the kiddy-shrub

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

a short story of 3 kids growing up in an orphanage. they were close as siblings, which was their greatest wish, to become a real family. tragic events would make their dreams come to, but at what price?

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: I apologize about the formatting and spacing I am new to this website and it is a learning experience!  I thank you for your patience and understanding as I muddle my way through this learning curve.


David E. Blake about 4,661 words


The kiddy shrub


David E. Blake




  The yard of the orphanage was filled with children, rides, tables and chairs, and birthday party games. The birthday boy, Albert, was nowhere to be found.

  Mr. and Mrs. Collins, a loving and kind couple, operate and live at the orphanage with the children. Mrs. Collins tapped a long-haired girl on the shoulder. Turning to see who tapped her, the Asian girl smiled brightly at her guardian.

  “Yes, Mrs. Collins?” asked the girl with the long hair.

  Mrs. Collins smiled back. She reached out and put her hand on the girl’s cheek. “Krissy, honey, would you please go see if you can find Alby? He’s missing his own birthday party.”

  Krissy nodded and started her search for her friend.


  In the musky, dimly lit cellar, Alby was tied to a wooden chair by the orphanage’s bullies, Chuck and Snott. Chuck was a larger and older boy. He had curly red hair and freckles all over his face. Chuck’s sidekick, Snott, was a thin, short boy, who always wore a baseball cap.

  Chuck leaned into Alby, holding the arms of the chair for support. Chuck belched and then blew it into Alby’s face. Chuck and Snott laughed as Alby gagged and coughed.



  “What’s the matter, Albert? Can’t take a joke? Are ya going to cry like a little baby?” teased Chuck.

  Alby stared into Chuck’s green eyes. “Let me go guys, enough is enough. You had your fun!”

  Snott laughed, walked behind Alby and slapped him on the back of the head. Alby’s head went forward, crashing into Chuck’s head. Chuck grabbed his forehead and stumbled back. Alby’s eyes started to water. A big red mark appeared on Alby’s forehead from the impact with Chuck.

  Chuck’s face turned red. He roared and charged, with fists ready to pound the tied up boy. Alby closed his eyes and braced himself for a beating.

  Alby heard a crash. He opened his eyes to see Krissy sitting on Chuck’s back. She had his arm twisted back.

  “You tell Alby you’re sorry or I’ll break your arm!” said Krissy.

  Chuck groaned in pain, “Get her, Snott!”

  Snott pushed over Alby and his chair as he charged Krissy. She quickly brought one leg up, while still on Chuck and holding his arm, her lifted foot was the stopping force to Snott’s zipper of his jeans. Snott crossed his legs, groaning and moaning; he grabbed at his zipper and fell to the ground crying.


  Krissy leaned down to Chuck. “Last chance.”

  Chuck looked over to the fallen Snott, who was crying from the pain and embarrassment, then he looked over to Alby. He cleared his throat, “Sorry, Alby.”

  Krissy let go of the arm, but stayed on Chuck’s back. “Don’t get up until me and Alby are gone or else!”

  Chuck closed his eyes, “Ok.”

  Krissy got off of Chuck’s back and went to Alby. She knelt down, untied him, and helped him to his feet. They walked out of the cellar’s entrance into the yard. Alby rubbed his blond hair, being careful not to touch the sore spot on his forehead.

  “Thanks for helping me, Krissy!” said Albert.

  She smiled, “Anytime. Now let’s get to your party!”

  The two walked towards the crowd. In the group of people was a little clown wearing a thick pair of eye glasses. The little clown waved his arms wildly, shouting, “He’s here! He’s here!”

  Everyone turned to the little clown’s direction. The little clown waved his hands up and down and side to side, while everyone sang, "Happy Birthday" to Alby.

  Mrs. Collins walked Alby to the birthday cake with all 10 candles lit. Alby took a deep breath and blew out every one in a single breath.


  Putting her hand on the top of his head, she whispered, “Now your wish will come true.”

  Alby looked up at her, “I hope.”

  As all the children and adults sat down to eat birthday cake and ice cream, Mr. Collins stood up and called for everyone’s attention.

  “First, I want to wish our very own Alby a very happy 10th birthday. And secondly, tomorrow we are hosting a picnic followed by a baseball game between the orphanage team and Boy Scout Troop 13.” announced Mr. Collins.

