Tuesday 6 August 2013


The following is an uncompleted blog post:
From my bedroom, you can see out over my building's carpark and surrounding roads. S

Poignant, isn't it? I wonder how it could have ended? Such a pity I died before I could finish it, this, my unfinished masterpiece. Please be comforted by this picture of Catherine Howard:

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Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn's cousin-in-law ...
Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn's cousin-in-law and Queen of England, Henry VIII's fifth wife. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday 5 August 2013

The Bees and the bees. Or, could do better in the title department.

"Oh, it is nice, I won't deny that. But the bees! There're just so many bees! Good heavens, yes. Bees!"

 The face of the sun had come, shyly peeking from behind bush and thicket and had risen. Joyfully, it had reached up beyond the trees and rubbed across the sky like a cat. You know? When they rub against things. Well, a lion looks more like the sun. I suppose lions do that? Anyway, after that, it had stretched and yawned and for one brief moment that had shocked astronomers and confused everyone else, it had jumped back a bit, but now the sun had descended. Nightcap on and candle lit, it led itself to bed.

 And for all that time, I'd been stuck in a small, stereotypical British pub. You know the kind, you've seen them on American TV shows where they pretend to be in England. Everyone has bad teeth and they're drinking out of glass tankards and the food's bad. That's the kind of crude national stereotypes I hate, but then again, you can't expect anything better than crude generalisations from Americans. Human waste, that's what they are, with no right to live on God's green earth.

 I think I got a little bit distracted. First it was that lion thing, then the ethnic hate. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that I'd been dragged to a public house in the early hours of the morning and held there, trapped by aggressive and forceful conversation, by a dear old friend. A blessed school chum. I'd forgotten he existed, and frankly, whenever I lost sight of him, I forgot about him again.

 "Now, the thing about these bees is... wait for it... They're not properly insured! Now, of course, the bees themselves wouldn't have insurance; that would be ridiculous! No, how would they sign the paperwork? No, their owners don't have insurance. Yes, bee insurance. Its a great thing, is bee insurance. Now, are you sure I can't interest you in taking out one of our policies? They're very competitively priced."

 "Thank you, but no." I replied. "It's not that I'm not interested, but I don't actually have any bees. As I've told you. Over a dozen times. Over, in fact, a baker's dozen times. I don't have any bees. I don't have bee-related paraphernalia. I don't have a huge quantity of honey that  requires financial safeguards to protect my income should said honey be damaged or stolen by bees. Even " - and here I interrupted him - " Even if the honey is damaged through human or other, non-bee, species-based error."

 "Oh. Well, right... " He replied. He had a name, I think, but I forgot somewhere between the not caring and the drinking. "Well, what about wasps? Got any wasps? I can insure them as well. Very popular, are wasps, and they make delicious things. Not honey, of course, but little scones. And crisps, can't go wrong with wasp crisps."

 I nodded sagely. Later, of course, I would discover - with fatal consequences - that you could actually go wrong with wasp crisps. But that's a story for another day.

 Actually, I might as well tell it now, because I have no idea where I'm going with this.

 I had some wasps at my cousin's wedding, and nine people died. It was the crisps' fault, although no-one knows how they did it. Something, something, pun on the phrase 'fried', which could refer to the process of cooking crisps by frying, or execution by electrocution.

 That was unsatisfying, wasn't it?

 Anyway, the day had drawn to a close, like a blind or curtain someone had closed at the end of the day. The pub closed, and a man said 'gents' a lot, and we spilled into the night air. Not literally the air, we were still on the ground. We can't fly, the sky is for Gods and bees alone.

 Jesus, where am I going with this? I don't have a conclusion. Fuck.


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Thursday 27 December 2012

Cooking with the author

In this festive season, many people like to cook. Perhaps you enjoy cooking, or suffer from a form of masochism. Either way, it seems unlikely you're as perfect as me in any way, so here are some cooking tips and an interwoven recipe.

Step 1: Preparation

 The most important part of any cooking enterprise is good preparation. The second most important part is to use edible ingredients, not tinfoil and caterpillars, but we'll talk more about that later. Firstly, gather all your  utensils and other kitchen equipment together in a heap. This should include items you have no intention of using, as it allows you to get more items dirty at a quicker pace. This is the real secret to cooking.

