Friday, September 18, 2015

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

He put it in the center of the table next to a small, white vase - underneath the shadow cast by an obscene lily. He put it down, gently, and closed his eyes - rubbed at them with the heels of his palms. He ground his hands into his eyes until red exploded into firework extravagance behind heavy lids. In some childish part of his brain, he was hoping it would be gone when he opened his eyes again.

Did he need to open his eyes again? Did he want to? Did he have to? These questions went splat against the inside of his skull, sliding into a pool of apathy which he had been cultivating for years. If he opened his eyes, he realized - there or not - it would mean action. It would mean decisions. He could hear the grandfather clock ticking, keeping time like an executioner. 

He counted slowly to ten and then, holding his breath, hands shaking, he slowly opened his eyes, and tears darkened the red tablecloth.

Thanks for stopping by! Gonna be a busy day, but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time, so check back. Post your pieces on your blogs, telephone poles, passing pedestrians, etc. if you's a fun web o' writing.



  1. Ahhh... and you make us tell the rest of the story to ourselves. I like the contemplative feel to this piece...

    1. I love this. The emotion, the obscene lily, the explosions in his head.

    2. "Obscene lily" paints a very vivid emotional picture in my head. Another ace piece.

    3. "firework extravagance" is brilliant, also.

  2. A well-earned reward, Jude tells herself, pouring the first glass of wine, a stress valve for this motherfucker of a day. The balls he had, making her the executor of his will, making her meet with the unctuous, self-important lawyer who’d handled their divorce.

    The second glass, which in its inception seemed like a logical follow-on, just pisses her off more. She shakes her head over the scatter of paperwork on the dining room table. Knowing why he’d done it. Despite his fairly successful career as a socially conscious venture capitalist, one that had purchased him an Upper West Side condo and a summer cottage outside of Woodstock, he’d always made her the grownup, the responsible one. And despite her nagging internal voice that this was a bad idea, she’d let them slip into those respective roles. She managed most of the child-rearing. Managed most of the managing, while he schmoozed his way across the world, only to return to her each time his latest flame dashed out.

    The third glass has her glaring out the window at the Adirondack chairs that once again needed painting. So she leaves the papers where they sit, weighted down by the wine bottle, and, still in her wrinkled linen suit, stalks out to the shed and stands, fists pressed to her ample hips, eyes narrowing at the spectrum of paint cans. Green. Her father had always painted them green, after a good sanding. Green to blend into the backyard, the mountain. When he was gone, their handyman kept up the tradition. Screw tradition, she thinks. Screw Lev, screw lawyers, screw being the fucking responsible wife, mother, daughter. And in the morning, the two chairs, rainbow-striped, sit side by side, shining in the sun.

    1. This is an awesome piece, Laurie. I love the progression of the drinking - and you do characters so well. Just the right amount of detail and grab.

    2. Ohhh... I like the pacing, too... the glass after glass, and the eventual resolution of something that didn't need resolving but something that she COULD resolve... and I'm reading this after I posted "Green" below.... serendipity!

    3. You will never know how many reasons I have to love this....:) But love it I do!

  3. His hand was as large as mine now. I felt his strong fingers hold mine.

    "I think you can keep your eyes open this time."

    I wasn't as sure, remembering the feeling of my stomach trying to keep up with the rest of my body the last time. "I'll try."

    "It's easiest if you keep your eyes on the horizon."

    And just like that, his hand pulled me through infinity, through the stars, and into our destination. We landed in a patch of moss, soft, green, and moist.

    "Where are we?" I asked as casually as if he'd taken an exit off the freeway. At least I hoped I sounded that casual.

    "I don't know where exactly. Or even when, what time it is. I only know that this is a place I come to contemplate and, sometimes, to cry."

    I held back my questions; all the whys were somehow tied up with the knots in my stomach. I was pretty sure he'd explain.

    "I come here because it's green. Green. The color of life, of envy, of trees and grass, the color of my eyes."

    How quiet it was. I heard no birds, no animals. Quiet enough I thought I could hear drops of dew falling from trees into mossy patches of ground.

    "My vomit was green, too, after..." His voice broke, and I saw him as an eight-year-old boy, lying on the forest floor, even more broken than his voice. I put my hand on his shoulder.

