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Never Make Promises Like - [MAY2015]

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posted on May, 3 2015 @ 05:04 PM
It was Tuesday night, January second, 1996. I was working the swing-shift at Sequim Rehab, a nursing home not far from where Highway 101 crosses the Dungeness River.

I was halfway through doing rounds when the charge nurse called out, "Hey Bill, telephone call for you. It's Debbie again."

That was me, Bill Busby, Nursing Assistant Certified. Debbie; that was Debbie Dubois, ex-fiancée.

"I'll be right there," I called out, "Just gotta wash my hands."

I took the phone off the hook in the hallway. "Hello? Debbie?"

"You've got to come get me, Bill, right now!"

"Well Tillamook's a long drive from here. Might take a couple hours or so. Why right now?"

"He killed a guy. Stabbed him with a knife. Buried him in the side yard. And then, when I asked him 'what about the DEA surveillance?', he just laughed, said, 'As long as they keep thinking I'm going to lead them to some bigger bust, I can do anything I want, even get away with murder.'"

"Okay, I'll leave as soon as I can. We're short staffed already, they aren't going to like letting me go."

"He took my gun away! I pulled it out and he just walked right up and said, 'You think I'm afraid of that little pea shooter? That's just a .25', then he took it out of my hand and shot the floor, said 'see how small that hole is? You wouldn't be able to stop me with that before I'd broken your neck!'"

"Okay, I'll get there as soon as I can, see you in a bit."

"Okay, bye."

I hung the phone up and went over to the nursing station, "Mary. I'm going to have to leave."

"What? No way! We're short staffed."

"Debbie's in trouble, and I've got to go get her."

"You have got to be kidding me. After she took off with that guy she just met at a bar? I was glad when she left. You even got happier."

"Yeah, I guess you're right, but I still have to get her."

"You're crazy! You don't owe her anything! Okay, if you finish these rounds, I'll talk to Bettie and Terese and see if they'll split your section for the next rounds."

"Thanks, Mary. I appreciate it."

About twenty minutes later, I was done with rounds. I went back to the nurse's station, "I'm done Mary. Will Bettie and Terese cover for me?"

"Yes, they'll cover for you." She was looking down, with her face slightly turned aside. When she looked up, I could see that she'd been crying. "She's gonna get you killed. You know that don't you?"

"Yes, but don't worry. I'll think of something. Oh, and one other thing Mary, it's a long drive and I'm broke and nearly out of gas. Would you happen to have twenty dollars I could borrow?"

She reached over to her right and got her purse from the corner of the desk and dug around. "Here's ten dollars." She held it out but didn't let go of it. "I like you. We all do. Don't die for her, she isn't worth it."

"I'll think of something." I said. Then she let go of the 10 dollar bill.

When I reached the back door I paused and turned around. Terese stood with hands on hips, shaking her head, slight expression of disgust. Sweet Bettie stood staring, mouth half open, wide eyes glistening. Mary, her composure recovered by then, looked resigned. I went through the doorway, the door closed behind me.

Back in my apartment, after changing out of my work uniform, I reached for the phone and dialled the number that Debbie had given me.

From what I had gathered from previous phone conversations with Debbie, Jim Strickland was a major drug trafficker, making runs from Port Angeles to Kingston and then down through Tacoma to Portland. Between him and three enforcers, two other drug traffickers had been eliminated. He'd been under DEA surveillance for just over a year.

It had been only 6 weeks earlier that she and Jim had recognized each other at the saloon closest to where we lived. They'd known each other in Kingston about 10 years earlier.

Only 2 months had passed since I'd moved out of our upper level apartment to a lower level apartment. She refused to move out so I did.

The phone at the other end picked up, "Hello."

"Is that Jim?"

"Yeah, You Bill?"


"I've been expecting you to call ever since Debbie got off the phone."

"She okay? Could you put her on?"

"She's okay, but she's asleep. She went 3 days without sleeping. Soon as she got off the phone with you she just laid down on the floor and went to sleep. I had to carry her to her bed."

"I've never been down the Oregon Coast, could you give me directions to your place?"

"There's a couple of different routes, easiest would probably be get on the 101 by Discovery Bay, then just stay on 101 South, past Shelton, Aberdeen, on through Astoria. When you get close to Tillamook, look out for . . . It's about 250 miles, a lot of it winding road, probably take about five hours."

