The “Bestest” Leaf [Patron Short Story]

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Short Story Sunday 288: Embox

Short Story Sunday: Embox | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Olivia placed one end of the packing tape on the top of the box and moved it down with a screeching sound as she taped the cardboard flaps closed together. She stood straightening her back when that was done. She kicked the box to the side with her foot and looked around on the ground for any other boxes that needed to be taped shut.

“How are you doing over there?” Sam asked as he entered the living room holding onto a stack of three boxes. He couldn’t see where he was going and he was awfully close to the couch.

Olivia leaped over a box and stood in front of him pushing him back just a little. “Stop! You’re going to trip yourself.” She didn’t know what was in those boxes but she didn’t want him to fall and hurt himself. She certainly didn’t want anything in the boxes to break. She had worked too hard packing them.

Sam put the boxes down on the couch and looked down at where his feet were. “Oh, thanks. I didn’t realize I was already in the room.” He chuckled.

“Did we get everything?” Olivia asked looking around the living room. The big pieces of furniture were still there, but they needed to wait for the movers to come in the morning in order to get those in the truck.

“I believe we have everything packed up, yes.” Sam replied. He looked down at her with a grin. “Can you believe we’re finally getting a house? No more being cramped in an apartment. We’ll own our own space!”

“We don’t own anything until we pay off the mortgage.” Olivia replied with a sigh. She walked away looking at everything in the living room. She didn’t see anything lying around other than furniture that was too big to fit inside boxes. All the small pieces, nick-knacks, blankets, pillows, and the like were all packed up. They had done every room in the house except for their bedroom and part of the kitchen. The movers were going to be at their apartment first thing in the morning and Olivia was so stressed at the amount of work they still had to do.

“Oh, come on. Don’t worry about that.” Sam said trying to reassure her. “If we couldn’t afford a mortgage than we wouldn’t have gotten a house. We’ll get everything done in time too, so we’re good. There’s nothing to stress over.”

Olivia sighed. “I know you’re right, but I know I’m not going to be getting any sleep tonight.”

Sam smiled. “Of course not, you’ll be too excited.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“You’re not excited?”

“No, I am. I just want this part to be over.” Olivia said gesturing to all the boxes.

Sam nodded. “Yeah, this is kind of the tough part. It’s hard to pack everything up and decide what you truly need to bring with you and what you don’t need. We got rid of a lot of stuff and it’s ironic because we’re moving into a bigger place. But unpacking it all will be fun and it’ll be even more fun to go shopping to buy new things for the house, don’t you think?”

“Buy new things? We have a mortgage now!” Olivia exclaimed.

“Oh, dear…” Sam sighed.

“How can we afford new things? We’re going to have so many new bills… we’re going to be homeless before we know it!”

“Whoa, okay.” Sam said rubbing the back of his head. He took the packing tape out of Olivia’s hand and tossed it onto the coffee table. “I think we need to take a break. We’ve been packing for three days straight and tomorrow is going to be a really long day. It’s dinnertime, let’s go out to eat and get out of here for a bit.”

“Get out of here for a bit? We’re leaving this place forever. The landlord already has a new tenant lined up.” Olivia stated. “And how can we go out to eat and buy dinner when we’re going to have to go furniture shopping and we need to pay so many bills? We can’t afford dinner!”

Sam sighed. It was obvious no matter what he said he was just going to make Olivia panic even more. He took her by the hand and led her to the door. He gabbed his car keys hanging up by the door and walked her out into the hall without saying a word. She didn’t say anything either but she followed willingly.

As soon as they made it outside of the apartment building and walked through the parking lot hand in hand, Sam looked back down at his girlfriend. He noticed her take in a deep breath.

“Feeling better?” he asked.

“Yes, actually.” Olivia nodded. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to get crazy.”

“You’re not being crazy. You’re nervous and excited at the same time and I can’t blame you. This is stressful and it’s a lot of work. But we’ve made it this far. We got the house, which is the hardest part of this whole process.” Sam explained.

