Coffey on the Mile 1 страница

I sat in the Georgia Pines sunroom, my father's fountain pen in my hand, and time was lost to me as I recalled the night Harry and Brutal and I took John Coffey off the Mile and to Melinda Moores, in an effort to save her life. I wrote about the drugging of William Wharton, who fancied himself the second coming of Billy the Kid; I wrote of how we stuck Percy in the straitjacket and jugged him in the restraint room at the end of the Green Mile; I wrote about our strange night journey—both terrifying and Coffey on the Mile 1 страница exhilarating—and the miracle that befell at the end of it. We saw John Coffey drag a woman back, not just from the edge of her grave, but from what seemed to us to be the very bottom of it.

I wrote and was very faintly aware of the Georgia Pines version of life going on around me. Old folks went down to supper, then trooped off to the Resource Center (yes, you are permitted a chuckle) for their evening dose of network sitcoms. I seem to remember my friend Elaine bringing me a sandwich, and thanking her, and eating it Coffey on the Mile 1 страница, but I couldn't tell you what time of the evening she brought it, or what was in it. Most of me was back in 1932, when our sandwiches were usually bought off old Toot-Toot's rolling gospel snack-wagon, cold pork a nickel, corned beef a dime.

I remember the place quieting down as the relics who live here made ready for another night of thin and troubled sleep; I heard Mickey—maybe not the best orderly in the place, but certainly the kindest—singing "Red River Valley" in his good tenor as he went around Coffey on the Mile 1 страница dispensing the evening meds: "From this valley they say you are going... We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile... " The song made me think of Melinda again, and what she had said to John after the miracle had happened. I dreamed of you. I dreamed you were wandering in the dark, and so was I. We found each other.

Georgia Pines grew quiet, midnight came and passed, and still I wrote. I got to Harry reminding us that, even though we had gotten John back to the prison without being discovered, we still had Percy waiting for us. 'The Coffey on the Mile 1 страница evening ain't over as long as we got him to contend with' is more or less what Harry said.

That's where my long day of driving my father's pen at last caught up with me. I put it down—just for a few seconds, I thought, so I could flex some life back into the fingers—and then I put my forehead down on my arm and closed my eyes to rest them. When I opened them again and raised my head, morning sun glared in at me through the windows. I looked at my Coffey on the Mile 1 страница watch and saw it was past eight. I had slept, head on arms like an old drunk, for what must have been six hours. I got up, wincing, trying to stretch some life into my back. I thought about going down to the kitchen, getting some toast, and going for my morning walk, then looked down at the sheafs of scribbled pages scattered across the desk. All at once I decided to put off the walk for awhile. I had a chore, yes, but it could keep, and I didn't feel like playing hide-and-seek with Coffey on the Mile 1 страница Brad Dolan that morning.

Instead of walking, I'd finish my story. Sometimes it's better to push on through, no matter how much your mind and body may protest. Sometimes it's the only way to get through. And what I remember most about that morning is how desperately I wanted to get free of John Coffey's persistent ghost.

'Okay,' I said. 'One more mile. But first... '

I walked down to the toilet at the end of the second floor hall. As I stood inside there, urinating, I happened to glance up at the smoke detector Coffey on the Mile 1 страница on the ceiling. That made me think of Elaine, and how she had distracted Dolan so I could go for my walk and do my little chore the day before. I finished peeing with a grin on my face.

I walked back to the sunroom, feeling better (and a lot comfier in my nether regions). Someone—Elaine, I have no doubt—had set down a pot of tea beside my pages. I drank greedily, first one cup, then another, before I even sat down. Then I resumed my place, uncapped the fountain pen, and once more began to write.

I was just Coffey on the Mile 1 страница slipping fully into my story when a shadow fell on me. I looked up and felt a sinking in my stomach. It was Dolan standing between me and the windows. He was grinning.

