This is a work of fiction involving a young teenage boy and an older man. It's a story of love and devotion, not a recitation of gratuitous sex. The characters are all figments of my imagination. None are real people, although minor players in the story are based on experiences I have had, and may reflect my bias.

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Chapter Thirteen

Eric and I got up at five, and did several laps in the pool. It was a good workout, and the cool water had the added advantage of getting our eyes wide open. We dried off, and sat in the kitchen afterward drinking coffee, a habit he had picked up from me. John came stumbling in around six-thirty with his hand out for the cup I handed him. Billy was not far behind him, and I made a mental note to buy a bigger coffee pot. By the time everyone was up, we were working on the fourth pot.

I made sausage and eggs for breakfast, and the boys made plans for the day while stuffing food into their mouths. I told them they had free rein as long as they didn't invade anyone else's privacy. Tom volunteered to watch them while they took a dip in ocean - a swim I didn't think would take very long since the water was still frigid this early in the season.

Billy had gone with "our boys" to test the Pacific, and John, Carl, and I sat talking about the upcoming court appearance with Josh. "I don't foresee any problems," he said. "All the judge wants is a modicum of proof that Josh is happy, and hasn't been abused."

"Carl would kill anyone who laid a hand on him," I chuckled. "If anything, he's over protective. Tom and I have been trying to get him to loosen his grip and let the boy grow."

"I had the same problem with Billy," he said. "He wouldn't go anywhere without me. I had a hell of time getting him to go to school. He was afraid I'd disappear while he was gone."

"Well, it seems you got that problem solved," I said. "He's developed into quite a capable young man."

"Yeah. I can't take all the credit for that though, John remarked. "His parents did a good job with him before they were killed in the wreck."

"I wish someone could help Josh reconcile Jeremy's death, and get on with his life," said Carl.

"It took over a year for Billy to deal with it," said John. "All you and Tom can do is be there when you're needed. Josh will get over it eventually, but it will take a long time."

I changed the subject and asked, "When do you intend to file the petition for my adoption of Eric?"

"Probably next week," he said. "I have to get a date for Josh, too." As an afterthought, he asked, " How is he getting along with his schoolwork?"

"They're both pretty close to being at grade level or above," I said. "I'll know better after we get the results of the State 'Certificate of Mastery' tests. I'll administer them next week."

"I thought they were only necessary at eighth grade level."

"That's true," I said, "but at fifteen, Josh should be completing eighth grade level this spring so he can start high school next fall. He's almost sixteen, and should be a freshman in September."

"I guess that's right," he agreed. "What about Eric?"

"I think he's far enough along that he can pass the test. I'm going to give it to him too. They've both been studying the same material, and if anything, Eric is better in Math and Science than Josh."

John mused a moment, and then said, "How are their word skills? You know what a high value educators put on that."

"I have no reservations on that score," I said. "Both boys are way beyond grade level in vocabulary and the understanding of concepts. Heck, Eric is reading Nietzche, and forming opinions based on his philosophy."

"He can't understand the words, can he?"

"Those he doesn't know, he looks up, I said, "and if that doesn't satisfy him, he asks me. I'm trying to teach him how to look at a word in the context where its's used. He's beginning to understand how that changes the nuances of meaning."

"That's college level stuff," said John in a tone of disbelief.

"I know," I told him with a big smile, "and isn't it grand?"

"What's Josh reading?" he asked.

"'Profiles in Courage' by JFK," I said. "It was his choice. I allow them to pick whatever they think they want to read. Sometime that's hard on me. I have to read the books too. Imagine this staid old dog trying to wade through Nietzche's bag of tricks."

He laughed at that. "So you're getting an education too."

"Sometimes more than I want."

The weekend seemed to flash by, and all too soon John and Billy were loading up their SUV to return home on Monday afternoon. The rest of us waited until Tuesday afternoon in order to avoid the holiday traffic. Eric was happily tired, and dozed most of the way back to the estate. Wednesday morning I put the Mastery tests before the boys, and they dutifully completed them. By two o'clock in the afternoon, I had filled out the necessary forms identifying them, me, and the subjects they had competed, and had them ready for the mail. I decided to drive into town and mail them at the post office, and took Eric with me. We slipped the large manila envelope into the slot in time for the afternoon pickup, and returned home to wait for the results.

