MRUs Lesson 8

Today I’ll wrap up my discussion of Motivations and Reactions.

Yesterday I showed the first few paragraphs of the first Harry Potter book and asked my loyal blog readers how to “Show” this passage, rather than “Tell” it (as JK Rowling did). Today, I’ll give you my own answer to that.

First, let’s be clear that the passage really is “Telling”. None of this is happening in real-time. There is no Point-Of-View character with whom we can identify. The acid test is this: Can you color-code it into Motivations and Reactions? (See the color-coded examples I’ve done for a number of passages in the last few days).

Here is the Potter passage one more time:

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son named Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.

The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it.

The answer is no. There’s nothing to color-code. This is “Telling”.

But it’s brilliant. I have a rule for this: If you’re going to “Tell,” then be brilliant about it. Since it’s brilliant, there’s just no good reason to “Show” it–unless you can “Show” it better.

Remember that “Telling” is very efficient. You can tell a lot of information very quickly by “Telling” but you need to make it interesting. And this passage is very interesting.

JKR’s goal here was to take us from our own very ordinary world (in which magic doesn’t exist) into a very similar-looking world (in which magic exists, but the Muggles don’t know about it). How is she going to do this?

Her method is elegant and simple: She presents us in a few swift, comic strokes with three very unlikable characters, the Dursleys, who deny that magic exists. We have all met people like the Dursleys and we find them despicable. Since the Dursleys don’t believe in magic, and since we hate the Dursleys, we are willing to entertain the possibility that magic is real. This is how JKR pulls us into the fictive dream–by convincing us not to be like the dreadful Dursleys.

In the rest of the chapter, we learn that the Dursleys have a nephew named Harry. The Dursleys hate Harry’s parents and therefore have never met Harry, but they hate him on principle. Because we dislike the Dursleys, we automatically like Harry.

When we learn that Harry has somehow survived the death curse of the greatest dark wizard of all time, we’re intrigued. Nobody else has ever survived this curse. What makes Harry different? We read on to find out–but JKR doesn’t tell us for quite a long time. There is a reason, a very good reason, and it is one of the major themes of the entire series. Of course I won’t tell you what this reason is because it’s such an essential part of the story.

So in the passage above, JKR’s choice to “Tell” about the Dursleys is a good one. She doesn’t want to make us identify with the Dursleys, she wants us to believe in magic and to get curious about Harry. The way she wrote it works.

Let’s now summarize with my final slide from my lecture:

Slide 35: Summary

  • The decision to “show” or “tell” is a strategic decision for each segment
  • If you are going to “show,” the easiest way to do so is to use the MRU structure
  • Structure is not enough!
  • Sometimes you need to violate the MRU structure in order to get the best effect
  • Resolve all dilemmas by asking how to get the most Powerful Emotional Experience

At the end of the day, rules can only take you so far. They can suggest ways to improve, but you can’t write fiction in a paint-by-numbers way by following rules. Those pesky rules are to help you figure out what’s wrong with a passage of fiction when it isn’t working.

But if a scene is working very well already, don’t mess with it.

OK, now it’s your turn. If you’re having trouble with those pesky Motivations and Reactions, then post a segment from your current work-in-progress in a comment here and I’ll analyze them in the order they’re posted. No more than 6 paragraphs please! I will ignore all posts that have more than 6 paragraphs!

20 Comments

  1. Sina'i Enantia October 15, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    Ok, here’s a try – this is just a little past the beginning of Chapter 2 of my WIP:

    Starfa was still in shock. “Are you telling me that that woman has kidnapped my brother?” Well, at least that would explain Veylan’s absence from this meeting.

    “Think, Starfa!” the king snapped. “That woman has been imprisoned for over a thousand years with no difficulties! How, all of a sudden, do you suppose she escaped from under the eyes of her guards? And then kidnap your brother, Veylan, of all people?”

    Starfa hated being scolded like a child, even if he was not thinking too clearly. If anyone besides the king had spoken to him in such a manner, he would have had the man’s head on a spear immediately. Because it was King Terdan, however, he swallowed his pride. “So you’re saying…she escaped like she did the first time. She had help.”