Step 2: Cooking

  The next step is to actually cook your dish. In this scenario, you are making some pesto, because I did that earlier. Take some basil leaves, an indiscriminate amount of pine nuts, parmesan cheese and some olive oil, and blend in a food blender. No, I'm not going to tell you how much of each ingredient you will need. Numbers are an illusion from which you must free yourself.

Step 3: Sobbing

 Collapse on the floor crying. Your dreams will never come true. Weep, weep for the death of your innocence, and because you have a lot of washing up to do later. Your pesto is unpleasantly green and lumpy, and your life is going nowhere. You will never recapture that sense of belonging, that happiness and completeness you felt in a dream last Thursday. Is there a word for that? There's probably one in German, they're good at words like that. Also, if you're that kind of person, you could make a joke about the War. It's been a while though, and almost everyone involved is dead. You should move on.

Step 4: Washing up.

 Wash the plates, utensils and beloved pets you used in the cooking process. Be sure to leave smeary streaks of olive oil on your glasswear, and basil leaves in your sink. This will add to the aura of your being. Imagine you have taken your worries out of your head and placed them in an basket. You have tied the basket to a balloon, and you are watching your worries float away. Eat fibre to avoid constipation.

Step 5: Mixed herbs

 Add some mixed herbs. A 'real' chef would use specially-chosen, fresh herbs. However, this is actually a sup to Cthulhu, the being of infinite horror to which all Chefs pray. Avoid involving the notoriously troublesome entity in your cooking by using a tub of mixed herbs from your local supermarket. Their green bittiness will enhance any meal, even if it is a test-tube filled with custard.

Step 6: Pray and Order a Takeaway

 This is the last step in any successful cooking ritual. First, offer a prayer to God. As per the Old Testament  do not offer your young to Moloch. Prayer is a strong force for good in the world, and if you're lucky, God might give you Clip-Clop, the pony you always wanted. This done, use a telephone or the internet to demand someone else brings food to your house. Or just eat raw meat. Perhaps you could go outside and take bites out of a hedgehog? They're hibernating right now, so you should be able to get past the spikes easily.


 This concludes "Cooking with the author", an exciting new blog feature that we shall never speak of again. Follow these six simple steps and you could soon be starving to death. Amaze your friends! Fuck off! Do something in between!
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Monday 12 November 2012

Norman Vs. Nature.

 Sipping his takeaway coffee gently, aware it was still hot, and reading his newspaper in the midday sun, Norman felt content. The park - his standard lunchtime haunt for the last few weeks - had recently been renovated by a team of doctors, heart and lung specialists mainly, and the flowers looked particularly beautiful. Taking another bite of his sandwich - egg and cress, wholemeal bread - Norman sighed contently and watched birds frolicking naked in a nearby birdbath.
 A small, scuttling noise disturbed his revelry. A squirrel, twitching and scurrying his eyes, had mounted the bench and began a detailed investigation of Norman's abandoned sandwich wrapping.
 "Hello, little fellow." Norman said.
 The squirrel gave him a slow, calculated look.
 "What's that supposed to mean? 'Little fellow'?"
 "Oh, sorry," Norman replied, "I didn't... erm... Well, I just meant..."
 "Look," the squirrel interrupted, "it doesn't matter what you meant. There was no need to say that. I've got a genetic condition actually. It shortens my lifespan by around 15 years, and it makes it very hard for me to get squirrel clothes that fit. I  have to shop in the children's department. And it really takes a lot of confidence for me to come up to a complete stranger and look for crumbs."
 "I... Well, I didn't... I didn't mean to cause offence... I was just being friendly..." Norman replied.
 A small crowd had gathered, watching the scene with interest.
 "Friendly? You think this is how to be friendly?" The squirrel yelled. "What the hell's wrong with you? I've seen you here before, and you always feed those ducks and the sparrows. But the second I come near you, bang! You turn into a dick. Is it because I'm a squirrel? Is that it? You've got a problem with squirrels, haven't you?"
 "Well, no, or course not. What a ridiculous thing to say!"
 The crowd had grown in size now. A few people were shaking their heads at Norman in disgust, and a mother was covering the ears of her child.
 "Ridiculous? So I'm stupid now? A stupid squirrel, is that it?"
 Norman had risen from his seat, trying to back off with some dignity.
 "Yes!" Yelled the squirrel, "You run off! Run back to your human world, where you only have to look at squirrels if you run them over."
 The crowd parted to let Norman pass, pulling back as if he was infectious. A little old lady spat in his direction, and a man held back his friend, a red-faced brute cursing and hissing with hate. The number 47 bus pulled up, and Norman quickly boarded, passing the driver his return ticket and sinking into a seat near the back. The bus left, the crowd angrily watching but, fortunately, taking no further action.
 Norman watched as the park disappeared behind a bend in the road, being replaced with a microwave shop and a small office block. He sighed, taking out his map of city parks and plazas, and stroked the park off with a red pen. That made seven now; seven parks where he had accidentally racially insulted a talking animal. Lunch time was becoming more of a burden everyday, and he was having to take increasingly long routes in the morning to avoid all the places he had caused offence. 
 Of course, he could just eat in the office, but that would mean using the staff dining room, and there was a good chance one of the Belarusian workers would sit near him.
 Fucking Belarusians.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Ride The Moustache

