Three Finger Cove – Robert
Copyright © 2012 - 2016
All rights reserved
All rights reserved
Sunday was a beautiful day for being out of school, thought the boys. They woke in one another's arms and their rockets were ready for blast off. They decided to work on each other's rockets, the old fashioned way, and then each grabbed the others rocket and began to fuel it. It didn't take long for the almost thirteen year olds to ready the rocket and prime it for blast off. Almost, simultaneously, both rockets shot out their excess fluid buildup and deposited it on their chests. They licked their hands off and then Robert got the box of tissues to wipe off the rest of the residue. Soon, they found themselves in the shower washing off any tell-tale signs of what they had just done.
The two lads joined their 'dad' in the Kitchen Nook for breakfast. As they ate, the three discussed what they each had planned for the day. The boys said they'd be out at the skateboard ramps, while 'dad' Ken said he'd be answering the Birthday Bash emails and reviewing the questions he wanted to ask the prospective Household Manager candidates. At hearing his 'dad' was going to ask questions of the new Household Manager, Robert made a face, of some sort, that 'dad' Ken caught. The man let it go, for now, and figured he needed to talk to the lad about it and might do that at this coming Tuesday's meeting.
Outside, Eric asked Robert about getting a new Household Manager. He knew his 'dad' was going to try and find one but he, too, saw the face Robert made and wanted to know what that was all about. Robert told Eric he didn't really want a new Household Manager but knew his 'dad' needed one, badly. He said they talked about it the other day and also when 'dad' Ken mentioned he was going to advertise for one, but he was afraid his 'dad' would get another one like Mrs. Johnston. Eric knew what his friend meant and let the question drop.
Their friends all stopped by, after lunch, that day, and they sat and talked about the Jet Ski and WaveRunner's, along with the water toy and the skinny dipping. Most of what they did, the previous day, was all new to some of the lads and they just wanted to talk about it, so they could get their minds around it. Cody told them he felt the most confused, when they all got naked, to change into the wet-suits.
Cody told his friends, he'd never been naked, in front of that many boys before, and he was afraid he'd, get a boner. They all laughed at that. Josh took a turn, and told them how he saw what they did, yesterday, as being loads of fun, but, he had some concern about getting a boner, as well. The rest all told the others of their first feeling about getting naked, in front of the others, and how they, too, were afraid they'd pop a boner.
Giving more examples, the guys told the rest about the time the 5th graders, Sam and Terran also got naked with them. They all had a good laugh over it but then they discussed how hard it had to be for the much younger kids to see a much bigger dick and, especially, one that had hair around it. Then, Brad teased Logan saying his big head of pubic hairs would probably have had the 5th graders faint over seeing that. The entire group had a big laugh over that last statement.
At the end of the day, the nine friends said they all felt comfortable about getting naked, with other guys, and about the skinny dipping which, they said, they totally enjoyed, and hoped they could do that again.
Monday morning, when Ken Thomas opened his morning newspaper, he was greeted by a pleasant surprise. A headline that he never expected.
Nepotism and Fraud Alleged
Ken Thomas read the article with great interest. He learned that the information Jules Diamond told him about had somehow made its way to the other County Commissioners, and the Department of Public Safety, otherwise known as the Texas State Rangers. The article went on to say, when confronted with the lack of competition on the Lakeside Water Park Security contract, the ex-Commissioner, Joseph Jouseff, initially denied he didn't advertise that open-bid contract. He also refused to admit it was his sister's husband, Jeremiah Mason, who got the contract, claiming there was no nepotism in the awarding of that contract.
The Texas State Rangers investigation also found the ex-Commissioner had, somehow, stolen, or redirected monies from other contracts, he had been made responsible for. The article pointed out that the Commissioner finally admitted he didn't follow the State, nor the County Contracting Rules, on many of his other responsible contracts and that he may have misrepresented, to the Commissioners Court, qualifications of other hires, now working, for the County. The paper pledged, to its readers, to stay on top of that issue and would report back when its investigators uncovered more scandal in the County's contracting and hiring divisions.
When Robert came down for breakfast that morning, Mr. Ken told him about the nepotism and fraud associated with the Lakeside Water Park security contract, namely Jeremiah Mason and Elliot Anthoney. 'Dad' Ken also told the lad that the Sheriff Deputies would provide security, until the county could let an emergency contract, to do so. Robert said he was glad they found out there was a problem, but it didn't change what happened.
