Monthly Archives: June 2014

Etched In Steele -9

Later that morning (presumably) …

recorderdesk

… the tiny tape recorder has found a new home on somebody’s coffee table. Not Mr. Steele’s, I think.

mourners

No, they seem to be in someone’s office. Charlotte seems to have adopted the traditional garb of mourning. Has she run out of strawberries to molest?

mitchellwriting

“As I was explaining to my associate, Miss Holt, I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all of this,” Steele says as Mitchell’s voice drones from the recorder. “From these tape recordings, it would almost appear that Mitchell Knight is the writer.”
yougotusSteele

“You got us, Steele!”  Publishing Kingpin Russell (PKR) admits with surprising glibness. “Mitchell was the writer. We had this machine made. He could dictate, and then when you played it back on a regular machine, the voice was higher, sounded like a woman –  hopefully like Charlotte. So you got us, Steele. Damn, you’re sharp!”

NOTE: If all these players were in on the scheme, why did they need to disguise Mitchell’s voice? To fool the office transcriptionist?

didntwrite

Mystery solved, Mr. Steele seems prepared to nap (he didn’t get much sleep last night). But Laura looks disappointed. “Then you didn’t write any of the books?”  she asks. Charlotte admits it was all Mitchell’s lurid imagination. Laura is bereft. It’s hard when your idol lets you down.

banneryear

Suddenly Dennis Baker jumps in with more exposition. “I represented Mitchell Knight for 17 years,” he explains. “If he made three thousand dollars a year, it was a banner year. Then, seven years ago, I sent Russ Mitch’s manuscript for Twice Nightly.”

stain

Russell discloses that the manuscript stained his fingers. Before we’re allowed to let our minds wander deep into sordid territory, he explains it was because the book was garbage. He threw it away. But at a cocktail party, sweet Charlotte used her powers of persuasion (ahem) to convince him to publish the novel.

erotica

“Out of his mouth, it sounded like pornography,” Mitchell says as the camera drifts to Mitchell’s alter ego. “But out of her mouth, it was…. erotica.”

Oh, come on. As if anyone would accept blatant porn as “acceptable” literature.

50ShadesofGreyCoverArt

Oh.

Ew

createdfictitious

“So you created a fictitious person to sell the books to the public,” Laura intuits.

Hm. That sounds familiar. In virtually every episode, Laura and Steele encounters someone who isn’t who they pretend to be. Something of a theme, eh?

outofwork

The publisher, agent and widow hope Steele and Laura will keep quiet about what they’ve learned. “Charlotte Knight is more than just a lady who writes acceptably dirty books,” Baker says. “She’s a whole industry. Loose talk could put an awful lot of people out of work.”

forgetallthis

“Look, isn’t there something we can do to help you see your way clear to, ah, forget all this?”  Charlotte suggests, suggestively.

doesitmatter

Suddenly Tony the Gardener pipes up.

Isn’t this guy a little puny to be a gardener? Given Charlotte’s lusty nature, I’d expect something a little more like this:

hottiegardener

Hello, Mr. Greenjeans

Anyway, puny gardener guy has a hypothetical question to soliloquize: “Does it really matter whether or not the Charlotte that we see on television or read in the magazines is the same person who writes the books? Of course not. What’s important is the myth. I’ve heard a rumor that Thomas Edison didn’t really invent the light bulb.”

lonelypeople

As Laura begins to look a little uncomfortable, Tony goes on to describe the ideal Charlotte Knight reader: “If lonely people, all over the world, prefer to think that this beautiful, sensuous woman writes those vividly evocative books …”

beautifulsecret

“… then I say, what a beautiful secret to be asked to keep.”

Aw. That’s heartwarming.

understandyourproblem

Laura and Steele both listen to this inspiring story  with crossed arms. I wonder if that means they’re TOTALLY buying all this. (Hint: no.) Still, Laura admits that they can understand the position the posers are in.  Still, there’s just one little problem, she notes: “Mr. Steele is convinced that someone murdered Mitchell Knight.” 

Steele seems a bit confused by this. “I am?” he starts to say.

iam

Laura reminds him with another well-aimed stomp to his instep. Ouch!