    "After..." I had to ask.

    "After he made me... Take him in my mouth." The words were replaced with sobs.

    I heard my voice delivering the shocked "I'm sorry" but felt bile rise in my throat. Who would do such a thing? Who would defile this beautiful soul in such a way. One of the question marks detached itself from the knot in my stomach. "Who?"

    "Someone I trusted. Someone who told me I was special."

    "At school?"

    His small fists balled up to wipe the tears from his eyes as he shook his head no.

    "Green. The color of cheese on the moon, the color that astronauts see on their control panels. I'll never be an astronaut." He choked back more tears.

    "Because someone raped you?"

    Young eyes looked at me in disbelief.

    "No. Because I'm colorblind. I'm colorblind to green"

    His hand reached for mine, and he pulled us home, home to his safe black and white world.

    1. Oh, man. This is a heart-wrenching piece. Really well done. Really painful. Sadly, very true to life. A brave and gentle piece about something no one wants to talk about. Well in.

    2. Stunning and so true. There is a sort of complicity among victims, as thought their secrets can only be shared with one another. Like a secret club.

  4. This is...stunning and so powerful. And I love this line: "One of the question marks detached itself from the knot in my stomach."

    1. Thanks.... this is a rough rough draft of part of the Rainbow book I talked about during the Authors on the Air interview.... Much fleshing out to do... but it has possibilities!


    It was the briefest note she’d ever written him. “Goodbye.” Nothing else, not even her name though he knew she had sent it, slid it under the door of his apartment, and then, on soft-stepping feet, raced into the rainy afternoon.


    One word to condemn him to a loveless spring. One word sharp as the executioner’s axe thudding bloodlessly at his neck.


    Lenny sat lonely on the living room sofa, at his side a beribboned stack of her letters, each one he now read aloud. All those affectionate words, the smooth turn of loving phrases, sentences that flowed in a lover’s magic ink now meant nothing, zapped away
    in the powerful thrust of that one parting word. So many words that lessened with every subsequent letter until from hundreds, thousands of words, it came to this one “Goodbye.”

    “Either you change or I’m out of here,” Nora had warned too many times, but Lenny thought her love was stronger than her threats. Tomorrow he would quit. Tomorrow: his own one word which he brandished like a weapon against her. Tomorrow he would quit drinking. Trade the bottles hidden everywhere for a life together. “I love you, but…” she’d say and Lenny would take her in his arms and press his mouth against hers to silence what he could not bear to hear.

    The sun had dropped itself beneath the horizon. High above in a darkening sky the moon seem to first appear, wafer-thin, pale as sorrow, casting Lenny in the shadow of dusk. He crumpled her final note in the palm of his hand, packed it like a winter’s snowball and tossed it halfway across the room. It lay there for a moment, then opened, its creases like white blossoming petals smudged with the black scrawl of that one “Goodbye.”

    Lenny reached down and extracted from beneath the sofa a half full, half empty
    bottle of Dewar’s. Raising the mouth of the bottle of scotch to his own mouth, he could feel the sting of wet tears as he gulped the bitter scotch down his throat.

    To break the deafening silence in the room, he said aloud, “bitter as the sting of Nora’s parting.”

    1. Oh, this is beautiful, Sal. Not a word wasted. Tragic. And, there but for the grace...

      This one is so very real.

    2. It makes my heart hurt... poignant and spare.

    3. Ouch. Been on that goodbye end. Doesn't feel much better from there.

  6. You said what? Are you fucking kidding? You thought that would ... what? Diffuse the situation? More like light the fuse...

    Why do you always do this? You can't play those innocent eyes on me - I know you're not stupid. Selfish? Yeah. Broken? Maybe. You can't play them like marionettes, though. That's fucked up. Yeah, I know you got your reasons.

    I'm not your judge, I'm just a guy who thinks it's a shame. For everyone. Even you.

    No one wants to play charades.

    1. Yep, that's the way it goes. And your brutal honest to the unnamed character is great.... who obviously DOES want to play charades...

