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Category Archives: By Mack

My Indiegogo Film — By Ben

My Indiegogo Film — By Ben

I know I haven’t updated this thing in ages. And that’s because I’ve been super uber busy. I started this blog about 3 years ago as an exercise to write and I wrote some posts that I am very proud of. I even had a story bumping around in my head that I did as a series of Jill posts (Marty’s 1/2 Dozen) which is very dear to me and I will finish, but probably in another format. Since moving out to LA I’ve had some tremendous opportunities.  I did some reality TV work, was a writer’s assistant on an AMAZING hidden camera magic show – The Carbonaro Effect (if you haven’t seen that show click right here right now!!!), got to work in the writer’s room of one of my favorite shows of all time – Robot Chicken, and I’ve gotten to write with some amazing writing partners to producer material I am incredibly proud of.

So what’s all this about then? Well, I’m taking one of my screenplay shorts and I’m filming it. Yes, this is an ask you to fund my project plea, but I gotta start somewhere. So if there is any of you out there that enjoyed MackJackandJill.com and what to see what else I can do or just want to see me grow as a writer and an artist, please click the links below and give me a couple of bucks. $5? $10? More? It’s all good. Just like the Facebook page for all I care. But please please, help support me. Just this once. And maybe once this baby is made, we’ll see some more from Mack Jack and Jill.  

This is the Indiegogo Campaign.

Click Here

The Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/WhatsTheHoldUpFilm

–Ben

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in By Jack, By Jill, By Mack, Writing

 

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Butterfly Them Pockets — By Mack

The twelve-year-old’s bandana has the graphic of a skull printed on it and it’s pulled up above his nose so it looks like a skull is staring back at me. The gun looks fake. I think the tip of the barrel has been cut off because on replicas, the tip is orange. But I’m not sure enough to take a chance.

There’s been a bit of a lapse since my previous blog entries. In New York, I was an actor trying to get as many women into bed as possible. But in the last few months, I’ve moved across the country and somehow started to explore Judaism. I won’t go into that story now.  But I will back track this one a little.

I had just left friend’s house after have a splendid Shabbos dinner around 9 o’clock.  As I walked the usually populated neighborhood street (but on this night strangely deserted) I noticed in the distance three kids.  Two on bicycles and one on foot.  My instinct was to cross the street. But immediately, I wrote off that impulse as prejudice and continued forward.

As I passed through the trio, one of the ones on a bike said something to me. I don’t remember what, I just know I turned to face him. He was probably 16 years old. So was the one on the other bike. They started circling around me. Then the gun was in my face.

Empty those pockets and throw it on the ground.

Maybe it was the gun. Or maybe it was their age. But I didn’t actually feel in danger.  It felt like some big joke. Like if anyone has made fun of you and you got in their face about it, their response might be, “Hey man, I’m just kidding. Don’t get so upset.”  Sometime since I started going to Shabbos dinners, I had started leaving my wallet and my cell phone in the car. So all that hit the ground were my keys and my chap stick.

Na man. Butterfly them pockets.” The older one on the bike commanded.  To which I complied.

Check his jacket!” I proceeded to take off my jacket and hand it to them.

It was in that moment, with my inability to give them what they wanted, that I could see that trigger being pulled. A burst of fire would end me. All it would take is a millimeter from the finger of that twelve-year-old.

“All I’ve got is my watch. You’re more than welcome to–”

But they had already started to walk away. It was done. I picked up my key and my chap stick, put on my jacket, and walked away myself, like a business transaction had been completed.  I wasn’t numb. But I wasn’t feeling it either. It wouldn’t be for another few days that I would bang my fist into my IKEA table putting a hole in it. It wouldn’t be till the following week that I would get nervous walking though the area at night.  But, for the first time in my life, I would be around people as they talked about crime and misfortune and I would keep silent. Before I hungered for attention and to share and relate. But now, I just don’t want to bother.

