Jan 152015
 

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five annual Nobel Prizes (Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature being the others) bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and arms manufacturer, Alfred Nobel. His will says the Peace Prize should be awarded to:

the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.

Due to the political nature of the Peace Prize, unlike the other prizes, it has often been the subject of controversy, both for notable omissions (including Mahatma Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt), and for awarding the prize to encourage future achievements rather than recognising past ones (many considered this to be the case when President Barack Obama received the award in 2009 after only eight and a half months in office.)

Today marks the 86th anniversary of the birth of perhaps the most popular Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Martin Luther King, Jr. King was a proponent of Gandhi’s principle of non-violence, and devoted his life to bringing greater equality to America and promoting civil rights for all people regardless of race. King was shot dead as he stood on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. His final words were spoken to the musician who was scheduled to perform at an event King was attending later that night:

Ben, make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.

Let’s take a moment to remember those who died in the name of peace, with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: aaron gilson via CC.

Photo Credit: aaron gilson via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Rebekah Postupak, winner of MB 1.13. Read her winning story and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with PEACE and ending with PRIZE and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  141 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.14 – PEACE [micro] PRIZE”

  1. The Lord is My Shepherd

    “Peace be with you.”

    “And also with you.”

    Sara Densby took a seat in the pew, the baby wiggling in her arms let out a squeal of delight, as the preacher talked about the happenings of the church. The air conditioner was out and sweat was already forming on her brow.

    “As you know, Mike Densby’s funeral will be held after the service today. And next week, awards will be given for the Sunday school student who can recite Psalm 23:1.”

    Joey looked up at his mother, hair slick with sweat and pasted on his forehead. He took his sister’s hand in his and said, “I’m gonna win that prize.”

    @laurenegreene
    Word Count: 110

  2. The A-Z of War and Peace: X and Make Up
    A.J. Walker

    Peace
    quests
    really
    struggle
    to
    unite
    victims.
    Whilst
    X
    yuppies
    zoom
    about
    barely
    capable
    during
    extra
    familia
    gluttonous
    holidays
    in
    justifying
    killing
    love
    making
    Neanderthals
    or
    pacifist
    quakers –
    rarely
    seeing
    trouble
    under
    vapourising
    warfare
    X
    Yelling
    zealous
    armies
    betray
    communities
    dismantling
    effortlessly
    future
    generations
    homes.
    Insufferable
    jelly-Babies
    knife
    minstrels,
    nobble
    Oreos.
    punch
    Quavers
    reduce
    Snickers
    to
    unrecognisable,
    virtually
    wiped-out
    X
    yumminess.
    Zones
    and
    boundaries,
    countries
    distant
    ever
    fighting
give
    headaches;
    insecurity.
    Jingoistic
    Klingons
    like
    making
    nuclear
    offensives
    Poets
    quote
    rhyming
    strings
    to
    unveil
    various
    witty
    X
    yarns.
    Zips
    are
    binding.
    Come
    down
    everyone.
    Forget
    guns,
    hatred.
    Instead
    just
    kiss:
    love.
    Mandate
    no
    other
    prize.

    (106 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

    • (sucks in breath) you mentioned love… 🙂

      Format makes you work hard (never a bad thing!) Great lines – I like:
      Zips
      are
      binding,

      Jingoistic
      Klingons
      like
      making
      nuclear
      offensives

      Enjoyed that.

    • I really love the X and make up title. Clever idea and just a great flow of ideas that are poetic. ‘Yelling zealous armies…’ my favourite.

    • So clever – liked the battering that various snacks and sweets suffered to become ‘virtually wiped out yumminess and the idea of ‘insufferable jelly babies’ – could almost imagine them as pompous little upstarts looking down on all other confections!

