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Silberman's Books: Grand Opening (IC)


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Wednsday, July 30th 2014. Silberman's Books. 10:00am



Used Books and Magazines
Coffee, Tea and Fresh Bakery Items

At the corner of Pratt and Frederick since 1946


Specializing in: 

- A full range of magazines and newspapers from around the world                                                                        
- Comic books and graphic novels, with back issues at fair prices                                                                                
- Magic tricks, stage magic books and memorabilia
- Mystery, horror, sci-fi and fantasy novels                                                                                                                                                    
- Mythology, folklore and the occult
- Roleplaying and board games                                                                                                                                                                        
- Theater, film and performing arts                                                                                                                             
- True crime and the uncanny


Hours: 10am to 10pm Mon-Fri
             Noon to 10pm Sat
             Noon to 6pm Sun


Maybe she should have waited until next week for the grand opening, but Lynn just couldn't imagine making it through the weekend on pins and needles, so she just took a deep breath and opened the store in the middle of the week. Things would be a bit bumpy, of course, but that was to be expected with any new endeavor.


Just to be on the safe side, she decided to have >her full staff for the opening, on the off-chance there were any actual crowds; back in the day, her grandfather's store had been something of a local fixture, and that was before Lynn's decision to add a full espresso bar and food. There was a good chance she was deluding herself, but better safe than sorry; she could always send some folks home early if it came to that.


She turned a gaze over her team; they were all wearing brand-new brown aprons with the 'Silberman's Books' right across the front, and they all looked eager and ready to go. Well, except Cred0, but that was to be expected. For herself, Lynn was trying to look as relaxed as possible in a pretty summer print dress and well-worn pair of cowboy boots.


"You guys ready?" There were nods all around; the brand-new proprietor lifted the dark ring up on its lanyard, kissed it for luck and dropped it back down her dress before turning the bolt and swinging the door open.


"Good morning, and welcome to Silberman's Books!"

Edited by Heritage
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Rene came in, and adjusted his glasses. 


The whole place seemed, through those very special lenses, to be perfused with such a hazy, strong magic, that he had to take his spectacles off and polish them. 


Same haze. 


"Damn these eyes! I am an old man, you know!" he complained to nobody and everybody. "My knees are bent, My hips are grinding, my joints are sore and worn! I had to walk a whole minute to get here!" he grumbled, promptly sitting down on the nearest chair. 


"What does this bookshop sell, anyway?" he asked innocuously. "Harry Potter? The Lord of the Rings? Anything for an adult to read, perhaps? I was looking for a copy of Malleus Maleficarum. I could do with a laugh. Original copy, of course. I cant be doing with these modern reprints, or fancy Kindlerings. GIve me old fashioned paper and ink, the stuff I can smell!"

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Lynn had been helping a young couple find the New Age section when her keen ears picked up the older customer's kvetching; to some folks, he would have sounded like an old crank, but she guessed this might not be the case. She approached the gentleman and smiled warmly.


"Good morning, sir! I'm Lynn Epstein, the owner of this store. I'd love to help you find something, but I think an original copy of that particular title might be hard to find, at least outside of a museum's special collection; Late Middle Ages, isn't it?"

Edited by Heritage
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Rene peered over his glasses. The shimmering haze of magic was actually making it rather hard to see. Was everything made of magic here?


"Indeed it was. Horrible, nasty, vicious book. Makes excellent reading, of course. Reminds an old man of how far our ridiculous and marvellous species has come! That, and Darwin. Good old Charles. Had a wonderful pair of sideboards you know. Just don't get such refined hair these days, do you? He played a good game of cards too, did old Charles. I am sure he cheated, mind. Sneaky old devil, haha. Fond memories"  he rumbled, mind drifting back over the years. 


"So what does this bookshop sell then, if it is not Middle Age doctrines of torture and persecution in the name of the Holy? My eyes are old and weak, but I suspect this little establishment might sell more than your latest block buster, hmmm? Something with a little magic, perhaps?" he finished, leaving the last words ambigious. 

