Children’s Book Challenge

I have a story that involves a rabbit named Jack Bunny. Actually, I have many stories about Jack. He appeared when my kids were going to day care, and I was working full time. Yes, this was some time back.

Like all mom’s, I had ambivalent feelings about dropping my kids off at day care, but was soothed to know that they enjoyed their time there. Perhaps to assuage my own mixed feelings, I began to spin tales at night of the magical rabbit, Jack Bunny, who showed up at daycare, hid in the bushes, whispered to my kids, and then took them out on adventures. One touch of his paw, and they were magically transported through time and space to…wherever I could think of!

Perhaps this is new territory for you, but then again, I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more the old stories have valuable warmth and charm. Besides, I’m better at letting go and just writing now, coming along with the words to see what happens. So, if you care to join me, I will start Jack and the kids off on another adventure here. I invite you to put in your two cents, not because I need you to, but because it occurred to me that your wonderful minds, hearts, and skills might delight in spinning these tales along with me. This is for fun–for the young at heart who know no irony or sarcasm but who love adventure, a yearning for the unimaginable, and the sense that anything can happen at any time.

It was a Tuesday. Carrie was happy it was not Monday, but then again, it wasn’t Thursday either—the day before Friday which was the day before Saturday—the day the family got to be all together at home. On the other hand, she liked the day care—lots of kids to play with–and Wylie showed up after his day in first grade for the last two hours of the day rather than going home to the empty house, and this made her proud. She had a big brother, and he was fun.

The playroom clocked chimed three—time to go outside and play on the equipment, run races, and be loud. (No hollering inside.) Wylie would show up soon, and after that, Mom would come after work was done. Carrie ran outside, looking from side to side to think of what to do. Play tag? Grab a swing? Climb the fort? Just then she heard a very welcome sound.

“Psst! Psst!” Someone was hissing from the azalea bushes. “Psst! Carrie!”

“Jack!” Carrie ran over, throwing a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure no one saw. “What’s up?”

“I’m on my way to ride a cyclone. Do you want to come?”

Carrie’s eye lit up. “Oh. A cyclone! Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Odds.”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Yes, something like that. We’ll pick Wylie up as he leaves Windsor Elementary. Touch my paw, and let’s go!”

76 responses to “Children’s Book Challenge

  1. Miss Brewster’s horned-rim glasses slipped down her nose as the young children filed out of the classroom and followed her to the exit door. She could see the excitement building in them the closer they got to the door of freedom. She pushed her glasses up, reminded the children to walk slowly—no pushing!—out the door and down the three steps to the playground.

    “We don’t want anyone falling and getting hurt,” she said. “That would ruin recess for everyone. Now, stay in line, two-by-two. Remember? James, please stop pulling Molly’s braids. Molly, please stop hitting James. Yes, thank you, Judy, but I could see what was happening. You didn’t need to tell me. Remember what I told you about tattling?” She pushed against the crash bar with her rear end, then stepped quickly out of the way, holding the door open wide as the two-by-two line suddenly became three-by-three, and then a mob as the excited pre-schoolers fled the building for the wide open spaces of the playground.

    When the last child was out of the school building, Miss Brewster sighed. “Only Tuesday,” she said aloud. “And I have playground duty all week.” She walked along the azalea hedge towards the jungle gym, knowing if there was going to be a problem, that’s where it would occur. As she turned the corner at the end of the sidewalk, she saw Carrie peering into the hedge and heard her whispering.

    Miss Brewster stopped, backed around the hedge before Carrie saw her, and tried to overhear. Words that sounded like “Jack” and “bygone” were all she heard. Oh, dear, thought Miss Brewster, Carrie must be telling someone about her grandfather.

    The poor child had been heartbroken about losing Grampa Jack, but had refused to talk to anyone about his death. Miss Brewster reminded herself to tell the day care counselor that Carrie finally was talking to someone about her grandfathers book.

    Then, hearing no further conversation, she stepped around the corner to see who Carrie was confiding in. There was no one there. Not even Carrie.

  2. Oh. I have no idea where the word
    “book” came from in the next to last paragraph. It was supposed to read “…about her grandfather’s death.”

    Gremlins, I reckon. Now back to cleaning the garage.

  3. (Really, I’m not trying to hog this story. I just figured everyone else would be telling it from the child’s POV, so I decided to take the adult POV. Besides, anything to get out of cleaning the garage.)

    Cyrus Whifflesnuff leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. Only Tuesday, he said to himself, and three more long days to go. He closed his eyes and felt the weariness rising from his feet, through his legs, up into his bottom and then his chest. It stopped at his neck, because Mr. Whifflesnuff suddenly remembered that he had school bus duty this week.

    He jumped up and rushed out of the classroom. Have to finish up there later, he thought. Hope I’m not too late. He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw the eight yellow school buses lined up at the curb in front of the school, and lines of children stepping aboard. Wow, that was close, he told himself.

    “Charlie? Charlie! Stop it right now. How many times have I told you not to push the smaller children out of line? One more time and you’ll be doing detention on Saturdays, even if I have to stay there with you. Apologize to Sammy for knocking him down.”

    Out of the corner of his eye Mr. Whifflesnuff saw red-haired Wylie help Sammy stand up, then dust the dirt and leaves off the young boy’s back. That Wylie’s a good kid, thought Mr. Whifflesnuff. They say red-haired kids have tempers, but Wylie’s the happiest kid I’ve ever seen. Oh, he was a little quiet for a few weeks after his grandfather died, but he seems to be coming around.

    Sammy Siegelhorn stepped aboard the school bus. Mr. Whifflesnuff expected to see Wylie right behind him, but Amelia Cheddarheggle was right behind Sammy. Mr. Whifflesnuff started to turn around to look for Wylie, but a commotion two buses down got his attention first, and he rushed off to see what was happening there.

    So, Mr. Whifflesnuff did not see Wylie step behind the wide sign attached to tall posts in the flower garden that read “Windsor Elementary School, Home of the Windsor Widgets.” Nor did he see a peculiar rabbit stick out its front leg towards Wylie, or he certainly would have warned the lad about the rabbit that had attacked President Carter. And if he had seen Wylie touch the rabbit’s paw, Mr. Whifflesnuff would have gone apoplectic and rushed over with his bottle of hand sanitizer and doused Wylie’s hands, because, after all, the swine flu was going around and who knows what you could catch from a rabbit! Beriberi? No, trichinosis? Can you come down with trichinosis if you catch swine flu? Wait. Toola… toola something. Ah! Tularemia!! That’s it.

