Microcosms 132

Welcome, flashionistas, to Microcosms 132.

This week’s contest is based on events and anniversaries that occurred on this day (20-JUL).

  • 1903 – The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile
  • 1944 – World War II: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
  • 1947 – Birth of Carlos Santana, Mexican-American singer-songwriter and guitarist    
  • 1960 – Sirimavo Bandaranaike is elected Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka): the world’s first elected female head of government
  • 1969 – Apollo 11‘s crew successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon
  • 2005 – Death of James Doohan, Canadian-American actor, famous as “Scotty” in ‘Star Trek’

 
Geoff

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Assassin, Location: Woodstock, and genre: Drama.

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry – not included in the word count.
*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS **

 

  • Automobile Assembler
  • Assassin
  • Rock Guitarist
  • Female Politician
  • Astronaut
  • Engineer
  • Factory
  • Wolf’s Lair
  • Woodstock
  • Island
  • Lunar Lander
  • Starship
  • Crime
  • Sci-Fi
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Horror
  • Romance

 

Spin!

 
Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Bill Engleson, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

 

REMEMBER: all submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length (excluding the title).

You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EDT) to write and submit your masterpiece.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 133
Microcosms 131

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17 comments for “Microcosms 132

  1. Eloise
    20 July 2018 at 2:53 am

    269 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    A Daughter’s Affair

    This would be my first hit. I wasn’t prepared for the filth when I got to the festival venue. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay to attend this blasted music event. All the people stood before the stage with their arms raised in idol worship of the singers. Didn’t they know these people were just like us? They had problems like we did. They experienced pain like we did. They had affairs. That was why I was here. I had been asked by my best friend to assassinate her husband’s piece on the side. I was told she would be wearing a yellow flower in her hair and a long flowing dress. That describe about 90% of the girls at the concert. Luckily I knew who the offending man was. I would just look for the girl who caught his eye. I hid behind the scaffolding.

    The music started to blare. I felt like I had gone deaf. But it was ok. I didn’t need my ears for this job. There were three girls with yellow flowers and long flowing dresses looking at the singer like he was their one and only. How would I know which one was his one and only? He ran up and down the stage. Singing his lungs out. Then the tempo dropped. This was the song. His wife had thought it was for her but alas. He kneeled down on the stage and grabbed the hand of the middle girl. My mark. I aimed and shot. She fell. He gulped. I weeped. I never thought I would have to shoot my own daughter.

    5+
  2. Angelique Pacheco
    20 July 2018 at 3:19 am

    300 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    To Kill or to Love

    She wasn’t listening to him. She pulled away and started running. He took off after her trying his best not trip over the ever-lovin’, glassy-eyed hippies strewn over the lawn, swaying in time to the music like worms in the light. He finally caught her.

    “Leave me alone! I can’t love you after this! What did you think? That I’d be happy about your choice in career?” She hissed this last part so others wouldn’t hear.

    “Babe! I’m sorry, but it’s my job. I work for the government and sometimes I have to dispose of enemies. It’s to protect you and everyone you love.”

    “How can you even be here then, singing songs about peace and love?”

    “My job creates peace!”

    She shook her head, tears running down her face.

    “I love you and I want to marry you and that’s why I told you. Because I trust you. I don’t assassinate puppies for crying out loud! Enemies of the state only. People who want to harm us. If those enemies didn’t exist, there would be no need for our men to go into battle and we wouldn’t need music festivals like Woodstock to protest war.”

    She was looking down at her feet and he could see she was thinking. He’d always admired her logic. The old folks would have you believe that women were silly, frivolous and dumb, but he knew better. He needed to convince her that what he did was important even if it wasn’t conventional. The alternative was too horrid to contemplate. He would have to silence her if she didn’t agree.

    An old, bearded man, wearing a garland of flowers in his hair, shuffled past and said, “Hey dudes don’t assassinate love, man!” She looked up. Her mouth twitched. Then, they both laughed.