"Got it. See you in about five." Then I hung up the phone, picked up my holster belt, fastened it around my waist, pulled my 4" barrelled Colt King Cobra out, opened the cylinder, and checked my load. Yep, 125 grain silver tip hollow points, closed the cylinder, holstered my weapon, slid it around to the hollow of my back and put my field jacket on.

Five hours is really a long time, considering I was going to fetch back someone who I had hoped could have lived happily ever after without me. I really, really didn't want to be making this trip.

It was 3:10am when I walked up toward the darkened house. The door opened in to darkness. I walked in, looked around.

"You're Bill?" Jim was crouched down in the corner to my left, close to the window. The wall under the window was reinforced with sand bags. Jim was holding an M-16 with a 30 round magazine. Two more 30 round mags were sitting ready on the sand bags. "Shut the door, and try to stay away from the window.

"I can't believe I finally get to meet the big bad dead eye shot Bill that I've had to hear about so much over the last week. I was really expecting to see someone a bit more like Rambo, AK in each hand and a knife in his teeth. Are you even ex Special Forces?"

"No, actually I was a fighter mechanic in the Air Force. See this patch? Air Force Systems Command, kind of R&D testing phase."

"What about your dead eye aim? Did you bring your 357?"

"Sharpshooter level 4, 25 yards, untimed, timed, and rapid fire. I thought it best to leave it in the car, for obvious reasons."

The obvious reasons were the 4 DEA agents, 2 FBI agents, and 6 local Sheriff's deputies surrounding the house in full combat gear.

"Yeah, they showed up about 15 minutes ago." Jim said, "I've got the perimeter wired for alarm. Soon as the alarm went off, I killed the lights and yelled out that I had a hostage. They wanted me to send her out unharmed, but I told them that some one was already on the way to get her. They just had to wait before the party could begin. Truth is, I didn't think I'd be able to wake her up."

"You got her Beretta? She said you took it."

"Yeah, here it is." He pulled it out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. "She was waving it around, I had to take it, she could have hurt herself. Why'd you give her a stupid .25 anyway?"

"I tried to get her to pick the .380, but after she shot both of them a few times, she wanted the Beretta. It is kind of cute after all."

edit on 3-5-2015 by pthena because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 05:07 PM

"How you fixed for gas? Soon as I got here with Debbie, she pulled out a check for Five Hundred Dollars. I deposited it for cash and she spent it all on stocking up all the cupboards and refrigerator with food. I do have fifty bucks though, here, I probably won't be needing it anyway."

"Thanks," I said, taking the money. "I really had no idea how I was going to get us back to Sequim. The car's on fumes, and I'm,..., was flat broke."

Jim started laughing, then he said, "the funny thing is, I was really planning on blowing you away while you were still arguing with the FBI agent, but then I thought, if I did that then I'd never find out why in the hell you drove all this way to pick Debbie up? I mean really, makes no sense to me."

"I guess I might as well tell you, since you didn't blow me away, and you probably won't tell anybody else. We worked together a couple of times in Port Townsend, about a year ago. Last May she called the nursing home and was chatting with Dan the section nurse. He said he was busy and handed the phone to me. I said hello, and Debbie asked who I was and I told her, Then she asked me to get off work and go over to Sandy Shore Lake and come get her."

Jim interrupted with, "I know where that is, pretty close to the Hood Canal Bridge, right?"

"Yeah, that's the one. Anyway, seems she'd been camping there for a week, hiding out from her husband."

"Yeah, yeah," he interrupted again, "Perry, right?, sorry, go on."

"So I got off work and drove over to the lake. Didn't see her anywhere but I recognized her car, the hood was up and the keys were in the ignition. I tried to start it, but there wasn't even a click from the starter solenoid. The battery wasn't dead, because the headlights worked okay. It was the starter.

"A pick-up pulled up and Debbie jumped out of the back, 'You beat me here. I had to get a ride with this guy to the Center Road Store to use the payphone there. He took up a collection and turned it into a beer run. Here, have a beer.'"

"Yeah," Jim said, "You want a beer? If you crawl into the kitchen over there, there's a six-pack of Miller Genuine Draft in the Refrigerator. Reach around and pull the plug out before opening the door, that way the light won't come on."

