Sunday, June 27, 2010


By Patrick Plummer.
“I don’t like the phrase,” Andy said. “Orientation sounds like something you do the first day in college, or at a job. What does it have to do with sex?”
Dana gulped the beer and decided to be less confrontational than usual.
“What would you call it?” Dana asked.
“Sexual predilection defines it better,” Andy said and flicked the lighter again and again but produced no flame.
“Here,” Dana said and took the cheap lighter from Andy and with one thumb popped up a flame and lit Andy’s cigarette. Andy touched the back of Dana’s hand to steady the flame upon the tip.
“Orientation implies that we are directed. I don’t believe that.” As Andy spoke the gray fumes drifted out, making the words hang in air.
“What does it matter?” Dana asked. “We came to the same place.”
“No one brought me here.”
Dana fired up a cigarette and blew out the smoke with exasperation. “And here we sit, waiting.”
“I don’t think Sue will come back,” Andy said.
“She left her things.”
“She packed a bag.”
“But her photographs, she would never leave those.”
“Well, Dana, she may come back for them. For the first two weeks I thought she’d moved in with you.”
“Would that have bothered you?” Dana asked.
“It wouldn’t have surprised me.” Andy tapped the ash onto the saucer and took a drink of beer, letting the coolness sooth his throat. “I know how much she enjoyed you.”
Dana slumped at the kitchen table, her broad shoulders were supported by her elbows. The thick arms were muscular and black armpit hair stuck out of the soiled muscle shirt.
“I know you were with her,” Andy said, “I could smell you on her.”
“It wasn’t a secret. We weren’t trying to hide anything.”
“I know,” Andy said as he crushed the fag into the saucer. “She told me, but I already knew. You were her fantasy. And it took months to finally invite you over. To see what would happen.”
Dana smiled, smoked and drank in the beer and the memory of many evenings in their apartment.
“Do you think we pushed her too far?”
“I don’t think we pushed at all, Dana.”
They sat quietly in the kitchen drinking beer and thinking about Sue.
“She’ll be in contact when she’s ready,” Andy said.
“Did you two have a fight?”
“We never argued.”
“Did she give you any sign that she was upset or confused?”
“She just left, Dana.”
“Left us both.”
“Without a word.”
Andy got up to grab two more beers from the frig. As he came back to the table he admired Dana’s strong, bare back. He put the beer in front of her and looked at the thick thighs exposed by the loose shorts that had ridden up her hairy legs.
“I used to trust you implicitly when I thought you were a lesbian,” Andy said and laughed. “Now that I know you’re bi-sexual I only trust you half as much.”
Dana opened the beer while contemplating her response. She gulped the drink and said after belching, “You were delicate enough.”
“It surprised me, that you would let me inside.”
Andy touched her hand and she squeezed his fingers with her thumb.
“It was the passion of the moment. And I knew that Sue enjoyed watching us.”
“But you came.”
“I hadn’t been with a man in twenty years. And having Sue. She was so ready to please me. And you didn’t intrude. You were just there.”
“I enjoyed pleasing you too.”
“Did she ever talk about me?” Dana asked and pulled another cigarette from his pack.
“She did. Always with affection. But she thought you put up a front, trying to be tough. You’re gentle inside, Dana.”
She lit the cig, blew out smoke and scratched her large, sagging right breast.
“I wish she would call. Or send an email.”
“She’s done this before. Sue likes to be alone sometimes. It’s nothing we’ve done.”
“The last time,” Dana said, “I was rough.”
“She liked it.”
“After that, did she change?”
“We made love again after you left that morning. It was nothing you did. She was gone when I got home from work.”
Dana smoked, and he watched her thin lips press the filter and drag. She was a handsome woman. Wore no make up, made no pretense.
“Would you like something to eat, Dana?”
“I’m not hungry. But you go ahead.”
“I can fix us something. You’re welcome to stay.”
Dana put her calloused hand on top of his.
“I don’t want to be alone right now,” she said.
“Neither do I.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oak Love

