Ah, there you are, my friend! How very nice to see you again! I often wonder, at the outset of each new Survivor season, whether you will be back for another round of predictions. I’m aware that my track record has been, well, not good over the past four seasons. I resolve this year to dig deeper into the murky recesses of the unknown and unseeable, to spur my cracked crystal ball to greater heights of insight and precision, to once and for all resolve the mysteries of the great saga known as Survivor, and to render your actual viewing of the program completely irrelevant. I have spent a productive off-season honing my craft by dragging total strangers off the street and into my shop. They sit in awe and wonder as I recount for them the ups and downs of what awaits them beyond tomorrow. I’ve had heartbreaking visions for many of these poor souls, and I can only conclude that each of these tragic futures must have come true for this doomed lot, for I have not seen any of them return. Indeed, if I believed that my mere detection of these horrible fates could cause them to be true, I would lock myself away in an underground prison for the benefit of all humanity. Thankfully, this is not the case. I am but a witness to history, albeit a prescient one. My powers of foresight are singular and daunting, but they are for the good, which is why I charge so handsomely for my services. I’m sure you’ve noticed the upgraded condition of my shop this season. When I first opened my doors for business back when Survivor:Thailand hit the airwaves, I was fortunate to find office space in the broom closet of the local donut dive. Now, as you can see, I have all the amenities a modern seer could hope for, including one of those slide-your-credit-card transmitter thingies, which has really come in handy and saves wear and tear on my valuable wrists, which play such a vital role in coaxing the mysteries of the future from the confines of my cracked crystal ball. Now I ask you to please sit in the stuffed leather chair to your left and face me while we learn what will take place in the first episode of Survivor:Vanuatu. The cracked crystal ball is even now leaping to life, eager to share after such a long offseason. The title of this week’s episode is already visible within. It’s
Three Clay Mats Up Wins Beers
The sun gleams brightly on a remote stretch of ocean. The gentle wave action on the surface of the water shatters the light, reflecting it in all directions like a fistful of diamonds thrown on a glassy table. Sea gulls bob lazily in the water, squawking ignorantly at one another. In the far distance, a cluster of islands is visible, wavering in the haze of the extreme heat like a mirage.
Suddenly, the water roils and bubbles, sending the now-panicked gulls into the air in a shrieking, feathery cloud. Where the birds once swam, a large metal vessel rises out of the water. Water slips off the sides of the ship, revealing an immense submarine which dully reflects the bright light of the sun from its black hull. A hatch swings open, and Jeff hops out onto the deck of the submarine as it powers smoothly through the ocean waters. He spreads his legs wide to brace himself against the motion of the ship and folds his arms before speaking. “We’re in the Vanuatu island group, roughly 800 miles west of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean,” he calls out. “We’re aboard the newest nuclear submarine in the U.S. fleet, the S.S. Rudy Boesch. Below me, eighteen Americans are about to begin the adventure of a lifetime. Heck, even the total loser who gets voted out first will never again do anything as cool as this in their entire existence. And that’s....pretty sad.” He catches a spray of water on his dark blue cargo shirt as the submarine plows through a wave. “Back at port, each Survivor was loaded into a specially-designed torpedo canister for the long journey to Vanuatu. They’ve haven’t seen one another yet, and they won’t until they’ve been fired through the water and onto the shores of Malekula Island.” He nods with his head at the nearest island in the cluster. “Once they’ve made shore, they are allowed to press the release button in their canister and get out. At that time, they’ll need to find other Survivors with the same colored buff and head off to their own camp.”
A muffled floom sound below Jeff prompts him to grin excitedly as he looks out at the horizon. “There it is!” he yells, pointing enthusiastically at a large, swiftly-moving torpedo slicing through the water several yards in front of the vessel. “Our first Survivor is on their way!” Over the next few minutes, each of the eighteen torpedoes is fired. On the shores of the distant island, sand erupts into the air as each one burrows into the beach. Behind Jeff, a sailor climbs up and closes the hatch. A claxon sounds, and the ship begins to submerge itself once more beneath the water. Jeff looks around quickly and notices the sealed hatch. Wide-eyed, he looks back into the camera and speaks as the waters of the South Pacific rapidly climb up his body. “Thirty-nine days! Eighteen Americans! One....Surviblublurblubble.”
