The Jimmy Jay

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Stories Galore


Grant retires and goes to California to purchase a boat to cross the pacific. He gets an unwanted passenger who eventually saves his life.

Submitted: July 13, 2018

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Submitted: July 13, 2018

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The Jimmy Jay

Jack Kay

Chapter One

Craig retired from his job at the British Columbia Hydro after 36 years as a land purchasing agent. His wife Lois left for a point unknown some years before and without children was on his own. Grant decides to buy a sloop in California and travel the coast line. He never owned a boat but has had experience in the Canadian Navy for seven years but he has forgotten all his training. Thus he begins an adventure in Oceanside California.

He traveled by car from Vancouver taking his time to see the sights and after a week of endless roads enters the sleepy town and he takes a no star Motel and settles down to find a sloop for long term travel across the pacific. He visits the marina and notices a section of boats that have FOR SALE signs and begins wandering around. He is careful to avoid having a boat seller show him around preferring to deal directly with the owner.

There are a number of boats tied up but not one his was seeking. He begins to do a drive around in the vicinity of the Marina where he spied a 48 foot sloop in front of a beach house. It immediately is to his liking. The lines are good for sailing and the pilot house is enclosed rather than aft and uncovered. Grant drives around to see if the boat is for sale but the front entrance is a locked gate. There does not appear to be anyone around and he starts back to his car when a youngish woman comes out of the back of this house, waving to him.

"May I help you" she shouts out in a very pronounced English accent.

He walked up closer to her and noticed that she is quite attractive and looks very much younger than her age.

"Yes I was just driving by and noticed the Sloop and I was just wondering if it was for sale"

"It is not mine but I know the owner, he is my Uncle Lonnie who lives in LA.I live in San Diego but I come out here to get away for weekends and to clean."

Grant pointed out to the boat which is tied up at the short dock and asked her to let him know if he could have a walk through and some information if the sloop is for sale.The woman takes his information and smiling she tells him that her uncle's name is Lonnie Gates and she will call him.

 

HE drove around to some other locations before heading back to his Motel and after eating at the greasy spoon restaurant nearby he settles in to watch television. He was nearly asleep when the phone rings

”Grant my name is Lonnie; you spoke to my niece Ellen today about my boat. I was just wondering if you would like to have a look see in the next day or two. It is for sale and I just haven't had time to list it"

"Yes I want to see the boat up close and the information about it depending of course how much you want for it. I am an on a limited budget."

"Everything is negotiable." He said and they agreed to meet two days hence at the house on the beach.

Grant was quite excited that he found the boat and felt that it might be the one he wanted but his fear was that the guy Lonnie would want more than he could afford.

They met two days later. Lonnie was a striking Englishman with dark eyes and a mass of gray hair. He shook hands much like a lawyer but stated that he was an importer of whiskey from Scotland. Ellen followed along when they made their way to the boat. Lonnie told him about the boat that it was unusual in that it wasa Cape Dory 300 Motorsailer13.He said thatCape Dory boats hadcreated a thislittle motor sailor known as the Cape Dory 300. It was thirty feet long as he explained and every modern convenience known to man. Many of them have proved to be good live aboard boats with good performance under both power and sail. Planning on a fishing trip" Lonnie asked

"No not really I want to buy a boat where I can take a long sailing across the Pacific to Australia and return through perhaps some Asian ports. I have very little sailing skills except for my experience in the Canadian navy."

Lonnie followed by Grant and Ellen trailed behind. It made Grant a little nervous with her walking behind him and he put his hand in his pocket to clutch his Swiss Army knife. But she seemed to be quite innocuous and they made a very thorough inspection with Lonnie mentioning all of the various electronic equipment including the automatic pilot and ship to shore phone as well as numerous necessities for off shore sailing. Grant was thunderstruck at all of the devises; He was taken with the wheelhouse being enclosed in glass as well as the equipment being handy if a distress call was necessary. The cockpit of the boat had a sliding floored panel which had stairs leading down to the fore and aft living facilities. There was a full three burner stove, microwave and apartment size refrigerator. There were large couches on either side of the table and they pulled out into beds. There were also multiple storage lockers.The main cabin had a large bed and beside it was a chemical toilet and sink and a box type shower. Everything was laid out carefully, showing that the housekeeping was immaculate. Ellen often added her input about some of the sailing additions. She seemed to be very knowledgeable about all of the boats characteristics.

