Daily Archives: April 13, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – Part 6 – Miles Freeman, Amateur Werewolf

When Blythe’s evil werewolves attack the Bonnie Lass Saloon, Highwater finds itself in the grip of a terrifying zombie outbreak.

But for young Miles Freeman, there’s no time to feel sorry for himself when he loses his father.

Miss Bonnie needs his help…and Blythe’s wolves are on the hunt.

Somehow, Miles will have to figure out how to use his werewolf powers to save the day.

It won’t be easy for him.  After all, he might be a werewolf…but he isn’t a very good one.

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Chapter 54             Chapter 55         Chapter 56

Chapter 57              Chapter 58        Chapter 59

Chapter 60             Chapter 61         Chapter 62

Chapter 63             Chapter 64         Chapter 65

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 75

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As Slade broke a chair across the church floor, he decided he wasn’t going to be helpless again.

Never again.

“What the hell are you doing?” Gunther asked.

The raspy voiced marshall was back.

“I need wood,” Slade said as he gathered up the chair pieces.  “And lots of it.  Sorry Reverend. I’ve got to bust up your church.”

The Reverend looked around his church.  From wall to wall, it was coated with a thick layer of blood, guts and bullet holes.

“In for a penny in for a pound I suppose,” the Reverend said as he sipped his bourbon.

The group followed Slade’s lead, smashing up furniture and collecting the pieces.

“Gunther,” Slade said.  “You and I are going to take Blythe head on.”

“Worst plan I’ve ever heard,” Gunther said.  “But I don’t have a better one.”

“Bonnie,” Slade said.

“Don’t worry,” Miss Bonnie said.  “I’ll be right there with you boys.”

“No you won’t,” Slade said.  “Chance is in the livery.  There’s gotta be a wagon there.”

“Mine,” Doc said as he wiggled around in his ropes.  “I’ll gladly let you have it.”

“Obliged,” Slade said.  “Bonnie. Gunther and I will stick with you until we find Doc’s wagon. Then I need you to get every one out of town.”

“Oh no,” Miss Bonnie protested.  “You’re not going to cut me out of this just because I’m a woman.  I can kill a zombie just as good as you.”

“I know you can,” Slade said.

Slade noticed Sarah was listening.  The widow was also drinking small sips out of the Reverend’s bourbon bottle in what was most likely her first dalliance with booze in her entire life.

“That’s why I need you to do this for me, Miss Lassiter.”

That “Miss Lassiter” startled Miss Bonnie, reminding her that amidst all the chaos, she still needed to pretend that she and Slade were mere acquaintances for Sarah’s sake.

“There’s no one here I trust more to get my future wife to safety than you.”

Miss Bonnie felt a strong urge to tell Slade where to stick his request but upon seeing Sarah looking so lost and terrified, she knew she had to help her.

“I’ll do it,”  Miss Bonnie said.  “Where will we go?”

“Standing Eagle’s tribe,” Slade replied.  “They have an alliance with a tribe twenty miles south.  I reckon the Chief will send his people there once he sees all hell break loose.  They may hate my guts but they won’t turn away a wagon filled with three women, an old preacher and a boy.”

“What?” Miles asked.

“We’ll never be able to repay you or your father, Miles,” Slade said.  “But dog monster or no, you’re just a kid.”

“Werewolf,” Miles protested.  “And I’m stronger than any of you.”

“Not up for discussion,” Slade said.  “And besides…Miss Lassiter will need a dog mon…a werewolf…to help her keep everyone safe.”

“Mister Slade,” Doc said.  “Prey tell, in your glorious plan, where do I fit in?”

“You don’t,” Slade said. 

“I don’t?”  Doc asked.

“I’ll cut you loose before we leave,” Slade said.  “You can shoot yourself or whatever you feel you need to do.”

“Shoot myself?”  Doc scoffed. 

“You didn’t have any reservations about offing yourself before,” Gunther said.

“But I have since made a fully recovery,” Doc said.  “Indeed, my eyes may be a gruesome sight but otherwise I am full of vim, vigor and vitality.  Put me to use and I shall prove myself worthy.”

