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By Slim Randles

It was strange, Doc thought. All these years. All these people. It still hurts.

Old Tom had died around midnight, and Doc didn’t get more than an hour’s sleep since then. Just before he went, Tom reached out and gripped Doc’s hand and thanked him for everything. He was smiling when he went.

Somehow that made it worse for Doc than just having death bring a pleasant new start for someone in pain and agony. Doc hadn’t been able to patch him up this time. When someone Tom’s age has his organs shut down, there just isn’t much a doctor can do but make him comfortable and say goodbye.

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