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"So what does this bookshop sell then, if it is not Middle Age doctrines of torture and persecution in the name of the Holy? My eyes are old and weak, but I suspect this little establishment might sell more than your latest block buster, hmmm? Something with a little magic, perhaps?" he finished, leaving the last words ambigious. 


Lynn's body stiffened slightly when she noticed the iron ring on the gentleman's hand; her eyes tracked it as his hand moved as he spoke. At length, she decided to go out on a limb; pausing to clear her throat, she suddenly began to speak perfect, accentless Parisian French.


<"Pardon me, sir, but I assume you're in...'the trade'? If so, I'd be happy to try and find something for you, either in our own stock or from any number of excellent dealers. However, our store does draw the line when it comes to certain 'unsafe' items.">


She smiled again.


<"I'm sure you understand.">

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Samantha Carson walked into the bookstore, inhaled deeply, and smiled. There's something about the smell of old books that puts me at ease. She was in town yet again because HIT needed a consult and no, Skyping wouldn't do. Still, I'd been meaning to stop by for the opening anyway. She wandered into the stacks, browsing gently.


"Can I help you?" The dark skinned woman surprised Sam, who jumped. "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you."


Sam, with the ease of long practice, controlled her breathing. Her heart rate began to slow. "No, it's my fault. I shouldn't let my guard down, even in a place like this." She smiled. "Never know when I'll be unexpectedly ambushed."


The woman smiled back. "Well, you seemed a bit...meandering. I thought I could help you narrow it down a bit. By the way, I'm Maddy."


Sam extend her hand and they shook. "And I'm Sam. Pleasure to meet you. I'm not meandering as such. There are quite a few books in here, and I thought I'd take it all in before I began searching in earnet."


Maddy nodded, and a predatory glint appeared in her eye. The prey had been sighted. "A bibliophile, eh? I've got just the thing." She led the way to a certain shelf in the back stacks. "Try these."


Sam gave the shelves a once over, and her eyes widened. She took one of the books. "This...this has been out of print for years. No one appreciates English Literature anymore, and most of these are consigned to the dustbin of history. And this one-" She took another out. "this print run had less than ten thousand copies."


Maddy grinned. "Need me to ring you up?"


Sam grinned right back. "Oh, no. I need to see your children's books. The good ones. And if you have anything from China's pre-Communist years, that would be excellent."


"Very well, then. Follow me."

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<"I'm sure you understand.">

Rene paused the longest, pregnant moment. His eyes were solid, but not fierce. Just looking, not fighting. 


"< I am sure you are sure>"


He paused again, letting the enigma twist in. 


"<Let us lower our masks then, if but a little. One always has mysteries, secrets, even from oneself>"


He stood up, stiffly but less stiffly than before, and gazed slowly around the sho, before reverting back to English. 


"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Rene DeSaens, I have lived many years, and few of them in Freedom City. I have seen many wonders, marvels, and magic in my time, beyond the counting. Some are fair, some are foul, some are lovely, some are hateful, and all are wonderful. And now I wonder, what of here? What shall I find in these tomes, these words, this glamour? Would you care to show me?"



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On 7/30/2014 at 5:17 PM, Supercape said:
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Rene DeSaens, I have lived many years, and few of them in Freedom City. I have seen many wonders, marvels, and magic in my time, beyond the counting. Some are fair, some are foul, some are lovely, some are hateful, and all are wonderful. And now I wonder, what of here? What shall I find in these tomes, these words, this glamour? Would you care to show me?"