  The kids cheered and clapped.

  Mr. Collins held up his hand, “One last thing. You will be playing on the back field. Please be careful; the chain fence still has rips in it, but the ground has been repaired. There are no more holes or rocks.”

  The kids cheered again.

  Mr. Collins sat with his wife and other adults and they started to eat cake and ice cream.


  Several kids sat in the huge lounge room watching the large screen TV on the wall. Alby and Krissy sat glued to the cartoon



when a little African-American boy with thick glassed walked in the room and flopped on the couch between Alby and Krissy.

  He looked at Alby, “Hey Alby.” He then looked at Krissy, “Hey Krissy.” They both looked at the little boy with thick glasses, “Hey Jo Jo, what do you know know?” They laughed. Jo Jo smiled, “That’s getting really ‘old old’ guys.” All three laughed and started to watch TV.

  Mr. Collins came into the lounge and asked Krissy to come out to the hall. The boys watched as she left the room with Mr. Collins.

“What does he want with her, Alby?” asked Jo Jo.

Alby watched as Mr. Collins and Krissy disappeared down the hall. “You know, Jo Jo,” replied Alby.


  Mr. Collins walked Krissy to a large hallway that only led to one room. “Krissy, I need you to go into the meeting room and meet Mr. & Mrs. Hammon. I will be there to join you shortly.”

  Krissy grabbed Mr. Collins’ arm, “Do they want Alby and Jo Jo too?” asked Krissy, her eyes widening with hope.

  Mr. Collins shook his head, “Sorry, they only want a girl.” He continued to walk away. Once he vanished around the corner,



Krissy had an idea. She limped into the meeting room, dragging her leg behind her.

  “Hi. I’m Krissy, did you folks want to meet me?” asked Krissy.

  Mrs. Hammon watched as Krissy dragged her bad leg towards the couch, next to the office door of Mr. Collins. Krissy hopped on the good leg, turned to where she could sit on the couch. She stretched out her lame leg. “Man, this gets harder and harder as I get older!”

  The Hammons looked at each other. Mrs. Hammon sat next to her and asked, “Mr. Collins said you were 9?”

  Krissy smiled and giggled, “I think he meant that I was in the 9th grade. If you check my academics you will see that I am about average for a girl my age.”

  Mr. Hammon waved his wife over, “I don’t know any 9 year olds that can talk like that. She sounds older than 9 too. And besides. . .” he looked at her leg. “I don’t know if we can provide for her needs.” Mrs. Hammon nodded in agreement.

  Mr. Collins entered the meeting room door with papers in his hand. On one of the papers the label read, "Academics." Mr. Collins stood between Krissy and the Hammons, facing the couple. Krissy motioned to the Hammons, pointing to the paper labeled "Academics."


  Mr. Collins motioned for the Hammons to enter his office door. They all walked past the couch and the sitting Krissy.

  “You can go ahead and skip on down to the lounge or your dorm,” said Mr. Collins.

  Krissy nodded and Mr. Collins closed his office door. Krissy put her ear to the door to listen to what they said about her.

  “She’s. . . . um. . . . just too old,” stated Mr. Hammon.

  “Really?” replied Mr. Collins, surprised. “Do you want to at least look through these parts of her file before you make the final decision?”

  “Our minds are made up. She’s a bright young lady, but we want someone that’s. . . er. . . younger,” Mrs. Hammon  commented.

  Krissy smiled and took Mr. Collin’s advice; she skipped happily to her dorm room, humming along the way.


  Alby was lying down on his bottom bunk bed looking at the walls he and Jo Jo painted. The wall was painted to look like a green bush with stick figures growing from its branches. Jo Jo was moving and bouncing in the upper bunk. Alby pushed on the bottom of Jo Jo’s bed that hovered above him.

  “Jo Jo, you’re shaking the bunk bed. Will you lay still please?” asked Alby.


  Jo Jo started to cry, softly and sniffling. “I’m sorry Alby,” sobbed Jo Jo.

  “Jo Jo, I’m not mad,” offered Alby.

  Sniffling, Jo Jo replied, “I know Alby, I’m sad.”