'Missed you going on your morning walk, Paulie, he said, 'so I thought I'd come and see what you were up to. Make sure you weren't, you know, sick.'

'You're all heart and a mile wide,' I said. My voice sounded all right—so far, anyway—but my heart was pounding hard. I was afraid of him, and I don't think Coffey on the Mile 1 страница that realization was entirely new. He reminded me of Percy Wetmore, and I'd never been afraid of him... but when I knew Percy, I had been young.

Brad's smile widened, but became no less pleasant.

'Folks tellin me you been in here all night, Paulie, just writing your little report. Now, that's just no good. Old farts like you need their beauty rest.'

'Percy—' I began, then saw a frown crease his grin and realized my mistake. I took a deep breath and began again. 'Brad, what have you got against me?'

He looked puzzled for a Coffey on the Mile 1 страница moment, maybe a bit unsettled. Then the grin returned. 'Old-timer,' he said, 'could be I just don't like your face. What you writin, anyway? Last will n testicles?'

He came forward, craning. I slapped my hand over the page I'd been working on. The rest of them I began to rake together with my free hand, crumpling some in my hurry to get them under my arm and under cover.

'Now,' he said, as if speaking to a baby, 'that ain't going to work, you old sweetheart. If Brad wants to look, Brad is going Coffey on the Mile 1 страница to look. And you can take that to the everfucking bank.'



His hand, young and hideously strong, closed over my wrist, and squeezed. Pain sank into my hand like teeth, and I groaned.

'Let go,' I managed.

'When you let me see,' he replied, and he was no longer smiling. His face was cheerful, though; the kind of good cheer you only see on the faces of folks who enjoy being mean. 'Let me see, Paulie. I want to know what you're writing.' My hand began to move away from the top page. From our trip Coffey on the Mile 1 страница with John back through the tunnel under the road. 'I want to see if it has anything to do with where you—'

'Let that man alone.'

The voice was like a harsh whipcrack on a dry, hot day... and the way Brad Dolan jumped, you would have thought his ass had been the target. He let go of my hand, which thumped back down on my paperwork, and we both looked toward the door.

Elaine Connelly was standing there, looking fresh and stronger than she had in days. She wore jeans that showed off her slim hips and long legs; there Coffey on the Mile 1 страница was a blue ribbon in her hair. She had a tray in her arthritic hands—juice, a scrambled egg, toast, more tea. And her eyes were blazing.

'What do you think you're doing?' Brad asked. 'He can't eat up here.'

'He can, and he's going to,' she said in that same dry tone of command. I had never heard it before, but I welcomed it now. I looked for fear in her eyes and saw not a speck—only rage. 'And what you're going to do is get out of here before you go beyond Coffey on the Mile 1 страница the cockroach level of nuisance to that of slightly larger vermin—Rattus Americanus, let us say!'

He took a step toward her, looking both unsure of himself and absolutely furious. I thought it a dangerous combination, but Elaine didn't flinch as he approached. 'I bet I know who set off that goddam smoke alarm,' Dolan said. 'Might could have been a certain old bitch with claws for hands. Now get out of here. Me and Paulie haven't finished our little talk, yet!'

'His name is Mr. Edgecombe,' she said, 'and if I ever hear Coffey on the Mile 1 страница you call him Paulie again, I think I can promise you that your days of employment here at Georgia Pines will end, Mr. Dolan.'

'Just who do you think you are?' he asked her. He was hulking over her, now, trying to laugh and not quite making it.

'I think,' she said calmly, 'that I am the grandmother of the man who is currently Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives. A man who loves his relatives, Mr. Dolan. Especially his older relatives.'

The effortful smile dropped off his face the way that writing comes off a blackboard swiped Coffey on the Mile 1 страница with a wet sponge. I saw uncertainty, the possibility that he was being bluffed, the fear that he was not, and a certain dawning logical assumption: it would be easy enough to check, she must know that, ergo she was telling the truth.

