The Iron Writer Challenge #170, 2016 Summer Open Challenge #7

The Iron Writer Challenge #170 

2016 Summer Open Challenge #7

The Paul Arden Lidberg Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements


Dani J. Caile, C. S. E. Greenberg, Megan Cypress, Kenneth Lawson, Katie Clark

The Elements:

A man shoveling water

A dragon

Ice cream

A cloud that looks like something.

A Place to Sit

Kenneth Lawson

All he wanted to do was find an original Eames Lounge Chair. Was that too much to ask?  Copies were plentiful. Bad copies, good copies, The better ones had the dimensions right but were off by some other details. The really bad ones had the basic shape and concept, and that was about all.  Cheap vinyl,  that stuck to you like melting ice cream on a hot summer’s day.  The really bad ones felt like sitting on a 1940’s vinyl couch.  You know, the kind that sticks to you when you try to get up.  

Finding an original Eames Lounge Chair was like looking for the elusive Dragon of old.  His search was starting to take his toll on him. He  swore he saw clouds that looked like that chair.  His quest had been compared to the man shoveling water out of the fast filling tub. He was beginning to think there were no more original Eames Lounge Chairs in existence. He knows he could go and buy a new chair identical to the ones made in the 1950’s. But he didn’t want a modern version. He wanted the original.  

After many years of searching, he had finally given up on his dream.  

One day he walked into a little shop in a town he never heard of.  He was killing time between trains and had a couple of hours to kill.  He reverted to his usual habit of cruising antique shops and thrift stores. The shop was overflowing with pieces from every period. After talking to the owner, he asked if he had any Mid Century Modern furniture.  Yes, he did have a couple of pieces he thought might be what he was looking for.   The owner pointed him to a back room.    There in a corner it sat. An Eames Lounge Chair. His heart stopped beating for a second. But was it real?  He carefully made his way through the sea of chairs and tables piled various items that had long outlived their usefulness. He got close enough to really see it. His hand went into shock at touching real leather, not plastic.   He looked it over more carefully. After a half hour’s examination, and doing research on  his phone. 

It was an original Eames Lounge chair, in brown leather, with the ottoman. 

Hiding his excitement as he returned to the owner.   He asked about  where it had come from, and, how much. It was clear he had no idea what it was.    

The price 500.00.  He knew the ottoman alone was worth far more than that. 

He made a call.  He wrote out a check and handed it to the old man.  Telling  him, His wife would be by later to pick it up.

After the man had left, the old shop owner looked at the check more carefully. It had been made out to 5,000.00 dollars. There was a note attached to it. 

He told him the chair was worth far more than the 500 he had been asking for, and he couldn’t in good conscience only give that to him. 

His quest was over.  He had his place to sit. 

Care for Lunch?Dani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

“I can’t believe they put me on this,” said Apprendice Knight Arthur Legg (Second Class), complaining to his pet chicken Tina while shovelling water from the drainage ditch out of sight of the castle. “Why don’t I ever get battlements duty or jousting or bodyguard to the princess?”

“Buk buk,” said Tina.

Arthur had been emptying the ditch for hours but it always seemed to be full… a sound of thunder filled the bright blue sky. “What’s that?” He looked up to see a small, black cloud, moving with speed towards them. “Funny, I can’t feel any wind today, and that’s going at a hell of a speed… and it’s losing height?” The cloud was getting closer. “Looks like a bird. Or is that…” It dissipated to reveal a… “Dragon!” Before he could duck for cover, it landed in the ditch, covering him, Tina and itself, with mud.

“Excuse me,” said the dragon as they all picked themselves up. “No good with landings.”

“Dragon!” screamed Arthur.

“Buk buk!” clucked Tina.

They both tried to escape from the ditch but failed miserably. Arthur saw that their green, winged intruder was crying. “Nobody loves me!” cried the dragon. “Because I’m no ‘F’ dragon, they say go away!” It took out a handkerchief and blew it’s long, freckled, smoking nose.

Arthur, against his better judgement, slowly moved over to the dragon. Tina gingerly followed. “There, there, it can’t all be that bad,” he said.

“Bad? Bad? My family said ‘go’! I no have ice cream or cake!” said the dragon.

“Ice cream?” asked Arthur. What had ice cream got to do with a dragon?

