Lesson 6: Share Your Writing

by Nancy

Share your 10-minute writing for Lesson 6, and read what other writers have done.


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Feb 07, 2011
stolen baby
by: Linda

part 1

Chike took a deep breath before turning the door handle. Ronke, his neighbor had called him in his office that he had a still born but his wife – Amaka – had eloped with another child from the hospital. She had told him his wife had refused to accept that her child did not live and when no one was looking, she made away with another woman’s newly born and how she got through the security was a mystery.
Ronke said the parents of the stolen baby are angry since all suspicions point to Amaka. And she warned that she was being forced to bring to their house an entourage of the doctor who delivered Amaka’s still birth, the father of the stolen child and two police men. They were on their way and she wanted him to manage the situation before and when she arrived with the offended people.
He turned the handle and entered gently. Amaka was nuzzling the baby swaddled in sparkling white cloth he remembered to have bought for their expected baby who happened to not have made it into the world alive.
Amaka was cuddling it too tightly for a newly born. She seemed over protective and possessive of what she was carrying. At discovering him in the parlour she was first struck with shock and fear which soon relaxed into uneasy relief and excitement.
‘Darling! You’re back.’ She went to meet him with the baby. She looked quite sick from all she might have been through in the day: labour, delivery, the shock of losing her child, stealing and escaping. She was not only physically worn out but also psychologically dented. ‘Surprise! At last, you are now a father. We are the parents of a bouncing baby boy.’
‘Honey, how do you feel? You look tired.’ Chike tried to be as concerned as he could muster without creating a panic.
‘Of course, I should be. I’ve just had a baby.’ Amaka said releasing the baby from her chest and holding him out on her palm for Chike to see.
‘You shouldn’t cuddle him so tightly since he’s only a day old.’ Chike made to take the baby.
Slightly suspicious of his lack of enthusiasm Amaka hesitated from giving him the baby, ‘Perhaps you shouldn’t carry him too since he’s too tender to pass around.’
Chike mustered a smile to allay her doubt. ‘But I’m his father and it’s just two of us here.’
But Amaka stepped some distance away from him cuddling the baby a bit too tightly again. “How do I handle this since she looks demented?” he thought. They had been married for ten years without a child and Amaka had been hunted and insulted by his own mother and siblings as well as taunted and humiliated by her peers, who all had accused her of being barren. When she eventually got pregnant she flaunted it back at them and shut their lips, but not for good now that she had lost it.

Feb 07, 2011
stolen baby
by: linda

part 2

‘Amaka, let me at least see my son.’ He moved close to her and the baby. ‘He must look like me.’
Again, preferring the swaddled baby on her palms she let him see. ‘He doesn’t look a day old.’ He commented. ‘He looks like a few days old baby. Why is that?’
Unaffected by his question Amaka kissed the baby and goes to put him in a cot. ‘That’s because he’s healthy. Let me make supper so we can celebrate.’ She said balancing the baby comfortably in the cot.
‘Why do you have to do that when the maid is around?’ he asked as he moved to the cot too.
Walking towards the kitchen she replied casually, ‘Oh, that. I sent her packing.’
Shocked, Chike frowned, ‘But why now that you need her most to help me with the chores and the baby?’
In the kitchen, she called out her response, ‘I don’t need a house help to take care of my husband and baby; I’m quite capable and strong enough to do that myself.’
Looking closely at the quiet baby in the cot looking back at him with big and bright black pupils, the little one seemed to be wondering who this other new face was. ‘That wasn’t what you said when you asked for her initially.’
‘I was depressed and frustrated then, remember? With your mother and sisters threatening and insulting me then, I wasn’t happy and lost the heart to take care of the house.’ She called out again from the kitchen.
‘The baby doesn’t look like us,’ was his first attempt at broaching the topic of kidnapping and hoped it wouldn’t spark off the gun-power immediately. He and Amaka were fair in complexion, but this baby was dark and didn’t look like he would grow to acquire anything near their own complexion.
‘Don’t you think it’s too early to decide that being just a day old?’ she still sounded calm as the sound of kitchen utensils sounded as normal as they usually did whenever she was in the kitchen.
“Okay, that has started fine,” he thought and attempted further. ‘We don’t have any dark complexion in our families, how come he is dark at birth?’
Craning her head out from the door, she smiled confidently as she told him that ‘My great grand father was as black as a charcoal.’ And returned fully again into the kitchen. ‘I think it’s the recessive gene stuff, you know about genes, don’t you?’ She seemed to have gotten back her confidence thinking now that he knew nothing about what she had done and she had every excuse planned to give him.
There was no more time and Ronke would arrive in any moment now with the police. He had to straighten this out with her to ensure an amicable return of the baby. He moved towards the kitchen and asked ‘Amaka, how did you manage to go to the hospital and back with the child? Was there no one who helped you?’