    2. The inability to be authentic with one another? Maybe that hurts the worst.

  7. Twenty-one years ago, Venus rose in that same spot of the sky, on the same day of the year, and he’d stumbled into her. It was concrete canyons then, not natural foothills. And it was a coincidence that her name was Venus. He was sure it was coincidence.

    He helped her pick up the briefcase she dropped when he bumped into her. Papers then; no one carried laptop computers. The October wind that year carried maple leaves and the promise of a future.

    After he invited her to coffee in the little store that wasn’t Starbucks, they’d found a forever to talk about, dreams and hoped-for promises, and their hands found each other.

    An early snow came to hurry them along, and they both called in sick. When they got to his apartment, Abby, his black Labrador, fell in love with her.

    They married that Christmas, and they set to making those dreams and promises come true. Camping weekends. Travel through the Rockies. Finding a property they wanted to build on. Laying the foundation. Putting a quarter minted in the year they met in the concrete by where the front door would be.

    And then… and then. Her career took her away from writing, toward marketing the books she loved, then books she tolerated, then books she hated. Each year brought more money but less time.

    Eventually, she couldn’t stand the commute from the mountains to the city, and she got an apartment. That year, they were separated at Christmas. A snowstorm. A blizzard. But their hearts had grown as cold as the drifts of snow.

    And now, today, he clutched an envelope fat with papers, addressed to her attorney, and the cold morning air turned his tears to icicles. In the distance, he saw a red planet moving toward the morning star. Mars, the planet named for the god of war, overtaking Venus. All is fair, he supposed, in love and war.

    1. Man, the ending. I love the whole thing, but such a cool closer. I love the way you connect the natural wold to the unnatural blasphemy of humanity.

    2. Beautifully written rise and fall of a relationship. I like the use of Venus, and later Mars, bringing it full circle.

    3. Thanks.... you all keep me writing!

    4. Gorgeous. I love the whole use of the planets how the stars are indeed in ourselves.

    5. Shakespeare said something like that, didn't he?
      and thank you!

  8. Down by the banks of the old soup river, there's cold that makes the whole mind shiver. Folks come from all around, to see the magic raining down. Some say it's Jesus, but I don't buy it. I've been there, see, I've even tried it. I set my stones and said the words, even though it seemed absurd - I was hoping for a miracle...

    No miracle appeared that day, and I played surprised, watched the sky turn grey. When it finally past to fully dark, I bought a bottle, found a park. And halfway through, I finally found it, a desperation dimly lit. So, I kindled it...

    I woke up all alone of course, and my heart hurt, but my head hurt worse. I went down to the chapel square, hoping to find a miracle there. And I did.

    It was called 'Bar" and it smelled like life: sweet and unfair.

    1. MaderRap in all its beautiful pain... well done.

    2. Looking for absolution in the bottom of a bottle. I'm not sure if you evoked more pain or pity with this one.

    3. Beautiful. We are all so judgey and yet? Sometimes our journeys? Take us exactly where we need to go--what we need to see...

  9. This is what it comes down to, then. My bent back, the pain shooting down my leg, the hours spent, the sweat…all to have strangers incline their heads and scowl at the results, at the number that clearly displeases them. You try it, then. Fry your olfactory nerves with turpentine to the point where flavors blend into one monotonous note, stoop over an easel and translate the image in your mind until beads of blood drip down your forehead. Give up things other people find important for the sake of the art, for the sake of the voice you’ve spent a lifetime honing. Sacrifice the goodwill of your loved ones, who wanted you to be someone else.

    Put a number on that.

    I don’t bother worrying about the quality of the wine anymore. Nor do I concern myself with whichever self-important, pontificating Manhattan buffoon chooses to make an appearance and rattle on about metaphor and light and shadow. Or damn you to the deepest crevasses of hell, make comparisons to Picasso’s Blue Period.

    And my poor girl, she doesn’t want to be there; I can see it in the tightness around her eyes, the pinch of her smile. I would dismiss her if I could, urge her to leave the art, once executed, to the dust of time.

    Now, hovering on the edges of her life, on the precipice of my own light and shadow, I can do nothing but watch, and hope she makes better choices than I did.

    1. Damn. You're bringing the power! This is an amazing piece. I don't feel qualified to comment on it. For real. It's so good. "Put a number on that." - isolated, intensified Boris Power.