 

–Mack (really Michael)

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in By Mack, Judaism

 

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Well, I guess this is growing up. — By Mack

I’m sitting in my boss’s office. Charlie Mandolin doesn’t call his waiters into his office except for one reason. To fire their sorry asses. And not just a regular firing. He’d let one of the managers do that. No, he’s called me in fillet me.

I’m not sure how to describe Charlie Mandolin. If you could picture an adult sized baby with glasses, a chef’s uniform, and a South Jersey accent, you just might have an idea about his unreasonable but authoritative nature. That’s Charlie, the head chef, owner, and micro-manager of everything at The Magic Mandolin, a fine Italian restaurant in the lower east side of Manhattan. I’m alone in the office. It is very compact but perfectly organized. I can’t help but stare at the cartoon on the wall.

Real 99%

The comic’s prominence clearly demonstrates that Charlie and I don’t live in the same world. That getting him to understand my point of view was going to be pretty much impossible.

Charlie enters. He doesn’t say a word. Instead he swats his hand for me to get out of the chair. When I get up he plops down and folds his arms.

“Mack, Mack, Mackie-boy. You got yourself in some hot water this time.”

What he was referring to was a wine distributor that I had waited on last night. It was a 20 person banquet. And the head guy had a serious control issues. You see, most of the time, parties that size have prefixed menus and the food is prepared ahead of time. But when the food hit the table he was mad we didn’t have one thing or another.  Even though the party had been paid for ahead of time, he kept ordering martini after martini and after the 6th one, I had to cut him off. Long story short, the guy screamed “Fuck you! You’re the shittiest waiter this side of Yonkers. I better not have a gratuity on that bill or Charlie’s going to hear about this,” and then he walked out on the party midway through dessert.

Normally, I’d have let it go and write it off as Manhattan Ass-hole Syndrome. But I’ve not been myself lately and between running around to get the guy more butter ever 20 seconds and trying to switch the menu around in the middle of the dinner rush (which got the cooks super pissed) I followed him out into the middle of 2nd Ave and punched him in the fucking face.

With Charlie in his swivel chair, yelling at the top of his lungs, threatening to not only fire me, but to call every restaurant manager in Manhattan to make sure they piss on me if I even look at a job application, I simply tuned him out. I couldn’t stop thinking about that cartoon on the wall. I had been doing the actor/waiter thing for 10 years now. 10 years of trying to get people to cover shifts and I race across town for an audition. 10 years of seeing my friends from high school and college get married, buy houses, and have children. 10 years of serving dip-shits like Charlie Mandolin who will never see me as anything but a monkey who wants to take his money so I can be a lazy screw up artist.

So in the middle of Charlie’s yelling, I opened the door to his cramped little office and walked out.

I’m sure he was surprised. He probably started yelling louder. But I didn’t care. My life had been going wrong for far too long. As I walked on to 2nd Ave in my waiter’s uniform, tie, vest, apron, pocket full of pens, I saw right where I had hit that bastard, and I knew it was time for something new. It’s time to leave New York.

—Mackified for your Entertainment

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in By Mack, Restaurants

 

Parts of a Whole — by Mack

Something's gotta change.

Something’s gotta change.

“I gotta go. I promised I’d meet my friends on the east side. They’re waiting for me.”

I’ve said those very words a dozen times. Now they’re being said to me. Katherine, with her shoe half way on, slips her index finger into the heel as a makeshift shoehorn. I reach for her wrist and lead her back to the bed. Before she has a chance to object, I soothe her with a kiss. With my tongue in her mouth she gently sucks, then releases, but not before biting my lower lip. I think she just might stay.

She breaks away. But with one part consolation, one part condescension, she cups my chin. The way someone might to a silly dog.

“You’re too much fun, you know that?” She gently slaps my cheek.

I want to say, “Please stay. I love the way you reach into my shirt from my sleeve. I was hoping we’d wake up together in the morning. I could make breakfast and you could do that thing where you hug me from behind and you rest your head on my shoulder.”

But instead I say, “It’s all good. My buddy, Ian has a thing in Williamsburg.” What else am I going to say?

It’s later.

“What was I supposed to say to her, Mack?”