Back on the island, the Survivors are starting to release themselves from their torpedo prisons. The top of each canister explodes open when the release button within is touched. The Survivors crawl out slowly, moving delicately as if they’ve been severely beaten, which, in fact, they have. Many sit motionless on the beach, their heads bowed as they try to catch their breaths. “Wow,” John K. says quietly. “And here I thought the mechanical bull was the most awesomest, intense ride on Earth.” He roughs up his hair with one hand. “I don’t even know if I want to do it again,” he observes in wonderment.
Sergeant Lea is walking up and down the beach, checking on each Survivor. “How you doin’ there, soldier?” he murmurs to Dolly. “Look sharp, Private,” he whispers to Travis. He approaches Chad. “And how are you do – oh, my god!” He catches sight of Chad’s prosthetic leg. “We’ve got a soldier down over here!” he exclaims. “Lost a leg in the tube!” He tips his head back and closes his eyes. “Medic!” he bellows.
“Oh, great,” Brady says as he steps forward.
“You’re a doctor?” Lea asks.
“Well, I’d hoped to keep this tidbit under wraps,” Brady says with a sigh. “But no. I’m actually an FBI agent.”
Lea stares at him for several seconds before speaking. “Ohhhkay,” he says. “I asked for a doctor.”
“Been in the Bureau for six years,” Brady continues, staring intently off into the distance. “Currently working in the elite Los Angeles SWAT unit.” He pops one fist sharply into his other hand, curling his lip in frustration. “Dammit! I really didn’t want to draw attention to myself this early, but I should have known it would come out eventually.” He shrugs and spreads his hands. “So there you have it. Federal Bureau of Investigation. I don’t know what to tell you. Please don’t be intimidated. And for god’s sake, don’t vote me off.”
Lea shakes his head. “Seriously, man, you need to walk away now. You’re bizarre.”
Chad taps Lea on the shoulder. “Hey, man. Thanks for your concern and everything, but just so you know, I’m an amputee. This didn’t happen in the tube.”
“Oh,” Lea says, his face clouded with confusion.
“How could I have made myself a new leg in fifteen seconds?” Chad goes on, raising an eyebrow. Lea stares at him blankly. “I had it already. Does that make sense?”
“Ohhh!” Lea says, nodding in comprehension. “I get it! They gave you that when they put you in. Just in case.”
Chad buries his head in his hands. “And he’s on my tribe, too,” he mutters to himself.
A loud splashing down at the water’s edge causes everyone to turn and look at an approaching swimmer. As they look, the swimmer stands and wades the rest of the way into shore. It’s Jeff, his hair matted down and his clothes hanging heavily on his body.
Scout bursts out laughing. “Well, look what the cat dragged in!” she exclaims. “What happened to you?”
“Quiet,” Jeff growls. “I guess I was too long on my intro. The U.S. Navy has places to go, all right? You have to adhere to their schedule, or you get left.” More snickers and chuckles from the Survivors. Jeff does a quick head count. “Well, I see all of you made it intact,” he says, his voice tinged with regret. “We actually expected two of you to perish in the delivery. Now we actually have to run with eighteen of you freaks.” He grimaces and shakes his head sadly. “I will say, however, that I’m happy to see a bunch of strangers again. That ‘All-Stars’ crew,” he says, finger-quoting in the air. “Well, I think we all know what a group of idiots they were. I don’t expect much out of you guys, really. But if you can be even marginally more entertaining than them, I’ll take it.”
Twila raises her hand nervously. “I liked Boston Rob,” she chirps.
Jeff recoils as if zapped with a cattle prod. “Oh, please!” he exclaims in protest. “Any strategic-minded chimpanzee would have bounced Rob out of the game as soon as he started flaunting that two-person alliance of his.” He waves his hands in the air as if warding off a swarm of flies. “OK, let’s just stop talking about those clowns! It makes my head hurt.” He walks through the scattered Survivors to a wooden platform previously unseen among the many palm trees up the beach. He ascends three steps to the top of the platform, then drops his hands to the railing, leaning forward at the waist to address the group. “Let’s go ahead and get this thing started,” he says. “First of all, what were you supposed to do when you arrived?”
“Form tribes,” Mia pipes up helpfully.
Jeff nods, then compresses his lips and widens his eyes while shrugging. “Well?” he asks. “Or am I going to have to kick one of you out of the game right now?”