    3+
  3. steve lodge
    20 July 2018 at 4:03 am

    @steveweave71
    300 words
    Female Politician; Island; Crime

    I Hope That Someone Gets My…

    Being elected the first female politician in Belzonia was a real test for me and my countrymen. I would admit, my past was “colourful” and I had enemies in high places. My history could easily discredit me. I’d packed a lot into my 28 years… OK, I’ll go as high as 38, but not a penny more. Anyway, about two weeks ago, I was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken by boat to this remote dot of an island, with a burlap sack over my head. I’ve been exiled in the Aegean. Stranded.

    This message goes into my final cola bottle and I will hurl it into the sea. My last defiant act.

    Two other souls inhabit this forgotten island. Papadopoulos leers at me in a, frankly, cannibalistic way. He’s about a hundred but still retains one long tooth, which could probably plough a field. The other is a goat. I call him Spinach, the name of our Belzonian dictator, who, no doubt, organised my exile. Spinach the goat is safe. I am vegetarian.

    The ferryman had stopped at one quayside, breakfasting apparently on ouzo, feta cheese and a stifado catastropholos. Through a slit in the sack, I saw the sign: “Welcome To Cystitis”. I had spent time on this island with my then girlfriend, Maria Dolmadis, while she took ukulele lessons.

    The next leg of my journey was long and punctuated by ferryman farts. There was another person on board, the ferryman called him Higgle, a silent assassin from my country.

    This island has poor shelter. My only source of food is broccoli. Other food left me by the ferryman disappeared one night in a twin attack on my shelter by Papadopoulos and the goat, while I was bathing.

    Today is 4th May 2012. If you read this soon, please rescue me.

    1+
  4. 20 July 2018 at 4:43 am

    @VicenteLRuiz
    246 words
    Automobile Assembler; Lunar Lander; SciFi

    A Bedtime Story

    “Tell me a story about Nana, Mum,” her daughter asked.

    “Another one? Which one do you prefer?” but she already knew.

    “Tell me about Nana and the Moon!” the girl said.

    “Again? But you already know it.” How much longer will she ask for it? How long till she tires of hearing it?

    “I don’t mind, Mum. Tell me!” Perhaps she won’t tire. She never did.

    “Very well, here it goes.

    “One day the rocket people called Nana’s office and called her over. Nana had always loved rockets, and when the rocket people call you, it’s exciting, so she went.

    “‘We want to put a man on the Moon again’, they told her.

    “‘A person’, she said.

    “‘Well, yes,’ they said.

    “‘And why do you need me?’ Nana asked.

    “‘We want those… persons to drive rovers on the Moon. And they will be electric.’

    “‘And?’

    “‘Well, your company is the best builder of electric cars. We want your help.’

    “‘You need my help.’

    “‘Well, yes.’

    “Nana thought about it. You have to understand, nobody had walked on the Moon for a very long time. Things were really, really difficult. But Nana was a great woman, and she knew her business, building electric cars, very well.

    “‘Alright, I will help,’ she said. ‘On one condition.’

    “‘What is it?’ they said.

    “‘I want my name on the Moon,’ Nana said.

    “And that is why our city on the Moon is called Kamaria. Like you. Now go to sleep!”

    3+
  5. 20 July 2018 at 7:09 am

    Twitter: @geofflepard
    298 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    It’s Never Too Late To Die Young

