TG Universes & Series:
By Daphne Xu
Any comments about Bikini Beach, how it works, what it does, by characters other than Anya or Grandmother are potentially non-canonical and wrong. As this story is told from a particular point of view by the protagonist, this includes comments by the narrator. The protagonist, and thus the narrative, are what the protagonist believes or interprets from what he is experiencing. Thus some of the mechanics of BB are biased by the protagonist's view and experiences. Furthermore, because of the particular viewpoint of the story, those errors often won't be corrected. When the errors are corrected, the correction will often be disbelieved and rejected.
Despite this I will admit to pushing the limits of Bikini-Beach canon, perhaps even going outside on occasion. Bikini Beach and its principle characters are copyright 1998 by Elrod W.
ELLEN ISAMU WATANABE, single mother of two daughters, was hard at work at her home computer. She wanted to finish this part of her project at work as soon as possible. Also, she wanted to set aside, even if only temporarily, her fear of her older daughter's afternoon visit to Bikini Beach.
Glinda was sixteen now, earning her own money working at McDonald's. She was perfectly capable of making her own decisions on such matters. She was an ordinary paying female Bikini Beach patron, the kind of person the water park was created for. Nothing untoward should happen.
Such things would be bad for business, Ellen tried to convince herself.
Glinda would undergo nothing like Ellen's experience ten years earlier, when she joined four boys and another girl, and climbed over Bikini Beach's wall at midnight as a prank.
Nevertheless, when Glinda had called during Ellen's lunch break at noon, and informed Ellen that she was going to Bikini Beach with a friend for the rest of the day, she couldn't help thinking back on her own experience with considerable fright and bitterness. She couldn't help fearing for Glinda.
Four boys and two girls had scaled the wall into Bikini Beach that night. Three boys and three girls had climbed back out -- directly into the clutches of Bikini Beach's "Grandmother" waiting just outside.
It wasn't merely that one of the boys, her friend Marcos, had somehow turned into a girl inside Bikini Beach. His change had lasted only a couple of months. It was not only Grandmother's scolding, even though her severest was aimed squarely at Ellen. It was all the talk then, and again with Grandmother later, that made her seriously question her memory. Had only Marcos changed? Or did all the boys change? Did the other girl change? Maybe nobody changed. Maybe only her memory was ripped apart, warped, gaslighted as in the old movie.
When she'd returned home from work, supper seemed a lonely, quiet affair with only Daisy and herself. Ellen had told Daisy that Glinda was with a friend at Bikini Beach. Daisy had asked, "Does Glinda have a boyfriend?"
That had given Ellen pause. "I don't know," she eventually answered, following up with, "What brought this on?" She was pretty sure that Glinda would have told her first thing about any boyfriend, but for the unpleasantness three or four years back with Andrew Anderson.
Glinda had been thirteen at the time, and Andy must have been around twenty when he moved in. He was also black, and Ellen shamefully admitted to herself that racism had influenced her bad reaction to Glinda's crush on Andy. He'd turned out a wonderful neighbor, friendly and helpful. His little sister was living with him now, to have a better education and living environment, he said.
Ellen even thought of possibly dating him herself, even though he was eight or so years younger.
"Oh, I just thought of it," answered Daisy. "Perhaps she took a boy to Bikini Beach. I don't know why I'm thinking this."
Ellen wondered how much Daisy knew, even at nine, about teen girls and boyfriends.
Daisy had gone out to play with friends and neighbors after supper, leaving Ellen with her own thoughts. She'd gotten quickly to work, to suppress her fears. She still couldn't help fearing for Glinda at Bikini Beach, and the strange things that might happen, or might even have already happened!
Might Bikini Beach have changed Glinda to a boy? To a frog, perhaps? From all that talk, Grandmother did sound like a witch. Maybe... maybe... she made Glinda forget about her family, or destroy her family. Perhaps even make Glinda hate Ellen! So many things could go wrong, when Bikini Beach was involved.
Ellen panicked for a moment, and cried out in terror, when her imagination got too active. She kept reminding herself that Bikini Beach was made for girls and Glinda was just an ordinary paying girl. Nothing bad or strange should happen.
Just keep grounded in that, she kept telling herself. Just focus on that.
