Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)
Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Location: North Carolina
|Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:53 pm Post subject: The Hero Experience - Chapter 23
If we hadn’t found the gun lying on the roof, three feet from the stairway door, I think we might have lost our nerve. But knowing that we didn’t have to face that little handheld engine of death made us a little braver.
When we emerged from the stairway, the roof of the Regency Hyatt House was bathed in moonlight and the soft glow of the city lights around it. The rooftop was comprised of two levels. The lower level we were standing on formed a fifty-foot-wide ledge around the upper level — like a small table positioned at the center of a larger one. It the fugitive was on the upper level, there must be stairway leading to it on one of the other three sides. Up there was the rotating restaurant that sprouted from the hotel’s roof like a giant mushroom. By now, the people in the restaurant would have been notified as to why the elevators weren’t running.
We circled the lower section of the roof rapidly, checking every nook and cranny, looking behind air conditioner units and large electrical junction boxes. We knew that at any moment the door to the stairway could open and spew forth a horde of policemen determined to end the Bowmen’s crime fighting career. We could hear sirens from the streets below. Somewhere atop the adjacent buildings were police officers observing the roof of the hotel, radioing the whereabouts of the fugitive to the officers who would be arriving soon.
It occurred to me that they might actually be waiting to see if we flushed the guy out before they made their own assault. Maybe they figured if we were dumb enough to stick our necks out and risk getting shot by the gunman, we deserved whatever we got. I didn’t mention this idea to the other guys. They didn’t mention it either if they were thinking the same thing. In fact, none of us said a word as we finished our quick search of the lower section.
We found a metal stairway that led to the upper level.
The upper level was a surrealistic landscape populated by several futuristic features that made the moonlit rooftop look like a scene from a science fiction movie. The entire upper level of the roof was covered by almost three hundred plexiglass skylights arranged in rows, each of which was three feet across and shaped like the domed cities that would someday be built on the moon.
Amidst this grid work of miniature domes was one large dome-shaped skylight, fifty feet across, six feet tall, and supported by a web-shaped metal framework.
But the star of the show was the raised structure of the Polaris restaurant, shaped just like a flying saucer perched on top of a forty-foot concrete pedestal. On top of it was yet another Plexiglas dome – bright blue and constantly lit from within. The Polaris restaurant towered over our heads, its underside illuminated by spotlights imbedded in the roof on which we stood, pointed upward at this visiting spacecraft.
The only place the fugitive could be hiding was behind the column supporting the Polaris, which was located near the edge of the roof’s upper level, close to the stairs we had climbed to get here. We approached it with wary caution.
Because I was not armed as well as the others, I let them go ahead of me as we circled the concrete column. In cross sections, the column was roughly circular. Two Plexiglas tubes covered the elevator tracks where they emerged from openings in the hotel’s roof and passed through openings in the bottom of the flying-saucer-shaped restaurant. We moved around the column with bows ready for the moment when we would find our fugitive. But as we circled the column, we were approaching the point where our search had begun, and we still hadn’t found him. It was beginning to look like we had missed him on the lower level.
I opened my mouth to say this — and my throat closed beneath a massive arm that suddenly clamped around my neck. I couldn’t make the slightest sound as I was lifted by the neck and carried backward while my friends walked slowly on, rounding the column until they disappeared. I clawed at the stony arm, my lungs convulsing from the lack of air. The killer had his left hand wrapped around his right wrist, pulling his arm tightly against my throat. I hung in the crook of his elbow, my feet pawing the air, my head tucked in firmly under his chin. My vision filled with dark, swirling spots, and a hissing roar filled my ears.
I was dying and I knew it — but there wasn’t a damn thing I could do! I hung there like a rag doll in the hands of a cruel child. Desperately, I fumbled for the billy club at my side. My throat was in agony from the vice-like grip. I kicked back at his knees with dwindling strength.
The club finally came free in my numbed fingers, and I swung it upward toward his face. On the third swing, I struck his forehead, and he bellowed with rage. His arm clamped so hard that I thought my windpipe would be crushed. I felt my eyes literally bulge. He spun us both around quickly, slinging my feet out away from him so I couldn't kick his knees again. I tried to hammer at his hand where he gripped his choking arm by the wrist, but my own arms felt leaden and weak. I flopped numbly against his hand. Then the club slipped from my deadened fingers. I began to black out.