The next morning, Eric went fishing in his boat, and came in around noon. He told me he had only caught two fish, and had released them since we still had some in the freezer.

I had spent the morning wheeling and dealing in the markets, and was pleased that the investments I had made several weeks before had matured, and netted me a bit more than six millions. I sold them out because they had achieved what I believed was their full potential, and were not likely to improve very much more in value. I looked for something else to invest in, but didn't see anything that jumped out at me. I reluctantly paid the tax deposit, and shut down the machine.

I spent the afternoon with Eric at my side giving the day cruiser a tuneup. I put new points and condensers in both engines, changed the oil, checked the spark plugs, and checked the transmissions' lube as well. The chore seemed to take a little longer every year, but preventive maintenance would ensure that I didn't have to paddle the big boat to shore.

I finally put the keys in the ignition, and after waiting for the vapor sniffer to tell me the bilge was clear, started the starboard engine. The low, bubbling growl of the exhaust was a comforting reward. I started the port engine, and allowed both to warm up. Eric was excited, and asked, "Are you gonna take it out?"

I said, "Sure. It needs to run a bit. Let's get into our PFDs." We both put on a life preserver, and I told him to sit down.

He sat in the mates chair, and watched  me carefully. I could picture the brain cells processing the information and arranging every movement into its proper pigeon hole. I drew back a bit on the throttles, and the boat slowly backed out of its berth. After turning the bow toward the center of the lake, I looked at Eric and said, "Hang on."

He looked at me with a question in his eyes, and I threw the throttles forward to maximum. The big craft leapt into motion with a roar, and was across the lake to the far end in less than thirty seconds. I slowed somewhat and turned to port. This maneuver put Eric a couple of feet below me as the boat heeled over to obey the rudder. By this time, he had both hands on the grab bar embedded in the dash, and his knuckles were turning white. I slowed enough to let the hull settle back in the water, and asked him, "Do you need to go change your pants?"

He looked at my smile with wide eyes and open mouth, and then began to laugh. It started with his patented tinkling giggle, and grew to a full-throated,  rolling belly laugh. When he had finally regained control, he said, "Awesome! Do it again."

I pushed the throttles forward again and the boat streaked across the lake like a big cat. I turned back on the wake and we flew across the waves with a series of thumps. After three figure eights, I slowed to a crawl to let the water settle down a bit. "Would you like to drive?" I asked him. I have no idea why I would ask such a stupid question. He was standing between my legs with both hands on the helm in a heartbeat. I put his right hand on the throttles and said, "Start out slow, and push both levers forward at the same time."

He did as he was instructed, and the boat pushed the water aside until it finally had enough speed to climb up on the surface and plane across the lake. He steered with his left hand, and gradually gained confidence. Soon he was careering around at close to full throttle, whooping with glee as he thumped across our wake. I finally called a halt to the ride. I had not filled the gas tank, and the gauge showed we were running on reserve. He relinquished control of the boat to me, and I headed for the boathouse. We made it with a few fumes to spare, and I shut the engines down. Eric jumped out of the boat, placed the bumpers, tied the lines, and closed the outer door - all without being told. "Can we do that again?" he asked.

"That's what a boat is for," I said. "I'll have to get a couple of barrels of gas first, though. Those two engines use up about ten gallons an hour just at cruising speed. That number goes up drastically when we run at full throttle.."

Tom and Carl were busy every day now. The lawns required weekly mowing, and the flower beds were in a constant state of flux. Josh happily helped them, and I gave them enough extra money to pay him for his toil.

Josh's birthday was a joyous occasion. Tom had bought him a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It was ten years old, but it had been well maintained, and looked newer than it was. Josh took Eric for a ride on the estate, driving up and down the various driveways until Tom called him in, and took him to the DMV to get him his learner's permit. He also enrolled him in a driver's education class with a local company.

The results of the COM tests had come back, and both John and I were happy with the grades. Josh had passed in the eighty-third percentile, and Eric had made the eighty-fifth. Both were qualified to enter ninth grade in the fall. I was proud of them both. I didn't think there were many who could make up that much ground in so short a time.