  Alby got out of his bunk and climbed the bunk bed ladder until he could see Jo Jo. Jo Jo was crying, tears flowing down his cheeks, he squinted to try to see his friend, but without his glasses he couldn’t.

  Alby picked up the thick lens glasses off of Jo Jo’s bed and put the glasses into Jo Jo’s hands. Jo Jo put them on his face.

  “Thanks, Alby”, whined Jo Jo, still crying.

  Alby stayed on the ladder and playfully slapped Jo Jo’s leg, “Now what’s wrong, knucklehead.”

  Jo Jo forced a smile. “We’re going to shrivel up and fall from the kiddy-shrub if we aren’t picked, Alby,” Jo Jo mentioned, fighting the tears and pointing to the picture they had painted on the walls.

  Alby looked at the image and back at his friend, “It’ll be okay, Jo Jo, because I made my birthday wish that me, you and Krissy would be adopted by the same family.”

  Jo Jo sat quickly up in his bed, “Oh No, Alby! You just told me your wish! It won’t come true now!” Jo Jo cried.


  Alby lowered his head and he frowned. “Jo Jo, the kiddy-shrub’s not real, just a stupid story someone told you to scare you!”

  Jo Jo shook his head, “No Alby, the kid in my class wouldn't lie to me. She says that orphan kids don’t have too much time because people want cute little babies, not older kids.”

  Alby rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders, “So if we don’t get adopted we’re going to fall off the kiddy-shrub and die?”

  Jo Jo’s glasses fogged up from his tears. He nodded his head yes.

  “Jo Jo, have I ever lied to you?” asked Alby.

  “No, Alby,” replied Jo Jo.

  “I’m not going to start now. I promise you that we will either get adopted by the same family or we all will just stay here together. No matter what, we are brothers and Krissy’s our sister. You get me?” Alby told Jo Jo.

  Jo Jo smiled, shook his head in agreement, and lay back down on his bed.

  “Now get some sleep, little bro, ‘cause we got some scouts to beat tomorrow!” Alby said as he climbed down the bunk’s ladder and crawled into his bed.


  The next day the yard was once again filled with tables, chairs, and kids eating hot dogs, potato chips and drinking soda pop. Every kid had on a uniform; the scouts wore their troop uniform, while the orphans wore their baseball uniform a white T-shirt with their name and number and a pair of grey sweatpants.

  Krissy, Alby, and Jo Jo sat at the same table, leaving one place open. Krissy had shoved hot dog after hot dog into her mouth. The boys looked amazed.

  “Better slow down, Krissy, you don’t want to choke and you’ll miss the game!” joked Alby.

  Jo Jo got hit in his glasses by a piece of flying food as Krissy started to speak, “I need my energy so I can help kill these scouts.” At that same time, Tim, the scouts’ team leader was walking by. He sat his tray down at the empty place and looked Krissy in the eye.

  Tim was older than the three, probably 5th or 6th grade. He smiled at Krissy, “The only thing you’re killing today are the hot dogs.” Some of his teammates heard what he said and they laughed. “A scout is always truthful; so that you know, we will demolish you guys.” Krissy, still chewing, just couldn’t swallow fast enough to make a comeback. But a comeback was shouted.


  “Bring it on, sister!” yelled Jo Jo, holding up his fist, trying to look mean.

  Tim, Krissy, and Alby looked at each other and then at Jo Jo, and all started to laugh.

  “You’re okay, little guy. I like you!” said Tim to Jo Jo.

  Jo Jo smiled big. Then he offered, “Hey sit and eat with us?”

  Tim sat down at the empty place and finished his hot dog, potato chips, and soda pop while he visited with his new friends.


  The game had been going on an hour, the orphans were behind one point and it was their turn to be in the outfield. Everyone went to their positions. Alby went to first base; Krissy went to the pitcher’s mound; Snott went to third base; Chuck went to home plate and started to put on his catcher gear, and Jo Jo went into outfield. The other positions were taken by the other orphans who were also on the team.

  Krissy was on fire. She had struck the first two scouts out without any trouble. Tim came to the plate. He tapped his bat onto the home plate, lifted it, and nodded his head at Krissy. Chuck wiggled some fingers, Krissy nodded as if she understood what Chuck wanted, she wound up the pitch and threw the baseball


under handed as hard as she could. Tim swung as hard as he could.