As we spun around a second time, I saw Doug rushing toward us. When we turned away from him, I heard Doug’s club connect solidly with the back of the man’s head. The python arm loosened its grip, and I slipped through, falling to the concrete like a dirty shirt tossed to the floor. When I rolled onto my side, I saw the man staggering back away from the column. He held the back of his head in both hands, his face pinched with pain, his breath hissing through clenched teeth.
Stan’s slugger plowed into the man’s midriff, and Carl’s slugger pounded into his chest. The lanky giant doubled forward, still stumbling backward as Doug’s arrow slammed onto the top of the man’s head with deadly precision, like a hammer driving home a nail. He lurched drunkenly, dragging his feet with each step, straightening up slowly as he did.
I managed to struggle to my feet with grim determination, picking up my club as I rose. Carl stood nearby, sighting another slugger. It landed precisely on the end of the killer’s nose. His head snapped back, and blood gushed down over his bushy black mustache and dripped off his chin.
Injured, bleeding, and dazed, the man stood there swaying like a tall tree in a stiff wind. I stumbled toward him, wheezing and panting, gripping my club in both hands.
A dozen policemen suddenly appeared from both sides of the Polaris column, fanning out to surround us, weapons drawn and aimed at the five of us. Flashlight beams danced over the area like the spotlights at a Hollywood premiere. Several of the men shouted out commands, but my attention was focused on the tall, swaying figure in front of me. I stepped up to the gunman and reared back with my billy club like Babe Ruth at bat.
To my right, I heard a loud voice shouting, “Drop it! Drop that club! Right now!”
I looked over at the policeman who had spoken. He was standing with his feet spread wide and his weapon gripped in both hands — just like the rest of the officers surrounding me.
I turned back to the gunman, took a deep breath, and hammered the tall man’s left temple with every ounce of strength I had left. His head snapped sideways and he dropped in a boneless wad, the way a coat falls when it slips from a hanger.
I gazed down at the crumpled form of the tall killer, wondering if he was unconscious or dead — but not really caring which. My arms hung at my side, and the billy club dangled loosely in my right hand. I toss it casually towards the officer who had ordered me to drop it. It clattered onto the concrete rooftop at his feet while I slowly raised my arms above my shoulders and turned to look at him with a face completely devoid of expression.
The officer turned to Stan, who was holding a slugger in his bow. Sluggers littered the rooftop near the gunman.
“It’s all over, son,” the officer said with restrained authority. “Drop it. Now.”
Stan let the arrow tumble from his bow and rattle onto the rooftop. The policemen around us started holstering their weapons.
“‘Okay. Now, stand easy, boys. We don’t want to hurt anybody.” Several police officers edged forward, and one of them knelt beside the twisted body of the fugitive. He put his fingertips against the side of the tall man's neck.
“He’s alive,” the officer pronounced. “His skull is probably fractured, but he’s breathing.”
I tried to say something, but as soon as I opened my mouth, I discovered a problem. “The clu — ” I coughed as my bruised throat produced a rattling parody of a voice. I swallowed a few times and tried again. “The clubs are padded,” I wheezed with barely audible volume.
The officer picked up my club and examined the rubber hose that covered the wooden shaft beneath it. He looked at me and said, “You guys made these yourselves?”
I just nodded.
“Hmmm. Pretty good.” He smiled faintly in the dim light — and then he actually handed it to me. I was surprised, and I stared down at the billy club for a moment, then I dropped it into the hammer loop on my belt. “It seems to work pretty well,” he said, looking at me and then at the unconscious man nearby.
“Yeah, well,” I croaked in a low voice, “I guess I was really mad.”
He nodded. “Uh-huh. I could tell.” I realized that he was a sergeant, probably the ranking officer in the group. He turned his flashlight onto my face, and I squeezed my eyes closed at the sudden unexpected brightness. After a few seconds, he said, “What happened to your face?”
It took me a second to realize he was talking about all the bloody little holes caused by the fragments of my exploded bow. “Oh, that,“ I said, still speaking in ragged whisper. “When he shot at me, he hit my bow. The wood and fiberglass shattered, and lots of little pieces stuck into my face, arms, and chest.”