Tuesday night, as had been their practice, Mr. Ken and Robert sat down, together, to talk to one another. Robert always looked forward to their talks, as it gave him the opportunity to talk about things, that were bothering him, and, he knew, his new 'dad' wouldn't get mad at him for asking. That night, Robert asked about the trial and his dad's sentencing. 'Dad' Ken was glad the lad brought that up as it was going to be one of the things he wanted to cover. As it was, Robert wanted to know why his father would get more time in prison, than his mom, as he figured they were doing the same thing. Mr. Ken told Robert that their involvement was totally different and, even though they both shared in the money, it was his father who contacted the men and made you go, with them. Robert sat and thought about that for a few moments.
When it was Mr. Ken's turn, to ask a question, or start a discussion. He asked Robert about the face he made, the other day, when getting a new Household Manager was mentioned. At first, Robert just sat there. Mr. Ken could tell the lad was fighting some tears, and was mostly successful, but one, or two, did slid down his face. But, eventually, Robert told his 'dad' that he was afraid he'd have to deal with someone who was old and very much like, the witch, Mrs. Johnston. 'Dad' Ken thanked the lad for his honesty and told the lad the new Household Manager would be asked lots of questions, about their experience, and would have to prove their references. Mr. Ken also said the person, selected, would have to go through a background check, to ensure they weren't a mass 'serial killer'. That got a chuckle out of Robert.
Ken Thomas then explained, in detail, why The Cove needed a Household Manager. Robert listened and agreed with all the reasons his 'dad' gave but he was still afraid he'd still have to deal with someone like Mrs. Johnston. 'Dad' Ken tried to ease the lad's fears by reviewing the questions the candidates would be asked. Mr. Ken also told the boy he was also going to interview men as well as women. That last statement caught Robert's attention and said he'd much rather a man than a woman. When asked why, Robert didn't have a firm reason, but only that he might feel better with one.
'Dad' Ken then told the boy that they had already received 12 calls, about the ad, and 8 people had faxed their resumes. Mr. Ken told Robert that Saturday was the final day, for candidates, to submit their resumes and, that, he, and Bill, would reduce the, final, candidates to four people they would have face-to-face interviews with. The man reminded the lad about the six month 'trial period' but Robert was still skeptical about a new Household Manager but said he'd give them a chance. Mr. Ken was at least happy the boy was keeping an open mind.
On Wednesday, of that same week, Ken Thomas had set up the ground breaking ceremony for the new office building, and hotel, he was going to build, along the lake. He invited County Commissioner and Judge, Joseph Barnneby, Andrew Marshall from CWE, Inc., Mary Taylor from Taylor Interiors, and a number of other county politicians and friends. The short ceremony went on without a hitch. Ken Thomas gave a short speech, about the two projects, and told everyone he hoped both buildings would be finished out in fifteen months, or less. He went on to say the project would bring many temporary and a good number of permanent jobs, to the area, when both facilities were completed.
Although, it was the second full week of summer vacation, Mr. Ken hadn't scheduled anything for him and Robert, to do. He hadn't known how long the parent's trial would last, so he didn't want to schedule something that, then, had to be cancelled. Also, with their scheduling the Birthday Bash, for that coming Saturday, Mr. Ken needed to coordinate with the caterer and cake baker and whatever else needed to be done. All he could hope for, now, was beautiful weather for the celebration, of those turning thirteen, that year.
Robert's friends continued to stop by that week. Even some of the 5th graders who had been invited, previously, stopped by and asked if they could skate, again. Robert never turned any of the kids away but he didn't encourage them to bring friends, either, saying Mr. Ken had limited the number of kids on the ramps, at any one time. Sam, Terran, Nicholas, and Michael all said they understood and would keep their stopping, by The Cove, to skate, to themselves.
Friday morning, Mr. Ken went up to his 'son's bedroom and did the 'Three Knock Rule". When the lad said it was OK to enter the man did so. Mr. Ken told Robert that is was 8:30, and asked him if he wanted to go to the sentencing hearing for his father. Robert thought about it for a few minutes and then said he'd like to go. The two residents of Three Finger Cove arrived at the courthouse with a few minutes to spare. They found the correct courtroom and went in and sat down. Not more than a few seconds past 10 AM, Robert's father, Frank Harrison, was led into the courtroom, along with his lawyer. After they were at their table, the Bailiff announced, "All rise". Judge Steven Rossenburger then entered the courtroom.