The Survivors scramble around for several seconds, chattering to one another excitedly as they try to determine who belongs to which tribe. Eventually, someone realizes there are only two tribal colors, not three, and that simplifies things. Not long after that, somebody else notices that the men and women each have different colors. In less than a minute after that momentous realization, the tribes are standing single-file in front of Jeff, men on one side, women on the other.
Jeff looks up from his watch and sighs in exasperation. “God, you guys can’t do anything right,” he says. “I just lost five bucks to Burnett because you figured out which tribe you’re on in less than ten minutes. It sure was close, though! Still...five bucks out here is a fortune.” He sighs again. “Oh, well. I’m sure you’ll help me win some of that money back as the season goes on. I’m not worried.” He pauses while straightening to his full height and jamming his hands in his pockets. “Anyway, let me be the first to welcome you to Vanuatu. The Islands...of FIRE!” His right arm jerks as he clicks something in his pocket.
Birds sing brightly deep in the forest. A soft, warm breeze rustles palm fronds nearby. “Thanks,” Rory says quietly after a few seconds.
Jeff’s face reddens. “In case you missed what I said,” he says loudly and deliberately. “I would like to welcome you to...the Islands of FIRE!” His pocket makes a clicking noise again.
A soft hiss can be heard somewhere behind Jeff. A cameraman coughs. “Sorry,” he murmurs.
Jeff pulls a remote control out of his pocket and stares at it for a few seconds. “Islands of FIRE!” he says, firmly pressing a round red button on the remote with both thumbs. “FIRE!” click “FIRE!!” click “Come on!” he implores. “FIIIIIRE!!” A match is struck nearby. Instantly, a whooshing, roaring explosion occurs in the trees behind the platform. A column of fire shoots hundreds of feet into the air, while at its base, a halo of flame blasts out sideways in all directions.
“Wowww!” the Survivors cheer together as the rolling wave of flame propels Jeff over the edge of the platform railing. He somersaults twice in the air before landing hard on his stomach, the tails of his untucked cargo shirt smoking from the intensity of the heat.
“Good thing you were all wet from your swim,” Lisa observes. “You’d probably be burning to death right now otherwise.” The other Survivors nod as they take in all the damage caused by the original explosion. The platform is completely engulfed in flames, as are a handful of trees at the edge of the forest. Overhanging palm fronds are curling up and away from the fire before bursting into flame themselves.
Jeff slowly picks himself off and tries futilely to dust the sand off his wet shirt. He spits sand from his mouth and wipes his lips with the back of one hand. “Anyway,” he says grumpily, “you got your Islands of Fire here. It’s, uh, let’s see. What was I going to say? Oh, yeah, it’s a region steeped in mystic tradition.”
“Steeped?” Ami asks. “Like a tea bag?”
Jeff pauses and looks at her thoughtfully. “Yeah, I guess so. I think that’s where that phrase comes from.”
“That’s pretty weird, don’t you think?” she persists. “So these islands are like a giant cup of tea, and this mystic tradition you refer to is all bundled together in some sort of cultural tea bag to be distributed around the islands in a uniform fashion?”
“Look,” Jeff says angrily, pointing an index finger at her. He pauses and squints at her for a moment. “Let’s just drop it.”
“I’m just saying, it’s a very odd cliche, that’s all. I wouldn’t have used it.” She shrugs and yawns simultaneously. “Anyway, go on. I’m interested.”
Jeff retracts his index finger into a tight fist, which he holds in the air briefly before dropping his arm to his side. “Well, I mean it wasn’t that big a deal. Just, you know, mysticism, witchcraft, cannibalism, that sort of thing.”
“Cannibalism?!” Eliza exclaims, covering her mouth with her hand. Other Survivors echo her concern with their facial expressions.
Jeff grins wickedly, regaining some composure in the face of the Survivors’ discomfort. “That’s right,” he says. “The locals in this part of the world have a rich history of eating people they don’t like. You might want to travel in pairs if you’re out gathering firewood.” Some of the Survivors gasp in horror. “And I guess this is as good a time as any to inform you of the new twist in the game.” Jeff rubs his hands together as his tongue glides along his lower lip. “A little extra motivation for you to make the jury. What I’m going to tell I’m truly sorry about, but our hands are tied. It was part of the agreement we made with the Vanuatu government in order to film here. And, geez, you can see how beautiful it is here so it was obviously worth it.” He gestures around him, carefully ignoring the growing number of flaming trees.