“I can’t risk it,” Slade said.  “You bite me or Gunther and Blythe gets away.  Bite Sarah or Miss Lassiter and I’ll have to hunt you down and shoot you myself.”

“Oh how very dramatic,” Doc said.  “Fine.  But know, good sir, that when the history of this ordeal is written, it will be noted that you kept America from being saved by Doctor Elias T. Faraday of Boston, Massachusetts…”

Gunther stuffed a bandana in Doc’s mouth and gagged him by tying the ends around the back of the doctor’s head.

“Mmmphh!”

“Finally,” the old man said.  “I’ve been waiting all night for him to shut up.”

Slade scooped up a pile of splintered furniture wood and headed outside, where he dumped his bundle in the middle of the road.  Curious about what was happening, Sarah stood by the door frame and watched as everyone else dragged out pieces of wood to build the pile higher and higher.

To the Reverend’s surprise, Slade snatched the bourbon bottle right of his hand and doused the pile with it.

“Sorry Reverend,” Slade said.

“I’ve got more,” the preacher replied.

The marshal struck a match and tossed it in, setting the pile ablaze. 

“Miles,” Slade said.  “I need your blanket.”

Being naked in front of people was a fate most werewolves had grown accustomed to but Miles was still an amateur werewolf and he didn’t particularly care for it.  Quickly, he handed the blanket over, then assumed his furry form to keep warm.

“Son,” Gunther said as he looked up at Miles’ yellow eyes.  “I don’t mean to be rude or nothing but where the hell does your pecker go when you do that?”

The werewolf shrugged his enormous shoulders.

“Take an end,” Slade said to Gunther, who obliged.  Together, they held the blanket above the flames.

“Now,” Slade said.  He and his deputy moved the blanket away and a cloud of smoke rose into the air.

“What are you doing?” Gunther asked.

“I’m telling a friend I’m sorry,” Slade replied.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 74

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Zombies.  Werewolves.  Vampires. 

They made Slade feel helpless and he didn’t like it one bit.  He’d spent his entire adult life building himself into the kind of man who helped others and didn’t need any help himself.  As he laid there on the church’s front porch, his mind traveled back to the last time he felt this useless.

He was twelve years old, hiding under a bed in his family’s tiny house just outside Tucson, Arizona. He was shaking uncontrollably.  Gretchen, his mother, slid the wedding ring off of her finger and tucked it into his hand.

Green eyes peaking under the bed and a request to “keep this safe for Mama.”  Those are the last memories Slade had of her.

Downstairs, a fist was pounding on the door.  An angry voice.  “Open up!”

The door creaked open.  Footsteps.  A scuffle.  “You holding out on us, bitch?”

“No,” Gretchen said.  “Please take whatever you want.”

Slade remained as still as possible as he listened to the sounds of his house being torn apart.

“They aint got shit,” a second man said.  “Sam’s gonna be pissed.”

A third voice.  “What’s the hold up?”

It was Sawbuck Sam Donovan himself.  Like Smelly Jack Buchanan, Sam was another pile of human garbage working his way through the West, stealing whatever he could get his hands on and killing whoever got in his way.

“She aint got nothin’ Sam,” the first voice said.

“Horse shit,” Sam said.  “Everyone always has something.  What have you got bitch?”

“Please,” Gretchen said.  “My husband and I…we’re very poor but whatever you want please take it.”

“Aw fuck it,” Sam said.  Two gunshots.   All three men left.  Sam started shouting threats to the townsfolk outside.

“Unless you want to end up like this bitch, you all best start fetching your goods and bringing them out right now!”

Slade waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Nearly half a day had passed before he worked up the courage to head downstairs.

There, he found his mother, a hole in her forehead, blood covering her face, her green eyes blankly staring up at the ceiling.

He put her wedding ring in his pocket, sat down on the floor next to her, and held her hand.  He wanted to cry but he couldn’t.  He felt numb.

There he stayed for two more days until his father came home.  Lars Slade was a cattleman and he’d been out on a drive.  Tall, thin, and bearded, he was a serious man of few words.