Lonnie was really in his element by relating to Grant all of the modernity of the Dory. Grant asked a lot of questions and both Lonnie and his niece responded with a glowing report of the seamanship of the boat particularly in a heavy storm at sea.

"One thing that you can feel safe about is the buoyancy of this boat as it has a thick fibre hull. It can run over ride high waves and within an instant the sails can be protracted. You can then immediately operate on the engine. It is a high capacity Volvo and also there is a supplementary engine in the event of a failure." He was led to the engine housing where he was shown a massive inboard motor and lower down a smaller Atlas engine. Lonnie pointed to the water holding tank and the air conditioner unit which he said was attached to two batteries and the pumps.

He told Grant cuts in, in the event of a failure and you could travel at half speed. Ellen broke in by saying “The fuel capacity is 50 gallons, so the boat could do about 3 K per gallon or about 150 _nautical miles.Today, maritime speed is determined by ultrasonic sensors or Doppler measurement, and the 30-second divisor in the rate equation has been replaced by 28. But the instrument for measuring a vessel’s speed is still called a log, and marine and aeronautical distances are still measured in nautical miles. “Maps used at sea and in the air are based on the earth’s circumference,” said Ellen.

"In the Dory's pilothouse, the speed equal to one nautical mile an hour is still called a knot."

Grant was amazed at her ability to spout sailing information.

 

Grant sat down with them at the table on the couch. He questioned them some more and then they discussed price. "Ellen started the conversation by saying. “I think Uncle Lonnie and I will agree to help you learn how to sail the Jimmy Jay if you like as part of the deal"

"That is very kind Ellen but I wonder if you can quote me a price before we go any further.

Chapter TWO

Lonnie looked away through the porthole and ruminated in his mind.

"This Dory cost me $295,000.00 US and it is 5 years old, I really was not going to sell it but since you seem interested I could let it go with California Licensing for $250,000 including Ellen's schooling for a two week period and you can stay here at the house at that time."

Grant was astounded at the price he was quoted. He did not have any idea of spending that much money and it would be well over $350,000 Canadian. He began to mentally run the figure through his mind, thinking that it would take more than half of his savings and investments.

'Listen I want to tell you both how much I appreciate you taking me for a walk through and all but this would be too rich for my blood. I am really a poor Canadian." he laughed.

They both chuckled at his comment and he could see Lonnie and Ellen were surprised that he was beginning a negotiation. Grant waited while they eyed each other and finally got up.

'I will have a look at the pilot house while you discuss it if you like."

"How much will you be willing to pay? Give us a starting point.Asked Ellen.

"Two hundred max.” Grant said as he climbed up the ladder to the Pilot House

CHAPTER Three

Both Lonnie and Grant signed off on the deal a few days later in a lawyer's office in Oceanside. Grant paid for the lawyer just to confirm the ownership and legal aspects. He was taken out by Ellen for the two weeks oftraining and was side swiped on the last day by her announcement that she would like to come along on the voyage.

Grant made several efforts to resist her entreaties, but she kept insisting saying that the travel would be uncertain with one person and that she would pay her way by cooking meals and various other sundry duties. She told him she would sleep in the main cabin on the couch and he could use the bed room cabin. Lonnie came by and asked how things were going and Grant said he was not happy that Ellen wanted to make the trip with him. Lonnie responded by saying he could do worse and that she was a good sailor as well as being very responsible. He also told Grant that she had been married and that she had to leave her husband because of abuse. And described her as a woman that had no romantic plans in her life.

The idea of living on a 31 foot boat for several weeks with a youngish woman did not appeal to Grant but he knew he had to be realistic and acquiesced. She was delighted. They began to plan out supplies, food, extra water in bottles, clothing items, Safety equipment a fully stocked medicine chest. Ellen went in and cleaned the entire boat spending hours washing and polishing everything aboard. Grant purchased two 45 caliber and 22 caliber rifle with a scope.Because he was a foreign National Ellen had to apply for the license.Grant hired a Technician to check all of the electronics and also purchased several flares which were critical to any emergency. The night before they left, Lonnie hosted a party for them at a local eatery. At sun up the nest day they rigged the sails with the push of a button and left the harbor of Ocean City on what would be the adventure of a lifetime for both of them. 

