Tag Archive | Ian Martyn

Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 30: WINNERS

AWESOME AWESOME work, y’all. Despite the huge number of draggins traveling this past weekend (or who conked out early, not naming any names, A.J.), y’all still managed nearly five dozen spectacularly convicting (heh heh) tales of justice and/or vengeance and/or Napoleon. And what a riot those tales were. Beautiful, tragic, funny, terrifiying — a little like us, maybe, eh??

And speaking of beautiful, a special mention here for our own Voima Oy, who found inspiration in Phil Coltrane‘s flash fiction-style interview for his 5th win this past week, and wrote her own secret, gorgeous rendition just because. LOVE.    

rof2RING OF FIRE!!!! Since we ran late flinging out the #RingofFire badges for May & June, I’m just now about to update the Wall of Flame. Did you write for FF at least three times in May and/or June? Let me know asap to keep (or put!) your name on this stunning list. Details here!       


Judging for us this round was Dragon Team Five, Holly Geely & Foy Iver. SO FUN having this new panel sifting through your glorious tales; can’t wait to get to know each team better as the next rounds unfold. 

Before handing out tiaras, Holly & Foy say:

HG: Good morrow, fellow writers; you have moved me with your display of talent, creativity, and pun-mastery. I was hoping for a bit of silliness and was not disappointed. I am honoured to have this opportunity to present winners, and look forward to the next adventure.

FI:  The inaugural Friday of a new format and look you all, dragony wings unruffled, laying gems at our feet! And is there something in the air? Death, annihilation, and mayhem must be on vacation with optimism and humor filling in; the body count was pleasantly low. While reading, I was swept along in swashbuckling tales of swapped identities, hilariously antithetical ghosts doomed to haunt the same grounds, brooding revenge fantasies–and some not so brooding! And each one laudable for its own traits. The stories standing here are those that demanded to be recognized, succulent, singular, and not soon forgotten.



Best Use of Random French: Emily ClaytonBrothers to the End.” While it might sound like I’m being silly, the French throughout is important, and a clever device.

Best Use of Puns: Voima OyRSVP.” My funny bone was thoroughly tickled. The hologram, the eerie way the prisoners sat down, the meal before them… heehee… gastronomical.

Best Twist: Brian Creek, “Penniless and Wanting.” Thoroughly convinced this was a revenge epic until this magnificent turn: “Come on, Charlie, you’re ruining my book launch.”

Best Ballad Remix-Mashup: Dylyce P. Clarke, “Not With My Body You Don’t.” Reads like a remix-mash-up of Loreena McKennitt’s “Annachie Gordon” and “The Highwayman.”  




Digestible Ink, “The Wedding Night.” 

HG: Clair’s letter reads like something out of its time period, a great use of language. You can feel her sorrow, and later, her anger. Her threat to her lover at the end is heartbreaking, at the same time that it’s cruel.

FI: Such a voice in this! Like a bulwark against the breakers, those first two lines clash (“It is my wedding night. My husband lies drunk on the bed.”), drowning us in Clair’s plight, prescribed by “parents and duty.” So far she’s sunk, that she sees her lover’s gift as an instrument of escape (“This silk can free me from…life”), and, in her jealous anguish, threatens the very man she longs for (“If you are silent then my death will unleash your downfall.”). Heavy at the close, we’re left despairing that they’ll be returned to that indigo night under the low moon.

Steph Ellis, “‘Til Death Do Us Part.”

HG: The chilling last line “Let me get you another drink…” ties together a story that started off with an “act of charity” and finishes with a murder. The title is appropriate, and sinister after you’ve read the rest.

FI: From the opening, we know not to trust that “expected humility” on William’s part, and the frustration with his success in sending his Lucy off to “Prison and the madhouse” mounts with every web spun.  Each read-through presented new information and unanswered questions. What must he have done to provoke Lucy’s first attempt? In a delicious twist, it’s his own false charity that brings him down, thanks to the clever scheming of his wife and the weakness of a certain vicar. Lucy’s final words to former love are gripping, “Poor William, you look so thirsty. Let me get you another drink…”

Ian Martyn, “The Tale of the Master Baker.”

