The Green Mile

The Green Mile

by

Stephen King

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A particularly cruel guard who makes the atmosphere on E block violent and unpredictable, Percy is despised by inmates and guards alike. As the nephew of the governor’s wife, his characteristic cowardice is offset by the fact that he has friends in high places, causing him to act arrogantly with the assurance that he can have anyone fired for mistreating him. While he takes pleasure in beating and humiliating weaker individuals, he deeply fears humiliation himself. Percy’s hatred of Delacroix is in part motivated by homophobia, as he uses the false excuse that Delacroix has touched him inappropriately to violently beat the chained prisoner. Percy’s cruelty reaches new heights when he deliberately sabotages Delacroix’s execution, causing the inmate to suffer a protracted, agonizing death on the electric chair. He ultimately goes insane after John Coffey transfers onto him the illness he had absorbed from Melinda Moores, which in turn causes Percy to kill Wharton in his cell. Coffey spends his life in an asylum for the mentally unwell.

Percy Wetmore Quotes in The Green Mile

The The Green Mile quotes below are all either spoken by Percy Wetmore or refer to Percy Wetmore. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Pocket Books edition of The Green Mile published in 1996.
Part 4: Chapter 3 Quotes

Meanness is like an addicting drug—no one on earth is more qualified to say that than me—and I thought that, after a certain amount of experimentation, Percy had gotten hooked on it. He liked what he had done to Delacroix’s mouse. What he liked even more was Delacroix’s dismayed screams.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore, Eduard “Del” Delacroix
Page Number: 253-254
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Chapter 1 Quotes

As I went on down toward the kitchen, it occurred to me that the team of Elaine Connelly and Paul Edgecombe would probably be a match for a dozen Brad Dolans, with half a dozen Percy Wetmores thrown in for good

measure.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore, Elaine Connelly, Brad Dolan
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 6: Chapter 2 Quotes

I’ll be okay, they ain’t killers, Percy would think . . . and then, 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.

Related Characters: Paul Edgecombe (speaker), Percy Wetmore
Related Symbols: The Green Mile
Page Number: 410
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Green Mile LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Green Mile PDF