This man was indeed far more than he seemed, and his name seemed vaguely familiar; Lynn inclined her head slightly, and took in the breadth of her store with a sweep of her hand. "I'd be happy to show you around, and you're right, there is a great deal of glamour in here, though I don't use it to deceive anyone." Then she cocked her head from side to side, and then smiled. "Well, not to prey on my customers, at any rate; only the unjust." She offered the crook of her arm to Rene. "Care to join me, monsieur?" Now that she'd relaxed somewhat, the South Jersey accent of her youth crept back into her speech.


- - - -


Meanwhile Maddy had helpfully snatched a book basket to help her customer carry her finds. "I'm not sure how much we have on pre-Communist China, ma'am, or did you mean books actually printed in pre-Communist China?" She grimaced and looked around the shelves. "Sadly I think there we might have hit a minor setback, but if you give me a moment, I can do a quick search and see if we can order something for you. Was there a particular author or title you were looking for?"

Edited by Heritage
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Sam frowned, and her brow wrinkled. "In particular? I was hoping you had copies of a few things." She rattled off a multitude of syllables in Mandarin, too fast for Maddy to catch.


"I'm sorry, I didn't understand any of that."


Sam blinked. "Sorry. It's been a long time since I've had to translate. Mental muscles do get rusty if they aren't used. I was thinking specifically of Ding Ling's Diary of Miss Sophie, and Ba Jin's Torrent Trilogy. As for titles...Flowers in the Mirror, The Scholars, and Slapping the Table in Amazement. You...may need those titles in the original Mandarin." She reached into her pants pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. "I've written it Western style, from left to right and top to bottom. The names are in the order I said them. Ah, and that last one is Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. That's...less necessary."


Maddy nodded. "That's quite a list. Let me see what I can dig up."


"They shouldn't be too hard to find in English, but that's the problem. I'd like to have them in Chinese. It's been remarkably difficult to find them on the East Coast. I suppose you could say I'm trying to reconnect with my homeland."

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On 7/30/2014 at 7:40 PM, EternalPhoenix said:

"They shouldn't be too hard to find in English, but that's the problem. I'd like to have them in Chinese. It's been remarkably difficult to find them on the East Coast. I suppose you could say I'm trying to reconnect with my homeland."


Maddy frowned as she scanned the store. "My boss is really good with languages; scarily so, actually-" Then she noted Lynn with an elderly gentleman. "But she seems to be with another customer. Do you want to continue browsing until she's free? I could hold onto those books for you behind the counter while you shop."


Then she indicated the far end of the counter with a nod of her head, where the espresso machine was being manned by a strapping young man.


"Or perhaps you'd like to enjoy coffee or tea and something from our bakery?"

Edited by Heritage
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Dancia sat around enjoying a, really good, coffee watching how the store opening was going down. Despite one or two byline of some worth she was still doing most of her work for the papers website, and this shop opening was it’s bread a butter.

The story almost wrote itself about how it was great that a book shop was opening in this day and age, but could it survive in the age of digital distribution and the ebook. She’d already gotten the article written out she’d just need a few quote from the store owner and her job here would be done.

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"Care to join me, monsieur?"


"Lead on" said Rene. 


He loved books. Old, crusty, dusty ones. Books where the story had soaked into the pages as much as the ink. With crispness, with fur, with that distinctive smell that could only come from a book. 


He was an artist, not a writer. But he could only help but love the stories that both contained. 


"Glamour, eh? I make it a rule to find Glamour utterly charming and utterly untrustworthy. Born of mercury and light, and ephemeral as both. But then, I live in the floating world. Nothing is permanent, but for the moment we live in" he said, rambling slightly. 



His hands brushed some old books, old, and wonderful. Even the feel of them was beautiful. 


"But such delicacies will attract many eyes. And words themselves, won'drous though they be, have a power, be it mundane or extraordinary. This shop has gravity. What shall it pull? What will float to and from its magnetic embrace?"

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Lynn walked arm-in-arm with Rene for awhile towards the back of the store, more or less letting his odd torrent of words flow over her; a look of wry puzzlement crossed her face as she tried to sort the English language out of the rest.