Olivia nodded in agreement. The two of then made it to the car. Sam got into the driver’s side and Olivia sat in the front. She buckled her seat belt as she waited for Sam to settle in his seat.

“We’ll go out, get some food in our systems, relax and chat for a bit, and then we’ll head back here and finish up any packing we have left to do. We’ll be fine and get everything done in no time.” Sam stated. He turned on the car and pulled out of the lot.

Olivia nodded again. “No, you’re right. We’ll be fine. It’s still early so we have plenty of time to finish everything. Our friends and family are coming over early in the morning to help with last minute things and then the movers will be coming…”

“And then we’ll officially be home.” Sam said with a grin.

Olivia couldn’t help but smile too. She looked at Sam and took his hand in hers. “And then we’ll officially be home.”

Words: 1,026

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Short Story Sunday 287: Make

Short Story Sunday: Make | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

May waved goodbye to her parents as her father backed out of the driveway and turned left right after her mother backed out of the driveway and turned to the right. Once both cars were around the corner and out of sight, May closed the front door and ran into her kitchen. Her parents were going to be at work for the next six hours, but she had never baked a cake before. She didn’t know if it’d come out terrible and she’d have to do it all over again.

            She entered the kitchen and turned on her iPad that was propped up against the cookbook holder. She had found a delicious looking chocolate fudge cake recipe with chocolate frosting on someone’s social media page. Both of her parents were hardcore chocolate lovers and this was their 20th wedding anniversary.

May was only 15-years-old. Her mother did all the baking and cooking and she didn’t have a driver’s license of her own to try to get ingredients for the cake. She needed to make this all from scratch and hope for the best. She didn’t have a gift for them because she didn’t have any money to spend so she thought making a cake for them to celebrate with after dinner was a good plan.

She got the recipe up on her iPad and read the list of ingredients silently to herself. It seemed easy enough and, if she had learned anything from watching her mother, she knew well enough to get out all the ingredients first and measure them before actually mixing anything together. If there was something she didn’t have or did have enough of, she was going to have to walk to the store and buy a cake. She knew where her parents kept their stash of emergency money. She could always pay them back later. She did that a lot and they never noticed. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that though.

May spent half of the day gathering ingredients, throwing everything into a bowl and mixing it all together. She was lucky enough to have enough of everything she needed. The cake was in the oven and it smelled good – she just hoped that it would taste good.

She cleaned up the kitchen while she waited for the cake to bake. She made a huge mess in the kitchen – a mess she wasn’t expecting to make. Once the cake had baked and was completed cooled, (she knew it needed to be completely cooled. She had made that mistake once already before.), she still needed to frost and decorate it. She knew she was going to make another mess with the frosting.

May had planned on making the frosting herself but she had found a can of frosting in the cabinet. It was chocolate and unopened so she decided to just use that. It would be easier and quicker for her. She did have sprinkles and icing to write on the write the cake. She just needed to hope it was legible.

When all was said and done, May put the cake in the fridge. She was proud of her masterpiece and she couldn’t wait to show her Mom and Dad when they came home. She went into the living room and sat down on the couch putting her feet up on the coffee table. Baking the cake took a lot longer than she had expected. It had taken a good chunk of her Saturday away but she didn’t mind. She was excited to see the look on her parents’ faces when they came home from work.

Later that day, May’s father came home first. She had heard him come through the front door and came out of her bedroom to greet him. He was just closing the fridge in the kitchen when May entered the room. She hoped he didn’t see the cake she had baked for them. She wanted to bring it out as a surprise to both of them after dinner.

“Hey, Dad. How was your day?” she asked.

“Good. Work was boring. How was yours?” he replied.

May shrugged. “It was fine. I just relaxed all day.”

“Good.” He grinned.

The front door opened in the other room and they heard her mother call a greeting. She came into the kitchen holding a white box in her hands.

“Oh, you’re both here.” She said holding up the box with a grin. “Happy anniversary! I got us a cake for dessert.”

