Frank Brock was in a pharmacy in a suburb outside Orlando, Florida. He had only moved to the area three weeks earlier, and the pleasant fall weather was doing little to improve his mood or lift his spirits as he had hoped. Frank was scanning the shelves, making certain that the store did not offer an extra large bottle of Pepto-Bismol to save him the hassle of having to buy multiple normal-sized bottles.
After eighty-two years on the planet earth, filled with the expected ups and downs, the past nine months of Frank's life had been the worst of his life. His bottle-a-day Pepto habit was only a subtle reflection of the troubles he had recently endured. In fact, the only brief moments of joy he had had since moving to Orlando was his occasional wondering about whether he would need to attend a support group for antacid addiction, and how that absurd scenario would play out. At that moment in the pharmacy, however, even such a mental getaway was of no use. Frank was feeling old and worn. And he was growing increasingly frustrated as the lady in front of him in line continued rambling sets of numbers to buy lottery tickets, when all he wanted to do was get his Pepto, take a quick fix in the parking lot, roughly a third of the bottle for him, and head across the street to his doctor's appointment.
Scott Sutton was sitting in the front seat of his rental car. He was furiously searching every pocket, corner, crevice, and compartment of the car. He was certain that there must be another pack of cigarettes somewhere inside the vehicle, whether on his person or in hiding. If nothing else, a rogue cigarette must have fallen from its pack and come to rest in between the seats or under one of the many empty food containers scattered about. Nonetheless, he was having no luck. This proved to be immeasurably disappointing. A year earlier, Scott had never inhaled anything besides oxygen and polluted air, and this was in spite of the habits and encouragement of his fellow senior associates in his law firm. Now, however, he was approaching a three-pack-a-day habit.
Scott cracked open the driver's side door. Although he did scan the pavement of the parking lot for a cigarette butt with life left in it, he really wanted to gauge the heat. And it was brutal. He checked his dashboard. Less than a quarter tank of gas. Scott was concerned about how long he could use the vehicle's air-conditioning without the engine running before the battery would die. It had already been fifteen minutes. Scott's concerns were immediately interrupted as he finally saw the old man leave the pharmacy. That dastardly old man. Scott watched as he crossed the street and entered the hospital, just as he had expected. Though he hated to do so, Scott exited the rental car and raced inside the pharmacy to ironically purchase three cartons of cigarettes. He would not risk being left empty-handed again.
Leslie Hawkins slapped the back of her neck, and then her left forearm. She could feel the mosquito bites blooming all over her exposed skin. She was not a moron. She was a doctor, in fact, or at least had been until recently. But the surrounding area provided little in the way of privacy, which she sorely needed, so sitting in the bushes was a necessary evil. The sight of the blinking red light on her digital camera came as a surprise to Leslie. Apparently, she had been sitting in the bushes longer than she had realized, as she had just replaced the batteries before entering her most uncomfortable location.
Although she suspected that her snack would only attract further insect attention, Leslie unwrapped a Snickers bar and gnawed off three or four small bites. A health food fanatic for the first forty-odd-years of her life, Leslie had succumbed to an essentially junk food exclusive diet, consisting primarily of anything chocolate. Despite promising herself a thousand times that she would let it go, Leslie balanced the pure enjoyment of the chocolate candy in her mouth with the pure disgust of lifting up her shirt and seeing the newly formed stretch marks on her stomach. She had gained at least fifty pounds in the past six months. Leslie's disgust with her body was immediately interrupted as she finally saw her ex-fiancé exit the pharmacy. That lovely young man. Leslie watched as he got back in his rental car and repositioned it across the street near the hospital. Though she hated to do so, Leslie escaped her seclusion in the bushes and raced inside the pharmacy to ironically purchase two arms full of nutrient-lacking snacks and candy. She could not risk facing hunger while in hiding.
Nearly a year prior to heading to his doctor's appointment in a suburb outside Orlando, Florida, Frank Brock awoke in the middle of the night to the sensation of excruciating pain in his chest and abdomen. Despite his advanced age, he had had relatively few health issues and certainly nothing approaching the discomfort he felt that early morning. Frank managed to call 911 and was soon on his way to the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence in the back of an ambulance. He felt guilty about not driving himself and having to occupy the valuable time and resources of the paramedics, but he decided that it was a more than reasonable thing to do as he did not know what was wrong with him or how it might progress. Every person should be excused any irrationality when it comes to protecting his or her well being, he concluded.