    But Mr. Whifflesnuff hadn’t seen Wylie touch the rabbit’s paw because Mr. Whifflesnuff was trying to get Bartholomew to stop crying because his mother would certainly be there to pick him up in a few minutes. “She must be caught in traffic, Bartie,” soothed Mr. Whifflesnuff, who was trying to comfort the crying boy and at the same time keep Bartholomew’s prodigiously running nose away from his tweed suit. And, Mr. Whifflesnuff wasn’t looking when Wylie suddenly disappeared into thin air.

    And it’s a good thing, because Mr. Whifflesnuff surely would have fainted if he’d seen that.

  4. Love the attack rabbit reference! Darn, now my coffee’s gotten cold. I love children’s stories. You know my motto: “It’ never too late to have a happy childhood.”

    . . . You all are inspiring me to pick up my Enzed the Urban Hedgehog draft and do something with it. If Enzed and Jack Bunny teamed up, no telling what might happen!

  5. Excuse me. I hate to interrupt such a happy bunny story with an alarming message like this, but I wanted to share with my online writing friends… This morning my older brother had an accident on his bicycle. He is in the ICU at UMass medical center. He was awake and active, but did not know his children, and had to be restrained to keep him from getting up and walking out. The kids are only in their 20’s, and are having a hard time with this. Please say a prayer if you are into that. I hope to write with better news soon. -m.

    • Oh Maureen, what worrisome news! I’m glad you wanted to share with us. We’ll keep them all in our prayers. UMass is tops so his care will be exceptional. We’ll pray for a speedy recovery.

    • I have already sent up a prayer for you and your family. Please let us know how things are going. And know that we all care about you here. You are one of us.

    • Thank you for sharing this with us. You can be assured that we’re here for you and will pray for your brother and his family. And for you also of course.

      I hope we can ease the burden on your soul at this time by sharing it with you.

      Soak up the friendship vibes we’re sending your way. For as long as possible, let yourself drift peacefully in the knowledge that our thoughts are of you and yours.

    • Praying for your brother and family. Let us know how he’s doing.

  6. Will do, Maureen. My best to you also.

  7. My thoughts go out to you, Maureen. I hope you find a crew of doctors you like there to help with this difficult, difficult situation.

  8. Thank you all for your concern. I have not heard anything new yet. The time on this is goofy – right now it is 11:39 Eastern time, Monday. It was yesterday he hit his head.
    I’m sorry for posting this here, but it seemed the best way to reach this group. Go ahead back to the story now! I mean it!


  9. Aw, maureen, sweetie. I wish we could snap our fingers and fix the pain you all are enduring right now. I’m so glad you told us what’s going on. I’m sending positive energy to you and your family. And, like the others have already so eloquently written, we’re here for you. Virtual hug.

  10. Sigh. I’m beginning to think I ran everyone off. This isn’t MY story–it’s OUR story. C’mon, guys. I’m getting a complex. Another one.

    Actually, what happened is that I have scads of things to do before I leave on another two-week adventure Friday, then I’m home only three days before I leave for a Russian adventure. So what happens? Company!!! Yes, that ol’ scalawag THE MUSE torpedoed me several days ago and I’m having trouble keeping up with her.

    Finally I got my clothes set out for the first trip, which is two weeks on Maui and a three day horseback trip into Haleakala crater with the Park Ranger. That requires clothing for two climates. It also requires knowing someone who knows someone, especially someone who has horses.

    As for Russia, tank tops and shorts won’t cut it, so I’m having to turn my brain around and think a different climate. I haven’t even opened the Russian language CD I bought several months ago, so my knowledge of Russian is limited to “da” and “nyet.”

    I think I remember having more time when I didn’t have a blog.

  11. Back to the story, per Maureen’s request.

    ***********Riding a Cyclone***********

    Carrie put her hand in Jack Bunny’s paw and right away a smile spread across her face. She loved the sensation of disappearing and then moving through space attached to a rabbit, of all things. Whenever Jack took her away, she felt carefree and happy.

    Windsor Elementary School, Callie’s brother’s school, stood on the opposite corner of Donner and Blitzen Streets. Before Carrie could blink her eyes twice, Wylie was holding Jack’s other paw and they were off on another escapade.

    “Jack said we’re going to ride a cyclone, Wylie,” Carrie shouted to her brother. “Like in the Wizard of Odds.”

    Jack winked at Wylie and repeated, “Yeah, something like that.”

    “Wow. Where will you find a cyclone, Jack?” Wylie asked. “Won’t we get dizzy if we ride on one?”

    Jack just kept looking ahead and smiling with an ever mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “Look down there, kids,” he said and he slowed down.

    Far below their dangling feet were five huge red and yellow spinning tops. Bold letters on their sides showed off their names. Tornado, Cyclone, Hurricane, Blizzard and Thunderstorm bounced into each other and spun around and around.

    Jack led Wylie and Carrie to Cyclone, the biggest top of the bunch. He straightened his floppy left ear and used it to open a door that led inside. “Meet Cyclone,” Jack said.

    “Don’t you think you should knock before you open the door?” Wylie asked.

    “Oh, no. They know me here very, very well. I come here often,” Jack said. “Now, Wylie, climb on my back and put your arms around my neck,” Jack said. “Carrie, climb on Wylie’s back and hang on tight.”

    Jack lowered them into Cyclone before they could ask any more questions. He placed a red dot on their foreheads, explaining that the dot would keep them from getting dizzy. Music and soft but bright lights surrounded them. Jack let his paw slip off the upper edge of the top.

    The three of them spun slowly down along the inside walls of the gigantic rotating top. The whimsical music and flashing lights made them laugh. Their eyes got bigger and rounder as they spun faster and faster. As they floated deeper down inside the top, it widened until the space was as big as a circus tent. In fact, everything they saw had sparkles and spangles and stripes and polka dots just like the glamorous things that a circus brings to town.

    Candy of all flavors floated within arms reach. Jack carried them wherever Carrie and Wylie pointed. Bubbles of every color swirled around the spinning trio. The bubbles had sipping straws attached and were filled with soda pop. Wylie was having so much fun he almost forgot to hold on to Jack. Callie was laughing so hard, she was flopping around like a rag doll.