The sergeant just stared at me for a long moment. He was beginning to understand a little of what we'd all gone through to get the fugitive.
Several of the officers had crowded around the fallen murderer, gazing down at the man who had killed the old clerk at the store and shot two policemen — one at the convenience store and one in the stairwell.
No one had noticed the stain on the side of my dark blue shirt. The bullet groove was bleeding again, and it was hurting more than before. I started feeling dizzy. It was a little like when I’d gotten drunk, only without the tendency to burp. Every time I swallowed, my throat hurt so badly my eyes watered. The squawk of a dozen police radios filled the air. Policemen stood all around us. The light was surreal from two dozen flashlight beams dancing over the motionless form of the killer as he lay on the rooftop.
A sour-faced plainclothes detective walked up quickly, pushed several policemen roughly aside, and looked down at the unconscious man. After a five-second pause, he said, “Shot?”
“Nope,” said the sergeant next to me. “Just unconscious. The Bowmen cold-cocked him with their rubber arrows and their padded billy clubs,” I saw that he was smiling. He gave me a quick wink.
The detective’s reaction was noticeably less friendly than the sergeant's. He gave me a look that would sour milk. He said two words in a growled whisper, making it sound like he was coughing up a hairball.
“The Bowmen.” He spoke again in a low and angry voice. “You have no idea how much trouble you clowns have caused. When we get you downstairs, we’re going to peel those silly masks off in front of the news cameras and let your parents see what their little boys have been up to all summer.”
The sergeant obviously didn’t share the hostile feelings toward us his superior did. He addressed the detective in an uncertain voice.
“What . . . ummm . . . exactly should we do with them, lieutenant?”
A murmur rose from the surrounding officers, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Stan was standing near the back of the crowd. He bent his head, covered his mouth, and spoke in a ridiculously deep voice.
“Aw hell . . . let’s just let ‘em go, sir!”
A burst of laughter erupted from the group. The detective, however, never cracked a smile. He glared at the surrounding policemen, and they quieted down with a visible effort. Then the detective looked at me and said, “Did you witness the shooting at the Jiffy-Go Mart?”
My own smile faded at the memory of that gruesome event. “Yes. We did.”
“Good,” said the detective, his expression unreadable. “Then we’ll have the benefit of your testimony at the trial, won’t we? That will be a nice change.”
I knew what this meant for me, my friends, and all our parents. Hoping against hope, I spoke meekly. “Uh . . . couldn’t you convict him without our testimony?”
“Yeah, maybe,” the detective said. “But you guys have a long list of charges against you, not to mention several civil suits.” He turned to the nearest patrolman and said, “Read ‘em their rights.” And then he just walked away.
The sergeant gave me a look of obvious sympathy, and then he said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” He headed over toward the group surrounding the gunman.
I was gazing down at my feet, thinking dark thoughts when the officer who had been ordered to read us our rights stepped up to me and stood there waiting for me to look up. When I did, he smiled and said, “Hi, Captain.”
It was Officer Wilkerson, the guy I had met at the automobile accident. I smiled back. “Hello, officer. How’s the crime fighting business these days?”
“Well, it has its ups and downs.”
“Brother, ain’t that the truth." Then I said, "Hey, how is Officer Swan doing? I hated leaving him, but we heard the ambulance coming and we didn't want that guy to get away."
Wilkerson's smile grew wider as he said, "He's doing okay. He's in surgery now. The medical people said he would have bled to death without the first aid you and that kid provided. He'll be glad to hear we got the guy who shot him. I mean . . . the Bowmen got the guy."
Another officer walked up holding a pair of handcuffs. His expression was more like the sour sergeant’s than Wilkerson’s, so I wasn’t surprised when he barked out seven words.
“Have you read them their rights yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“What are you waiting for?” he said impatiently.
Wilkerson’s smile faded in the moonlight. “I’ll let you have that honor.”
“Thanks. It’ll be a pleasure.” He was smiling now, but it wasn’t a smile that made me feel better. Obviously there were two schools of thought on how the Bowmen should be treated. This guy was looking forward to locking us away so we couldn't make more trouble for busy police officers like him.
Wilkerson leaned close to me and whispered, “You guys outran Officer Mead on two separate occasions. He took it personally.”