“Oh,” Dad replied. “Happy Anniversary,” he chuckled opening the fridge and taking out a white box. “So, did I.”

Mom laughed. “Well, it seems like we’re going to have cake for a while, huh?”

May sighed. “Yeah, a real long while.” She motioned for her dad to step aside and when he did, she opened the fridge and took out the cake she had made.

Her mother and father glanced at each other and then they both smiled.

“You made us a cake?” her mother asked.

May nodded.

Her father laughed. “Well, we’ll eat yours tonight. A home-made cake is better than store-bought anyway.”

“Great minds think alike, I guess.” Her mother replied. She wrapped her daughter into a hug and gave her a kiss. “Thanks for thinking of us on our anniversary. I can’t wait to taste this cake!”

May cracked a smile. “I hope it tastes good.”

“Well,” her father winked at her, “I’m sure it tastes delicious. But, if it doesn’t, we have two back-ups.”

Her mother nodded in agreement. She put her cake down on the counter and then looked at the other two. “So… I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Should we go out to eat or just have cake for dinner?”

May’s face lit up. Would her mother really let them skip dinner and just have cake for the night?

“I think I know May’s answer and I think I have to agree with her.” Her father replied.

Her mother nodded. “Good. I was thinking the same thing.” She took the cover off the container May had put her cake in and grabbed a knife from the drawer. “May, would you like to do the honors?”

May nodded with a grin taking the knife from her mother. Then she cut into the cake, making three large slices for all of them.

Words: 1,054

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Short Story Sunday 286: More

Short Story Sunday: More | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Bella picked up another book off the shelf and flipped it over to read the back cover. Her gaze glazed over the words on the back. She grinned and nodded to herself and tossed the book into the basket her boyfriend was carrying. He looked down at the stack of books in the basket and let out a sigh.

Bella ignored him.

She continued down the isle of books, her hand caressing the spines along the shelves as she leisurely moved along. Theo followed along sighing with each step, getting louder and louder.

Bella looked over her shoulder at him. “Don’t rush me.”

“I’m not rushing you.”

“You told me you’d take me to the bookstore to get whatever I wanted for my birthday.”

Theo glanced down at the basket again. “I did and I instantly regret it. This basket of books must weigh at least 100 pounds.”

Bella giggled. “Oh, I can’t wait to go home and start reading them!”

“Great, so let’s go home.” Theo said grabbing her arm and nodding his head toward the check out. “We can go pay for what we have, I’ll make you a bath, and you can read in the tub while I go through my bank account.”

Bella smirked at him. She stood on her tip-toes and kissed him on the cheek. “Have I told you lately that you’re the best boyfriend in the whole world?”

“You have, but not often enough.” Theo replied holding up the basket of books again.

“Well, I’m telling you now. I have to say that this is the best birthday I’ve ever had!”

Theo let out a nervous chuckle. “I’m never going to be able to top this birthday, huh? There’s no way I’ve ever telling you to go nuts in a bookstore with my wallet ever again.”

Bella shrugged. “It’s okay, I’m getting all paperback books.”

“Well, I appreciate you considering my income for this very large gift.” Theo deadpanned.

Bella gave his hand a squeeze and turned the other way. She disappeared around the corner heading into the next isle. Theo lifted the basket balancing the handle on his elbow while using his other hand to count in the books. Then he followed her to the other side.

“You have eight books here. How about you get two more and then–”

Bella walked straight toward him, a book in each hand. She placed them both into the basket with a grin and turned back around again.

“That was fast…” Theo muttered. He stared at the back of Bella’s head. “Okay, so there’s ten books now. We can pay and go home, right? This should last you for a little while? I hope?”

Bella laughed at him. “Don’t be silly, those ten won’t last me a month.”

“But… we’re done, right?” Theo asked again.

“One more minute?” Bella asked sweetly.

“How about one more book?” Theo said with another sigh.