    Jack checked his enormous pocket watch and then shook his head. He loved the children and the time he spent with them, yet, it was time for him to take them home.

    Jack pointed to his watch and the children’s faces fell. As they rose on Jack’s back to the top of the top, they calmed down. Jack opened the lid with his ear and soon they were standing atop Cyclone.

    With Callie holding his left paw and Wylie on his right, Jack returned them quickly back to the playground at Callie’s school. Since Jack was a magic rabbit, time stopped whenever they were on an adventure with him. When they landed in the azalea bushes, recess was in full swing and no one had missed them.

    Callie and Wylie hugged Jack and thanked him for the ride on Cyclone. “Off you go until next time,” Jack said.

    Callie and Wylie looked over their shoulders and saw the azalea bush glow and shimmer as Jack disappeared and took off for his home, where, they didn’t know.

    Brother and sister walked hand in hand, wondering why they were the lucky ones that Jack picked out of all the kids in the world. They longed for their next chance to be with him, knowing Jack would be back for them soon. If not tomorrow, very, very soon.

    (Hey, hey. I brought a round of carrots for everyone. I don’t know what to think about my childish concoction but it was sort of fun in a crazy, cock-eyed way!)

    🙂 :):)

  12. “That was sure fun,” said Wylie, a big grin on his freckled face.

    “Yes, it was, but we have a problem, Wylie. A BIG problem,” said Carrie, looking around cautiously.

    “What’s that?”

    “We’re both at MY school. How do we get you back to Windsor?”

    Wylie felt suddenly very uncomfortable. He looked around to see whether anyone had noticed him.

    “I think Jack played a trick on us, or else he forgot,” said Wylie. “I’ll just have to run very fast and hope I get there before recess ends. I’d better get going. Don’t hang around to watch me leave. You might draw attention to me and one of the teachers will ask me why I’m here. Go find your friends. See you at home, Carrie.”

    “See you later, Wylie. Good luck!”

    Carrie casually walked across the playground and joined the closest group of girls. She smiled at their shared joke and tried not to be obvious as she watched her brother running down the street as fast as he could go. She watched for a moment when suddenly, her heart stopped. A big black and white police car was rounding the corner right behind Wylie. Oh, no, thought Carrie. Wylie’s in trouble!

    • Good move, Barb. Our story needed some conflict. Candy and soda pop won’t hold our readers indefinitely!

      (Shame on me for introducing candy and pop into the story at all. I work in a dental office!! Of course, with the economic problems…)

      • Barbara Burris

        Thanks, Shaddy. I wasn’t sure where to go after Gully’s portion so I waited for someone else to define the path. Don’t worry about the sweets. In ‘fantasy land’ there are no dental caries! Thanks also for reminding Maureen that we’re all thinking of her and her family.

  13. Maureen,

    We continue to hold your brother, you and the family in our thoughts and prayers.


  14. Barb,

    I just wrote directly from Ann’s prompt. I didn’t relate it to Gully’s story at all.

    I took an easier route. After all, we’re in the midst of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

    You credit me with defining the path. Oh dear, I’ll be paranoid now, thinking I’m being followed!!

    • Sure seems to flow together well, even if you didn’t pick up from there. Nice job! I just saw a way to tag onto your section and went with it. I’m not typically a fiction writer so I don’t share the more creative writing skills you all seem to have.

  15. Hi, Everyone!
    I am very glad to report that my brother is coming around nicely, more himself every day. He’ll only be in the hospital a few more days, though he will need to be “watched” …I hope that is just a precaution. I’m sure you can imagine the relief we are feeling!
    Thank you all for your prayers and friendship. It is nice having you here.


  16. It’s nice for us to have you here confiding in and leaning on us. I’m sure your brother will be okay. A bump on the head knocks us all silly at times.

  17. Shaddy,

    Not a problem that your entry didn’t relate to mine. That’s kind of what I hoped would happen. Point and counterpoint, so to speak. Somewhere there needs to be cohesion, conflict, epiphany, plan and triumph. Anyone?

    When I get a few minutes, I’ll have Miss Brewster notice Wylie running off, and Carrie appearing in a bright light. Right now…I’m still trying to get my act together around here.

  18. Those of you who follow the Elder Storytelling Place most likely have been reading the stories by William, a retired trucker who is caregiving his wife who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Sometime next week, says Ronni Bennett, she will post a letter to him that I wrote. I won’t be here. I’ll be listening for the heartbeat of a volcano–and hoping it’s dormant. (Oh–now there’s a line I can use at mt blog. I tell ya, sometimes the muse shows up at the most inopportune moments–like when I’m scurrying about to get ready for something.)

  19. Miss Brewster pulled the knot tight on Jason Bickerstaff’s left shoe and rose slowly to her feet.

    I swear, she thought, if I had a nickel for every shoe I’ve tied since I started working here, I could have retired in luxury already. Why can’t these kids wear those shoes with the Velcro fasteners? So what if they call them kindergarten straps? Better yet, why can’t they learn to tie their shoes themselves?

    She pushed her horned-rim glasses back into place and turned towards the playground. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a bright flash, like an explosion almost, but not as violent. And, there was no sound with it at all. Suddenly she saw Carrie standing by the hedge where she’d been earlier—where she’d disappeared, thought Miss Brewster.

    Then a flash of red rounded the corner of the building, but the sun was in her eyes and she wasn’t sure. Why, that looked like Wylie, she thought, but he isn’t due for another half hour. He should still be in school. I’ll have to have the office call and see if he was released early. But, it almost looked as if he was running away, instead of just getting here. Hnmmm….my glasses must be playing tricks on me. For an moment there it almost looked like all the children had stood stock still for an instant. Oh, fol-de-rol. Not a one of these children could ever stand still, not even for a second. Hmph. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

    Miss Brewster watched Carrie approaching the playground. The little girl had a huge smile on her face.

    Lorinda Lavender motioned to Mr. Whifflesnuff. When she reached him at the school bus stop, she asked if Wylie had gotten on a bus yet.

    “No, said Mr. Whifflesnuff. “He was here a minute ago, but I haven’t seen him get on a bus yet. Of course, I was talking with Sammy, whose mother was late again, and had my back turned. He could very well have gotten on a bus after all, I should say.”