    Harry smiled as Melissa perched the daisy crown on his head. She pushed a grey wisp from his scalp. ‘These things used to stay put when you had hair.’
    A clash of metal on metal made him start. The Assassin’s stage filled with light and smoke as the opening bars of Sweet Home Alabama cracked the air.
    Harry adjusted his deaf aid, shifting his seat.
    ‘You want to stand?’
    He shook his head. ‘I’ll save it for Hendrix. Always thought Van Zant overrated. Can’t waste my energy.’
    ‘Or your pain relief.’
    ‘Bah. There’s life in the old dog, eh? Who’s next?’
    ‘After Jimi, it’s Morrison, then Buddy, then Bolan…’
    ‘I’ll have my kip then…’
    ‘Closing with Freddie.’
    Harry coughed greeny phlegm on the ground. ‘For a Brit, he’s ok.’ The old man’s rheumy eyes took in the empty fields, the wispy corn and the one tractor ploughing steadily in the distance.’
    ‘You think it’s bigger now than then?’
    Melissa wiped a bead of sweat from his cheek. ‘I expect so. They’ve worked hard to get the old crews back for one last concert.’
    Harry coughed and held his side, allowing the pain to ripple across his stomach. He watched as the song ended and Melissa put a new disc in the machine. ‘I always thought them lucky, you know. Dying young.’
    ‘Not long now.’
    A spot picked out Hendrix as he riffed across Purple Haze. ‘Never did see Jimi.’
    ‘But you said….’
    ‘Yeah. I lied young. Ha!’ Harry shut his eyes. ‘I’ll kip now. Thanks, Mel.’
    Melissa watched her father close his eyes. She turned off the music and shut her laptop. Birdsong filled the air, nature’s harmonies carrying his soul to his long-lost soulmates. Maybe now he’d see Jimi play as he always said he had.

    5+
    • Eloise
      20 July 2018 at 9:00 am

      What a lovely story. I could feel the sentiment all the way through.

      1+
  6. 20 July 2018 at 9:54 am

    Twitter: @hollygeely
    297 words
    Rock Guitarist; Island; Horror

    Them

    The giant snails didn’t appreciate real music, but the monkeys were warming up to it. The concerts might have been better with more equipment, but frankly, it was a miracle that the guitar had survived. His memory of the journey was hazy, but he’d washed up on this island cold and alone, drowning in his life’s irony.

    ‘Shipwreck’ had seemed like a sweet name at the time.

    Shipwreck played his jungle concerts at night. The noise kept the things away. He didn’t know what the things were. He couldn’t sleep at night in the dark because they were watching. They whispered to him in the voices of his fallen comrades. He knew they weren’t hallucinations because he had no access to his favorite drugs.

    They were there. They were real. And they were waiting.

    They didn’t bother him by the light of day. He hunted, fished, and sunbathed. He relaxed in his makeshift palm-leaf home and watered his plants. He ate coconuts and drank juice from fallen and fermented fruits. He built monuments for his lost band mates; a sand castle for Stabby, a coconut pile for Forensicz, and a big hole for Mark. He missed them. The voices in the dark sounded so much like them.

    At night, he played music, and prayed they wouldn’t get him.

    *

    “He’s still sleeping on those leaves. Shouldn’t we drag him to the cabin?” said Mark.

    “He keeps telling us to get lost. I say we leave him be. This is his holiday too, and if he wants to be alone, let him be alone,” said Stabby.

    “Let’s ask him. Hey Shipwreck, you want to go sailing with us tomorrow?” asked Forensicz.

    “BEGONE, FOUL DEMONS!”

    “See? He wants to be alone. Let’s go drinking,” said Stabby.

    And they did.

    2+
  7. Xander Page
    20 July 2018 at 12:44 pm

    300 words
    Assassin; Starship; Horror

    A Historic Day

    Devian woke up panicked. He woke up late again. He was tired and slightly hung-over from the previous evening where he tried to get “Dutch Courage” in order to survive today.

    It was the 20th of July 2249 – Inspection day onboard Starship Apollo. Admiral Nortenheimer was going to come on board and evaluate the ship and the staff. These inspections happened annually to make sure the fleet was performing at optimum performance. Failure had fatal consequences. Devian was simply a cleaner from the Mars colony, but today he was going to be a hero by assassinating Admiral Nortenheimer. Not only did his honour as a Martian depend on this, but so did the fate of the Martian Revolution. Today was going to be a historic day.

    Devian left his quarters and entered an unusually silent passage, the passage was usually filled with life. Devian checked his pocket for the gun with the single bullet that he would use to assassinate the Admiral with, and then he made his way to the Dock Bay where the assembly for the inspection would be taking place.