Frank was wheeled into the emergency room. He registered, provided the necessary personal history and contact information, and responded to questions about his symptoms and medical history in triage. Though he described the pain level as a ten out of ten, Frank found himself sitting alone in the waiting room. Again, although he wanted to be patient and understanding, Frank finally approached a nurse and requested immediate attention. After she politely tried to brush him off, he sternly insisted on medical attention. Such behavior was not in his nature, and he knew that he would hate himself for it. But he also believed that his age made it easier for medical professionals to underestimate the state of his emergency.
To the utter amazement of all who had spoken to him throughout the early morning, Frank would prove to have been justified. The orderlies, the nurses, and even the paramedics once word finally reached them, were astounded to learn that Frank had a ruptured gall bladder, a condition so tormenting that it brought most people to tears and hysteria, yet he had managed to remain civil and uncomplaining. They all admired him.
Frank was already septic when the doctors started treating him. He was instantly scheduled for emergency surgery and moved to the top of the list. Before he knew it, Frank was inhaling anesthetic and falling asleep, thankfully.
Nearly a year prior to entering the pharmacy to ironically purchase three cartons of cigarettes, Shawn Sutton was sitting at a bar alone in Providence, Rhode Island. Shawn had long philosophized that there was drinking, and then there was getting drunk. And that there were a variety of reasons for endeavoring to do either. On that night, however, Shawn was just drinking, but for a reason entirely new to him.
Shawn should have been happy, and he was, in a way. In his head, however, he was struggling with the idea that he was happy, in the sense that he was content, but not thrilled. After all, he had everything that he wanted. Everything that he had asked for. And he was drinking a good beer, with a nice buzz, at his bar. That's when he realized the problem. The waitresses in the bar that he had frequented for several years all looked absolutely stunning that night. They each looked like the girl in high school who he wanted to hug and kiss. Who he wanted sitting on his lap at the party to subtly fondle. He wanted to be near them and be wanted by them. And this was suddenly immensely disturbing.
Just two hours earlier, Shawn had proposed to his girlfriend of three years. Three largely pleasant years with only brief hiccups of unpleasantry. And she had said yes. She had said yes emphatically, tearfully, gleefully. He could feel his heart pounding. Her pretty face looked ever so more wonderful dressed in emotions of joy. He slid the ring on her finger, his grandmother's ring, a family heirloom, and she squeezed him as though he were going off to war, or had just returned from war, whichever squeeze would be greater. It might have been the best moment of his life. It felt like the best moment of his life. Until the moment when he realized that he was gawking at and longing for the waitresses in the bar. He had patronized the bar on countless occasions prior, and no waitress there had ever garnered even a second look from him -- that was, prior to him making a lifelong commitment to another woman. Shawn made the connection and started to sweat in response to the doubt about whether he had made a monumental mistake.
Nearly a year prior to entering the pharmacy to ironically purchase two arms full of nutrient-lacking snacks and candy, Leslie Hawkins was driving her Volvo to the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. Though she was driving hurriedly, as was her right, she was also constantly checking her face in the rearview mirror. She had been crying for nearly a half-hour and was struggling not to continue crying. She checked her mascara for the hundredth time and decided that she would have to turn off the car radio. The love songs were overwhelming her attempts at composure.
Leslie, after all, was a doctor, and a surgeon at that. She had fought too hard and for too long to succeed in the competitive world of medicine and the even more masculine dominated arena of surgery to allow her colleagues to now see a crack in her hard facade. She had refrained from groin-kneeing far too many male superiors who had called her "honey," or "sweetie," or who had insinuated about activities she might enjoy with them during off hours, as though there were such a thing as off hours for young doctors, to relent now and show her vulnerability.
That night, however, was proving to be especially difficult for Leslie to maintain the straight face that she had spent decades perfecting. Her long time boyfriend, the love of her life, after all, had just proposed to her an hour earlier. She had never thought that the day would come. She had assumed that she would have to tear herself away from him, no matter how much she loved him. But then, just an hour earlier, he had come through, miraculously and valiantly. And the ring. Oh, the ring. Leslie wanted the engagement, the marriage, to spend her life with such a wonderful man more than the ring. That was her truth. Any ring would have sufficed. But, to get both? To receive a proposal from the man she loved unconditionally, and to receive it with such a large, spectacular diamond ring? Leslie was beside herself. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. If she had not received the page calling her in for emergency surgery, she would have continued squeezing her man for hours and days and weeks and months. She would have never let him go.