It’s a different time and a different place. Since high school, over the last ten years of my life, I’ve played around, had fun in the city. But not Malcolm. He got a serious job, got married, had a kid, and is now getting divorced.

“She said she just wasn’t happy anymore. And I knew it, too. She didn’t lead on, but I knew it. Hell, we were still talking on the phone 2 times a day and texting all through out. But…I just had this feeling. I’m fine though. I really am.”

I want to believe that. But I can’t imagine how he could be anything but devastated.  I just want to say that thing, that nugget of wisdom that makes the world alright again. But the only thing that comes to mind are television inspired cliches. I am woefully ill-equipped to make any substantive comment whatsoever.

“That sux, man,” is what I come up with.

It’s even later.

“So you said the horse is big, like a Clydesdale. Dark, with a white star on his nose, and is eating the flowers around the room? Well the horse represents your ideal mate.”

“Oh my gawd! This…is…so freaky!” Beth says as she puts her hand on my arm.

I’m running The Cube. It’s a personality test/game/cold read exercise pickup artists use. It’s no wonder I have no faith in marriage. If it couldn’t work out for Malcolm and Meredith, how could I ever believe it would ever work out for someone like me?

“So you probably like your guys big, but since he’s eating your flowers and they represent your social circle, I bet your boyfriends often get in the way of your friends.”

Her eyes are so wide now, they’re about to pop out of their sockets. She puts both of her hands over her eyes and throws her head back in disbelief.

“My mama, says that exact thing to me awull the ti-em!”

It’s a little earlier.

Malcolm is singing in front of the bar. I have no idea how he can get out the words to “Don’t Stop Believing.” I don’t care how drunk or how much of a high he gets from karaoke, after that bombshell, I don’t see how anyone can be a believer.

Now it’s much later.

And I have made peace with the fact that I am kissing a married woman. She understand a part of me no one ever has before.  It’s the polar opposite of Beth. I didn’t go after Nadia, it really did just happen. But I am not thinking about the how. I’m thinking about the profound sense of wholeness I had given up on ever finding. And the nagging knowledge that it will not end well. I’ve crossed a line. I am someone who has done irreparable harm. But I keep telling myself, “I don’t believe in marriage anymore.”

It’s earlier.

Back in the bedroom with Katherine. She’s putting on her coat and pulling her hair out from beneath the collar to flop down on her shoulders. As she leaves, the light spills into the room. Katherine has a beautiful silhouette. I could be happy with her. But for some reason it isn’t happening. It’s just out of reach. Something has got to change. I give it one more shot.

“Let’s do something next week. What’s your Wednesday like?”

She peeks her head back around the door.

“Yea, I’m pretty busy. But text me…gotta go.”

So something does change.

I’ll become deeply puzzled…

“We still talk, Mack. Hell, I still talk to her father. I’ll always love her. But more I came to understand her the more I realized I wasn’t what she needed.”

“Was she what you needed?”

Malcolm chuckles to himself.

Then reckless…

“But the star on the nose of the horse means you won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t stand out. Like really special.”

My hand goes to her inner thigh, right in the middle of the Starbucks.

And finally selfish…

“I should go.” Nadia whispers.

But she doesn’t move. She’s curled up, cradled in my arms as I’m sitting on the floor with my back against the refrigerator. I could spend the rest of the day here. All my defenses are down. I’ve never had this before. How was I supposed to abstain from this? How was I supposed to say no? Don’t you have the right to be selfish sometimes?

Nadia finally gets up. I want to ask, “Where do we go from here?” but I’m terrified of what she’ll say.

She looks at me with profound sadness in her eyes. I know at that moment I will never see her again.

Something has to change again. I just have no idea what to do anymore.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Ask Mack! — By…c’mon, figure it out.

The guide.

One day I’m sitting in the apartment, wasting time watching Hulu. I noticed I left an OkCupid tab open and to my surprise found a half dozen IM messages from some chick.