HG: Not only did this story make me hungry for fresh-baked bread, it wowed me with the consistency of the metaphor.  My favourite line: “And jealousy is the yeast to the fermentation of rumour.”

FI: Like Holly, I am in awe of this tale’s uniformity! Phrases like, “My baguettes the toast of France.” and “I was accused of using performance enhancing substances, as if my bread ever needed the addition of baking powder for the perfect rise.” kept me rolling (please, if you haven’t enjoyed this story yet, do so!). Behind all the impressive bread metaphors and tantalizing descriptions of croissants, the author gives us a well-rounded revenge tale, complete with the threat that “like a sourdough starter I bubble away out of sight and I promise you, I will rise again.”

Josh Bertetta, “Resolution.”

HG: The three main characters are intriguing. The conflict of Man vs. Man applies because even the snail and butterfly are “people.” The snail has a valid argument at the end and I think he may have won the battle.

FI: A fantastic story should be more than it seems. “Resolution” is just that. What begins as the set up for an unusual “Three so-and-so’s walked into a bar” joke, builds into a worlds-deep philosophical study. The odd companions, man, butterfly, and snail, argue what gives purpose, worth, and meaning to life. Is it power “I could crush you…and I could end your life with simple salt”? Is it freedom “I am then the freest… for I, being created of fire, change from one state of being to another?” Or is it ordained by a higher being “I, like water, can take the shape of my container—the spiral—the very shape of creation itself. I am the potential for becoming, the very stuff over which God breathed in Genesis”? (Love the appearance of Fibonacci spiral!) At the end, we understand that God is part of His creation, the snail proclaiming, “You see, I AM.”


Tamara Shoemaker,The Making of a Man.” 

HG: This story takes the escaped convict character and gives it a charming twist. “My shackles are secure in her hands, my puppet’s strings taut and ready to leap with the first tug.” You might feel sorry for the man, if he hadn’t just been called “Mrs. McMuffins” (which is a spectacular name, by the way). “The outdoors beckons with manliness,” indeed. A creative tale that made me smile.

FI: With as much tension as launched its opening, “The Making of a Man” could’ve been set in an interrogation room. We sit and trembled as this mysterious jailor “narrows her eyes across the space,” and “recognize [our] sentence in their jade depths.” And then suddenly we’re sipping from “miniature teacups” and Mrs. McMuffins is not a Mrs. at all. The protagonist’s situation (and gender!) is cleverly disguised til the last. Though poor Mr. Johnson would’ve preferred to be out in the “manliness” of the outdoors, mowing and chopping, it takes a true man to sit and have “tepid water” tea with his imaginative daughter.


Marie McKay, “The Gentle Sway of the Forest.” 

HG: This story is compelling as well as eerie. The most powerful line of the story, “That made her want him more,” sets the tone and drives the ending home.

FI: “The Gentle Sway” is a beautiful example of the power of flash fiction. Stunning imagery throughout – “the studs in the denim blue sky,” “her brown curls splitting the yellow,” “claw fingers of the trees picking at the sutures of her patched up heart”), carried me through each heart-rending paragraph. So much is told in quiet, “cigarette-stained words.” He tells her tales, true or not that she believes: “Innocent. Locked up. Too long. Lost faith.” She stays because she “could change him,” ignoring every “cherry red warning” nature whispers. It’s a sign of true talent that such a dark fiction could leave you feeling comforted, wrapped in warm arms as the forest “casts its fresh, green blanket over her final resting place.”


Eric Martell/DrMagoo, “Jacopo’s Place.” 

HG: This story had a fine twist on the “escaped convict” character. I could feel the poor man’s fear as he sipped on his drink. When his jailor was revealed, I agonized with him; thankfully the bartender was there to save him. The voice was superb and the bartender was a noble hero. (I also couldn’t help but have a small chuckle at the man’s expense.)

FI: As Holly said, “Jacopo’s Place” centered on a refreshingly original “convict”: a man trapped in an unhappy marriage and seeking refuge. Our observant narrator picks out all the signs of a fellow “guest of the state,” darting eyes and uneasy posture, and decides to let him tell his tale in his own time. Rather than ridicule the man as a “whipped dog” when his oppressor is revealed, Jacopo offers him an escape, reassuring him that “No one gets found in my place unless they want to be found.” The line instantly adds texture, leaving us to wonder how many others have sought safety in Jacopo’s Place.