Suddenly I began to laugh, and although the sound was rusty, it was right. I was remembering how many times Percy Wetmore had threatened us with his connections, back in the bad old days. Now, for the first time in my long, long life, such a threat was being made again... but this time it was being Coffey on the Mile 1 страница made on my behalf.

Brad Dolan looked at me, glaring, then looked back at her.

'I mean it,' Elaine said. 'At first I thought I'd just let you be—I'm old, and that seemed easiest. But when my friends are threatened and abused, I do not just let be. Now get out of here. And without one more word.'

His lips moved like those of a fish—oh, how badly he wanted to say that one more word (perhaps the one that rhymes with witch). He didn't, though. He gave me a final look, and Coffey on the Mile 1 страница then strode past her and out into the hall.

I let out my breath in a long, ragged sigh as Elaine set the tray down in front of me and then set herself down across from me. 'Is your grandson really Speaker of the House?' I asked.

'He really is.'

'Then what are you doing here?'

'Speaker of the statehouse makes him powerful enough to deal with a roach like Brad Dolan, but it doesn't make him rich,' she said, laughing. 'Besides, I like it here. I like the company.'

'I will take that as a compliment,' I Coffey on the Mile 1 страница said, and I did.

'Paul, are you all right? You look so tired.' She reached across the table and brushed my hair away from my forehead and eyebrows. Her fingers were twisted, but her touch was cool and wonderful. I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, I had made a decision.

'I'm all right,' I said. 'And almost finished. Elaine, would you read something?' I offered her the pages I had clumsily swept together. They were probably no longer in the right order—Dolan really had scared me badly—but they were numbered and Coffey on the Mile 1 страница she could quickly put them right.

She looked at me consideringly, not taking what I was offering. Yet, anyway. 'Are you done?'

'It'll take you until afternoon to read what's there,' I said. 'If you can make it out at all, that is.'

Now she did take the pages, and looked down at them. 'You write with a very fine hand, even when that hand is obviously tired,' she said. 'I'll have no trouble with this.'

'By the time you finish reading, I will have finished writing,' I said. 'You can read the rest in Coffey on the Mile 1 страница a half an hour or so. And then... if you're still willing... I'd like to show you something.'

'Is it to do with where you go most mornings and afternoons?'

I nodded.

She sat thinking about it for what seemed a long time, then nodded herself and got up with the pages in her hand. 'I'll go out back,' she said. 'The sun is very warm this morning.'

'And the dragon's been vanquished,' I said. 'This time by the lady fair.'

She smiled, bent, and kissed me over the eyebrow in the sensitive place that always Coffey on the Mile 1 страница makes me shiver. 'We'll hope so,' she said, 'but in my experience, dragons like Brad Dolan are hard to get rid of.' She hesitated. 'Good luck, Paul. I hope you can vanquish whatever it is that has been festering in you.'

'I hope so, too,' I said, and thought of John Coffey. I couldn't help it, John had said. I tried, but it was too late.

I ate the eggs she'd brought, drank the juice, and pushed the toast aside for later. Then I picked up my pen and began to write again, for what I Coffey on the Mile 1 страница hoped would be the last time.

One last mile.

A green one.

When we brought John back to E Block that night, the gurney was a necessity instead of a luxury. I very much doubt if he could have made it the length of the tunnel on his own; it takes more energy to walk at a crouch than it does upright, and it was a damned low ceiling for the likes of John Coffey. I didn't like to think of him collapsing down there. How would we explain that, on top of trying to explain why Coffey on the Mile 1 страница we had dressed Percy in the madman's dinner-jacket and tossed him in the restraint room?

But we had the gurney—thank God—and John Coffey lay on it like a beached whale as we pushed him back to the storage-room stairs. He got down off it, staggered, then simply stood with his head lowered, breathing harshly. His skin was so gray he looked as if he'd been rolled in flour. I thought he'd be in the infirmary by noon... if he wasn't dead by noon, that was.