“Strike one!” yelled the umpire, holding up a finger.

  Krissy caught the ball Chuck threw back. Chuck again wiggled his fingers and again Krissy nodded in agreement. She threw the ball under handed towards Chuck. Tim stood there watching the ball; he didn’t make a move.

  “Strike two!” yelled the umpire, holding up two fingers.

  Chuck returned the ball again to Krissy. He wiggled his fingers and Krissy nodded again in agreement. She hurled the ball down toward home plate again as hard as she could.

  “Crack!” The bat sounded as Tim connected with the baseball.

  The ball went over the heads of second baseman and Jo Jo. It bounced a few feet behind Jo Jo and started to roll towards the fence. Jo Jo stood there and watched.

  “Hey, Retard! Don’t just stand there go after the ball!” shouted Snott.

  Jo Jo nodded yes, threw down his glove and started to run towards the ball that had headed towards a rip that was in the fence. The crowd was cheering. Tim had already passed first base and Alby and was headed towards second.



  Jo Jo chased the ball through the rip. He tripped on a piece of fence, stumbled, and his glasses fell off his face. Jo Jo still headed towards where he last saw the ball. He walked towards it and accidently gave it a gentle kick. Jo Jo followed it, but slipped on a step of some type. He picked up the ball and held it in the air. Jo Jo heard something and looked in the direction of the sound. A blurred image was heading right for him. It was getting closer and bigger.

  Alby looked towards Jo Jo and saw he was in the street and that there was a truck heading straight for him. Alby tried to shout again and again, but the sounds of the crowd drowned his cry. Krissy and Tim heard Alby. Tim stopped and looked. He stopped running the bases and headed for Jo Jo, yelling at him to get out of the way.

  The crowd changed from cheers to gasps and cries as the little boy was hit by the truck. Alby dropped to his knees, and screamed, “Oh God, no!” Scouts, orphans, and adults run passed Alby. The scoutmaster, pushing three buttons on his cell phone, and the Collinses ran out to the street where the man in the truck was kneeling over the fallen boy.

  Krissy kneeled with Alby, and she too started to cry.



  Several hours later, at the hospital, while the Scoutmaster, the Collinses and the driver of the truck were speaking with the doctor and a police officer in the hall outside the waiting room regarding the accident, Krissy, Alby and Tim sat in the waiting room waiting for information.

  “Why are you still here!” snapped Alby at Tim.

  Tim looked at Alby, whose face was red from anger and at Krissy, she held her head down, crying. “My dad is the Scoutmaster.” He looked at Alby. Alby looked away. Tim continued, “I’m sorry about your friend. He. . . “Tim was interrupted by Alby.

  “He’s our brother, and he’s going to be our brother! I promised him!” Alby screamed as he got up and walked off towards the adults, leaving Tim and Krissy behind.

  “Why is the police officer here?” Krissy asked Tim.

  Tim looked at her, “It’s his job to determine if Jo Jo’s accident was only an accident and the driver wasn’t drinking and legal to drive. Chances are that if he has insurance, the insurance will pay for all of Jo Jo’s needs.”

  Krissy nodded.




  Mrs. Collins looked over to see Alby coming closer. She walked over to him and hugged him. “Jo Jo will be fine, but things will be different with him.”

  Alby’s arms just stayed down at his side, “Like what?” his tone of voice was aggressive.

  Mrs. Collins let him go and looked at him sadly, “He’s banged up badly. He was several broken bones and the doctors don’t know if he will be able to walk again.”

  Alby looked at the room Jo Jo was in. A nurse was writing things down on a clipboard. She walked out of the room and while passing Mrs. Collins and Alby, she smiled, “Jo Jo is a strong boy; he’s already coming around.”

  Out of the room a faint voice was heard from the hallway, “Alby? You there? I can’t see you.” said Jo Jo.

  Alby entered Jo Jo’s room. Alby started to cry, “You’re blind too, Jo Jo?”

  Jo Jo’s face showed puzzlement, “No, I can’t see without my glasses.”

  Alby looked over at his little "brother." Jo Jo had casts on both legs and they were in the air. His neck was in a brace; his right arm was also in a cast, he had an I.V. dripping into his



left arm, and Jo Jo had several bruises and stitches throughout his face, left arm, neck, and chest.