And now: forgive the blubbering mess, but ohh darling draggins, please let the celebrations reverberate across the galaxies: it’s our long overdue, first-time




The Dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy

HG: “Her dreams were crayon-colours.” What a gorgeous mental image that is, for someone as fond of crayons as I’ve always been. The implication of those colours is significant and unique. The two characters who are so different from one another, and yet who dream together…amazing. There is such depth here in so few words, such tender feelings and heartbreak. The final line is perfect and leaves you with hope as well as an underlying feeling of despair.

FI: From its unforgettable title to the prose-masked poetry dancing through its lines, “Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy” stole my heart on first reading. Its approach to both character and theme are brilliantly original. Rather than follow the trials of a traditional convict, it shows us two trapped souls from vastly different worlds: a boy living “his life in the smothering love of his parents,” and a girl surviving “in the folds of oppression.” And while many of the stories chose to paint portraits of revenge, this one chased after a “dream of impossible justice.” In their secret selves they crave a world where their “origami-porcelain children would be strong and independent, and loved,” escaping from that metaphorical prison the boy and girl have known from birth. For soul-searing prose and ingenuity, a worthy winner.

Congratulations, Mark! We’re all so jubilant and overwhelmed and giddy, we can barely contain ourselves. What a gorgeous story from a powerful and beloved writer. Please find here your brand new winner’s page (which has been waiting in the wings for some time now, knowing your day would come) and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please stand by for questions for Thursday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And now, here is your winning story:

The Dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy

She lived her life in the folds of oppression.

He lived his life in the smothering love of his parents.

She once twirled in the sunlight. Once smiled. Her dreams were crayon-colours. Roughly sketched blueprints of respect, dignity, self-worth and a mythical thing called love.

He only left the house when they went with him. Mind that step, son. Have you taken your tablets? Button your coat. Don’t forget the emergency procedures.

She pursued her dreams and saw that glimmer of love in broken men; men that she would come to realise were beyond redemption.

He watched his parents die from the genetic disease that coursed through his veins and was left ill prepared to face the world alone.

She folded into the roles and shapes demanded of her. She was the beautiful dove, the delicate orchid, the fearsome dragon. Between roles, she could not turn back to herself—such a person did not exist.

He hid in the musty shadows of his house. Breathed the mould-spore mists. He didn’t clean the dust, for the dust was them. It was all he had left.

They dreamed. They dreamed of impossible justice.

In their dreams, they danced in the mirror-ball light of the moon. They touched with tenderness. Kissed with compassion. Their origami-porcelain children would be strong and independent, and feel loved.

Perhaps she would leave these men?

Perhaps he would leave this house?

And perhaps justice would be found in the dance of the Origami Girl and Porcelain Boy.


Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 21: WINNERS

So glad to see your grinning faces today! (OK, some of those grins are creeping me out. You can stop now.) 

Just five more days to toss your name into the judging ring, btw. Please consider joining us! Flash! Friday works in large part due to our fabulous teams of judge captains, who toil giddily over your stories each week. Questions about it? Please email me here, or DM me on Twitter, or message me on Facebook, and let’s chat about it! More details here.

Coming up later this afternoon: The announcement of our second Flash Dash winner! I’ll update this post and tweet the winner like mad.

And yes: many of you are patiently waiting for your Ring of Fire badges; you’ll have those by day’s end. Thank you!


Dragon Captains Image Ronin/Joidianne4eva saySo here we are, brave purveyors of tales of torment and woe, desire and dismay. Another week, and another round in which your collective skills and deft storytelling leaves us dismayed at having to whittle you down to a select few. As you may be aware, you can throw your writerly cap into the judging circle for the next quarter. (Details here!) We have both learnt so much from spending time engaging with your work over this period and therefore can only say how rewarding, including free dragon treats, the experience is. So if you have even the slightest inclination, go for it, you and your writing will never look back.

Anyway, the drumroll of glory beckons, and here’s to the fabulous few who made their way into the shining light of freedom this round!



Foy S. Iver, “Revolutionaries.” For channeling my inner Gilliam and taking me to a place that would have resided well in Brazil.