“What are you saying?” Dolly asks in a quavering voice.
Jeff nods grimly. “Very well. I’ll just lay it on you. This season, half of you – the nine that do not make the jury – will be served as refreshments at a local banquet.”
A roar of panic rises up from the assembled Survivors. Travis runs to the ocean and splashes in up to his waist, yelling for the submarine to return. Mia staggers to her left and slumps to the ground, unconscious.
“Yep, there we go!” Jeff cries excitedly, clapping his hands and nodding enthusiastically. “Just got my five dollars back,” he says. “I told him somebody would faint when I told you guys that.”
“So...we’re not getting fed to the cannibals?” Leann asks tentatively.
“Huh?” Jeff says. “Oh, no, that’s still true. Anyway, you guys had better grab your maps and head off to camp. Daylight’s wasting, and you still have shelters to build, fires to start, all that.”
“Are there supplies to help us do that at camp?” Twila asks.
“Ha!” Jeff laughs. “Good one! See you tomorrow for the first Immunity Challenge.” He starts to walk off in the direction of the wooden platform but stops to watch the platform collapse in on itself in a shower of sparks. He swings out wide to avoid the conflagration, then disappears into the trees.
The Survivors stare at one another in sadness, fear, and confusion. “What have we gotten ourselves into?” Scout asks. A tearful Travis splashes back up onto the beach and rejoins his tribe.
Brady steps forward and raises his hands. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m an FBI agent. Let’s just think about this rationally.”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t quite hear you. Did you say you’re an FBI agent?” Julie asks.
Brady slumps his head and exhales loudly. “Yes, all right? Oh, my gosh, people! Can we let it go? I’m an FBI agent. It’s true. I know it’s scary for you, OK? I know that. I mean, I’m aware of all sorts of different ways to kill you with just the simple tools at our disposal on this island. But I don’t want to do that. I just want to try to fit in with you people. Believe me, if there had been any way for me to keep this sensitive information to myself, I would have. I can see now it’s a burden I’ll need to bear as long as I last in this crazy game.” He stares out to sea, his eyes filled with pain.
The others are quiet for some time, then Sergeant Lea clears his throat. “All right, everyone. Let’s just head off to our camps before it gets too dark.”
The rest of the evening and most of the next day is spent in constant activity for the two tribes. The typical zaniness and ineptitude surrounding the creation of fire has by now become a Survivor tradition. One might expect somebody to one day actually study how to create one before coming out to the island, but it doesn’t happen this time. The construction of the tribal shelters is also predictably wacky. Neither shelter looks like it will prevent so much as one rain drop from entering its interior, and this is proven overnight when a wild rain storm blows through. By the time the tribes are summoned to Challenge Beach for the initial Immunity Challenge, every Survivor is frazzled, tired, hungry, and shell-shocked.
Jeff perceives this strained attitude as the tribes gather on their respective mats. “Rough first night?” he asks the group, his devilish smile undermining the apparent solicitousness of his manner. Several Survivors grunt in response. “Anyone make fire?” he asks, aware in advance of the futility of their efforts. “Everybody eating well? Lots of drinking water? Getting good rest?” He laughs loudly as the Survivors glare at him. “I’m sorry,” he says, wiping his eyes. “I shouldn’t poke fun, but man, people, you had to know it was going to be rough, right? Or did you not believe that?” When nobody replies, he shrugs. “Well, anyway,” he says. “Let’s get on with your first Immunity Challenge. Obviously, this is a very important competition for all of you. Now more than ever, you really don’t want your tribe to visit Tribal Council. That’s just really bad for you.” He makes eye contact with each Survivor as he smiles broadly.
“You’re serious about this whole cannibal thing, aren’t you?” Chris asks.
