Something Hard, from Masters of Cane

 

Here’s a short continuation of what I started last week…

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Chapter 2: Something Hard

Simon had awakened surprised and was still astonished.

His heart was rattling like a toy drum, his throat was dry, his hands were shaking as he tried to unlock the door to his flat.

Of course he expected Michael to try to lure him back into the privy, or to touch him somewhere as they stood briefly in the gaslit hallway. He even wanted the slick intrusion into his ear, the husky promise of the man’s voice. No, not merely wanted those sensations. Craved them.

What flabbergasted him—now, and every moment since waking up this morning—was his own eager collaboration. He had always ducked and fled from the randy roustabout, one for whom the word “subtlety” had seemed to be some form of undecipherable ancient tongue.

Why now, after a full year, had he thrown aside the sham of disliking Michael’s frank interest?

He’d rushed through his daily toilet and bath, hoping to find the brawny, good looking Irishman outside the privy door. And as badly as he’d wanted to stroke his heavy penis until the pressure eased, he’d merely washed it gingerly until he was sure it would be acceptable to his flat-mate’s questing mouth—if, indeed, Michael began to look for the obvious.

fireplace:roomSimon’s fingers finally found the keyhole, and he opened the door to number 3-C, the large Victorian-era flat he shared with Michael McCree. His eyes took in every detail of the room immediately, noting the small change wrought by his flat-mate.

The room was spacious, with a high domed ceiling where his own shadow played, caught by the flickering gaslight. His eyes swept the marble fireplace whose mantel boasted his antique clock … his father’s handsome liquor cabinet next to it with stained-glass panels … a huge impressionist-style painting of the hills of Cambridge … the old wingback chair and the slick leather divan three meters away, both hand-me-downs from his father … the thick oriental rug whose reds and golds shimmered like mysterious gems.

This was the environment where he felt both safe and in peril. The place where he could come to find privacy and forbidden pleasure too.

The canes. The ivory-handled fighting sticks. He’d mounted them near the fireplace a few years ago, and yesterday he’d taken them down as a veiled message to his flat-mate. Carefully laying them next to each other, he’d propped them against his roomer’s door. Michael had to take them away to get inside. Where had he put them?

Simon saw them in his next glance, lying absolutely perpendicular on the heavy mahogany dining table. Uncrossed, open, the way he wanted Michael to see them also—an invitation to be his stick-fighting partner. Even though the street-wise Michael relied mainly on his blunt fists, Simon thought no self-respecting Irishman should be without a rudimentary knowledge of cudgels in some form. And Michael was showing him he understood and agreed.

Lately his blustery room-mate had begun to show promise … a shade of delicacy, moments rife with actual nuance. It had taken Simon almost a year to teach the fellow, and the man’s sexual energies were now being channeled in a way that deeply excited him.

cane in handStanding at the table, he ran his fingers down the length of the canes. Their high polish and adamantine smoothness called to him, reminded him of the fighting master who’d awarded him these beauties. He felt almost an electric spark, letting the meat of one palm settle on the hard surface before lifting his hand again, loathe to disturb their static potential yet longing to release that promise once more, with a new partner.

As he crossed the large sitting room to his bedchamber, Simon reflected that he had not truly taught Michael. His business partner and companion—face it, Simon, your lover—had learned because he’d found every way conceivable to say “I want you.” And maybe Michael’s unspoken words told him something even deeper. His partner’s off-and-on subtlety was just a small part of a secret daily message Simon knew he was whispering sometimes soft, sometimes with a rasping insistence.

Once he entered his large bedchamber, Simon was again taken aback. The soiled linens were no longer crumpled on his bed but balled up on the floor next to an old lumpy chair. Fresh folded sheets were sitting on the too-plump seat, no doubt waiting for the damp mattress to air-dry in the slight breeze wafting from the window.

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Normally he would firmly close the door. He’d strip the robe and don clean underwear, then find some suitable summer-weight suit to wear the rest of the day. But today he walked directly to his large four-poster bed and sat heavily at its foot, his mind snagged by the fighting sticks, the clean sheets, the memory of a wet movement in his ear and his own eager tongue on Michael’s full lower lip. Flicking, then fleeing. But absolutely honest and direct, like Michael’s own.

