End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3) by Stephen King Read Online (FREE)
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APRIL 10, 2009
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
This elderly chestnut occurred to Rob Martin as the ambulance he drove rolled slowly along Upper Marlborough Street toward home base, which was Firehouse 3. It seemed to him that whoever thought that one up really got hold of something, because it was darker than a woodchuck’s asshole this morning, and dawn wasn’t far away.
Not that this daybreak would be up to much even when it finally got rolling; call it dawn with a hangover. The fog was heavy and smelled of the nearby not-so-great Great Lake. A fine cold drizzle had begun to fall through it, just to add to the fun. Rob clicked the wiper control from intermittent to slow. Not far up ahead, two unmistakable yellow arches rose from the murk.
“The Golden Tits of America!” Jason Rapsis cried from the shotgun seat. Rob had worked with any number of paramedics over his fifteen years as an EMT, and Jace Rapsis was the best: easygoing when nothing was happening, unflappable and sharply focused when everything was happening at once. “We shall be fed! God bless capitalism! Pull in, pull in!”
“Are you sure?” Rob asked. “After the object lesson we just had in what that shit can do?”
The run from which they were now returning had been to one of the McMansions in Sugar Heights, where a man named Harvey Galen had called 911 complaining of terrible chest pains. They had found him lying on the sofa in what rich folks no doubt called “the great room,” a beached whale of a man in blue silk pajamas. His wife was hovering over him, convinced he was going to punch out at any second.
“Mickey D’s, Mickey D’s!” Jason chanted. He was bouncing up and down in his seat. The gravely competent professional who had taken Mr. Galen’s vitals (Rob right beside him, holding the First In Bag with its airway management gear and cardiac meds) had disappeared. With his blond hair flopping in his eyes, Jason looked like an overgrown kid of fourteen. “Pull in, I say!”
Rob pulled in. He could get behind a sausage biscuit himself, and maybe one of those hash brown thingies that looked like a baked buffalo tongue.
There was a short line of cars at the drive-thru. Rob snuggled up at the end of it.
“Besides, it’s not like the guy had a for-real heart attack,” Jason said. “Just OD’d on Mexican. Refused a lift to the hospital, didn’t he?”
He had. After a few hearty belches and one trombone blast from his nether regions that had his social X-ray of a wife booking for the kitchen, Mr. Galen sat up, said he was feeling much better, and told them that no, he didn’t think he needed to be transported to Kiner Memorial. Rob and Jason didn’t think so, either, after listening to a recitation of what Galen had put away at Tijuana Rose the night before. His pulse was strong, and although his blood pressure was on the iffy side, it probably had been for years, and was currently stable. The automatic external defibrillator never came out of its canvas sack.