Sorry it's late, I was out. Thanks to my team, and to Suzzanne who has provided me with some great info regarding advertising practices. The use of the word, TURGID, is dedicated to Roz! LOL! Enjoy. Ran
Doctor's Notes: It's been four weeks since BK was shot by an unknown assailant and left for dead in Central Park. After two surgeries, his recovery has been rapid, but he is only now beginning to deal with the emotional fallout of such violence. This is our first meeting since the attack.
Excerpt from transcript:
Doctor: Well, now, Mr. Kinney, you look pretty damned good for a man who was shot in the gut not so long ago.
BK: Yeah, but do I look pretty good for a man who WASN'T shot in the gut? That's the test.
Doctor: Yes, you do, actually. A little thin, a little pale, but I like the beard. That's new.
BK: (Rubs fingers through carefully trimmed moustache and beard) I like it too, even though Justin says it makes me look older. I think it makes me look butch.
Doctor: Is that important to you right now? Looking butch?
BK: (Shrugs) Seems to be. No one wants to look like a mark.
Doctor: Do you believe your looks had anything to do with the attack, Brian?
BK: Only indirectly. Whether they can prove it or not, I think Walker was behind it. And it was partly my looks that got me in tight with Jeffrey and set this whole fiasco in motion.
Doctor: That's a stretch, to blame your face for your troubles.
BK: I know. Look, the DA tells me I should shave before I testify, that it will make me look more reliable and credible and Cyn tells me the clients expect a more cosmo look, so I guess it's just a temporary affectation.
Doctor: I see. Are you off pain medication?
BK: Oh yeah, long time, now. They wouldn't refill it. You'd think I was an addictive personality or something. (Chuckles.)
Doctor: Are you still in pain?
BK: Not much. It still feels tight along the scar, and sometimes it itches or aches, but less and less. My biggest heartburn is fatigue. I have no energy. I work out for fifteen minutes and I want to take a nap. I go to bed at the same time the octogenarians issue lights out and I sleep late in the morning. I can't seem to get my strength back.
Doctor: What does your doctor say about that?
BK: (Shrugs) He says it's normal, that my body underwent a major trauma and that I lost a hell of a lot of blood, so it'll take me awhile to regain my vigor. I've been increasing my exercise daily, so I guess it's improving.
Doctor: How's your sex life?
BK: I may not be burning it up quite as fast or even as frequently as before, but that part of me always seems to function, no matter what.
Doctor: And Justin? How's he responding?
Doctor: If you wish, but I was thinking more along the lines of emotionally. This had to bring back harsh memories for him.
BK: I know, I've worried about that. I remember what it was like for me when he was hurt, so I know he's gone through some of those same feelings. That, plus the burden of his own bashing coming back to haunt him.
Doctor: Has it placed a strain on your relationship?
BK: Just the opposite. We're closer now than we've ever been. I think we both got a rude reminder of just what's important.
Doctor: And what's that, Brian?
BK: Not the stuff you can put on a MasterCard, that's for sure.
Doctor: That's a big lesson.
BK: I know. So long as we have each other, and we're both healthy, I think there's very little that could take us down. We're each a lot stronger with the other, than we are individually. It pains me to admit that, but it's true.
Doctor: And you're both very lucky to know that and to share that knowledge.
Doctor: So, are you angry?
BK: At what?
Doctor: At your assailant, at fate, at yourself.
BK: (Pauses) I'm supposed to be grateful to be alive.
Doctor: I didn't ask what you're supposed to be. I asked what you ARE.
BK: Yeah, I'm angry. I feel vulnerable and that makes me mad, and I feel singled out for punishment and it's not right that I should have to go through all this on top of everything else piling up in my life. Yeah, I'm pretty fucking angry, Lydia. Damn, I guess I really am angry. I don't think I realized just how angry until now.
Doctor: Anger is a natural response, Brian. Don't feel you have to conceal the fact you're mad about what happened just because you're a survivor. Let it out or it will come out in inappropriate ways, directed at the wrong people.
BK: What's the point, really? It's just a waste of energy.
Doctor: Do you feel fear?
BK: Of what?
Doctor: Of a stranger wielding a gun, of people out to get you, of anything.
BK: I have fears that people I care about are in danger. Justin, Gus or Lindsay. I fear they may try to get at me through them. That scares me.