So I crawled into the kitchen, did as he said, and crawled back with the six-pack. We both took one, twisted together, and took a swig. "Funny thing about that Miller Genuine Draft," Jim said. "I always drink Michelob. Debbie seems to drink whatever other people are drinking. What's your favourite beer?"

"Miller Genuine Draft. But I hardly ever drink it. This is getting ahead of the story, but, Debbie said that beer bottles are a hazard because dumb drunks break them, even in lakes where children play. Cans can be picked up later by responsible people, and no children get hurt in the mean time. I had to agree with her because I've gotten severe foot wounds myself twice at lakes. So, limited to canned beer, I told her my favourite would have to be Miller High Life. Her favourite is Rainier, so we switch between Miller High Life and Rainier."

"So, wait a minute," Jim said, "She told me to buy that Draft last week, and it's been in the refrigerator for a week ..."

"Yep, she knew I was coming. That was for me. Go ahead, have another."

Jim looked at me for 5 good seconds, various expressions crossing his face, then he laughed, "Strange, my house, my beer, but yeah, thanks."

Before I could say "You're welcome," though, a voice called from outside, "You in the house, what is the situation? How is the hostage?"

"We're discussing her right now." I called back out, "This may take some time. Just relax."

"So you were at the lake," Jim asked, "What happened next?"

"I told her that we could go back to my apartment, get my toolbox, stop at a parts store, get a rebuilt starter, bring it back here and replace it. And she said, 'Just take me back to your apartment.' So that's what I did.

"In my apartment, she looked at me really different, like she was looking at someone special, it was like adoration. Then she grabbed me and hugged me, and then we were kissing, and somehow we were in the bedroom, clothes were coming off, and then we were in the bed.

"She said, 'You're my hero. You came for me. I'll take care of you if you take care of me.' That sounded real good to me at the moment, I'd never really felt like a hero before. A little while later, after more clothes were scattered, she said, 'You have to promise me something.' 'Sure', I said. 'You have to promise me that you'll always come for me.' 'Okay', I said. 'Then say it.' 'I promise.' 'You promise what?' 'To come for you.' 'Say it.' 'I promise that I will always come for you.' And that's why I'm here."

"Wait a minute." Jim exclaimed, "You can't be serious. That's it? You promised her? Man, you have one serious problem."

"Yes, I know this. It was a magical moment."

"Magical moment? Promise? Seriously, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. How many guys do you think made the same promise to her?"

"Look around," I said, "Do you see any of those guys here? Looks like just me."

"You are lost man, just totally lost. What are you going to do with her now? You going to marry her?"

My stomach dropped, like a heavy weight. Jim must have seen a stricken look on my face. "Look man, I could go in and shoot her for you. That would fix it."

"No, ... " and then I had the beginning of a plan. "No, that wouldn't work. What did you say? 'marry her?' yes, that just might work."

"What? How in the hell could that work?"

"I'm thinking of a plan. Do you know if Debbie still has those wedding bands?"

"Yeah," Jim said, rolling his eyes, "She's got them on a chain around her neck. She pulls them out and shows them to me every once in a while. It's crazy, like she thinks it's a magic weapon or ward or something, kind of weirds me out."

"Good. Good. That means this just might work. Thanks for the idea."

"What idea? I don't know of any idea. What ever crazy plan you have, I wish I could be around to see it."

"Any chance of you coming out with us?"

Jim sighed, "I been thinking about it. If the FBI is here that means the guy I killed yesterday was probably undercover DEA, because FBI takes jurisdiction whenever any federal agent gets killed. No, I won't be coming out with you."

"Okay, I guess it's time to go get Debbie."

Jim replied, "Yeah, she's in the bedroom right across from this corner. Open the curtains and turn on the lights. When you come out close the door behind you, that way I'll have the light shining out, without impairing my vision inside."

"Okay, I'll do that, go ahead and have the last beer."

I stood up and called out, "You outside, I'm going to get the hostage now. Don't be alarmed."

I opened the bedroom door, went in and closed it behind me. Debbie was asleep on the bed. I went around and found the curtain cord and pulled it, waited a bit to see if there was any reaction from outside. I crouched down and duckwalked over to the bed, felt around the floor and found one of Debbie's sneakers, and used it to reach up and flip the light switch on, waited a bit for any reaction from outside, then leaned over the bed.