Lars loved his wife and saw to a proper burial.  Once the preacher had finished the service and the casket was in the ground, father and son just stood there silently for awhile.

Finally, Lars spoke.  Rather than look at his son directly, he just kept his focus on Gretchen’s head stone.

“I realize this may be an awful way to feel,” Lars said to his boy.  “But I’ll never be able to look at you the same way again.”

Lars pulled a few bills out of his pocket and pressed them into his son’s hand.  “I left you in charge and as the man of the house you did nothing.”

Slade watched his father walk away from him and listened to the last word’s he’d ever hear from his old man.

“You’re a gutless coward and you’re no son of mine.”

Young Slade stood by his mother’s grave awhile longer, trying to convince himself that this entire experience had been a bad dream, but it wasn’t.  It was real.  And hope for a better tomorrow was no longer a concept he could comprehend.

After six years of working every odd job imaginable, he joined the Marshall’s Service, which he took as a license to shoot and/or hang ever miserable law breaking desperado he could get his hands on.  It didn’t matter who they were.  He always imagined they were Sawbuck Sam Donovan.

Alas, none of Slade’s subsequent heroism ever made him feel like he’d paid the debt he felt he owed to his mother, nor did any of it make him feel like his father would ever accept him again.

Happiness.  Hope.  Feelings he was sure he’d never know.  But at least being a Marshall meant never feeling helpless…never feeling like it was necessary to hide under a bed.

Yes, as Slade laid on the porch in front of the church, he developed an intense hatred for zombies, vampires and werewolves.  They had made him feel helpless for the first time in a long time.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 73

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Doc stared at the ropes binding him to a chair.

“Is this really necessary?” Doc asked.  “None of you are in any imminent peril from me I assure you.”

“That’s exactly what a zombie would want us to believe,” Miss Bonnie said as she looped another coil of rope around the doctor and tied it up tight.  “Lull us into thinking everything’s peachy keen then before we knew it he’s chomping on our brains before you can whistle dixie.”

“Why are you talking?” the Reverend asked.  “The other zombies didn’t talk.  They just grunted.

“Hmmm,” Slade said as he stepped over, Sarah still attached to his side.

“Like that,” the Reverend added.

“Those peepers of yours are sending a chill up my spine, Doc,” Gunther said.  “This is for your own good until we know what’s going on with you.”

“It’s either this or we put you down like a dog,” Miss Bonnie said.

Anabelle rubbed her hand across Doc’s cheek.  “How do you feel?”

“Never better, my dear,” Doc said.  “Like I’m a young buck again.  Even better.  Better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.  I feel like I could run for miles and lift enormous weights over my head.  I dare say I even feel better than I do when I am under the effects of cocaine.”

Miles was a boy again and wearing his blanket like a cloak once more. 

“Can you make heads or tails of this, youngun?” Gunther asked.

“Nope,”  Miles said.  “He looks like a zombie.  But he talks so much…”

“Well shit,” Gunther said.  “He was like that before.  Why did all those varmints vamoose?”

Miles walked over to the doorless frame and stepped onto the porch.  Miss Bonnie and Gunther joined.  The trio watched as scores of zombies all lumbered toward the opposite side of town.

“Blythe’s calling them,” Miles said.  “And that’s not good.  If you think they were bad on their own, wait until he gets them organized.”

Gunther poked his head through the door frame and spied the bride.

“Miss Sarah.  Do you think I could borrow your beau?”

Sarah shook her head furiously.  “No.”

“You’ll be fine, Miss Sarah,” Gunther said.  “I guarantee it.  We’re all going to be right here…”

Gunther nodded at Miles.  “And we even got a dog monster on our side.”

“Werewolf,” Miles said.

“No,” Sarah said, clutching Slade even tighter, practically cutting off the circulation in his arm.

Anabelle grabbed one of Sarah’s arms and the Reverend grabbed the other.  Together, they gently pried her off of Slade.

“Miss Sarah,” the Reverend said.  “At times like these, do you know what I find most comforting?”