Doctor: No fears about your own safety? Your own mortality?
BK: I know I have an ego, but I haven't thought I was invincible since I jumped off the roof when I was ten, convinced that I could fly like Superman. Broke my arm in two places. That convinced me I wasn't immortal. I never allowed fear to dictate my life. I wouldn't let fear of AIDS stop me from experiencing sex, I just tried to be smart about it. I wouldn't let fear of losing my job stop me from doing the right thing about Jeffrey. I wouldn't let fear of intimacy keep me from finding my way to Justin. I think I have a healthy respect for fear but I don't let it paralyze me.
Doctor: No night sweats, terrors? Unspecific fears? Feelings of unease or agitation at little provocation?
BK: Now you're describing my whole life.
Doctor: Seriously, Brian. The emotional responses of a trauma victim are classic. You've seen many of them with Justin. I want to help you cope with it when and if it becomes unbearable.
BK: I wish I had selective amnesia, the way Justin does. I remember every aspect of it. All of it. The man in Central Park, the way he smelled, the feel of metal against my body. I recall that I automatically pushed the barrel of the gun down from my chest, just as it discharged. There was a sensation of disbelief; it felt like he'd sucker-punched me with the force of a kangaroo. Falling down, feeling suddenly cold, the texture of my own blood as it congealed around me. I don't really remember the ambulance ride or being at the hospital, leading up to the first surgery. Remembering isn't comforting. I think Justin's brain had the right idea: Forgeddabout it.
Doctor: But he hasn't really forgotten anything, has he? He just pushed those emotions deep beneath his surface. Ultimately they will find a way out and that's not always good. Better those frustrations come out as part of his analysis.
BK: You make us sound like a couple of nuclear bombs waiting for our warheads to be armed.
Doctor: The fact that both of you have now been through violent attacks may help you reach a deeper understanding of each other, Brian. The pain is no longer theoretical for either one of you.
BK: (Smirks) Isn't it nice when couples share everything? Like Intensive Care and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?
Doctor: Be serious. How bad are the scars?
BK: (Lifts shirt and pulls waistband of his jeans lower to reveal a surgical incision that is flat and thin, beginning to fade) Pretty, isn't it?
Doctor: You're lucky to have fair skin. The possibility of keloid scarring is less likely with fair skin.
BK: And the hits just keep on coming!
Doctor: You've always traded on the fact that you're a very handsome man, Brian. What does that scar do to your self-image?
BK: (Shrugs) It doesn't seem to bother Justin anymore than I was bothered by that scar on his head, although his hair mostly covers it now. At first, when he touched it, I felt weird about it. I thought it was too ugly for him to acknowledge. But he said something that really helped me get past that feeling.
Doctor: What did he say?
BK: (Smiles slightly) He said it reminded him of how close he came to losing me and how glad he was that we were given this time together.
Doctor: That was a wise thing to say. Very caring.
BK: I reacted pretty strongly to it myself. After that, it seemed like no big deal to me. And if Justin isn't bothered by it, why do I give a shit what other people think? It's not like it's on my face. Besides, every pirate needs a good scar, right?
Doctor: You a pirate now, matey?
BK: I've always been a pirate, Lydia. I've always flown the skull and crossbones in society's face.
Doctor: That may be apt. What are you not telling me?
BK: What do you mean?
Doctor: Something is eating at you. I know you by now, Brian. I can read your moods pretty well.
BK: For your sake, I hope not.
Doctor: What is it?
Doctor: You don't pay me to listen to your bullshit, Brian. What is it?
BK: (hesitates) I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about that kid, Shea Hennessey. You saw him a few times.
Doctor: Of course I know Shea. Why guilt? What's happened?
BK: He would've been better off if he never met me.
Doctor: How do you figure that? You didn't give him AIDS.
BK: No, but....
Doctor: Where is Shea now?
BK: He went home with his mother. To die. I have no doubt that he'll be dead within a few months. He's given up.
Doctor: I hope he rallies, he still has a lot of living left in him, but if he does die, how is that your responsibility, Brian? Grief is normal and understandable, placing blame on yourself is egocentric and unreasonable.
BK: You don't know the whole story.
Doctor: So tell me the whole story. Did you get involved with him sexually?
BK: (Glares) It's not always about sex, Lydia.