  3. @avalina_kreska

    Death is never final

    110 words

    ‘Peace, perfect peace.’
    ‘Eh?’
    ‘Granddad. He’s at peace now.’
    ‘Not sure I know what that means?’
    ‘Means he’s not suffering anymore.’
    ‘How do’yu know?’
    ‘I just do. I can feel it, in my bones.’
    Granddad twitched. They both jumped back shocked.
    ‘He’s trying to tell us something!’
    ‘Maybe he’s trying to tell us that he’s not at peace!’
    ‘Oh don’t!’
    Uncharacteristically, Wanda’s baby strained forward, stretching her hand towards Granddad.
    ‘What’s she doing?’
    ‘Don’t know.’
    Wanda moved closer, her baby simply laid her hand in his hand, sack against silk.
    ‘Oh look!’
    ‘Oh wow!’
    ‘He’ll be at peace now. After serving in two world wars, he won the greatest prize.’

  4. Precious

    Peace envelops me when she places her hand in mine. The war in my soul eases, each and every time. My divorce battle has only just begun but we’ve both already won. This darling dressed in pink, makes us both stop and think.

    To have made something so beautiful we must at some time have worked, maybe we can again. She says Daddy and I smile, can’t help myself, and I see you in her. She’s opened my eyes, whether we finish or reconcile, we have both got a most precious prize.

    93 words
    @susanOReilly3
    #Flashdogs

  5. LEGACY

    Brian S Creek
    106 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    PEACE and quiet, once the brother and sister that kept me company, are long gone.

    I now live in a world where my master marches from room to room with no plan except investigation and destruction, where his mighty, vocal squall begs for constant attention.

    There is no end to the arrival of colourful creatures, each barking its repetitive chatter and innate singing until its burrowed so deep into my brain and latched on.

    But then the little guy smiles at me and I no longer care. I’ve no need for peace and quiet, not with this one around. He’s my legacy, my hope, my prize.

  6. Conceptualization:

    “Peace? What’s that word mean?”

    Papa’s wrinkles deepen and his eyes water. That’s the same look that had when momma died.

    “It’s in this medical book I found. It says, ‘that Médecins Sans Frontières won the Nobel Peace Prize.’ That’s good, right?”

    Papa trembles as he sets down his tea. None of the other adults knew. So, I worked up the courage to ask Papa. He’s the wisest man in town.

    “Peace is an outdated concept. I wish you never had to know it.”

    “Why?

    “Not knowing peace means you don’t know it’s opposite. Ignorance is the true prize.”

    @Michaelsimko1
    99 words

  7. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 110

    Mining

    Peace fled the house when we brought the squalling bundle home. Three months of rock-and-bounce underscored the loss of sanity, and visions of white-coated workers patting my arm with a “There, there, ma’am,” waltzed through my dreams.

    When I got them. Which was rare, because the crying. never. stopped.

    The curled lashes brushed my stone-cold gaze; the tiny fists pummeled my granite heart. The pursed rosebud lips bubbled on my shoulder, soaking my flannels, bathing me in newborn scent.

    Until I mined through the tears, through the colic, through the mind-numbing squeals,

    Chipping off the outer shell,
    Uncovering the innocence, the artlessness, of this
    Diamond, this
    Perfect,
    Consummate
    Prize.

  8. Evacuate
    (109 words)

    Peace could be found in the uncluttered countryside. The whistling monsters of the night sky did not charge at fields and crops the way they did factories and ports.
    I was sent to stay with my aunt. When I protested, Mother kissed me, and Dad said there’d be sleep there not sirens.
    I reached for my dad’s hand at the station, my fingers searching out our fortune that I was sure must be sketched on his palm.
    It was the last time I saw them: direct hit to our city street – people folded with buildings.

    Three harvests later, my uncle announced we’d won, but I couldn’t see a prize.

  9. Silly Bugs
    @hollygeely
    109 words

    Peace of mind had started it, but the weight of the medal was welcome.

    “For your bravery,” the president said.

    One day Lance’s infant son had noticed a “silly bug!” on one of the tomato plants. Bugs weren’t the end of the world, but the crops needed protecting. Lance tried insecticides until one worked.

    The insect’s screams were highly unusual.

    Shortly thereafter, a host of giant “silly bugs” arrived. Lance had the answer. The insecticide stopped the alien invasion. Lance was a hero.