John had gotten a "short date" for Josh's hearing, and we were in court again on the Monday following his birthday. The judge was impressed with his progress, both in school and his maturity. He approved both the petition for emancipation and adoption. Josh took Tom's name, and became more confident now that he knew he had a permanent home. Eric was happy for him, but he started to ask me almost daily if his own adoption would ever take place. I assured him it would, and hugged him a lot. There was nothing else I could do.

Eric and I moved down to the beach house. John filed the petition for Eric's adoption, and the court set a date in August. Eric was glad it was on the docket, but a little peeved that he wouldn't be able to use his boat until after the hearing. He had no friends to play with at the beach either, and he began to brood. I called Tom to ask him if he and Carl would like to come down for the Fourth, and bring Bobby and Sam if they wanted to come. He said they'd be there with or without the other two. I thought about keeping the visit as a surprise for Eric, but he was in such a blue funk, I decided to let him help me plan the party.

My first stop was at the City Hall where I inquired about the fireworks display. I was told by the Chairman of the City Council that there wouldn't be one because the funds were not available. After ironing out a few details such as my anonymity, I wrote the City a check for fifty thousand dollars - earmarked for fireworks on the Fourth of July - and told them to make the necessary arrangements. I left the Council chairman believing in the tooth fairy, and went to the grocery store.

I asked to speak to the manager. When he appeared (after a twenty minute wait) I asked him if he could handle my order; a dozen live lobsters, three whole Choice Beef Tenderloins, six cases of Mönkschaft Bier, Ten pounds of Fletcher's Premium bacon, and several other items which were not usually stocked in his store. I said, "If you can't handle the order, tell me now. I'll have it flown in myself."

He was dumbfounded, and said, "I have no idea where to get most of those items. I know my warehouse doesn't stock them, and I don't know who does."

"I can give you the names of the national distributors," I said, "but you'll have to pay cash for them if you don't have an account."

He was definitely interested in filling my order and said, "Let me call the head office. I'll try to get authorization from them to place an order outside the company warehouse."

I waited for another fifteen minutes before he came back with a long face. "I'm really sorry, but I can't get hold of my supervisor." Then he made me love him. He said, "Tell you what; I'll order everything you want if you can give me a check for the estimated amount. I'll have to trust you on that. I have no idea how much it will be."

I said, "I'll want a receipt," and counted out three thousand dollars in cash. "I expect you to make a profit, but we should probably settle on a fair percentage."

"What would you suggest?" he asked.

I knew that supermarkets, as a general rule, make about two percent markup on their everyday stock. I asked innocently,  "Would ten percent be fair?"

He almost choked, but gathered himself quickly and said, "Five would be more than enough to cover the special handling. After all, if you're happy, you'll shop here again. I'd like our store to be your first stop."

I was overjoyed that I had found a reasonably honest man, and told him, "You can depend on that." We shook hands, and I gave him a list of the suppliers that could fill the order, and suggested he have everything shipped "Next Day Air." I also gave him my cell phone number, and asked him to call when each item arrived, and/or if there were any problems.

Eric watched the whole proceeding with close attention. When we were back in the truck, he asked,  "Why didn't you just order the stuff yourself? It would have been cheaper."

"Possibly," I told him, "but you have to remember, it takes time to attend to all the little details. My time is worth more to me than the money involved. I would rather pay him to take care of all those little details, and just deliver the goods to me."

I had installed a computer in our cabin, and now checked the weather expected for the holiday. I looked at the satellite downloads, calculated the jet stream, and checked all the computer models. The outlook was good for a spectacular weekend - sunny, with a light breeze and no fog or rain in sight.

Carl called around seven, and said they would definitely be bringing Bobby and Sam. All the arrangements had been made with the shelter, and Josh couldn't wait to see Eric again. I gave the phone to Eric, and he talked to Josh for a half hour or more.  After they hung up, I had my happy boy back, and hugged him tightly.