Feb 07, 2011
stolen baby
by: linda

part 3

Amaka left what she was doing and turned to him. She looked into his eyes but could not ascertain if his innocence was genuine. ‘Ronke helped me all through.’ She said plainly and returned to her chore.
‘And where is Ronke now?’
Not turning to him anymore and getting slightly nervous again, ‘probably still in the hospital or …’
‘Why would she still be in the hospital and not you and the baby receiving care?’ But Amaka would not answer. Instead, she got more nervous and clattered the utensils more loudly backing him. ‘And Amaka, why would the doctor just discharge you without your family to pick you?’
‘Because I asked to be discharged anyway! I don’t like hospitals and I didn’t like to stay there any longer than was necessary.’ She shouted, and then turned to him, her wide eyes daring and cruel as she asked, ‘Why all the questions.’ Her voice had deepened.
There was no point prolonging this anymore; Amaka was losing it and he would take care of that after returning the child. ‘Ronke called me and told me all that has happened. The police and some other people are on their way to arrest you and claim the child. I want us to give him back and I’m sure God will give us ours in due time now you’ve proven already that you’re fit and can give birth.’
Her face had gone red with rage at his every word. ‘My child did not die,’ she spelt out through clutched teeth. ‘They showed me a still birth and gave my baby to the other woman, and so I took what belongs to me.’
‘Honey, this baby is not ours. Let’s wait again and I’m sure that this time it will not be for as long as before; ours will come.’
‘This one is mine and I’m keeping him.’ She stepped angrily towards and past him to the baby’s cot.
‘Please, Amaka, the police will be here now and we can’t …’ A sharp knock on the door startled them both and the baby began to cry.
‘This is the police!’ This voice from the exterior part of the door shouted, ‘open the door please.’ It sounded more like an order than a polite plea.
Amaka carried the baby and cuddled him more possessively, swaying and kissing him. ‘I’m not giving him away.’ She spelt again and seemed to mean it.
Chike was at a loss, and knew that there would be a lot of struggle before Amaka would let go. He only hoped he would be able to speak sensibly with his fellow man [who owned the baby] and make him understand his wife needed help and not to be charged to court.

Jan 28, 2011
by: Tarak Khanfir

The woman was struggling to hide her crime. She was extremely anxious about it when her husband came home suddenly « What is going on lady ? You are behaving so strangely. In addition, you look pale and troubled. Is there any trouble ? » « Oh, just some problems in the street. OK leave me alone now please to relax and take my breath. » « Take your breath ! Were you running ? Oh, the problem seems so serious. Hey, what is this white suspect sack, let me see. » The wife became so pale and had some sweat on her face. « So ! I have just recognised now that I married a criminal. Who is he ? » The husband screamed angryly. « He is…. He is…… » She tried to escape. The husband tackled her and hit her to make her lose conciousness. After that, he called the police…