    The sight that Devian met when he entered the Docking Bay was of extreme horror. The Docking Bay was flooded red with blood and the air smelled heavy of iron. Ripped apart human corpses were spread across the bay like meat in the back room of a street-side butcher. In the centre of the massacre stood a single creature, Devian had no time to be horrified by the creature’s grotesque appearance because the creature came screaming towards him. The final act Devian performed in his life was to fire the single bullet he kept for the Admiral.

    20th of July 2249 was a historic day. It was the day humanity made first contact with a new life form.

    4+
  8. Mileva Anastasiadou
    20 July 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Twitter: @happymil_
    300 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    Poor Man’s Moody Blues

    I’m here to observe. I’ve tried to mingle, yet it’s not easy. These brats are so elitist and pretentious, that they wouldn’t accept anyone in their company unless they’re dressed accordingly.

    I light a cigarette, unbutton my shirt and pretend to move to the rhythm of the music.

    A girl approaches, swaying her way through the crowd.

    “Are you alone?” she asks. I nod without saying a word.

    The man on the stage moves like a maniac, singing about his friends. A last sip of freedom before I join the army. I’ll soon be trained to be an assassin. I had no option, coming from a poor family.

    “You always have a choice,” she says.

    Sometimes I envy people of her kind. For bonding, traveling, living the moment. I almost wish I was one of them. It’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake. I’d also love to change the world, if I had no reason to, if all else was into place.

    She takes my hand and holds it tightly. I close my eyes and let music flow inside me, and for a while, I’m one of them.

    When I open my eyes, I see her kissing some other man. I stay still, staring at them. For a moment, I feel part of those novels, in which love triangles are abundant because the characters don’t have other problems, don’t go to work or pay bills, so they fight with each other to establish a plot.

    “What’s wrong with you?” she asks.

    I run and run until I’m as far away as possible.

    Someday, there’ll be peace on earth. The world will be a fair place. Justice will prevail.

    Not today. Today, I’m poor, alone and doomed to be an assassin.

    13+
  9. Arianna Hammond
    20 July 2018 at 2:39 pm

    300 words
    Rock Guitarist; Starship; Drama

    With The Stars

    Tears glisten as they spill down my face. I don’t care of they wreak havoc throughout the ship. Let them. They all deserve it. My hands start to shake along with my blood, simmering to a boil. I feel raw with emotion, fueled to smash anything or anyone for that matter, light and broken at the same time. Without a second thought, I rush at the coordinator, ready to inflict as much pain as he has caused for me. I raise my fists in a yell that I do not even hear and throw them towards his skinny, shiny face. But I can’t do it. I can’t hurt this person physically. Instead, my mouth opens to bellow my dismay.

    “You’ve killed us,”I sob. “You’ve KILLED us,” I say, louder. “YOU HAVE BROKEN ME!!” The scream feels smooth, running out of my soul.

    The coordinator flinches. All of the others that are gathered in the main hub look downcast.

    “We did what we had to do. It’s for our own good. It was tearing us apart,” he says, simply.

    “YOU LET ‘ER GO!! THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!! ASTRAY FOREVER!!!”

    My cries are hopeless, but I am torn to pieces over this loss. For good reason too.

    I crumple to the floor, wetting my jeans with tears.

    “Yes. We’re sorry.” He sounds almost sorry but not much.

    They turn and walk away, leaving my shattered heart and limp body behind.

    After what feels like hours, I stand and walk to the observation window. And there she is. Floating in space. My love, my beautiful, my one of a kind, guitar.

    The crew could take no more of my playing so they threw ‘er out. At least she looks peaceful. I wish to join ‘er. So badly. Maybe I will.

    3+
  10. 20 July 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Astronaut; Wolf Lair; Horror
    207 words

    Void Wolf

    The world was barren and cold, airless. Lifeless. The cold stars blinked in the void as he walked, checking his oxygen supply. He was good for another two hours at least. The shadows of the cave shifted around him, and he was starting to feel scared.

    Something moved next to him, brushing by him. He jumped and turned, freaked out.

