Wound Care Is Imperative You carry a knife. You carry a gun. You train to put holes in bad people. What happens when you wind up with new holes of your own? Let’s use this scenario to put things in perspective. It’s a warm spring evening, not dark yet, but getting there. That time of day when things start to slow down from the day’s activities and the hustle and bustle of the workday. You’re walking down the street, the lights in the small shops are on and they highlight those new items appearing in the new spring line of clothing. Not much to see here because, well, you are not really looking for clothes — it’s the approach to the car that you are worried about. The streetlights aren’t yet on. The car is just about a quarter block away, just in front of the brightly lit awning of the restaurant that opened up just about a year ago. You have been planning on going to eat there and just haven’t done it yet. You’re thinking to yourself, I’ll stop there and make reservations for next Friday night. You’re thinking to yourself, the wife and I can have a date night. You’re thinking a date night has been long neglected. You’re not thinking about getting hit in the head so hard you might puke, or that someone might want to put steel in you. There’s a small alleyway between some of the stores, all dimly lit if they’re lit at all. As you approach the closest two small shops you look at the brand-new shiny red Porsche parked there blocking the alleyway. The one right in front of the sign that says “Please Do Not Block The Alley.” You mutter, “What an idiot.” You hope the fool gets a ticket, and you never see the hand that strikes your left temple. Your head rocks sideways and intense light flashes in your eyes. You stagger and see stars, proving the stereotypes true, and then blackness starts to settle in. You feel yourself falling to the ground and hit, your head smacks the concrete as hard as the initial strike was. You’re not unconscious, but you are dazed and confused. The weight of whomever hit you settles on you quickly and hands begin grabbing at your pockets — no, hand, singular. You fight to recover, willing your way through the disorientation, focusing on the knife in your assailant’s hand. It’s not a big knife, but it’s not a small one either, a long skinny blade with a tapered point. The light shines off the edge and only now do you begin to process what is happening. A guttural sound comes out of your mouth as you rally, warning the assailant you’re not out of the fight. He tells you to shut up, tells you he’ll stab you, and raises the knife just high enough that you can get your left hand on it. You grab it with your left hand, feeling the blade slice into your palm, but knowing that if you let go it will sink into your chest or stomach. The pressure he’s applying is heavy. A shift of weight and you both move, a struggling roll to the left and now he’s more next to you than on top of you, but there’s still that knife to worry about. It starts down and you manage to shift it lower, but not enough to miss your leg. It sinks deep into your upper thigh, exposed and vulnerable because of the way you’re turned. Desperately trying to pin the knife in place with your left hand you reach for the revolver in your jacket pocket with your right, feeling the steel as it settles into your hand as it has so many times before during training. This time though you don’t pull the weapon out, you just point it toward your assailant and pull the trigger. The trigger squeeze is normally hard, but in your adrenal state it seems easy. The blast of noise and powder is deafening, stunning. Your first bullet strikes your assailant somewhere in the torso and you squeeze the trigger again, then again, your follow-up rounds striking him in the chest and the chin. The weight on you begins to lift, you’re stabbed again in the same leg. This time it doesn’t hurt as bad, a duller punch you barely notice. You roll away, push yourself to your knees. He is screaming and there is blood everywhere. Your clothes, his hands, your hands, his clothes … you look down and see it pulsing from your inner thigh, a bright red stream of arterial blood running down your leg. 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