A man with a distinctive moustache. Photograph...
A man with a distinctive moustache.
 Photographed June 3, 2006 at Galesburg,
Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I reread the sign, slowly. "Ride The Moustache." I paused, contemplated, and poked my contact lenses to check they were working. Candy floss staining my eyeball, I rereread the sign, mulling over the message in my head.

 I realised I don't wear contact lenses first. Secondly, I realised it said, "Ride The Moustache." The sign definitely invited me - and, I presume, anyone else who could read - to ride the moustache. I examined the ride, nodding thoughtfully, sucking on my teeth, even humming cautiously at one point. It was, to the untrained eye, a teacup ride. Except, the teacups - and they were teacups, once, because they looked like teacups with the handles broken off - were moustaches. Crude moustaches made of teacups, parts of brooms and a lot of black paint, but moustaches none the less.

 "Ride the moustache, good Sir?" Said the portly gentleman manning the stall. He was a typical carnival man, short, squat and dressed in yellow tweed - tweed jacket, tweet waistcoat, tweed plus-fours, tweed deerstalker, tweed monocle, tweed so on and so forth. My eye worked my way up his body, past his tweed and his shirt and bow-tie - both, also, tweed - and eventually, I focused on his moustache. It was not tweed, instead, it was hair and large and bushy and well-suited to a man dressed entirely in tweed.

 For a moment, I froze. "Ride the moustache?" He asked again, his mouth actually obscured by his own moustache. "Ride the moustache?" The giant moustache asked. Slowly, time slowed. I know that sounds stupid, but it got gradually slower before settling into one speed, slower than normal. You understand, yea?

 The lights dimmed. There was nothing but me and the moustache. "Ride the moustache?" He asked again. "Ride me?".

 "I...I, what?"

 "Ride me!" the moustache yelled. "There is nothing but me!"

 "What about the other moustaches?" I asked, knowing the question to be folly. There was only darkness, and the moustache, floating in the air, bands of colour emerging from the hidden face behind and psychedelically slinking into the air.

"RIDE ME!" The moustache yelled again. I can't, I wanted to reply, I don't want to. I've just bought new heads for my razor, and they cost me an extortionate amount of money, so I can't go getting involved with moustaches right now. Leave me alone, I wanted to yell. I stayed quiet. The moustache continued to stare at me.

 I shook my head, and it faded like a dream. Time resumed, the moustache shrunk and returned to the tweed man's face. Noting my disinterest, he turned and headed towards new potential customers. I held my head in my hands and wept. This was getting too strange for me. I must stop huffing bacon-double-cheeseburgers from a spongebag before I go to the fair.
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Friday 14 September 2012

On the Road again.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 08:  An empty road leads...
The Road. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
"Yes, it really was an awful game." I said to the bartender. "Our team certainly did abysmally."