“Yes, family ask, ‘How many scoops?’ and I say…” The dragon held up two fingers.

“And?” asked Arthur. He was perilously close to the monster. And seeing as he was an Apprendice Knight (Second Class), they hadn’t given him a sword for protection.

“I’m a…” The dragon put his hands together to show a ‘T’. “…dragon. Rare, and dangerous. And dumb!” It started crying again. The ditch began to fill up with more water.

“You’re a…’T’ dragon?” asked Arthur. The dragon nodded. “What does that mean?”

“Whenever I say…” It showed a ‘T’ again. “…I make fire. I use the Hungarian word for fire. See? Túz!” Flames gushed from the dragon’s mouth and the water in the ditch evaporated around them, leaving only solid earth.

“Wow!” said Arthur.

“Yes, but I’m one in a million. Dragons make fire using ‘F’ words. Me, no. I’m dumb!” moaned the dragon.

“So what if you use ‘T’ words instead of ‘F’! Who cares?” smiled Arthur, happy that his work was done. Maybe now he could relax a little, go back to the castle, have a few beers…

“Really?” smiled the dragon. “My name’s Shagwee. Yours?” He offered his claw.


“Arfur. And the small bird?”

“Tina,” replied Arthur.

“Tina.” When the flames subsided, a lovely roast chicken rolled to a halt on the ground. “Sorry, my bad,” blushed Shagwee. “Care for lunch?”

The Mighty Dragon(fly)

Katie Clark


Drake the dragonfly struggled with the storm, two legs clutched to grass, two entwined with Freya’s.

With a mighty FLASH and ZWOSH the wind wrested Drake from the grass.

They were tossed asunder, until one of Freya’s slender hands slipped.

“Don’t let go!” Her wings beat fast as his heart.

“Never!” His wings matched her wings beat for beat.

But the storm snatched Freya’s other hand. Her silver face and scarlet eyes receded in the distance as she was thrown away from him. His head slammed into a swirling leaf and he lost consciousness.


Drake startled awake. He’d landed on top a golden water lily in a pond.

“HELP!” Drake saw a group of ants stranded on a maple-leaf boat.

“SHOVEL FASTER!” a large-mouth bass belched, but the rain refilled the boat.

“Hail, fellow storm survivors!”

“The mighty dragonfly will save us!”

“Have you seen another dragonfly?” he asked. “Her name’s Freya.”

“Only you, our savior.”

“I can’t save you; I must find Freya,” he said. “Why are you here?”

“Captain Halle at your service,” a large red ant bowed, “We’re tricked, we listened to this bass.”

“NONSENSE! I told you that the white sweet frozen treat dropped at the edge of the pond was to DIE for.“ he nudged the leaf.

“Save us!”

“I don’t understand,” said Drake.

“Alas,” said Halle, “we ate it all, and then the rain carried us away.”

“It’s our shame.”

“Come on in little ants, the water is fine!” said the bass.

“Help us!”

Drake looked out across the pond for Freya, but didn’t see her. “How can I help?”

“You can help them swim with me!” laughed the bass.

“Oh no, we can’t swim!”

“Can you push us to shore with your powerful wings?” asked Halle.

“I shall try.” Drake thrashed his wings and pushed as hard as he could.

“Look, it’s working!”

The wind pushed back.

“HA! Look at the MIGHTY dragonfly,” said the bass.

Out of breath and sore of heart, Drake stopped his fluttering. “He’s right; I couldn’t even save my love.”

“Don’t give up!”

“I just can’t”

“All is not lost!” said Helle. “The great NIDO, the storm sprite, rewards all that show strength in spite of sorrow. Try again.”

Drake breathed deeply and once more heaved against the wind. The air around them became still and the water calmed.

Drake’s reflection transformed; dark clouds extended in all directions. As his reflection changed, his strength surged.

“NIDO has come; the mighty Dragon is with us!”

“HA! I see only a fly,” mocked the bass.

Suddenly, an osprey swooped down, captured the bass, and flew away.

“We are saved!”

Drake gave one last push and the leaf struck the sandy bank.

“All hail the Dragonfly!” chanted the ants as they crawled to shore.

Drake’s wings drooped as he watched the ants wind their way through the grass jungle.