PANDAmonium: So I’ll be up front- I’ve come on to okc to ask for some feedback

PANDAmonium: on a guy matter

PANDAmonium: also im NOT a phone sex operator or scammer

PANDAmonium: yes i am serious about all these things

PANDAmoniumWhy the hell am i messaging you? I put u on my faves list apparently some time ago (I add people who seem interesting) so no, I don’t know u in person

PANDAmonium: and im not wacko despite the out-there ness of this message!

Should I have ignored this crazy person? Yea probably. But a mix of curiosity and sympathy with a dash of inflated ego proved I would choose otherwise. 

BigMackAttack: I was afk. (away from keyboard, for those unfamiliar with internet abbreviations) What’s up?

PANDAmonium: you responded yay! Okay so can I get ur opinion about this…thing?

BigMackAttack: shoot.

PANDAmonium: It’s kinda complicated…stupidly so…but I’ll try to not give alllllthe little details…and perceived details etc. So i had this guy teaching improv — I took his class — Now he’s about 27 and on a side note has a gf (who is also a model) — I’m 98% sure there have been messages, signals, communication if u will- that indicates he wants to fuck me

BigMackAttack: …okay…

PANDAmonium: I want to….plus im into him (as in like him…and on a side note im a feminist so the whole gender divisive women=all emotions men=all sex Annoys the crap out of me…I don’t subscribe to it)

BigMackAttack: You’re not really making any sense…

PANDAmonium: Which part?

BigMackAttack: Like all of it.

PANDAmonium: I’m also almost 100% sure at least 2 people if not more know about this thing we have (aka nothing really…but something u know?)

Why am I still talking to her?

BigMackAttack: Okay. Hold up. Let me ask you some questions. See if I can’t sort some of this out.

PANDAmonium: allright

BigMackAttack: So this improv instructor, have you and he ever hung out outside of class?

PANDAmonium: Well not just the two of us — we’ve been to this bar with ppl from class

BigMackAttack: Does he ever talk to you specifically at this bar?

PANDAmonium: well not like to just me…

BigMackAttack: What is your physical interaction like?

PANDAmonium: physical interaction?

BigMackAttack: Like does he ever put his arm around you? Ever tap your thigh or arm when he makes a point?

PANDAmonium: this one time I gave him a back massage!

BigMackAttack: Oh! That’s big. How’d he react to that?

PANDAmonium: he gave like a high pitched squeal he wasn’t expecting it — he was talking to another girl… but he WAS BEING FUNNY!!!

BigMackAttack: How long have you known him?

PANDAmonium: bout 6 months

BigMackAttack: Shhhh…yea…It’s not looking…

PANDAmonium: k k I know, but so like he does an improv show after class and I go to them a lot and he knows I go to them a lot

BigMackAttack: …

PANDAmonium: and like a lot of his scenes are about like marriage or like one of the topics was “proposal”

BigMackAttack: I think you might be reading into–

PANDAmonium: But he like looks at me when he does them!

BigMackAttack: So there’s eye contact.

PANDAmonium: not exactly, but he turns his head this way, and its towards me and one time he held his hand with his finger up over his forehead…so it was like…you know…?

BigMackAttack: A penis?

PANDAmonium: well yea…and this other time—

BigMackAttack: Okay I’m going to stop you here. Have you ever been on stage before? Like a real live performance?

PANDAmonium: in high school I did Grease

BigMackAttack: You remember those light?

PANDAmonium: yea?

BigMackAttack: How well could you see specific people in the audience?

PANDAmonium: oh 😦

BigMackAttack: All the stuff he does in improv, you have to discount. You’re wasting time if you think you can dissect any of that. If you and this guy aren’t talking outside of class or his show, I’m not seeing any evidence.

PANDAmonium: but theres this energy

BigMackAttack: Doubtful. But here’s a way to test for sure. You have a monologue you’ve been working on, I take it?

PANDAmonium:  not really

BigMackAttack: Wait, you’re an actress right?

PANDAmonium: well, yea but I do improv

BigMackAttack: Get a monologue. Like yesterday. Once you’ve got it memorized, go reserve one of the rooms in the drama building, ask him to help you with it. If you two spend the whole time working on your monologue, he’s not into you. If you two get distracted talking about each other, if you feel that chemistry, then you know.