As we were getting ready for bed, I noticed that Eric was turning into a young man. He had started sprouting a downy growth on his upper lip that looked like spun gold, and he was growing in a horizontal direction almost as fast as vertically. The hair beneath his arms and in his pubic region was thickening, and his testes were descending rapidly. His ejaculations were thicker and more voluminous, but his voice was still delightfully in between a squeaky alto and a rich baritone - he never knew which register would come out when he talked. He was often frustrated with that, and I told him to be patient - it would all settle down before Christmas. Remembering my own entry into adolescence devoid of any helpful information on why my body was doing all those weird things to me, I was glad Eric didn't have to experience that kind of doubt and dismay

The Fourth fell on a Sunday, and Tom and his augmented family arrived on Friday afternoon. I was delighted that Carl had thought to bring Josh's electric keyboard, and looked forward to listening to him play. Eric hugged his friends tightly, and they swapped stories of teenage interest. They soon transferred their attention to the beach, and disappeared around the corner of the building before Carl could remind them of their chores. "Damn," he said. "I guess I'll have to do it."

Tom spoke up.  "No you don't. They'll be back to eat, and you can just tell them there won't be any supper for them until the chores are done."

"That's a good idea." said Carl. "I hate to scold him though."

"You don't have to scold him," said Tom. "He, and the other boys, know what has to be done. They have forgotten their responsibilities, and just need to be reminded."

Carl started pulling his own things out of the van, and Tom helped him carry them into their cabin. They hadn't quite finished when all four boys returned. They had seen Tom and Carl heading for the cabin with laden arms, and remembered on their own. As they unloaded all their clothes and toys, Tom took the keyboard into the lounge area, and set it up. It was a Yamaha with all eighty-eight keys, and had several enhancements such as automatic rhythm, and special effects. It could be made to sound like a piano, harpsichord, organ or even a violin or guitar. It had its own stand and bench, and Josh was quite proud of it.

Carl and I made spaghetti for supper, with a salad and Garlic toast on the side. It was quick, filling, and the boys were happy. None of us felt there was anything more important. I had bought some spumoni at the store, and the boys dug into it after a tentative tasting of "the green stuff" - pistachio.

Josh played for us after dinner, and we went to bed thoroughly relaxed at ten. Eric woke me around two, and whispered, "I think there's someone in the house."

I listened, and agreed that there was something not right about the feel of the atmosphere. We both rose, and with nothing but our robes on, padded out into the corridor and up the stairway. I heard whispering coming from the pool area, and turned on the lights. I had a hard time choking down my laughter, and Eric stood there with his mouth open with amazement. Frozen in mid plunge was Sam - naked and aroused hovering over Bobby who was in a similar condition but lying on his back in a lounge chair with his legs over his head and his butt fully exposed to Sam's throbbing cock poised for entrance. They both blushed all the way to their toes, and Sam said, "I'm sorry. We didn't think anyone was up."

"We came up to take a swim," Bobby put in. "I guess things just got a little carried away."

"I don't mind you taking a midnight skinny dip," I said. "I don't care about you having sex either. What I do mind is that you have chosen to mix the two in an inappropriate place."

Eric asked Sam, "Were you really going to put that big thing up his butt?" Sam had an impressive piece of equipment.

Sam had a look of shame on his face, but Bobby answered for him. "It's OK Eric. We do it all the time, and I don't mind at all. It really feels good after a couple of minutes."

"Well, I think you should keep your lovemaking private in the future," I said. "Public displays are for dirty old men, and have no place here. Go on back to your room, and keep your private life private."

The two boys left with heads hanging - all four of them - and Eric and I decided to take a swim since we were up and wide awake. After several laps, I climbed out of the pool, and Eric continued for a few more. I admired the smooth flow of his muscles as he knifed through the water. Only a few months before, he had been a scrawny, scared little boy. Now, he was a swiftly developing young man with well defined musculature, and the confidence that comes from knowing safety and security. I was proud of his progress, although I had only supplied the opportunity. He was the one who deserved all the credit. Parents take too much credit for the good things their kids do, I thought, and if their kid gets in trouble or makes a bad decision, they blame him.

Eric came out of the pool at last, and dried himself. He came over to me, and handed the towel to me. "Dry my back, please."

I took the towel from him, and rubbed it over his firm lats, and then turned him around. "Do you want to go back to bed?"

"I guess so," he said. "There isn't much to do in the middle of the night."

We headed down the stairs, and as we passed the lounge he said, "We could get some coffee. It's almost four o'clock."

I agreed, and we sat talking quietly while sipping the dark brew. It was a wonderful time for me, and Eric asked thoughtful questions about the things that puzzled him.

"Do you think Sam loves Bobby?"