    The king nodded.

    “And…Veylan…helped her?” Starfa was having far more trouble with that idea. He knew that Veylan was soft-hearted, particularly where women were concerned. That was one of the problems the nobles had with him. But could he really be so stupid as to help her escape? Starfa would have to have a serious talk with his brother once he became king. That is, if Veylan was still alive. He had a knack for getting into trouble on his own. He could only imagine what dangers Veylan would blunder into under the influence of that…that witch.

    King Terdan interrupted his thoughts by dismissing the attendant. “Starfa, you don’t seem to understand what this means. Your kingship is in danger.”

  2. Camille October 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    Ian and Emily are on a road trip and stopped for gas. Ian came from the restroom and found a couple guys talking to Emily. (Technically, this is more than 6 paragraphs, but they’re lots of one liners. If you must enforce the 6 paragraph rule, I understand.)

    =========================

    As Ian reached down and opened her door, one of them asked loudly, “So dude—Rob Roy—where are you and the lassie headed?”

    He straightened and caught Emily’s widened eyes. Taking a deep breath, he forced back the adrenaline. “Edinburgh,” he said over his shoulder. “Are we on the right road?”

    They snickered. When Emily climbed into the passenger seat, a moan of approval and some whistling followed.

    “Ohhh dude—did you see those legs? I hope he can keep at least one hand on the wheel.”

    Ian froze again, but this time, he let the adrenaline run its full course. He flung the door shut.

    Through her window, Emily caught his eye, her face glowing pink. “Sorry,” she whispered.

    His jaw tightened. “You’ve done nothing to apologize for.”

    “How do you know?”

    He searched that crystal-clear face and nodded. “I know.”

    Her eyes widened, then she gave him a faint smile.

    One of the idiots hooted. “Check that out. I know what she wants. Aw yeeah.”

    Emily drew a sharp breath. The other idiot went on with a description that turned her face bright red.

    Blinding anger rushed through his veins. Ian leaned in the window and said with a calm that surprised him, “Close the window and lock the door. I’ll be right back.”

  3. Davalynn October 15, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    OK, here goes. Porter (with a flashlight) and James are 10-year-old cousins who have made their way into a forbidden tunnel beneath a small town. They hear a sudden noise coming from another opening in the tunnel:

    “Be quiet and listen.” Porter switched off the light.

    “What are you doing?” James’ voice chafed with fear as he groped for Porter in the darkness.

    “Shut up and listen!” Porter took a deep breath of musty air and held it in as he tried to figure out what was making the scuffling noises. “Hear that?” he whispered. “Someone’s coming.”

    Porter heard his cousin make a tight little squeaking noise like he thought a girl would make, so he grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the bar. “Come on. Let’s hide back here,” he whispered. “And stop squeaking!”

    “I’m not squeaking.”

    “Shut up!” Porter rasped. He could feel James beginning to sweat. He could smell James beginning to sweat. But he had little time to think about it because a spot of thin light was growing inside the hole and soon spilled into the room followed by two hunched-over men who stood straight up as they stepped out of the opening.

  4. Lynda October 15, 2008 at 10:02 pm #

    Rumbles roused Alejandro to half-consciousness. Overhead a succession of sky shattering cracks increased in intensity, each answered by waning reverberations. Something cold splattered against the back of his neck. His eyes flew open, and he stared into dank soil that emitted the moldy stink of decaying leaves. More droplets struck his neck, bled down, and seeped into the depression that cradled his face. He gathered his strength and rolled onto his back.
    Excruciating pain shot through his arm. He screamed, clutched a wound, and writhed. The agony decreased by degrees to a fiery throb that radiated into his shoulder. He wiped his eyes and stared into the underside of a shrub that dripped with moisture.
    Where was he? He reached up and parted some twigs. The jungle?
    The forest around him steamed, producing an earthy cloud. Its heaviness hindered his breath and dimmed the light.
    It would storm soon. He had to find shelter. Tangles of Passion Vines reached the forest floor. He grabbed a fist full, hoisted himself to a sitting position, and scanned the area. No outcrops. No hollow logs. His gaze went to a Giant Kapok that towered above adjacent trees. It would have to do. With his good arm, he dragged himself over the thickly mulched ground and hid amid the tree’s buttress folds. The jungle exploded with light. A crash followed. Then like the opening of a spillway, a torrent poured through the rainforest canopy.
    He rested his head against the bryophyte encrusted bark. What happened? He’d been in his office at the university. How did he get here? And, what happened to his arm? Through the deluge, he studied the wind ravaged surroundings. Nothing seemed familiar. His temples pulsed with concentration. There had been soldiers. Running. Rifle fire. Pain. Terrible pain. He closed his eyes. The nursery appeared on the inside of his eyelids. And, the bloody bodies of Elena and their baby. Anguish crushed his heart, dwarfing the pain in his arm. His fault. Everything was his fault. He grabbed his face and sobbed, “Perdóname, Señor, Perdóname.”