For me, the most interesting aspect of this scene is the parallel between the Charlotte/Mitchell deception and Laura/Steele. Charlotte is even dressed in a kind of parody of Laura’s look: the tailored suit – albeit rather low cut – and fedora. Once again Laura is confronted with a situation very much like the one she created … and once again, the ruse gives off a rather rancid odor. Does Laura wonder how much she is like these seedy characters she encounters who are playing her own game? Or does she see her situation as entirely different – indeed, the flip side of the coin. Is her subterfuge acceptable because it’s in a “good cause?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 8

With apologies for the delay, we’re back! We last left Mr. Steele pumping Charlotte Knight … for information about her writing process. Some time later:

Steelerecorder

Mr. Steele is back home, scuffing up his expensive coffee table while he examines some small device. Ah, there’s someone at the door!

acrossthehall

Or technically, across the hall. It’s Laura, and she looks like she plans on staying awhile.

gotsnacks

Steele declares he still thinks this is a waste of time. Laura is more upbeat – and she brought snacks: “…popcorn, diet soda, a little salami, some cheese…”

spendanevening

“You really want to spend an evening doing this?” Steele inquires as Laura makes herself comfortable on the floor. I’d think the sight of Laura in a semi-prone position on the floor would make the exercise worth it, Mr. Steele.

Lauraglasses

“Bring on the papers,” Laura answers, putting on a pair of big honkin’ glasses. Mr. Steele, amused, expresses surprise that she wears glasses. Laura explains that she got them in college as a means of seducing her calc professor.

lookbrainier

“I thought they would make me look brainier,” she notes.

CRIMEOFFASHION Big glasses were a thing in the 80s and in the 70s, when Laura would have purchased her pair. Here are some examples of 70s high fashion eyewear.

BigGlassesy70s

So.much.ugly.

Mr. Steele wants to know if Laura scored with the prof.

liketoknow

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” she says coyly.

So … if Laura doesn’t need glasses, and only bought these to bring the sexy on back in college, why did she pack them for tonight’s seemingly work-related activity? Hmmm. Ulterior motives, Miss Holt?

In any case, now ocularly prepared, Laura is ready to read.

notread

“Not read,” Steele corrects her. There won’t be any eyestrain this evening. “Charlotte Knight doesn’t write at all; she dictates,” he explains.

dictates

He shows Laura the little machine he was studying earlier. It’s a mini-recorder. And the pile of little tapes? Each tape represents one chapter of Charlotte’s latest opus.

shallwebegin

“Shall we begin?”

velvetthighs

He pops in Chapter 1, and the steamy recitation begins: “He couldn’t get over her velvet thighs and crimson smile -“

steeleshocked

Steele is increasingly uncomfortable with the … er … plot. He quickly assesses that there is nobody jumping out of the window in THIS chapter and turns off the recorder.

byallmeans

Steele suggests they try another tape and press on. “By all means,” Laura agrees. “Press on.”

teehee

Something tells me Laura is enjoying this!

The next tape is similarly lurid: “He stood there all of him, his body was a dare, a dare she had decided to take -“

Steele has had enough.

breakoutsalami

“What say we break out the salami?”

Oh, dear. I’m not sure Laura is ready for the salami, Mr. Steele.

Laura asks Steele what he thinks he’s protecting her from. Steele protests that he wouldn’t presume to protect her from anything!

That’s good, because, Laura explains,

glassesworked

“Remember the calc professor? The glasses worked.”

Note: This confession has always bothered me, perhaps because I worked many years in academia and saw enough of this kind of thing. For some reason, the idea of Laura sleeping with her prof makes me queasy. It just seems kind of … cheap. Anyway …

didthetrick

Mr. Steele doesn’t seem offended by Laura’s spicy past. Indeed, one gets the feeling he’s rather intrigued. “Did the trick, did they?”

overwith

Laura reaffirms her academic indiscretion. “Why don’t you turn the tape back on and let’s get this over with, OK?”
I wonder if she’s having second thoughts about her candor?

atthatmoment

Steele turns on the recorder and we hear Charlotte’s bodice-ripper continuing: “And at that moment they knew more about each other than either had thought possible. They didn’t need.words – only time, and each other.”