    “Well,” said Lorinda Lavender, “the day care called. One of the attendants thought she saw Wylie running away from there. She wasn’t sure it was Wylie, because it’s too early for him to have arrived there. Nonetheless, she thought it best to call.”

    “Why, yes, I should think so,” said Mr. Whifflesnuff as he watched the eight buses pull away from the curb and head out on their routes. “Yes, indeed, I should think so—as I said. Well, umm, it seems to be too late to check now—the buses are all leaving. So, umm, I suppose the prudent thing to do would be to call the day care center shortly to see if young Wylie arrives as he is supposed to. Wouldn’t you say there, Miss Lavender?”

    Now, Miss Lavender, who had a secret crush on Mr. Whifflesnuff, turned bright red and stammered, “why, um, yes, I should think…I mean..I…umm. that is..”

    Mr. Whifflesnuff, who had been trying for months to get enough courage to ask Miss Lavender if she would accompany him to tea one day, said, “Yes, I agree, Miss Lavender. So, umm, you’ll do that them. Right-o?”

    “Umm, well, I…” said Miss Lavender.

    “Is there a problem, Miss Lavender?”

    “Oh, dear, I’m afraid…”

    “Thing nothing of it then, Miss Lavender. It is all my fault,” apologized Mr. Whifflesnuff. “I behaved badly there, I’m afraid. I should have considered that you might have other plans, now that your day here is complete. I shall make the call myself, and I do so apologize, Miss Lavender. Please forgive me.”

    “I…yes…certainly…um…Mr. Whifflesnuff…but…umm…I…”

    “No, no, Miss Lavender. It is I who is at fault here. I shall make the call myself. Good-day, Miss Lavender. And, uh…may I say you look exceptionally well put together today, Miss Lavender.” And with that, Mr. Whifflesnuff headed back into the school to telephone the day care center, mentally bashing himself on the head for saying “well put together.” She must think me an idiot, he sighed. What do I think she is, a horse? “Well put together” indeed. Why can’t we men just speak simple English to the ladies?

    • Were you a grade school principal at some time in your life? You seem to be in your glory speaking for Mr. Whifflesnuff and the other adults in your story.

      (I know better but just had to pose the query for the fun of it).

  20. Set in today’s day and time, Me and My Best Friend is about a young boy, his faithful companion and their exciting adventures.

    Henry and Liam are the best of friends and they do everything together. They can run and play all day long. But when Henry the puppy gets tired and tries to take a nap, three-year-old Liam keeps waking him, wanting him to play some more. Will Henry get any rest?

    Get your children involved with this beautifully illustrated book. Your child will love to match up words and pictures, and find Liam, who keeps hiding in his bedroom. Perfect for the young reader!

    About the Author

    J.S. Huntlands is the author of Nick Twisted Minds and is currently working on more books in this series, as well as 23 more books in the Me and My Best Friend series. Huntlands is a full-time writer, as well as a mom to a wonderful four-year-old boy. This book is dedicated to her son in hopes that he never forgets his best friend.

  21. Shaddy, Sometimes my muse is–how should I say it?–peculiar? Then again, maybe writing children’s stories is my thing. Ah, if only I could think of plots. We wjho are plot-challenged survive by blathering on and on.

  22. And we who can’t type without typos should learn to proofread before hitting submit.

  23. Is our story going anywhere?



  24. Carrie watched as the police car followed Wylie. The policeman turned and looked back at her, showing his long nose.

    “Oh no, it can’t be,” yelled Carrie, “It’s Sarge Wolfenose, he hates us kids, and he’s on Wylie’s tail. I’ve got to get help, but I can’t tell these grown ups, they would laugh and put me in special ed classes. Whoops, there’s Miss Brewster, smile and make her think you’re having a good time. Jack Bunny, where are you when we need you?”

    Carrie ran to the azalea bushes, “Psss, pssss, Jack Bunny are you there? I need your help, Wylie needs your help.”

    A hand grabs Carries shoulder, “Are you talking to the bushes Carrie? Do they answer you?” Carrie looked up to see Miss Lavender in her pink kimono.

  25. I’m leaving Beloit, not on a jet plane, but driving a big ole truck to OH HI OH. Gone from these parts ’til Sunday. Y’all carry on the best ya can without me. Sufferin makes ya strong, ya know. So buckle down and help young Carrie get that Miss Lavender off her back. Dang! Wearin a pink kimono! How could ya dress her in that, dear Walk?


  26. Mr. Whifflesnuff looked out the window and wondered where this craving for rabbit stew came from. “I must catch a rabbit and brew some stew.” He watched Carrie walked out from the red azalea bushes holding the paw of a large rabbit. “You waskley wabbit, I’ll have you for supper soon.” He saw Miss Lavender walk around the corner, “And I’ll share you with her.”

  27. Abigail von Amberglow turned the ignition key in the society’s specially-equipped Saab SUV, and smiled when she heard the powerful engine being to purr. Just like a dear little kitty, she thought.

    Abigail was on duty today, prowling the streets of Windsor in search of animals being mistreated. She had been a long-time supporter of PETA for many years. When she retired from the city library after reaching age 65, Abigail volunteered as a PETA stalker five days a week. She was so successful at keeping fur, fins and feathers from harm, that PETA had ordered this special SUV for her use only.

    She began her route on Washington Street, prowled past the city park on Adams Avenue, then turned onto Jefferson Boulevard where the baseball diamonds sat. All looked fine there, she thought. She saw Humphrey Humperdinck walking his Llahsa Apso, and Edwina Eagleston brushing her long-haired Weimaraner.

    Rounding the curve near Madison and Monroe, Abigail saw a rather portly man sneaking along the azalea hedge at the day care center. He seemed to be carrying a net, but it was too large for a butterfly net. Abigail drew the line at insects. Those creepy crawlies could just look out for themselves, she shuddered. She would sacrifice life, limb, and decorum to protect animals, birds, and fish, but creepy crawlies could just be someone else’s problem.

    Suddenly the man with the net sprang into action, and Abigail could see he was after a large white rabbit.

    “Oh, no, you don’t, Fatso!” she yelled, and punched the red button on the dashboard. A small panel opened on the front bumper of the SUV, and a huge fish net sailed into the air and landed on the man. Just before the net dropped, Abigail saw a young girl and a woman with the rabbit. They’d been hidden behind the bunny at first. Then there was a flash of light, and the net fell on the whole scene.