  5. Ivye October 16, 2008 at 1:21 am #

    In 1453 Edirne, young Sultan Mehmed is watching as his Hungarian renegade caster supervises the casting of “the biggest cannon ever”.

    From the liquid iron came a glare that caught the eye. It was pleasant to look at, and Mehmed liked to gaze until he saw nothing but light.
    “Don’t stare at the iron, my Sultan,” Urban had been instructed how to address the sovereign, but his rough Turkish betrayed him now and then into forbidden imperatives. “It is beautiful, but it makes you blind.”
    Mehmed blinked just once, and lowered his gaze on a drawing of the gun’s breech. Urban had been right, as was to be expected from a man of his calling: after staring at the white-hot iron, the brown lines of the drawing seemed to blur. Lest the Hungarian, the dragoman and the officers of the retinue should notice, Mehmed shoved the drawing off the table, and it fell to the ground in a roll.
    “What I want to know is whether this gun of yours will pull down the walls of Qostantiniya,” he said, and he suppressed a smile thinking how far the pretextous question was from being either idle or false.
    Urban thoughtfully drew the back of his hand across a hairy cheek, where the scar of an old burn ran from chin to ear. “You must not expect, my Sultan, they will go down at once,” he slowly explained. “This one,” and he nodded towards the huge empty cast, “is fit to crush the walls of Babylon themselves, but it will take its time. This is no culverin. You can shoot three, may be four times each day and no more. May be the Greeks will repair the breaks between a shot and the next. And then, on the land side, the walls are old stuff, but sturdy…”
    “What is the place like?” cut in Mehmed, hoping that both the question’s urgency and his voice’s trembling would be lost in the din. He had suddenly realised that the man had been in Qostantiniya, once at least, to offer his skills to an Emperor too poor to buy them. Urban had seen the city. He had known it all the time and never thought of questioning him.

  6. Mark Goodyear October 16, 2008 at 6:27 am #

    Hey, I think you set us up yesterday!

    I really enjoyed reading some of these excerpts that people posted.

    Here’s something from a revision I’ve been working on. I’m especially interested in how MRUs work when the motivations and reactions occur through dialog. Also, somebody at Mt. Hermon told me that my characters tend to “under react”…

    =========================================

    “I haven’t been to Decoration since my parents died, Odysseus,” John said.

    Odysseus was John’s dog, and John was drunk.

    “Every year now, for seven years, I drag out this cheap tent,” he motioned to the wad of polyester flapping in the bed of his truck. “And I tell myself, ‘This year.’ This year I’m going to Decoration.”

    The dog was a mottled black and white mutt. Medium-sized, athletic, and just big enough to make a person grunt when she sat on you. She thought she was a lapdog, but she wasn’t dumb. For instance, she knew better than to sit on her owner when he was driving in the middle of the night on a country road.

    “I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself, right? Crying about my parents every year same time. Promising myself this year I’ll get over it. This year I’ll go out to the cemetery like we always did.”

    John took a curve too fast, and the tires squealed. Odysseus whimpered on the passenger’s seat and trembled slightly like dogs do sometimes when they are scared or cold or nervous.

  7. Sherri October 16, 2008 at 6:50 am #

    Hello everyone. I’m new to this site and hope I’m not being too forward by jumping in here. I’ve rewritten some of my WIP using the MRU concept and was wondering if I’m “getting it.” You have a wonderful community here and I look forward to participating with you all.