 We shared a laugh. I tried, once again, to trust my money upon the man, hoping that I could escape this torturous interaction before anyone realised I had no idea what sport we were talking about.

 "Ok, here you are." He said, placing my drink in front of me. "Anything else?"

 "Well, I'll take another for the road." I replied.

 "Thank!" Yelled the road, "You're a good sort... Much better than Franco. Stupid dictator, never bought me any flowers."

 I nodded politely. I hated the road, but he was married to my sister and I was socially obliged to spend time with him. Of course, he was all right sober, but as soon as we reached the bar, Oh! He'd left his wallet in his other layby, would I get this round and he'd get the next? "Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to pop round Tuesday and repay you for the drinks, but I had to wait because some workmen were coming to install some traffic lights on me."

 "Thanks... Thanks again, Alan," he belched and mumbled on my return. "You're a good man, but you'd... you'd better not hit me drunk. You know? Hit the road? Like driving? But drunk, so drunk driving? You know, so you shouldn't drink drive? It... it is a play on words?"

 I agreed, it was a play on words. It wasn't a good play on words, and it hadn't been the first time he told me that joke in 1987. And my name had never been Alan.

 I fucking hate the road.
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Thursday 19 July 2012

Breakfast, Or Keith's Unfortunate Meal, Volume 1

Some Sexy Porridge
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Keith stirred his porridge idly, his eyes gazing across his paper carelessly as he digested oats and news. In time, Keith finished his breakfast, neatly folding up the newspaper and carrying the bowl to the sink. A relatively tidy, if somewhat lazy man, Keith noticed he had left the package of porridge oats sitting half open besides the sink.

“Ooh”. Said the oats suggestively.

Keith paused. He scrunched up his eyebrows and flexed his eyes while he contemplated the package. Obviously, the oats hadn’t just sighed in pleasure. Keith hadn’t gotten much sleep last night and that, he decided, was the problem. Just his mind playing tricks on him. Looking around for the clip he used to keep the porridge packet closed, Keith brushed past the foodstuff.

“Yea! Yeaaaa”. The Porridge moaned.

Keith checked his watch. 10 minutes until he had to leave for work. Picking up the bag of oats, he headed towards his bedroom. Then, he turned off into the bathroom. After he’d strangled the oats, he cut off their head, hands and feet to prevent anyone identifying them, scribbling over the brand name and barcode on the packaging. Then, he dug a hole in his back yard, pouring the oats into the whole, and filling it with topsoil. Quickly, with the poise and speed of a seasoned expert, Keith cleaned up the kitchen, hiding any evidence the porridge had ever been there. That done, he fixed his face into a practised smile and headed to work.
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Monday 9 July 2012

A Drawer

I wrote this post over Christmas. I takes place in the past, but I'm sure you'll cope:

I'm tidying out a drawer in my room at my parent's house, full of things from when I was 10-15. Yea, that's right, I'm posting a list of things I found in a drawer. If you don't like that, why not just buy a bloody yacht? Anyway, here's some stuff:
  • A recruiting leaflet for the British Army. Surely there're some ethical issues with giving these to children? It proclaims that the Highlands produce the best soldiers. Jingoism is always a good way to get kids into the army. I joined when I was 14, and I never looked back.
  • A leaflet about things "below the belt", sent by my doctor's surgery for my 14th birthday. I now understand that I have a penis. On page 6, a remarkably sinister boy explains how he masturbates, and on the next page, a diagram explains its normal to fantasise about your naked body being nibbled all over by rabbits. I have never fantasied about lying naked in a field, having rabbits chew on my extremities, probably because I'm a sexual deviant. 
  • A fluffy sticker of Gnasher, Dennis the Menace's dog. It has googly eyes, and probably fleas. 
  • A Lizard. It's a toy, made of plastic. You rarely see lizards in Scotland, during the winter, in bedroom cabinets. I did see one on the garden fence once though. He had a long tail. If I kept a diary, I would have made a note of it under the title, 'Lizard!'
  • A notepad, blank except for two pages with drawings on them. The first drawing shows a Giant, smiling and holding onto a bridge, fighting a dozen tiny people as they attack him with rockets, inexplicably wielded by hand. The giant has a cross pattern on his chest, which made me think it might be a political satire in which the giant represents Britain. Then I realise its just an explosion. The second sketch is stranger; a warhead of some sort extends its hand in peace, but no-one will receive it. Alternatively, its some guy in a cloak.
  • 4 wax crayons. I'm keeping these, they taste delicious.
  • A flier advertising a free toy that accompanied some Walker's Crisps - a coloured piece of diamond-shaped card. Apparently, the objective is to buy lots of crisps and get many different coloured bits of card. They seem to slot together to make a big piece of card, made of different colours. From now on, whenever people tell me toys were better when we were growing up, I will stab them in the appendix.
I now move onto the second drawer:
  • Mostly Star Wars stuff. A Phantom Menace "Data file". Its half-diary, half Star Wars facts. The diary section is untouched. I may keep this and use it in my day-to-day life. It will prove useful if I ever see a lizard again.
  • A Colin Mcrae rally print, with a printed signature, from 2005. Unsurprisingly, it pre-dates Mr. Mcrae's death.
  • A World of Warcraft poster, again with printed signatures. I played WoW once. A rat beat me up and laughed at me. That was during the download process.
  • A book called "Christmas Cats". It features a lot of cats doing Christmas things, like stabbing a stranger in a shopping centre because you both want the last hand-knitted sweater that your husband Ian has been just dying for. Actually, they're just standing under mistletoe and wearing hats, that kind of thing. I tried to put a hat on my cat once. In the ensuing struggle, I lost a nipple. I'm joking, but not much. I am scarred.
  • Star wars again: this time, a "Official 20th Anniversary Commemorative Souvenir" magazine. It cost £4.95, which was a lot back then for a magazine. I think I bought it with a £5 book voucher I had for WHSmiths. It features a lot of information about where the cast are now. Most of it is probably wrong by now, especially the info about Sir Alec Guinness, who is in Heaven.
  • An assortment of Star Wars paperbacks by Timothy Zahn, including the Thrawn trilogy. Also, some Star Wars cards. The front shows a photo of a character, and on the flipside, an illustration. The illustrated character is generally unrelated to the photographed, leading to wonder what the point of the whole thing is. Life is futile. Still, the shot of Carrie Fisher is nice. I would still do Princess Leia.
  • Severed Star Wars character heads. I think they used to hold sweets. Two Chewbaccas, two Yodas, one C-3PO and one Darth Vader. Ideally, I would have 2 Darth Vaders, even if it meant sacrificing a C-3PO. I would also have rather R2 D2, but I suppose the way the sweet containers are designed would make that unfeasible. I would still do R2 D2
The third and final drawer.
  • More Star Wars. This time, two small picture books, one for A New Hope, and another for The Empire Strikes Back. I prefer the Empire Strikes Back book, as it has a photo for the cover, and seems more professionally made.
  • The script and accompanying photographs for a presentation I gave on Red Squirrels in second year. That is, second year at Academy (Aged about 13), rather than my second year of University, where I believe I gave a presentation on Hugh Trever-Roper,  Baron Dacre of Glanton's Scottish history. I didn't think it was entirely prejudiced-free. Trever-Roper was a noted expert on the last days of Nazi Germany, but discredited after he 'verified' the forged Hitler diaries. He knew little of red squirrels.
  • Dust. There's a lot of dust. It's like someone cremated my memories and stored them at the bottom of a chest of drawers. But they didn't, that would be stupid, and this is just dust.
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Saturday 7 July 2012

Sexy hijinx

I discarded my keys in the bowl beside the door, removed my hat and coat and let out a satisfied sigh. Another hard day at the... Well, I don't really do anything. I go out, smartly dressed, and eat sandwiches for 7 hours before walking home. But I digress.

 After a hard day at the, well, park bench I liked to sit on, it was nice to come home and relax. Of course, and you're probably ahead of me here, I was not to receive the pleasant evening in front of the television I'd hoped to enjoy. In my kitchen I wandered lonely like a cloud, hoping to make myself a refreshing cup of coffee to feed my horrible addiction. The addiction is to heroin rather than coffee, of course, but I buy strange, opium-based coffee beans that help me get through the day.