"Uh...who can say, am I right?" Then she paused and gave the older gentleman an apologetic sigh. "Alright, I admit I have no idea what you just said, but it sounded very deep. Perhaps too deep for an Atlantic City girl who never had the time to finish college." She noticed Maddy desperately trying to signal her, and indicating a young Asian woman with a jerk of her head. "I did catch the part about glamour though, and you're right about that-"


She held up her hand, slightly cupped to block the eyes of the casual viewer; a small flag in the French tri-colors no bigger than a postage stamp appeared there for a few seconds, then melted away into vapor they trailed out of her fingers.


"Nothing but mercury and light. I hate to be rude, but as this is our opening day, I sort of feel the need to be everywhere. Here-" A quick flick of her fingers produced a Silberman's Books business card. "I would love to continue our conversation when I have a bit more time...and maybe a glass or two of wine in me. Au revoir , Monsieur DeSaens." She flashed him a quick smile, and then moved quickly to her bookseller's side.


"What can I help you with, Maddy?"


The bibliophile indicated Sam with a nod of her head.

"This young woman is interested in some rare books on pre-Communist China?"


Lynn blinked for a few seconds, clearly confused. "And you called me over because...?"


Maddy looked somewhat flustered. "Well you know, you're so good with languages..."


- - - -


A petite young woman with a perpetually bored expression approached the reporter with a circular tray loaded with bite-sized bits of various delicious-smelling baked goods; there appeared to be several types of cookies, cakes and fudge brownies represented.


"Would you care to sample some of Mrs. Nussbaum's famous cookies?" Her voice was flat and she made minimal eye contact as she vaguely waved a hand toward her offerings. "Every item hand-made in her kosher kitchen of delight."

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Dancia smiled at the other woman mostly just friendly with just a hint of professionalism, she was here to do a job after all.


“Thanks I’ll think I will, skipped breakfast to get here early.â€


She tapped her notepad with a rather chewed pen, it was filled with her unique shorthand a form of latin that would make a scholar weep. She wasn’t sure why she wrote like that it just seemed natural to her.


“Would you care to give a quote about the opening of the bookshop? In the strictest confidence of cause.â€


She wasn't expecting a scandal  but it didn't hurt to be professional.

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Sam favored the young woman-apparently the store's manager, if not the owner-with a smile. "<She's been quite helpful. My son will have new books tomorrow.>" Her Mandarin was flawless. "However, the books I seek aren't entirely rare. Imagine if I were to ask my friend in San Francisco, she could find them rather quickly. But...ai yah. Shipping across the country is expensive, and that says nothing about the endless anticipation while I wait for them to arrive. The price I pay for settling on the wrong coast, I suppose.†Sam looked thoughtful for a moment. “That said, if you’re busy I can remind myself of just how married but not dead I am by getting an espresso.â€

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Gretchen lowered the tray slightly so she could get a better look at the offerings it bore. "Uh, the brownies are pretty good. I don't like raisins, so I didn't try the oatmeal cookies." The bookseller shrugged. "I dunno about the rest of it."


When Dancia went into reporter mode, the young woman's eyes narrowed. "Okay, who do you write for? I was a journalism major for three semesters, so I kinda need to see some credentials." Once she was satisfied, she set the tray down on a nearby table and began to pick at one of the brownies.


"Lynn, that's the owner? She's pretty cool, I guess. She does talk like my mom a lot; I think she used the word 'family' during my interview like fifteen times." Halfway done with her brownie, she proceeded to start picking at one of the oatmeal cookies, deftly avoiding any and all raisins. "She pays pretty good for retail, plus we get ten percent of any sale over twenty dollars, which is nice..." Gretchen noticed Maddy and Lynn interacting with the Eurasian woman, and indicated them with a jerk of her chin. "That's why Maddy's such a retail whore; God, how I loathe her." She hefted her tray once again, then raised her eyebrows at the reporter. "Is that the kinda stuff you're looking for?"