    Abigail jumped out of the SUV and ran towards the captives. “I’ve got you now, you rabbit-thief. Don’t try to get away,” she yelled at the struggling man under the net. She couldn’t see either the rabbit or the little girl or the woman, and she was afraid that they were under the fat man. But, when the man stood up and threw the net off his head and shoulders, he was the only one there.

    “Where are they?” she yelled. “What have you done with them?”

    Then she looked at him again. “Mr. Whifflesnuff? What on earth are you doing? What are you chasing a rabbit, a lady, and a little girl with a net?”

    Mr. Whifflesnuff adjusted his suit jacket, and tried his best to assume a proper posture, one befitting a teacher from Windsor Elementary, and the first delegate to the Windsor PTA committee.

    “I wasn’t chasing a little girl,” said Mr. Whifflesnuff. “I was chasing the….I mean, Ms. Amberglow, I was trying to rescue the little girl from the rabbit by catching the creature. Yes, yes. That’s what I was doing. I should say, that is. By that I mean, what…how…why did you…what exactly did you do to me?”

    Miss Abigail was not about to let Mr. Whifflesnuff change the subject. “Never mind what I did to you. What did you do to the little girl and the rabbit?’ And was that Miss Lavender from the school with them?”

  28. These submissions are wonderful. Childrens stories are a writing disipline I have never tried. I don’t have a clue where I should even try to jump in. I think I will sit this one out.

  29. darksculptures: neither have I, so your excuse doesn’t hold water. Speaking of which, from negate your excuse.where I am sitting at the moment, I can see the Pacific Ocean, and the shores O lahaina, Maui. RIght below me is a turquoise swimming pool with a deck chair that is calling to me. I’m on the lanai of a fourth floor condo in Kihei, using Wi-Fi to refuse your excuse. Jump in. Never know what will happen.

  30. darksculptures: neither have I, so your excuse doesn’t hold water. Speaking of which, from where I am sitting at the moment, I can see the Pacific Ocean, and the shores O lahaina, Maui. RIght below me is a turquoise swimming pool with a deck chair that is calling to me. I’m on the lanai of a fourth floor condo in Kihei, using Wi-Fi to refuse your excuse. Jump in. Never know what will happen.

  31. I thought you were in Russia, boy am I confused. I hope you are having a nice time.

    You too Shaddy, hope you are having fun in OH HI OH!

    Okay, I will give this a try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m hosting a party today, (busy, busy, busy) so look for something tomorrow.

  32. Ok Gully, here is my attempt at a children’s story.

    This is where Ann left off.

    Jack rolled his eyes. “Yes, something like that. We’ll pick Wylie up as he leaves Windsor Elementary. Touch my paw, and let’s go!”

    Carrie laid her hand across Jack’s paw. In an instant, they both began to rise quickly to the clouds. Up, up, up they went, until they reached a soft billowy cloud floating above the schoolyard. Safely perched on the cloud, Carrie peered down at the school below.

    How small everything seemed, she thought. The top of the fort looked no larger than a Lego and the roof of the school had a peculiar design. It almost looked like the hopscotch table drawn at the south end of the schools basketball court. Carrie searched her pocket for a stone to throw down on the roof, but her small hand returned empty.

    “Hold on!” said Jack.

    “Is it time to go?” asked Carrie.

    Jack lassoed the cloud with his rope.

    “It’s time to go!” and before Jack could finish his sentence the cloud raced off across the sky with Jack and Carrie in tow.

    Carrie held on tightly to the tails of Jack’s green plaid jacket. She giggled as the wind rushed across her face causing her ponytail to flap around in the wind. The blue ribbon fastened tightly around her hair started to come untied, but Carrie didn’t dare let go of Jack. The ribbon got looser and looser, until finally it let go in the wind. Carrie watched as it spun around in the air behind them as it started to float back to the ground before disappearing in the clouds.

    Jack peered down at his watch, “Tsk, Tsk, we must hurry, the bell is about to ring at Windsor Elementary.”

    With a flick of the whisker, the cloud raced faster across the sky and in a blink, they had arrived to pick up Wylie.

    Jack and Carrie floated down off the cloud and hid behind the100-year-old oak surrounded by Azaleas at the corner of the bicycle rack. Just then, the bell rang loudly and a swarm of children rushed out of the two big red doors and down the steps. Quickly the bicycle rack emptied until there was just one last bike remaining, Wylie’s bike.

    “Why is he taking so long?” Carrie asked Jack.

    “I don’t know Carrie, but he better hurry if we are going to catch the cyclone.” Jack replied.

    Wylie’s bike was not like the other kids. It was a rusty 1970 Schwinn Sting-Ray with a black and silver metallic banana seat.

    Over the summer, he painted it flat black trying to cover the rust, and he tried to polish the pits in the chrome on the wheels and spokes, but it was still in pretty bag shape. The rust had already begun to pop through, but Wylie didn’t care. He didn’t even care that the other children laughed at him for riding such an old ugly bike. It was his fathers and to him that was all that mattered.

    When his father disappeared last summer, Wylie had taken the old bike down from the rafters of the musty garage and rode it all summer long. When his dad hadn’t return by the fall and school was about to start, he pleaded with his mom to ride it to school instead of taking the bus. Eventually his mother gave in.

    Finally, the big red doors of the school opened again and Wylie began hobbling down the steps. He had gotten used to climbing and descending the stairs even though the metal braces on his legs clicked and clacked every step of the way. In fact, Wylie had gotten pretty good at doing most things in his braces, even though they slowed him down. Riding that old ugly Sting-Ray bike had done quite a bit to strengthen his legs.

    “Hurry,” Carrie yelled. “We are going to miss the cyclone.”

    “What are you talking about?” Wylie asked. His brow was lowered and his eyes darted over to the tree where Jack and Carrie were climbing out from behind the Azalea bushes.

    “Jack is taking us to ride a cyclone, and if we don’t hurry we are going to miss it.” Carrie said.

    “I don’t feel like riding a cyclone today,” Wylie replied.

    “Oh, but this is a special cyclone,” Jack insisted. “This cyclone will take us to see someone that you really wish to see.”

    After a brief hesitation, Wylie agreed to go with them. Carrie and Wylie laid their hands on Jacks paw, and again they were whisked up to the clouds.