Brutal gave me a grim, desperate look Coffey on the Mile 1 страница. I gave it right back. 'We can't carry him up, but we can help him,' I said. 'You under his right arm, me under his left.'

'What about me?' Harry asked.

'Walk behind us. If he looks like going over backward, shove him forward again.'

'And if that don't work, kinda crouch down where you think he's gonna land and soften the blow,' Brutal said.

'Gosh,' Harry said thinly, 'you oughta go on the Orpheum Circuit, Brute, that's how funny you are.'

'I got a sense of humor, all right,' Brutal admitted.

In the end, we Coffey on the Mile 1 страница did manage to get John up the stairs. My biggest worry was that he might faint, but he didn't. 'Go around me and check to make sure the storage room's empty,' I gasped to Harry.

'What should I say if it's not?' Harry asked, squeezing under my arm. ' "Avon calling," and then pop back in here?'

'Don't be a wisenheimer,' Brutal said.

Harry eased the door open a little way and poked his head through. It seemed to me that he stayed that way for a very long time. At last he pulled back, looking almost Coffey on the Mile 1 страница cheerful. 'Coast's clear. And it's quiet.'

'Let's hope it stays that way,' Brutal said. 'Come on, John Coffey, almost home.'

He was able to cross the storage room under his own power, but we had to help him up the three steps to my office and then almost push him through the little door. When he got to his feet again, he was breathing stertorously, and his eyes had a glassy sheen. Also—I noticed this with real horror—the right side of his mouth had pulled down, making it look like Melinda's Coffey on the Mile 1 страница had, when we walked into her room and saw her propped up on her pillows.

Dean heard us and came in from the desk at the head of the Green Mile. 'Thank God! I thought you were never coming back, I'd half made up my mind you were caught, or the Warden plugged you, or—' He broke off, really seeing John for the first time. 'Holy cats, what's wrong with him? He looks like he's dying!'

'He's not dying... are you, John?' Brutal said. His eyes flashed Dean a warning.

'Course not, I didn't mean actually Coffey on the Mile 1 страница dyin'—Dean gave a nervous little laugh—'but, jeepers... '

'Never mind,' I said. 'Help us get him back to his cell.'

Once again we were foothills surrounding a mountain, but now it was a mountain that had suffered a few million years, worth of erosion, one that was blunted and sad. John Coffey moved slowly, breathing through his mouth like an old man who smoked too much, but at least he moved.

'What about Percy?' I asked. 'Has he been kicking up a ruckus?'

'Some at the start,' Dean said. 'Trying to yell through the tape you put Coffey on the Mile 1 страница over his mouth. Cursing, I believe.'

'Mercy me,' Brutal said. 'A good thing our tender ears were elsewhere.'

'Since then, just a mulekick at the door every once in awhile, you know.' Dean was so relieved to see us that he was babbling. His glasses slipped down to the end of his nose, which was shiny with sweat, and he pushed them back up. We passed Wharton's cell. That worthless young man was flat on his back, snoring like a sousaphone. His eyes were shut this time, all right.

Dean saw me looking and laughed.

'No trouble from Coffey on the Mile 1 страница that guy! Hasn't moved since he laid back down on his bunk. Dead to the world. As for Percy kicking the door every now and then, I never minded that a bit. Was glad of it, tell you the truth. If he didn't make any noise at all, I'd start wonderin if he hadn't choked to death on that gag you slapped over his cakehole. But that's not the best. You know the best? It's been as quiet as Ash Wednesday morning in New Orleans! Nobody's been down all night!' He said Coffey on the Mile 1 страница this last in a triumphant, gloating voice. 'We got away with it, boys! We did!'

That made him think of why we'd gone through the whole comedy in the first place, and he asked about Melinda.

'She's fine,' I said. We had reached John 's cell. What Dean had said was just starting to sink in: We got away with it, boys... we did.