- - - -


Lynn responded to Sam in Mandarin as perfect as her own. <"I'll be honest, I hate to lose a sale; I'd be more than happy to contact one of the bookstores up in New York. I think there are three or four there that carry books in Chinese."> She sighed and shook her head. <"Sadly, while I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese, I don't read the pictograms at all; I guess I have an ear for language, but not the eye."> Then she switched back to English as she stepped over by the coffee bar. "But by all means, have an espresso; we get fresh beans every day."

Edited by Heritage
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Sam sighed and muttered a few off color remarks in Mandarin. “Don’t talk to me about New York. My father’s family lives in Manhattan. I refuse to have anything to do with the city.†She reached into the outer pocket of her briefcase, retrieved a credit card, and handed it to Maddy. “Ring up what I have, please. I’ll just have to call Xue Yi and see if she can help.†She looked thoughtful for a moment. “<Come to think of it, you do have some time? There are so few Chinese speakers in Boston. I’d like to just talk for a while. Perhaps you could recommend a few of your favorite books, and I could recommend a few of mine.>†She glanced over at the man at the espresso bar.†<And perhaps you could persuade him to provide some direct to our table service.>â€

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Once Maddy finished ringing Sam up, Lynn guided her over to a table while giving Lance a look and a jerk of her head. <"Sure, I have a few minutes, though if you really want some good recommendations, I would talk to M-Girl over there; she reads way more books than I do!">


Lance came over to them, wiping his hands dry on a linen towel; he moved with surprising grace for a man of his size, and his smile was worth the price of admission alone. "Hello miss, boss lady; what can I get for you?"


Lynn turned to Sam. "I think you said you'd like an espresso? And I'll have a half-caff iced mint mocha, two percent, half milk, half dark, no whip."


The big man grinned and bowed slightly. "My pleasure." And yes, Lynn discretely checked out his ass as he turned to leave; in fact, it took her a moment to find the thread of conversation once again.


<"So yes, favorite books! Well, I have a odd tastes, I guess; classic fantasy, folklore, true crime, history, psychology and Judaica are the subjects I'm mostly into right now. How 'bout yourself?">

Edited by Heritage
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Dancia took note of all that Gretchen said, though she didn’t plan to use most of it, it was more out of habit than anything else. She nibbled on the rather good cookies as the other woman talked about the store.

“Don’t worry I’m not planning a hatchet job on this place, however loathsome that Maddy might be, through the generous store owner is a good angle. Can I quote you on that or would to prefer to be an anonymous source?â€


She didn't like such sources, especially in more serious stories, as it tended to suggest shady dealings, but was a little uncaring not to offer such things. She drained the last dregs of the coffee and politely asked for a refill, even though the caffeine didn’t affect her much she seemed to survive on such things.

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Gretchen was gazing across the store at her boss, an odd look on her face. "And now it seems she speaks fluent Chinese; that's fairly random." Turning back to Dancia, she merely shrugs. "Eh, you can quote me, I don't care. You should probably leave out the stuff about Maddy; it's all true, but she'd probably sue you for libel."


She looked like she was about to continue wandering the store with her tray of half-eaten samples before she stopped and looked back over her shoulder, eyes blank with boredom. "Oh yeah, she just came back from travelling the world I guess, for about three years. She was in school at Freedom College for about a year before she got married and took off. She doesn't wear the ring anymore, but it's on a cord around her neck, so..." She shrugged again. "Guess I should have opened with that stuff, huh?"


And with that she was off again, listlessly offering her wares.