Percy Wetmore Character Timeline in The Green Mile

The timeline below shows where the character Percy Wetmore appears in The Green Mile. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 2
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Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...(nicknamed “Brutal” because of his size, despite his utter gentleness), and, finally, the cruel, idiotic Percy Wetmore. (full context)
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One day, Percy and Harry walk in with John Coffey, an extremely muscular, six-foot-eight-inch tall black man whom... (full context)
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Percy walks in yelling: “Dead man walking! Dead man walking!” but Paul, annoyed, cuts him short.... (full context)
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...scars. In the meantime, while Paul is preparing to welcome Coffey on E block, both Percy Wetmore and Delacroix, the only other prisoner on E block at the time, are watching... (full context)
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Despite the fact that Percy has political connections that could threaten Paul’s job, Paul, whose urinary infection has put him... (full context)
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...is no longer afraid of John. What truly scared him, Paul concludes, was the guard Percy himself, whose unpredictable behavior can lead him to behave in dangerous, potentially violent ways. Paul... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3 
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...toward Paul’s office, Harry warns Paul that he is likely to get into trouble with Percy because of the way in which he told him to leave earlier. Dean, who is... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 5
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...the few times in his marriage, telling her he is bothered by a problem with Percy Wetmore. Janice invites Paul to come to bed with her, implying that he would feel... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
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...summoning him to his office. He knows that this concerns the interaction he had with Percy the day before. However, instead of heading to the warden’s office, Paul first takes the... (full context)
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...maintains peace on the block and keeps men on the Green Mile from going insane. Percy’s inability to engage in such tasks is an important reason why he is such an... (full context)
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...Paul that he received an angry call from the state capital earlier that morning, for Percy, the governor’s wife’s nephew, has political connections that can defend him if anything happens to... (full context)
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Moores also tells Paul that Percy has apparently submitted an application to transfer to Briar Ridge hospital, which will be a... (full context)
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Despite Paul’s incomprehension, Moores tells Paul that a speedy way to get rid of Percy would be to put him in charge of Delacroix’s execution. Certain that Percy is going... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...of which each day consists—waiting for Delacroix to die, for Wharton to arrive, and for Percy to leave. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
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...Paul laughs, but Dean says Brutal is going to get into trouble for that, since Percy could get Brutal fired for putting jokes in the Visitors book. Though he is annoyed... (full context)
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...the prison. Three nights later, however, the mouse appears again, this time during Harry and Percy’s shift. Moved by rage and violence, Percy chases the mouse down the Green Mile and... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
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Months later, long after these events have passed and Percy has already left the prison for Briar Ridge, Brutal calls Paul saying he has found... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
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Three days after Percy chases the mouse down the Green Mile, the mouse reappears during the shift of Percy,... (full context)
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...by the way in which the mouse eats the cracker with elegance, like a human. Percy makes a denigrating comment about how the sight reminds him “of a nigger eating watermelon,”... (full context)
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When Dean gives the mouse another piece of cracker, Percy, who had been taking aim, suddenly throws his baton at it. However, with incredible agility,... (full context)
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Dean and Bill, who know that Percy cannot bear to feel humiliated, try to defuse the tension by gently laughing at him... (full context)
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The following night, Dean tells Paul that what Percy doesn’t understand is that he has no real power over the inmates, since the worst... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 3
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Despite the mouse’s moment of fright, it returns to E block the next evening, on Percy’s night off. Paul has taken an extra hour to talk to The Chief, whom he... (full context)
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In the corridor, as Dean is telling Paul about what happened with Percy the night before, Toot-Toot, who sells snacks in the prison, comes in and sees the... (full context)
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As the days go by and the mouse keeps on appearing on days when Percy is absent, it becomes more and more difficult to call the mouse’s timing a coincidence.... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
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...and a few of his children, Paul and the guards rehearse his execution. Paul puts Percy in the switch room with Van Hay and Percy doesn’t complain, eager to witness someone’s... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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Love, Compassion, and Healing Theme Icon
...While most men find Old Toot funny, Paul sees him as a weaker version of Percy Wetmore, inclined to take pleasure in violence and meanness. Brutal is in charge of placing... (full context)
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...walk Toot to the chair after ducking through the little door that leads to it. Percy asks what he is supposed to do and Paul curtly replies that he should simply... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 5
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A few seconds later, Percy imitates Paul’s gesture and slaps the dead man’s cheek. Indignant, Brutal tells him severely not... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 7