    He had felt that through his space suit, and that should have been impossible. A minor brush, but he had felt it.

    There should have been nothing on this world. Nothing living, but there was. Glowing blue eyes stared at him from the shadows, slowly rising. In the airless void, he couldn’t hear the growl, but he knew that it was growling at him.

    The impossible monster. The wolf that stared down at him, He turned and ran, and shadows moved around him.

    A shock against his back and he fell down, skidding forward. The wolf slammed down a claw on his back, raking down. His suit tore, integrity compromised.

    Air escaped, but the astronaut died far sooner than that when the impossible wolf’s jaws tore through his helmet and crushed his skull like an overripe fruit.

    The cold, lifeless world continued its journey through the cosmos…

    2+
  11. Nikky Olivier
    20 July 2018 at 5:09 pm

    170 Words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    Time is on My Side

    The crowds scream and drop to the ground as the CRACK of gunfire echoes through the evening air.

    Heads swivel and voices start, at first a soft murmur, growing slowly louder as they realise the danger is past.

    “Who was hit?”
    “Where did the shot come from?”
    “Why now?”
    Endless questions with no answers and only a nameless body on the ground.

    The assassin watches from the shadows as the police arrive and begin escorting people from the stage grounds. Only he knows the events that he has put into motion today, by saving the life of Janice Joplin from her would-be stalker.

    There would be no heroin overdose and no ’27 club’.
    The child of a senator would not kill herself over the death of an icon, and her influence on politics would be world-altering.

    And here in 1969, the assassin whistles quietly to himself as he places a check mark next to the name in his notebook – and prepares to jump the time-streams to his next target.

    6+
  12. 20 July 2018 at 6:11 pm

    300 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    Another Day, Another Dollar

    In training, they teach you about wind deflection, about how you have to adjust your aim to allow for the tiniest bit of breeze that could otherwise alter your bullet’s trajectory. What they don’t go into, though is the possibility of sonic deflection.

    Here I am, perched high in the festival rigging, trying to set up a shot. I’m being assaulted by the noise from the stage. It feels as though I’m literally being buffeted by a physical force. How on earth can’t this affect the path of my bullet, I don’t know. Hell, it wasn’t like this in Dallas; it was quiet there.

    Oh well, another day, another dollar. Some days it’s the leader of the free world, others it’s a subversive enemy of the American people. I don’t ask why; I don’t make the decisions, I just turn up on time and pull the trigger. I was seriously concerned about the need to make allowances for the wall of sound I through which I was presently to fire a bullet. I came to the conclusion that as I was firing directly into the noise, any sonic pressure would merely slow the projectile down and not deflect it.

    Time to take the shot. Aim through the scope… Exhale… Squeeze the trigger… Job done. Or is it? The gunshot was masked by the sound from the stage and attracted no attention from the crowd. Nothing has changed. The target is still standing, well I say standing but perhaps wildly gyrating would be a better description. Could he have moved fast enough to dodge a bullet? Well, as they say, timing is everything. I had no time to take a second shot. I needed to get away, so I quickly dissembled my rifle and melted away into the crowd and disappeared.

    2+
  13. Ted Young
    20 July 2018 at 6:12 pm

    253 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    A Woodstock Epiphany

    A white Ford Mustang swept into the Press Only parking area, and out strutted Claudius Snipe… the Assassin.

    Two boot lickers ushered the ‘star breaker’ into the V.I.P. lounge.

    After gulping and belching his way through a sumptuous glunch, Mr Lickey and Mr Boot, carrying the complimentary bare essentials — champagne, truffles, padded rocking chair and parasol — led the literary genius to a prime position with a view of the main stage.

    He sat jotting sarcastic and oh-so-witty comments in his refillable gold notebook: ‘Overpaid busker’; ‘Nice guitar… ditch the capo… get a tutor’; ‘Is that another droopy moustache, or unruly nose hair?’.

    He endured the music and almost enjoyed the V.I.P. hospitality and the pleasant hour spent with a stoned young backing singer. (He was even going to give her a critique, but realised it would show his readers what he was like.)