Ellen was in control of herself by the time Daisy returned home at 8:30, and was hard at work. Daisy promptly went to her room. Ellen knew she was preparing for bed, but suspected that she wouldn't go to bed for some time. Daisy would probably spend half an hour or so reading, possibly awaiting Glinda's return.
Finally, after minutes inched by like hours, Ellen heard the door unlock and open. Glinda was home! The moment of truth was at hand: what, if anything, did Bikini Beach do? Ellen jumped and ran to greet Glinda. "Hi, how was Bikini Beach?"
Glinda hugged her. "It was great! Fun for both of us, a new experience. Hey, Daisy!"
Daisy, in her sleepwear, was approaching Glinda warily, very much unlike Daisy's usual boisterous self. Ellen wondered what she knew about Bikini Beach. Had she heard rumors? Was she afraid for Glinda? Afraid that something might have happened to Glinda? Afraid of Glinda?
"Dad?" asked Daisy, sounding very unsure.
Ellen reminded herself to remain calm and wholesome with Daisy. "Daisy, what's this `Dad' business?" Her voice wavered, reminded as she was of Daisy's bitterly loathed dad, Glenn Matsumoto.
Glinda knelt, her head at Daisy's height, and looked straight in her eyes. "Do you remember me, Daisy?"
"Oh Daddy, it is you! It is you!" Daisy rushed and hugged Glinda.
"You didn't! They didn't!" Realization hit Ellen sudden and hard: Bikini Beach! Was Glinda's very existence phony? Ellen's whole life a lie? Out of all nightmarish possibilities, that one possibility had never even occurred to her.
Her daughters flinched and looked up at her like terrified children about to be shredded by Mega-Monster Mama. Thoughts shot rapid-fire through her mind -- fast, furious, foul, and filthy. `Damn fucking Bikini Beach to Hell, transforming people, gaslighting the shit out of us all, fucking up everyone's lives, scattering them around like fucking ants in a fucking ant-hill. If I could, I'd rip that fucking Grandmother of theirs apart, and feed her to the fucking sharks and fucking crocodiles.' She thought back to an old shark and crocodile-infested nightmare.
Ellen only snapped out of it when she heard Daisy's frightened words, "Mommy, Mommy! You're scaring me! You're shouting out bad words about Bikini Beach and Grandma! You want to hurt them badly!"
Ellen almost collapsed physically, as her uncontrolled fury ran out, realizing that Daisy was reading her mind. "Oh Daisy, I didn't mean Grandma Watanabe, but the old woman who owns Bikini Beach. I'm so sorry! Can you really read my mind like that?"
"Mom, your mind's shouting. I can only read minds a little bit."
`Sure, why not?' thought Ellen to herself. `If Bikini Beach can change boys to girls, or mess up our memories, why can't my little daughter read minds?' After all, Daisy had picked her dad out of Glinda's mind.
She turned to Glinda. "If you're not Glinda, where is she and what happened to her?"
"I'm Glinda," she replied.
"She's Glinda, but she's also Daddy," added Daisy.
"Daddy took that boy to Bikini Beach, to fix him up." Ellen couldn't help staring blankly. "Daddy didn't like Bikini Beach. He was mad at them, and scared. He kept shouting, over and over again, things like, `Keep it professional.'" She turned back to Glinda. "Daddy, I don't think turning into a girl is very professional."
Glinda replied, "Daisy, it's not nice to tease someone about her embarrassing predicament."
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Daddy." Daisy hugged Glinda again, then stepped back and looked Glinda over. "You're very pretty, Daddy. Peter would have loved to meet you. Mommy, please don't hate Glinda. Don't hate Daddy!"
Ellen was shocked and disturbed when she realized that she'd somehow turned to hate the young lady, her beloved first daughter, the love of her life, whom she'd born at fifteen and raised with her family's help, and then with the help of other single parents at college.
"You are Daisy's father?" Ellen challenged Glinda. "If so state your name."
"Glinda Wa-- I mean Glinda -- I mean -- oh crap!"
"Daddy's trying to say Glenn Matsumoto," said Daisy. "But he can't."
"Thank you!" Glinda sighed and visibly relaxed.
"Glenn!" whispered Ellen. Glenn Matsumoto, the man she could never think about without utter loathing and hatred. The man she once dated, and had fallen hard for. He got her pregnant with Daisy around the same time as the Bikini Beach business, then broke up with her that summer. Her love had turned to hatred, so much so that she refused to accept the child-support checks he'd sent purely voluntarily, burning them instead of depositing them.