 

Chapter Four

 Grant and Lonnie signed off on the deal at a local lawyer's office and Grant purchased insurance. The papers for ownership were all in good order and the licensing for the Jimmy J was placed in Grant's name. He transferred the money to Lonnie's bank and the deal was complete. The next day they left on a shakedown cruise to make sure all of the equipment worked properly. Grant was quite worried about the GPS but eventually it connected and he felt safer. Ellen proved that she was a good sailor and handled both the wheel and accessories quiet handily. They had taken the precaution of loading up on diesel as well as extra jerry cans stashed below the saloon table. She also ensured the water supply was topped up.

Two days after the short cruise they kicked off with a day to day target of travel. Ellen checked the engine several times to see if they could motor up quickly if necessary. They took turns in in the wheel house, three hours on and three off. The waters were very calm. Ellen was true to her promise in acting as the cook and provided good meals. She always brought him a coffee when he was doing the seafaring.

The days seem to slide by and although they experienced some rain showers on the 30th day they were according to their map grid within 100 miles of the Hawaiian Islands.As they sailed closer to the Equator the weather grew very warm and Ellen began to shed her clothes preferring a very skimpy bathing suit almost smaller than a bikini.

Without taking readings they began to drift. Ellen said they need not worry as they were heading west and was north of the equator.Grant began to notice that the GPS readings were inaccurate. Ellen said they would begin using the sextant. Ellen had drawn a four to seven turn at the wheel and when Grant came on duty she was asleep. He decided to say nothing but she was very apologetic, breaking down in tears

"Hey Ellen knock it off I need your expertise no time for tears." he said placing his arms around her.

"I just could not keep my eyes open." she declared

"Here is some coffee and get some sleep and have a cold shower, I promise I won’t look"

Ellen smiled and headed down the stairs to saloon. He glanced around and noticed again that the GPS was still not moving. The barometer was holding steady. He noticed that there was a dead calm that had taken over the ocean. The boat was hardly moving and he tried to maneuver the sails to pick up any of the breeze if it existed. He suddenly noticed that he was a dead stall and was just about to wake Ellen when she appeared in her robe.

"Grant there is an emergency message on the radio for all ships at sea"

He placed the ship on auto-pilot setting and slid down the stairs and turned up the volume on the VHF radio recognized worldwide for safety purposes to Channel 16 (156.800 MHz) - Distress, safety and calling.

"This is a major storm warning for ships in the area North 6 degrees by West 13 degrees to make for the nearest port. Call if you need assistance -call if you need assistance. The storm is now coming out of the direct south moving across the equator and shipping route at estimated 10 nautical miles per hour. Storm system is characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Expect gale force winds and high waves. Storm considered a category 2 storm.

After they got over the precarious situation they were in. Ellen went to work and secured all the loose items around the boat. Grant in a light moment joked "batten down the hatches matey."

Ellen went to work and he returned to the pilot house. He could now see black rain clouds in the north rapidly advancing and the sky was becoming quite dark. Winds were gaining in intensity and he lowered the sails with the automatic system which slowly moved them into position across her beam. Next he started the engine which took minutes to warm up. He calculated that he had about enough diesel fuel to travel, in a rough seahe guessed about 500 nautical miles. He pushed the lever into a slow drive position. Ellen arrived and handed him a rain suit which he pulled on over his clothing. She was already dressed and explained to him what she had done. The emergency covered dinghy with a small outboard was now on the bunk in the main cabin. The dry food had been placed in the cooler and the first aid kit as well. She gave him the pistol and ammunition which he slid into the pocket of the rain coat. He began to check the barometer and saw it was falling rapidly

They discussed their quandary and after she had taken a reading on the sextant they studied some charts which showed in their mind that they were about three hundred miles west of Fanning Island. She checked to see if it was inhabited and smilingly told him that it was. She slid the storm windows over on the sides of the cockpit.The sea was now running higher with very powerful waves pelting them, making it difficult for Grant to hold onto the wheel. He pulled back slightly on speed but the situation was now becoming dangerous. Ellen suggested that he speed up and it eased the pressure lightly on the hull of the Jimmy Jay. The rain was now becoming more violent, with white caps now reaching a height of over six feet and pummeling the boat. Ellen thought any minute they would turn over but Grant seem to be able to hang on. He donned gloves to get a better grip on the wheel and Ellen took a lanyard and secured both of them to the bulkhead. At times the drag was uncontrollable. He turned on the running lights as they were completely covered in the darkness. The waves were now running over the brow of the boat and Ellen went down the stairs to see if they had any sea water in the Saloon or cabin.

