Friday, November 2, 2012

The Power Of Money: The Mantra of the Money

He had called me a pain slut. I hated that name but at the same time, he had made me feel more alive than I had ever felt before.

The Sadist had waited six months to contact me again and in that time I had spent all my cash. I wasn't broke, but my expenses were exceeding my income and I was going to need to do something soon. I could move back in with my parents in Nebraska and milk cows at 5am, work triple shifts someplace, or maybe... if he paid enough...

My memories of that day and night on the cross had begun to fade. The aches and pains, pulled muscles and rope burns, had healed within a week or two. I hated the bastard who had hung me on that beastly instrument of torture. Not for hanging me there. No, there had been full disclosure. It was because of absolute glee he had expressed at my every moment of agony. The way he twisted my mind and made me lose hope; the way he egged me on, humiliating me and bringing me to the edge of despair. It was the way he had left me there thinking I was all alone, suffering and perhaps even going to die spread naked and hanging up on a wood cross on a hill.

Most of all what I hated was myself and how I was willing to degrade myself just for the money he dangled before me. And how much I had actually enjoyed it.


The video of her crucifixion had brought in more than $200,000 so far, and was still selling well. I wasn't sure whether she was going to come back, but something inside told me that she had a kinky bent to her more powerful than even she imagined. She had really enjoyed the pain and panic. Maybe it was the adrenalin rush. Maybe she really was a pain junky. Whatever. She sat before me now, long silky dark hair framing the light skin of her perfect oval face. She was absent mindedly biting her perfect lower lip as she considered the offer.

"How much?"

He named the amount.

"How long?"

He repeated the terms.

He knew he had me hooked. There was no way I could pass up a payday like that, not for one day's work. I took the pen and signed. The date was set, I had agreed to the terms, and while I knew he would make a bundle from this little event of his in which I was to play the feature attraction, I would take home enough money to keep myself in drugs and the rent paid for the next year, at least.

"You are my best pain slut. You are going to love it," he called after me as I left his office. I flipped him off.


Saturday morning, 6 AM. I was dressed in tight jeans, a nice knit top that showed my figure, with a bra and panties underneath. It was the kind of simple causal outfit  that drives men wild. The outfit was carefully chosen, as had been my diet over the last two days, water intake, antibiotics, and a variety of other measures designed to make the experience relatively safe and yet as sensually provocative as possible to those who paid Big Bucks for today.  Under my bra my nipples had a brush of lipstick, and my pussy was freshly shaved. My hair was washed, clean and conditioned and as naturally beautiful as I could make it. My skin was moisturized and lightly oiled to give it a sheen.

I was looking hot, and I knew it. I was worth every dime he would pay me for today.

Outside the farmhouse a number of men milled about. Some were drinking hot coffee. I counted 17 men all together. Unexpectedly, there were women as well. Six of them. Two were from the Sadist's stable of pain sluts, girls who worked for him and maybe even fucked him on the side. The others had come with guests, come to watch, curious or just as sadistic as the men. They scared me. Sadistic women are scary.

The door opened. It was time. The Sadist and his assistant rigger came in. "You ready?"

I nodded. The two men took my arms and dragged me out of the farmhouse into the dusty yard in back. I struggled a little, putting up a fight, but the two walked quickly enough they basically dragged me to the center of the crowd and threw me down in a place where the dust had turned to mud.


She looked beautiful. As enticing as any girl of 21 could look, perfectly fit, a slightly innocent look with an underlying sensuality that made her seem all the more deserving of being crucified. I had a hard on just looking at her, knowing what she would be experiencing, wanting to see her struggle and writhe in pain, and to be the person who did this to her.

"Fuck you, what is this?" I cried out. All part of the act, but I was good.

"Gentlemen. This is Jennifer," the Sadist introduced me, "she is the main course today. Carefully chosen, snatched from a discreet street corner last night, no close relatives or friends, just a girl, a slut if you will."