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...the new inmate’s cell’s bed for him to arrive, suddenly hears a loud bang and Percy shouting insults, calling Delacroix a “faggot.” Paul jumps up and sees Percy violently drag Delacroix... (full context)
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When Paul angrily asks Percy for an explanation, saying that this type of behavior is unacceptable on E block, Percy... (full context)
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Paul and Brutal both admit that they hate Percy. After reflecting on it, Brutal tells Paul that he doesn’t understand why Percy, who can... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 8
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For a while, tranquility returns to E block, except for a few instances when Percy harasses Delacroix. Paul, who has already had many conversations with Percy about his behavior, decides,... (full context)
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When Percy approaches, he surprises the guards by not behaving in an aggressive way. Percy merely asks... (full context)
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Paul explains that he later discovered the reasons behind Percy’s behavior. Years later, at a dinner, when neither warden Moores nor Paul were working at... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 9
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...loan, not a permanent purchase. Old Toot gives in and Delacroix receives his box, which Percy previously lines with cotton pads as promised. While Percy’s attitude seems generous and disinterested, Paul... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 11 
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...explains that they all thought Wharton was sedated from hospital drugs. Harry agrees, and even Percy grudgingly nods to confirm. Brutal glances at Paul and the two men agree, without words,... (full context)
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...guards stay in the vehicle and, as they exit the car, only Harry, Dean, and Percy are in charge of the prisoner. In a formation of three—Dean and Harry to the... (full context)
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...his pistol. With ferocious strength, Wharton is able to throw Harry away. Harry yells to Percy to do something, but Percy remains dumbstruck, unable to move. (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...away and Paul tries to lock Wharton, now unconscious, in his cell. He calls for Percy to help but it is only after Paul yells at him again that Percy stands... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 3
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In the immediate aftermath of Wharton’s attack, Percy remains silent except to yell at Delacroix, who desperately wants to know what happened. Paul... (full context)
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As soon as Percy leaves, Paul heads to the bathroom and stifles a scream as he pees, urinating pus.... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 6
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...prepare for Delacroix’s execution and feels a deep sense of dread at the idea that Percy will be in charge of it. (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 8
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After the rehearsals of Delacroix’s execution go well, Paul is impressed with Percy’s behavior and realizes that the reason the young man is behaving so well might be... (full context)
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When Delacroix returns from his show, Percy jokingly lurches forward to scare him. In his fright, Delacroix steps back, trips, and hits... (full context)
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...it is coming from Wharton but soon realizes that Delacroix is laughing and pointing at Percy, saying he has wet his pants. Paul looks down, notices it is true, and tries... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 10
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While Paul is wrapped up in Brutal’s fantasy, Percy slowly approaches Delacroix’s cell. Suddenly, when Delacroix throws the spool a bit too hard against... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 1
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...he passes. One rainy day, as Paul is walking back from the woods, remembering how Percy crushed Mr. Jingles with his boot, Brad Dolan surprises him by grabbing his wrist. Paul... (full context)
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...thinking that he has unlocked some door between the past and the present—connecting Brad to Percy, Elaine to Janice, Georgia Pines to Cold Mountain—Brad grabs him by the wrist again, squeezing... (full context)
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...Dolan’s cruelty and utter lack of respect, Paul gets back to recounting what happened between Percy and Mr. Jingles. (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 2
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After Percy crushes Mr. Jingles, Dean angrily shouts at him, asking him what he has done, and... (full context)
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...look of suffering has gone, is happy to have helped someone again. After repeating that Percy is mean, he goes to lie down on his bunk. (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 3
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When Paul and Brutal enter the storage room about twenty minutes later, Percy is busy polishing the wooden parts of the electric chair. When Percy turns around, Paul... (full context)
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Paul announces that Mr. Jingles is fine and, when Percy doesn’t believe him, he tells him to shut up. Paul is furious and tells Percy... (full context)
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When Percy returns, in a state of shock, he believes the men are playing a trick on... (full context)
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After some more convincing, Percy finally agrees to apply for transfer to Briar Ridge the day after Delacroix’s execution. Even... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 4
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...the small door and are forced to duck, Del stops short at the sight of Percy presiding over the execution. Paul, however, looks at the chair and feels that everything is... (full context)
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After the roll on one, Percy steps forward, gives his official speech, and asks Delacroix if he has anything to say.... (full context)
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Percy places the mask on Del’s face. Then, instead of wetting the sponge in brine, which... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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Suddenly, when Percy is done fitting the cap on Delacroix’s head, Paul notices that he sees no water... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...the din of the rain and the audience begins to wonder if something is wrong. Percy’s horrified face shows that he had not expected something so horrible as this. Suddenly, Del’s... (full context)
