Sometimes warning labels are important. Let me say up front that this story is rated “R” for violence. Consequently, disclosure of the identity of the would-be victim is withheld. However, the story is shared with his permission. He credits the grace of God that he is still on this side of eternity and able to tell his story.
It began as a casual conversation related to travel and places to vacation. The friend we were visiting with yesterday afternoon suggested that if the General and I hadn’t been to Costa Rica, we owed it to ourselves to go. Almost as an afterthought, he added: “Costa Rica is not only beautiful, it is also really an affordable place to visit.” That revelation perked my interest. It also caught his wife’s interest. She said more to him than to us: “I am not the wife you spent time with in Costa Rica. I think we, too, should go.”
Now my interest was really perked. Costa Rica could wait. I was interested in knowing about his previous wife. I can’t remember exactly how I posed my question, but it was subtle. The friend’s wife is 100% gold. I certainly didn’t want to offend either of them by attempting to play twenty questions, but I was curious. She responded: “You really do need to hear his story. It is really interesting.”
He made a playful response: “Okay, I’ll tell you about the shooter. She tried to kill me!” Someone once jokingly told me, “If there is anything worse than a wife, it is an ex-wife.” Perhaps in this man’s case, it would serve him well to leave well enough alone. Honestly, the former Mrs. sounds dangerous in a deadly sort of way.
For starters, they hadn’t been married very long. She was expecting and he wanted to do the right thing. After all, this was his first child and he wanted to be a responsible and caring father. He was in his early thirties at the time. It wasn’t exactly overnight, but over a period of several weeks, painful knots or lumps on the bottom of both feet began to form. After undergoing a myriad of medical tests by different practitioners over a series of some time, his health continued to deteriorate. I can’t recall the symptomology that surfaced next. I faintly remember that it had something to do with inflammation of his head and face. He was frightened by the symptomology. Apparently so was the wife. She drove him to the hospital emergency room and let him out.
He was hospitalized for a week. During that period of time, his wife never visited him at the hospital. The doctors didn’t determine a definitive diagnosis, but the longer he was hospitalized the better he began to feel. Of course, he was no longer drinking the coffee his wife lovingly (or not so lovingly) brought to him each morning. Could it be by happenstance or purposeful intent that the Mrs. was poisoning him with his morning coffee? At least from his perspective, that was a distinct possibility. Of course hindsight is always 20/20.
So why did he go back home? Did he have a death wish? He responded, “Absolutely not! I wanted to be a good father to my son.” He admits to his regret that he wasn’t at a place where he wanted to be a good husband, but don’t the two go hand-in-hand? Overall the marriage lasted for seventeen years before it totally fell apart by turning deadly.
So what’s wrong with this picture? Maybe I’m a little more cautious or cynical than my friend, but if I really believed for an inordinate period of time that someone was trying to kill me, I’d be hard-pressed to want a daily dose of that. I don’t care how good the coffee tasted. However, I’m assuming he stopped drinking her coffee after he got out of the hospital.
Seriously, if you really thought someone was capable of killing you, how could you continue the relationship? It defies my imagination.
I can truthfully say of my friend after hearing his story: “He has defied death time and time again. The magic potion in the coffee was just for starters. Before the marriage ended, it came dangerously close to being deadly”.
They were separated at the time, but he agreed to meet her at a hotel somewhere between Dallas and Austin. At some point during their conversation in her hotel room, she gained leverage in getting his full attention when she pointed a Colt 45 Series 70 pistol at him. He also mentioned that the pistol had a hair trigger. He knew the details because it was his gun. At a distance of five or six feet, that seems like a deadly scenario.
He said, “I honestly thought my life was over. She said she was going to kill me and then kill herself. I tried to come up with a plan in my head, but nothing seemed to be working. I thought about jumping through the plate glass window and over the railing on the second floor, but that seemed pretty risky”. When I asked how he orchestrated a favorable outcome, he responded: “I guess you could say I’m good. I persuasively talked her out of killing me. Of course, I had to call the lady I’d been dating and break it off with her. It was a close call.” He took the pistol and the cartridge from her possession. Don’t you know that came with a big sigh of relief?
At some point the next day or the following, he telephoned his wife’s psychiatrist and asked what he should do. The psychiatric said, “I’m in no position to advise you, but you might consider taking her to the emergency room.” At least he was now goal directed.
Wouldn’t you know it, when they got back to Dallas his wife wasn’t in agreement with the plan. She didn’t want to go to the emergency room. Instead, she suggested that they go to his brother’s house in Dallas. How she knew where the brother’s Colt 45 pistol was located, I can’t recall. But I do recall that for the second time in as many days, he was facing down the end of the barrel.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a healthy respect for instruments of death. Apparently my friend does as well. He had gotten a stay of execution the previous day. The chances of that happening twice were few to none. The gun was pointed at his chest. Her target was within a deadly aim. He jumped from where he was setting and the bullet went through one of his arms instead of his chest.
Fighting for his life, all bets were off on who would be the winner. It was a full blown wresting match. He struggled to get the gun from her. Apparently there is something about the need to have a strong hand grip on a Colt 45 pistol for it to actually fire. It is a built in trigger safety. In the process of fighting, he hit the back of his head on the corner of a concrete wall or post. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he was bleeding profusely. In the process, the revolver went off again and he was hit between his thumb and index finger on the hand with the uninjured arm. The would-be assassin (aka – his wife) bolted from the room. A short time later, he made it to the door and looked outside. She was postured at the end of the concrete porch next to the stairway. She called out, “Come with me”. I’m not sure how he phrased it, but long story short, it was the equivalent of, “No Thanks”.
He was rushed to Parkland Hospital by ambulance and taken from the emergency room to the basement for surgery. He recalls fearing that somehow he was going to die. It didn’t happen. Of himself he says: “I should be a dead man, but God permitted me to live for a purpose. It is now my quest to fulfill that purpose.”
All My Best!