The judge went through the administrative portion of the hearing and, before long, he got to the sentencing phase of the reason they were three.
"Mr. Green, has the defendant signed the papers that were presented to him prior to coming into this courtroom this morning?" asked Judge Steven Rossenburger.
"Yes your Honor," replied Assistant District Attorney John Green.
"Mr. Stricklunds, is your client ready for sentencing?" inquired the judge.
"Yes your Honor," answered the defense attorney.
"Will the defendant please rise. … Frank Harrison … you have pleaded guilty to one charge of Child Sexual Abuse and one charge of Child Endangerment. You have subsequently accepted a Plea bargain offered from the County District Attorney and that is why we are here this morning. For the one charge of Child Sexual Abuse, this court sentences you from 20 to 25 years, in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System. For the one charge of Child Endangerment, this court sentences you to another 20 to 25 years in the Texas Department of Justice System, both sentences are to run concurrently. Parole is not authorized until the prisoner has served 18 ½ years in prison. This hearing is now over!" The judge gaveled the proceeding to a close and walked out of the courtroom.
"'Dad', what extra paperwork did my father have to sign before he came into the courtroom?" asked Robert.
"Well, 'son', remember when DA Morris pulled me aside last week. He told me the only way he would offer that light of a sentence was if your father signed the Termination of Parental Rights paperwork. He had and he got the sentence he accepted," explained 'dad' Ken.
Robert thought about that for a few moments, then looked up to his 'dad' and asked, "Does that mean he … he did what my mother did? He has allowed me, like my mother, to be adopted, now?"
"Yes, 'son', he had and he does," was all 'dad' Ken had to say, to the boy, before he had his arms full of crying boy. The lad understood what his father did and he was happy and relieved, at the same, time, that, he, now, could be adopted, by his new 'dad'. The two went out to Dairy Queen to celebrate what that meant to Robert.
Saturday turned out to be a beautiful, Texas, blue sky, day for sure. The caterer began setting up at 11, that morning, and the guests began arriving around 12:30. Mr. Ken and Robert met their guests, at the Front Foyer Door, and directed them to the outside patio. At the last minute, Mr. Ken invited the parents, to the Birthday bash, as only forty-seven 7th, now 8th, graders, RSVP'd they would attend and Ken didn't want a ton of leftovers. The owner of The Cove also invited the teachers who attended the 'School's Out' Party, along with Wayne Mitchell, the new college graduate.
The kids immediately got into their games, down at the beach, and the band, Sticky Fingers, Mr. Ken had hired to play, that day, had started their first set. Lewis Parkington, the band's leader, was only thirteen years old when his band first auditioned for Mr. Ken's Teen New Year's Eve Dance. The man had kept tabs on Lewis, and his group, and had hired them as one of the bands for his 4th of July Celebration. The now sixteen year old, had honed his band into a well-practiced group and stood the chance of being the Teen's New Year's Eve Dance band this coming Holiday. This was a sneaky way for Mr. Ken to audition them without them knowing.
The new 8th graders felt comfortable around The Cove as that was, at least, their third invitation there. The ones who wanted to swim knew where the dressing rooms were and to place their clothes in a locker, on the pool deck. Some changed into their swim suits, and tried the lake waters, but they didn't stay in too long. Others played the bean bag toss or washers. A few even tried to play volleyball.
The adults enjoyed themselves as they had adult beverages to imbibe. The patio also had ample amounts of shade to protect them from that very warm June Texas sun. And, when the adults weren't partaking in a cool beverage they were out taking pictures of their kids. A few adults even decided to bring their swim suits, and got into the lake water, but, then, decided to use the indoor pool.
Ken saw Harry and Carol Fletcher and went over to them to ask what they did with Terran. They said they arranged with Brad's and Sam's parents to watch the, two, new 6th graders, for the first few hours, and then they'd change off, Ken Thomas said he never heard of such a thing and phoned the Symons, right then. A few minutes later, Ken told the Fletcher's their friends would be right over, with the kids. Harry and Carol thanked the man but told him that it wasn't necessary but Mr. Ken said it was already a done deal. He said the younger boys knew many of the older kids and there wouldn't be any 'terror', err, trouble, he said with a smile. Terran's parents laughed at the man's humor.