Doctor: That's progress. Okay, so what is it about?
BK: It's about a kid who never had much kindness in his life and when someone shows him some affection or interest or caring, he's so knocked out by it he's willing to risk anything to show his gratitude. No matter what the personal cost to himself.
BK: No, I've already said too much. I just brought a darkness into his life to overshadow whatever time he has left, and I feel terrible about that.
Doctor: Okay, Brian, let's assume your mysterious guilt has a basis in fact. What do you plan to do about it?
BK: There's nothing I can do that wouldn't hurt him more.
Doctor: Then let it go.
BK: How do I do that?
Doctor: You just do. You tell yourself there's nothing you can do to change the facts, you remain kind and supportive to him, and you move on with your life.
BK: Drink a toast to his memory on a beach in Barbados.
Doctor: What does that mean?
BK: Nothing. It doesn't mean a god damned thing.
End of Excerpt
BK has made a strong physical recovery from his injuries, but he is still battling the psychic demons created by a brush with his own mortality, and he will continue to have these issues to work through for some time. Added to his residual issues of self-image and fear of intimacy, he has an overlay guilt concerning his relationship with Shea Hennessey. Hennessey appears to be in an advanced stage of AIDS and has gone home to his parents. For reasons BK has not yet revealed, BK feels a strong guilt towards this young man, which he will need to face and overcome, especially if Hennessey dies and survivor's shame and grief cloud BK's emotions even more than today. Otherwise, BK's relationship with JT appears to be strong, and he is coping with his employment issues. The upcoming trial and testimony against Jeffrey Walker will be a challenge requiring BK to summon all of his emotional as well as physical strength to prevail.
Cynthia looked up as Brian returned to the loft following his appointment with Lydia. The scruffy beard he had grown disarmed her. He never appeared effeminate, but the beard gave him a straight quality that left her slightly off-kilter. Long ago, she had learned to sublimate her attraction to Brian Kinney since it was hopeless and it interfered with their working relationship. The stress of seeing him gravely wounded combined with the beard left her reeling. Her protective feelings towards him melded with her unrequited attraction to make her feel a little defensive towards Brian.
The construction had resumed and the noise intruded as Brian sat down in a chair across from her desk and sighed with fatigue. "I rethought the campaign for Sports H2O. I think the current pitch is too much a Nike clone. We should approach it from a different perspective."
"We pitch in three days, Brian. We have the creative on boards."
"I'm aware of the schedule, Cyn. But the pitch has to be right."
"It's expensive to start and stop the mock ups."
"Why are you busting my balls over this? I don't give a shit if we punt a few hundred bucks in repro costs if it means we get the pitch right."
"I'm not busting your balls! I'm just trying to be fiscally responsible."
"The fiscally responsible thing to do is to land the account, and if I pitch them the current campaign, that's not fucking likely."
"You were okay with it twenty-four hours ago. What changed?"
"I was 'okay' with it, true. I don't want to be 'okay' with it. I want to be fired up by it, because if I'm not fired up, neither will they. My brainstorm is we take it out of the traditional sweaty jock arena and use the sports name tie-in in an amusing and untrad way. We zoom in on the bottle, hold the camera there, see the sweat rolling down the container, and hear the panting and sounds of exertion in the background. Slowly, the camera pans to discarded sweats, running shoes, whatever, on the floor. Slowly pan to a couple in a bed, looking smugly satisfied. The man or the woman, I don't care which, reaches for the Sports H2O bottle beside the bed and sucks it down. A voiceover says something like, 'Sports H2O. No matter what the sport.' Something like that."
Cynthia stared at him, amazed by the way his mind worked. He mistook her silence for uncertainty. He continued with his explanation.
"That's choppy, but you get the picture. We pitch it with all the untraditional activities where people drink water. Not that many people are athletic in this fat, lazy country, but they all want to look like they work out and this would appeal to the couch potatoes too. Another ad could show a game underway, doesn't matter what game. Show the label on bottles or on a water cooler on the sidelines with the players, and then pull the camera back to show a guy seated on the couch, with remote in one hand and the bottle in the other. Again, pitch it to the line, 'no matter what the sport'."
"I like it."
"Yeah, me too."
"You really are good at this, you know?"