    Then the third day, with Janis Joplin, her soul bursting out for all to see and hear…

    Claudius Snipe’s eyes and ears were transfixed, he hardly noticed his own hands tearing and shredding the pages from his golden hatchet.

    Back at the office, Claudius wrote what he honestly felt: ‘Love!’

    “What’s this girly schmutter?!” yelled the editor. “Your readers want your usual style. You know: gritty, butt-clenching, savage.”

    “Not from me, man,” Claudius said quietly.

    “Clear ya desk! You’re gone, loser!”

    As Claudius Snipe watched the life drain from his career, he realised he’d shot himself with his own pen.

    And he didn’t care.

    1+
  14. Deanna Salser
    20 July 2018 at 6:54 pm

    298 Words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    Fried Neckbones

    Mark stepped closer to the stage, squinting to try and see past all the activity created during the rush to set up before the last occupant had completely torn down. It had just been Santana singing “Fried Neckbones”, and though his equipment was half gone, Mark fancied he could still hear the last lingering notes of the strange but melodic song. He glanced around casually, trying to see if anyone was looking at him. He wasn’t supposed to be here, and if his father found out, he would be in a world of hurt; he was only fourteen.

    No one was looking at him and he realized that there were people of all ages here. Everyone was high on something, and smiled or laughed at him when he walked by, accepting him at face value. It was a groovy feeling, and his face stretched into a grin as his step became a saunter.

    He approached the next girl who smiled at him, stopping next to her blanket as she looked up at him. He knelt next to her, inhaling the intoxicating spicy girl smell of her. He had closed his eyes, savoring the heady aroma, when there came an almost cartoon “boing”, resounding in his head, and over he went without a peep.

    Mark came to flat on his back. He tried to rise but a hand in the center of his chest pinned him to whatever he was laying on.

    “Whoa, Nelly,” a voice said, warning him.

    “Where am I?” He croaked.

    “Ambulance,” came the short but pointed answer. “What’s your name, son?” The voice asked. “Your parents are probably looking for you.” This last said kindly, but sternly. Mark sighed, giving in. His head hurt. He wanted to go home.

    “Mark,” he said. “Mark David Chapman.”

    1+
  15. Ryan Appler
    20 July 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Twitter: @pipnut28
    300 words
    Assassin; Woodstock; Drama

    From Under the Stars

    Burying my callused hands in the wool pockets of my coat and releasing a gust of air from the chasm of my throat, I prepared to step aboard the ancient freight train onward to Woodstock, Georgia: the home of my victim.

    It was a frosty winter afternoon when I’d been called upon by a group of scientists who’d claimed to have seen an extraterrestrial living just north of downtown. The men offered no detail of the being, but the pay was sizeable. I desperately needed the money, as I hadn’t much luck as an assassin in the past.

    Once the train set off, people stared as I crouched to retrieve the knife and vile of poison I’d dropped on the dusty wooden floor. They huddled around the corners of the cabin silently.

    My mind became occupied with torturous memories as the train rattled along its track. Rattling… rattling… it went on and on.
    Soon, the heavy doors slid open, and I fell into the heavy mist of fate. My veteran heart knocked against my chest like a feral beast, ramming into the bars of its cage, roaring as I stumbled upon the rustic porch steps.

    I knew what must be done: I’d knock on the door, stab whoever opened it and hide the evidence. I reached out to the steel knocker, gently hitting it against the firm oak. A series of locks were disabled one by one, seeming to take hours as I stood there, clenching onto a dagger with a shaky hand drenched in a cold sweat.

    As the sound of locks died out, the door remained closed. As I waited, my hands stiffened and turned to stone. Glass shattered, a blinding light flashed through my head. On the floor, being dragged away but no sensation of being touched…

    1+
    • Arianna Hammond
      21 July 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Nice story! I liked how I saw the series of events and objects through the characters mind, more than one strict view. Plus, there were so many great lines that described everything just enough. Well done. 🙂

      1+

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