“The good book?” Sarah asked.

“Bourbon!” the Reverend said.  “Let’s go find my stash.”

“Rain!” Sarah shouted.  “Rain you’re not going away are you?”

“No,” Slade said.

“Promise me you won’t leave me.”

“I…I promise.”

The trio of Slade, Gunther and Miss Bonnie found a bit of privacy out on the front porch.

“Well, what’s the plan, marshall?”  Gunther asked.

“Marshall?” Slade asked.  “I turned in my star.”

“No one gives a shit about that star, Rain,” Gunther said.  “We’re the only law this town has and you’re still the marshal as far as I’m concerned.”

Miss Bonnie nodded.  “He’s right.  What’s our next move, marshall?”

Slade’s voice was raspy as ever as he looked at Gunther.  “You want to fight now?  You’re the one who always wants to run away from everything.”

The old man’s face turned bright red with rage.

“Damn it, boy,” Gunther said.  “I do not run away from everything.  I run away from some things.  There’s a big damn difference.”

“There is?” Slade asked, curious at this side of Gunther he’d never seen before.

“Yeah there is,” Gunther said.  “I wasn’t a shrinking violet by any stretch when it was my turn to do my part to keep the union together. And I did more than my fair share of fighting in Texas before you were even a twitch in your Daddy’s pecker.”

“Texas?”  Miss Bonnie asked.

“You’re darn tootin’,” Gunther said.

“Bullshit,” Slade said.

Gunther unsheathed his knife and handed it to Slade.  “Read that handle motherfucker.”

Slade squinted at the handle and looked shocked when he saw two engraved words. 

“James Bowie.”

“Colonel Jim Bowie of the Texas Volunteer Army,” Gunther said as he snatched the knife back.  “Trusted me with the very first sticker he ever invented.  Commanded me to get it the hell out of the Alamo before Santa Anna could get his grubby mitts on it.  He trusted me with it on account of how many Mexicans I killed, thank you very much.”

“You never said anything,” Slade said.

“I never needed to say anything,” Gunther said.  “I don’t need to sashay around with a sour puss on my face and a cigar in my yap the way you do just to prove to the world that I got a big swingin’ dick.  This knife and my memories are the only proof I need.”

“He’s got you there, Rain,” Miss Bonnie said.

“What?” Slade asked.

“You put on airs,”  the redhead said.

“I do not.”

“You do,” Miss Bonnie said.  “You got this tough guy act you put on around everyone but me.”

“But you?” Gunther asked Miss Bonnie.

“He’s a real sweet teddy bear,” Miss Bonnie said.  “Aint you?” she asked Slade.

Slade’s forehead vein was throbbing.  With full rasp he declared, “I am not a teddy bear.”

“Look,” Gunther said.  “I don’t run from every fight.  Just the fights that aren’t worth dying for.  Only a dumb ass would let himself get shot trying to save a town full of ungrateful yahoos from getting their shit stolen from a scumbag like Smelly Jack.”

The old man pulled bullet after bullet off of his belt and one by one, inserted them into the chamber of his pistol.

“But when I was just a bit older than Miles in there I saw a chance to make a life for myself in a free Texas so I took it,” Gunther said.  “It didn’t work out the way I’d hoped but at least I came back here knowing I’d earned a great man’s respect.  And years later when there was chance to keep the North and South from going their separate ways?  You better believe that was a cause worth fighting for.”

Slade chewed on the end of his cigar.  The old timer pointed at the zombies trudging away down the road.

“And even though the odds are a million to one against a victory here,” Gunther said. “If there’s even a slim chance that I can keep the United States of America from becoming stepped on by a bloodsucking son of a bitch’s boot heel, then you best believe I’m going to take it.”

Miss Bonnie cocked her shotgun.  “That was beautiful Gunther.  Rain, let him hear your real voice.”

Slade flashed Miss Bonnie a look of total betrayal.  “What?” he grunted.

“Go on,” Miss Bonnie said.  “Gunther shared.  Now you share.  This is how you make friends.”

“I don’t want to,”  Slade said, gruffly.