Steele and Laura seem strangely discomfited by these lines …. and the scene fades from Steele pensive face to:

lotsoftapes

The mini tapes, scattered over the carpet.

sleepingsteele

The camera pans to Mr. Steele’s body, laying on the floor. Just what went on after that fade out?

sleepinglaura

Then on to Laura, who is positioned perilously close to Mr. Steele’s … pleats.

Meanwhile, the tape is still playing, but the voice is different: masculine now. “First one rung, and then another, and then he reached it – the window – and it was as if she had known for just the slightest -“

laurastirs

Laura is (a)roused by this passage and begins to stir.

shakesrecorder

She picks up the recorder, puzzled by the change in timbre of the narrator. She shakes the recorder, but nothing changes.

minutemother

Laura gives Mr. Steele a little shove to wake him.

“I’ll be out in a minute, Mother,” he mumbles.

spoileralert emoticon Without going into what we don’t yet know, this seems a strange thing for Mr. Steele to sleep-talk. This is the second mention of his mother in this episode. Is there something about this case that is reminding him of his childhood? Is there something in his past that is behind his seeming reluctance to get involved with this case? Perhaps we’ll find out!

listenshesaid

“Listen,” Laura urges him. Mr. Steele does, and pronounces the storyline “disgusting.”

nonolisten

“No! No! Listen! Listen!” she insists.

“And he watched her…” the male voice intones from the recorder.

soundslikeMitchell

“Sounds like Mitchell Knight!”

neclace

Steele listens while we look at his gold necklace. It’s not his usual watch-back pendant. He likes his bling, does Mr. Steele.

randomalert Speaking of bling, you can get these little gems on Etsy!

Pierce Earrings

 

You’re welcome.

itismitchell

The tape continues: “Day after day, studying her, the way her body would rise and fall every time she took a breath, the way it glistened when she would perspire….”
Well, THAT sounds familiar. Who do we know that has a sweat fetish?

“It IS Mitchell Knight!” Steele declares.

wheredoesthatleave

“He wrote the books,” Laura surmises. “So where does that leave us?”

nowherenear

“A long way from the Caribbean,” Steele concludes sadly.

 In this scene we see Laura and Steele working together – after hours – on the case Steele didn’t want to pursue. Murphy is nowhere in sight (presumably Mr. Steele didn’t invite him to participate.) I’m slightly surprised that Mr. Steele seemed genuinely prepared to work; I might have expected soft lighting and champagne on display. It’s Laura who seems flirty this evening. Is the lusty literature causing her to fantasize about being the seductress in her own little passion play?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 7

Having stomped off mad from the agency, Mr. Steele stomps all the way over to …

fauxpaneling

… a slightly tacky looking faux-wood door. He knocks.

charlotteknight

Trick or treat!

yesyouare

“Charlotte Knight?” Mr. Steele inquires, though he certainly knows who she is. “I’m Remington Steele.”

“Oh my goodness, you are, aren’t you?” she responds, looking somewhat predatory.

Hm.

raptorlady

Yep, that’s the one.

tighttony

Just then, Tony the Gardener makes a shirtless appearance. I wonder what he’s been ploughing today? Charlotte asks Mr. Steele to wait while she gets rid of a few things.

steelegrimace

I think Mr. Steele finds her charming!

champagnethigh

Moments later, Mr. Steele is being served champagne with a side of thigh strawberries & cream. We see Charlotte surreptitiously rubbing Remington’s calf as the butler (?) pours the bubbly.

hourofgrief

Handing his hostess a fizzy coupe, Mr. Steele expresses appreciation that she deigned to see him, “especially now, in your hour of grief.”

farfromdevastated

Charlotte is blunt. “It must be more than apparent to you that I’m far from devastated by Mitchell’s passing,” she admits.

casualindifference

“I had noticed a certain casual indifference,” he concedes, but says he thought she was putting up a good front. (Interesting that Steele holds his glass by the base, not the stem. How gauche, Mr. Steele!)

arentyousweet

Charlotte thinks Mr. Steele is sweet. (Sweet enough to eat?)

imagesCAK07LQ7

Maybe.

dontgetme

Charlotte wants to make herself clear. “I’m not made of stone Mr. Steele. I loved Mitchell. I loved him very much. It just wasn’t the love of a woman for her man.”

sayah

She pauses to demonstrate the love of a woman for her … strawberry.

youho

Steele is … turned on?

makingmyselfclear

“Am I making myself clear?”

asabell

“As a bell, Mrs. Knight.”

partyover

Something tells me this tete a’ tete is over.

makeyounervous

Charlotte pursues the clearly uncomfortable detective.

raptor

How fast can you run, Mr. Steele?

whyIamhere

Charlotte asks her visitor if she makes him nervous.

montypython

Nah.