They flew towards each other and landed the bahiagrass.

“I shall never leave you again,” said Drake.

“You have found your Freya,” said Halle. “The great NIDO rewards those that persevere; you are indeed a MIGHTY dragonfly.”

There Must Be Something in the Water

Megan Cypress

Doug paced around his tiny efficiency apartment as he talked to his lawyer on his government-issued cell phone. “So you’re saying I need to do something to benefit the community to convince the judge not to send me to jail?”

“Yep,” Mr. Lawson replied.

“Like what? People don’t like working with thieves.”

“I’m sure you can come up with something.”

Doug looked out the window at a puddle of water that lay in a ditch. “I got just the thing.”

Doug grabbed a shovel out of his closet that he had previously stolen from the Home Depot.

He ran outside and jumped into the puddle and started shoveling. He scooped shovelful after shovelful….right back into the puddle. He worked on it for a half-hour. “Why won’t this water go down any further?” He tossed down his shovel and lay down on the muddy ground. He looked up at the clouds above him as they passed. He pointed to one. “A dragon! That’s what I need. Come here, Dragon!”

The dragon-looking cloud transformed into an actual dragon and came down to earth and blew the puddle away with a big gust of his fiery breath.

Doug gave the dragon a thumbs up. “Good job, Dragon!”

The dragon flew up to the sky and blended back in with the clouds.

Doug grinned. “I’m going to take credit for the dragon’s hard work.” He snapped a picture of the puddle with his phone. He got distracted though before he looked to see how it turned out because he heard the ice cream truck playing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”

Doug ran to the truck, his wet jeans weighing him down, but he was determined to get ice cream for his job well done.

Doug caught up to the truck and ordered an ice cream cone and licked the soft clouds of vanilla soft serve off the cone.

When he was finished his ice cream, he looked at the picture on his phone. The puddle was full again in the picture. “I don’t get it. The dragon took care of this.”

“No, he didn’t,” a voice whispered from the sky.

Doug looked up to see the face of the dragon form in the cloud. “I’m only a figment of your imagination. If you want to shovel that puddle away, you better get to work.”

Doug shrugged. “Well, it was the thought that counted anyway.”

When Doug went back to court for his sentencing date, he told the judge all about his attempt to clear a puddle out of a ditch to protect the the neighborhood kids who might fall in it or the cars that might get stuck in it. He even showed him the picture on his phone and told the judge about his efforts. The judge was unamused and sentenced him to spend a month in jail.

When Doug entered his jail cell, he lay his head down on his pillow. “Oh, well,” he said to himself before he fell asleep, “at least I got some ice cream before serving my time.”

A Dragon’s Weakness

C. S. E. Greenberg

Dark clouds spread like ribbons across the sky. An old man looked up from his fields. The scaly black skull burst forth from behind the ribbons, the dragon tangling its gleaming black body in vapor and thunder. The dragon roared, and the old man dropped his rake and ran towards the castle.


“The dragon must be stopped!”

The elder’s face reddened, his voice too loud to be addressing his lord. Sir Maron’s face contorted, and the elder blanched. “I mean, sir, we need your help!”

A stranger approached. “Sir, if you need help with a Dragon, I’d be more than willing to assist you.” The knight’s eyes brightened, and looked at the stranger. He was dressed in the style of an tinker, his pack bulging, a shovel fastened on the back.  

“How can you help?” the knight demanded.

“I can get the dragon to leave. But I’d require as much ice cream as could fill my wagon as pay.”

Sir Maron of Bluebell stiffened. “That’s a knight’s ransom in ice cream—a full week’s production from the dairy!”

The tinker shrugged. “Sir, my methods require much risk. If you’d rather handle it yourself, that’s fine. But the dragon may keep your cows off their feed, and when cows aren’t eating, they don’t make milk.” 

The elder looked towards the knight, his concern for the cows evident. The knight grumbled. “This is highway robbery!” He sighed. “The guards will get you what you need.”