Oak Love
She saved me. When they were asking her parents to clear the lot she tied a plastic red ribbon around my trunk.
Daddy, we can put up a swing.
She pointed up at my sturdy lower limb. Her father smiled and touched the back of her head.
The crews came and cut down the rest of my friends. I remained in what became their back yard. I was surrounded by bushes and shrubs and roses. Not that I have anything against them, but I miss the pair trees. They were messy but didn’t deserve the chain saw.
After the house was built the family moved in and she played in the back yard. She climbed my trunk and sat in my branches and sang. Her father kept his promise and used a ladder to reach my thick bough safely. After tying the two ends of the hemp rope around me, he climbed down and secured a plank onto the loop. It was too high for the young girl to easily sit in and he had to pick her up and place her in the swing.
You’ll grow into it, he said. Hold on and I’ll swing you.
They spent a glorious afternoon in the backyard. He pushed her and she delighted at the swish of air blowing her little girl dress up and then the swoop back, which threw her forward and caused her long chestnut hair to blow across her face. It was her first swing.
Indeed, she did grow into it, as her father had predicted. Griping the rope, she hoisted her body up, with her developing limbs, and sat on the board and swung herself.
More families moved into the development and the children would gather in the back yard and play under my shade. I enjoyed those times too. They climbed up me, sat on my majestic limbs and sang songs. Sometimes they pretend to be pirates on a ship and my leaves were the sails. I swayed with the wind and they delighted in the movement.
For me, the best time was when she swung alone.
Nothing last forever, even for a tree.
Seasons passed and she became an adolescent. She had grown from a sapling to a flowering timber. She still sat under my cooling foliage and read books, made from some distant cousin of mine. Sometimes she would put down the book and sit in the swing and have a few melancholy swoops. Her limbs had developed, her long legs and pointed toes could barely miss the grass. They were muscular now as were her arms and hands, which gripped the bleached hemp rope tightly. She could catapult her body forward and then arch her back in preparation for another self-propulsion. But her face no longer showed the giddy girlish delight.
One afternoon she sat under me with a boy. They had school books but never opened them. Instead of studying, they leaned against my massive trunk and talked while holding hands. The parasite put his hands on the back of her chestnut hair and pulled her to him. There was no resistance to the kiss, she embraced him and pressed her mouth upon his with innocent passion.
He was the first but not the last.
She continued to mature. Her thighs had begun to thicken and she practiced routines with other cheer leaders in the back yard. Of all the girls, she was the strongest and could leap up and extend her legs and arms perpendicular to the earth and land squarely on her feet. She seemed to fly like a bird, even though she was bigger than the other girls. They were all limber, but she had a sinuous grace and vigor. They always placed her in the center of the line.
One night, after the cheers of he crowd at the stadium had subsided, she brought a young man to the back yard. They crept across the grass and sat beneath me. She asked if he’d brought them and he opened the package. After removing her panties and he stripped off his jeans, they attached something to his stalk, which he put inside her. After he started, she raised her legs and entwined them around his back while he methodically stroked her. When he began to call out she covered his mouth with her hand and shushed him. He remained on top of her and she lowered her legs.
Things continued to change. One hot afternoon, with the sun wilting my leaves, she brooded in the swing. Her father came out and walked directly to her.
Why did mom have to go?
It was before her time.
Couldn’t we have done something?
We’ve tried everything.
I’ll stay here.
Don’t postpone college, he said. She would have wanted you to go, as we planned.
She stood up and wept in his arms. Her father cried too but silently.
He continued to mow the grass but neglected the plants. The hedges grew wild and the rose bed was filled with weeds. Eventually he had a boy mow the back yard and I rarely saw her father again.
She was gone for many seasons, only visiting during fall and winter. On one occasion she sat on the swing and gently pushed with her feet to move back and forth. Her father came outside to announce that some relatives had arrived. She walked across the grass to the back door but her posture had changed and her head and shoulders bent down under some invisible oppression.
This melancholy saddened me, and if could have embraced her with my limbs I would have, but that was not possible.
The grass grew in the spring and no one came to cut it. By summer it was a foot high and she walked into the yard by the back door dressed in a white uniform. She had matured into a woman. Her breasts were plump and her ample hips filled out the fabric. Her trunk was sturdy and she surveyed the abandoned yard with a beer in her hand.
The next day men came and mowed the grass and tended the shrubs. She cared for the roses herself. Clipped them back so they would bush, cut one bud and stuck it under her nose. She walked around the yard smelling it and finally came to the swing where she sat, with the rose in her hand and smelled the fragrance until she bored with the pleasantry.
Humans are annuals. They come and go while I remain. She sits in the swing with a rose stuck behind her ear. And she began to swing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Saw Elvis Crying In The Chapel

I Saw Elvis Crying In The Chapel.