"Mom, please!" cried Daisy. "Don't hate Daddy, he never betrayed you. You and Dad are married! You even did your tenth an-ni-ver-sary last June. Please, Mommy, Please! Hate Bikini Beach instead, not Daddy, please!"
Ellen could see that Daisy was on the verge of tears. Glinda leaned down and picked her up, and she cried on Glinda's shoulder.
"Mom," said Glinda, "I can find somewhere else to crash for the night. This will--" Glinda paused. "You will never see me again." Glinda was leaking tears.
"Take me with you, Glinda! I don't want to lose you," cried Daisy.
Ellen turned away from them, bent over, covered her face, and began bawling her eyes out. Her residual hatred vanished in her wailing distress.
"Mom!" exclaimed both Daisy and Glinda from behind her. Both were trying to hug her. She let Glinda lead her to an armchair in the living room, where she collapsed and continued to cry.
"I don't want to lose you, Glinda. Neither of you. I love you both so much!" bawled Ellen.
"Please, Mom!" said Glinda. "Daisy will still be here. We'll always have Daisy!"
"And Daddy, Glenn Matsumoto, will be back tomorrow!" added Daisy. "Glinda will change back to him."
"And I'll forget Glinda ever existed. That's how Bikini Beach works. Right?" Ellen bawled anew.
"I'm sorry, sorry, so very, very sorry," Glinda said tearfully. If Ellen had any uncertainty before, Glinda confirmed her fear. "But I think Daisy will remember Glinda, to some extent. She remembered me. We've always said that with Bikini Beach, we can never know what really happened. With Daisy, we might be able to."
"Glinda, I felt that way for several months after my experience with Bikini Beach, but I'm sure I never told you about it, and I'm sure neither of us ever discussed Bikini Beach even."
"Mom, your experience with Bikini Beach -- that was the time Billy got up at three or so in the morning, and caught you coming in naked?"
Ellen got a coughing fit. Daisy giggled. "Nobody ever told me that, Mom."
"I take it Billy told you, Glinda?" Ellen asked.
"Yeah," answered Glinda.
"I'm not surprised. But that midnight visit to Bikini Beach was only the beginning. We encountered Grandmother just after climbing out. I'm only going to tell what I remember, but as I discovered at the end of the semester, my memories might well have been false. I remember one boy became a girl, but the way they all talked later at the end of the semester, they might all have become girls. Not only that, the other girl who went with us might have been a boy."
"And for all you know, you might have been a boy when you climbed over the wall into Bikini Beach," said Glinda.
Ellen glanced sharply at Glinda. "It was all that talk when we visited Bikini Beach's Grandmother. I felt as if my memories were under wholesale attack -- I was being gaslighted. Anyway, I want to tell what I remember.
"I was a naughty girl a good part of the time growing up, and sometimes in college. If I'd been a good little girl, neither of you girls would have existed. That night at Bikini Beach was one of my naughty times. I joined four boys and another girl, going down to Bikini Beach and climbing over their wall. We swam and left posters -- that's all we did, careful not to do any damage.
"Also," Ellen paused and laughed softly. "Just before climbing over the wall, we decided to skinny-dip. One of the boys became a girl while we were inside -- that was Marcos."
"Uncle Marcos?" asked Daisy.
"Yes," answered Ellen. Marcos wasn't their uncle; Glinda and Daisy simply called him that. He was a good friend family friend, a friendship that boosted when he (at the time, "she") defended Ellen against Grandmother's severe scolding.
Ellen continued her story. "Grandmother accosted us as soon as we climbed back over the wall out of Bikini Beach.
"As I recall, she was mostly snarky with the others, but she reserved her major tongue-lashing for me personally, and it was largely about you, Glinda: about how you missed me, I spent too much time in frivolity away from you, perhaps I should send you back to Grandma and Grandpa's, etc. etc. She mentioned my life as a slut in junior high, and even mentioned your aunt's pregnancy with the twins even before your aunt ever told us."
Ellen paused in thought back at the events. "I was on the ground curled up in a fetal position, crying in humiliation, hearing only her scalding voice -- and then Marcos broke in with a sharp `Enough!' He was a girl by that time, and that was why we've remained good friends ever since. I'll always remember him gratefully and fondly."