PANDAmonium: That’ll work?

BigMackAttack: You kidding me? You’ve any idea how many times girls asked me to “work on a monologue” with them?

PANDAmonium:  *O_O*

BigMackAttack: Be careful, though. If he has a girlfriend, you might piss people off or end up with a bad rep. If it were just college, that’s be one thing. But, this is the theatre world. You’ll see these people long after you graduate. I guarantee it.

PANDAmonium: didn’t think about that…thx

BigMackAttack: np

PANDAmonium: feel free to message me if you ever wanna ask me something or if you want my number…

BigMackAttack: That’s okay.

Mack Landers

–Mackified for your entertainment

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Another ending — By Mack

She doesn’t even use the recycling bin.

It was a few months ago.

We’re walking back to the apartment. There’s all this tension. The conversation is awkward and flat. Somethin’s up. Somethin’ she needs to say but either doesn’t want to or doesn’t want to deal with the fallout. I’m 98% sure she’s about to break things off.

I’ve felt this coming for about 3 weeks. Last week I crossed from suspicion to being pretty damn sure. The change in the texts, that’s a big red flag. When you first start, they’re like Christmas presents. You’re damn hungry for them. Over time you relax, but they still got that hint of excitement. That immediacy to respond, when that goes, then you know you’re in trouble. Granted, people get busy. Involved. They’re “going through something.” But if they’re still into you they’ll find a way to get back to you. They’ll give you an “authentic response.” Not a cookie cut one. And the divide grows from there.

We’re a block from the apartment. 98% sure. It’s funny because there’s still 2% of me that’s still in denial. Maybe it is all in my head. Maybe she really is going through something. For some stupid reason I think that if I get her back to my room, get her in my bed, I can somehow fix it. I don’t know, remind her of the physical connection? Maybe I just want her one more time.

Then she stops. She looks down. Brushes her hair out of her face. Then looks up at me. It’s this moment, this second, where I’m sure it’s coming. But it hasn’t happened yet! She’s still mine! This look is coming from one place, the place of her being my girlfriend. When she opens her mouth and says what she gonna say, it’ll be from somewhere else. Foreign. Independent. And I won’t be welcome anymore.

My mind has jumps to a month ago. The last “good” time we had together. I say good, I mean fun. I had already started to figure the break up was coming. But it was something I could still fix back then. We’re outside the hospital, playing like 6 year-olds along the fence of this closed cafe. Her eyes were so different then. Filled with…I don’t know…some kind of wonder. It was like she was drinking me in.

She hops off the fence, grabs my hand, runs across the street demanding we lie in the grass. The thought of an ant or spider crawling on makes me roll my eyes. As I light my cigarette, I wonder if she’s too young for me. But it’s too late, she pulls me down. She gives me that look again. It makes me feel like some sort of diamond. Girls don’t usually make me feel precious. It is a damn sweet memory.

In the now. She begins to speak. The thing that I hate, is that what she’s gonna say, it changes that memory. Like, corrupts it. Making me question it. For a while, I just assume it was a lie. How could she be so damn in love with me then and now…nothing?…”thanks for playing, here’s a copy of the home game.” I’ll eventually figure it was a misunderstanding.

She says the words I know she has to say. All of a sudden I’m so damn hot. I glaze over a bit. She talks. When I was younger man I might have pleaded and begged. When I was younger. but not quite that young, I might have attacked her. Been vile. If I did truly feel like she was the “one” I might lay it all on the line pouring my heart out. But deep down I know she wasn’t. At least not from our relationship so far. What’s funny is that I really wanted her to be the “one.” But I’m starting to believe I may not be capable of feeling that for anyone. So instead of all those other actions, I just…comply.

We reach an understanding. As much of one as I think we can reach. And we have that goodbye kiss. That take in all and everything you can. It is a mix of sweet familiarity and the pain of euthanized hope. I feel her tears on my cheek as we pull away half an inch. Just breathing, thinking, feeling. Lingering in hesitation to let go. That uncomfortable heat returns. It’s an anxious feeling, but I stomach it for as long as I can. We eventually
we do let go and slowly back away from each other.