 But I digress again. In the kitchen, there were two men. They were large, handsome muscular men wearing only tight trousers and braces that crossed their oiled, well-toned chests. On their heads, they had little yellow builders hats. I assumed, therefore, they were some kind of sexy builders. Or someone had sent me man-strippers again. It happens remarkably frequently.

 "Evening," I addressed the men casually. I wasn't in the mood for their well-toned, homoerotic shenanigans.

 "Evening," One replied. The other smiled and nodded politely, "Your conservatory's coming along nicely, we should be finished by Friday."

 "Oh," I mumbled weakly, "That's good."

 Excusing myself, I slipped into the back yard. Nope, no half-build conservatory there. I checked the rest of the house - nothing on the side, on the garden shed, or on the roof. No-one was building me a conservatory. None of the neighbours were building me a conservatory. There was no conservatory.

 I returned to my house, angry and confused - like every other time I see an attractive, semi-dressed man I suppose - to confront my intruders.

"Alright gaffer?" The builder greeted me. "Happy with how things are coming along?"

 "Well lads, sort of. I was just wondering... There's, erm... There's no actual building work going out there. And I don't remember hiring you or anything."

 The men recoiled, their faces convulsing in terror. Shocked, pale and panic-stricken, they raced to the back yard.

 I watched from my kitchen window as they raced around my back garden. They were still very greasy and very half-dressed, and a few passers-bye had stopped to watch the hi-jinx. A passing cat hopped over my fence and stopped as well, watching the scene for a few moments before turning tail and fleeing. The builders, having fallen first into a furious row over who was to blame for the lack of conservatory, had now fallen onto each other in the middle of the lawn and engaged in a spirited wrestling match. Their greasy bodies sweating and bumping together, they disrupted several of my garden gnomes and flattened a rather promising ant-hill. The onlookers had started to cheer and take pictures as the fight continued to unfold, and a small bus filled with elderly nuns had stopped nearby. I shrugged, and having made myself a cup of coffee, folded out a lawnchair and sat down to watch.

 Time dragged on, and day turned laboriously to night. The mysterious guests wrestled long into the evening, and around midnight, I fell asleep. When I woke up, they were gone, and to this day I still know not who they were or why they came to my house. There was, however, a freshly-built conservatory attached to my house in the morning. It's really very nice, and no-one charged me for it.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Women, eh?

The sun was just setting when she came up to the bench and sat down beside me. Five-foot-three, with fiery black hair and shoes to match, she folded legs far longer than her height would allow and placed herself uncomfortably close to me. I mumbled a greeting nervously, as I've never been comfortable around women, or men, or carrots for that matter. The last rays of the day caressed our faces, and she turned to look at me.

 A moment or two passed. My ear, uncomfortable under her gaze, heated up and began to glow. I turned to meet her eyes, as one does, and smiled the small, polite smile of a serial killer. She met my gaze and held it, and I in turn could not look away because of terrible neck cramp. The sun continued to set, and was very bright in the corner of my eye.

Time passed, then at last she opened her mouth. Her voice was golden like gold or wood covered in gold-leaf paint, and she spoke thusly;

 "Do you like ants?"

 I pondered the question. It was, I decided, pretty cool how they worked together and carried really heavy things like leafs and baby elephants. Yes, I decided, they're ok. My mind made up, I dedicated my rhetorical skills to the subject.

 "Yes, they're ok." I replied.

 She smiled.

 "So do I." She said. "Look!"

 She took my gaze, and brought it to focus on her necklace. It was made entirely of ants, each tied by its front legs to the rear legs of the next. I looked in horror at the creatures, their broken legs twisted beyond repair, their eyes crying softly out to me, begging me to end their suffering. Shocked, I watched the necklace for perhaps an hour. Around us, it became dark.

 "Why... Why would you do that?" I asked.

 She just smiled. At length, she faded like mist, evaporating in the dying rays of the sun. I sat a while longer on the bench, pondering the things one ponders at times such as this, and then ate a sandwich. I never saw her again, and wonder to this day if she even existed.
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