Edited by Heritage
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Sam blinked and shook her head, with a sheepish smile on her face. <"What? I was...a bit distracted."> The smile slipped away and she seemed to mentally freeze for an instant. <"Oh, right. My favorite books and what I like to read. That's...hmm. How to explain. It's...I have one of those photographic memories. Once I've read a book, I remember every word perfectly. I simply don't forget anything, and that makes rereading...difficult to enjoy. I also read quite quickly, so you can imagine what buying new books does to my budget. Television doesn't have much to offer me, and the internet, I'm sad to say, simply doesn't update their novels and such quite fast enough. With that said, I...don't have a bias, really. I'll read just about anything if it sounds interesting. The format doesn't matter, either. It could be a thousand page novel, or a humble twenty two page comic book. Though I admit, comic books these days aren't what they used to be."> She took a sip of her espresso. <"I do have a few books I keep out, though. I flip through occasionally. Let's see..."> She closed her eyes, and as if reciting from a list, continued. "Betsy the Vampire Queen, Isaac's Storm, The Proud Breed, Watership Down, and Wicked." Sam opened her eyes again. <"The first is an anthology of four novels, the second is blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction, the third is historical fiction, and the other two you should know.">

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Lynn pulled a notebook and pen out of her front apron pocket and jotted down the three unfamiliar titles. <"I'll have to look those three up on Amazon, they sound interesting. Let's see, books I can recommend. Uh, well, The Monster Show, which is about the history of the American horror film; I don't agree with everything the guy says, but it's still pretty cool. The original Oz books by L. Frank Baum, favorites since I was a kid. John Norwich did this three-part history of Byzantium, which is just so...sad and tragic and amazing; it's like the prototype of Game of Thrones, so watch out!">


Gretchen passed by with her tray of partially-devoured cookies, which set off a few alarm bells. "Gretch, what are you doing? That tray looks like sh##!"


The young bookseller looked blasé and shrugged. "I'm heading back by the bar; I can stock up." Then she indicated Dancia's table with a jerk of her head. "Also there's a reporter over there doing a piece on the store; might want to stop by."


Lynn craned her neck to catch a glimpse of the journalist. "Okay, I see her, thanks." Turning back to Sam, she smiled apologetically. <"It looks like duty calls; here, take a card-"> She pulled a business card out of her apron and offered it. <"We're going to be starting a book club soon, maybe two or three; check out our website for details! It was very nice to meet you."> She smiled and offered a firm handshake and a little bow.


Approaching Dancia's table, Lynn raised her eyebrows inquisitively. "Hello, I'm Lynn Epstein; I understand you're doing a piece on our little shop?"

Edited by Heritage
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Dancia gave the store owner a large smile, to be honest she probably had enough for the column inches she’d been assigned. but she wanted to do the best job she could, and beside these cookies were delicious.


“Pleased to meet you I’m Dancia Devon’s of the Freedom Ledger.†she flashed her press pass


“I’m doing a piece on the reopening of the bookshop, it’s only for the web site I’m afraid.†she was still a little embarrassed about it not being proper journalism, though that didn't stop her doing the best job she could.


“I’ve been talking to you staff and they give you a glowing report.â€

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Lynn waved her hand and shook her head. "Hey, don't apologize! Lots of people probably only go to the website these days anyways, plus exposure is exposure!" Then she cocked her head to one side and looked genuinely surprised. "Wait, Gretchen gave me a glowing review? That can't be right." She steepled her fingers and grinned diabolically. "It appears the brain implant is working even better than I expected! Ehhhhhhxcellent!"


Once more serious again, the store owner indicated the walls of bookshelves with a wave of her hand. "Did you get any pictures? I can pose, or maybe some of our booksellers would be up for it?"

Edited by Heritage
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  • 2 months later...

Dancia smiled back at Grimalkin she couldn’t help but warm to the book owner.


“If it helps it was very reluctantly.†she gave a sagely nod


She started to prepare her cell phone to take potential photographs, despite her best efforts she couldn’t get a photographer for this assignment.


“I can’t guarantee if these will be used, this could end up as a tiny fluff piece. And I’m probably not the world best photographer, but hopefully decent enough. And  I can easily arrange for you to get copies either way.â€

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