By Patrick Foley Plummer

(If you think Elvis is alive you are wrong. If you think Elvis is at rest you are also wrong. --------Las Vegas Book of the Undead)

[Author's preface: There is no artificial substance that precipitated this experience. I do not do drugs. In my daily practice of meditation I do not channel Angels, Saints, Buddha, Gods, Goddesses, Satan, the spirits of ancestors or Houdini. Occasionally I hear something from the Holy Spirit but only when I am really quiet. (I do not always follow Her revelations.) I am not subject to psychotic trances but would not have the self-awareness to know if I did. With all that said I feel I must relate, with some trepidation, the following experience.]
I became aware of soundlessness. This was startling because I usually can hear the sounds of nature and mechanical-man. There were no chirping birds or trees rustling in the breeze. No whoosh and clatter of traffic. No clocks, hiss of air-conditioning or hum of a refrigerator. There was no sound to transcend.
I have never experienced such silence. It was not as peaceful as I had expected it would be. I was not asleep and I was not awake. I was simply aware of the eerie inertness.
Only one thing to do: peak. Open one eye slightly to see what was going on and then return to the meditation. Just to ground myself. What I saw was even more alarming.
I was not in my home--not in my front room facing the Eastern light. I opened booth eyes wide and found myself standing alone in an empty room with white stone walls that gradually curved around me. There was no ceiling and the walls went up for an indeterminate distance and then faded into indigo.
Was I in some guided meditation? No, I gave them up. I found them too fallacious and self-serving of the guide.
I looked down at my body dressed in a long white robe made of plain cotton with long sleeves. A simple black thread hemmed the sleeves. The garment’s bottom touched the floor. Well, at least I did not have a harp.
This was it? No, I must be having some Biblical imagery meltdown. I am in a dream. But the hands, I recognized the large hands of Patrick Foley Plummer--a life I thought I was still living. There was one test--the left arm. It remained mutated from a compound-complex fracture. The bones were bent and weak all of my life. Pulling the sleeve back I noticed the two-inch scare was gone. I touched the forearm and it was perfect. In the afterlife our bodies became perfect. Those Christian mystics were right!
I became aware of a sound. It was a soft whisper repeating phrases. I was not certain of the language but recognized the cadence of a litany.
The voice was behind me. Turning around I saw an archway in the wall. Engraved in gold above the archway was the phrase “Ignis Fatuus.” Is there delusion on the other side?
The archway led from the anteroom into a larger square room with rows of pine pews. There was a lone figure at the other end of the chapel--the source of the whispering.
The walls were bare. I searched them for icons. There were none! Not one representation of any religion. No Crucifix, Star of David or Yin Yang symbol. No empty Zen circles or statues of Buddha. Not even one white haired old man or multi-armed woman. It was a plain and simple chapel.
The figure either was not aware or did not acknowledge my approach. He (I presumed the figure to be male) continued with his vespers completely absorbed in prayer.
The person was bald. This might be one hint as to the religious origin of the chapel. A Buddhist would shave his head. Is this Nirvana? It seemed disappointing but having only just arrived I should not judge the place too quickly.
The man was dressed in a long white robe with a high collar and garish gold trim. He was kneeling but slouched resting his butt on the pew. He was reading intently from a parchment. I stole a glance at the title: “Prayer of the inconsequent vertebrata.”
“What prayer is that?”
He quickly rolled up the parchment and turned and flashed luminescent blue eyes at me. The face seemed familiar. The large ears stuck out from the baldhead. The bone structure was long and handsome. The jaw line came down to a long point at the chin. But the most striking feature, or lack of one, was the fact that he had absolutely no body hair--not even eyelashes!
Where had I seen this face before? The nose had a thick bridge and large nostrils. The upper lip was thin and bottom lip full. He stared dispassionately at me and then smirked. The teeth, lips and eyes came together in the dimness of the chapel to form the face of Elvis.
“Is it really you?”
He grunted in a deep southern way, maybe saying yes and perhaps not speaking any language at all.
“What’s left,” he said without emotion.
“Is this what happens to us?”
“Its what’s happenin’ to me. And as soon as I get rid of this,” he indicated his body with a slow gesture, “I can stay with the rest.”
“Elvis, what about your hair?”
“Every time some fool imitates me I lose a hair. There are so many I can’t grow them back fast enough.”
“Even," I hesitated for a moment but my curiosity over came the embarrassing question. "Even the pubic hair?”
“That went first.” He touched his ear and muttered, “Then the side burns.”
It was true. Not one follicle remained.
"So many people tryin' to be me. Why? Why won't they leave me alone? Right now thousands are conjuring me up--putting on shades and sequins and shakin' their hips. Leave me alone!"
I wanted to change the subject--or object--whatever! I chose unwisely.