'Was it like... you know... the mouse?' Dear asked. He glanced briefly at the empty cell when Delacroix had lived with Mr. Jingles, then down a the restraint room, which had been the Coffey on the Mile 1 страница mouse's seeming point of origin. His voice dropped, the way people's voices do when they enter a big church where even the silence seems to whisper. 'Was it a... ' He gulped. 'Shoot, you know what I mean—was it a miracle?'

The three of us looked at each other briefly, confirming what we already knew. 'Brought her back from her damn grave is what he did,' Harry said. 'Yeah, it was a miracle, all right.'

Brutal opened the double locks on the cell, and gave John a gentle push inside. 'Go on, now, big boy. Rest awhile. You Coffey on the Mile 1 страница earned it. We'll just settle Percy's hash—'

'He's a bad man,' John said in a low, mechanical voice.

'That's right, no doubt, wicked as a warlock,' Brutal agreed in his most soothing voice, 'but don't you worry a smidge about him, we're not going to let him near you. You just ease down on that bunk of yours and I'll have that cup of coffee to you in no time. Hot and strong. You'll feel like a new man.'

John sat heavily on his bunk. I thought he Coffey on the Mile 1 страница'd fall back on it and roll to the wall as he usually did, but he just sat there for the time being, hands clasped loosely between his knees, head lowered, breathing hard through his mouth. The St. Christopher's medal Melinda had given him had fallen out of the top of his shirt and swung back and forth in the air. He'll keep you safe, that's what she'd told him, but John Coffey didn't look a bit safe. He looked like he had taken Melinda's place on the lip of that grave Harry had spoken of Coffey on the Mile 1 страница.

But I couldn't think about John Coffey just then I turned around to the others. 'Dean, get Percy's pistol and hickory stick.'

'Okay.' He went back up to the desk, unlocked the drawer with the gun and the stick in it, and brought them back.

'Ready?' I asked them. My men—good men, and was never prouder of them than I was that night, nodded. Harry and Dean both looked nervous; Brutal as stolid as ever. 'Okay. I'm going to do the talking. The less the rest of you open your mouths, the Coffey on the Mile 1 страница better it'll probably be and the quicker it'll probably wrap up... for better or worse. Okay?'

They nodded again. I took a deep breath and walked down to the Green Mile restraint room.

Percy looked up, squinting, when the light fell on him. He was sitting on the floor and licking at the tape I had slapped across his mouth. The part I'd wound around to the back of his head had come free (probably the sweat and brilliantine in his hair had loosened it), and he'd gotten a ways toward getting the rest off, as well Coffey on the Mile 1 страница. Another hour and he would've been bawling for help at the top of his lungs.

He used his feet to shove himself a little way backward when we came in, then stopped, no doubt realizing that there was nowhere to go except for the southeast corner of the room.

I took his gun and stick from Dean and held them out in Percy's direction. 'Want these back?' I asked.

He looked at me warily, then nodded his head.

'Brutal,' I said. 'Harry. Get him on his feet.'

They bent, hooked him under the canvas arms of the Coffey on the Mile 1 страница straitjacket, and up he came. I moved toward him until we were almost nose to nose. I could smell the sour sweat in which he'd been basting. Some of it probably came from his efforts to get free of the quiet-down coat, or to administer the occasional kicks to the door Dean had heard, but I thought most of his sweat had come as a result of plain old fear: fear of what we might do to him when we came back.

I'll be okay, they ain't killers, Percy would think... and then Coffey on the Mile 1 страница, maybe, he'd think of Old Sparky and it would cross his mind that yes, in a way we were killers. I'd done seventy-seven myself, more than any of the men I'd ever put the chest-strap on, more than Sergeant York himself got credit for in World War I. Killing Percy wouldn't be logical, but we'd already behaved illogically, he would have told himself as he sat there with his arms behind him, working with his tongue to get the tape off his mouth. And besides, logic most likely doesn't have much Coffey on the Mile 1 страница power over a person's thoughts when that person is sitting on the floor of a room with soft walls, wrapped up as neat and tight as any spider ever wrapped a fly.