As Mr. Ken walked around, and talked to the other adults, he saw that Wayne and Dan and Judy were, again, sitting together. He went over to talk to them and found they had continued their conversation from the 'School's Out' Party. A few other parents drifted over, and sat down, and the talk changed to accommodate the newcomers. Ken was pleased with the turnout and was happy the kids had already gotten into the party spirit.
Robert remembered what he was shown, at the last two parties, The Cove held, and knew he needed to walk around and talk, to their guests. He put on a shirt that covered his bathing suit, some, and some sandals that made him presentable, and started talking to his fellow classmates. The now thirteen year old, then walked up to the patio and began talking to the parents. He wanted to get to know his friends' parents, much better, and to get to know some of the other parents, just in case.
Robert's friends' parents already knew some of Robert's story, and why he was living at The Cove, but the other parents, asked, out of curiosity, how Robert came to live there. Robert did his best to not feel 'attacked' and answered their questions without telling them the whole soured story. None of the parents pushed their questions beyond the 'Why' of Robert now staying with Mr. Ken. For that, Robert was very grateful.
'Dad' Ken saw his 'son' mingling and was very proud of the lad, for doing that. He caught up with the new teenager so then they walked and mingled together. They made sure they talked with the teachers, and many of the kids, and, especially, the parents.
When it was time to eat, Mr. Ken asked the women to go through the line, first. Then, he asked the men to go through. At last, when it was time for the kids to eat, he asked them to line up in order of the month they were born. He had to call out the months, so the kids would understand, and before long the kids understood what to do. Logan smiled at Robert and Eric as he walked to the line early since his birthday was back in January. But it didn't take all that long, with two lines, for the kids to begin filling their stomachs.
As the kids sat eating, a few of the boys and girls decided to sit and eat together. One girl, Emily, the one who said Logan attacked her, did attend the party, with a few of her girlfriends. They had encouraged her, all afternoon, to go over and apologize to Logan. She finally got up the nerve as she saw him eating with only Robert, Eric, and Cody, and walked over that way.
"Logan …" began Emily, "I want to apologize, to you … for what I did to you near the end of school. I know … I know I shouldn't have done it but … I was tricked by Joanna and Kaelyn and before I knew it … well, you know. Also … I know I've been bugging you, at home, and I … I'm sorry for doing that, too. It's just … well, I think you are really cute, and all, and I had hoped, well … I only hope, now, that one day we can be friends, just friends. I know, now, that … that I shouldn't try to push any boy, like I tried to do with you to … to be my boyfriend. If a boy and I are meant to be together … it will happen. Thank you for listening to me and not getting mad or anything. I really do mean what I said ... that I am so sorry for what I did to you in school." Then Emily began to walk back to her friends.
Logan thought about what Emily had just done. He saw she took the 'high ground' and she DID come to HIM to apologize. He thought that it was 'a class act', she did what she did, so he turned to the girl and said, "Emily …" and standing, he went over to her and said, "Thank you … for coming to me to apologize. I know how difficult that had to be, but … well, I DO accept your apology! You are a pretty girl, Emily, and many boys will want you to be their girlfriend, but, for me, right now, I am just not interested in girls, in that way, yet." Logan then went over to the girl and gave her a hug. Many of the kids clapped for them.
The co-hosts allowed the meal to get settled in their guest's stomachs, when they asked for the 'birthday' kids to assemble, up front, by the birthday cakes. Mr. Ken had thirteen candles placed on each of the four full sheet cakes, he had made, for that occasion. The caterer then lit all the candles and Mr. Ken asked those gathered there to help sing 'Happy Birthday'. Parents sang along and took pictures of their kids, at the same time. When the song was over, Mr. Ken asked all the kids to gather close to the four cakes and get ready to blow out all the candles.
What the kids didn't know was the candles, were the trick ones, that couldn't be blown out. You had to snuff them in water. On three, Mr. Ken asked the kids to blow out the candles. When the count was completed the kids all did their bests to blow out the candles but they continued to relight themselves. The kids then knew they'd been tricked, and some of the kids knew they had to put the candles in water, so they ran for a couple of cups of warm soda. The new thirteen-year-olds then began taking the candles and stuffing them into the warm fluids. The whole time the adults were having a good laugh.