His phallus began to swell, and for once he did not try to will “it” away. The erection. The hardness. My stiff cock.

Michael had taught him how to give his body to another person. He’d also showed him how to blurt out his needs in words of one syllable.

He’d gone from being a hermit with a bad attitude to a willing lover, all in the space of just one year. If he were to be honest with himself, Simon knew the “willing lover” part was somewhat scarce most of the time. Simon shook his head, still reeling from the change in himself—not in a year, but in just a few days. Hell and damn, in the space of a few hours.

Something important, some alchemists’s magic, had turned him from straw to flesh. He needed time to take stock of this new Simon Hart…

A familiar lilt, the deep humor-laced tones of a sensuous man, penetrated his thoughts.

“Simon, lad. Let’s make this damned bed, or let it make us.”

towel:blondHe looked up and saw his flat-mate in a towel that was way too thin to disguise the man beneath. Looking from there into Michael’s brindled eyes, tawny as a cat, he found himself suddenly smiling.

“Make us what, McCree?”

The interloper leaned over him, the tented cloth only inches from his chin.

“Make us crazy again.”

Almost by rote, Simon slid away from the heat of Michael and managed to stand not quite touching him. But not exactly running away. And again out of habit, he pushed his lower lip into its usual cynical droop.

“I heard no knock on the door.”

“Sure an’ ’twere a knock, lad. Something hard knocking against this bloody towel.”

And then Michael kissed him. A slow, wet kiss that started on his surly lower lip and moved inside, while his bear-paw hands gentled his cheeks and chin then moved to cup his buttocks.

Simon felt his phallus become a bed post.

[to be continued]

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~oOo~

Missed the excerpt from Chapter 1? It’s here:

https://caitlinfire.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/masters-of-cane-coming-soon/

Have you started Erin O’Quinn’s acclaimed Gaslight Mysteries? Find them on my Amazon seies page:
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❤HEART TO HEART ❤

👥SPARRING WITH SHADOWS 👥

☠TO THE BONE ☠

🔫THIN AS SMOKE 🔫

👨‍❤️‍👨 MASTERS OF CANE 👨‍❤️‍👨

The art on the opening banner by Alex A. Akira, writer/artist/illustrator. If you need covers, banners, box set art, etc., you’ll find his service here:  alexaakira.org

 

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MASTERS OF CANE: A Preview

cane in hand

This latest Gaslight Mystery is rife with humor and suppressed sexual drive, as a changed Simon finds his randy partner just out of reach—an ironic reversal of their usual “pursuit of the very private eye.” Following is the offiicial blurb for the novel:

There is something evil afoot in the growing city of Dun Linden, Ireland (1924) where private dicks Michael McCree and Simon Hart have a PI agency. No one has hired them this time, as they find their neighbors and their own tiny spy network in grave danger from a group of thieves who would rather slit a throat than pick an honest pocket; and an old nemesis who has a score to settle with both of them.

When the peril grows too grave for two men to handle, they call on a few trusted friends and some unusual weaponry to help in a case where they are outnumbered—but never outwitted.

The always-edgy partnership of the two investigators also undergoes some twists and turns—of fate and canes alike.

This article appeared earlier, in the “pages” section of the blog. I’m reprinting it here, for those who might like to begin the odyssey…or, having read the others, would like to see what happens “the day after the night before” (Thin as Smoke).

Here are the opening words of MASTERS OF CANE. Spoiler alert: This novel is set immediately following  its prequel THIN AS SMOKE, and this preview may give away parts of the ending.

~oOo~

From Chapter 1: A Whole New Dawn

’Tis not possible. And yet, here I am. In Simon’s bed. With me prick lying all along his crack.

Michael hardly dared breathe, lest the man slumbering in his arms should stir, waken, and bolt from the room. He could control the air he took in slowly, sipping it like fine wine before allowing it to leave his deep gut and then his lungs … letting it escape without disturbing a dust mote, nor even a fine tendril of dark hair on the nape of this man’s neck.