Wilkerson stepped back and let Officer Mead rattle off our rights in a voice that made it plain he didn’t think we were much better than the half-conscious gunman being helped to his feet nearby. Six officers surrounded the tall man, two of them with firm grips on his arms as one officer snapped the cuffs on him before they led him toward the stairs.
As soon as Mead finished reading us our rights, I leaned close to him so he could hear my ruined voice and said, “I guess I'd better go to the hospital.”
I lifted my shirt to show him the bloody bullet wound. Mead aimed his flashlight at my side, and the sight made me feel queasy. Lots of dried blood around a shallow, six-inch groove of raw flesh. Officer Mead’s hostile expression changed for a moment, but he didn’t say anything. Several of the nearby policemen moved in for a closer look. I saw them shaking their heads. They all had their own flashlights, and the wound looked worse as more light illuminated it.
Wilkerson stood behind Mead, and he said, “Hey, do we really have to put cuffs on these guys? You know . . . after what they did today?”
Mead’s sour look was coming back fast. “What? Any reason why we shouldn’t?”
Wilkerson lowered his voice, but he sounded angry. “Hell, Mead, look at ‘em. They’re just a bunch of teenagers. Everybody does crazy things at that age. Sure, they’re in trouble for the stunts they've pulled, but tonight they managed to stick to that guy after they saw him shoot Officer Swan and the old man at the store. And they stayed right on his ass when he ran into the hotel and tried to get away. Dammit, that maniac even shot this boy here!
"I know all that -- " Mead started protesting, but Wilkerson stepped closer and leaned towards the man as he continued speaking with anger and conviction.
“And yet they didn’t give up. They chased him up here and laid the bastard out cold before any of us caught up with them!" Wilkerson ran out of breath and had to stop for a moment. Then he ask the question I hoped the policemen around me were thinking as well. "Shouldn’t that count for something?”
The officers nearby were listening intently. I couldn’t tell if they agreed with Wilkerson or not, but none of them offered an argument.
Mead, however, didn't seem to be moved by Wilkerson's impassioned statement. He was looking at his fellow officer as if Wilkerson had just declared himself to be a card-carrying communist.
“What do you want to do? Just let 'em go?”
“No, course not,” said Wilkerson firmly. He looked over at me with a sad expression as he finished. “We all know they have to go downtown with us. But I just want to let them . . . finish what they started.”
Mead let out a quick burst of bitter laughter. “Oh, I get it. You want them to play superheroes right to the very end, eh? The masks, the bows — the whole silly routine?“
Wilkerson shrugged and tried to smile. It looked forced. “What can it hurt? I mean, look at ‘em — they’re practically out of arrows. I'm sure they won't try to shoot it out with us.”
The other officers had gathered around, listening to the discussion. Too many flashlights were in my eyes, making it impossible to see the expressions on the many faces around me. These were the men we had out-run when they tried to stop our reckless and dangerous driving. These were the men who legally enforced the law every day — not just on rare occasions when they could show up briefly, put on a performance, and then call the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to make exaggerated claims about what they'd done.
But in spite of Wilkerson's passionate plea for mercy, Mead wasn’t convinced. He spoke to Wilkerson in a low, angry voice. “If we don't show everybody that we finally caught these little bastards it will make us look like fools in front of the press and the public!”
Wilkerson shook his head slowly as he gazed at Mead with a puzzled expression. “Let me get this straight. You want to haul these kids out of here past all those reporters — a group of teenaged boys wearing handcuffs and covered in blood — the teenagers who risked their lives to catch a murderer? Dammit Mead, come on! Do you really think that’s going to make the police department look good?”
The sergeant walked up during Wilkerson’s last remark and said, “He’s right, Mead. This will be a public relations nightmare if we treat these kids the same way we’re treating the murderer — especially when the whole story of what they did tonight hits the papers tomorrow morning.”
Mead started to answer, then he closed his mouth. Apparently he couldn’t argue with that last remark. He looked at the four of us one by one, his jaw flexing visibly. Finally, he said, “All right. I’ll let ‘em walk out in their dumbass costumes.” He turned to look at us and said, “But you better enjoy it, boys, ‘cause you’re in a hell of a lot of trouble. Come on.”