  “Hey, Jo Jo anything I can do for you?” Alby asked as the nurse came back into the room to put medication into the I.V.

  “Yeah, Alby. I want you and Krissy to go and get yourselves adopted without me," he said, sounding tired.

  Alby shook his head, “No, Jo Jo! I made you a promise! We will all be adopted together or none at all. You know, like one for all and all for one?”

  Jo Jo’s eyes were starting to droop, “Alby, I’m bad off. No one would want a kid like me. I know I’m going to fall off the kiddy-shrub. It’s okay that I won’t be picked. It’s okay.” Jo Jo closed his eyes.

  Alby gently shook on Jo Jo to wake him, but Jo Jo wouldn’t wake up. The nurse grabbed Alby’s arm, the arm that was about to hit Jo Jo’s I.V. arm.

  “He’s just asleep. The medicine I gave him will help him sleep and it will help his body heal,” she said, tears in her eyes. She overheard the conversation between the two boys. “What is the kiddy-shrub?” the nurse asked Alby.




  Alby pulled his arm from the nurse and started to back out of the room. “It’s just a stupid dream!” Alby spun around and ran out of the room and out of the hospital.

  Tim and the Scoutmaster went after Alby. Mrs. Collins took Krissy to see Jo Jo and the nurse asked again about the kiddy-shrub. Krissy looked up, tears rolling down her face, and she told the nurse the story.


  Alby lay in his bunk, angry about Jo Jo, angry about Tim and his dad catching him and bring him home, and angry at that stupid painting on the wall. He stared at the painting of the bush and the stick figures. Suddenly the stick figures were being grabbed by giant hands that came out of nowhere. Alby couldn’t resist; he watched as figure after figure was grabbed by a giant hand. He watched as the hands stopped grabbing figures and left three figures on the branches. One figure, the smallest of the three, changed into a ball and fell to the ground.

  “I told you Alby, if you’re not picked you will shrivel up and fall. No one would want a kid like me anyways,” said Jo Jo’s voice.



  Alby sat up straight in bed, sweat and tears rolled down his face. He looked at the bush on the wall with its many stick figures on it.


  The next day, Krissy and Alby were in the lounge area watching TV on the wall when they were interrupted by Mrs. Collins dragging Snott into the room.

  “You sit right there, mister! I am so disappointed in you! When your suspension at school is over you will apologize to everyone!” lectured Mrs. Collins to Snott.

  Snott had his arms crossed, “Whatever!”

  Mrs. Collins stormed out of the room not noticing Alby or Krissy.

  “What did you do?” asked Krissy.

  Snott smiled, “I super glued all the toilet lids and seats together so no one can use them!”

  Krissy shook her head at Snott, “You are so pathetic!”

  Snott sat up, unfolded his arms, “Hey! I’m not. . . whatever that word was!”

  Krissy raised her eyebrow, “Whatever!”

  Alby sat there, tearing up, thinking about Jo Jo and his promise and what Jo Jo had told him at the hospital.


  “Hey dork!” Snott said, towards Alby. “You ain’t smart. When you run away, you don’t get a ride home from the scouts!” Snott laughed.

  Alby didn’t move. Krissy glared at Snott.

  “Oh you poor little babies miss what’s his name. You know, four-eyes?” taunted Snott. Snott smiled, “At least with him gone there’s more to eat around here!”

  Alby lunged out of his seat, passed a surprised Krissy and pulled Snott out of the chair and onto the floor. Alby sat on Snott’s chest, holding Snott’s arms down.

  “It’s all your fault! If you kept your mouth shut and left Jo Jo alone, he would not have gone after the ball and gotten hurt!” Alby grabbed Snott’s shirt collar and shook him. Snott repeatedly hit the back of his head on the floor. Alby pulled back his fist, but a surprised Alby found himself being pulled off Snott by Krissy. Alby glared at Snott and pointed his finger at Snott as Krissy walked Alby out of the room. Snott lay there, eyes starting to tear up, and he began to cry.


  A few days later, Mr. Collins found Krissy and Alby sitting on the front steps of the orphanage. He motioned for the children to stand up.


  “Are we in trouble?” asked Krissy.

  “No, you aren’t. But I need you two to come with me to the meeting room,” replied Mr. Collins.