    Here is my humble submission:

    The door of Colonel Preston’s guest quarters parted like the Red Sea. Light from the corridor settled on the floor of the dark room in an elongated trapezoid that framed his outstretched shadow. The distant voices of two men and the sound of their ever-nearing footsteps tunneled down the corridor.

    Colonel Preston’s heart pounded. His head jerked in the direction of the approaching men. His aging eyes strained for a glimpse of their feet. The curvature of the space stations ceiling obscured his view. If I can’t see them, they can’t see me, he thought. The stealth advantage belonged to him alone. A single furtive step ushered him, undetected, into his room.

    The door closed behind him, engulfing him in near darkness. The computer monitor’s ghastly glow furnished the room’s sole source of light. Faded blue-gray shapes gradually materialized around the room, growing increasingly tangible as Colonel Preston’s pupils self-oriented to the ambience.

    His chest expanded with a thick breath, exaggerating his medium build. He held it for a moment—then, exhaled—expelling the remnants of fear and consternation that had been accompanying him for the last hour and a half. He felt his breathing become regular and the thumping in his chest ebb to a tick-tock. He briefly considered turning up the lights, but surrendered instead to the sense of security proffered by the room’s darkness.

    His watch marked the passing of another minute, 2:15 A.M.

    Colonel Preston pressed his open palms to his face—pressed hard. From beneath closed eyelids, orbs yielded to fingertips, regaining their spherical shape as his hands slid slowly from his face. He took the few steps to the bed and sat on its edge. His conscience resisted fatigue; a mystery was at hand.

    Thanks again.

  8. Bruce Younggreen October 16, 2008 at 7:36 am #

    Before the man could respond, Alasdair rose to his feet. “May I present me nephew, Malcom mac Roderick MacLeod of Harris.”

    At mention of his name, the man, who proved to be a young lad of perhaps sixteen, rose from amid the young folk who had gathered to listen to his story. He was blonde, gawky, and just slightly uncoordinated as he came forward. He tripped over someone’s outstretched legs and awkwardly regained his balance. The young man doffed his bonnet and swept his arm low before him. “M’Lady!”

    Amused, Anne stifled a laugh which escaped anyway in a little squirt of sound through her nose.

    Dismayed, Malcom glared at her.

    “Oooh, scary!” she mocked.

    Malcom clenched his fists. “I can be,” he said through clenched teeth.

  9. Kathryn October 16, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    It was embarrassing to be so easily fooled. He sighed. Maybe Grand Father would be so amused, the man would forget to lecture him. It was a faint hope.
    Drakonys spun to look as pounding footsteps raced up behind him. Four clerics ran down the corridor, past Drakonys, and through Grand Father’s door. No knocking, no announcements, just ripping open the door and charging in.
    Drakonys closed his dropped open mouth. Not even the most daring of the young disciples would try that. Something had to be wrong. He called his staff to his hand.
    Grand Father Uel stormed out of his office, the four clerics looking distressed and relieved at the same time.
    “Drakonys, come with me,” Grand Father ordered.
    Drakonys nodded as he hurriedly joined Grand Father.

  10. Pam Halter October 16, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks, Randy, for giving us permission to tell when needed … and for reminding us to be brillant while we’re doing it. I never had a problem with JK *telling* us all she did in the beginning of her books. Her voice is unique and her style is intriguing.

    I have not read all the books in the series, but I will at some point.

  11. Sarah October 17, 2008 at 8:35 am #

    “Oh, oh look, that lady has wings!”

    Finally! He saw someone. Shivering with excitement, David shielded his eyes from the sun and squinted. The wings were pointy-topped, dark blue and flanked the lady’s head like a crescent moon.

    “Never saw anything like this. Lara!”
    “Don’t talk nonsense. People don’t have wings.”

    At the sound of a haughty tone, David cringed. It wasn’t his sister. He hid his eyes under a thick fringe of his dark brown hair and turned around. His mother’s dandelion head towered over him, her face creased into a sour frown.