Jan 18, 2011
by: Brande


Jim climbed out of the van, and walked to the front door. As he neared the door, he could hear the cry of a young infant; either Wanda was babysitting for one of the neighbors or she had the television going full blast again.
He put the key in the lock, and opened the front door, and entered the living-room. He noticed that the television was off and Wanda was sitting on the edge of the cushion of the sofa. She had a blanket spread on the sofa, and was changing the diaper of a very young infant.
“Wanda, who are you babysitting for this time: I didn’t know that we had a new baby in the neighborhood?”
“No one’s baby, she’s ours Jim.”
“What are you talking about” Our baby, Wanda where did she come from?”
“I found her Jim. She was all alone in her carriage; just left there, so I brought her home.” Wanda answered as she fastened the last diaper pin.
“Found her where Wanda” You just can’t take a baby. Someone is looking for her.”
“I found her and we are going to keep her. They didn’t want her, or they would have not left her alone.”
“Wanda I want to know where you found her, and we are not keeping her. You know what you did’ you kidnapped a baby.” Jim rubbed his head, not knowing what to do. His first thought was to call the police, but that could create problems.
“Wanda, I’m turning on the news to see if there is any information pertaining to a missing baby. If there is, then we are going to return her to her parents, understand.”
Jim turned on the television and switched to the news channel. He listened as the news reporter told of a missing infant. The mother placed the baby in the carriage, in the front yard, and then went into the house to get an extra blanket for the baby. When she came out of the house, the front gate stood open, and the carriage and baby were gone. Furthermore, the mother requested that whoever had her baby to please bring her baby back, and that she would not press charges, just bring the baby back.
Jim wrote down the address, and ordered Wanda to get the baby ready. She was going to return the baby to the rightful mother, and she should be grateful that the mother would not press charges. Jim placed the carriage in the van, and waited for Wanda.
They drove a short distance, until they came to the house address that was given on the news. Jim got out and pulled the carriage from the van. Wanda, placed the infant into the carriage, and accompanied by Jim. Walked to the door and rang the bell.
A woman came rushing out and grabbed the carriage.
“Why did you take my baby, tell me why?
Wanda refused to say anything, however Jim spoke up.
“I’m sorry that my wife took your child. She knew that it was wrong, and that you can’t replace a lost child by taking someone else’s. We lost our infant daughter last month.”

Dec 28, 2010
Wrong Baggage
by: Brande

From Inspiration 6

Scott stood and stretched before exiting the plane. Although the flight had not been long, he felt cramped, finding it hard to move. He had always hated sitting next to the window, and often would grip the back of the seat, in front of him, until the plane landed. He had described this sensation to various friends, they chuckled and told him that he was probably claustrophobic.
He walked down to the escalator which would take him to the baggage area. He wanted to grab his bags and head home, at least his feet was on solid ground. He walked over to the baggage area, and without checking, grabbed a dark brown suitcase, believing that it was his. Then, he climbed a flight of stairs, taking him to the main floor of the building.
He walked over to the security guard, showed his driver’s license and was given his car keys. Scott headed to his car, tossed the suitcase in the trunk, and drove off. Within twenty minutes he should be driving up to his house.
As he climbed out of the car, Mandy his wife came out of the house, running to meet him. Even though he had been away for two weeks, it was as though he had been gone for months. She hugged him. He opened the trunk, grabbed the suitcase, and slammed the trunk. He and Mandy, hand in hand, walked toward the house.
“Daddy home, daddy home,” yelled little David. David had just turned two. He grabbed Scott’s leg, and would not let go, for fear that his daddy would leave again.
“Yes Davey, daddy’s home. You can leave go of daddy now, Davey, I promise not to leave again.”
Little David left go of his father. Scott started towards the bedroom, so that he could unpack the suit case, and put his clothes in the laundry. He laid the case on the bed, and just as he opened it, Mandy walked in.
She gasped as he pulled out a fancy small lime green panty. Scott turned beet-red hoping that he would not have to explain how the panties got into his suitcase. As he rummaged through the suitcase, he found the answer to the panties. The suitcase was filled with women’s clothing. Checking the tag on the handle of the case, Scott realized that the suitcase was not his.
Mandy pointed at the suitcase, and then at him. She placed her hand over her mouth trying to hide her laughter; Scott turned towards her, his face still beet-red.
“Scott, next time check the tag before picking up a bag.” Mandy stated, then laughed some more.

Nov 06, 2010
The Kidnapper
by: Molly

Jessica hadn't been really happy with the way her life had been going for a while.

Jessica and her best friend Terry were out one afternoon having drinks and trying to relax.

Lately, Terry had been noticing that Jessica had seemed really miserable lately. So, Terry comes straight out with the words what's wrong with you? Anyone that heard that question and the look on Jessica's face would have been uncomfortable. I just made myself uncomfortable that I wrote that down.

Anyway, Jessica jumps up and says to Terry , it is a good thing seeing seeing you, but I have a few things to do before Joe gets home. We will get together soon.

By now, Jessica had it in her mind that she was going to have a baby no matter what. She happened to be driving by a day care on her way home and saw a tiny little blond baby girl outside with no one else around.