He turned and headed for the stairs that led down to the lower level. We followed silently, all four of us feeling grateful that we wouldn’t be wearing handcuffs on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. I was in the rear, hobbling along with my hand clutched to my side, trying not to leak too badly. I heard footsteps behind me and turned just as Wilkerson caught up. He shook my hand briefly.
“Good luck, fellas. I mean it.” Then he keyed the mike of his radio and said, “Wilkerson to all units: tell the reporters in the lobby that the Bowmen are on the way down with an official police escort.“ Grinning broadly, he turned and walked back to join the others.
Mead led us down the stairs and then across the lower level of the hotel’s roof top until we reached the stairway that brought us to the hotel's twenty-second floor. Hundreds of hotel guests were standing around in the open doors of their rooms and at the guard rails on the balconies of all twenty-two floors. The hotel had turned into the Roman Coliseum. The crowd was watching all the commotion, now that the danger had passed. They looked at us with fear and confusion, wondering just what role we had played in turning this serene hotel lobby into a war zone.
It was like a black version of our triumphant Lenox Square walk-through. My head throbbed where I had been hit, and my side contained a growing fire that couldn’t be ignored. Several times I had to peel my shirt away from my side when the dried blood started making it stick to the wound. My throat felt like I’d swallowed a pinecone. Stan walked with a noticeable limp. Doug had a three-inch spot of dried blood on the side of his face, staining the left side of his mask.
We entered the elevator waiting area and entered an elevator that maintenance had sent up to convey us down to the lobby. Another officer caught up with us and said, “The sergeant said to help you get the boys downstairs.”
Mead looked at the officer as if the man had just insulted his mother. “I don’t need any help, Jackson. Half the police force is downstairs waiting for us. What could go wrong?”
The officer shrugged and said, “Suit yourself.” He turned and walked away, shaking his head slowly. I got the impression that Mead wasn’t exactly the winner of the Miss Congeniality award at the Atlanta Police Department.
The crowds of people on the balconies all around the big atrium were growing larger. They were milling around, talking to each other, and pointing up at us. One of the reasons the elevators were being controlled by hotel maintenance was to prevent curious people from clogging the lobby while the police tried to restore order. We were about to get an express ride to the lobby floor.
Mead waved us ahead of him. We walked into the elevator like four French aristocrats on their way to the guillotine. Mead stepped in, turned, and pressed the button for the lobby. The doors closed, and the elevator started down.
Doug and I were on Mead’s left. Carl was on his right. Stan was leaning against the handrail at the back of elevator. I saw Stan looking down at the back of Mead’s equipment belt with a strange look on his face. Then he looked up at me and pointed at the leather case that held Mead’s handcuffs. Still looking at me, he patted the handrail behind him a few times. He pointed quickly at me, put his hand over his mouth, and bulged his cheeks like a man throwing up.
I knew immediately what he meant. It was a crazy plan. If it had been Officer Wilkerson taking us down to the lobby instead of Mead, we’d never have tried it.
I suddenly sagged against Mead while making a gagging sound. I mumbled, “Oh god . . . I’m gonna puke!”
Mead grabbed my shoulders and pushed me away, holding me at arms' length — a natural reflex for anyone about to get a face full of vomit. I heard Stan unsnap the case on Mead’s belt and yank out the handcuffs. Carl saw what was happening and he wrapped both arms around Mead's right arm, gripping it with all his strength. As he did so, Stan snapped the handcuffs onto the handrail.
I stumbled backward into the left wall of the elevator and watched Doug wrapped Mead's left wrist in both hands and grunt with exertion as he twisted it behind the policeman. Stan grabbed Mead's forearm and pulled with Doug until he was able to slap the free end of the cuffs onto Mead’s left wrist.
Elapsed time since the elevator started moving: sixteen seconds.
Carl lunged across the elevator and stabbed the button for the second floor. We all held our breath until we felt the elevator slow and stop just above the crowded lobby.
The instant Carl released his hold on Officer Mead, he exploded with a verbal tirade that used all the bad words we knew, and a few that he may have made up on the spot. He concluded with, “Now you’ve done it! The trouble you little jackasses were in before is nothing compared to the hell you’re in now!”
He tried to push his cuffed left hand into his left pants pocket, obviously attempting to get the key to the handcuffs. When that didn’t work, he frantically tried to reach across with his right hand. That didn’t work either.