Bella chuckled again shaking her head. “Oh, please, Theo. I can’t promise that.”

“Why not?”

“We haven’t made it to the mystery section yet.”

Words: 511

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Time To Write Stories

Last week I posted another sentence starter. If you’ve read my I’m Starting Over post, you’ll know these prompts are on a break until January 2020. Thanks to all those who have participated and I hope to see you again in a couple of months.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the writers who submitted stories for this sentence starter.

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "I need more." | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Happy Writing!

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Pen & Paper [Healthy Writer]

Being a writer means that you’re sitting down for most of the day writing. Or, at least, trying to write. This also means that you’re most likely sitting down at a computer staring at the screen all day too.

Healthy Writer: Pen and Paper | Creative Writing | Healthy Habits | Work From Home | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The Computer Age

I don’t know about you, but I do the majority of my writing on the computer. Typing is faster, I can Google research right away if I need to, and… well, there are other distractions of the Internet. It’s not ideal, but still fun.

My point is, I spend probably about 80% of my day on the computer. I’m writing, blogging, researching, or doing other work. Or I’m mindlessly scrolling through various social media sites. The latter isn’t exactly good and I’ve cut back, but still. I do it. We all do.

With all that said, we can really strain ourselves from being on the computer all the time. Which is why it’s not a bad idea to pick up a pen once in a while.

Pen & Paper

It sounds like it’s more work, I know. Handwriting takes longer than typing and, to me, it tires my hands out faster since one is doing all the work. However, I love writing by hand once in a while for a few different reasons.

1. It Gives Your Eyes A Break

This is obvious. You’re off the computer and aren’t staring at a bright screen for a long period of time. Not to mention it’s easier to pick up a pen and notebook and bring it anywhere and everywhere with you. Yes, you can do that with a laptop, but notebooks are easier and lighter to carry.

2. It’s Great For A First Draft

I’ll admit that I haven’t done this in a while, but I used to love writing my first drafts on paper and then transferring it to the computer. I know this seems like an extra step, but by typing it up on the computer after it’s already written is kind of like the first round of edits. You’re typing up the second draft and editing as you go because you’re writing and reading the first draft at the same time. You’ll catch errors and also come up with a few new ideas as well.

3. It’s Satisfying

I know I’ve said this before, but writing by hand is satisfying. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it just feels good once in a while after you’ve been typing for so long.

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What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like [Mental Health Mondays]

Thankfully, I haven’t had an anxiety attack in a while. I used to get them frequently when I was in school and, on occasion, I’ll get the feeling that I’m going to have one, but tend to talk myself out of it. If I do have an anxiety attack though, this is what it typically feels like for me.

Mental Health Mondays: What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Hot Flash

Usually, when I begin to have an anxiety attack, I start to get a hot flash everywhere. I get clammy hands, sweaty everywhere, it’s gross. And it’s not a nice feeling either. I think I start to feel this way when I get overwhelmed and my body is trying to tell me to step outside and just get some air. When I begin to feel this way, I try my best to find a bathroom just to splash some cold water on my face or anything to cool myself down.

I love the summer, it’s my favorite season. I also would rather be hot than cold. However, that doesn’t help when I’m out in public and get hot. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the weather or I’m about to have an anxiety attack… in which case, I often work myself up to have an attack.

Shaking and Dizziness

These two go hand in hand sometimes. I’ll feel shaky and unsteady on my feet or get the feeling that the floor is moving or uneven. Then I’ll get dizzy and start to feel claustrophobic. I normally get this way in stores or restaurants. I felt this way all the time when I was in school. If I’m in a place that has little to no windows, then forget it. The entire room will be spinning for me.

I normally try to find a way out of where ever I am when I start to feel this way. Depending on the situation, I can sometimes stick it out, but I usually need to leave.

No Vision

If the anxiety attack gets far enough, I’ll lose my vision. I’ll basically blackout, but I’m not passed out. I’m still conscious and can hear things going on and such, but I just can’t see. It’s a weird thing and I don’t know if that happens to anyone else or not. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened in a while, but when it does, I just have to sit and let it pass. Once it does, I’ll be dizzy for a few moments while my body gets back to normal.