"Elvis, have you seen your mother?"
"Ma' ma?" His sad eyes pierced me and filled with tears. He was the saddest soul I'd ever seen.
"They won't let me see her." He looked away for a moment then wiped his face and shook his head. "No, that's a lie. I'm--I'm afraid to face her 'cause. . ." After an eternal pause, "I made such a mess of things back there."
Elvis laid his hairless head on my shoulder and sobbed. His head was weightless but his remorse bore down on me like a bale of wet tobacco.
I looked around this small chapel with its cold stone floor and walls. It was so dark I could not see the ceiling, if there was a ceiling. The pews were made of unfinished pine and the kneelers were austere and unpadded.
"Is this hell?" I asked.
"This?" Even Elvis had to think about it, which raised my anxiety.
"You don't know hell until you have to look back on what you did before. Not what you could of done, but what you did."
"Then this is purgatory?"
"You got the wrong religion. This is where I chose to be 'cause. . ."
"Why, Elvis?"
"I can go back and do it right or stay here and become one with the rest."
"Go back--as in reincarnation?" The Hindus were right!
"You get one chance but it’s all the same life."
"I don't understand."
"I can see every life from now on and I chose to stay here. But, I can't go into the rest 'cause they keep makin' fun of me. Pretendin' to be me. Eventually, in a couple more centuries all the imitators will pass and I'll be free of my false self."
Holy smokes! The Buddhist were right!
“They’re all right,” Elvis said. He could read my mind.
“And all wrong,” I added, reading his.
The hairless Elvis stared at me with a twinkle in his cool eyes. One side of his mouth drew up until a fold appeared below his cheekbone to become the famous smile, smirk and sneer. This is Elvis! He still lived!
A beam of soft orange light fell upon his face and a drone of human voices began.
“Choir practice!” he said enthusiastically and stood up abruptly with renewed spirit.
"But, Elvis! I have so many questions."
"I don’t have any answers for you."
"Why me? Why'd you meet with me?"
Elvis chuckled to himself and then put his hairless hand on my shoulder.
"Two reasons. 'cause you didn't ask and you never dressed up like me."
Guilt raced through my being. I had "imitated" him at times: the voice, the pelvic thrust and hips.
"Just don't try to sing like me. I have to hear it and you're tone deaf. It's okay to listen to my music. . .but tell them to quit with the masquerade. . .well, it doesn't matter. They'll all die off. But it would be nice if they'd just let me be."
He moved toward an opening of the chapel where a bright white light shimmered. The droning sound coming from beyond the chapel was neither Gregorian nor Zen chant--not anything the human voice could replicate but only attempt to imitate.
As he stood in the light of the doorway his silhouette was recognizable even with the bald crown. Without turning to face me he raised up a right hand, paused and then walked out of the chapel.
What was beyond that opening? As I approached the passageway the unisonant sound reverberated in the stone room. I could hear his deep vibrato joining in for a moment and then it blended with the rest.
I caught a glimpse of him walking into the valley filled with people dressed in long white robes with high collars and garish trim. So the robe was not just Elvis's heavenly threads.
I watched his bald head in the masses but his image became too tiny within the countless throng that gathered around a crystal lake.
Light either reflected off or emanated from the lake. As they surrounded it on the valley's slope the optical illusion of a tunnel began to form.
When I looked up at what should be the sky I saw more multitudes. It was an Escheresque perspective and in every direction I saw the same swirling blend of humanity in a white background with tiny dots of heads of every color integrated and indistinguishable from each other.
All of this sight and sound tugged at my guts and vibrated my diaphragm. A sweet fragrance entered my nose and pallet. I tasted its honey and felt it fill my lungs. The sound was imposing and seductive. It drew me into the vortex and I began to feel on my collarbones the tiny points of the robe’s high collar beginning to grow.
I was about to take a step through the gateway from the simple chapel, to blend into the Supreme Soul, to be one with the All.
At the last moment I turned from the light and ran back into the chapel so abruptly that I stepped on the long robe and when sprawling onto the rock hard floor.
I put out my hands to brace my fall. My left wrist smacked the concrete. It throbbed from the impact. The forearm, so perfect a moment ago, had now returned to its twisted shape.
It was dark, and the aroma went from mystic to miasmic. The dank smell of mold and raw sewage replaced the heavenly sent. I felt the chill of the concrete floor gritty against my naked body. My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and I made out the small oblong window. I was in my basement in St. Louis.
I found my way to the light switch and looked in amazement at the junk filled basement. I was not certain if I was glad to be back.
For the last seven years I had meditated everyday to attain Union and when I apparently got the chance I bolted.
All that is left of the adventure is the fading memory of an incorporeal American icon stripped of his plumage.
His last request was to be left alone so that his spirit could join the rest.