She came back and shook her head. Grant was now covered in sweat and needed to use the bathroom badly but he was unable to let go of the wheel.

”Sorry Ellen but I have to go can I have one of the buckets?" She placed it at behind him and he sat down to relived himself. Ellen took it away and again went down into the saloon to get rid of the waste.

The storm was now in full rage, and they were unable to stay upright. They were by now completely fatigued as the storm battered them from on all sides. It was then that he saw what a wave taller than a 5 story building was and screamed out to Ellen to hold fast that they were going to be hit head on by a rogue wave.

When it hit both were knocked to the floor of the wheel house and the concussion was so strong that it drove them around like they were in free fall over a ski slide. Grant smashed his head into the glass and Ellen was badly bruised against the outside door. There was blood everywhere with both of them unable to stand or get near the wheel which was now out of control. The glass on the wheel house held firm which was a savior. The waves still tossed them around and they were getting bumped and bruised on their bodies. Finally Ellen in exasperation reached up and took hold of the wheel, pulling on her gloves. Grant was now unconscious. She pulled the lever down to full speed and tried to ride the waves which had now reached ten feet or more. She tried now to ride the waves. The wind was now raging and the waters so high that it was almost impossible to control it by just holding fast to the wheel.

Grant moaned and came awake and she bent down to look at the wound. He was bleeding profusely but she was able to take a towel and attempt to stem the flow, the wind and blowing rain had now taken over the boat and Ellen pulled back on the throttle to try and keep the boat from capsizing. The rocking was horrendous with the smashing of the sea on the prow of the boat. Grant was now partially awake and she directed him to bandage his head with gauze and tape. She had tied herself to the wheel with two lanyards. It was difficult to tell whether it was day or night with the blackness of the sky even covering the horizon. The rain smashed down with increasing velocity. He looked down into the cabin and saw that there was a foot of water on the floor. She started up the pumps and he could hear the water being sucked out which was a wonder because of the amount that had accumulated.

They were now bobbing around like a ball in a pool. Grant was stigmatized by his brutal wound in his scalp. She kept trying to wipe the blood from his eyes. He tried to lie down but the boat kept smashing into the throbbing sea. It seemed like hours had passed with the storm raging and she was becoming more frightened as the minutes and hours creped by, but she hung on for dear life. Grant again collapsed, completely; Ellen knew that if they were going to beat this storm she would have to do it herself.

She was exhausted but the fear drove her on and in an effort to stay awake she took the half bottle of brandy and swallowed some of it down. She tried to pour some of it down Grant's throat but he spit it out.

***

Ellen hung on to the wheel and pushed the throttle to full speed causing the boat to dive into valleys of waves. She tested the half speed and it seemed to give her better traction. Grant was still out like a light but she saw the blood had begun to ebb.He began to moan quite loudly. He was now shouting obscenities in his delirium. She pulled off the bandage and redressed the wound which she saw was a serious scalp wound.

The rain pounded the boat and the winds slight abated but she was slowly falling back in her ability to control the Jimmy Jay. It was then an hour before daylight that she heard was a horrific pounding of what she perceived as surf. She could barely contain herself because without warning some driving force had over taken the boat. The speed indicator was now at its top level. She shut off the engine but the being sucked in by some unmanageable intense pull. She hung onto the wheel and recognized that the roar was from breakers which were driving the boat in a massive tide toward what appeared to be a beach.

She let go of the wheel and tied herself to the operations housing with two lanyards and wrapped a rope around both her and Grant with full hitches. His eyes were open but he was in a stupefied condition. Within minutes she could make out the shore line with rain pelting down on the front window. She set herself in a manner that was used on a airplane with her head against the pilot seat and cradled Grant with her arms. The wind was howling and the boat was nearly turned around in the breakers that were as high as five feet. She hung on praying over and over again "let us live, let us live"Grant was hallucinating shouting out “Abandon ship, abandon ship." She held him closer and he grew still.