    “Err – where’s Lara?”
    “Do I know that? You know your sister. Who can catch up with her?”
    A corner of David’s lip lifted up into a lopsided smile. “I-I’ll find her.”
    Hardly breathing, he swivelled away and sealed his lips to prevent further words from escaping his mouth. How on earth he could be so careless? Now he could forget about going for a chat with that lady. And winged people were exceptionally rare to find. David knew his mum couldn’t see wings. How could she? They were ethereal in nature, and his mother … well his mother didn’t pass beyond seeing fancy outfits and hairdos.

  12. Sean October 19, 2008 at 12:32 am #

    This is something I was working on a few months ago, when I first started reading about MRUs on your site. I had a bit of trouble with them here, as the character is alone and a lot is happening in his head.

    If a character is reacting to his own thoughts, where do you draw the line between motivation and reaction?

    *

    Peter slipped, and cursed as the light flew from his hand, bounced once on its padded side, then fell front-first with a crash and a shattering sound on a patch of sharp rocks.

    The darkness was immediate and complete.

    Colorful spots filled his eyes. He shook his head to clear them. Dropping the light had been stupid, but there was no need to panic. Rule one of cave exploration was to always bring a backup light. He reached to his belt, pulled light number two from its loop, and flicked it on.

    Nothing happened.

    The darkness was beginning to press in on him. He could almost feel it seeping down the back of his neck.

    He flicked the switch a few more times. Definitely dead. What a piece of junk.

  13. Sean October 19, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    Actually, looking at what I posted, I can already spot one or two misplaced MRUs. Hopefully that means I’ve improved somewhat over the last few months. 🙂

  14. Cherie October 20, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Thank you for this opportunity. This is a very newly written scene. My main character, Kelsey, is fighting a vampire.

    *

    He sprang at me.

    I lifted my sword, but he wasn’t there. He darted to the side with inhuman speed and kicked at my legs. It was a good, solid kick that should have sent any normal human sprawling on the ground, possibly skewered on her own sword.

    Lucky for me, I’m not a normal human.

    Still standing, I turned to face the vampire, bringing my sword down toward his head. He dodged backward, out of harm’s way.

    I hadn’t really been trying.

    “You –” he stuttered, staring at me with wide red eyes. “What are you?”

  15. Sam October 21, 2008 at 3:53 am #

    The last time you did this helped immensely. Thanks.
    Here’s the background: 2 high school students, Jack and Scott, sneak out of their houses end up and witnessing a serial killer’s latest murder. They get away and only Jack sees the killers face. The kids agree never to say anything, but that only lasts until the police show up at Jack’s door. They had already tracked down Jack’s friend Scott and talked with him.
    Jack’s parents had called Jack down to talk to the police and they aren’t happy with what they have found out. Jack (told in the first person) starts lying, telling the police how horrible it was.

    Here are my paragraphs:

    I really didn’t feel that emotion, I just said it to try and get my parents to stop being mad at me. Sure I knew it was awful, but I just wasn’t feeling it. But I knew that if I sounded all freaked out and traumatized, that maybe my punishment wouldn’t be that bad.
    “I – I just couldn’t believe it – that poor woman. We heard her scream and then kind of a gurgling sound” I said with my eyes welling up, my face looking pained. The more I talked the more disgusted with myself I became. What was wrong with me? Why pretend? Just tell them what they want to know. I guess I would say anything to get out of trouble.
    My parents faces softened; they were sympathizing with me. I stopped acting and shared the facts; at least some of them.
    “After the guy pushed the woman out of the car, she looked dead. I mean, she wasn’t screaming or crying or anything anymore. Then Scott made a noise and the guy looked up and we ran.”
    “Did you see his face?”
    I stared at them. Did they know? “Not really”, I said. Why can’t I stop lying?

  16. Sheila Hall October 22, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Randy, this is my first landing on this site. What a great find! I’m not certain I’m interacting correctly, but I simply had to post a “thank you” for your enormously helpful comment about “Telling.” You are the only fiction instructor (if this title is correct) who has provided a “qualified exception” to TELLING as opposed to SHOWING … to my knowledge. Most instructors have the “one caveat” – SHOW don’t Tell!