"I don't know," I answered. "I think the possibility of them having a serious relationship exists, but I don't know enough about either of them to make a judgement like that."

 "But Bobby was letting Sam do that to him, and he said he liked it."

"Junior did it to you, too, but you didn't think he loved you."

He thought a long time before saying, "Yeah, but Junior was just horny. He didn't care where his pecker got off as long as it was wet and warm - and he was in control."

"That's not love," I told him. "That's lust, and it will eventually destroy him if he doesn't find a better way to handle the problem."

"Is what we do lust?" he asked

"I don't think so," I answered. "I think the simplest way to tell the difference is this. If you're having sex to make yourself feel good, it's lust. If it's to make your partner feel good, it's love. "

I tried to explain. "Eric, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, and nothing is black or white. There is always a part of sexual contact that's lustful even between the most dedicated lovers. If I feel good by making you feel good, that could be lust too. Back when you used to get your rocks off by pressing against me while we kissed, it made me feel nice inside that you thought that much of me, but I didn't get my rocks off. Now, if you only kissed me so you could cum, then it was lust, but if you thought I liked kissing you, then the lust was tempered with love."

"Why is it so complicated?" he asked in frustration. "I like what we do, and I feel good because I can make you happy, but I don't know if it's love or not. I always know you'll make me cum. Is that bad?"

"The object of sex to a young man is always to ejaculate," I said. "When you're older, you may not be as anxious to achieve that kind of climax. I think it's nice just to cuddle with you, and I really enjoy making you feel satisfied. I've told you many times that I don't have to get off to be satisfied. You put your emphasis on the destination. For me, it's the journey that holds the thrill."

He grunted, and sat deep in thought for quite a while. "Then what you're saying is that lust isn't wrong; it's just that love is better."

"That's pretty close," I said. "Pure lust is always wrong because it blinds you to the possible consequences of your behavior, but there is always a part of a loving physical relationship that's lustful, and the more you love someone, the smaller that part is."

That seemed to satisfy him, and since it was getting light, we made a couple more pots of coffee, and poured them into the automatic warmer I had bought for when we had company.

Josh came in and we sat for a few minutes chatting until Tom got up and came in looking for his morning caffeine fix. Carl wasn't far behind. He grumbled, "I'm on a holiday. Why can't I just sleep in?"

We all chuckled at that, and Josh asked if he could take a swim. Carl went up with him, and we soon heard splashing and chortling. Eric and I excused ourselves, and went to our room to get dressed. We had nothing on but our robes, and although we were decently covered, I thought it better we put on more acceptable attire.

John and Billy arrived around ten, and I said, "Welcome, strangers. I expected you last night."

John sighed and said, "I know, and I'm sorry. I was waiting for a jury until eleven o'clock, and they still didn't reach a verdict. The judge was pissed, and sequestered them over the holiday, so I guess they'll be pissed off when they convene on Tuesday. Oh, well. I guess there's always appeal." He chuckled over his dark humor.

Billy helped him unload their things from his SUV, and we sat on their porch to chat while Billy went to greet the boys who were playing with a frisbee on the beach..

We really hadn't noticed anything wrong until Josh screamed. We all looked up and saw a couple holding him, and trying to drag him off. Tom was up and running to his aid with Carl in hot pursuit before I could get out of my chair. John pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911, while I went to the aid of my son, who was attacking the couple with vigor. Bobby had joined Eric's assault while Billy and Sam circled around to block any attempted egress from the beach. Tom moved faster than I thought was possible for a man his size. The couple had badly miscalculated their chances of making good their escape. Less than twenty seconds after Josh raised the alarm, they were surrounded ay a swarm of angry boys, and five seconds after that Tom arrived and flattened the man with one blow. He went down as if he had been hit by a truck. Carl waded into the woman with carefully manicured fingernails screaming like a mountain lion. I arrived about ten seconds later and started trying to calm Tom, who I was sure would kill the man. Less than two minutes later John arrived with the police, and things settled down to a shouting match between Carl and the woman. There must have been several calls to the 911 operator because four more officers arrived in less time than it takes to tell. It looked like the entire city police force was there on the beach.

An officer wearing sergeants stripes asked, "What's the problem here?"

Everyone started talking at once, and when he finally got things quiet again he asked, "Who was it that called 911?"

John said, "I did."

