Paul Edgecomb
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Paul Edgecomb

The Green Mile

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About Him

Living… currently, at the Georgia Pines nursing home. Paul is a (very) old man. Most of the other folks chat and gossip, others are content to keep their own company, some just stare slackly into space. It's a calm and peaceful place. A lot different than jail.

Profession… formerly, a corrections officer in charge of death row. That was a long time ago, but Paul still thinks about it often. He supervised all the executions. As he recalls it, “They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it.”

Interests… meditating on his past. He lay in bed most nights, thinking about all the people he’s loved, now long gone. He thinks about each prisoner walking his own Green Mile, each in his own time. But the one he thinks about more than any of them is John Coffey, the huge but gentle black man who was a death row prisoner unlike any other, back in the 1930s. Coffey had strange and wondrous abilities that had to be seen to be believed.

Relationship Status… lost to time and circumstance. Paul lost his wife Jan so many years ago. She put up with him for so long. He kept his mind at work – in prison – when he came home every night. He brought Coffey's memory home with him. In retrospect, it’s obvious that Coffey came between them.

Challenge… moving on from Coffey's death. Even though that was decades ago, Paul can’t shake it. On the day of his judgment, when he stands before God, and He asks Paul why he killed one of his true miracles, what could he possibly say? That he was following orders?

Personality… world-weary and ready to die, these days at least. His friends and family are all long gone. Paul considers that his punishment for letting Coffey, a miracle of God, die under his hand. Paul’s already come to terms with his mortality, but rather than peace, it’s only brought restlessness, a near eagerness to die. He’s generally been a good man who did the best he could, but now he fears he didn’t do enough.

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