The months after the night nearly a year prior to Frank, Shawn, and Leslie finding themselves near the pharmacy in a suburb outside Orlando, Florida, would prove to be life-altering for all three of them, inasmuch as they would prove to be unfortunate, complicated, ignorant, silly, pitiful, and asinine. The three most major moments of each of their lives would culminate in the destruction of each of their lives. Though it reads like absurdist fiction, what happened was summarized in several lawyer briefs as follows:
In the early hours of February 29, 2012, one Shawn Sutton proposed to his girlfriend, one Leslie Hawkins. Leslie Hawkins accepted said proposal. At approximately the same time, one Frank Brock awoke in his bed alone suffering from extreme pain in his abdomen and chest. Mr. Brock contacted local emergency services and was rushed to the Rhode Island Hospital and was properly diagnosed with a ruptured gall bladder. The Rhode Island Hospital then scheduled emergency surgery and Ms. Hawkins, the on-call surgeon, was paged for duty.
Ms. Hawkins appropriately arrived at the hospital twenty minutes thereafter. She prepared for surgery and aptly removed Mr. Brock's gall bladder. Upon completion of the organ removal, however, Ms. Hawkins breached protocol. According to the testimony of her surgical assistants, Ms. Hawkins "cockily" ordered that her surgical resident close the surgery as she was snapping the latex glove off her left hand.
In doing so, the latex glove on Ms. Hawkins' left hand dislodged the recently accepted engagement ring from Ms. Hawkins' finger and flung it into the air. As Ms. Hawkins' surgical resident was distracted in preparation for the surgical closing, no one noticed the engagement ring land in the opened and exposed abdomen of Mr. Brock. The surgical resident proceeded to close the incision.
The events that followed escalated quickly into an emotional merry-go-round paralleled by a baffling legal spider web. Leslie Hawkins exploded into hysteria once she realized that her ring was missing as she was washing her hands after the surgery. She re-entered the operating room without properly disinfecting her body and already in tears, aghast to see that the surgery had already been completed. She went so far as to plead with the surgical staff to permit her to re-open the incision. This, of course, was out of the question.
Once informed, via a phone call from his fiancé of four hours, about what had transpired, Shawn Sutton, already feeling doubt about his recent decision, was beside himself. He was stunned by the stupidity of Leslie and enraged about the possible loss of his ring, his grandmother's ring, a family heirloom, worth in excess of 100,000 dollars, according to an appraisal done more than twenty years earlier. Shawn was not a wealthy man, despite being a relatively successful lawyer, and valued money a great deal. He never thought that he would give the ring to any woman, even if he did ever decide to propose. It was his safety retirement fund. But Leslie was a surgeon, a highly regarded one. The ring seemed like a small investment compared to the income she would share with him.
All of this emotion was soon directed at Frank Brock, the mild-mannered octogenarian. Leslie begged him, literally, to undergo a second surgery to remove the ring in order to save her relationship. Shawn yelled at him and made threats about what might happen if he did not return the ring holding some slight sentimental value, but a great deal of monetary value. Frank certainly felt empathy about the whole ordeal, particularly for Leslie, who seemed so sincere and who had successfully operated on and cured his painful affliction. Nonetheless, every doctor with whom Frank consulted advised that at his age, he not consider undergoing a second invasive surgery for at least six months, and ideally not for at least a year or more. In fact, although there was an above average possibility that the foreign object in Frank's abdomen would eventually result in medical complications, if, by some chance that was not the case, and further surgery could be prevented completely, the doctors advocated that he never risk his life simply to correct another surgeon's mistake. As such, Frank, somewhat regretfully, denied the never-ending requests of Leslie Hawkins and demands of Shawn Sutton.