    2. This is awesome... inspiration for more of the Painter story? I really feel the pain!

    3. The pain of the artist, who is such a masochist for the art...

    4. So amazing. Makes me remember my mom.Her painting saved her and yet?

  10. There is an old woman sitting, waiting for her train. You cluck, cluck, cluck - what a goddamn shame. And you listen to the babble that brooks her drooping lip, you try to hide the disgust you feel. You try to pretend you aren't disgusted by your insensitivity.

    A young boy breaks away from his mother and runs toward the woman, jumps on her. There is a collective gasp that sounds like air brakes. No one moves, too scared maybe. Most look away.

    Those that look away miss the soft embrace and the sweet smile. The gentle pat on the head. The brief glimpse of lucidity and humanity. The boy runs back to a scolding mother and the old woman babbles on, but in a different key.

    The train never comes. Likely, there was never a train to begin with. She waits for those who aren't afraid.

    1. "....the old woman babbles on, but in a different key." Love that.

    2. I can see this happening. It happened to my mother fairly frequently, randomly, and with joy. She loved children - everyone's children. They knew it and loved her back.

  11. Tim laid in bed, more relaxed than he’d been in what seemed like years, smoking a joint. Luanne was cuddled up close to him, already asleep, and he knew he better put that joint out before he fell asleep too. After years of slow-building unresolved sexual tension, they finally banged it out, while her brothers were out of the house. Thankfully, the initial awkwardness was mutual: Luanne had never seen a guy naked before, Tim had never seen a naked black girl before, not counting porn in both cases. After getting past that awkwardness, though, it was brilliant.

    He did miss Allison, but only a little, not enough to admit it out loud. He hadn’t seen her in months, and hadn’t been laid much since; the vast majority of his sexual career had been with her, as was the majority of his hard drug use. The sexual tension between him and Luanne first came to a head in a drunken makeout session some days before, followed by a quiet but serious conversation. Luanne admitted that she wanted to fuck him, too, but insisted that he get tested for sexually transmissible infections first, and that their sexual relationship was contingent on him continuing to stay clean. Any relapse into heroin use would be punished by cessation of sexual activity until he had been retested. Once he got the results back from the free clinic, within a couple of hours they were happily humping away.

    They agreed not to say anything, but knew, and dreaded, that eventually their friends and housemates would find out. Tim slightly feared that Jacob would get mad and want to fight him. But when Jacob did eventually get wind, his reaction was more to the tune of, “the fuck? You fuckin’ my sister, dude? Really? Well, if she gonna fuck on some raggedy-ass white dick, better yours than somebody even more useless. Seriously though, dogg, I ain’t mad at ya. If anything, I’m mad that you got a little brother and not a little sister for me to hit up, y’know what I’m sayin’?”

    1. Is Urban Pastoral a thing? It should be. There is a lot wrapped up in this piece, man. Well in.

    2. Urban Pastoral sounds like an oxymoron, like... leftover crack.

  12. Did you bitch loud enough? Can everyone hear it? Maybe you should get one of those spinning sign things. Fools do crazy shit with those. Gets people's attention - big thrills for the whole family. Then you can slip those skinny insults in between the cracks.

    Get a t-shirt made. A list of grievances. Make sure you pick a bright color. Like a vivid, envy green. Make sure your grievances get seen.

    If you've got the money, hire a plane - drag one of those big signs across the sky like you're trying to tear it open. Climb a tree and scream. Get some pamphlets made. You gotta want it. No one is going to care unless they see that you're insane enough to warrant attention. Shits and giggles.

    Or keep saying the same thing over and over. Maybe it will get stuck like a radio jingle.

  13. On little kitten feet it pattered in, softly, softly, and mostly unnoticed.

    As time passed the hours, it settled in, curling up on the left to tug a tickling reaction from my nose and make me sneeze. Bad move.

    Claws sink in deep. Teeth grab at my eye and hold tightly above and below. Pain streaks from these damaged areas to wrap securely around my senses. I want to scream, to pull away, to hide and lick my wounds, but there is no place to flee.

    The beast is growing, making my eyes fuzzy and my ears ring from the boost in blood pressure. A wave of nausea washes over me. It's getting harder to think or even move.