  33. Darksculptures,

    You are terrific at this! I’m really caught up in your story. Can you finish it? I’d like to know the ending. You’ve created so much backstory without really going into too much detail and you’ve created mystery, too.

    Please finish the story. I can’t wait to hear the ending.

  34. Okay, dark sculptures, you’ve made this your own–as they would say on American Idol. Ilike that you’ve created a cliff-hanger. Next chapter, please.

    And Barbara? Yours?

    One of my things is to be posted today at the Elder storytelling site. Link at my blog. I haven’t checked to see if it’s there.

  35. Barbara & Gully:

    Thank you for the encouragement. Writing children’s stories is fun.

    Here is the next installment. I should have time to finish it off today.


    The trio glided side to side, up and down, and around the landscape. They whizzed by farmer Stapleton’s windmill causing quite a stir. The blades of the windmill spun after them so quickly that it created a great wind. The wind frightened the chickens who were feeding below, and their frantic clucking and cackling woke up Boris the Stapleton’s bloodhound.

    Now Boris was not fond of being awakened from his afternoon nap and immediately proclaimed his disdain by howling as loudly as his aged vocal cords would allow him. This also upset Mildred the milk cow who spent her afternoons grazing on clover in the field next to the windmill.

    Carrie yelled down to the Stapleton’s farm animals as if they understood her, “Sorry chickens, sorry Boris, sorry Mildred, we didn’t mean to scare you.”

    Wylie gleaned a small smirk as he watched the chickens run around frantically and said, “Don’t worry Carrie. Mrs. Stapleton will have some nice scrambled eggs for Mr. Stapleton’s breakfast tomorrow with all the running around those chickens are doing.”

    Carrie spent quit a few moments pondering her new knowledge of how scrambled eggs were actually made and decided she would have pancakes for breakfast from now on. Scrambling eggs was just too hard on the chickens, she thought.

    “It’s just past the next farm and over that hill up ahead,” Jack yelled. His voice floated over his shoulder back to Wylie and Carrie.

    Both children leaned forward as far as they could, trying to catch the first glimpse of the cyclone. Jack wrestled the cloud down low and raced up the side of the hill. Just as they came over the top of the hill, they saw the cyclone in the valley below.

    “Is that the cyclone we are going to ride?” Wylie’s voice was a bit shaky.

    “That is her! Cindy the cyclone!” Jack exclaimed. “No need to worry, I have been riding Cindy for more than 100 years and she hasn’t thrown me off yet. Besides it is the only way to get to the place we are going.”

    “Looks awful scary Jack,” Carrie said, shaking her head slowly from side to side.

    “Don’t be scared,” Wylie said, “Look at all of the dandelions floating around in the cyclone waiting for you to pluck them for the air.”

    Carrie peered down at the cyclone and saw that there were hundreds of dandelions, maybe thousands, she thought, and she was no longer afraid.

    Jack took a special lasso from under his jacket. It was bright orange and black. Carrie studied the lasso and saw that it was made of thousands of ladybugs holding onto a long green rope made of grapevine.

    Jack held one end of the rope and dropped the rest down into the sky. The ladybugs opened their wings and began to fly. Holding the rope tightly with their tiny legs they flew toward the cyclone.

    “Hold on tight!” Jack said.

    Just as the ladybugs reached the cyclone, the wind grabbed the rope. It pulled the rope round and round the cyclone twisting up like the string on a top. The trio and the cloud were pulled closer and closer until they finally fell inside the cyclone. Suddenly the wind stopped.

    “You can open your eyes now,” said Jack.

    Wylie was the first to open his eyes. “Wow it’s beautiful,” he said.
    “Is it over?” asked Carrie.

    “Yes, it’s over, open your eyes!” Wylie shouted with laughter.

    Carrie slowly opened her eyes and could not believe what she saw.

    The sky was a giant rainbow each layer a different color, purple just above the horizon, then blue, then green, then yellow and orange and finally red. There was no sun, just the bright colors of the rainbow in the sky that sparkled like starlight but was as bright as the sun.

    The field before them lay covered in golden grass and sprinkled with bright pink flowers. The petals of the flowers flapped like birds wings and sang the songs of crickets.

    “Oh how wonderful!” Carrie cried.

    “No time for sightseeing, we must hurry before it’s too late,” Jack said.

    “To late for what?” asked Wylie.

    “To late to help your dad of course,” said Jack.

    “Dad?” Wylie’s face turned as white rice. “Did you say my dad?” Wylie could not believe what he heard.

    • I’m so excited to hear the ending. This is a great story. The ladybugs were a sensational addition and the rope twisting up like a string on a top, too. Wonderful.

  36. Bravo DS, you’ve found the inner-kid within you, and I’m not talking about a goat.

  37. And I love the scrambled eggs!

    • Can you believe my husband did not get the part about the scrambled eggs? And here I thought I was so cleaver.

      Thanks for getting it, I feel much better about my ability to be funny again.

  38. Ok – Here it is. Finally the end of the story. (Unedited, I have to run, but promised the end by this morning.)


    Jack ignoring Wylie’s question, reached into the front right pocket of his jacket, then the left, then his inside pocket, “Oh, cheese and crackers! What have I done with it?”

    “Done with what?” Carrie asked.

    “Well my map of course,” said Jack. “I took special care to draw a map so we would know where we were going. I marked a path past the large purple boulders, across the yellow river, and I am pretty sure there were also some red and white spotted trees. Now without the map, how are we going to find your father?”

    Carrie’s eyes grew as wide as a sunflower at noon, “I don’t think we need your map Jack Bunny.”

    “Well of course we need the map, how else are we going to find the path?” Jack said as he frantically searched around his feet.

    “You mean those boulders, that river, and those spotted trees?” Carrie asked while pointing through the air at the purple bolder, yellow river, and red and white spotted trees that were just a few miles ahead across the field of grass and flowers.

    Jack bounced up and down in the tall golden grass, “You are a Genius Carrie! Now let’s hurry we don’t have much time. We will have to go quickly.”

    Wylie looked down at the braces on his legs. “I don’t think I can run Jack,” he said, as a tear began to form in the far left corner of his eye.

    “Who said anything about running?” Jack replied. “You can swim can’t you?”

    Wylie, puzzled by Jack’s question, answered all the same. “Well, yes.”

    “Well then, it’s settled,” said Jack. “We will just swim. Look it is as easy as catching snow flakes with a fly swatter.”