    This morning, I read for the first time that it’s okay to TELL … if your telling is “brilliant” or at least “interesting.” I CAN LIVE WITH THIS. IN FACT, I REJOICE OVER IT. Your additional point that “Telling is efficient” could not be more true. No one has ever confirmed this for me … but rather, made me feel “dull” for not inculcating this fictional edict. I’m going to happily stick around … there’s much to be learned here. Sumo-Grazie!

  17. Sheila Hall October 22, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Randy, this is my first landing on this site. What a great find! I’m not certain I’m interacting correctly, but I simply had to post a “thank you” for your enormously helpful comment about “Telling.” You are the only fiction instructor (if this title is correct) who has provided a “qualified exception” to TELLING as opposed to SHOWING … to my knowledge. Most instructors have the “one caveat” – SHOW don’t Tell!

    This morning, I read for the first time that it’s okay to TELL … if your telling is “brilliant” or at least “interesting.” I CAN LIVE WITH THIS. IN FACT, I REJOICE OVER IT. Your additional point that “Telling is efficient” could not be more true. No one has ever confirmed this for me … but rather, made me feel “dull” for not inculcating the SHOWING edict in fiction. I’m going to happily stick around … there’s much to be learned here. Am looking forward to posting something of my own … down the road. Sumo-Grazie!

  18. Mary Hake October 22, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    I never got the announcement for this post. Hope I’m not too late. This is from the middle of my YA novel. Ari, 18, is the main character and a passenger with a guy driving too fast.

    From Treasure Seeker:

    Rather than heading straight for the ditch, the car tilted on its side. Ari’s shoulder slammed against the right window, followed by her head. Time seemed to speed up and slow down all at once. Her head, arms, and legs flew out of control as the car rolled over and over. Terror seized her with a stranglehold. Her own screams echoed in her ears. Would this nightmare carnival ride never end?

    Oh … what happened? The pain and the chill jerked Ari back to consciousness. Her head hurt beyond horrific. She forced her eyes open. Everything was dark and blurry. Was she awake, or was this part of a terrible dream? She wasn’t in bed. And she could hardly move. “Oh, God, help me!”

    As the fog began to fade from her brain, she realized she was upside down; the top potion of her body hung suspended. Something sharp and hard poked into her right side. Her legs were squished in a sort of metal trap. Was she in some sort of cage? She tried to wiggle free, but waves of pain forced her to stop. Her lungs couldn’t seem to suck in enough air. Panic increased the squeeze of her chest. Her breath came in ragged gasps and her dizziness increased. She felt like she might pass out again. “Help!”

    Where was she? She blinked and tried to get her eyes to focus. The pain was incredible. Trying not to jar the rest of her body, she struggled to get her left arm untangled. Every movement made her head throb more. The dizzying sensation of rolling returned, snapping her memory back into place.

  19. Sarah Henderson-Sharon November 11, 2008 at 5:20 am #

    I’m incredibly late to post this I know. I haven’t checked your site for a while as I’ve been travelling and have only just got settled again. Hope I’m not too late because you give great advice!

    Usa woke up lying on the cold, wet ground.

    His teeth were chattering uncontrollably and his muscles ached from being clenched for so long. Stiffly, he got to his feet and rubbed his arms. He saw a tree whose branches had been snapped off by lightning. The shapes of the broken branches looked familiar, and Usa stumbled off in what he hoped was the right direction.

    The eastern sky began almost imperceptibly to lighten. Birds woke, their early morning calls bright and clear in the dark, silent forest.

    Usa thought of the ancient Sen who had learned to sing and, wondering if he could sing also, opened his mouth. A tremulous sound came out, and despite his exhaustion, Usa could not help but feel satisfaction. His thoughts turned to Olu and his stomach turned on itself. Olu would be furious, Usa thought, but surely, once he heard Usa’s story and heard him speak, he would see that Usa had returned with a precious gift that could enrich the lives of the Sen.

    Clinging this thought, Usa walked home, arriving as the first colours etched their way into the world. He had expected Olu to be waiting for him, sloe stick brandished, demanding to know where Usa had been and why he had stolen the Sala.

    No-one was there.

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