  Alby stood still, “No. I said I’m not going without Jo Jo. I promised him! Krissy can go.”

  Krissy punched Alby in the arm, “How dare you! I love Jo Jo as much as you do! If you and Jo Jo’s aren't going, then neither am I!”

  Mr. Collins looked at the two of them, “You have no choice. Now march!”

  The three walked down the familiar hallway towards the single door that led to the meeting room. Mr. Collins opened the door to see a young man standing talking to someone that Alby couldn't see because of the door. Alby stayed at the door and spoke to the man, “I don’t want to be adopted, sorry to waste your time. Bye!”

  Alby was pushed through the door by Mr. Collins. Krissy followed.

  “That’s too bad, Alby,” Mr. Collins sighed.

  Alby looked confused.

  The man approached Alby and Krissy.



  “This is Mr. Donovon and over in my office, with Mrs. Collins, is his wife, who you will meet shortly,” Mr. Collins informed.

  “Why is it too bad, sir?” asked Krissy.

  Mr. Collins put his arm around her shoulder and neck, “Because my dear Krissy, that would mean that little Jo Jo would be all alone.”

  The kids looked at each other, puzzled. At that time, Mrs. Collins came out of the office with Mrs. Donovon. Alby looked at Mrs. Donovon. She looked familiar.

  “This morning the Donovons signed all the paperwork to adopt Jo Jo, and they are here for you two,” said Mrs. Collins.

  “Huh?” replied Krissy.

  Mr. Donovon smiled at the kids, “My wife and I can’t have children of our own. I met Jo Jo on the day he got hurt and visited him at the hospital when I visited my wife.”

  “Soooo were you in the hospital too?” Alby asked Mrs. Donovon.

  Mrs. Donovon smiled, and she looked at Krissy. Krissy’s eyes brightened; she knew who Mrs. Donovon was!

  Mrs. Donovon grabbed Alby’s hand, “Remember I had to grab you like this when you were in Jo Jo’s room because you thought he died? You were about to hit him on the chest?”

  Alby still looked out of it.


  Krissy rolled her eyes.

  Mrs. Donovon smiled, “I asked you what was the kiddy shrub? You told me it was something stupid.”

  Alby’s eyes widened. He was surprised.

  “Mr. Donovon was the ambulance driver that picked up Jo Jo, and Mrs. Donovon was his nurse,” offered Krissy.

  Alby looked at her, “How could you possibly know all of that?”

  Krissy smiled, “Because girls are smarter than boys. And besides, who else would have picked up Jo Jo after his accident?”

  “Jo Jo said that he won’t go if we didn’t take all three of you, and we have a huge house for all three of you kids,” said Mrs. Donovon.

  Krissy looked at Alby and he back at her, and the two of them looked at the adults.

  “That means what I think?” asked Alby.

  Mrs. Collins smiled and nodded her head, “Yes, it does! You are now Albert Donovon, your sister, Kristen Donovon, and your little brother, John Joe Donovon.”

  Krissy and Alby hugged each other. They started to cry, but with happy tears.

  “And we’re leaving today?” asked Alby.


  Mr. Donovon nodded his head, “Yes, Alby. As soon as you and your sister can pack your things and Jo Jo’s things, then we’ll go home.”

  Mrs. Donovon hugged her new children, “When we get home you can decorate your own rooms and you can help get the house ready for Jo Jo. He has a lot of rehabilitation and physical therapy to go through if he would like to walk again.”

  Krissy and Alby were happy! They all were adopted by the same family and their little brother may walk again!


  A week later, the hospital door slid open as Mr.& Mrs. Donovon walked out. Mrs. Donovon was pushing a wheelchair with Jo Jo in it, his legs still in casts. His smile almost covered his entire face, he was so happy. Alby and Krissy were behind their new parents and their little brother, both showing smiles that matched their brother’s smile.


Submitted: February 13, 2021

© Copyright 2021 David Blake. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Danni Lee

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. I was so happy for the children.

Sat, February 13th, 2021 3:55am

Alex S. Foley

I wasn't crying at the end of this story I had something in my eye, just so you know. It is a great story.

Sat, February 20th, 2021 12:30pm

David Blake

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

Sat, February 20th, 2021 4:08pm

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