But he could not control his boisterous cock.

The intuitive part of his finely tuned lover’s brain told him Simon had deeply needed to be here. He’d asked his flat-mate to lay him in this Victorian monstrosity of a bed. And at one point —Michael didn’t dare try to remember the details, for fear his cock would jolt his bedmate from sleep—some time during the night, Simon had begged him: Suck my ass. Then fuck me.

Raw, urgent. Words of one syllable.

And afterward, they’d slept cocooned like this, belly to back, waiting for a new dawn.

The rational part of his analytic mind reminded Michael his business partner would no doubt reject last night altogether, as though they’d never kissed. As though his tongue had not awakened the secret love tunnel in Simon’s ear, and then inside his very ass. As though their thunderous climax had been only a madman’s dream.

But until his bed mate woke, Michael could still claim his prize. And so the brawny Irishman lay cursing the brick he’d laid into Simon’s soft buttocks, letting his smile move slightly between his shoulder blades.

file000118153910.tiff lampThe high-ceilinged chamber was lit by a sole gas lamp on the bedside table. Michael lay watching the burning wick cast shadows on the far wall and across the window casement. Outside the open second-story window he heard the rousing of feathers as the pigeon colony prepared for sunrise.

The claw-footed bathtub in the flat’s tiny privy would be theirs—singly, of course—for precious few minutes. The stringent landlady Mrs. McGregor seemed to stand over them with a pocket-watch while each tenant used his allotted quarter-hour each morning. Simon’s turn was first, five sharp, followed by his own.

Michael sighed, a hitch in the steady flow of his breath, pondering the implacable rules of Mrs. McGregor’s universe. It must be close to five now. Time for this dream to end.

If he was lucky, the camaraderie he and Simon had shared last night would linger in a quirk of the man’s sulky lip or a certain glint in his impossibly turquoise eyes. After one year of up-and-down, in-and-out, he was used to starting over again every goddamn bloody day with the man he’d chosen as his own.pigeons flip

And yet … and yet something different about their gossamer relationship, a kind of awakening, had begun a few days ago with the arrival of Samuel Dashiell Hammett. Forced to work apart in their investigations, he and Simon had lost each other for more than a day. His partner had been in peril of death, while he, Michael, had blundered about trying to find and help the man he desperately needed. Might as well face it—the man he loved, to the deepest core of his soul.

clothing=retro pantsThe presence of the skinny, brooding Hammett had somehow been the catalyst which changed everything. Working again with his former partner Sam, then remembering their old covert op work in America—both had landed crashing blows to his brain. ’Tis time to understand what the sodding hell friendship is, what love really is.

And Sam had changed Simon too, in a way. He suspected his partner had felt some kind of jealousy for the slender, secretive agent who called himself “Dashiell” to Simon, yet only “Sam” to his old friend Mike. And maybe that possessiveness had begun to change their elusive love life.

He recalled Simon’s masterful handling of the crooks who’d held him captive. His complicated lover had talents Michael had just begun to discover—or he’d finally decided to reveal. And maybe, just maybe, Simon was beginning to accept his midnight cravings in the harsh light of full day.

Aye, if only the last thirty-some hours, and especially last night, had truly signaled a new beginning…

His truant thought about midnight cravings awakened his half-dozing prick. Now, instead of lying in Simon’s butt crack, it had begun to hammer at the gates, demanding entrance.

Simon’s breathing changed, and he moved, fluid as water, in Michael’s arms. Still pretending sleep, his mouth sought Michael’s tongue before suckling, soft and slow.

“Mee-sha-el.” The sleep-roughened word spoken straight into his mouth was an electric surge to his entire body. Simon was not fleeing from him.

Fucking impossible.

“Love.” He let Simon’s mouth work its magic, cupping then stroking the man’s raspy cheeks, allowing his cock to bloom fully against his bed-mate’s iron groin.

“It’s almost five of the morning.” Simon pulled away a little, looked at his own bare legs and exposed loins, and actually smiled.