The boat was in a whirlpool turning at 180 degrees, and then in a hard thud landed on the beach with the forward deck skidding across the sand towards palm trees and stopping as it was mired in the sand. She feared looking up but climbed up to see they had arrived unscathed except for the prow which was dug in at least 15 feet into the hard sand. The palms were doubled over in the wind and rain was smashing like stones against the window but they had arrived safely she thought on Fanning Island.

Ellen knew she had to treat Grant and began to work at looking at the head injury. She opened the

full medicine chest and found a number of items, and began to properly coat Grants scalp although he was now slightly awake and screamed with pain. But the bleeding had stopped. She cut away some matted hair and washed the bared area with water from a water bottle. She took the bottle of brandy and cleaned it again and he began to cry and she held him until he stopped. She fed him aspirin and some other medication for pain that she found. Next she gave him several swallows of the brandy and carefully helped him to the wheel house couch where he fell in a faint. She dared not step out into the sand with fear it was not solid.

She slipped down into the saloon and discovered about two foot of water. The pumps had not really worked. The entire place was totally wet so she again made sure all of the interior hoses were operational. Her fear was that the battery was now wet but to her delight they began to take out the ocean water through the outside housings.The decks were very wet and she knew that would have a big job to swab them. Ellen used the facilities before carrying on. She checked the short wave and it worked. She then took out some food and prepared sandwiches and fruit for them. The water supply was still good and she made sure that the refrigerator was still working.

She was absolutely exhausted but knew that Grant needed her if he was going to survive. The rain and wind shook the boat, but she felt safe in that they were at least on land. She grabbed up food and water and was able to a carry them to the pilot house. She sat down to rest before eating and fell into a deep sleep dreaming she was in a swimming pool in Majorca where she had lived with her parents.

Chapter Five

Ellen was awakened by Grant who was groaning and moving his hands around as if in a trance. She was fearful that his condition was getting worse. She checked the medicine chest and found some extra strength medication for his pain. He mumbled that he wanted water and she took the bottle and he drank almost the all of it. There was no doubt in her mind that he was suffering from a concussion. The weather still had not let up and the boat shook from the power of the wind. She went to check the VHF radio but she was not getting anything but static. She brought up blankets from the cabin and placed them as much as she could under Grant. She noticed that he had relived himself and was soaking wet. She pulled off his soaking pants and underpants and wiped him clean and then found some dry clothing and pulled them on as best she could. She tried to get him to eat something and cut up two apples which he did eat. She also found some canned peaches and fed him. It was late afternoon and Grant had fallen into back in an unconscious state. She closed her eyes awakening several hours later. The rain had abated and by late evening had stopped.

Ellen decided to wait until morning to make a move out of the Jimmy J. She awakened during the night several times to see how Grant was faring and he had hardly moved. He often shouted out something but it was mostly gibberish. At sun up she stepped out on the deck.She saw they had ploughed up on a South Seas sandy beach and nearby was the flotsam of the storm.Coconuts lay everywhere she tied up the rope ladder and stepped down onto the sandy shore. She had placed the ship's revolver in her rain jacket. Eventually Ellen walked to the edge of eh palm trees, trying to get her bearings. She did not know where she was but after walking a short distance she knew it was not fanning island. The breakers were running with a deafening roar and this was in fact an Atoll.

Ellen returned to the boat and Grant was partially up. He was still in severe pain and she gave him two pain pills and more water. He did not speak but gave her a faint smile and lapsed once again into sleep. She also became aware of the fact that concussion can easily slip into a coma.

She gathered up some supplied and made the determination to find out where they were and try and radio their position. By walking into the jungle area she found a path and followed it and at once saw a sign which immediately spelled out that they had beached on Palmyra Island which had been a US Naval base during WW2. She saw buildings that were falling down and were near a dock area. A little further she saw a wrecked burned out airplane near a runway. As she made her way along the runway she noticed that it appeared to still be in use because it was not overgrown with grass or weeds. She began her trek back to the boat and noticed a large number of large crabs on the surface in front of the derelict buildings. Ellen now saw a gaggle of rats munching on the crabs and walked away in disgust and fear.