The caterer then began cutting the cakes. There were white, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and yellow cakes, all with white icing. The birthday children all got to choose, first, which piece of cake they wanted. The adults then got to pick the piece they wanted. Coffee was provided for the adults, while the kids went over for more self-serve soda. After the cake, the kids decided to dance to the music of Sticky Fingers.
Ken Thomas thought the Birthday Bash was a complete success. Many of the children came up to him, after the birthday cake was served, and thanked him for doing that big Party, just for them. Many said they would never forget that, one-of-a-kind party, ever. Even some of the parents came over to the owner, of The Cove, and thanked him for doing that 'special' birthday for all of the new teenagers.
Ken got himself a nice big piece of white cake and a cup of coffee and sat down with Mary, Judy, Dan and Wayne. Judy thanked Ken for doing that big party, in part, for her son and his friends, and Dan, tongue in cheek, said he was amazed how well behaved the kids were. That got the laughter at the table going.
As the adults talked, Judy, mentioned, to Ken, that after talking, so much, with Wayne, she was very impressed with the man's knowledge and concern for kids and, wondered, aloud, if Ken ever thought of considering a man for the Household Manager job, he had just advertised. She went on to say she knew that Robert wasn't very happy about getting another woman, in that position. Wayne sat their surprised someone would suggest he ever apply for such a position.
Dan, then, spoke up and said he watched Wayne interact with the kids, a few weeks ago, and today, as well, and his easy going manner around them and the way they responded to him, along with his college education made a perfect fit for something like that. Dan even suggested the man should also be given the opportunity for a position with CPS. Wayne could feel himself blush from what was just said about him.
Ken just sat there taking it all in. He then asked Wayne if he would ever consider working in such a position, as his advertised Household Manager. Ken then told Wayne what the job entailed and then slyly mentioned it could be a stepping position for what he really wanted to do, with his education. Mary had performed in the position for a week, while Mr. Ken had to be away, and she added to the job description and how she saw the job. Ken then added, if he took the position, he would certainly relieve Robert's fears of getting another 'Mrs. Johnston'. Ken then had to explain who Mrs. Johnston was and what she did to the lad.
Wayne thanked everyone for thinking of him and his performing in that position, but he really didn't know if he could do that, or if he was even qualified for it. He said his education didn't prepare him for working with contracts and supervising people and certainly not taking care of such a large mansion. Dan disagreed with him. The older teacher reminded Wayne of their long conversation, not too long ago, about the new college grad looking into being a teacher. Dan recalled the way the new grad talked to the kids and how easy he felt around them and they him. The older man then told Wayne that many of the college courses don't prepare the grad, so much, as to present him with more knowledge than he'll ever use, but that it gives him a step up over non-grads for jobs those people could never be considered for.
Ken Thomas sat there listening to these three people talk about a man they hardly knew but seemed to admire him for his easy manner and his way with kids. He knew Wayne's name wasn't in the mix of applicants, but thought that maybe, just maybe, this is the someone who could easily take care of The Cove and get involved with Child Protective Services, as an intern, and possibly full time. He also needed to consider Robert's difficulty in accepting a new Household Manager and a man may be what The Cove actually needs, right now. It is a male dominated household and a man running it could keep it that way.
"Wayne," began Mr. Ken, "these fine people have seen qualities in you that I didn't even know you had. I've known you for three years, now, but only in a professional position of installing my Holiday Decorations. That in itself shows you know how to deal with employees and contracts, since I signed one with you each of these past three years. I know your college education deals with Human Services and Child Development but it also gave you communication and writing skills, something Millie sorely lacked.
"Do you have a copy of your resume with you, in your car, maybe? I want you to give me one and I will add it to the list of applicants. My lawyer, Bill Jackson, will be doing the preliminary cuts before I even see who will be forwarded to me for consideration, so there is no way I can skew the initial decision. What do you say, there, Wayne?"
As Wayne sat there considering the idea, the other three adults encouraged him to, at least, submit the resume. They told him the more experience he gets doing interviews the better prepared he'll be in the long run. In the end, Wayne decided, it couldn't hurt, and told Mr. Ken he'd give him a copy before he left, for the evening. After saying that, he secretly wondered if it would be a job he could really get into, but he needed a job, and money, so he could pay his bills.