Copyright 2002 by Patrick Foley Plummer


Crying in the Chapel
(words & music by Artie Glenn)

You saw me crying in the chapel.
The tears I shed were tears of joy
I know the meaning of contentment
Now I am happy with the Lord

Just a plain and simple chapel
Where humble people go to pray
I pray the Lord that I'll grow stronger
As I live from day to day

I've searched and I've searched
But I couldn't find
No way on earth
To gain peace of mind

Now I'm happy in the chapel
Where people are of one accord
We gather in the chapel
Just to sing and praise the Lord

Ev'ry sinner looks for something
That will put his heart at ease
There is only one true answer
He must get down on his knees

Meet your neighbor in the chapel
Join with him in tears of joy
You'll know the meaning of contentment
Then you'll be happy with the Lord

You'll search and you'll search
But you'll never find
No way on earth
To gain peace of mind

Take your troubles to the chapel
Get down on your knees and pray
Your burdens will be lighter
And you'll surely find the way

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The St. Louis Arch: Diocese Conspiracy

The St. Louis Arch: Diocese Conspiracy
By Patrick Foley Plummer as Dick Johnson

I waited in Duffy’s for the moron. He had information and evidence that would shake the core of this Catholic town and rip the foundation from the Midwest’s most prestigious tourist attraction. I waited, smoked and sipped cheap Vodka. I was working after all.
He entered the restaurant with a tattered brown expandable file folder stuffed with worn manila folders. I could see papers sticking out. And dark blue folded pages. And yellowed newspaper clippings. I hated that and ordered another Martini.
Unfortunately he ascertained my presence.
“Mister Johnson?” he whispered with pathetic clandestine apprehension. “Are you Dick Johnson?”
“He’s dead,” I said, and threw back the last of the first drink. “But if you’re looking for the press, I’m it.”
He stuck out his tiny hand and declared, “I’m Herman Sheman.”
“And I forgive you,” I accepted his shake and wanted to crush it, but gave brief compassion to this possible story.
He looked around the bar, at the people eating at tables, at the bartender mercifully setting down my Martini and asked, “Should we go someplace more private?”
“This is my office,” I said.
“What can I get you?” Fred the bartender asked.
“I don’t drink,” he said.
“Pity,” I quipped, and lit another Marlboro.
“Do you have any fruit juice?” the little nerd asked.
Fred looked toward me like I’d turned gay.
“This is an interview, Fred,” I said in self defense. “Give the man some orange juice.”
“I’d prefer apple. Less acidic.”
“This is a bar,” Fred glared at him through his thick glasses.
“Just give him some soda with a lime,” I said. “On me.”
“Thank you, Mister Johnson, and thank you for seeing me.”
“My pleasure, what do you have there?” I indicated the thick brown parcel.
“This,” Herman paused dramatically, looked around Duffy’s again and whispered, “is evidence.”
I could barely hear him.
“You’re gonna have to speak up,” and added to my own mythology, “lost some hearing in ‘nam.” Which was true.
“Mister Johnson, you never know who is listening.”
“If you don’t want the public to know why are you talking to a reporter?”
He clutched the stuffed folder, looked at me with deplorable blue eyes and said, “It is with much trepidation that I finally bring this out.”
I softened, not because of his sincerity, but because the smell of a story overcame my belligerence. I pulled out the bar stool and beckoned him to sit. Once he climbed up his short legs couldn’t touch the floor.
“What do you want to bring out?” I asked and took the cheap wire notepad and Bic pen from my shirt pocket. I thumbed through the pages for a blank sheet. I looked him in the eyes and smiled attempting to gain his trust.
“It’s a fifty year old secret,” he said. “The Church would not want this out.”