Steele decides it’s time to get down to business. “Let me tell you why I’m here. Perhaps you’ve heard, Russell Forsyth has asked me to write a book.”

thrilling

Charlotte is thrilled! “We are going to have so much in common!”

nottoopersonal

Mr. Steele has something to ask, but he doesn’t want to be too personal.

couldntbe

The widow Knight assures him that isn’t possible.

howdoyoudoit

“Just how do you do it?”

Well, that’s awkward.

Perhaps this might help, Mr. Steele.

repeatquestion

Miss Knight seems … nonplused. She wants to know what’s the it he wants to know how she does. When he explains he wants to know how she writes, she is irked.

wonderfully

“How do I write? I write … WONDERFULLY.”

With those nails? How does she even hold a pen?

pencilandpaper

Steele is wondering the same thing. “No, no, no, no, no. I mean,  do you use a pencil and paper or do you type? Do you know what every chapter is going to be about before you put it on paper, or do you make it up as you go along?”

reallyiswhy

“That really is why you came here, isn’t it?” I think Charlotte is beginning to wonder if Mr. Steele is capable of loving her as a man loves a woman.

yep

Mr. Steele’s not telling!

Here we see Mr. Steele doing his own sleuthing. It’s clear he’s dealt with Charlotte’s type before (I can’t help wondering how Murphy would have handled this situation). It’s interesting that Steele is willing to put up with Charlotte’s advances up to a point, but there are limits to what he’ll do to get the information he seeks. Is it just because Charlotte turns him off, or would he react the same way with another woman? I wonder, after this interaction with the widow, if Steele is still as convinced that there’s no murder case to investigate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 6

 

The next scene opens, presumably the next day, where we find …

soretootsies

… Mr. Steele soaking his wounded tootsies. Let’s hope he heals as quickly from this as he did the broken hand he got last week! Side note: Mr. Steele has some long, narrow feet!

lookatthat

Just then Laura arrives, looking prim and professional in a gray suit. Mr. Steele reminds her of his Holt-inflicted injury: “Look at that! It’s already twice its normal size. We really must develop a more practical signal for you to use when you wish to silence me.” (Hm. Steele’s use of “already” would seem to indicate this scene occurs immediately after the last one. But surely they didn’t change and go back to the office the same night as the party. Interestingly, his words also imply that Miss Holt may have used this particular mode of communication before.)

youcansmellit

Laura, who seems in a good mood, takes a seat next to Steele. “You can smell it, can’t you?” she says.

Mr. Steele is affronted.

humblestapologies

“Oh, my humblest apologies. And I suppose your feet have no odor.” Huh. I would expect a man as fastidious as Mr. Steele not to have such issues.

themurder

“I mean the murder,” Laura explains, apparently too absorbed in the mystery to bother to apologize to Mr. Steele.

“Murder? What murder?” Steele responds, a bit obtusely.

“The murder of Mitchell Knight.”

whyyoutap

“So that’s why you tap-danced on my toes last night! You didn’t want me to cancel that book deal because you wanted to keep your hand in this ridiculous murder business,” Steele intuits. (Still hinting around for that apology, Mr. Steele?)

killedherhusband

“Charlotte Knight killed her husband.” Laura seems to have this all worked out. She gets up and starts her customary pacing as she works through the details.