Thank you’s and pleasant words are exchanged. I ask her what she’s going to do. She says she’s gonna stay at a friend’s tonight. Then I clarify, I mean with the roommate situation.

“I’m moving out.”

“Gonna go to Brooklyn or somethin’?”

“Actually, I’m going to move back to Seattle. I’ve been thinking about leaving New York for a while.”

So long…

It’s the 2nd gut bomb of the night, but I didn’t see this one coming. I figure it’s for the best. I watch her leave for her friend’s for the night. There a good breath of relief. The anticipation of doom is finally gone. But of course I’m sad and somewhat angry. But mostly sad. I’ll miss Jill.

-Mack-ified for your enjoyment.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Maybe I Shouldn’t Have — By Mack

What’s a guy to do?

I’m no stranger to my dick getting me into trouble, but rarely do I really regret it. I met Felicity (not her real name, but I call her so because she resembled Keri Russell from that show) at a B/Arcade in Brooklyn. If you’re not familiar with the B/Arcade scene, it’s old arcade games and a full service bar. What could be better than video games and drinking?

I noticed Felicity over by the air hockey table. She was playing her friend in a pretty fierce and vicious battle. I’d never heard of life or death air hockey before. When she finally got the winning shot she raised her arms in the air, screamed “Yes!”, then pointed at him declaring “You are my BITCH!” My instant thought was, This Chick Is Awesome. Too bad she’s with someone.

But then I heard her friend cry, ” I can’t be your bitch, my girlfriend is going to be so mad at me.”
“That’s okay, I can loan you out on weekends and bank holidays.”
Bam! So I walked up demanding to play the winner.
“I don’t know. Can you handle emasculating humiliation?” she said with a smirk.

There’s something about physical activity when you’re seducing. Maybe it’s that it gives her mind something physical to focus on rather than judging you and your advances. Maybe getting the body involved speaks more than the mouth.  And maybe it’s just that the two of you are having more fun than you would be if it where up to the back and forth talking at a bar top. Whatever it is, it’s a Godsend.

Yes she beat the crap out of me. I think the final score was 14-1. But over the course of humiliation I learned that she was into all sorts of obscure crap that I’m into. We’re both actors. The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh is our favorite play.  We’re both left handed. And our drink is a Patron Sour.
We sat at a table talking we learned even more commonalities. As my leg brushed her thigh, her leg didn’t move. The initial physical escalation had begun. Then she chimed, “I’m kinda disappointed. There’s no Street Fighter. No Mortal Kombat.  He’ll I at least expected there to be a DDR machine.”
At this comment, my jaw hit the floor. I mean wow, right?
“You couldn’t beat me at any of them.” I declared.
“You wanna prove it?”

Fun to be had.

And at that we were off to my place. But no Mortal Kombat or DDR was played. Pretty much right when we got back I went in for the kiss. But here the thing…it was the blandest most unexciting kiss I’ve ever had. Did I stop? No. We proceeded to my bedroom and things continued to escalate. Every step of the way was mundane and uninteresting. No spark whatsoever.  I could tell she was enjoying it as little as I was. Even my Mack-patented moves did nothing for her. But at that point, what do you do? Say, “Hey this isn’t really working for me?” I mean I guess I could have. But how awkward would that have been?

Eventually we just ended up cuddling for a bit until she said, “If I stay like this I’m going to fall asleep.”  As she left I wanted to say, “Hey I know this didn’t really work out but I really do like you as a friend. I’d still like to hang out.” But if it’s a sensitive situation. If I come off as she didn’t do it for me, then I’m an asshole. So I said nothing.

After she left I got the obligatory “Had a good time” text. But that was it. I tried to keep up communication. A joke about us being left handed. Invited her to see the new Martin McDonagh movie Seven Psychopaths. But I never heard from her again. I had more in common with her than any of my guy friends. Sucks.

–Big Mack Attack…I guess.
 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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