"OK," said the sergeant. "Can you tell me what happened?"

John put on his calm courtroom demeanor, and told him in as few words as possible. The sergeant nodded and thanked him.

Josh was terrified, and Carl was holding him tightly trying to calm his piteous moans. "Do you mind if I take my son indoors?" he asked the cop.

The woman screamed at Carl, "He's not your son. He's mine."

The sergeant looked confused until John said, "Excuse me sergeant, but that's not strictly true. I'm John Bishop, an attorney, and I personally talked to these people several months ago. They told me they didn't want their son back, and signed a Termination of Parental Rights Form. On the strength of that, and the sanction of the courts, Josh has been legally adopted by these good people." He indicated Tom and Carl.

"Good people, shit!" shouted Mrs Billings. "They're all a bunch of faggots."

Mr. Billings was sitting on the sand holding his head, which I was sure had several stars orbiting in irregular circles. "Shut up, Arlene. You're just making things worse." Even in his befuddled state, he obviously knew when to cut his losses.

Eric had slid his shoulders under my arm, and stood quietly watching everything carefully. He was trembling, and I held him firmly to give him some support.

The sergeant took all the names, and patiently listened to each person's story. After about an hour, he finally said, "Mr. And Mrs. Billings, you're under arrest for attempted kidnaping, and anything else the District Attorney feels like charging you with. I'm going to let him sort this out. You are advised that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You are entitled to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one before any questioning. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them?"

Both of the Billings' said they did, and the sergeant turned to Tom and said, "Mr. Coleman, I'd appreciate it of you and Mr. Reiner would keep yourselves available until next Tuesday, and tell your story to the DA. Mr. Bishop, I understand your commitment to another court, but I'd like you to at least call him for an appointment as soon as you can."

We all agreed, and the police took the Billings' into custody. The crowd that had gathered began to thin out, and we all went back to the house. Josh was still whimpering, and Carl was trying to comfort him. Eric was upset as well, and asked John, "What would happen if my father tried to take me?"

John said, "I don't think you have to worry about that. I have his signature on a paper too. He even admitted to throwing you out, so he would be liable for charges of abandonment. I don't think he would risk that."

Eric seemed satisfied with the answer, and sat quietly on the porch as did the other boys. There was no mention of playing on the beach again. I thought I'd try to cheer them up a bit, and said, "Who's up for a swim?"

There was only a little agreement, but Bobby said, "Yeah. Let's not let them spoil our fun."

Sam agreed, and one by one all but Josh went to their rooms to change into swim gear. John joined the boys in the pool while I fixed some lunch. By the time it was ready, Carl and Tom appeared with Josh sandwiched between them. He had stopped sobbing, and seemed to be more in control of himself, although he was still dejected and withdrawn.

After lunch I took John aside, and asked if he thought Andrea Thompson had instigated the morning's fracas.

"I had the same thought," he said, "but who can tell. Even if she had something to do with it, I doubt the Billings' will give her up."

"I wonder if she's in town," I mused. "It would sure be good if we could nail the whole package down."

"If she saw what happened on the beach, she isn't likely to have stayed around for an encore," he said, and then added, "At least not if she values her freedom."

"I still don't know what kind of a role she's trying to play in this," I said. "What ever it is, she has taken pains to keep her own skirts clean. As long as she's out there, I'll worry about it."

John said, "Let me put George on it. He can find out more with his operatives than we could with a court order." He picked up the house phone and dialed. He talked for quite a while, laying out a plan of attack so that Andrea wouldn't be aware she was under surveillance, and when he hung up he was smiling. "George has had a man on her since I told him she tried to get upstairs at the shelter a couple of weeks ago," he told me. "She was in Lincoln City, and she was watching the attempted kidnap. She went back to her motel when the Billings' were arrested, and checked out. She's on her way home right now."

"Why did he have a man on her?" I asked. "Did you tell him to follow her?"

"No," he said. "George is a good businessman as well as being a top notch detective. He has a large crew, and likes to keep them all busy. The guy who has been watching Andrea is a new man, and George writes off his wages as training time."

"Amazing," I said.

"Not as amazing as his bill will be now that he can legitimately charge me for the time," he chuckled. "And I will bill you in turn," he added.

"Cheap at twice the price," I said, "if only for the peace of mind."


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