When she returned to the boat she inspected the damage and breathed a sigh of relief because the hull was

mired in the sand but had no splinters or tears. When she came up the ladder, she saw Grant was lying on the aft deck and seem to be somewhat awake. He did not speak and she helped him to go back into the pilot house where she inspected the gash on his head. It was oozing and she knew he needed medical attention.

Ellen returned to the radio and attempted again to find a channel where there was no static. To her dismay there was nothing and she was afraid of losing power on the battery and she shut down. She rustled some food that had not spoiled and try to feed Grant but he only wanted water. She was not concerned about water for him now but also she was running out of food items. She checked the larder and saw that she had canned goods that would get her through possibly a week or ten days. The water level of both the drinking water and water for washing was quite low. Next she checked the stock of bottled water and she became quite concerned. The water on the island could be contaminated so she had to make sure of its quality.

She cleaned Grants wound and stripped him down again to wash him. As he was not able to control his bladder or bowels. Later that night after a short rest on one of the bunks she swabbed the deck in the saloon and awakened Grant to help him to make his way down to the main cabin and him finally made it after hanging onto her. The place was very warm but he was more comfortable and he fell into a sleep calling out for someone named Janie.

The radio was turned on very late that night so she could the possibility of a late night channel. She knew she could not use the call SOS because they were beached but tied to call out on the microphone *emergency need help am on an uninhabited island." which she repeated numerous times. She kept the VHF operational for forty-five minutes at a time. There was nothing but static on the receiver, and then she checked the volume on the send button and a voice broke into the silence of the boat.

”Respond at high volume --Give boat name and the island name caller on channel 36, this is Vanguard sailing out of Honolulu."

"Jimmy J beached on Palmyra atoll skipper is badly injured needs medical care." she responded.

"Okay Jimmy J will contact search and rescue HawaiianCG command stay tuned for further info."

"10-4 Vanguard many thanks. “She said almost breaking down with joy. She went in to see how Grant was doing and he was slightly awake.

"Help is on the way" she said went over to hug him and gave him some water and a pill

Chapter Six

It was more than a week before Grant regained full consciousness in the hospital. She had been given a room in the visitor’s hostel where she received her meals. She called Lonnie and explained what had happened and he flew out to take care of her and Grant. He also said he would hire a Tug company to retrieve the boat from the Atoll. When Grant was able to speak he was profoundly thankful to her for actually saving his life.

"It is my calling" she said as she sat with him in his hospital room.

"What do you mean Ellen" he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.

"Let me tell you about me. It was no mystery to me when you came along to Lonnie's house that day. I was the watch person. Taking care for Uncle Lonnie of the house and boat and just as was making up my mind to return to my home in Canterbury England you appeared.  You were almost sent by the Lord to answer my prayers. You see I wanted a man badly in my life and you were perfect. I was lonely, and depressed because I had left the only life I had known and come to America. For two years I stayed in the beach house and now was time to move on. That was why I sort of intruded on your Pacific voyage. But you were more than I could ever expect. Not one time in the three months we sailed did you even come on to me. Not once did you ever say anything to me except

kind and special thanks to me for coming along. And then you were struck down in the storm and relied on me to get you through it. I prayed Grant for our salvation and our survival.God brought us together. God saved us from that storm of a decade and for that I will be ever thankful. "

Grant beckoned for her to come to his side and took her in his arms and they both cried for a very long time. Finally he turned to her and asked what she had been doing in Canterbury England.

"I lived in a convent of the Blessed Sacrament because I was a Nun called Sister Mary Ellen and had been there since I was sixteen. I just gave up two years ago and arrived on my Uncle Lonnie's doorstep hoping to have a break and just never went back."

Grant lay very still and continued holding her, processing what she had told him.

"So is it your plan to return now that you have realized your calling. “He said softly

"Not on your life, especially when I have a terrific guy like you whom I know I will love.

He nearly jumped out bed and they began kissing just as the night nurse walked in and said

"Hey you two no hanky panky stuff while Grant is recuperating.

***

Jack Kay Summer 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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