So, Jessica pulls over; grabs the baby and jumps back in the car and drives away quickly. When they get home, Jessica picks up the baby to go in and realizes she needs her diaper changed.

Joe comes walking in the front door while Jessica is changing the baby's diaper. The first thing he says is what is going on?

Jessica said I wanted a baby and nothing was working so I took one that I found.

Talk about uncomfortable silences.

More later,


Aug 28, 2010
Thank you
by: Angelo

Thanks Nancy Kotkin, I started this novel in 1977, on a dare from a colleague. I wrote the draft (which at the time didn't know anything about writing) in 3 weeks (197 handwritten pages) I started to type it up and it was then I realised that I needed to added more dialogue and work through the story more. Anyway, I worked on it off and on when time from my work and familt allowed.
In 2008 I retired and vowed to finish the novel. I had completed 4 more chapters (up to chapter 11) when I realised it was missing a something. I sat down and did a full narrative synopsis and found the holes in the story.
I started writing the novel again from the start, using the same framework but gave it a more rounded storyline, or I think I have, and at this point. once I have finished I will then go into edit mode and go through it again until I am happy with the result.
It is my first one, although I have another project ready to start as soon as this is finished. It is called 'Inheritance'about a young man going to get his inheritance after his father and mother die. I don't hae an agent yet but as soon as I am able, after its finished, I'll start looking for one. You can read it whether its published or not.
Just you keep on writing, not go on tangents, and be disciplined. I found by continually writing and learning it will get you there.

Aug 27, 2010
Kudos to Angelo
by: N Kotkin

Wow Angelo - I'm really impressed that you are so close to completing your novel! How long have you been working on it? Is this the one about the homeless guy David? I enjoyed reading that piece. Or is this something else?

I'm not nearly as far along as you are. I have about 28,000 words (105 double-spaced manuscript pages) and I've run into some issues I'm having difficutly resolving. I didn't realize when I started it, but I selected a very challenging first novel in terms of the craft of writing, and content-wise too.

I started on Dec 15, 2009 and by the beginning of July, I really needed a break from it. So I've spent the last two months doing exercises and experimenting with Flash Fiction. It's been a lot of fun and now I'm ready to try to tackle my novel again.

What's your novel's title? Is this your first one? Do you have an agent yet? I'd love to read it when it's published.

Aug 26, 2010
Thank you for your positve comments
by: Angelo

Dear All,
Thank you for your positive comments. I am encouraged to know that I others believe in me. I'm not perfect, as my wife keeps on telling me, and I try to fulfill my passion for writing.
In regard to Nancy's question to my exercise "what does the wife mean when she says no wanted the baby?" Here I wanted to show that she was still suffering from depression at the loss of her baby, looking to replace her child by kidnapping someone else's. From your question I feel I didn't convey that thought too well and another thing I need to work on.
All this has been great and is helping finish my novel, I'm on the last chapter with 12 scenes to go and 158,000 words.
So thank you one and all for your advise and help.

Aug 22, 2010
@ Angelo
by: N Kotkin


I forgot to sign my name to my comment below about your Lesson 6.

N Kotkin

Aug 22, 2010
Angelo's Lesson 6
by: Anonymous

"I could just leave her there on her own."
I think you mean:
"I could not just leave her there on her own."

Also, what does the wife mean when she says no one wanted the baby?

Given that the husband is rather protective of his wife, wouldn't he be worried that she will get into trouble with the police if he calls them and tells the truth?

Another good job portraying the characters, both the male and the female.

(FYI: I also left comments today regarding your Lesson 4 and Lesson 5, so be sure to check in those areas too.)

Aug 21, 2010
Clarification of My Lesson 6 Posts
by: N Kotkin

My posting titled "Lesson 6", featuring the British couple Cecily and Noah, is my exercise written from the prompt about the stolen baby.

My posting titled "Alternate Assignment - Dialogue", featuring the telephone conversation between Isabel and her best friend Tiffany, is an excerpt from a "Chick Lit" novel I am currently writing. I wanted to know how Tiffany comes across. Though Isabel mentions her previously, this dialogue is the first time we meet Tiffany.

My posting titled "Dialogue Question" is another excerpt from the same Chick Lit novel featuring Isabel as the main character.