I stood and tried to run. Two of the men caught me and dragged me back, throwing me back down in the mud. Two of the Sadists riggers came over and began to rip my clothes off. I struggled, pushing and writhing beneath them. It slowed things down but eventually they removed my bra and panties and I was wallowing around in the dirt and mud, stark naked before the men and few women.

I started to cry; it wasn't hard to do. I knew it wasn't real but it felt real. In spite of the few porn video shorts I had done, I had never really been naked in front of a large number of people before. I tried to cover up, one hand between my legs, the other forming a hand bra across my breasts, which squeezed over and under my arm.

My hands were grabbed roughly and pulled in front of me. "Please, please... don't do this," I cried. My wrists were roped together tightly, too tightly, the circulation was cut off and it hurt.

"Hey..." I began to protest but the rope which held my wrists was suddenly jerked in front of me and I was dragged forward, almost losing my footing. I was led up a small hill to a post which had an iron ring high overhead. The rope slid through the ring and was pulled tight, lifting my body up until my shoulders stretched and toes extended and pushed to relieve the tension. I dangled helplessly.

"Dammit, be careful," I protested, angry. My tears were real, I was intimidated and scared.

"Now gentlemen, as promised, the scourging. I say scourging and not flogging because of the whip we will use. This three strand whip is used instead of the traditional 12 strand flogger because the force of impact is more concentrated against the flesh, thus cutting deeper and more painfully. Further, the strands are each knotted in three places to bite into this poor girl's flesh, tearing it.... for your pleasure."

I tried to look around. The Sadist hadn't said anything about a special flogger that would tear flesh. I mean, I had been whipped before, but this sounded bad. It was impossible to get a look in the stretched position I was in. I faced the post.

"Who would like to go first? Those who paid the extra fee are all entitled to six strokes! Who will take the lead and be the first to draw blood?" The Sadist sounded like he was hawking something on a boardwalk.

"ME! I will go first!" A man's husky voice sounded behind me. There was the sound of feet crunching, positioning, a first experimental crack of the whip. I tensed involuntarily, and the crowd of onlookers made a subdued aaaahhhh sound. I guess my reactions were being observed closely.

I was thinking about how badly my hands were hurting from the overly tight bindings when my back exploded in pain and I screamed. It was a real scream. The asshole had really laid a nasty stroke on my back and I staggered from that first lash. There was scattered applause.

Breathing heavily and feeling the individual stripes that had just been laid down on my back, I waited for the next stroke. The bastard was playing with me.


The oil company executive from Texas had paid an extra $15,000 for the privilege of personally flogging the victim, and he was determined to get every bit of his money's worth. Resting after his first stroke, which left three red stripes of blood on her beautiful muscular back, he studied his handiwork. The poor girl hung on the post, waiting, not knowing when the next stroke would come. Such a beautiful scene.

I hung waiting, wondering what was happening. This time the guy telegraphed the coming stroke by grunting slightly as he lashed out. The warning didn't help. The sudden slash of the leather forced another scream out of me. It felt like someone had taken a knife and cut me, slicing it across my bare back. The splinters from the post sticking into my rather large breasts were completely forgotten in favor of the fire what was spreading across my bare back.

When the first man had finished his six strokes I had a short rest to catch my breath while the next guest took his place to continue my flogging. I was crying hard now, beginning to have my first thoughts of regret. In the break between floggings, I reminded myself about the money. This was going to set me up. I would be OK after this. The money was worth it. I recounted the amount in my head, thought about---

SNAP the whip hissed through the air and flayed my back, the tips of the leather whipping around and taking tiny chinks of flesh out of the sides of my breasts. The person whipping me was a woman. I was growing angry, wondering how on earth a fellow woman could be doing this to me when SNAP the next stroke broke that train of thought and left me sobbing, just wishing it would stop.


She no longer attempted to hold herself up on her toes. Her knees buckled and she hung by her wrists, letting her body jerk and then swing slightly with each stroke of the whip. She had almost no body fat, but I could still see the ripples in her flesh as each stroke took its toll. Each bit of mounting pain made her more beautiful, more desirable, in my eyes.

