Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Narrative story of the week

"Beyond the Statistics: Druggist Confronts the Reality of Robbery" is one of the three pieces in the Pulitzer-winning feature package by
Angelo B. Henderson of the Wall Street Journal in 1999. This particular piece is a good example of the type of narrative you will do for your final.

DETROIT -- "Get on the ground," a man holding a gun screamed. "I'll blow your heads off if you move."

Dennis Grehl and a co-worker complied. Dreamlike, he found himself lying face down on a cold, gritty black-tile floor, a pistol against the back of his head.

"Please, mister, don't make me shoot you," a second gunman threatened. A crazy memory: tiny specks of light floating in the tile; that, and the paralyzing weight of helplessness.

Mr. Grehl is a pharmacist, unassuming, mild mannered. A family man with a wife and a daughter.

He was being robbed. He works in the Redford Pharmacy, a small neighborhood place in northwest Detroit. It's been around forever; the kind of place that delivers.

He had gone into his chosen profession in part because his mother had advised him to. "Nice and clean," she had said. Plus, he liked to help people.

He had helped these guys, too. One said he was looking for foot powder and skin lotion; the other, cough drops. They were African-Americans, well-dressed. They had totally conned him from out behind his counter.

Now he was a chump, on the floor.


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