Which is to say, if I didn't have him where I wanted now, I never would.

'I'll take the tape off your mouth if you promise not to start yowling,' I said. 'I want to have a talk with you, not a shouting match. So what do you say? Will you be quiet?'

I saw relief come up in his eyes as he realized Coffey on the Mile 1 страница that, if I wanted to talk, he really did stand a good chance of getting out of this with a whole skin. He nodded his head.

'If you start noising off, the tape goes back on,' I said. 'Do you understand that, too?'

Another nod, rather impatient this time.

I reached up, grabbed the end of the runner he'd worked loose, and gave it a hard yank. It made a loud peeling sound. Brutal winced. Percy yipped with pain and began rubbing his lips. He tried to speak, realized he couldn't do it with a hand over his Coffey on the Mile 1 страница mouth, and lowered it.

'Get me out of this nut-coat, you lugoon,' he spat.

'In a minute,' I said.

'Now! Now! Right n—'

I slapped his face. It was done before I'd even known I was going to do it... but of course I'd known it might come to that. Even back during the first talk about Percy that I'd had with Warden Moores, the one where Hal advised me to put Percy out for the Delacroix execution, I'd known it might come to that. A man's hand is like an animal Coffey on the Mile 1 страница that's only half-tame; mostly it's good, but sometimes it escapes and bites the first thing it sees.

The sound was a sharp snap, like a breaking branch. Dean gasped. Percy stared at me in utter shock, his eyes so wide they looked as if they must fall out of their sockets. His mouth opened and closed, opened and closed, like the mouth of a fish in an aquarium tank.

'Shut up and listen to me,' I said. 'You deserved to be punished for what you did to Del, and we gave you what you deserved. This was Coffey on the Mile 1 страница the only way we could do it. We all agreed, except for Dean, and he'll go along with us, because we'll make him sorry if he doesn't. Isn't that so, Dean?'

'Yes,' Dean whispered. He was milk-pale. 'Guess it is.'

'And we'll make you sorry you were ever born,' I went on. 'We'll see that people know about how you sabotaged the Delacroix execution—'

'Sabotaged—!'

'—how you almost got Dean killed. We'll blab enough to keep you out of almost any job your uncle can get you.'

Percy was shaking his head Coffey on the Mile 1 страница furiously. He didn't believe that, perhaps couldn't believe that. My handprint stood out on his pale cheek like a fortune-teller's sign.

'And no matter what, we'd see you beaten within an inch of your life. We wouldn't have to do it ourselves. We know people, too, Percy, are you so foolish you don't realize that? They aren't up in the state capital, but they still know how to legislate certain matters. These are people who have friends in here, people who have brothers in here, people who have fathers in here Coffey on the Mile 1 страница. They'd be happy to amputate the nose or the penis of a shitheels like you. They'd do it just so someone they care for could get an extra three hours in the exercise yard each week.'

Percy had stopped shaking his head. Now he was only staring. Tears stood in his eyes, but didn't fall. I think they were tears of rage and frustration. Or maybe I just hoped they were.

'Okay—now look on the sunny side, Percy. Your lips sting a little from having the tape pulled off them, I imagine, but Coffey on the Mile 1 страница otherwise there's nothing hurt but your pride... and nobody needs to know about that but the people in this room right now. And we'll never tell, will we, boys?'

They shook their heads. 'Course not,' Brutal said. 'Green Mile business stays on the Green Mile. Always has.'

'You're going on to Briar Ridge and we're going to leave you alone until you go,' I said. 'Do you want to leave it at that, Percy, or do you want to play hardball with us?'

There was a long, long silence as he considered—I could almost see Coffey on the Mile 1 страница the wheels turning in his head as he tried out and rejected possible counters. And at last, I think a more basic truth must have overwhelmed the rest of his calculations: the tape was off his mouth, but he was still wearing the straitjacket and probably he had to piss like a racehorse.