Desperate to save her engagement, Leslie filed a civil lawsuit against Frank claiming unjust enrichment, conversion, and a slew of other legal jargons. In turn, Shawn also filed a lawsuit against Frank claiming the same and, in addition, he filed a lawsuit against his then ex-fiancé, Leslie, claiming that the ring was a conditional gift, a gift conditioned on becoming married. Because that was no longer going to happen, Shawn claimed that Leslie owed him return of the ring or compensation for the loss of the ring. Frank remained continually bewildered that he had become the focus of so much hostility and controversy. After seeking legal counsel, though he again felt uneasy about the whole thing, Frank filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Leslie and the Rhode Island Hospital and a claim against Shawn for harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The legal proceedings were intricate, convoluted, labyrinthine, obnoxious, and deplorable. Ultimately, however, the court made the obvious ruling that it did not have the authority to order Frank to undergo any sort of surgical procedure. As expected, this caused Leslie to burst into tears and evoked red-faced hostility in Shawn. The court also decided that the numerous additional civil lawsuits would require extensive discovery and scheduled the trials for an undetermined future date. In other words, the lawsuits would require several years to resolve themselves as the court waited for the sides to either settle or become disinterested. Until then, Frank would not be required to undergo monthly physical examinations to prove that he had not had the ring removed. Further, Frank was permitted to leave Providence and/or Rhode Island as he so desired. Both these rulings were made in response to the requests and objections of the attorneys for Leslie and Shawn, respectively.
Nearly a year later, Frank had moved to the suburb of Orlando. He was, after all, a retired, mild-mannered octogenarian who had a definite need for a change in his life. The winters in Rhode Island had become too harsh for his bones and joints, and the way of things had become too stressful for him to cope. Unbeknownst to Frank, at first, at least, he did not leave his problems behind him.
Nearly a year later, Shawn had tracked Frank to the suburb of Orlando. He was, after all, feeling the desperate need to protect his one and only valuable possession. The judge had not ruled in his favor, but that did not mean that Shawn could not protect his investment. He had convinced himself that Frank was leaving Providence not to pursue personal contentment, but for the purpose of removing the foreign object lodged in his abdomen that would fund his surely extravagant retirement.
Nearly a year later, Leslie had followed her ex-fiancé who had tracked Frank to the suburb of Orlando. She was, after all, feeling the desperate yearning to re-ignite the loving relationship between her and her one and only, Shawn. She had not cared about any of the judge's rulings. She was convinced only that she and Shawn were destined to be together forever. And she would do anything to make that happen, be it convincing Shawn that they were destined to be together forever, or be it that she would recover the ring for Shawn and, overwhelmed by the sight of her and her smiling face, he would once again place it lovingly back on her now overly chubby finger.
The morning following his brief visit to the pharmacy, Frank woke up groggily in a hospital bed and listened to the counsel of his doctor before being told that he was free to leave.
The morning following his brief visit to the pharmacy, Shawn woke up with a stiff neck in his rental car and blinked his eyes rapidly until he could see that it was eight in the morning.
The morning following her brief visit to the pharmacy, Leslie woke up in the bushes in response to the sensation that a stinkbug was crawling into her ear.
Frank exited the hospital grief stricken, though no one would notice it inasmuch as Frank was too strong and reserved to express as much. Nevertheless, Shawn was energized by the sight of him, and the sight of what he had angrily long suspected. Leslie, seeing her ex-fiancé exit his vehicle, in broad daylight of all times, sprang out of the bushes that had tortured her for more than twenty-four hours and followed his footsteps.
"Wow! What a beautiful day, right," Shawn asked blatantly.
"Oh, uh, yeah. It sure is," responded Frank, still distracted.
"You know, it is the kind of day that makes a person appreciate the world. Don't ya think?"
"Oh, no. Oh, come on," responded Frank, finally recognizing Shawn's face. "I'm an old man. Please, leave me alone."
"Shawn! Shawn," screamed an approaching and terribly out of breath and overweight Leslie. "Wait! Wait for me!"
"Leslie," Shawn questioned. "What are you doing here? I made it clear that I never wanted to see you again, ever. And, my God, what has happened to you?"
"Please," Frank pleaded. "Please, leave me alone. The both of you. This is really not a good time."
"Not a good time," Shawn asked accusatorially. "I'm not surprised, you dastardly old man."
"Shawn, please," Leslie responded. "Don't be like that."
"Ring side! Ring side, Leslie," Shawn exclaimed. "Look at him! He's favoring his ring side! He was in the hospital over night! Come on! Figure it out! And, again, Jesus, what happened to you?"
