"At the last moment, when disaster seemed positive, he pulled his hands from his pockets and broke his fall by grasping the golden pole [location: fire station]. He slid to a squeaking halt, the heels one inch from the concrete floor downstairs" p.10 Fahrenheit 451.

"To come to a screeching halt", meaning to end abruptly, is a recognized idiom and it fits into this context but I don't know if it's interchangeable with the expression in the quote.


The usage here is meant literally more than idiomatically—the noise made by hands sliding against a metal pole is much more of a 'squeak' than a 'screech.'

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