Mr. Steele gets to HIS feet (with some difficulty) and objects to her theory.

highlyintoxicated
“Laura, Mitchell Knight fell. He was highly intoxicated.”

lookineyes

“Did you see the look in the man’s eyes? He was seeing a lot of shows that aren’t listed in the TV Guide.”

randomalert TVguideOn the week this episode aired, the mini-series “The Blue & the Grey” was on the cover of TV Guide. Inside, Mitchell Knight would have found listings for such detective fare as “Matt Houston,” “The A Team,” “Simon & Simon,” and “Magnum, P.I.”

shewroteaboutit

Laura will not be deterred. She’s on a roll! “She wrote about it, made it part of the new manuscript, described every detail.”

running4bottle

“Then made sure that her husband saw it, made sure it sent him running for the bottle, and then Charlotte waited. Waited until she had plenty of witnesses to see just how drunk Mitchell was, and then she did it.”

pushedorcoaxed

She pushed or coaxed him over the side.”

nosuchmurde

Steele ain’t buyin’ it. “Laura, Russell Forsythe told you there is no such murder in the new book.”  (It’s a bit puzzling that Steele is so adamant about this. You’d think he’d also be intrigued by the fact that Mitchell told them about the manuscript predicting his death, which the publisher later denied existed.)

notanembecile

“I said she was cocky – not an imbecile,” Laura counters. “Once Mitchell had read that scenario, it would be foolhardy to keep it in there.” Heading for her office, she admits it would make things easier if they could locate that missing scene.

whynotgoaway

Steele follows her into the office, still arguing his case for no case. “Laura, you haven’t been listening! There is no scene because there was no murder.”

caribbean

“I have an idea! Business is slow. Why don’t we close down for a week or two? Perhaps all four of us could go away somewhere. The Caribbean! How about it?”

worktodo

Laura’s not interested. She has work to do!

noclients

“Work? What work? We don’t even have a client,” Steele very reasonably points out.

tryingtosleep

Just then, as Laura boots up what looks like some kind of video game, our pal Murphy appears with a complaint.

“Do you wanna keep it down in here? There are people trying to sleep in the next office.”

ohyou

Oh, Murph! You’re such a card!

Laura is glad to see him.

findoutwhatyoucan

“Charlotte Knight. Russell Forsythe. Dennis Baker. Find out everything you can about them.” She starts to hand Murphy some kind of print-out …

snatchpaper

… but Steele snatches it out of his hand. “Take it from me Murphy: Don’t waste your time.”

nodeathscene

He turns his attention to his most valued associate. “Laura, will you agree that if there is no death scene, there is no murder?” 

nothingbutime

Murphy doesn’t appreciate Steele interference. He hasn’t gotten his contractually guaranteed 12 lines yet!

“Nothing personal, but all I have is time,” Murphy insists.

drivngat

“What are you driving at?” Laura asks, a little condescendingly.

everyscrap

“I’m going to get every single scrap of paper ever written by Charlotte Knight,” he declares with inexplicable vehemence.

Murphy wants to know how he’s going to do that.

mrssteele

“My mother. Mrs. Steele,” he answers. (Um, what?) “Always taught me, it never hurts to ask.” He stomps off, in high dudgeon, pausing at the door.

packlight

“I’m also going to pick up four tickets to Jamaica. Pack light!”

bemusedglances

Murphy and Laura exchange puzzled looks.

For me, the biggest mystery here continues to be why Steele is so set against pursuing this case. Surely he’s not that desperate for an island vacation. He seems to take this situation almost personally. Is there something in his past that makes him uncomfortable with the idea of a wife murdering her husband? Or is he put off by the specter of the pusillanimous Mitchell being so completely dominated – and ultimately destroyed – by his “partner?” And what the heck is with the reference to his “mother,” Mrs. Steele? Obviously all three in the room know there is no such person. Is Steele referring to his own mother, albeit by another name?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 5

The gala party seems to have broken up after Gomez left early. Grisly death does tend to put a damper on things, I suppose.

someguy

As the bartending staff clean up in the background, we see some guy. Who can he be?

famousshamus

Apparently Mr. Steele and Miss Holt didn’t get the memo that the party is over. Don’t you hate it when guests don’t know when to go home? The strange guy startles them on the balcony.

“So you’re the famous Shamus, eh?” he says as Steele nearly leaps over the railing.

handshake

“Dennis Baker, Charlotte’s agent.”

lauramyassociate

Steele introduces Laura: “Laura Holt, my associate.”

quiteanevening

Agent Baker notes that it’s been quite an evening, and asks if the detectives have known Gomez Mitch long.