    Jack laid down in the tall golden grass and placed two pink flowers between the toes of each of his lucky bunny feet. Then he waved his arms back and forth, one, two, three times and he was off. The flowers flapped their feathery petals and lifted Jack just above the tall blades of the grass. Jack was floating on a sea of gold and soon he flew around as if he was gliding across a frozen lake.

    Carrie and Wylie lay down on the grass and soon they too were swimming across the landscape. They swam past the bolder and right up to the edge of the trees where the yellow river flowed. It had only taken about three minutes to cover almost three miles.

    “We will have to walk from here,” Jack said. “But don’t worry Wylie, it’s not far. Your father is just on the other side of the Treesels.”

    “What are Treesels?” Carrie asked.

    “Well they are trees with measles of course. Why else would they be spotted?” Jack replied.

    Wylie quickly wrapped his arm around Carrie pulling her back. “We aren’t going to catch the measles are we?” he asked.

    “Well of course not,” said Jack. “You’re not a tree are you?”

    The trio crossed the river and made their way through the forest of Treesels until they came to a large clearing. A giant hill rose up in the center of the clearing. Circling the hill were rows and rows of brightly spotted caterpillars all bowed down in worship.

    Jack led the children up the hill, weaving their way through the caterpillars, careful not to disturb them. At the top of the hill, was a large stone platform made of the purple boulders, but brightly polished so that they shined like glass. At the center, a twenty foot royal blue grasshopper with a crown of bumblebees floating above his head, lay reclined atop the rocks. He was obviously a grasshopper of very high importance.

    “Stay right here, and done move a muscle,” Jack said to the children.

    Jack hopped up on to the top of the hill, bowed his head to the grasshopper and began to speak in a very low whisper. The grasshopper leaned toward jack and listened carefully. After a few moments, he looked toward the children, raised his brow, and smiled.

    “Come up here my children. Don’t be afraid,” a voice rang out from the top of the hill that sounded like a thousand angels whispering at once. The voice rolled down and across the hill causing the caterpillars to stand and cheer.

    Carrie was the first to approach the Great King and eagerly climbed up onto his lap. She gazed into his face and saw eyes as crystal blue as water. Carrie was not afraid and gladly wrapped her arms around the King.

    Wylie approached the King with a somber face. His head was bowed down as he stood next to the stone platform.

    “What is it that troubles you?” asked the King.

    “Nothing Sir,” Wylie paused, “Well, it’s just that I had expected to see my father.”

    The Great King reached down to Wylie and placed a hand upon his head. “So, you are missing your father?”

    “Yes Sir, very much so,” Wylie replied.

    “It just happens, that I have found a father, or rather should I say that a father has found me,” the King smiled and the whole audience on the hill cheered a loud cheer once again.

    Just then, a man emerged from the forest of Treesels and began to make his way up the hill. A crowd of caterpillars gathered around him. They laughed and cheered, touched him on the shoulder and patted him on the head. The children could barely see him through the sea of colors that now surrounded him.

    Suddenly Wylie could see the top of the man’s head, and he almost caught a glimpse of the man’s face. His palms were sweating and there was a knot forming in the pit of his stomach.

    Carrie cried, “Daddy!” and stood up in the lap of the King, to get a better look. Wylie looked up at her in disbelief.

    “Dad? Is it really?” Wylie questioned Carrie and then looked again toward the crowd.

    Just then, the crowd cleared away and the man emerged. It was the children’s father.
    “Dad! I can’t believe it is you,” Wylie took off running toward the man, completely forgetting about the braces on his legs. Carrie followed not far behind.

    The children ran into the arms of the father, their father. Their eyes were filled with tears and their hearts raced with joy.

    “Oh children, I have missed you and I have been so worried. How is your mother?” said the father.

    “Oh we have missed you too, daddy,” Carried cried.

    “Mom is fine, but she misses you very much. But, how did you get here? Why haven’t you come home? Why have you been gone so long?” Wylie was full of questions for his father.

    “In due time,” the father replied. “First we must check on the King.”

    The children and their father made their way back up to the top of the hill. Once there, the children’s father pulled back a silken blanket that had been laying over the top of the Grasshoppers hind legs.

    “Oh No,” cried Carrie, “Does it hurt much?”

    “It hurts a little my child, but not as much as being separated from my kingdom for so long,” said the King.

    “Why have you been separated from your Kingdom?” Wylie asked.

    “Well I am to large to make my way through the forest of Treesels, but for years I have always jumped from the other side of the forest into this clearing to visit my loyal friends the caterpillars as they can feed only on the leaves of the Treesels. Because the Treesels are found no where else in my Kingdom the caterpillars by nature are kept from traveling to the kingdom,” explained the King.

    Jack then added, “The last time the King came to visit, he landed on a small stone which caused him to loose his balance, he rolled down the hill and up against the trees, breaking his leg. Luckily, I also had come to visit with my friends in the forest and was able to call everyone together to build a place for the King to lay, and move him back to the top of the hill.”

    “But that doesn’t explain how you got here dad,” Wylie stated boldly.

    “Well,” the father began to explain, “When I was a little child I traveled with the King in much the same way that you travel with Jack Bunny today. When the King needed help, it was only natural that Jack Bunny would come get me, since I was already aware of the King and would not reveal the Kings secrets.”

    “But why have you stayed so long?” asked Carrie.

    The father explained, “I haven’t been able to help the King so far, I have needed to build him a brace so that he can hop out of the clearing and return to his Kingdom. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a material strong enough to build a brace that will withstand the force of the Kings jumping.”

    “Why don’t you just go home and get the material you need and return?” asked Wylie.

    “Oh you can’t return,” replied Jack butteed in, “Once you have seen the secret place you can never return again, the path is changed so that you can no longer find your way.”

    “You mean Cindy the Cyclone will not longer be in the valley?” asked Carrie.

    “Yes, Cindy will be brought to the Kingdom, and a new path will be made,” said the King.

    Wylie thought long and hard about how he could help his dad so he could come home again. He then looked down at his braces and suddenly knew what he must do.

    “Take my braces father,” said Wylie.

    Father looked at down at Wylie and pride filled his chest, “Are you sure son, without them you will not be able to walk?”

    “I am sure father. The braces will be strong enough for the King to use and he can return to his Kingdom until his leg fully heals”

    The children’s father lifted Wylie up next to the King. Slowly he removed the braces and then hurried off to fashion a splint for the King.