    The pain tells me I'm in trouble. It's another stroke.

    1. ohmigosh.... this is amazing description! I was there! Well done!

    2. Wow, agreed. Amazing how it builds, too.

    3. Yikes, brilliantly done. How this seemingly innocent, ordinary thing, turns to something huge

  14. Amazing, the healing power of the forehead kiss. Gentle and a little slobbery. Probably sticky with jam or residual juice. Maybe that makes the love stick better? Whatever reason, it is a form of magic, no doubt about that.

    It's almost silly the things a smile can do. Not so much with adults. Adults train themselves how to smile and forget how it's supposed to work. Kids hold the patent for genuine smiles. No question.

    Smiles and forehead kisses - laughter that erupts, shameless, from the very essence of life itself. Silly games with silly names. These are the things we rally around, glad the circus came to town.

  15. First kiss

    The night sky was spread out like an evening gown, sparkly with stars and oddly sheer, as if there were a way to see beyond it to glowing fabric underneath. The moon was like a big jeweled button fastened at the waist and the vision of it made Lacey think of dancing up there among the stars.

    She and Freddie passed a bank of honeysuckle and sweet jasmine, the fragrance stirred by a light breeze that added to the effect. She inhaled deeply, as if she could keep the moment inside herself, and store it up somehow in her heart.

    It had been that way since the party. He was Amy’s brother and two years older and as things were breaking up, he’d confidently grabbed her hand and announced he’d walk her home. His easy courage filled her with a terrified sort of happiness and now as, he clutched her sweaty hand in his own, she couldn’t help but wonder at the feeling. As if something you just learned about and never knew existed, could pass as quickly as the night and just as quickly be taken away. Was this what love was supposed to be like? Looking at someone as though you’d never seen them before? Lots of girls that Lacey knew pretended they knew all about it. They saw it in the movies and read the magazines. To Lacey, that made romance a sort of contagion, the same way you got a simply fever and all of a sudden came down with the flu. It astonished her how something as simple as a phone call, or a single kiss, could send them right over the edge to the point where they wrote their names over and over in their notebooks and dotted the I’s with hearts, Mrs. John Simpson, Mrs. Kathy Burns. It never made sense.

    But this was different. Lacey didn’t know much about being in love, just knew that when he turned to her, his green eyes reflected little flashes of silvery moon that somehow made her feel glad. And when she smiled, he smiled back and it was like meeting someone you’d never been before, Only it wasn’t Freddie, it was that person she was in her heart; like this magic belonged to her and was been there all along.

    When he turned and put his hands on her shoulders, she felt the dampness and heat and couldn’t help but tremble at the power of the touch. Maybe this was what love was, she thought. This feeling that made you want things you never knew you wanted, a magic that had been there all along.

    “You’re going to kiss me, aren’t you.” And even she didn’t know if it was question or statement, but Freddie grinned and said, “Yes, if you’ll let me.”

    “I don’t know what to do.” She’d read somewhere in a magazine, that if you bit your lips it made them fuller, so boys wanted to kiss you more. So, she ducked her head as though she were shy and chewed a little before lifting her chin.

    “You mean to tell me you’ve never been kissed?”

    She opened her eyes. “No. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know if I’m gonna like it.”

    Freddie inhaled and looked around, and for one long awful moment, she’d thought he’d changed his mind. Then he lifted her chin and she could see the stars again and feel their dancing before he told her. “Well, then “ he said. “I’d better get it right. Close your eyes.”

    That gentle pressure, soft and sweet, sent a fiery flutter through her guts. And when she opened her lips to his, the brief unexpected taste of him made her open wider, hungry as a baby bird, anxious to dance in the skies.

    After a moment, or a little bit longer, he broke away and faced her square.

    “So?” he asked. “Did you like it? If it wasn’t okay, just tell me. It’s okay, I’ll take you on home.”

    Lacey looked at him, not saying anything for another long moment, enjoying a little the way he shuffled his feet, the concern that darkened the silver in his eyes.

    She took a breath and ducked her head shyly. “I’m not sure yet,” she said, hiding her smile.

    “Maybe we ought to try that again.”

