I smoothly hooked my bag with my arm and turned to the cabinet by the front door. My keys would be there. They would always be there because that is their designated place to be. They would be there because I am methodical and precise. They would be there because I am organized and accurate. My keys would always be there because I am a Taurus… and indeed they were right there.

I took the keys and passed through the front door without locking it behind me; my paternal responsibility to protect my family had vanished. I contemplated my neighborhood, pondering the best place to die. Parks came to my mind; there were several in the vicinity. They would all certainly be closed, as the hour approached midnight. The winner of the honor of hosting my final demise was Lone Mountain Park. It was the farthest away, and boasted large empty parking lots and near total darkness.

There I drove and backed my truck into my usual parking spot. I had been habitually parking there in that same spot for months after dropping my son off at school. I parked there to wait out my ex-wife who would still be in the house getting ready for work. I waited there for 30 minutes each morning before returning home. That would ensure that she would be gone from the house. I loathed the prospect of being alone in the house with her for any reason.

In retrospect I am amused by the fact that I “combat parked” my truck; that is, backed into the parking spot, which is a typical maneuver for those who wish to get away quickly when it comes time to go. My time to go would leave my truck all by itself. I surrendered to the notion that my body was responding to muscle memory and reflex. That was responsible for my final combat park.

I covered my windshield with its sunshield. Without a thought or pause I recovered the pills from my pocket. I opened my bag and extracted the two cans of liquid ass kick. Down the hatch! I swallowed the entire bottle of Ambien in three gulps, coaxing them down each time with the rage of the most powerful beer on the market.

I laid the cans on the floor of the truck on the passenger’s side carefully so they would not fall over and dribble their remnants onto the truck’s carpet. My truck had always been good to me, I would leave it for the last time respectfully, its just what I do.

“Until Valhalla George!” “Until Valhalla, my brothers!” Those had been our parting words as we set off on each mission for my last ten years in the Unit.

How could my peers who died in battle accept my self-inflicted passage to the homeland? It would not matter how I got there; it only mattered what I did to get there… but as with concern for my own children, people’s judgment of me was something I was no longer putting up with.