Eleanor Lewis, “Application.” For capturing the eternal curse of the writer (or is it just me? -IR)

Voima Oy, “Keys to the City.” For stunning imagery within a dystopian realm soaked in film noir.

Nancy Chenier, “Catch This.” For teasing us all with the catch 22 of all writers’ desires.



Ian Martyn, “The Decision.” 

J – There was something extremely satisfying about this piece, the constant give and take between the narrator and his audience, the quick rethinking each time another aspect of the scenario is presented in a new light. This was a brilliant portrayal of how easy it is to judge without all the facts yet with all the facts we might hesitate to make any decision at all for fear of the consequences.

IR – A partner piece to The Inmates – this tale offers up another narrator, again fully convinced that they are in control. However, whereas in Inmates this certainty slowly fades, the narrator here offers us nothing but sleight of hand and a stream of consciousness that challenges us to take a leap into the unknown. An unsettling approach to the prompt that left me pondering long after reading.

Marie McKay, “Somewhere A Hurricane Rages.” 

J – There was something so heartbreaking about this piece, from the self-flagellation in purchasing a live specimen to his grief even as he admires his collection…a brilliant use of the prompt.

IR – I was unsure whether to feel pity or hatred for this narrator of seemingly wealth, taste and a desire to entrap nature to suit his own obsessive desires. The catch 22, of yearning to let something exist but needing to maintain its perfection was delightfully played out.

Grace Black, Pallid Cage.” 

J – My attention was first captured by the almost lyrical use of language here and then the meaning behind the piece hits you and the knowledge that there was grief written between every line from the very beginning makes the impression of this tale all the more effective and absolutely heart wrenching.

IR – That first line, as if ripped from The Pixies’ Doolittle was what stuck. A serenade of wailing guitars accompanied my reading, as I delved deeper into a reality in which the ‘real’ is marginalised into the ‘unreal’. This unheimlich quality permeated the sense of existence, leaving me feeling raw in more ways than one.

Carin Marais, “The Destroyer of Worlds.” 

J – This tale was a brilliant portrait of contrasts. The question of where to draw the line or whether there was ever a line to be drawn in the first place were perfectly presented in a way that captured and held my attention from start to finish.

IR – This stream-of-consciousness led us deep into a labyrinth of despair and uncertainty. Each twist and turn denying as much as it revealed.


Laura Romero, “The Inmates.” 

J – The despair and fear of the narrator bled through this piece, from the first words, until the thought that any revenge would surely be justified was almost solidified in my mind then I started to question just how reliable the narrator was at the point where he indicated that he had more than a little sway over the other inmates.  Which begs the questions are the Reinfields truly the villains of this piece?

IR – One of my favourite traits is the unreliable narrator, and this tale took me back to the realm of Dr Caligari and his asylum in The Cabinet of Caligari (Wiene, 1920) in which we begin a journey only to find out that the voice of rationality is as damned as those he deems insane. Inmates delivers in a moment of flash such a voice, our narrator seemingly aware and understanding their role within the asylum, only for the façade of his own conviction crumble into dust.


Nancy Chenier, “Bootleg.”

J – This tale was so intricate that I wanted more, I wanted to know about this Zerox invasion, I wanted to know what had happened to the original narrator but what truly cinched this tale for me wasn’t the questions it was that final line…absolutely heart-breaking and an original twist on the prompt indeed.

IR – Alien Invasion + Doppelgangers? Shotgun wielding survivors + DIY? An alien culture riffing on a well know photocopier corporation? Bootleg took me on a 1950s gamut of aliens and small town Americana – that took up the notion of futility, but this time placed that in the hands of the would be coloniser. The reveal of the lock and how that held the “key” for the narrative was wonderfully set up. Very nicely done.


Tamara Shoemaker, “Escape.”

J – The sheer lyricism of this piece alone was enough to capture and hold my attention and then the futility of narrator’s situation becomes clearer with every line. To forget is to give up the only link to what they’ve lost but gain a chance to move forward but on the other hand there is the choice to remember but be stuck in the rut of that memory.

IR – Sometimes it’s a line or a moment that stands out, sometimes a tale takes you down an unusual perspective – forging a till down untrodden path. The tension of the poetic language that wraps itself around the tormented reality of our narrator is both moving and harrowing in equal measure. Further the imagery leapt from the page, from “Shadows of those keys” (evoking Plato’s cave) to “a breath of wind that stirred my hair” the sense of loss and guilt were layered into a wonderful tableau.