"Look, Mr. Sutton," Frank tried to explain.
"He was in the hospital overnight! He had the ring removed! He is trying to steal my ring!"
"Our ring," Leslie clarified.
"No, Leslie, my ring. This old guy has MY ring!"
"I love you," Leslie suddenly shouted. "I love you! I love you with all my heart and soul!"
"Look," Shawn responded, "enough of that. Would you just get over it already? We are finished. I've told you this a million times."
"No," Leslie replied, somewhat confused, "I love you . . . Frank. I love you now and will love you forever." To the surprise of Frank and the shock of the much younger and much more handsome Shawn, Leslie had realized that the best way to get to know someone was to watch how they acted when they thought no one was looking. This was the upside to being an incidental stalker. She had come to believe that all girls should be advised to stalk their potential future partners in order to find out who they really are. And over the past few months, despite his advanced age and long faded looks, Frank had proven to be a generous and charitable and kind and loving human being. Leslie had been impressed at first, and ultimately overwhelmed. He was the perfect man. The perfect very old and physically unattractive man. In other words, everything that Shawn was not. And now all her feelings were finally materializing.
"What!? Are you serious?" Shawn questioned emphatically.
"I hate to side with anything this man says," responded Frank, "but, seriously?"
"Yes, Frank, you lovely old man," Leslie answered. "I have fallen in love with you, albeit from a distance."
"My God," Shawn responded. "Fine, whatever. You two can have each other. Have your creepy little life together. But, in the mean time, ring side! You're holding your freaking ring side, Frank! Hand it over!"
"Shawn," Frank replied calmly. "Shawn, and you too, Leslie, both of you listen."
"I hate you," Shawn responded.
"I love you," Leslie shouted.
"Listen," Frank said in a louder tone than he felt comfortable speaking. "Listen, just listen, the both of you. I am dying. I do not have a ring. I don't have your ring, Leslie. Or your ring, Shawn. I did not have surgery. Instead, I just found out that I am dying. I only have a few months to live."
"Sweet," Shawn could not help but say out loud.
"Oh God, no," Leslie could not help but whimper.
"It's true," Frank responded calmly, as was his nature.
"Wait, what happens to your body after you die?" Shawn asked.
"Wait, how much time do we have left to be together?" Leslie insisted on knowing.
"Look, the both of you, the both of you horrible, horrible, disgusting human beings," Frank clarified, "if you both do not leave me alone, stop following me, stop stalking me, stop harassing me, I will literally rent a boat, take it out into the middle of Atlantic Ocean, weigh myself down with lead, and sink to the bottom. And then, neither of you will ever get what you so desperately desire."
"No! No, just wait," Shawn insisted. "Look, I am not being greedy here."
"Ha," Leslie unexpectedly exclaimed. Shawn looked her quizzically, both in response to her recent admissions and her distorted physical appearance.
"It's just that," Shawn continued, "I actually need that ring simply to pay off the lawyer fees that I have incurred trying to sue you. I am a dead man without that ring."
"And I just need you," Leslie added. "I can't imagine my life in this world, if it is a world without you. Please, do not do anything drastic. Stay alive, Frank. I love you. I can operate on you right now and rid you of that ring. And then we can be together. And whatever else is wrong with you, I can fix. I promise you. Please, just let me help you."
"Well, isn't this an odd pickle," Frank responded. "I have a lawyer complaining to me about the high cost of attorney fees and a doctor tracking me down to offer free healthcare. Looks like I've won the irony sweepstakes, don't you think?"
Shawn and Leslie had no response to Frank's quip. They could only look back doe-eyed at the old man who controlled the course of their wants and wishes.
"Fine then," Frank stipulated, "it seems that we are all agreed. You have both ruined the past nine months of my life. And I will do whatever it takes to not have you both ruin the last nine months of my life. So, if you both leave me right now, you both leave Orlando, you both leave the state of Florida, I will see to it that after my body is cremated, the ring gets back to you, Shawn. And my love will always remain yours, Leslie, I promise. Deal?"
"Wait, what's the melting point for a diamond," Shawn asked quickly.
"I have no idea, Shawn," Frank responded. "Would you like me to find out?"