Ellen paused momentarily in reminiscence. "I managed to look up and see Margo -- Marcos as a girl -- standing over me glaring at the old woman. Grandmother's expression looking back at him was somehow both quizzical and dangerous. `Eh? Pardon me?'
"`You know damn well. Look at her!' Yes, she actually cursed to Grandmother's face.
"Grandmother and Margo glared at each other in silence for at least a minute, then Grandmother said, `I shall be lenient this once, and only extend your girlhood to sixty days. HOWever, you won't benefit from the reality-shift. Instead, you'll have to figure out how to deal with your professors and fellow students. You think they'll believe that a boy could be transformed into a girl?'
"I understood that part about no one believing, but I couldn't make heads or tails of `reality-shift' -- not until much later, just after finals week."
"Mom," said Glinda. "I think I know why you remember Uncle Marcos as a girl for the next -- sixty days, right?"
"Yes," answered Ellen. "I didn't do the actual numbers, but it was around sixty days later that Margo changed back to Marcos: shortly after finals and that visit to Grandmother at Bikini Beach."
"Anyway, you remembered Margo and knew that Marcos became Margo, even before the confrontation with Grandmother. Meanwhile, all the others remained boys throughout, at least as you remember, right?"
"Well, the other girl, Janet, stayed a girl -- at least as I remember. But from all that talk during that later visit to Grandmother, Janet might have been a boy, but got stuck as a girl because she got pregnant. And the other boys might have been girls."
"Okay, why you remember only Uncle Marcos's change and none of the others. Reality-shift means that supposedly, the changes didn't happen, but instead, reality-shifted. And thanks to Uncle Marcos defending you, the realities all had him changing to Margo. The others, for thirty days, they always had been girls. Then after the thirty days finished, they had always been boys again -- except for Janet because she got pregnant. That's a Bikini Beach trap."
"That sounds very strange," said Daisy.
"Yes, Daisy. It's utterly bizarre," said Glinda. "I don't understand it, Mom doesn't understand it. Nobody does, at least none of us ordinary mortals. Mom, you got pregnant with Daisy around the same time."
"How did--" began Ellen, but then she realized. "Oh off course, you can count the months, and work it out from the ages."
"Mom, she's Daddy," said Daisy. "She remembers."
Glinda turned and smiled at Daisy. "We might have to tell Daisy about the Birds and the Bees pretty soon, since she can read our minds."
Daisy blushed. "Glinda, Daddy, that's embarrassing!"
"ANYways, as for the pregnancy trap," said Glinda, "Aborting the pregnancy doesn't cure it. The girl is still stuck forever."
"That's right," said Ellen. "Janet got her abortion, then we all went to see Grandmother. Glenn, um, you, um, were with us. Grandmother was reduced to tears, telling us that aborting the pregnancy didn't undo the permanency of the transformation. I was secretly gloating over Grandmother's tears, remembering how she'd made me cry. But I was still hopelessly confused, since I'd known Janet since we were freshmen."
"That's reality-shifts for you," said Glinda. She turned toward Daisy, and it seemed to Ellen that she was staring her right in the eyes.
Daisy said, "Daddy says that you were a boy, a man, Alan, before you entered Bikini Beach that night. All of you were boys. Daddy says you were his best friend, and he told you not to do the prank, not to climb into Bikini Beach. You did it, anyway. You turned into a very pretty lady. It was supposed to be thirty days, but your pregnancy with me made it forever."
"What?!" exclaimed Ellen. `Okay,' she thought to herself. `Gaslighted again. Those damned reality-shifts.'
"Normally, you would have remembered the old realities," said Glinda. "From what you say, the others did. So why didn't you? Um, Daisy..."
"Daddy tells me you really remembered. It's because of today that you don't, he thinks. It's because he went to Bikini Beach, today."
"Figures." Ellen snorted. "One wonders why the witch didn't just reality-shift away the whole darn episode. Or just have two girls and four boys go in, three girls and three boys come out, and Margo changing back two months later. Was that so hard now? None of all this scolding; none of this gaslighting talk about becoming girls when they didn't."
"I wouldn't know," said Glinda. "Grandmother isn't the only magic user, and isn't the only one who messes with reality. There's the unknown mage who -- Daisy?"