"Debbie, I'm here to take you home."

Debbie opened her eyes, "Oh honey, I knew you'd come. Jim didn't believe it, but I knew."


posted on May, 3 2015 @ 05:10 PM

"Here're your shoes, put those on, but don't stand up yet, there's a bunch of cops outside with guns. Just do what I say and you'll be safe. Here, let me help you with that shoe."

Once her shoes were on, I put my left arm around her, holding her in a half-crouch position, "Okay, we're going to slip out the door quickly, and close it behind us."

Outside the bedroom, I looked around and found Debbie's bag, picked it up and slung it over my head and shoulder so that it wouldn't drop when my arms were up.

Still holding Debbie with my left arm, I opened the front door a crack and called out, "We're coming out. Just the two of us."

Jim, shaking his head, said, "You two were made for each other. Good luck with that."

"Thanks Jim, thanks a lot for that. Good luck to you too."

"I'm planning to start shooting at the left, that's where the DEA guy is who's been tailing me. Go to the right. You'll be in my line of sight for a while, so make it quick."

"Debbie," I said, "I'm going to have to let go of you for just a little while so we can put our hands up. We'll head for the car farthest to the right. Ready?"

We made it to the back of that car when the first shot was fired. If I had to guess, I'd say 120 shots were fired before it ended. I think it was the FBI agent in charge, though I'm not quite sure, who hustled us to my car and told us to just drive away and not look back.

Debbie went back to sleep, leaning rather heavily against my side. Luckily, we were in Oregon, where there is no self serve gas. It would have been awkward for me to get out to pump gas.

Somewhere in Washington, exhaustion finally got the better of me. I felt totally drained, not just physically, not just emotionally, but drained in manners that may not even have names attached to them. I pulled over at an overlook. It obviously overlooked something; a canyon, a river, something. I only noticed that the sky was beginning to lighten.

Debbie woke up just enough to scoot over so that I could stretch out and lean halfway against the seat and the car door. Then she climbed on top of me and put her lips to mine. We fell asleep in just that position.

The first thing Debbie said after we woke up was, "Did you hear what Jim said? He said we're made for each other."

"About that, your divorce from Perry is final, we could go to the courthouse and get a marriage license, what do you think? Would you like to get married?"

Her face lit up, "Yes! Yes!"

"There's just something you've got to do for me though."

"What? What do you want me to do?"

"Release me from the promise to always come for you."

"Okay. Once we're married it should be implied anyway. I release you from the promise to always come for me."

"Lets kiss on it to seal the deal." Which we did. "Now let's go to the courthouse."

Finally, 16 hours since that phone call, we walked into my apartment. Debbie was looking rather happy, hugging the marriage license, "let me see that for a second." I said.


"I just want to see something, I'll give it right back, I promise."

She handed it to me reluctantly. I looked at it and sure enough, I saw what I was looking for. I held it so we could both see. "Do you see right here, that's the issue date. And look right here, that's a statement saying that this license is good for six months, and then it expires. That means we have six months to decide whether we actually go through with it.

I handed it back to her. She took it and held it protectively against her chest.

"First off," I continued, "I want you to understand something very clearly. That apartment we had together upstairs, that was our apartment, we got it together, we moved into it together. This apartment here, this downstairs apartment, this is my apartment. I got it alone, and I moved into it alone. It's mine, not yours, not ours, mine. I will make the rules in my apartment. You are my guest. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, your apartment, your rules."

"Now here's the deal. I will make two rules. The keeping of those rules on your part will be the condition upon which I say 'I do' or not. Rule number one: When I am not here, like when I'm at work, you will not bring anyone into my apartment. Rule number two: Any beer cans that we bring into my apartment will not leave my apartment. No empties will go into the trash or recycling. We will stack the empties against this wall right here. Do you agree to these rules? Do you understand how they are the condition for marriage? And one other thing, if you break the rules, you will no longer be a guest in my apartment. I will drop you off any place you choose, as long as it isn't too far to drive to."


"Then," I asked, "Would you like to seal the deal in bed?"

She didn't respond verbally, just grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bedroom. We sealed the deal, hard and fast, soft and gentle, then hard and fast, and then we slept.