Michael, still thunderstruck, eyed Simon’s erection, risen like a sea stack jutting from its dark ocean of pubic hair. “Aye, lad. May Mrs. McGregor be buried in pigeon shit.” He bent to taste the cowled penis whose marbled veins his eyes could trace even in the lamplight.

man:towelSimon sat up all the way and fluidly swung his legs over the side of the bed. His clipped accent bore not a trace of the lust-torn syllables Michael had heard last night. “And yet, how could we function without her clockwork ruling of our bodily needs? I will see you in fifteen minutes.”

Simon stood and walked to the lumpy chair next to the bed. His buttocks, rounded yet defined by hard muscle, moved and shifted in the gaslight. Before Michael could react, he slid his discarded silken robe over his slender muscled frame and seized a bath towel from a bureau drawer before leaving the bedroom door, and Michael’s mouth, gaping open.

[chapter to be continued, in the novel]

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The cover I designed is here.  It holds a subtle secret, for those who compare it to all the others. If you figure it out, you just might smile and one-click the novel.

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Hammett, Gershwin, and O’Quinn

Dashiell Hammett, best known for his iconic novel The Maltese Falcon, struggled with tuberculosis most of his adult life. The portrait you’ll read of him in THIN AS SMOKE, however, is a creation of my frazzled brain and not a representation of the “real” Dashiell  Hammett, except insofar as a distinct personality emerges from reading his body of work.

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George Gershwin, beloved American composer of popular jazz and sophisticated orchestral pieces, was the son of Russian Jews. In Michael and Simon’s tavern, the music would have been heard on scratchy gramophones and even live, from the fingers and lips of jazz musicians for whom there were no international boundaries, only music.

tmil gershwin

Both these fellows are imbedded in my romcom mystery THIN AS SMOKE, each in a different way.

Hammett, the famous writer of hard-boiled crime novels, was really a Pinkerton Agency op from 1915 until 1922. And Gershwin wrote the hugely famous “The Man I Love” in 1924,* the year my story takes place.

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Those of you who’ve read the first Gaslight Mystery, Heart to Hart, already know the Pinkerton’s link with Michael. Because of this association, I postulate that my character had met Hammett, whom he calls “Sam,” on U.S. soil in 1917, right before the writer-to-be joined the WWI effort.

Almost impoverished, with a wife and newborn child to support, the tubercular, chain-smoking Hammett was living in San Francisco in 1924. And here’s where Erin O’Quinn’s imagination substitutes fiction for reality. It’s true that Hammett had bitterly turned away from the detection agency two years before (because of their anti-union activities, which I don’t mention in the book).

But needing money, he agrees to one last assignment for Pinkerton’s; and that covert operation takes him to Dun Linden, Ireland, back to the man he’d known Stateside seven years earlier.

And Simon, battling his inner demons—in love with Michael but refusing to admit his gayness, guilt-ridden over his ambivalent feelings—Simon does not like Hammett’s appearance and his teaming up with his PI partner Michael. Not one little bit.

Ironically, the man who’s “thin as smoke” comes between the two private investigators in a way that’s “hard as a fist,” and that tension drives the inner action of the book. The outer action hinges on two sets of mysteries, and the PIs must split up to investigate both.

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Now let’s segue to a lovely song. “The Man I Love” is a Gershwin standard, usually sung by a female vocalist. But anyone who’s heard the lyrics knows it’s a tender yearning for love, no matter whether from a woman to a man…or one man to another.

The day Hammett shows up in their lives, he invites Michael to the dance floor in a gay tavern (in those days, a Molly House) in order to discuss a secret op. The music they closely dance to, ironically, is Gershwin’s song. Simon sits listening, fantasizing, anguished, while his secret love is in the arms of a dangerously handsome man.tmil green

You may choose not to believe this. But the video I present below was totally new to me until a few weeks ago, months after I wrote the dance-floor scene with the Gershwin song. Watch it, and you may weep for its understated declaration of pure love, one man for another. I cannot see it without fighting down a lump in my throat.

One of life’s strange coincidences.

The song winds its way throughout the book, coming back like a leitmotif, and reprises in the Epilogue. Hearing that song in some crevice of his mind, Simon finally understands what he must do.