The tinker set up at the edge of a nearby lake, spitting a slaughtered sheep it over the fire. He took off his pack, and set aside his shovel. A slight line of black smoke crept skyward. The tinker looked towards the clouds, fluffy loaves of bread obscuring the sky,  and frowned. The dragon’s head appeared through the clouds. It descended and began feasting  on the sheep. The tinker picked the shovel from the ground, and filled it with water from the lake, then slung the water into the dragon’s face. Steam rose from the dragon’s scales as the dragon flinched. The tinker hurriedly filled his shovel again, and flung the water straight into the dragon’s eyes. The dragon hissed, then fled, spouting flames into the air as it repeatedly shook its head.


As the tinker prepared to leave, his cart filled with his delicious reward, the elder came scurrying up. “Why would the dragon fear being covered in water?”

The tinker laughed. “Dragons die if their fires are extinguished.. Besides, what creature likes getting water flung into its’ eyes?”

The tinker departed, heading past the boundary of the Knight’s holdings. He turned off the road, heading toward a strange, black hill in an empty pasture. The hill blinked at the tinkerer. “Took you long enough,” the dragon mumbled to his accomplice. “And why did you have to spray me directly in the eyes?”

The tinker grimaced back at the dragon. “They wouldn’t believe it unless you made it obvious, which you wouldn’t do. I knew you’d react regularly to that.”

The dragon changed the subject. “Enough about business, let’s get down to dessert. Did they give you any Rocky Road?”

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Iron Poet #12

Iron Poet #12

Style: Any Rhyming Format

Tone: Happy

Theme/ Keyword: Divorce


Johnna Murphy


Today’s the day, today’s the day
I’m giving my ball and chain away!
The papers are signed the law is in play
Today’s the day, today’s the day.

The pain as cutting as a knife
Has left because I’m not his wife.
Free of stress and guilt and strife,
I step out to relish my new life.


B. Y. Rogers

The Door

I close the door and set the lock,
The wall beyond holds the clock.
Leaving now, decades late
Our life turned from love to hate.

We joined once, not hot, but wise,
We thought the future we had surmised
Years strolled by along their course,
We did not see the coming divorce.

In this moment, upon this porch,
I only see the ground so scorched.
But blame I will never place,
There are children here, I leave this space.

I hurt, and so do they,
I wonder what else I could say.
But leaving now begins the peace,
I must make all this hatred cease.


Dani J. Caile

The Divorce of Tom (Shakespearean Sonnet)

Tom was so happy to get a divorce,
From the barmaid with the large jugs that sway.
And even that incident with the horse.
Wasn’t enough to rule it her way.
The judge said ‘Let’s split it down the middle’,
‘There are much bigger problems to work on’.
He said ‘The horse thing ain’t worth a piddle’,
‘Let’s face it, Tom’s not exactly Don Juan.’
So the court agreed and the ruling heard,
That Tom was now free from matrimony,
He danced, he laughed, and he sang like a bird,
While the barmaid stood with boyfriend Tony.
And who could have thought that Tom would be free,
From a two-faced, cheating bitch such as she.


The Iron Writer Challenge #162 – 2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round, This Bracket


The Iron Writer Challenge #162

2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Brackets/Authors: 

This Bracket

Tina Biscuit, Vance Rowe, Dani J. Caile, Malissa Greenwood

The Elements:

A Sky balloon festival

Trash talk

Hot Dogs

A Bow and a single arrow

Hot Dogs and Hatred

Malissa Greenwood

Eric balanced a plate of hot dogs and chips in one hand, a soda and magazine in the other as he weaved through the crowd of other hot air balloon aficionados. It was the first day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – the morning rides had gone smoothly and now they were meant to relax and participate in festivities until the evening challenges commenced. Eric was starting to feel confident about his balloon this year, though the doubts were always there.

Last year he was sure he’d win the Accuracy Competition but a rather unfortunate group of birds found their way into his envelope resulting in one panicked, poop covered human and a few dead birds. Eric had felt shaken and disappointed. Word spread quickly and by the end of the day he was the butt of many jokes, most of which originated from Rob Scheele. Eric hated that guy.

But this was a new year; a new chance to get back in the game and prove that he was a great ballooner.

Eric found an empty spot at one of the many crowded picnic tables and squeezed in, smiling and nodding at the other occupants. He had brought the magazine to avoid small talk, lest he introduce himself and be remembered as the poop covered bird killer.

As Eric finished his second hot dog a roar of laughter erupted behind him and he knew instinctively that he was about to be annoyed. He was opening the chip packet when someone knocked into him, sending the contents flying.