1sttimetonight

“Actually, we met him for the first time tonight,” says Laura. She starts to stammer something polite, but the agent interrupts.

fortknox

He indicates he knows Charlotte’s hubby was in his cups that evening, and it wasn’t unusual. “People would see Charlotte Knight on television and say to themselves, what I wouldn’t give to spend a night next to that. But it takes its toll, like owning Fort Knox; you’re so busy guarding it, you can’t enjoy spending it.”

So Charlotte’s agent echoes Gomez’s earlier remarks about not being the kind of guy you’d expect to be married to Charlotte. Hm.

giveslauralook

Steele gives Laura a bit of side-eye at this. I wonder what he’s thinking?

holdhisliquor

“Stupid fool, never could hold his liquor,” Baker concludes. Think they’re making a case for suicide? He heads back into the apartment.

fairlyathletic

Laura and Steele follow. Laura remarks that Mr. Knight would have had to be pretty athletic to fall over the railing. (Um, what? The railing looked to be about waist level to me.) It seems Laura isn’t buying the suicide theory.

BeardedSMiley Laura and Steele’s body language is interesting here. We see Mr. Steele rubbing the back of his head. According to body language experts, this indicates either impatience or sadness. I wonder which is true of Mr. Steele here? And Laura is rubbing her hands together, a sign of stress. I wonder why this incident is affecting them both so markedly?

gettingat

“What are you getting at?” Baker asks as Forsythe approaches.

shellbeallright

“She’ll be all right,” Forsythe remarks, adding that she (presumably Charlotte) is with Tony.

spoileralert emoticon Remington Steele fans will have good reason to mistrust anyone named Tony. Just sayin’. tonyroselli

arentyouconcerned

Laura’s had about enough of this blasé attitude toward poor Gomez’s demise. “Aren’t either of you concerned that Mitchell Knight just died in a manner identical to the one in his wife’s new book?”

lostme

“I’m sorry, Miss Holt. You’ve lost me,” Forsythe says.

Wait a minute. Do these two guys remind you of anyone?

berternie

Hm.

35floors

“You mean to say there is no scene of a man falling 35 floors to his death in the new book?”

Iblushed

Apparently not, though Forsythe wishes there was. “In the book, the people are so busy jumping on each other that nobody has the chance to fall 35 floors.” He admits that, even as a macho Navy veteran, he blushed when he read it. He sees a certain gleam in the detectives’ eyes. “That mean that you know something that we should?”

forgiveusgentlemen

“Forgive us, gentlemen,” Steele demurs. “Miss Holt and I deal in death daily. Occasionally our imaginations tend to run away with us and we tend to look for treachery where there clearly is none.” I get the impression Mr. Steele isn’t eager to get further involved with this case.

11mostfamous

Forsythe is disappointed. “A little treachery could have gone a long way this evening. I’m not opposed to calling your book Remington Steele’s 11 Most Famous Cases.” (A little treachery could have gone a long way to … what?)

after11

I don’t think Steele likes that idea. What happened to his zeal for a literary career?

hosedoff

Agent Baker is irked by Forsythe’s callousness. “They haven’t even hosed Mitch’s blood off the sidewalk.”

negotiatethedeal

“You wouldn’t negotiate the deal, Dennis?” Forsythe challenges him. Speaking of deals …

aboutthebook

“About that book-“

stompsonfoot

Steele winces as Laura suddenly stamps on his foot, silencing him. Apparently she’s had a change of heart about the Remington Steele Files, Vol. 1.

cartoonshow

“Yes! Won’t it be wonderful! Remington Steele’s book. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll even have his own cartoon show on Saturday mornings!” 

scoobysteele

Scooby Steele? Works for me!

pusheshimout

Laura hustles Steele out the door before he can ask what the hell is going on.

So … the plot thickens. Nobody seems very upset that Gomez is dead, the plot of Charlotte’s new novel isn’t what the dead man said it was, and Laura has suddenly decided Remington Steele should pen his memoirs after all. What’s going on here?

 

 

 

 

 

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