    They might have come for revenge on their tiny comrades, but no one needed to know that part. He’d defeated the enemy and earned his prize.

  10. That Starry Kid

    “Peace won’t come, so long as you live,” tall-man says. He bends down to look her in the eye, frowning the way most big-people do.

    “That’s a lie,” her brother says. He’s making sounds with his teeth, the sounds he makes when she looks out the window without her wrap on.

    “That mark,” the man points to her cheek, the starry one, “reminds them of what we lost. You know that.” He pulls a needle from his jacket.

    Brother’s growling now.

    “Avi, kill him and we’ll get a prize,” he says to her. Her cheek burns bright and hot and the man screams, his clothes smoke.

    Avi looks up. “Prize?”

    110 words
    @iwrites

  11. Peace alone is not enough

    @geofflepard 104 words

    ‘Peace? They’re back.’
    Peace Johnson took comfort in the hard wood seat. Like the stool he had you sit on, learning Scripture by rote. The lights above the judge cast shadows on the panelled walls, like ghosts from his study when she was eight.
    Amy held Peace’s hand; softer than in that picture when he christened her. Hard unforgiving hands, hands that chastised.
    She wanted tears, but he held their key. She would never get it back.
    ‘Guilty.’
    Congratulations, smiles. She mimicked the emotions around her, a flesh deep façade.
    ‘You won.’ Amy held her tight.
    Yes, but he would always keep the prize

  12. The Dream
    @voimaoy
    106 words

    Peace burned, a fire in his heart, burning away hate. He reached for the charred wood.  Burnt crosses studded the front yard. The boy looked on.  Fear is not the future, he told his son.

    He had a dream, a world of one race, human.  Generations, hand in hand.

    It was a time of great dreams, great dreamers.  It was the power of people, voices raised. Together, they could move the world.

    The world moved on. Now, fear rules the land. Children look to their mothers and fathers. Still, peace burns in the hearts of the people. The dream lives on. The future is still the prize.

  13. Spoils of the Storm

    Peace forced me indoors, well, that and a moody sky. A Tuesday, tickets were half-price. I wandered rooms tossed amongst the shuffle of Oxfords and overweight, sneaker-clad tourists. My own comfort-worn Chucks had seen gloomier weather, but I was grateful for the distraction of museum walls.

    Another failed relationship, lying eyes, drew me here.

    The Impressionists were my favorite with their montage of greens and blues. Elongated washed precepts gathered inside my mind—where I’d daydream.

    Gramp’s eyes were a vibrant blue. He’d taught me the value of looking out windows on long drives, holding hands, and that eyes were pathways to our souls. The real prize.

    110 words
    @blackinkpinkdsk

  14. Let Them Grow

    “Peace of mind can be bought, you know,” my mother says.
    “There’s stuff you can buy for her computer to monitor her actions. And cameras so small she’ll never see them,” she says with a smile,”And being able to track her phone location? What a prize.”
    I put on the ghost of a polite smile, not replying.
    I bought a lifetime of worry the moment she left my body. Small fingers grew into larger, curious ones. Hands I can’t grip in my own to cross the street any longer.
    Letting her be curious, letting her live despite my perpetual worry is a struggle, but also the real prize.

    109 words
    @CaseyCaseRose
    #Flashdog

  15. True Prize

    Peace blanketed the cozy home now that the newborn had finally nodded off. Rocking slightly, he gazed in near breathless wonder at the diminutive fingers lightly resting against his own work-roughened hands. He felt like a giant compared to the little one whose rest he carefully guarded.

    And thinking back over all his years filled with long hours, hard work, and time sparsely given to his family, trying for so very long to build some small fortune for them to live off of and ease their way, he couldn’t help but think that this tiny life was his true prize.

    100 words

  16. Modern Gallantry

    “Peace at last!” Molly walked into the room, wiping noodle chunks from her jeans.

    “Is she asleep?” Mike was at his desk, playing World of Warcraft.

    “Yes, she is, no thanks to you!” She threw the vomit stained rag at his head.