“There are lots of things they don’t want out.”
“But this changes everything.”
“If you pull out a print of the Mona Lisa and start talking about secret codes I’ll kick your ass,” I warned him.
“This is bigger. This is real. This affects every woman born and raised in Saint Louis.”
I fired up another smoke and clicked the Bic.
I turned my good ear to him and said, “I’m listening.”
“I have the real plans of the Arch.”
“You mean the Arch Diocese?”
“No, the Arch.”
“You mean the Saint Louis Arch?” I added with some disappointment, “I thought this was about the Catholics.”
“It is.”
“So is it about a tourist attraction or the Church?”
“Both,” he said, and as he grinned, I counted his crooked teeth. “But it’s no tourist attraction. It’s a transmitter.”
“Is it speaking to God?” I gritted my teeth thinking that I had wasted my time with this idiot. Well, it wasn’t all bad. I could expense the drinks.
“It transmits Omega waves.”
“And what does that do?”
“Omega waves suppress women’s sexual desires.”
“So that’s why I can’t get laid.”
“Exactly,” he said and leaned toward me. “Every woman who has lived here since the Arch was constructed has been bombarded with Omega waves. It takes a while, sometimes years, but it erodes the woman’s desire for sex. It is the Catholic Church’s way of imposing morality.”
I wasn’t certain if it were the Martini or his earnestness, but I was beginning to believe him.
“Where is your proof?” I asked.
“It’s all in here,” Herman said, as he patted the file folder still on his lap. The lid had fallen off and the papers stuck out like a pile of garbage. He gently withdrew a thick blue folded paper.
“This is the original plan,” he said. I looked at the drawing and recognized the Saint Louis Arch immediately. He unfolded the blue print further, grinned and gloated, “And this is what lies beneath.”
The schematic of the Arch had what I expected. There was a drawing of an underground room where tourists could get into the claustrophobic elevator and ride up into the Arch. What I did not anticipate was the lower level.
“This,” Herman’s bony index finger pointed to the bottom level, “houses the transmitter that sends the Omega waves up through the Arch and broadcasts the sexually suppressive waves through out Saint Louis.” He tapped the blueprint. “And it is all controlled by the Bishop.”
I sipped and contemplated.
“Do you have any more proof besides an old blueprint? It could have been faked, you know.”
“I have verified the authenticity. And oh yes!” He quickly pulled a laminated page from the folder. “A memo from the Vatican.”
I stared at the Papal seal. My Latin was a little rusty.
“I’ll have to trust you on the translation,” I said with mild disappointment and ground my butt into the ashtray.
“I’ve had it translated. It congratulates the Jesuit who spearheaded the project.”
“Jesuit. That’s no surprise.”
“There’s more,” he started to whisper again. “There are other Omega transmitters. The Seattle Space Needle, for instance. And the Sears Tower in Chicago.”
“I’m from Chicago,” I countered, “I never had a problem with women there.”
“You from the ‘burbs?”
“Oak Brook.”
“Doesn’t transmit that far.”
“Lucky me.”
I finished off the Martini with one gulp and then my entire story collapsed.
“Dick!” the fat, blusterous bore of a Priest said as he offered his consecrated paw to me.
When Herman Sheman saw the collar he panicked and grabbed the blueprint and plastic enshrouded Papal letter and stuffed them into the thick file folder.
“Where’ve you been keeping your self?” The obnoxious cleric, and sometimes drinking buddy, stuck his bulging belly between me and the story of a lifetime.
“I’ve been around.”
Sheman hopped off his stool and I screamed, “Wait!”
But I was too late, the little nerd scampered out the door of Duffy’s and into the cool St. Louis night. When I got outside he was gone and the story with him.