The elevator doors opened, and we all bolted through. The waiting area on the second floor was mercifully empty because the elevators were still being controlled by maintenance, preventing the call buttons from working on any of the floors. Carl yanked out his billy club and placed it in the elevator door’s track, blocking the doors from closing all the way, thereby holding the elevator on the second floor.
I was the last one out, feeling weak and dizzy, my head aching with every beat of my heart. The layer of dried blood over my wound had torn loose and I was bleeding again. Little black dots swam in front of my eyes like tadpoles in a country creek. I turned at the door and looked back at Mead as he desperately tried to get the keys from his pocket. The door began to close, but Carl's billy club stopped it, and it opened again. I smiled at Mead and spoke in a gravelly voice that was almost too soft to hear.
“Cheer up, officer. You’ll be famous.”
Mead’s eye’s literally bulged as he glared at me, then he took a deep breath and shouted, “The Bowmen are on the second floor! They’re getting away! They’re on the second floor!”
The other guys were well ahead of me, sprinting for the stairway door on the same corner of the atrium we had used to get up to the roof. It was on the opposite side of the lobby as the hotel’s main entrance and the crowed elevator waiting area — which was just where we wanted to be. But we would need to cross the backside of the lobby to reach the hallway leading to the side door we had used to enter the hotel.
Hundreds of guests on all twenty-two floors were enjoying the view of the circus performance going on in the lobby below, and they stood at the guardrails gazing down at the lobby floor. I saw the guys ahead of me putting on a show for the spectators on the second floor as they passed them, smiling and waving as if everything was hunky-dory. But I was spoiling the act as I brought up the rear — bleeding and hobbling along, making no attempt to smile, trying to ignore the shocked faces of the people as I past when they saw what a bloody mess I'd become.
I was falling behind the other three, and Stan (still limping visibly) looked back and saw that I was having trouble. He stopped and waited for me to catch up, then he wrapped his right arm around me and put my left arm over his shoulder, almost picking me up as we stumbled along the second floor level past the bewildered hotel guests. He and I were both grunting like an old man trying to get up from a deep, comfortable chair.
I heard him say to me, “Brad, you’re bleeding a lot worse. Your side is soaked with blood.”
We made it to the fire exit and started down the stairs that would take us to the back corner of the lobby. Carl was holding the door for us when we got to the bottom. Doug joined Stan and me, supporting me on my right as we hurried across the backside of the lobby, trying to ignore a few bewildered hotel guests in the area who stared at us as we went past.
A sizable crowd had gathered around the elevator waiting area off to our right, and many of the people were obviously reporters hoping to get shots of the Bowmen as they were escorted away by the police. A lot of shouting was going on, obviously caused by the sudden realization that the Bowmen had escaped from custody.
Lucky for us, they were all looking in the wrong direction. In a classic case of irony, good ole' Officer Mead was providing the very distraction we needed to get away. The lighting at the rear of the atrium floor was subdued. We scurried along the windowed wall at the back of the lobby and ducked into the hallway that led to the side entrance, the same one from which we'd entered.
My consciousness was beginning to fade in and out as we hobbled down the hallway past the fancy restaurant and out onto the street. The headlights of the passing cars made psychedelic patterns of streaming lights, and the sounds of the city street washed over me like warm waves. I tried to move my legs in time with our forward motion, but I got the distinct feeling that I was doing more harm than good.
Doug and Stan put me into the front seat of the Jeep. I heard car doors slamming and the engine starting, and I felt the sudden sensation of forward motion. Vaguely, I realized that we were racing for the freeway. The police band radio on the dash was babbling a confused montage of conversations as everyone tried to find out what was going on at once. But we were several blocks away before any order could be restored.
I was slumped down in the front seat, gazing out the windshield, watching the world race past, listening to the frantic chatter on the radio. It was like some bizarre dream, unreal and impossible, an adolescent fantasy that had come true.
I was probably wearing a faint smile. It was hard to tell.
But I did know this. We were the Bowmen, racing along on a four-wheeled bolt of lighting, flashing away on in dark blue streak.
We were the Bowmen. The amateur crime fighters had saved the day. The ugly ducklings had turned into swans. The dream had turned into reality. We had been wounded, but not defeated. We had been cornered, but not captured.
We were the Bowmen — and we were proud of it.
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?