    Mike ducked, the rag narrowly missing his monitor. “I’m sorry, babe. This raid is almost over, I promise. Why don’t you go hop in the shower, you reek? If she needs anything I’ll try to jump up and help her.”

    Molly turned towards the bathroom, sniffing at her underarms, “What do you want, a prize?”

    97 Words

  17. Quietus

    Peace strolled, her footsteps echoing off the dusty marble floor and etched glass walls. The others had already departed, Peace now a hermit wandering this once vibrant citadel.

    Eventually she reached her destination, a majestic oak tree, whose gnarled and mighty branches were bare save for two determined leaves. Shade enveloped Peace as she connected her iPod into a knot on the tree, uploading the memory.

    A leaf fell, around Peace the citadel transformed, every surface etched with his hand grasping that of his newborn granddaughter.

    A moment of connection.

    He had lived a good life.

    Peace reached up, plucking the final leaf from the tree.

    Oblivion his prize.

    @imageronin
    109 words

  18. “Word Made Flesh”

    Peace swaddled the three. Virgin feet, kept warm, would grow to drag this body through mud and stone, and many will follow in those imprints bloody.

    Jealousy and envy gnaw, and the life cord breaks.

    In 1910 he came again, but in another’s skin, replacing Fatherhood for motherhood. How she sang for those who had not yet learned the notes.

    Wars and pestilence fester and she is but one.

    Nineteen years were born and passed away, and he smiled from a dark face.
    Bigotry and prejudice riot and Equality’s champion is slain.

    He came and comes, thrice holy, for redemption’s cause, putrid frailty the prize.

    105 words

  19. Tattoo of Love

    “Peace, man”
    Looking around the anxious faces I knew the voice. It had been years ago during my hippy phase. I’d worn purple flares and flowers in my hair. My dad questioned my sexuality many times and I’d reply with the same two words which would aggravate him even more. Mum would raise her eyebrows and wink at the same time, her party piece. She understood me.

    Mum told me later that he’d sat by my bedside for days holding my hand willing me to come out of the coma repeating those two words like a mantra. We’ve both got it tattooed on our wrists like a prize.

    @stellakateT
    108 words

  20. Hand-me-down – a sonnet

    @geofflepard 104words

    Peace no more as she outlungs a cry,
    A mindless hello to capture my soul.
    Older, unsteady, a day old foal,
    Gripping me tight, sure she can fly.
    Not letting go till the first day at school;
    Weeping as I force her fingers apart.
    From that betrayal she develops her art;
    Round fingers I twist: unwilling fool.
    One day, so glorious, so full of tears
    I release her hand to give her away.
    I smile her free, hide my dismay,
    The pain of another hand wrapped round hers.
    It’s only a loan; for when death’s dark skies
    Cloud my sight, He’ll restore my prize

  21. Isolation

    110 words
    @el_Stevie

    Peace dribbled out of the corner of Mr Furnough’s mouth. Slack lips hung loose, no longer employed in their habitual spewing of bitterness and spite.

    The TV flickered in the corner and the lamp shone brightly even though it was almost noon. On a small table, the telephone gathered dust; there were no messages. Through a gap in the curtains, the sun caught a solitary photograph of his grandson.

    The letterbox clattered as another newspaper dropped on the mat to join the growing pile. People passed by but no one knocked his door.

    Mr Furnough had wanted to be left alone and now at last he had gained his prize.

  22. The Village Idiot (110 words)
    @brett_milam

    Peace sat on your tongue like an unwanted fungus. You couldn’t abide by it.

    Goddamn you.

    The village was teeming with the bustle of a people that’d never seen the grease-smeared side of a McDonald’s booth.

    Women in sheep skin braided their daughters’ hair, men with beards that extended beyond their knees lectured small boys gathered in a circle, and one girl in particular carried a basin of water atop her head.

    You set your sights on her, as a sniper would. Miles of trekking through the mud with your equipment caused your brain to callous.

    Or maybe you were always like this, seeing violence, not peace, as the prize.