Shortness of Breath

This usually happens at any time, but mostly if the anxiety attack gets bad enough that I need to just let it pass and get through it. A million things can go through my head when I have an attack because it feels like I’m dying. Thus, shortness of breath. I also have asthma so mix that in with thinking I’m dying and… yeah.

Exhaustion

Once all of this is over, I’m down for the count for the rest of the day. It puts such a strain on my mind and body that I am super tired. The last thing I want to do is work, socialize, go anywhere, or do anything. It’s not fun.

Of course, tiredness comes with the package as a whole. Anxiety makes me feel tired all the time and having an attack just makes it worse.

Overall, anxiety attacks aren’t fun and I know people experience different things when they have an attack. I also know some are more severe than others. This is what I usually go through when I have an anxiety attack. Luckily, as I said before, I haven’t had one in a while. Usually, I tend to get them in the middle of the night too so at least it doesn’t interfere with work or anything else during the day. It doesn’t make it any less annoying though.

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Short Story Sunday 285: Bad

Short Story Sunday: Bad | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“How is it?” Jasmine asked. She stood right in her roommate’s face wiping her hands in her floral apron around her waist.

Lucy chewed the food inside her mouth, her gaze wandering around the kitchen. She was having a tough time chewing the piece of brownie and she wasn’t sure if it was meant to be like that. The taste, on the other hand, she wasn’t sure about either. Was it her taste buds that didn’t seem to care for it or was it just cooked badly?

“Well?” Jasmine demanded straightening up and putting her hands on her hips.

“It’s good,” Lucy lied still chewing on the small piece.

“Then why aren’t you swallowed?”

“I’ve tried, but my throat keeps pushing it back up.”

Jasmine pouted and turned away as Lucy went over to the trash and spit the piece of chocolate out.

“Oh, man… what are we going to do?” Jasmine sighed. She sat down at the kitchen table. The kitchen was a pit. The sink was overflowing with dirty dishes, all the ingredients were left out scattered about on the counters and the table, as well as some of it spilled on the counter and even onto some parts of the floor. Lucy turned around from the trash and noticed the mess for the first time. She had no idea how Jasmine managed to make such a mess, but she had a feeling she wasn’t going to clean it all up on her own.

“I don’t know,” Lucy replied staring at the mess. Though she knew Jasmine wasn’t talking about the mess in the kitchen.

“I told them I’d bring something.” Jasmine wailed burying her face in her hands. “We have to go to the party in two hours and we have nothing!”

“Seriously,” Lucy stared at the empty egg carton, flour bag, and there was barely any sugar left. These brownies were not her first attempt. Lucy woke up this morning to the aroma of chocolate. The thing was, Lucy had no idea how one could mess up such an easy thing as brownies, but Jasmine refused to use a box. She wanted to try it from scratch. Even that was easy, but she still messed it up.

Honestly, Lucy was getting sick of tasting all the mistakes and Jasmine wanted to do it on her own so she wouldn’t accept any help from her roommate. Lucy was the one who always cooked dinner and she was beginning to think that she should have Jasmine help her more often. Maybe she’d learn a thing or two.

“It’s not a big deal. There’s always the grocery store.” Lucy explained. She picked up the empty ingredient containers and brought them over to the trash. She wanted to make Jasmine clean the kitchen herself, but she was so upset, Lucy figured she might as well help where she can.

“I don’t want to bring something store bought though… I told them I’d make something. Everyone else is going to make something. We’re adults now, we have our own apartment. I want to bring a home made something to their engagement party.” Jasmine complained.

Lucy sighed. Just because they lived in an apartment didn’t mean they were adults. They both had full-time jobs, but Lucy was still in school, and both of them called their mothers every night with some sort of question. Jasmine had to ask her father to come over the other day to change the lightbulb in the kitchen for them because neither of them could figure out how to take the cover off.

