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Re[9]:



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It had not been quite enough. I hate it when you call it that. He opened it and saw a set of steep, rickety stairs pitching and yawing their way into the cellar. Then he remembered everything, and with his remembering a queer certainty came: she was not dead, even now not dead. "You probably don't know what the police can do with just one piece of thread, or dirt under someone's fingernails or even dust in a corpse's hair! " This time when he pushed the tongue there was a flat click from inside the lock and the jut of metal slid a quarter of an inch into the door. The note would say: "Whenever my editor called me up and told me you were planning to review one of my books in the daily Times, my knees used to knock together — you gave me some good ones, Chris old buddy, but you also torpedoed me more than once, as you well know.""She slipped away, that's all. May 14th, 1981 — long illness. Realism was not necessary; fairness was. He laughed. He had no idea who he was or where he was and cared to know neither.

It was ridiculous, but these stupid questions actually seemed to need answering. Most of all she gave him a disturbing sense of solidity, as if she might not have any blood vessels or even internal organs; as if she might be only solid Annie Wilkes from side to side and top to bottom. Although he knew it was too soon to be feeling any relief, he did feel it — having the pills, it seemed, was even more important than taking the pills. The woman had cut off his foot with an axe and his thumb with an electric knife, and here she was with a pile of caviar big enough to choke a warthog. And of all she had done to him, this resignation was surely a symptom of the worst — she had turned him into a pain-racked animal with no moral options at all. When Paul had dropped over to see him one day, he had found Gary's shades drawn and a black crepe fluff on the door. There he spoke the only four words Paul ever heard him say, the last four word s anyone ever heard him say. Ralph Dugan had gone back to helping the lame, the halt, and the blind at Arapahoe County Hospital; presumably Annie went back to that time-honored nurse's job of giving aid and comfort to the grievously wounded. It dripped steadily from one side of the board which lay across the arms of the wheelchair. With that thought in mind he found the pulse in his left thigh, and though he had never injected himself in his life, he did it efficiently now, even eagerly. I'll duck one of the two capsules she gives me every other time she brings them. It was always the same, always the same — like toiling uphill through jungle and breaking out to a clearing at the top after months of hell only to discover nothing more rewarding than a view of a freeway — with a few gas stations and bowling alleys thrown in for good behavior, or something. Eyes wild and blank, he lashed out at Geoffrey, striking his old friend high on the cheekbone. He was in Little Dunthorpe's churchyard, breathing damp night air, smelling moss and earth and mist; he heard the clock in the tower of the Presbyterian church strike two and dumped it into the story without missing a beat. He fled to that well now, like a thirsty animal finding a waterhole at dusk, and he drank from it; which is to say he found the hole in the paper and fell thankfully through it. "He hesitated, looked at the pile of typescript with the ragged stack of handwritten pages on top, then back at Annie. A small khaki bag, too big to be a purse and not quite big enough to be a knapsack, was slung over one shoulder Anyway, I just wanted to tell you to go ahead and do your worst — I've discovered a whole new critical mode, my friend. It was quarter past six according to the clock over the range, and while there was no reason to believe she was any less sloppy about her clocks than her calendars (the one out here had actually made it to May), that seemed about right. His apartment was 9-E, farthest from the elevator, and today the corridor looked two miles long. Bernstein's answer had struck him as frivolous and cruel and incomprehensible: Most of them had pianos. She'll want to see if Sheldon really turned into Luciano Pavarotti, or if it just sounds that way.