The flogging went on for a long, long time. Later I was told it lasted about 15 minutes, but it seemed like an hour to me. When it was done my back was wet with blood and on fire with pain. The money had been temporarily whipped out of my mind, I was just sobbing and hoping for it to be over.

They let me down and when I fell on the ground they untied my hands. The crowd of men gathered around me, closely observing my body, my face, my every reaction. They had signed up for real pain, real agony, and that's what they were getting.

"Spread her legs. I want to get a look at this cunt." One of the men said. Two others grabbed my knees, which were pulled up in a fetal position as I huddled on the ground. They yanked them apart and I lay on my back, legs forced apart, exposed to the crowd.

"Gentlemen. Look but don't touch. As you recall, the agreement is no penetration, no insertions by the guests. Besides, it is time for the next part. Shall we?" The Sadist and one of the riggers took my arms and lifted me up into a standing position. They led me over to where the cross had been constructed. It was a heavy wood thing with notches and holes measured in precise places for my specific height.

"Pick it up," The Sadist growled. He then leaned closer to me and whispered the dollar amount for today's show in my ear. I remembered then why I was there. Regaining my will and endurance I fell to my knees and grabbed the cross, and with much difficulty placed it on my shoulder. It was damn heavy.


When she picked up the cross her breasts briefly dangled down. They were natural. Large, but not huge. For a girl as thin as she, her breasts were a wonder. Every muscle in her body was visible as she strained to lift the heavy cross onto her shoulder, her sex was clearly exposed, the folds of flesh peaking out as she bent over. The paying crowd was talking excitedly, observing the show, enjoying every minute of it. Participating in an authentic Roman crucifixion, the live execution of a girl in agony was what they had paid dearly for and they were not being disappointed.

When I reached the open clearing on top of the low hill I collapsed. The cross was sturdy and heavy and the whipping had taken a lot out of me. My entire body was hurting and I wasn't even hung up on the cross yet. I lay on the ground next to the wooden frame, just breathing and recovering.

It felt weird to be naked in the open like this, especially with a crowd of strangers around me. I couldn't decide whether it was exciting and sensual, or just scary. Maybe both. Maybe it was exciting because it was scary. Feeling vulnerable was a definite turn-on for me, I discovered.

The rest didn't last long. The Sadist and his two riggers grabbed my limbs and lifted me up onto the wooden beams. They were hard and rough, the corners of the wood digging into my flesh. My back and ass lit on fire again where I had been flogged and I cried out in pain. This brought a reaction from the crowd that was gathering around to watch as I was attached to the cross.

My wrists were tied and the rope wrapped around the cross patibulum in a specific location marked by a notch. The notch was premeasured as the location to give the right amount of sag to my body, creating the angled tension that would not only strain my arms and shoulders, but cause cramping and stress on my chest and back. Crucifixion is an evil art, and I was about to experience all of its aspects.

With my wrists in place, the riggers grabbed my ankles and brought them together. I struggled, trying to stop them but it was no use. My ankles were crossed to keep my legs at an angle that would spread my knees and expose my cunt to everyone, then rope was wrapped around them a number of times. When sufficient rope was tightened so that escape would be completely impossible, the bundle of my ankles and feet were tied to the upright beam at the appropriate, premeasured notch.

While all this was happening I lay looking up at the blue morning sky. Soft white clouds scudded by, and I couldn't help wondering at the glorious morning in which my crucifixion agony would soon begin. When the last knot was tied and I was helpless on the ground, the paying audience gathered around to see me and taunt me.

Men reached down and felt my breasts, pinching my nipples. My hair was fondled. One of the women stuck her hand between my legs and pressed my thighs apart. I was prodded and probed.