The sun was setting as the parents and their children stopped by to say another 'Thank You' to Mr. Ken. They all told him how much they enjoyed the day and it gave them a good opportunity to get to know many of the kids' parents. But, before he let them leave, he asked them to take some food home with them and a big piece of cake so there wouldn't be much waste. The parents agreed to do that and, by the time everyone left, now, the caterer only had a small container of food that Mr. Ken said he'd keep and use for Robert and him, for dinner, tomorrow.
With the kids all gone, Robert and Eric came up to the adults still at the table. They both thanked Mr. Ken, for the awesome birthday party, and then asked him to go swimming with them. He tried to beg off but they reminded him they'd been swimming, two or three times, already, and he never got into the water, with them. Mr. Ken then asked if any of the other adults would like to join him and the boys. Dan said he had to get home and take care of his cats and Mary and Judy said not, only, 'NO' but 'NO Thanks'.
Wayne just sat there wondering if he should go for a swim, or not. He'd brought his suit with the intention of getting into the pool water, but he was enjoying his time with Dan and Judy and then Mary, he just didn't want to get away from that interaction with 'working' people. Mr. Ken saw the question in the man's eyes, so he told him to go get the resume, and his bathing suit, and come back to the house and swim with him and the boys. That encouragement was all he needed and he agreed.
Robert and Eric had grins a 'mile wide' when they knew they'd finally have some fun with their 'dad'. They quickly went to the dressing room and changed into their suits and waited for 'dad' and Mr. Wayne. About ten minutes later, the two men showed up and went into the dressing room, to change. They both came out, about the same time, and placed their clothes into a locker. Then, just before Wayne got into the pool, Robert came over and asked the man if he could swim. Wayne said he could and Robert asked him to prove it. It was Robert's way of getting the adult to take the 'swim test' without saying so. 'Dad' Ken smiled at the ingenious way his 'son' accomplished that task.
After Wayne passed the swim test the two lads, and two adults, began playing in the water. They played tag, they jumped off the platform to see who made the biggest splash, and they even played 'horsey' with Robert and Eric getting on the men's backs. They got out a few balls, for the men to throw, to the boys, as they tried to catch them, as they dove into the water. None of them watched the time as the four were enjoying themselves, so much, and before they realized it, it was almost 10:30 PM. That was when Mr. Wayne said he'd better get a move on and get home. The boys didn't want him to go as they were having so much fun with him, and their 'dad', there.
"Wayne, why don't you stay here tonight?" asked Mr. Ken. "I have three en suite bedrooms so you won't be disturbed, and, then, tomorrow you can help us eat the remainder of that fabulous meal we had today. So, what do you say? It is no bother, as I do have some people that come in and clean."
The lads encouraged him to stay, and have some more fun, with them, and after thinking about the offer, he said 'Yes'. That's all the new teens needed and they dragged the man to the pool edge and pushed him in. That brought the man quickly out of the pool and he began to chase after the lads. Mr. Ken wasn't to be left out and he began chasing the boys, too. They played their games some more and, by midnight, Mr. Ken said he'd had enough.
The four swimmers, nonchalantly, went into the dressing room to change and it was then that Wayne found himself a bit embarrassed. The lads saw that, and laughed at him. They told him they were OK changing in front of older people, that they'd changed in front of their 'dad' many times already and then they told him about the 'equipment' story. Even Mr. Ken said it was alright as the boys were now teenagers and would be changing, soon, for gym in high school. Hearing all that put Wayne at ease and he became relieved about being naked with such younger lads. Then, he realized Mr. Ken was there, too, and he really relaxed then.
The four 'men', after they finish changing, continued up to the Kitchen Nook, to have a snack. The choice of snacks were the leftover brisket, turkey breast, and sausage along with some Cole slaw. Wayne hadn't eaten that good in years and he relished in the taste of the cold leftovers. It was 1:00 AM when the four said their Good Nights and went to bed. Mr. Ken followed the boys and Wayne, up the stairs, to show Wayne which bedroom he could use. They were all so tired, from the day's activities, and late night swim, that they all went right to sleep, when their heads hit their pillow.
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