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...the electricity and Brutal to put out the fire. Brutal shoves the fire extinguisher into Percy’s arms, telling him it is his job and Percy looks back at him, furious and... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 5
Death and the Death Penalty Theme Icon
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...Delacroix’s body out of the execution room, Brutal, moved by uncontrollable rage, goes to hit Percy with a blow that would probably have killed him, but Paul stops him. Brutal doesn’t... (full context)
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...dead and they cannot do anything about that. He controls his own urge to hit Percy and makes him promise again to apply to transfer to Briar Ridge. Harry threatens that,... (full context)
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...horrible death is poetic justice for the people Del himself burned. Paul tells Curtis that Percy committed a mistake, and Anderson finally agrees the execution could have gone worse—had Del still... (full context)
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...to warden Moores and that no newspapers will publish what has happened, Anderson turns toward Percy and tells him he is an asshole. Using the other men as witnesses, Paul reassures... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 8
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...aged and exhausted. He tells Paul someone warned him there was trouble last night involving Percy Wetmore, and he also tells him that he has made sure Percy’s application for Briar... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 9
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When Brutal brings up the fact that Percy would never let them do this, Paul reveals the second part of his plan and... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 1
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...what Elaine has done, he trusts that his alliance with Elaine could defeat even numerous Percy Wetmores and Brad Dolans. Paul grabs a few cold slices of toast, despite the cooks’... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 4
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The men hope that Percy will not show up, but Percy ultimately arrives a few minutes late. Throughout the evening,... (full context)
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Paul tells Percy to go wash the floor in the storage room and to write his report about... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 5
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...while Coffey sits on his bunk as though he were waiting for a bus. When Percy returns with his report, Paul reads it and thinks it is an outrageous accumulation of... (full context)
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...cell as a reward for behaving that evening. Wharton drinks it up eagerly. Afterwards, when Percy sees that Paul has given Wharton soda, he asks him why he did it and... (full context)
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When Percy sees the three men enter, he notices something dangerous in their faces and, despite their... (full context)
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Brutal then tells Percy to enter the straightjacket, as Percy’s lips are trembling and he is almost crying. Percy... (full context)
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The men succeed in putting Percy in the straightjacket and Percy begs Paul not to put him in Wharton’s cell. Paul... (full context)
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While Percy threatens to get them all fired, the men throw Percy into the restraint room, remove... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 9
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...begin to walk through the tunnel, Coffey with unsteady steps, and the men worry about Percy and the aftermath of Coffey’s escape. (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 1
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...He asks Brad what he has against him and, in doing so, inadvertently calls him Percy. When Brad tries to see what Paul has been writing, Paul gathers his papers together... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 2
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...Dean sees them, he expresses relief but worries about John’s appearance. Dean tells his friends Percy made some noise at the beginning but ultimately quieted down. The men walk toward Coffey’s... (full context)
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Paul tells the men to gather Percy’s belongings so that they can get him out of the restraint room. When the door... (full context)
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Paul imagines Percy reassuring himself that Paul and the other guards are not killers—before realizing that, come to... (full context)
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Paul tells Percy that he deserved to be punished for what he did to Delacroix, and that he... (full context)
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Before removing the straightjacket, Brutal digs his thumb into Percy’s cheek gives and Percy a speech of his own, meant to be more concrete and... (full context)
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Harry lets Percy out of the straightjacket and Percy storms out the room. Once again, though, Percy forgets... (full context)
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Percy screams and tries to step back, and Paul sees the black flow between John and... (full context)
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Percy’s eyes are blank, and he takes a few unsteady steps forward. Paul, who believes that... (full context)
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...longer looking sick. Coffey nods at him and Paul, surprising even himself, returns the gesture. Percy suddenly coughs up a cloud of black insects that turn white and vanish, before returning... (full context)
Part 6: Chapter 3
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...a condemned murderer escape from prison. Paul tells his wife that he doesn’t know if Percy will ever be normal again. Retrospectively, from the nursing home, Paul explains that Percy remained... (full context)
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...Paul if Coffey’s visit to his house has anything to do with what happened to Percy, and Paul denies it. He tells Moores that Percy was calm throughout his time in... (full context)
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...were taken. Janice asks Paul if he truly thinks Coffey intended to kill Wharton through Percy, and Paul says he does. (full context)