“Oh hey, sorry bud.” A familiar voice. Eric turned to see Rob Scheele with an ape-like grin plastered to his face, surrounded by several other obnoxious looking men.

Eric attempted to simply nod and turn back around to no avail. “Eric Manning! Well, how are you bud?! Surprised to see you back this year.”

“Surprised? Well. I’m back, same as you.”

“Well hell, of course I’M back. I’ve got a record to keep after all!” The table laughed in agreement, a few men whooping their support. “But you… after that unfortunate event last year… we thought you’d be out of the game by now. Leave the sport to the real men, ya know?”

Eric listened to the callous laughter behind him and tried to remain calm. He had never mastered the art of talking trash. Usually he just listened to it and thought about all the things he’d rather do. While Rob sat there telling the bird story to anyone who would listen, Eric began picturing all the ways he could hurt the bastard. Set his balloon on fire. Hire someone to push him out of his own basket. I could shoot him. Not with a gun per say… I’ve got my archery equiptment in the car; all it would take is a single arrow. No one would know it was me. I’d say I –

His thoughts were cut short by a slap on the shoulder. “Oh don’t fret there, bud. Things couldn’t possibly get any worse for ya.”

But all Eric could think was well they could certainly get worse for you “bud”.

Festival Scare

Vance Rowe

The air was thick with cigarette smoke and the smell of stale beer permeated the air as the bartender announced last call. There were just a handful of people left in the bar and the bartender was lad it was time to close. The bar was very busy tonight as it was every year at this time. It was the weekend of the hot air balloon festival and it gets bigger every year.

Only a handful remained in the bar and a couple of them watched the goings on at a table where four men were seated. They were drunk, loud, and boisterous. Two of the men were trash talking each other while the other two men laughed and egged them on.

“Frank, after tomorrow, you will be going back to flying kites,” one of the men said to the other.

“You talk a lot of crap for someone who can’t get his balloon up even if the fire is fueled with Viagra, Victor.” the other man retorted. The trash talk and raucous behavior continued for a half hour more until the bartender finally kicked them out.

The next morning, the old airport where the balloon festival is taking place began to come alive. Food and souvenir vendors began to set up, balloonists made final checks on their equipment, local radio and television news outlets set up at various places and hundreds of spectators began to arrive and mill about. The organizers of the event set up their tables with various trophies, medals and awards placed on them. There is even a hot dog eating contest about to take place as well. There is definitely a sensory overload today with all of the things to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.

When it was time for the balloonists to get ready, Frank went to his balloon and found a bunch of kites inside of it. He growled with anger as Victor howled with delight. Frank then walked to his truck as Victor fired up his balloon and began to rise in the air, still laughing.

However, Victor stopped laughing as he watched Frank pull a bow and a single arrow from his truck.

Dragged Away on Unseen Strings of Universal ElasticityDani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

A bow and its single arrow aimed directly at my soul scratches my sweating skin, leaving the scar that never healed, cutting through to my aching lust until my boiling blood turned to streams of thick, diseased desire: the pain reached the bubbling marrow within my crumbling bones, a gratification of the reason above any ever felt or will again.

“I am the best: you will never know better, I will defeat your pathetic, yearning narcissism and discard your empty, lifeless bag of flesh dripping through the splintered cracks of your spirit.”

“Please, do not leave me like this, I beg you…”

Through the void of vitality, the upside-down vision of droplets on the shattered pane reflecting the waking dawn light, a prism of colours, a festival of hot air balloons dragged away on unseen strings of universal elasticity, induces the affliction of the night before, a thousand years ago, to flood and muddle my mind, sending me into fits of self-reflection and inanimateness.

“You are nothing but a worm! I will rip you apart, scoop out all remnants of essence and substance, leaving but a shattered shell of monstrosity!”

“Do it! Do it! Without this, what is there? What is there!”

Steps in the street, spaces squeezed between coats, faces hidden by hoods and ‘brellas. The pinball machine: it issues forth and fades as the headless crowds wither and die, leaving me beaten, soaked, alone, standing in a barren city of shadows playing dodgems with hearts, spinning in the delight of paper and lights, making the meaningless worthwhile, ignoring the truth seeping from their veins, slipping past shallow attention and repressed awareness. Cheap hot dogs without buns.

