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"The St. Valentine's Day Massacre"

February 14th, 1991:

We were playing in Jacksonville Florida, and between shows
Misty wanted to go see about buying a nice bright red blouse
for Valentine's Day.
She was already wearing a very nice bright red blouse,
but I kept my mouth shut.

We drove to a Pic 'n' Save store on Dunn Avenue.
Since we were in kind of a hurry,
I dropped her off near the door
and drove thirty or forty feet to the nearest parking slot.
It had just gotten dark out.

As I was locking the car door I heard a woman scream.
I had never heard Misty scream,
but it sounded like it came from about the place where she ought to be:
by the door.

I started to run toward the building
and saw a big guy running from the door area,
from right to left across the front of the building.
He was carrying a woman's purse, and didn't seem the type.

He was going about 35 mph when he saw me running directly at him.
He shouted: "NOOOOOOO!"
We crashed head on
and I knocked him across a bunch of shopping carts.
I spun around, flew a few feet,
and landed full weight on the point of my index finger,
like some kind of acrobat,
except the finger bent into an "L",
and I did a neat landing on my face.

People in the lot closed in,
held the guy down and called the police,
while I looked for my glasses and bled from a variety of places.

He had been running toward the high chain link fence
where he was to throw the purse to his brother,
who was waiting on the other side.
The brother disappeared.

The cops told us that if he hadn't taken at least $400 they couldn't
send him away, wink, wink.
Funny, that's the exact amount we reported.

Meanwhile, Misty, who was also hurt from being knocked to the ground
by a blow to the ear,
was helping me into the store to seek help.
Something had gone wrong with my leg and I couldn't walk.

Inside the store, the pharmacist said he couldn't help
because it would be admitting liability.
I'm leaning on Misty with broken glasses,
an injured leg, a bent finger, and bleeding like a lawn sprinkler.
I reached across the counter, grabbed the pencil out of his pocket,
pushed him aside, took some tape from a shelf,
and made a rough splint for my finger.

The next day we went to a walk-in medical clinic
where the doctor put a splint on my finger backward,
holding it in the bent back position.
When I realized it later I turned it around.

I was on crutches for a couple of months and the crook went to jail.
Since then I don't forget Valentines Day like I used to.

Copyright  February 12, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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