    “That was a very unselfish thing for you to do,” the King said as his gentle blue eyes peered down toward Wylie.

    “Not really,” Wylie replied. “It was quite selfish.”

    “Why would you say that?” questioned the King.

    Wylie’s face turned red and he turned his gaze away from the King, “Because, all I really want is for father to come home.”

    The King lifted Wylie’s chin and smiled, “But you sacrificed your ability to walk, just to help me, and in turn help you father return to his family. I find that a very unselfish act,” said the King.

    “I guess,” Wylie said, but he was not convinced that his motives were so pure.

    “Enough of this,” said the King. “Stand up.”

    Carrie, who had been quietly playing with the caterpillars and Jack Bunny peered up at the King and said, “But Sir, he can not stand without his braces.”
    “Don’t you think there was a reason that you had been riding the ugly old Sting-ray all summer?” the King asked Wylie.

    Wylie’s head darted up and he stared hard at the King, “How did you know I had been riding all summer?” he asked.

    “Everything happens for a reason,” said the King. “Maybe you discovered your father’s bike for just this reason. Now stand up like I asked.”

    The King’s voice had become quite demanding and Wylie slowly slid down from the rocks and tried to stand on his feet. His feet reached the floor and he felt the solid ground beneath them. Slowly Wylie released his grip on the rocks and found he could stand without assistance. He then took his first step forward and found that he could walk.

    “Look Carrie, I’m walking,” Wylie cried.

    “You’re walking Wylie,” Carrie cried in reply.

    Carrie ran to Wylie’s side and grabbed him by the hand, the two children began to skip around the rocks. They laughed and fell to the ground. The whole crowd cheered again and bowed down to the King.

    Just then, the children’s father returned with a new brace for the King’s injured leg.

    “Now this is going to be a bit uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it in a few days,” said the father as he fastened the brace to the King’s leg.

    When he finished the Great Grasshopper stood up and the crowd roared.

    “Thank you,” said the King.

    “No, thank you Sir,” the father said as he gazed upon his children, running laughing and playing.

    “It is past time for me to return to my Kingdom. Remember Wylie, everything always happens for a reason, make sure your sister understands as well,” and with that the great blue grasshopper took one long jump and he cleared the Treesels. He was headed back to his kingdom.

    “Let’s go home children,” said father. “I think we will stop by the diner, pick up your mother and celebrate today, as if it were Friday. With the whole family at home together.”

    Jack Bunny led the children and their father back to the valley. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Jack said to Carrie.

    Together, the children and their father watched as Cindy and Jack disappeared.

    • Wow! I don’t know what to say.

      Your story is wonderful on so many levels. By plunging in and just doing it, you’ve found another big world of writing possibilities in children’s story telling.

      Congratulations, darksculpture!

      • Thanks Shaddy. I thought it was kind of Forest Gump meets Alice in Wonderland in the Land of Oz, but it was still a lot of fun. I think I might enjoy dabbling with a children’s book if I can come up with something origional one day.

    • Great ending, DS! This is really a very good story. I can tell you my three kids would have enjoyed reading it, as I did. Nice job.

      • I wish I could get my son to read what I write. He is a math and science kid, I just can’t get him to read and write stories for fun. Oh well. Maybe I can write for other people’s children one day.

        Thank you for the encouragement!

  39. Yip, you’re a kid at heart. Well done.

    • Mentally I am 14, I only look 41, or maybe, the wrinkles, gray hair and increasingly larger stomach and hips are just part of my awesome disguise.

      All kidding (pun intended) aside. Thank you!

  40. Wow! You all amaze me – each one of you. Such imagination. I’m floored. How do you do it? Do you have an end point in mind, or do you just write and let the story unfold as you go?

    Something in my brain blocks me from letting go and thinking like a child. My thoughts harass me – something wants the story with a dream sequence. That’s so cliché. And why does everything I write always have to be logical? Serious Zelda must be getting the better of me these days. I feel a lot like I did when I got my derriere kicked while trying to write without meaning. 🙂

    • With this story I just let it take control until it came time to wrap all the elements together.

      Now everyone should get back to the group story that you were putting together before I started to hog the page. (The guilt is killing me, please continue!)

      • Not to worry, darksculptures. No guilt is allowed here.

        We all do exactly what we please, when we please, pretty much. With no one looming over us with a ruler to slap our fingers, why should we even attempt to be good?

  41. Maureen,

    How’s your brother doing and you as well? I think of you and him frequently.


    • Oh, Hi, Shaddy.
      Thanks for asking! My brother continues to improve. (He only stayed six days in the hospital.) About two days ago he seemed to make a little leap — suddenly more awake, talking more, walking around more, etc. and just generally acting more like his old self. Yesterday I noticed he was leaving his cane behind most of the time when he got up to do something – a sign that he is feeling much steadier on his feet.
      He still has troublesome symptoms, but it seems he is heading in the right direction at a reasonable pace!


      • Barbara Burris

        Great news, Maureen. Thanks for letting us know.

      • Yip, that’s good to hear.

      • I’m so happy for both of you. I was really worried when you shared your brother’s accident with us. Bad memories rushed in. Years ago, my youngest brother was in a motorcycle accident and was in a coma for six weeks due to a head injury. In spite of it all, he’s doing fine.

        It was such a relief when you informed us of his condition soon after his accident. I’m so glad your brother is doing so well. Thank you for letting me know that his recovery is progressing rapidly.

      • Maureen:

        That is wonderful news! Your brother is very blessed to have a sister who cares for him so dearly.

  42. Mr. Whifflesnuff asks, “Do you want to see my lucky rabbit’s foot? Bwa, ha, ha.”

  43. ZELDA: I love your new blog template. I typed in a comment to your latest post but was unable to submit it.

    Only the upper half of the word verification word was visible and the submission button wasn’t in the box as usual. Only the top half of the comment box was showing. Anything below the upper half of the word to be verified was absent.

    I sure hope you can figure out how to get things working again. I know you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated and I wish I could help you but I’m a dummy.

  44. Zelda: I hate to bring the bad news but I’m still unable to comment on your blog. The situation is the same as before.


  45. Hey. Look who’s back. Checked in on your blog, Zelda, but my muse has been hammering at me for three days, so I didn’t read everything or leave a message. Nice going.

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