And the very thin one, Hammett? His very presence becomes the catalyst for profound change in the life of both Michael and Simon, in ways you’ll have to read about to understand.

Please click the link (not the arrow) and watch/listen!

http://youtu.be/rcdgKtT-i-k

nyc chorus

If you haven’t yet read the Gaslight Mysteries, I urge you to read them in order—both to avoid any spoiler of a few interesting quirks and quiddities; and especially for the developing relationship between Michael McCree and Simon Hart.

All the mysteries are here:

http://amzn.to/2CZsBxm   

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*The music and lyrics were written in 1924 for inclusion in a Broadway musical but were later scrapped; and the song wasn’t heard as a single until 1927. So I’m pushing the boundaries a little for the sake of the story. So sue me …

Photos on this page from Yahoo! Images and from Wikipedia
Cover images of the Gaslight Mysteries by Erin O’Quinn (Bonita Franks)

From big toe to bigger

 

foot massage 235

Foot fetish … or just a damn good story?

SPARRING WITH SHADOWS is the second Gaslight Mystery…a continuing novel of outer mystery and inner discovery.

Something about Simon Hart’s new PI partner Michael McCree—not to mention his secret vocation—invites trouble. Simon finds himself sparring with shadows: in the hidden bedrooms of a roaring twenties gay bar…as a chained wall decoration in the flat of a thief and sexual deviant…as the quarry in a deadly confrontation in an exhibitionist’s bed…and in a sewer tunnel beneath the streets of a 1923 city somewhere in Ireland.

Above all, Simon is sparring with the shadow of his own secret urges. Michael will not allow him to turn away from a kind of private investigation he has not even dreamed of, until now.

Follow a fastidious, surly investigator and his randy yet secretive partner through the very cracks in a city of gaslights and vintage motorcars, into a hidden homosexual culture, as both men find themselves sparring with shadows.

SWS finds Simon anguished about the loss of his former business partner and the recent loss of his virginity to heavy-handed Michael. But, like life itself, the novel has its laugh-out-loud moments.

What follows is one of the book’s comedic scenes.

In this bit, the ever-horny Michael has manipulated the other man into slowly removing his socks, then bringing down his trousers as he massages his feet and thighs. As long as Simon continues stripping and rubbing him, Michael will continue his intriguing story.

And when Simon hesitates, so does Michael’s tale.

Simon rested one hand on Michael’s ankle and traced his index finger up to where the garter caught the top of the sock. He slowly opened the clasp on each side and rolled the sock to his ankle. Inch by inch, he pulled it off, then placed it on the carpet.

He saw one side of Michael’s mouth twitch a small fraction and his remaining stocking-clad foot wagged also. Simon sighed again and gradually removed the other sock. He unclasped one garter, then the next, and set them next to the abandoned stockings.

“Ah, Simon, me poor feet hurt. Would ye mind?”

Simon bent over the large feet, actually well shaped with slender, high arches. He noticed the nails were neatly square-cut, as manicured as his own. He began to stroke the right foot, bringing his thumb up under the insole and kneading the meat under the big toe. His ministrations were met with moans Simon would describe as almost lustful—as redolent of pleasure as though he were stroking the man’s groin instead of his foot.

big toe 300He was astonished to find that his own groin felt bathed in heat, responding to every touch of his fingers on the ball of Michael’s foot and then on the toe itself. He felt a rising pain in his chest, then realized he’d forgotten to breathe.

Sighing, he released the right foot and grasped the other. With sure, steady strokes, he applied the same pressure, imagining how these same movements would feel if Michael were returning the gesture, knowing the entire process was probably rather pleasurable.

As Simon massaged, Michael began to speak.

“I was able to follow the very scent of the man, Simon. Ah, yes, right there. I found he keeps a second flat-within-a-flat, almost. One lair only scant minutes from the other. No one would ever suspect he hadn’t set his feet miles away from his former apartment. Damn cheeky. Brilliant.”

Simon forgot to rub, and Michael forgot to speak.

Trying not to show his amusement or his arousal, Simon ducked his head and continued to stroke his friend’s feet, his ankles, and even a little higher onto his calves.