"No, no. Please don't. I'm sorry. I agree. It's a deal."
"But how I can shower you with kisses if I am not near you, my love," Leslie questioned solemnly.
Shawn and Frank, and especially Frank, once again regarded Leslie with absolute befuddlement. Neither of them would be surprised to hear that she had gone insane.
"Look, Leslie," Frank responded, struggling to maintain a straight face, "I need you to do this for me. I need you to leave me, and live your life. I am not long for this world, and I simply could not bear for you to see me weak and defeated, at my end. For my sake, you must leave me now, while the image you have of me is still vibrant, and full of life. Please, Leslie, you must do this for me."
"Oh," Leslie tried to speak while sniffing emphatically and losing control of her breathing. "I . . . oh . . . I . . . I understand. My sweet . . . My sweet, brave man." Leslie wiped the tears from her eyes and lifted her head. She would make one final stand, to consecrate the moment. "I am yours forever, my love. And you are now forever mine." Leslie leaned in and kissed Frank ever so gently on the forehead. As Leslie was doing so, Frank and Shawn, otherwise near archenemies, made eye contact as they each shrugged their shoulders in confused awe of the moment.
Ultimately, Shawn was content. He was promised his valuable family heirloom that had been past down to him from a family he did not consider in any way valuable. Leslie was satisfied by the reciprocity of the man she had come to love, though it would ache her soul to have to spend the rest of her life beyond the vicinity of him. This, on the other hand, made the circumstance all the more romantic. She was lost in the idea of being the ill-fated heroine in a romantic tragedy.
Vince Cimino was sitting in a coffee shop in a suburb outside Orlando, Florida. He was stirring the cinnamon out of its decorative design on his fourth cappuccino of the morning. Despite the stress of his years spent in medical school and the sleepless misery that was his residency, Vince had avoided a coffee addiction until just recently. Keeping track of Shawn Sutton and Leslie Hawkins had proven to be a much more difficult task than he had ever imagined. They were relentless, and the caffeine found in the cocoa bean had become a necessity for Vince.
Nearly a year prior to racking up a laughably large bill at the coffee shop in the suburb outside Orlando, Vince was observing his remarkable attending surgeon, Leslie, skillfully perform an unremarkable cholecystectomy. She ordered him to perform the closing for the hundredth or so time that week. This task seemed to be his primary chore as a surgical resident. Vince had wondered countless times over the past year about how much trouble could have been avoided if only he had not turned at that moment to find a cloth to wipe his eye shield.
In the days that followed Frank Brock's gall bladder surgery, Vince, like most everyone else who had come into contact with the old man, had grown quite fond of him. He even continued to visit Frank regularly after he was removed from post-op. In fact, Frank was the first patient Vince ever told that he was a homosexual. Due to the competitive world of medicine and the even more masculine dominated arena of surgery, Vince had decided it best to keep his sexual preference to himself. But with Frank, there was just something about him. He was dignified, pleasant, and non-judgmental. He could be trusted.
Vince looked through his small binoculars, once again noticing the oddity of how his vision through two lenses was condensed into one circle of sight just before pressing the device against his skin. After gaining his bearings and finally focusing the binoculars, Vince saw Shawn nodding at Frank, smiling, and a cartoonishly inflated Leslie in tears with an odd, melodramatic expression on her face. Vince was not entirely certain what to make of the reactions, Leslie's especially, but he felt confident that the plan had worked. Though merely a simple plumber by trade, it looked as though Frank had easily out-smarted the lawyer and the doctor. Vince maintained his excitement despite the chemically induced increase in his heart rate.
With Shawn and Leslie out of the picture, basking in their false sense of assurance, Vince and Frank would now be free to fulfill their dream. Frank's sizeable nest egg, inasmuch as he had never married or had any children, being a gay man himself, combined with the windfall that they stood to gain after Vince removed the ring from Frank's abdomen, meant that the two of them could afford their lavish boat and sail the islands off the coast of Florida for as long as nature permitted.
Though the events that would soon be culminating were circuitous and tangled and bizarrely and unfortunately coincidental, for Vince it was all too simple, really. Although Frank was several decades his elder, Vince appreciated that it's what a person has on the inside that counts. And Vince would soon reap the rewards of what the older, mild-mannered, and instantly loveable Frank had to offer, on the inside.