He chuckled. "Duh. Have you tried that water, by the way? I think it sucks. It has a funny metallic aftertaste. They're probably poisoning society, but what can we do? We don't make it, we just make people buy it."
She was silent for a moment, then she said, "Brian, I don't understand something."
"What? It's pretty straight forward."
"Not the ad campaign."
"I thought you were gay, not bisexual."
"I am gay. So?"
"You slept with Lindsay?"
He winced. "Moving on..."
"I know it's none of my business, but I'm trying to understand it. To understand you."
"And this helps you do that in what way?"
"I don't know, Brian. But it threw me when I found out you slept with Lindsay."
"And how did you find that out?"
She sighed. "Justin let it slip."
"And how did he do that?"
"I said something about it being nice that she was having another baby and I didn't know you were still in the sperm-donating business, because I might ask for a donation for my freezer just in case Mr. Right never comes along. It was a joke."
Brian winced. "Let's hope. And then?"
"And then he said that this was a direct deposit and that the results were unexpected."
"I see. Did he seem upset?"
She smiled, pleased that Brian's first thought was whether his lover was still fuming over the pregnancy. "No, bemused, I guess. He said he was mad at first, but now he's kind of excited about the idea of Gus having a sibling."
"Good. As for the rest of it, I really don't want to explain my relationship with Linds to you, Cyn. It's complicated. But all you really need to know is that it was an aberration between us, something that hasn't happened in over a decade and something that's never likely to happen again. But good, Irish Catholic boy that I am, I'm sure to be punished for a single sexual slip-up. As for donating, this kid is the end of the line for my genes. I'm out of the business. I'll stick to lovers who can't get knocked up."
"You mean you'll stick with Justin," she reminded him just as Justin came home from work. He looked from Brian to her and smiled.
"Go ahead and answer that one, Brian."
"I'm STUCK with Justin," he said with a smirk, and Justin came over and hugged him tightly.
"You're damned right, you are."
They kissed and Cynthia sighed and picked up her purse and briefcase. "Calling it a day. See you tomorrow."
They nodded a perfunctory goodbye at her, caught up in each other. "Are you hungry?" Justin asked with a shudder as Brian rolled up Justin's shirt and leaned down to nibble at his exposed skin.
"Starving," Brian said, reaching inside the waistband of Justin's pants to fondle him gently. "Feed me?"
"Sit down," Justin commanded, pushing him back into a chair. Brian smiled as Justin moved Brian's long thighs apart and stood between them. He pulled off his shirt and opened his pants, letting them slip down his hips. Brian lowered the waistband of Justin's tighty-whities to allow his hard cock to pop out of the cover.
"Looks like someone is glad to see me."
Justin smiled. "I know, and yet I don't understand what he sees in you."
"He likes hanging with a bad crowd," Brian responded, leaning forward and anchoring Justin in place by cupping his firm ass with both hands. He plunged Justin's turgid cock into his mouth, slipping all the way down on it, until his nose was tickled by Justin's rust-colored pubes. Brian closed his eyes, enjoying the texture of his lover's cock against his tongue, the roof of his mouth, the back of his throat. Slowly, he pulled back and let his full lips drag the heated flesh while his tongue worked Justin from below. Justin moaned and buried his fingers in Brian's hair, closing his eyes as he lingered over the sensation. Brian worked him like a maestro, fast and then slow, forming a tight enclosure and then releasing him to lick the length of it with his tongue. As Justin neared orgasm, he increased the intensity and speed, easing a long finger between his lover's clenched buttocks to glide up his tight ass as he pushed him into an ejaculation. Brian swallowed, sucked, swallowed the rest, then withdrew his finger and his mouth, leaning back with a satisfied sigh as he said, "Welcome home."
Justin leaned over and kissed him, tasting his own salty residue. "Thanks," he let his hand probe Brian's lap, gripping his erection. "Want to do something about that?"
"I thought I might."
"What did you think you might do?"
"I thought I might fuck you blind."
"I think that's an excellent idea." Justin knelt before Brian, unbuttoning his shirt as Brian let his hands wander Justin's silky, fair skin. "Lift up," Justin guided him, so he could slip Brian's jeans off his hips and down his long legs. He wore no underwear. "Going commando today?" he teased, and Brian smiled.
"We're behind on the laundry."
"You just like how huge your cock looks when it's free in those jeans."