Michael picked up the narrative.

“He owns something of great value, I believe. Higher, please, Simon. Ah, yes… He keeps it for wealth, of course, but me gut tells me it holds some kind of religious significance. That is how we shall trace him. Tomorrow, early, we shall go back and pick up the trail.”

Simon was slowly massaging Michael’s calf muscles and drawing his trouser legs higher. Michael had drawn his knees up in the large ottoman, and his butt had sunk lower in the chair.

“If me trousers were lowered, ye could reach me thighs. Will ye, love? Just for a few minutes, just the muscles, while I relax.”

By now, Simon’s breath had begun to be labored, and his heartbeat had increased until he thought his entire face and neck were red with the blood rushing there. For a fact, his own groin had blossomed to a frightening degree. How had this charlatan manipulated him again into a scene of such intimacy?

Even while silently cursing him, Simon carefully opened the top button on Michael’s fly. He saw that the trousers the man wore—his own goddamn britches—held a brick, that Michael wore a huge erection. Steadily, he continued to undo every mother-of-pearl button. And then he stopped. His fingers were trembling so much he was afraid he’d slip and graze the man’s shaft or testicles.

“More, lad?”

Simon thought it could have been a question, or a quiet plea. He rolled Michael’s trousers off his hips—again, inch by inch—while the man tried to continue his story.

“The most important fact is that this man is smart . . . Criminey, Simon, I love that . . . I had to take a trip to a certain, um, haberdashery to alert me people. That place of business is now shut down. Ah, God, Simon, don’t stop, lad.”

phallus 300Simon had taken one of Michael’s upper legs between his outstretched hands and was kneading, rubbing and massaging it. He deliberately allowed his fingers to graze the cobwebbed testicles as he worked his hands higher. Michael’s buttocks were raised several inches from the seat of the chair, and Simon began to feel a certain power, a kind of mastery over his much larger companion. Michael’s breath was a rasp, his legs were shaking, and Simon was hardly breathing.

By the time Simon began on the other leg, Michael had reared himself up enough to seize his shoulders.

“Ye’ve sapped me strength, Simon. I cannot move. God, finish me, let me die on the battlefield.”

Thinking of Hussars and plunging stallions, Simon knelt between massive thighs while Michael’s strong hands grasped his shoulders. He’d already set his mouth over this monstrous phallus twice, and both times he’d been shaken to the core. Looking at it now, trellised with purple veins, moving of its own accord, he wondered again how this vital part of Michael had ever entered his own arse without splitting him.

Without meaning to look in his face, Simon’s eyes grazed the pale ivory silk shirt Michael was wearing, saw the striped, wide suspenders awry on his arms, the half-knotted gold scarf on his neck. The sight fired him in some deep place. It was like spreading satin on a bed of rocks to touch this muscular man swathed in Simon’s own soft clothing. His hands seemed to take on an energy all their own as he began to soothe Michael’s long, warm phallus, at the same time that he finally looked into his face.

phallus greek winged

Michael was gazing at him with an expression that sent a jolt to his gut and a hot flare up his rectum. His eyes seemed to consume him. His mouth looked almost soft in surrender. Simon thought that if the man said anything at all right now, he might jump up and run from the room, barricade himself behind his bedroom door. But Michael merely held his own eyes with a kind of haunting appeal.

He watched Michael’s face as his own fingers began a slow dance on his rigid flesh. He saw Michael shut his eyes and heard him whisper, a choke that sent another flame to his groin, “Love me, Simon.”

And he did. With palms and fingers and tongue and mouth, Simon sank into a rapturous dance that held all the longing and passion he’d ever in his life felt for another human being. He knew that Michael was a man of huge capacity who would accept even the roughest kind of sex play. Incapable of that, he merely licked and stroked, sucked and feasted until the monster erupted, and Michael’s voice was a roar of release. He tasted the tart pungency of his seed, and he swallowed it.

While Michael stroked his hair, he rested his head on the flat stomach, still kneeling, as if in obeisance to the god of all cocks.

~oOo~

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~The Gaslight Mysteries

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