Sorry if I caused any confusion.

Aug 21, 2010
Nancy K's alternative dialogue
by: Angelo

Hi Nancy K,
I liked the use of the dialogue on this story. I must apoligise but I got lost the thread when Tiffany joined the conversation.
I don't believe you'll offend anyone if you use dialogue to show different cultures and their use of the English language. On my current project I have an Italian taxi driver who uses broken English. I find that if you're use it sensibly and don't over do it, it will work in your favour. It adds a bit of colour to the characters.

Aug 21, 2010
Exercise 6
by: Angelo

I'm sorry I have ben late in delivering my exercises but being very busy with grandchildren and my own writing time passes very quickly.
Exercise 6
Wilbur was home early today, being very quiet at work, which was a change from the usual hectic day he would have. Agnes was on the floor amongst a pile of clothes and what looked like a doll she was wrapping.
“Hello dear, look, I’m home early for a change,” he said going to the closet hanging up his coat, “what are you doing?” He asked.
Agnes didn’t answer and just kept on doing what she was doing. He walked over to her and looking down.
“Hey, that’s a baby! What is a baby doing here, who does it belong to?”
She looked up to him tears welling up in her eyes, “isn’t she beautiful?” she said and went back to wrapping the child in its blanket.
“Yes but who does it, I mean she belong to?” He asked again. He was now becoming worried, she had been acting a little strange in the last couple of days and today was the anniversary of the death of their unborn child.
“Darling where did she come from, who does she belong to? Please tell me.”
“I found her. No one wanted her; I could just leave her there on her own.” She replied, tears were now streaming down her cheeks. He bent down and helped them from the floor. The baby girl seemed happy enough, at the moment.
“When did you bring her home?” He asked softly, careful not to shout at his fragile wife.
“She has been here since lunch time.”
“She will need to be fed soon by darling, we don’t have any formula now do we?” he said again stopping himself from becoming paranoid, “There must be people looking for the baby, the police, the parents. I have to ring the police and tell them that Agnes has taken a baby,” he thought to himself as he helped Agnes and the baby sit on the sofa. She began to sing a lullaby holding the baby close to her.
He left them seated there as he went to the phone.

Aug 07, 2010
@ N. Kotkin

Hi Nancy K.,

The character of Cecily is intriguingly creepy. I like Jeremy's offhand reference to the "last incident."

I also enjoyed reading your alternative dialogue piece. You pack a lot about the characters into a short conversation. Tiffany strikes me as extroverted and needy. This passage makes me curious to keep reading and find out more about what happened between Isabel and Aaron.

To answer your question about the Chinese character, I do think that this dialogue falls into stereotype, particularly since the only manifestation of the character's accent is a consistent transposition of the letters R and L.

This is a tricky issue. I'd suggest hinting at the foreignness of the character's speech mainly via syntax or word choice (e.g., "What you want tonight?") instead of trying to transcribe the mispronunciation throughout. This will also be less tiring for readers if the book contains a lot of dialogue with Chinese characters speaking English.

Particularly if you will be rendering the English of Chinese characters frequently in the book, you might spend some time listening to and analyzing the English of native Chinese speakers (in real life, rather than movies/TV, where stereotypes abound) in order to get a feel for patterns.

It sounds like you have an interesting fiction project underway.

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 06, 2010
Dialogue Question
by: N Kotkin

Though it's true that Chinese people with heavy accents mix up their Rs and Ls, I don't want to offend anyone.

I have included this conversation in my novel for two reasons:
1) Isabel's frequent comsumption of Chinese food foreshadows a trip to China.
2) I like the play on words of "rong vacation" - Isabel had gone to Florida for her mother's funeral.


The manager’s face lights up when I walk through the door. “Herro! Rong time, no see.” Now that I’m back, he can meet his monthly sales quotas again.

“I went to see my mother in Florida.” No need to spoil his delight at my Homecoming with my family tragedies.

“Frorida nice. Rong vacation. You lested now?”

“Not exactly. Tough day at work.” No, usual day at my dead-end job that barely covers my bills.

“What you want tonight?” Knowing I have it memorized, he doesn’t offer me a menu.

“Chicken and cashew nuts please.”