Daisy said, "A mage made a lady into that bad boy, and made him bad. The mage made a new reality out of him."
Glinda continued, "There have to be many mages, and many who deal with reality-shifts. It's not all Bikini Beach's Grandmother. Also, while I don't think one can have a reality-shift inside a single reality, maybe people can remember other realities, and can talk about them -- even if they aren't really real. Like now."
Daisy giggled, and escalated into uncontrolled laughter. Ellen just stared perplexed at her, and Daisy said, "Unreal realities -- really real realities -- that's so funny!" She kept laughing, and Ellen saw the humor and joined in, along with Glinda.
When they settled down, Ellen had an epiphany. "Oh my Goodness! I think I see why I somehow got obsessed with Glenn Matsumoto after visiting Bikini Beach, even though I only casually knew him as an acquaintance -- almost a stranger, really. It was one of those things that horribly confused and disturbed me, that I didn't understand in the least! I think I understand now. Daisy had to be born in this reality."
"That makes sense," said Glinda. "Another thing. Did you notice the similar names?"
"Oh, oh, oh!" exclaimed Ellen. "I thought it was just coincidence. I was obsessed with Oz during my early teens, and I named you Glinda when when you were born. Daisy, people will say that there are no coincidences. They're just wrong. But I understand now, this was no coincidence. Like Marcos and Margo, Glenn became Glinda!"
"Could you play with me, Glinda?" said Daisy. "I want to have fun and remember you before you become Daddy again."
"I think I could, for a while. But I do need to work some on the computer. I need to find out how things have changed, before they change back. You see, my trip to Bikini Beach was pleasure-oriented, to swim, relax, exercise, have fun, and introduce a boy to the joys of being a girl and tone down his boorishness. ARRRRRRRGH!"
Bikini Beach had just mangled Glinda's words, Ellen realized. She looked questioningly at Daisy, who said, "Daddy meant the visit was strictly work-related. He wanted to remove a spell from the boy that made him a bad boy and unable to say what he wanted to say. The boy was a potential client, and Daddy needed to hear what the boy had to say. Daddy went even though he was afraid and angry at Bikini Beach for what they did to you, Mom.
"So Glinda, could you play with me?" she repeated.
It was summer, Daisy didn't have school the next day. So Ellen figured, why not? "Sure, go ahead. By all means, have quality time together while you can, before all this goes away." Ellen couldn't help another sniff, reminded that Glinda would forever go and Ellen would forever forget.
Glinda and Daisy went to their shared bedroom, and Ellen returned to the computer. She wanted to push aside her distress at losing Glinda, and busying herself in work would do that, she hoped.
After submitting a batch job to run on the mainframe at work, Ellen let her curiosity get the better of her. What had Glenn Matsumoto been doing in the intervening ten years since she knew him?
Ellen went to one of the free search engines that had developed recently. It didn't take very long to learn that Glenn had set up his own law practice, primarily in intellectual property law and general litigation, and was murdered two years earlier in a robbery gone bad.
Ellen couldn't suppress another gasp of grief, learning that Glenn had never betrayed her, only to learn that he'd been murdered -- before realizing that this had to be another Bikini Beach trick. Glenn changed into Glinda, so of course Glenn no longer existed. Since Glenn had existed earlier in this reality, Bikini Beach had to provide some means for Glenn's non-existence now.
Glinda returned to the living room. "Daisy's asleep now."
Ellen got up. "I think I've done enough work for the evening, especially if it's destined for the bit-bucket."
"Grandmother promised that any work I do today on the subject should stay with me," Glinda replied. "I think that the only really necessary thing is seeing what changed with me." Glinda looked pensive and nervous. "You know, I'm tempted to search for ... me. But I'm scared I might find that I still exist."
"Too late," replied Ellen. "I've already done that. Glenn Matsumoto was murdered in a robbery two years ago."
Glinda's jaw dropped, and she covered her mouth. She lowered her hand and asked, "Did it happen in June?"
Startled, Ellen answered, "Yes. Why?"
"Daisy's asleep, so I don't know if I can answer. There's this problem with Bikini Beach: we never really know what happened, not without Daisy. But I'll try to answer.
"Two years ago in June, I graduated from eighth grade -- no, let me try again." Glinda took several deep breaths, clearly showing restraint in her frustration.