“When… when…?”


The wind cuts through, I sense its edge but not its force: to feel is a luxury no longer pertaining to the carcase which is my form, disfigured and maimed by my foolish naivety, my broken impeccability. Blank. Squeezed, crushed, hope shone, only to be trodden in the last moments of opportunity, tiny fragments burning, incinerating under the pressure of power, the affliction of humanity, a monster rampant. Any purpose has been lost, gone with the last tick of time, the next, the now.

“Never, never again! How dare you, how dare you! Pig! Nothing but a pig! I am a god, you are nothing!”

“Once… once more…”

Clouds turn grey, a soothing blanket washing through the foul stain of intelligentsia, conquering the obnoxious academia of meaningless knowledge and bigotry of the supreme.

“Come! Follow me to your doom! Follow! Now!”

“Yes! Yes, I will follow! Only lead, please! Please lead!”

Darkness. Silence. From the nothing of the murky depths comes the incomparable. Optimism is born a myth, confidence its dumb cousin. The box is opened. Faith has flown with the chariots of Charlatopia and rested amongst the flocks of the blessed. To love? To live? Again, again, the stone it rolls, tearing, cutting, persistantly pushing against the slate of conscience and duty.

Punished for trying… for caring? Punished.

Bodkin Brothers

Tina Biscuit

Ian’s bow was slung tightly across his back. Douglas crawled behind him; he had the quiver. Ian raised a hand; they both stopped. They nestled into the heather; Douglas winced as it scratched his arms. They dropped flat, slowly raising their heads to look down the cliff. The balloons were already rising close to the boys. A crimson sphere of silk appeared below them; in a few seconds, the people in the basket would see them. They pressed themselves down deeper. The balloon rose, but the people were looking down at the hot-air-balloon festival: watching the other balloons; looking to see if they could see their friends.

‘I love hot dogs’, Douglas exclaimed.

‘What are you talking about, Douglas?’

‘There’s a hot dog stand.’

‘You can’t make out a hot-dog from here, idiot.’

‘I can see that one.’ He pointed down at a hut, with a huge fibreglass hot-dog on the roof.

‘Can we get one, Douglas? Please.’

‘We can’t walk in there with our weapons.’

‘You always treat me like an idiot, Ian. I meant just one of us go.’

‘You are an idiot, Ian. I don’t know why mum always makes me take you with me. Oh, yeah; it’s because you’re my wee brother, and I’m responsible for you.’

‘You’re hardly ­responsible. Firing arrows at hot-air-balloons. Very responsible.’

‘Shut it, small fry. And I’m not going to do it, Douglas. I just want to point one at Mr Sutherland to give him a fright.’

They watched the balloons rising; they knew that Mr Sutherland had a bright yellow one. Ian’s stomach started to rumble.

‘You’re hungry, too, Ian. Now you have to go.’

‘I don’t have to go, but I will.’

‘Thanks, Ian.’

Ian slipped the curved piece of Yew from his back, and passed it to Douglas, before snatching it back out of his grasp.

‘Don’t use it’, he said.

‘You’re always slagging me that I’m too much of a weakling to fire a bow. Please, Ian. I know dad gave you some money.’

‘Alright’, conceded Ian, ‘I’ll be twenty minutes; keep an eye out for Mr Sutherland; I’m still going to do it.’

Douglas waited until Ian dipped below the rise. He could smell the cedar of the arrows’ shafts as the breeze came over him. He reached behind him, teased his fingers through the fletching, before unsheathing a single arrow. The Bodkin point glinted as he revolved it in his fingers. A huge, yellow sun appeared in front of him.

Douglas grasped the bow. The yellow balloon rose as he nocked the arrow in the string, and started to pull. The bow yielded as he strained to pull it taut. He breathed slowly, just like Ian. Mr Sutherland was so close, he could see Douglas. His face contorted. The muscles in Douglas’s arm started to twitch under the strain. The string slipped slowly from his youthful grip. The bow buckled as the string was released. The point travelled straight, while the shaft twisted and contorted into its paradoxical flight.

A cry rang out, echoing around the cliffs. Two hands rose; two hot-dogs fell into the heather.

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