Jeff flashes his eyebrows up and down. “I guess we’ll see, won’t we?” he says. “All right, on to the Challenge. As usual, it’s not just about the physical component. We feel that part of our job as creators of the Challenges is to educate you, the Survivors, on the customs and legends of the local area. And, yeah, I don’t know why we do that. You guys are always so focused on your own petty problems, like starvation and dehydration and so forth. You never really invest the kind of mental energy we hope for when we design these things, so sometimes it feels like a real waste of a social lesson. But we have to remember there are 20 to 24 million people out there watching you bungle through this game, and maybe just one of them will learn something. And if that happens, then – hey - it was all worth it.” He wipes a single tear from the inside of his left eye. “Today, we’re honoring the ancient custom of leaving custom doormats outside your dwelling. Few people realize that the Vanuatu people were the first to do this. Early explorers – the ones who survived, I mean – brought this local custom home with them to Europe and other parts of the world. While the custom evolved and doormat technology changed over the years outside of Vanuatu, the locals here are still constructing mats the same way their ancestors did: by forming them out of clay and firing them in giant kilns. Here’s an example of an actual mat we saw in the village, which we’ve had translated to English.”
He struggles to lift a heavy clay doormat over his head so the Survivors can read the legend. It says, “Friends are always welcome. Strangers may stay for dinner.” Someone lets out a small peep of fear. A ripple of uncomfortable conversation rolls through the two tribes.
“All right, all right,” Jeff says. “Ease ‘er down.” He drops the doormat to the ground, which sends a large puff of sand into the air. “We’re obviously not sending you to that house. Yet. Anyway, here’s how it’s going to work. Your tribe will break up into teams of three. Each of those teams must create their own clay mat using the molds provided. Once your team has filled a mold with clay, you must work together to carry it to the kiln area. Islands of Fire, right? We’ll be simulating the inside of a kiln by setting the surrounding trees on fire. Work your way into the heart of the fire without incinerating yourself. Drop off your wet clay and pick up one of your tribe’s three finished mats. Bring that out of the kiln area and back here to your mat. Behind you is a raised rack for displaying your mats. You’ll have to lift each heavy clay mat over your heads and place it in one of the mat holders in the rack. Want to know what you’re playing for?”
“Um…Immunity, right?” Scout asks.
“Well, yeah, there is that. But besides that, we’re also offering a Reward today.”
“Waterproof matches!” John P. exclaims. “Thank goodness!”
“Uh, no,” Jeff says. “Three six-packs of beer, though, so you can forget about the fact that you don’t have any fire. Makes it easier for you that way. At least, initially. And, by the way, here is the precious Immunity Idol. Everyone gather around and put your hands on it so you know what you’re playing for.” He holds out a human skull, mounted atop a fearsome miniature totem pole. The skull’s jaw gapes wide open, and it has just a few scattered teeth remaining. As the Survivors press in close to lay a hand on the Idol, Jeff clicks a button on the back of the totem pole which causes a jet of flame to burst out of the skull’s open mouth. The Survivors – some of them singed – yell and scramble out of the way. Jeff laughs heartily. “OK, people, come on now. Stay with me. Islands of Fire. You’re going to have to keep your eyes out for fire, got it? Heck, even now, your camps might be in flames. You just don’t know. That’s my point.” He pats the Idol on top of the skull and sets it aside. “All right, here’s the situation. Immunity, up for grabs. And, obviously, if you can figure out how to make the Idol shoot flames, you can have fire. Reward is also available. So, in summary, first tribe that gets…” He pauses dramatically and grins into the camera. “…three clay mats up wins beers. And, of course, Immunity. Everybody understand?” The Survivors nod. “Think that’s everything you need to know?” Several nod again. “Wrong!” Jeff laughs. “It’s Survivor, guys! There’s always a twist. Today, you’re not only going to have to beat each other, but you’re also going to be asked to vanquish the vaunted Vanuatu Champion! He will be competing by himself. If at least one of you beats him, nothing unusual will happen. But if he defeats both of you, then both tribes will be going to Tribal Council tomorrow night!”
“Who IS this ferocious competitor?” Brook cries.
“Who is he?” Jeff scoffs. “He’s only the most celebrated Challenge champion of the Survivor era! He’s beloved around the world! He’s a million dollar winner himself! Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Survivor’s own favorite son! It’s…Rrrrrrupert!” Jeff applauds wildly as Rupert steps out of the trees and approaches the group.
The Survivors remain completely still and simply stare at the large man in the tie-dyed shirt. As Jeff’s clapping subsides, Chris speaks up. “So…this is three series in a row for him, is that right? Should we maybe rename the show to The Rupert Hour?”