Aug 06, 2010
Alternate Assignment - Dialogue
by: N Kotkin



“Isabel! Thank God you’re alright! I’ve been trying to reach you since Sunday night. Haven’t you checked your cell?”

“Really? I don’t seem to have any messages from you. I’ll have to call Sprint tomorrow to see what the problem is.”

“How many times have I told you to switch to Verizon? I never have issues like you do.”

“I’m thinking about switching.”

“How are you? I’ve been so worried. I even left a message at your brother’s house.” Great. Something else for him to complain about.

“Oh, you know, it’s difficult.”

“Girl, you need to get out. Think about something else for a while.”

The last thing I feel like doing is going bar-hopping with Tiffany. “I can’t. I’m really behind at work. And you know how Dineesha is. She’s out to get me big time.”

“I know,” Tiffany empathizes. “You really need to stand up to her.”

“She’s my boss, Tiffany. She’s allowed to order me around.” I’m tired of having this same conversation with Tiffany. Dineesha already does a good enough job making me feel like a doormat.

“Honey, I have to tell you, Lincoln abolished slavery.” On the other hand, she’s got a point.

“So what have you been up to?”

As Tiffany launches into a monologue about her latest dating escapades, I collect the work spread out on my bed, put away my leftover Moo Shu Pork, and think longingly about inspecting the insides of my eyelids.

Tiffany finally winds down with “I’ll see you tomorrow at Elephant and Castle.” Tiffany and I have been present at every Wednesday night Happy Hour held at Sam Adams Brew House since our Freshmen year at Temple University. It used to be fun but lately it has turned into an obligation. Yet one more thing that I dread. Tiffany still thinks she is going to meet Mr. I’ll-marry-you-and-support-you-so-you-don’t-have-to-work-anymore in a bar. She has been trying with increasing desperation to trap some unsuspecting workaholic type since college. It’s especially painful for me to watch since things didn’t work out for Aaron and me.

“Really, Tiffany, I think I have to work late tomorrow night.”

“You’ll feel a lot better once you get out. I know you, Isabel.” Damn. I should have known she won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

Aug 05, 2010
Lesson 6
by: N Kotkin

Wearing the perspiration of the person who had stood next to him on the tube ride home, Noah couldn’t wait to feel the air conditioning and smell the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding of his Victorian terraced home. But he opens the door and there is no lovely scent of Yorkshire Pudding, even though today is Wednesday. Instead, fumes of human excrement are stinging his eyes and nostrils.

“What the bloody hell –“

“Don’t use that language in front of the baby,” scolds his wife, Cecily, who is taping a disposable nappie on an infant.

Eyes watering, Noah asks, “Who roped you into minding their little one?” No one has asked Cecily to sit for them since word of the last incident got round, when Noah had to forcefully pry the screaming infant from Cecily’s arms and give her back to the anxiously waiting mother who whisked her out the door without a backward glance.

Ignoring the question, Cecily never looks up from her charge.

“How was your day,” Noah takes another stab at establishing conversation.

“Very productive,” Cecily responds in a satisfied tone that Noah hasn’t heard her use in quite some time.

“Uh, how long is he staying? Or is it a she?”

Again, Cecily fails to answer her husband.

Changing tack, Noah asks his wife what’s for dinner. “I’m famished.”

“I didn’t have time to sort dinner,” Cecily remarks. “I’ve had a very busy day,” she adds pointedly.

“Right. Perhaps I should call for some takeaway. Chinese or Indian?”

“Whatever suits you,” Cecily says indifferently.

Eyeing the soiled nappie lying on the coffee table, Noah offers to put the bin bag outside before he leaves.

“Good idea.” Cecily scoops up the changed infant and begins to make cooing noises.

While Noah gathers up the used nappie, a price tag from a bib, and a pacifier wrapper on the floor, the droning newscaster on the telly suddenly livens up with a change of subject:
“This just in. Police have reported a baby kidnapped from Hampstead Heath. Eight-month-old Jeremy Braithwaite was snatched from his pram while his mother was distracted breaking up an argument between his three-year-old sister and another child. Devastated, she reported the crime straightaway but no one seems to have seen anything related to the theft.”

His mouth open wide and his eyes completely round, Noah straightens up and peers at Cecily placidly holding their mysterious addition. She couldn’t have!

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