Miss Bonnie stomped her foot. “Rainier Slade, this man is the best friend you will ever have and you will let him hear your real voice right this instant!”

Slade rolled his eyes then cleared his throat.  He started talking normally, with his real voice, the one he only shared with Miss Bonnie.

It wasn’t womanly.  Or all that intolerable.  But as it turned out, Slade’s regular tone was just the slightest bit…nasal.

“This is how I talk.”

Gunther leaned back and looked Slade in the eye.  “Really?”

“Really.”

“Fuck,” Gunther said.

The old man slapped the marshal’s back.  “Like I said, boy.  As long as you’re convinced your dick swings, no one else’s opinion matters.”

Gunther moved near the door frame.  “If you want to fight, we’ll fight.  If you want to run, we’ll run.  No shame in it under the circumstances. It’s easy for me to say let’s fight because I’ve done all my living already but you two are just getting started.  Whatever you decide, I’m with you, marshall.”

Slade tipped the end of his Stetson.  “Thank you…deputy.”

The old man walked into the church but then poked his head back outside.

“But seriously, get that frog back in your throat.  You’re going to kill the morale in here.”

“Got it,” Slade said.

Slade and Miss Bonnie sat on the edge of the porch.

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” Slade said.

“Please,” Miss Bonnie said.  “I’ve known that old buzzard longer than you and I’ve never seen him go on about another man the way he does about you.  He doesn’t care what you sound like.”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through,” Slade said. 

“Are you ever going to tell me?” Miss Bonnie asked.

“Maybe,” Slade said.  “When you tell me why a cancan girl can drop a slew of zombies and offer to blow off Doc’s head without breaking a sweat.”

Miss Bonnie stood up.  “Touche,” she said as she walked into the church.  “I’ll let you think.”

All alone, Slade laid back and stared up at the stars.  “Yeah.  Let me think.”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 72

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Blythe stood on the train platform as three conductors approached from the town.  One of them, a large burly man with long sideburns, stepped forward and presented the vampire with a severed werewolf head.

“This was all we found,” the burly man said.

The vampire took the head, held it up against the moonlight, and gazed upon it whilst providing his best impression of a forlorn Hamlet.

“Alas, poor Mr. Hewitt.  I knew him well, Mr. Mayhew. I can’t say he was a man of infinite jest or excellent fancy, but he did bear much of our little enterprise on his back.”

“I’m sorry sir,”  Mayhew replied.

Blythe dropped the head then kicked it down the road into town as if it were a ball.

“No use crying over spilled milk,” Blythe said.  “What of Mr. Becker?”

“No sign of him,” Mayhew said.

“Two of my best soldiers gone,” Blythe said.  “You have big shoes to fill, Mr. Mayhew.”

“I’ll do my best, sir,” Mayhew said.  “Shall we go after them?”

“No,” Blythe replied.  “I’ll see to this matter personally.  Guard this train with your lives, gentleman.  The fate of the new world order depends on it.”

“As you wish, sir.”

Mayhew and his comrades flexed their muscles, busted out of their uniforms and assumed their werewolf forms, taking up positions in front of the locomotive.

Blythe closed his eyes and levitated three feet above the platform.  When his eyelids opened, his eyes were blood red.  No retinas.  Just red.

Like a maestro conducting a symphony, the vampire swirled his hands around, ever so daintily.

“Come to me, my pets.”

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 71

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The front door crashed open under the weight of an incoming zombie horde.  Over a dozen undead townsfolk in various states of decomposition entered.  Some were missing limbs, eyes, jaws, or some other part.  Not a one of them was fully intact.

Slade drew his twin pistols and popped heads left and right.  Gunther joined in with his sidearm, as Miss Bonnie did with her shotgun.

It was a bloodbath.  Guts galore.  Body parts, internal organs, pieces of bone and chunks of brain spewed all over the house of worship.

Despite being three sheets to the wind, the Reverend still retained the good sense to grab Sarah by the hand and lead her to the back of the room, where they took cover behind the pulpit.