And now: joining the super sparkly group of 4-time winners, it’s the mega talented Flash! Friday




“Monkey See”

J – The inescapability of the scenario was made just that much worse by the tiny flicker of hope which in the end trapped the narrator more securely than any lock. Let go of the key, let go of hope…hold the key, Sheila dies. This was an effort in futility from the very beginning and such a brilliant approach to the prompt, absolutely stunning in the execution… no pun intended and a well-deserved win.

IR – Oh the curse of our poor narrator! Much like J, I found the claustrophobia, echoed with the bleak stripped down layers of description, to bring to the fore the inertia of our would-be hero. In particular the shift from fractured torment into the realisation that we are in the midst of some dystopian game show was deftly executed without losing focus on the fear of our protagonists. The theme of catch 22 perfectly captured, the photo prompt delivered to the proverbial T, a worthy winner.

Congratulations, Michael! Here’s your very familiar, extra bejewelled winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please watch your inbox for interview questions for this Thursday’s #SixtySeconds feature, your FOURTH! And now, here is your winning story:

Monkey See

She gasps a little when she sees me reach in through the small gap in the door.

“Don’t worry. I will get you,” I say evenly.

She tries to speak. But terror owns her voice.

“Where is it?” I hiss. “I know it’s here somewhere.” Then my fingertip finds metal.

“Please,” she begs, “just go.”

“You know I can’t do that.”

I wish that I could crawl through the tiny peephole, and end the game. The key is close. I can just jiggle it with my middle finger. I block out her cries as I focus on the task. Sinew tearing, I stretch the last inch, and snatch it from the hook.

“I’ve got it,” I say. “Sheila, I’m getting you out.”

“You’re too late,” she sobs.

“What do you –”

“Quite the quandary,” says a slithery baritone. “Do you know how they used to capture monkeys? They’d place a banana inside a cage with a narrow slit. Small enough for an open hand to reach in, but not wide enough for a clenched fist to come out.”

My limited view allows me to see only his torso.

And the knife.

“Not wanting to drop the prize, he remains a prisoner. Willingly. I hope you enjoy the show.”


Sixty Seconds III with: Tamara Shoemaker

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer (normally). That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)


Our newest Flash! Friday winner is three-timer and Dragon Captain Tamara Shoemaker. Read her winning story here. You can also read her first #SixtySeconds interview (from September) here. and her second interview (from December) here. Then take another couple of minutes (we don’t count words when it’s a writer’s THIRD win!) to get to know her better below.

1) What about the prompts inspired your winning piece?  My first thought when I saw the prompts was a euphemised “What the *insert semi-appropriate word*???” {Editor’s Note: You were not alone. Bwahahahaha!} From there, my imagination captured the cute kitty face that slowly transitioned to cute girl face, that transitioned to inner battle, that transitioned to death by cancer (of course, right?).

2) You’ve been writing flash about a year, is that right? How has your approach to flash changed/developed since you started? Margaret Locke wrangled me into my first flash contest in June or July of 2014, I can’t remember exactly. When I first started, I wrote stories based exactly on the prompt. I felt like I had to incorporate every element in the picture. As time went on, the connection to the prompt grew looser, and with it, the stories that came to me expanded by worlds.

3) Has your experience writing flash affected your novel writing? If so, how? YES! There are so many changes, it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing, but I love how much tighter my writing has grown. Streamlining EVERY word in flash has been wonderful practice for streamlining a 110,000 word novel. I’ve learned so many important skills pertaining to character, pacing, setting, and frame. Novel writing is the same as flash, with just a few more words to worry about. 🙂

4) You still writing 2,000 words a day? You’re also working hard editing a novel now. What’s the editing process like for you? When I’m in the first draft stage of a novel, I write 2k words minimum. It’s a truly satisfying day if I can write 7k or 8k words. When I edit my books, I often feel blind; it’s hard for me to see my own mistakes. I depend heavily on beta-readers who find the deficiencies in my story where I can’t see them. Once they get back to me with their critiques, I go through and gut the story until it’s a decent piece of work. It’s a great system–for me. My poor beta-readers probably should demand a bit more payment. 😉

5) Belong to any writers’ groups IRL? How do they benefit you? Yes! I attend two critique groups here in the Shenandoah Valley. They give me loads of constructive feedback on my work, which helps me create stronger stories, which are (hopefully) more exciting for the general public to read.

