"Rest Stop" is an 18-page short-story originally published in the December 2003 issue of Esquire magazine, and later included in King's own 2008 collection Just After Sunset.


The story concerns American literature professor John Dykstra, who also writes novels under the pseudonym Rick Hardin, as he drives back to Sarasota from Jacksonville, Florida. Pulling into a Turnpike rest stop for a bathroom break, Dykstra encounters a man beating on his pregnant girlfriend, and is forced to channel his alter ego in order to handle the situation.


The dichotomy of alter-egos, particularly involving writers, is a theme explored in greater depth in King's novel The Dark Half, and King draws largely from his own experiences writing as Richard Bachman.

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