Brian's erection bumped his belly, covering his scar. He stroked it absently as Justin disappeared to fetch the lube. When he returned, he stopped Brian's masturbation and replaced his hand with his own, coating Brian's swollen cock with a sheen of K-Y Liquid. It glistened in the light, and Brian smiled at the sensation of Justin's caressing hand. Justin straddled him, guiding Brian's gleaming phallus into his body as Brian held him in place by linking his fingers at the small of Justin's back.
Justin's feet were flat on the back of the chair beside Brian's head, creating maximum penetration. He used his lubed hand to masturbate, his eyes closing with pleasure as he felt Brian begin his long, slow strokes deep inside his ass. Brian looked over to nibble Justin's fuzzy calf as the fucking got hotter and faster and harder. It wasn't until Justin blasted a load against Brian's torso that Brian allowed himself the release of a shattering orgasm, his face clenched with such extreme pleasure, it resembled pain.
Brian looked down at his lover and smiled. "How was your day, dear?"
Justin laughed and pulled Brian into his arms."Good enough for another round."
"State your name for the record," the agency's outside attorney said to Brian as the deposition began.
Brian was seated beside Mick in her small conference room, with the opposing counsel on the other side of the table. The agency's general counsel was there, along with Felix representing the client-side of the case. Felix was polite enough to inquire about Brian's health before the deposition started, but now the gloves were off.
Brian had deliberately dressed down in jeans and a black wifebeater under a white shirt, refusing to wear corporate drag to impress these assholes. Mick had primed him on what to expect and the broad reach of a deposition, telling him unless she interposed an objection, to go ahead and answer. She told him even if she objected, she would probably tell him to answer, if he could. He should take a clue from what she stated in her objection and on the rare occasion that she instructed him not to answer, he should do so on her advice.
Everything he said would be transcribed by a court reporter, and the deposition could be used to impeach his credibility if his testimony in court varied from the sworn transcript. Mick insisted he should only answer what he was asked, requiring the opposing counsel to pull the information out of him through probing. He should never volunteer information that wasn't directly solicited.
"Brian Aidan Kinney."
"How old are you, Mr. Kinney?"
"Thirty-two, almost thirty-three."
"Are you married?"
Brian smiled slightly. "No."
"Is that because you're homosexual?"
"No, that's because I don't believe in the sanctity of the marriage vows. I think people should decide for themselves whether they want to be together without the imposition of the state. And if I wanted to be married, I could be, gay or not."
Mick gave him a look, silently reminding him not to pontificate, rather to limit his answers to the parameters of the question asked.
"Do you deny you're homosexual?"
"Do you live alone?"
"Who shares your home?"
"As in sexual partner?"
"As in LIFE partner," Brian corrected him.
"What does that mean, Mr. Kinney? You aren't having sexual relations with this person?"
"No, it means it's more than a sexual relationship. We share a life together, that simple."
"And his name? I assume this 'life partner' is a man?" the lawyer made 'life partner' sound dirty.
"Well, I wouldn't be gay if he weren't, now would I? His name is Justin Taylor."
"How old is Mr. Taylor?"
"How long have you been together?"
"As life partners."
"About a year."
"Did you meet in New York City?"
"No, we met in Pittsburgh. We both used to live there."
"Isn't it true that when you moved to New York, you were alone? You had no 'life partner'?"
"And where was Mr. Taylor?"
"Still in Pittsburgh."
"When did you first meet? How old was he?"
"That's two questions," Mick intervened and the lawyer broke them up.
"Seventeen," Brian answered. "And I was 29."
"Was he sexually experienced?"
Brian frowned. "I'd like a minute to talk to my lawyer."
He and Mick retreated to her office, where he lit a cigarette nervously and glared at her. "Why do I have to answer intimate questions about Justin?"
"Brian, relevance is a lousy objection in a deposition, you always lose. They can range far and wide and since your gay status is a centerpiece of your claim, we'll never win that one."
"It's embarrassing for him."
"I think he can cope. Just be honest and don't give them more than he asks."
They returned to the conference room and Mick asked the court reporter to read back the last question. Brian responded, "No, he was not experienced."
"Were you his first gay lover?"
"I was his first lover, period."
"And he was underage at the time?"
"No, he wasn't. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is sixteen."
"Did he still live with his parents?"