6) You’re famous here at Flash! Friday for faithfully leaving a billion comments on people’s stories. This is incredibly meaningful and awesome–thank you! What things have you learned from other writers’ approaches to flash? I leave so many comments, partly because I know how excited I get when I see a new comment on one of my stories, and I want to “share the wealth,” so to speak. Some of the stories, though, leave me in so much awe that I can’t help but leave a comment. Grace Black consistently displays such beautiful lyricism, I usually reread hers several times throughout the weekend. Deb Foy‘s fresh, unusual imagery is soul-satisfying; can’t get enough. Annika Keswick‘s attention to detail makes her stories stand out to me; there are so many layers there that take me a while to unpeel. Tinman and Ian Martyn make me laugh nearly every week. I’d love to name all the writers – feel like I know them all so well simply through their fiction.

7) In fact, you’re just all-round prolific; you make writing a ton of words FAST look easy. Is it as easy for you as it looks? And–I’m sorry, but I just have to ask–in this world of tweets and DMs and texts, where many writers struggle to find even one prolonged idea, just how do you find all your ideas? Easy as it looks?! Yes. And no. This is going to sound cliche (and I’m the queen of cliche) – the words just come. My brother tells me I talk too much (and I’ve heard similar statements from other family members). I probably have a larger-than-ordinary pool of words that overflow their banks when I start writing. I’m sure that’s it. 😉 As for my ideas–I try to write about stuff that would be interesting to me as a reader. Which is why you’ll never catch me writing non-fiction.

8) You’re a fiction writer and a poet. Do you pursue both? Is there a balance between these two sides of your writerly self? Or are they rivals? It’s funny, I’ve never thought of myself as a poet. Poetry has always come easily, but it’s not what I ever intend to write. I like to think that my fiction writer half and my poet half are coffee-buddies. They meet at Starbucks now and then, discuss important topics, throw a few idea-seeds my direction, and go their separate ways after fixing another meeting for the next week. One couldn’t do without the other; where’s the friendly beauty in that?

9) You’ve published with a small house, and you’re about to go indie and publish a book yourself. What made you decide to go indie? Are you still exploring traditional, and if so, why? What have you learned so far about the publishing biz? What are you looking forward to in this next phase? What challenges you? I’ve enjoyed moderate success with the traditional route, so this branch into self-publishing is purely curiosity. I want to see what the difference is between the two different methods. There are pros and cons to both. If it does well, I’ll probably do a few more self-published books. We’ll see. I do plan to continue traditional publishing as well; I’ve built up a good relationship with my publisher and would like to keep it. They’ve put out the first three books, Broken Crowns, Pretty Little Maids, and Ashes Ashes. I have five unpublished books waiting in the wings, so I’ve got plenty of work to spread between the two methods.

What I’ve learned: publishing ain’t for wimps. You need thick skin. You need to be willing to put in the work and the research. You will get one-star reviews sometimes. There will be someone out there who will make your day worse because they’re having a bad day. Take what feedback you need, ignore the rest. I’m really looking forward to starting the fantasy phase of my career. Thus far, my only published books are mysteries. I love the YA fantasy market–I’m so excited to add some books to it. My daily challenges are reading the other books in my chosen genre and overcoming my awe at their work, not comparing my work to theirs, accepting what I write as my own style and not wishing I was the next JK Rowling. I am me. What a profound statement. 😉 

10) Introduce us to your favorite dragon (yes, can be one of your own). Of COURSE, my favorite Dragon lives nearly an hour north of me {Editor’s Note: Smart girl!}, but my second favorite Dragon is one I’m introducing in my upcoming (hopefully May) release, Kindle the Flame. This particular Dragon is a kick-bootie, fire-haired girl from dubious origins who discovers a surprising link to a certain mirror-scaled REAL Dragon (because everyone knows that all Dragons are REAL). You should definitely take the time to read, because Dragons. Obvs.