“What are you saying?” Jeff asks. “You mean you don’t like Rupert?! Come on now! He’s the most popular Survivor of all time! You should be thankful, ya big ingrate.” He pouts sullenly.
“What happens if we both beat him?” Ami asks. “Does he go to Tribal Council?”
Jeff shakes his head in annoyance. “No!” he exclaims, a slight whine creeping into his voice. “He’s not even in the game.”
“Precisely,” she continues. “So why are we playing him?”
Jeff points at her. “All right, that’s enough! Listen, you,” he says. He shakes his finger at her for several seconds. “You be quiet.” He turns to Rupert, who’s standing several yards away from the Survivors, looking uncomfortable and confused. “Get in there, Rupert,” Jeff says firmly. “Let’s get it going.” When Rupert takes his position, Jeff raises his left arm. “Survivors ready? Go!”
As Rupert dashes off to begin constructing his clay mats, the other tribes quickly divide themselves into three teams before sprinting after him. The construction of the mats is very dirty work. All eighteen Survivors and Rupert dig lustily in the thick, wet clay which is so abundant just inside the shelter of the trees at the beach’s edge. The molds are large and spacious so it takes considerable effort to fill them and pack the clay down. Within minutes, however, the first couple of teams – both from the men’s tribe – stand and begin wrestling their heavy cargo to a cluster of flaming trees nearby. They pause outside the portal to the ring of fire, looking at one another uncomfortably before committing to run inside. While they wait, a loud clumping can be heard behind them. They turn in time to see Rupert tip his head back and roar before charging into the flames, his first clay mat balanced on his head. Right behind him is one of the women’s teams, and they follow him without reservation into the burning circle. The men shrug and step tentatively through the portal.
The heat inside the kiln area is extreme and unpleasant. In addition, the waiting hard clay mats appear to be very hot to the touch. Rupert has removed his shirt and is cradling the first heavy mat within it. As he exits the area, another team from the women’s tribe enters. The men are taking Rupert’s lead and lifting their mats with their removed shirts. The women hesitate briefly before a couple of them follow suit. Shockingly, no lacy undergarments are visible, just functional sports bras and firmly-fastened Survivor buffs. The men groan in disappointment and return their focus to the Challenge at hand.
As the four teams currently in the kiln area shuffle their way out, Rupert charges back in and throws his second wet clay mat to the side. “You gotta hurry!” Lea calls out to the remaining men’s team. “Just slap that mud in there!”
“Technically, it’s clay,” Travis grunts.
“Whatever,” Lea replies.
It’s a struggle to lift the heavy clay mats overhead and place them on the storage racks. But once again, the Survivors watch Rupert for pointers on how to get it done. Once his second is mounted, it doesn’t take long before both the men’s tribe and women’s tribe have duplicated the feat.
It’s a dead heat as the two remaining 3-person teams finish filling their molds almost simultaneously and race off to the kiln area. Rupert, meanwhile, is flinging clay everywhere in a frenzied attempt to prepare his final mat. Too late for him, however, the men’s tribe quickly emerges from the kiln area and wrestles their final mat up into place on the rack.
“Immunity!” Jeff cries. “Goes to…hm, I guess we never named you two tribes, did we? Wow, that’s weird. What an oversight. You’d think after nine seasons, we wouldn’t screw up like that. Well, anyway, here’s the Idol, and here are your six-packs, one per subteam. Enjoy.” As the men traverse the treacherous balancing act of expressing their extreme delight while still looking relatively manly, Jeff turns to the women. “I’ll see you folks at Tribal Council tomorrow night.” Then, looking over their shoulders at Rupert, who’s still patting down clay in his final mold: “OK, big fella. That’ll do. You did good. You did real good. You’ll get another chance. I promise.” The Survivors groan as Rupert grins and breaks into his trademark dry, rattly laugh.
Next night at Tribal Council, the women vote unanimously to eliminate Scout. She shakes her head sadly as her torch is snuffed. “Why, you guys?” she implores. “I’m really very interesting.”
“Yeah, but you’re old,” Eliza says. “Old people always go first. It’s a Survivor rule.”
And the visions have faded. I must say, I feel very confident in the correctness of my predictions this time around. I think all that extra training has really paid off. I think I might have to give the cracked crystal ball a raise. See you next week!
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