Anabelle had never fired a gun before but figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try.  She picked up one of the rifles Bonnie had delivered off of the table, racked up a bullet, and pointed it at a zombie head.  She exploded the creature’s skull but being unused to the weapon’s kickback, she was knocked butt first to the ground.

She turned her attention to Doc, who was still lying face down on the floor.  The prostitute yanked on the good doctor’s arm, attempting to move him to safety all by herself.  He proved too heavy for her petite frame, but she kept pulling anyway.

Miles wolfed out, growing to his massive hairy form.  He spied more zombies pouring in through the broken window.  The werewolf clawed through a few intruders, then plugged the window with his body.  He could feel teeth biting into his hide.  It would have meant instant death for anyone else, but for him, it was mildly annoying.  Like mosquitos that wouldn’t go away.

To the right of the pulpit, there was a door that led to a hallway which in turn led to a number of rooms and a backdoor.  A terrified Slade craned his neck back as the sounds of wood being smashed came from that direction, followed by more groans.

Gunther heard the noise too. “Go!” he said to Slade. 

Miss Bonnie.  Sarah.  Miss Bonnie.  Sarah.  As per usual, Slade’s mind was torn between his two ladies.  But he trusted Gunther.  And Miss Bonnie was racking up quite a body count of her own. Meanwhile Sarah only had the Reverend or in other words, basically had no one.

It’s been said that the Winchester rifle is the gun that won the West.  It was revolutionary for its time, giving a marksman the ability to shoot as fast as he could pull a handle.

Slade picked up the rifle that Annabelle had dropped and aimed it at the door toward the back of the room.  A zombie trudged in.  Slade yanked that handle, racked up a bullet and bam.  That zombie was headless, its corpse plopping down on the floor.

The ex-marshall kept moving forward.  With expert precision, he popped another head.  Then another.  His spent casings clinked across the floor.

Sarah was beyond consolation, but the Reverend did his best anyway, quoting every uplifting bible verse he could think of to keep her spirits up.

Slade racked up another bullet but…bam.  The zombie head he was aiming for exploded before he pulled his trigger.  He looked to his right and Doc was up on his feet, giving the incoming zombies a barrage from his guns.

“Have at thee, knaves!”  Doc cried as he sent more and more of the undead to their doom.

Werewolf Miles cocked his head to the right in confusion as he felt the teeth stop biting him.  He looked out the window.  His attackers were walking away. 

Miss Bonnie and Gunther had whittled their horde down to three.  Those creatures also turned and walked for the door, only to become easy sport as the old man and the red head picked them off.

Slade took out the last zombie at the back of the church then ran to his bride.  Sarah flinged herself at Slade and squeezed him hard, holding on for dear life.

Doc shook his wrists and his spring loaded guns retracted up underneath his sleeves. 

“Monsters with the good sense to retreat when they are outmatched?” Doc asked.  “I say, just as one puzzle is solved, another presents itself.”

The good doctor helped Annabelle up.  “Are you all right my dear?”

“I think so but…”

Anabelle took one look at Doc and shrieked.

Slade attempted to investigate but Sarah kept her grip.  She had become a widow shaped barnacle attached to Slade’s hip.

Gunther and Miss Bonnie took a look at Doc’s eyes.  They were all white.  Completely blank.  Devoid of any color whatsoever.  Though his flesh had yet to rot, his new peepers made him look like the zombies that had just torn the place apart.

The old man and the redhead pointed their guns at Doc.  Slade wiggled one hand free from his bride and got Doc in his sights with one of his pistols.

“Was it something I said?”  Doc asked.

“Doc,” Annabelle said.

“Yes?” the good doctor asked.

Timidly, Anabelle handed Doc a compact mirror.

“You need to have a look.”

Doc took the compact.  “Good Heavens, people.  I know I don’t strike the most handsome visage but is that any reason to…”

He opened it up and took a look.  “Oh bother.”

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You Write Today’s Post

I’m tired 3.5 readers.  All I ever do is give and give and give.

You guys write today’s post in the comments.  Tell me what the other 2.5 readers besides yourself should know about the world.

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