    1. Forgive me, as my brain is not functioning. This is a great piece. I think the thing I like most about this (and all your stuff) is that it's such CONFIDENT writing. Not arrogant. Just fucking rock solid.

    2. Well The voices in my head thank you very much, Mader. I think maybe the confidence is just, I dunno, I wrote so much, trying to find out what I was talking about? Appealing to the market? Learning the genre? Now, being the old broad diva that I am, I just don't feel the need to write down anything until the (narrative) voice in my head is clear and shouting. Is that confidence? Or just laziness? Does save some time in rewrite though :)

    3. It's beautiful.... all first kisses should be so lovely...

  16. Her teeth sank into his neck.

    “Honey,” he said, stiffening for a moment. “That hurt!”

    “Mmmm.” Veronique paused a moment. She curled her arm about him, cradling his head in her hand.

    Watts relaxed, her fluid humming now beginning to soothe him. Her teeth drove deeper into his flesh and his eyes began to grow tired.


    The woman rose from her prey, her mouth still blooded. She laid the man back on the bed, her manner abrupt and unmeasured, treating him more as though she would an animal. Or a piece of meat. Pulling his shirt open, she thrust her right hand inside his trouser pocket, searching for his wallet.

    “You're wasting your time, dear.”

    Veronique turned toward the voice, her hands still busy seeking out the man's ID.

    The newcomer eased the door fully open, closing it quietly behind him and then engaging the deadbolt. “He left it in his car. The Toyota Corolla parked out back. He never intended paying you.”

    The woman sat back on the bed, ignoring the pool of blood creeping further and further out from the man's body. “He's not dead. Yet. I need to know who he is before I finish him. He could cause me trouble if he's got family and dependents.” She shrugged. “And then there's you.”

    The second man nodded. He pulled his jacket open, drawing out a slim metalized case. “You smoke?”

    “No. It's a filthy habit.”

    The newer man's face stretched awkwardly, skin sliding across his cheekbones as his jaw shifted. “Worse than taking his life from him, drop by drop?”

    “No. But a woman's got to live, right?”

    The newcomer drew the room's only chair toward him, sitting casually on it as though he'd not witnessed a partially complete murder. He flexed his hands to open the case and pulled out a cigarette, careful to not drop his eyes from the woman's. “Some might say you gave up your rights some time ago. You chose to be what you are. Nobody coerced you.”

    “How little you know, Charles.” Veronique sniffed, scenting the blood again and then smiling wide-mouthed. “There's always more to the story than the teller tells you.”

    1. You bastard. You taunt us with your last line. ;) This is an awesome piece. I love it. You took what can sometimes be trite and bland and breathed life back into it. Super strong. You did the genre proud with this one. And yes, I want more.

    2. Yep... you took an oft told story and brought it back from the dead.... well played, well played.

  17. They say that a moment can't possibly change your life, but I've had too many life-changing moments to believe them. I was hitchhiking from Vegas to LA when a bunch of hippies came into my life. They took me to San Francisco and I ended up living in a commune for a year. It was the best year of my life, and ended at the Monterey Pop festival where I saw history being made.

    I saw all the greats. Jimi, The Who, Steve Miller, the Mamas & the Papas, and so many great artists were there, playing just for me. I'd been on shrooms for so long, and I lost count of how many lovers I'd taken to bed. That weekend woke me up. I had a woman I loved and she was leaving for LA. She had a line on a real job with a steady paycheck and vacation time, the whole deal.

    It all sounded so mundane to me, but she said she couldn't take the free and easy life anymore. Said she needed a more structured life, but she would miss me. Asked me to go with her. I'd dug my heels in. Said I loved my life and she was just a chick. Said there were a hundred more just like her. I might have even slapped her around a bit.

    Truth was, growing up and moving on scared the shit outta me. But while I watched those amazing musicians change the world, I admitted that I'd been lying to myself. I felt so empty without her there. I felt sick for letting her walk away. I waited until the Mamas and Papas played, but right after that I packed the few things I could call my own and hitched a ride to the City of Angels.

    It took months of groveling, getting a real place to live, working a steady job, and courting my sweet Sarah before she forgave me. Every minute was worth it. Sitting next to her as our friends and family help us celebrate our golden anniversary, I can't help but think about where it all started.


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