  23. Who Needs The Peace Corps?

    “Peace Corps Response wants people with your experience to work in Botswana.”

    Maggie hadn’t planned to continue volunteering but she knew how great the need was: the risk of a Botswanan woman dying in childbirth was 60 times greater than back home.

    She helped to train birth attendants in remote rural areas with no access to maternity facilities.

    Maggie’s college friends went on to successful, well-paid careers; she could not compete.

    But, each time that she experienced the minor miracle of a healthy delivery, her heart sang; each time she held a precious scrap of humanity in her palm, she knew that, for her, there could be no greater prize.

    @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110

  24. A Noble Endeavor (110 words)
    @brett_milam

    Peace was the aberration we told our children about in the echoes of the bombs. The peacemakers had become ghosts in our time; their voices were lost in the cadence of the drumbeat.

    Sure, we told their stories, but in a time of war, opting for peace seems a violent act.

    It was our hope that a peacemaker sat idle in the crib now, waiting to show us a different way.

    Impatience hastened us to check every newborn. As if there would be some marker or force indicating the fires they’d set on the warmongers’ minds.

    In the quest for peace, the newly born, unblemished by war, was the prize.

  25. Shadow Child (110 words)
    @brett_milam

    Peace at last.

    Dark shadows tap-danced on my mind, unrelenting for years. They sailed in and out of my consciousness seeking the last vestiges of any remaining hope.

    Hope, I had come to learn, was the true madness of men. It was the invitation for the shadows; they gorged.

    After a while, after shutting everyone else out, my only company became the shadows.

    In the depths of them, I had come to find a perverted peace. Misery was better than hope, as at least it was more lively.

    It massaged the numbness, even kissed it with its beguiling lips.

    I had become the child of the shadows.

    Their conquered prize.

  26. The Truce Is Always Strange

    Peace reigns after the morning’s gunplay. Bernice unwraps the bomb and lobs it into the water, unleashing a fizzing cloud of lavender.

    Me time, she thinks, sliding in. Wedged behind the mirror, she spots a Nerf bullet. I’ll forgive the boys that one. I can rib Jacob about it tonight once he’s back from his Dad’s.

    He’s a good boy. Polite, respectful. Shame he won’t hold my hand anymore, but I’ve done alright. He’s got his head screwed on…

    There’s a banging downstairs.

    “Mum, I forgot my keys!”

    Bubbles surface as Bernice chuckles. Lucky I declined that Practical Parenting prize.

    109 words
    @edbroom

  27. Comparing Hands
    110 words

    Peace takes work, you remind yourself as you bounce-walk your shrieking bundle of joy at 3 AM. Peace demands sacrifice–not in blood. Nope, you have to rip out the heart of something far more difficult to surrender: comfort.

    You strive to pry open her fisted face with lullabies.

    Earlier, in a rare moment of serenity, you cuddled in her owl pillows comparing hands. The awed trust in her gaze stoked your heart with the will to slay dragons for her.

    You grasp for that feeling as another midnight tantrum detonates your nobility. You’re ready to surrender everything for a leisurely cup of chamomile, to murder peace for comfort’s consolation prize.

    @rowdy_phantom
    #flashdogs

    • Oh I remember nights like those well, that ‘shrieking bundle of joy’ with her ‘fisted face’; nice use of the prompt.

  28. Bittersweet (105 words)
    @meg_mediocre

    “Peace out, brah!”

    The passing exchange startled her from her doze.

    Happy festival-goers buzzed about in slanting afternoon sunlight, the constant background hum of conversation punctuated by drumbeats and snatches of melody. Laughter and incense mingled in the air as the bundle wrapped tightly to her chest squirmed and resettled mid-slumber.

    Depression did not run in her family. Yet the black fog that settled after the birth of her child was unmistakable. She looked at his dear little hand with a mixture of guilt and self-loathing: she longed to love this child!

    “One day, I will,” she whispered, holding her heart like a hard-won prize.