"Once upon a time, an idea factory and one of their scientists hired an attorney to enforce a patent. A company had invented and was marketing a product that just happened to infringe said patent."
Glinda wasn't sounding anything like Ellen's daughter or any teenage girl, now. Ellen's ears perked up with the talk of patents, since she was occasionally involved with patents in her work. She listened with bated breath, thinking back to various encounters with `idea factories'.
"The attorney was personally sympathetic with the company he was acting against. Idea factories are the scum of the earth." Ellen agreed with Glinda's assessment, for most idea factories. "But he had a job to do. His clients had, with this patent at least, worked hard enough and come up with novel ideas and ways to apply them, that the opposing company was seriously infringing. He hoped he and the opposing attorney could reach a licensing solution satisfactory to both sides. Nevertheless, his obligation was to get the best possible result for his clients consistent with legal ethics."
`Legal ethics,' thought Ellen. `A contradiction of terms.'
"Unfortunately, the opposing company, perhaps in desperation for its survival and its best engineers' employment, joined up with an organized crime syndicate, perhaps not realizing how bad and dangerous they really were.
"One night, the attorney and his wife were on their way home from a ... social function." Ellen caught Glinda's hesitation and faint blush there. "They were attacked by several young adults. The wife was trained in dark and shadowy forms of fighting and martial arts, and fought them off, with a little help from the attorney."
The attorney in Glinda's story was clearly Glenn. But Ellen wondered, could that wife possibly have been herself? She had taken some martial arts, but had never focused on them, and never attained a very high level.
"If the attorney had been by himself, or with someone else, he probably would have been murdered -- along with his companion." Glinda paused. "Three or four weeks later, the scientist client was murdered." Glinda never sounded so sober. "The client's murder was never solved. Someone was arrested when when he used the client's credit card, but he was released when it was realized that the card was planted on him and he had used it by mistake.
"Was Glinda's murder solved?" Glinda winced, and Ellen understood she meant Glenn.
"No," answered Ellen.
Glinda retrieved a notebook and pen from her purse, and wrote something. "May I? I want to look up the client."
"Go ahead." Ellen was curious, and looked over her shoulder. She recognized the company Glinda entered into the search engine. Her own firm had dealt with them off and on for several years. They were newcomers to the `idea factory' field, and hadn't yet learned the standard mode of behavior or conduct. They came up with good ideas and good applications. Ellen's employers had licensed their inventions a few times in the past years. Their relationship was friendly and mutually beneficial. They were the one exception, that Ellen was aware of, to Glinda's characterization as `the scum of the earth'.
Looking over Glinda's shoulders, Ellen saw that the firm had agreed to be taken over by a much larger firm. It was a few weeks after Glenn's murder, in fact. "Looks like they caved in and joined up with the syndicate," said Glinda. "I can't tell if their decision was motivated by..." She paused. "In the story I was telling you, the client firm disbanded shortly after the scientist's memorial, and the other scientists went their ways. The police thought it was a robbery gone bad, but the scientists knew better."
Ellen watched as Glinda typed more into the computer. At one point, she saw Glinda going to the University web site. Where Glinda went on the site was unfamiliar to Ellen. Glinda mumbled, "No sign of her ever being there." She noted something in her notebook, and typed more into the computer.
A few minutes later, Glinda said, "Ahah! That name, I knew I'd seen that name before!" and jotted down some more. Any remaining notions Ellen had about Glinda being her teenage daughter were wiped out that evening.
"I can't think of anything more to search out," said Glinda finally, as she yawned. Ellen was quite sleepy herself, and echoed Glinda's yawn. She thought sleepily that she still had to get up the next day for her job.
"Tomorrow morning," continued Glinda sleepily, yawning again, "we and everything should be back to normal, and today's unpleasantness should be forgotten."
It hit Ellen, when she realized that Glinda would be gone forever, and that she, Ellen, would completely forget her. She grabbed and pulled Glinda into her arms, bawling over Glinda's shoulders. "I've always loved you. You and Daisy were always the loves of my life! And now I'm going to lose you forever!"
Glinda was crying herself. Ellen let herself be led into her bedroom. They both lay in each other's arms. The last thing Ellen heard as she fell asleep was Glinda saying, "At least whatever happens, we'll always have Daisy."
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