"At that time, yes."
"And did he leave home to live with you?"
"No, he had a falling out with his parents because they couldn't accept the fact he was gay and I let him stay at my place for awhile. We never officially lived together until he moved to New York and we made the decision to give it a try."
"Is it a monogamous relationship?"
Brian frowned. "It's what we want it to be. If we want it to be monogamous, it is. If we don't, it isn't. It's not some static rules-clad relationship like that imposed by society. It's monogamous now."
"Do you know Lindsay Peterson?"
This time both Brian and Mick tensed. "Yes, I know her."
"Who is she?"
"What is your relationship with Lindsay Peterson?"
"I just told you. She's my friend."
"Is she your lover?"
Brian glanced at Mick who was giving away no emotion. "No."
"Has she ever been your lover?"
"We had a fling in college."
"Is that it?"
"What are you asking me?"
"Isn't she the mother of your child?"
"Conceived in college?"
"No. I donated sperm."
"So your son wasn't conceived via sexual intercourse?"
"And isn't she pregnant again? Now?"
Brian sighed. They had done their homework. "Yes."
"Is that your child too?"
"And did you donate sperm again?"
"Not the way you mean."
"How was this child conceived?"
"We had sex."
"I see. So you're gay. Is she gay?"
"Yes," Brian said, without looking at Mick.
"You're in a monogamous relationship with a man. Is she involved with someone?"
"Yes." Again, Brian didn't look at Mick.
"And yet the two of you are having a sexual relationship?"
"No. The two of us had SEX. Once. In thirteen years. Which resulted in a pregnancy."
"So Mr. Kinney, you're neither gay nor monogamous, isn't that right?"
"I feel pretty gay and pretty monogamous when I have daily sex with my partner."
"But you still have sex with other people, too. Women."
"No. One woman. One sexual experience. I'm not bisexual. Neither is she. It's complicated. We have a history."
"Yes, it is complicated, Mr. Kinney. Hard for you to explain and even more difficult for an employer to understand, wouldn't you agree?"
"What does that mean?"
"I mean how is an employer supposed to understand that you're gay when you go around impregnating women the old fashioned way?"
Mick objected, and Brian sighed as the lawyers argued. So this is where they were taking it. They couldn't have fired Brian because he was gay when they didn't even fully understand the true nature of his sexuality. He shook his head slowly, reminding himself once again why he never wanted this fight in the first place. Now Justin would be embarrassed and Lindsay too. Mick's secretary brought her a note, then left the room. She read it, looked up at Brian, and then called for another break. The attorneys for the opposition griped about it, saying they were wasting their time with these constant interruptions, but Mick held firm.
"I have an emergency. You'll have to give me five or we'll just reschedule."
They reluctantly agreed and she left, followed by Brian, who had a sense of dread over this sudden change in plans. "What is it?" he asked as she punched a number into the speaker phone. Soon ADA Jim Jacobi's voice was heard on the other end.
"Jim, this is Mick and I have Brian with me. What happened?"
"Yesterday evening a team of our detectives, along with Boston P.D., visited Jeffrey Walker, Senior in his home to ask some questions about the Central Park shooting. He stonewalled them, as expected. They made a follow up appointment to meet in his office today. When they showed up, they heard a gunshot. They broke into his inner office and found him dead, one bullet to the brain, the gun still smoking in his hand. He left a note that said one sentence only: 'I've had enough.' The news will break momentarily. An autopsy is required, but there's no reason to believe it was anything other than suicide."
Mick met Brian's eyes that reflected his shock. "Holy shit," he said softly. With a promise to keep them informed, Jacobi rang off.
"Why would a man like that kill himself?" She mused aloud. "Unless they were closing in on him. His pride, perhaps. Or maybe he was ill. Hadn't told anyone yet."
"Ill with what?"
"I don't know, Brian. I'm just speculating."
Brian frowned, feeling a little ill himself as a stray sense of responsibility rose up to haunt him. Did he cause this in some way? Why should he care? Walker did all he could do to destroy Brian, and maybe even tried to have him killed. That's all he needed to know. He couldn't control the insanity in the world. He just had to let it go. "Maybe these assholes will settle now if Walker no longer has his foot on their necks."
She nodded solemnly, not yet certain of the ripples that would come from this unexpected news.
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July 25, 2004