The seal was strong. The seal was powerful. The seal was magical. The seal could bind. Most importantly, the seal could loosen and set free.

I was dreading going back to work. It was quite plain to me what kind of reception the news of Debbie's return would receive. I steeled my nerves, put on a happy face and walked into the break-room where the time card punch clock was.

Terese was already there waiting to clock in. "Oh let me guess. You brought Debbie back. You don't even have to answer that, I can tell just by looking at you. Damn, you almost had me believing that you could break the kind of cycle that Turner and I have. Guess I was right about you after all."

"I guess it wouldn't mean anything then if I told you I had a plan?"

"Plan sman, I'll tell you what's what after first rounds." She punched in and walked hurriedly from the break room.

I clocked in and went over to the nurses station. "Mary, here's that twenty back that you lent me."

Mary had a mixed mournful-pitying expression, "I heard the good news already. Wait a sec, I lent you ten, not twenty."

"Well I don't have change, so take it. Whatever it was, it got me as far as a twenty would have, ten would have only gotten me half way there."

"Okay," Mary said, "If you put it that way. So how are you going to save yourself now?"

"Remember I said I'd think of something. I've got a plan now, and a marriage license. Don't tell anybody else, they wouldn't understand."

"What?" Mary looked shocked, "I don't understand. How will that ... ? Why the ... ? If I wasn't a good Catholic I would cuss."

"Look, if I follow the rules, and Debbie is Debbie, then I will be free. Trust me. It's a good plan."

"Hunh! Just go to work."

I passed Bettie in the hallway. She looked genuinely happy to see me. "You made it back. How did it go?"

"Not a scratch. I'd say it went pretty well."

The thing about Bettie is, she wasn't working here when Debbie was, so she didn't know her like my other co-workers did. But mostly, she's what I would call palpably innocent, so people tend not to discuss trauma and drama around her. Around her is a relaxing place to be.

With Bettie around, the dread was gone. I could make it here as long as it took, maybe even 6 months.

When I got home from work, there were already 6 cans against the wall. Excellent! And then I got a really wicked idea.

"Debbie," I asked, "Do you still have the wedding bands, or do we have to get new ones?"


posted on May, 3 2015 @ 05:12 PM

"I still have them, right here on this chain. You must have seen them when we were naked and all. Why?"

"Well, I was thinking, remember how we used to wear them all the time before your divorce was final? How about this time we put them in a safe place? You can put yours in a safe place, and I'll put mine in a safe place. What do you think?"

It took a bit of coaxing but I did eventually get my wedding band, then waited until Debbie went into the bathroom. I picked up one of the empty beer cans that was close to the center of the wall and pushed the band through the opening and into the can then placed the can back where it had been.

Valentines Day 1996 a woman died in my arms during a transfer from her chair to her bed. She just relaxed away with a sigh. "Good bye Elsie, you were everyone's favourite, we'll miss you."

At the nurses station, while reporting the passing to the charge nurse, I noticed the warm wet amber stain spreading down the left outside of my white Levis. I stopped by the break room to change into one of the facility issue thin white pairs of pants, the kind that allows passers-by to note the color of your underwear.

Later that night, when I got home and opened the door, Debbie called out from the kitchen, "Happy Valentines Day! How was work?"

"You remember Elsie? She died."

"I'm sorry, honey. She was my favorite."

After closing the front door I went into the bathroom, and there in the toilet floated an unflushed turd. I know how fastidious Debbie is about such things, the chance that it was her who left it was about nil.

While I was still looking at the turd, Debbie said "I fixed your favorite meal."

"Say Debbie?" I inquired, "Did you happen to have a guest here while I was at work?"

"No. Why would you think that?"

"Come look in the bathroom." We crossed in the hallway, she headed for the bathroom, I to the living room.

Where just that morning had stood a proud pyramid of empty beer cans there was an end table with a prominently placed Valentines card.

"What happened to the beer cans?"

By then, she had flushed the toilet and come into the living room. All in one breath she spouted, "I was at the bar and one of my friends came in, and we were talking, and we realized that we were both going through the same thing, and I invited her here so we could talk about it some more, and I didn't want her to see the beer cans, and I threw them in the dumpster."