'All right,' he said. 'We'll consider the matter closed. Now get me out of this coat. It feels like my shoulders are—'

Brutal stepped forward, shouldering me aside, and grabbed Percy's face with one big hand—fingers denting in Percy's right cheek, thumb making a Coffey on the Mile 1 страница deep dimple in his left.

'In a few seconds,' he said. 'First, you listen to me. Paul here is the big boss, and so he has to talk elegant sometimes.'

I tried to remember anything elegant I might've said to Percy and couldn't come up with much. Still, I thought it might be best to keep my mouth shut; Percy looked suitably terrorized, and I didn't want to spoil the effect.

'People don't always understand that being elegant isn't the same as being soft, and that's where I come in. I don't Coffey on the Mile 1 страница worry about being elegant. I just say things straight out. So here it is, straight out: if you go back on your promise, we'll most likely take an ass-fucking. But then we'll find you—if we have to go all the way to Russia, we'll find you—and we will fuck you, not just up the ass but in every hole you own. We'll fuck you until you'll wish you were dead, and then we'll rub vinegar in the parts that are bleeding. Do you understand me?'

He nodded. With Brutal Coffey on the Mile 1 страница's hand digging into the soft sides of his face the way it was, Percy looked eerily like Old Toot-Toot.

Brutal let go of him and stepped back. I nodded to Harry, who went behind Percy and started unsnapping and unbuckling.

'Keep it in mind, Percy,' Harry said. 'Keep it in mind and let bygones be bygones.'

All of it suitably scary, three bogeymen in bluesuits... but I felt a kind of knowing despair sweep through me, all the same. He might keep quiet for a day or a week, continuing to calculate the odds on various Coffey on the Mile 1 страница actions, but in the end two things—his belief in his connections and his inability to walk away from a situation where he saw himself as the loser would combine. When that happened, he would spill his guts. We had perhaps helped to save Melly Moores's life by taking John to her, and I wouldn't have changed that ("not for all the tea in China," as we used to say back in those days), but in the end we were going to hit the canvas and the ref was going to count us out. Short of Coffey on the Mile 1 страница murder, there was no way we could make Percy keep his end of the bargain, not once he was away from us and had started to get back what passed for his guts.

I took a little sidelong glance at Brutal and saw he knew this, too. Which didn't surprise me. There were no flies on Mrs. Howell's boy Brutus, never had been. He gave me a tiny shrug, just one shoulder lifting an inch and then dropping, but it was enough. So what? that shrug said. What else is there, Paul? We did what we had to Coffey on the Mile 1 страница do, and we did it the best we could.

Yes. Results hadn't been half-bad, either.

Harry undid the last buckle on the straitjacket. Grimacing with disgust and rage, Percy pawed it off and let it drop at his feet. He wouldn't look at any of us, not directly.

'Give me my gun and my baton,' he said. I handed them over. He dropped the gun into its holster and shoved the hickory stick into its custom loop.

'Percy, if you think about it—'

'Oh, I intend to,' he said, brushing past me. 'I intend to think about it Coffey on the Mile 1 страница very hard. Starting right now. On my way home. One of you boys can clock me out at quitting time.' He reached the door of the restraint room and turned to survey us with a look of angry, embarrassed contempt—a deadly combination for the secret we'd had some fool's hope of keeping. 'Unless, of course, you want to try explaining why I left early.'

He left the room and went striding up the Green Mile, forgetting in his agitation why that green floored central corridor was so wide. He had mad this mistake once Coffey on the Mile 1 страница before and had gotten away with it. He would not get away with it again.

I followed him out the door, trying to think of a way to soothe him down—I didn't want him leaving E Block the way he was now, sweaty and dishevelled, with the red print of my hand still on his cheek. The other three followed me.


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