They had decided to move in together and take that step in their lives because they’re other two girlfriends were in relationships and living with their significant others. One of them had just gotten engaged and ever since they announced it, Jasmine has been feeling subpar. They were all the same age and Jasmine felt as though she was behind where she should be. Lucy had tried explaining they were more focused on their career while their other friends weren’t, but it was still a weird feeling for Jasmine.

Lucy understood that. It was weird for her as well. But she had a feeling they wouldn’t be the only people to show up to the engagement party with a store-bought item.

“How about,” Lucy said knowing everyone else with a store-bought dessert would have the same excuse, “we just say a few things came up and we didn’t have time to bake anything? No one will even ask, but in case they do.”

Jasmine wiped her eyes but nodded.

“Do you want to run out and get some fresh air? You can pick up something yummy and I can get started on this kitchen…” Lucy said tried to stifle another sigh.

Jasmine nodded. She stood and took off her apron, putting it on the back of the chair but it fell to the floor. She walked away not noticing and left the room to grab her keys and purse.

Lucy stared at the apron on the ground and grunted. She had only been roommates with her friend for about two weeks and was already wondering how much longer she was going to last. Jasmine was usually the level-headed one of their group.

It just goes to show how some people show their true colors when you live with them.

Words: 895

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 51

Thanks to all those who have continued to do the Time To Write prompts while I was away and couldn’t keep up with them. It’s time to get back into the groove with it though, so here’s this week’s prompt:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "I need more." | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “I need more.”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

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I Finally Got Scrivener

Scrivener has been a writing program that’s been in the back of my mind for a long time. So many of my writer friends that I’ve met through WordPress, social media, and NaNoWriMo swear by it. Even though I typically reach my goal each NaNo session and claim a “win,” I’ve never taken the opportunity to get 50% off of Scrivener. Until this summer.

I Finally Got Scrivener | Creative Writing | Writing Programs | Writing Community | RachelPoli.com

Too Comfortable With Word

In the back of my mind, I knew I would make the leap someday. I’ve seen people post screenshots of their work using the program on Instagram and other social media. I’ve always thought, “That’d be cool to use!”

I mean, the way I write my novels are using Word document and having a large poster with post-it notes along with a notebook or two of outlines and research. It’s a lot and if you use Scrivener, all of that is in one place.

(Who am I kidding, I’m still going to use the post-it notes and notebooks because I’m visual in that sense!)

Also, I’ve been using Word since I’ve learned how to type. I feel like, if I stop using Word, I’ll be cheating on it in some way. All my novels are already on Word and I know how to use it. So, part of me didn’t want to make the switch because I didn’t want to learn how to use something new. I didn’t want to take that time away from actual writing. Not to mention I didn’t feel like moving my novels from one program to another.

Too Much Money

Silly me, I thought Scrivener was too much money. Even though I get 50% off, I thought it would still be about $50 for me because I thought the program was $100. I also thought it was a monthly or yearly subscription. It just wasn’t something I wanted to commit to.

So, after all this time, I looked it up at the end of July, early August when the last Camp NaNoWriMo session ended. I got the 50% off code and decided to check it out.

Apparently, it’s a one-time payment and it’s only $45 which means it was about $22-$23 for me. In other words, I should have made the switch long ago.

Do your research, kids.

I Finally Got Scrivener

I’ll admit, I haven’t used it much yet. I’ve mostly been exploring what I can do on the program and am working toward moving some of my novels over onto it. Needless to say, I haven’t really sat down and “wrote” using Scrivener just yet. I’m looking forward to starting something new with it though. I’ll be continuing my mystery and other novels, but I might try to start something new so I can learn the program as I go along with a new writing project.

I think I need something fresh like this to get myself back into the habit of writing again. I think, between Scrivener and NaNo coming next month, this is a good opportunity for me to get back into that routine. I’m looking forward to it.

Do you have Scrivener? How do you like it? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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