"And just what is it," I began, "do you imagine that you are going through? You know what, don't bother answering that. You know what this means don't you? Where would you like me to take you?"

"No. I'm not leaving."

I stood without speaking.

"We have a good thing here and once we're married..."

Still, I stood without speaking.

"Fine. You don't have to take me anywhere, I have friends, but I'm keeping the rings."

Then I spoke, "You might find that a bit difficult because you threw mine away."


"Yeah, I was keeping it safe in one of the beer cans. It should have been the safest place in the apartment, after all, what burgler would try to make a living recycling beer cans?"

"Fine." She said. "Just make love to me tonight and I'll be gone in the morning."

I never got around to eating that meal or even looking at that card, and since I tend to keep my end of bargains, we proceeded on. Happy Valentines Day indeed!

In the morning, her side of the bed was empty. I got up and headed for the kitchen to start a pot of coffee.

Debbie was in the living room with two bags packed. "I'm keeping the rings. While you were sleeping I was shaking beer cans in the dumpster, took me 45 minutes but I found the ring. I'm keeping it."

"That's fine," I said, "It can't bind me."

"And I'm keeping the marriage license too."

"Also fine," I replied, "It can't bind me either."

"Will you still give me a ride? I'm thinking I'd like to try Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. There's a walk on ferry from Anacortes. Would you take me to Anacortes?"

"It has been a while since we had a good road trip. I'll make the coffee and you can make some sandwiches, maybe that meatloaf you fixed last night, I never did get around to eating it."

It was a chill February morning, overcast and breezy, when we set off, Debbie cuddled up on my side, just like old times. Every once in a while, she would point out some landmark, "Remember the time when ...?"

And I would respond, "Oh yes, I remember." and we'd chuckle together.

We drove the 30 miles to Port Townsend, took the ferry that docks close to Fort Casey, drove all the way up Whidbey Island on state route 20. Deception pass seemed a good place to stop for our picnic.

Deception Pass is one of the very best places to watch the tides change. It's a narrow strait that connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

After eating, Debbie and I, holding hands, strolled out on the walkway of the Deception Pass Bridge, and looked down at the water 180 ft below.

"Remember last time we were here?" Debbie asked.

"The tide was full, on a bright summer day. We watched the sail boats going under the bridge."

On this chilly February day, however, I was watching the tide go out, water flowing like a river from the constricted area of Skagit Bay, out into the wider Juan de Fuca, and on to the wide open Pacific Ocean.

"Beautiful. Just beautiful."

After I bought a ticket for Debbie for the walk on ferry, I asked, "You going to be okay?"

She laughed, "I looked at a map. There's a bar within walking distance from the ferry dock in Friday Harbor. I'll be fine. I know how to take care of myself."

It's a rather long walkway from the ticket stand to the boarding dock. Halfway to the ferry Debbie turned and waved. I waved back, then turned and headed for my car.

The last day of March, 1996, there was a knock on my door. When I opened the door, it was the apartment manager. "Bill, you've probably noticed that we've been renovating the apartments here. We just finished with the upstairs unit that you used to share with Debbie. We want you to move up there so we can renovate this unit. The rent will stay the same though, even though it's only a studio up there. Okay?"

"Sure." I replied. "Do you want me to start moving now or tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow will be fine."

April 1, 1996. After carrying my desk and chair and two boxes up the stairs, I set my radio on the window sill, plugged it in and turned it on. A song I'd never heard before started; Barenaked Ladies. "Welcome to the old apartment, this is where we used to live..."

I know that the lyrics are actually, "Broke into the old apartment". I know this but I promise you, I mean swear to you, that what I heard was "Welcome".

I just sat right down and laughed. I was back.

posted on May, 6 2015 @ 12:14 PM
a reply to: pthena

I read this earlier, but am just getting round to commenting. This story really intrigued me; I didn't expect the story to unfold the way it did. Your anti-hero is quite unsettling in a number of ways - his rigidity to a promise, his response to Jim, his plan to break the magic bond between himself and Debbie.

I really liked this pthena, it made me think - a lot.

posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:33 PM
a reply to: beansidhe

Thank you.

Your anti-hero is quite unsettling in a number of ways

It's kind of switching the story of going from nobody to hero to: from hero to freedom from heroics.

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