    • I like the determination and promise made at the end of a piece that deals sensitively with an almost taboo subject. Such feelings are so rarely talked about making those who suffer feel increasingly guilty, nice to see it brought out in the open in such a positive manner.

  29. Echo and Apology
    (108 words)

    Peace had eluded him for years. Paul wasn’t saying he didn’t deserve the loneliness. Still, it hurt.
    “I’ll never speak to you again,” Jess had said.
    His only daughter. Was she married? Did she have a child? Was she successful? Beautiful? Happy?
    He hadn’t apologized. He didn’t do that.
    Here was that couple from next door with the new baby. He smiled with longing. He reached, but not all the way.
    “She’s beautiful,” he said.
    The mother kissed the baby’s head. She said something kind.
    Paul touched the little hand.
    “I’m sorry,” he said.
    The mother looked confused, asked a question. Paul didn’t hear. He had his prize.

    @Emi_Livingstone
    emilylivingstone.wordpress.com

  30. Memory Surfer
    (110 Words)

    “Peace? “How can you possibly believe she is at peace?” I asked my relatives of the extended kind, interrupting their analysis of the mental waves that the body they once knew as a cousin was riding.

    What their limited appearances didn’t allow them to know is that the ebb into limbs with less dramatic angles and a quieter mind is always followed by a dramatic and painful flow back to the shore of her new normal.

    The caregiver who now needs constant care. The mother who is now the child. The life of the party who is now the wallflower. Being swept out to sea for good, that’s her prize.

    @JTSGager
    http://www.justthrowstrikes.com

  31. Time Capsule

    Peace descended on the small apartment Jack had been renting the last three years. The weekend had been rough, so he eagerly sank into the futon. The floor was littered with dino toys, blankets, and disposable plates of untouched food, mementos left behind by his toddler’s tiny hands.

    While his son had been here, all Jack wanted was a moment to himself, but now the silence reverberated inside him, extracting the repressed emptiness. His wife didn’t understand his loss. She never could. This place was a time capsule where he could be assailed by memories. The high pitch laugh he sometimes heard—imagined or otherwise—was the ultimate prize.

    109 words
    @goldzco21
    #flashdog

  32. THE POPE
    “Peace be with you,” as people gave each other handshake during the service. It was an open-air mass from the capital’s Rizal Park. The Pope was there and so were thousands of ecstatic people. It was part of his five-day visit. Priority of his visit was to send a message to the poor who face social, spiritual, existential injustice – who want to go forward, who suffered from Typhoon Haiyan and are continuing to suffer the consequences, How I wish to be there. But never mind, I watched everything in the comfort of my home. Speaking of which, I better check my lottery ticket, hoping to win a prize.
    (Word Count: 109)

    https://ladyleemanila.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/micro-bookends-peace-and-prize/

  33. Constable Mailey by Kevin Sheridan (submitted at 10:57 pm, via contact page)

    “Peace!” Mislina shut the shack door, sat down on her bed, kicked off her shoes and fell backwards. At 2:00 a.m. it was cool and dark. Other than her daughters steady breathing there was no sound . It had been a tough shift with arrests and a long ride home . She slept. As usual Pepsi woke her at 5:30 with tea and bread and the news that yesterday at school she heard that she had gained passing grades in her final High School examination. Mislina finally cleared her issue pistol and knelt to pray and to say thank you to God for the prize.

    110 words

  34. The Last Messiah

    “Peace? You’ll see none, little one.” I murmured.
    His wrinkled fingers twitched against my farm callused ones, in what I took for agreement. I studied the smooth unformed face, curious what made this one, above all, special. I saw nothing.
    “Wait here. I will radio for further instructions. Stay alert.” Captain Li could never leave without adding additional, unnecessary orders. Arsehole.
    With this child’s death, or indoctrination, decades of resistance would end. I could return to my family, far from this desolate place.
    I stood, ramrod straight, above the corpse of the last monk who had tried, in vain, to shield their new Dalai Lama.
    We had our prize.

    109 words
    @nickjohns999

  35. That’s high praise, thank you!

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