One of the men then spit on my face. It was sudden, and I gasped and turned my head, feeling the viscous fluid slowly trickle an inch down my cheek and then stop. This action filled me with a complete and total humiliation, a debasement beyond anything I had ever thought I would experience. I strained against the ropes wanting to escape this public taunting, to no avail. I was secured.

A second man spat on my face. Before long, each of the men produced and dropped gobs of their saliva on my face. Even two of the women spit on me. I cried there, my tears mingling with these stranger's body fluids, facing a humiliation that I had not realized could be so profound.

It came as a momentary relief when the Sadist and his riggers pushed the audience away and began lifting the cross. Up into the air I went, my head rising up and then passing that of the crowd that had been jeering and abusing me. As I climbed into the air I knew what to expect and tensed for the moment when the base of the cross would sink into the deep hole below. Even so, the two foot sudden drop jerked me so hard and suddenly that my body sank and bounced, my shoulders screamed in pain and the scream formed on my own lips, echoing out loud across the field.

The cross was momentarily stabilized in place as I hung, my head hanging down, hair covering my face. My knees were bent and spread apart and I could see my breasts heaving, my stomach moving as I gasped for breath. The pain wasn't too awful, just strain and burning from where my ragged, whipped back had slid down the wooden frame when I jerked into place.

The feeling of being suspended in the open like this, exposed, with a gorgeous view of trees and rolling hills in the distance, but tied and unable to move, was oddly familiar. It had been months before, but I knew this. I understood the process, the contradiction of beauty and ugliness that was playing out in my body and experience right now.

The one difference was the audience. A group of slightly more than 30 people were now up close and watching me during my time of suffering. Each had paid for the privilege. Each was a sadist of his or own style, delighting and reveling in my naked exposure, eagerly awaiting my first expression of pain.

I must have hung there, unmoving, resting, for a half hour or more. Finally the cramping in my shoulders and the strain to breathe became overwhelming and I pushed my legs and pulled my arms to begin the crux dance. Struggling against my own weight and weakness I pulled sideways and then straightened myself until I was upright, standing on my tied ankles, supporting my body weight by the ropes that held my legs to the upright of the cross. It hurt, but not terribly. The ropes dug in and cut the blood flow, but I could take it for a while and so remained in my upright position, arms spread wide, head up, staring defiantly at the crowd below.

A massive bucket of ice cold water was splashed on me from below without warning. I gasped from shock and shivered. The day wasn't warm yet and hanging without moving had made me cold. The cold water made it worse and I shivered, wanting to put some clothes on. But I couldn't. I was stuck, hanging by my wrists and unable to do anything but continue hanging. The frustration and mental anguish began to take hold.


Her nude body was gorgeous, shining slightly in the morning light as she raised and held the raised position. She was in pain, though it wasn't agonizing. Yet. Even so, seeing her body stretched out, ribs clearly visible, breasts pertly hanging from her chest, stomach moving with each breath, the sharpness of her hips clearly visible, made my heart ache with longing. She was gorgeous. She was exposed in every aspect. She was defiant, still, and her face showed the fierce pride and determination that made me so excited, so desirous of breaking her.  Time was on my side. Time would do it, slowly exhausting her until she had no pride, no determination left.

It was when I lost the strength to remain upright that the audience began to truly become excited. I quickly sagged down and grunted when my weight was once again placed on my arms and shoulders. The men before me began talking and telling jokes, enjoying the spectacle of my increasing pain. I knew they were looking at my naked body as an object, that I was nothing but an animal, a girl condemned to die in the most horrible manner. They were also looking at my body for signs of its pain and that those signs would thrill them.

The sun was rising high in the sky. It was becoming warmer and some of the men were removing their jackets. I felt my flesh heating up and realized my pale skin would be burning soon. This was part of the torture, the exposure to the elements, the heat, the sun burning, the sweat trickling down, water oozing from my body and dehydrating me.

I began observing every little aspect of my torture in great detail.

First, the ropes around my wrists cut into the flesh. I looked and could tell that they bled slightly. My hands had a little blood flow but were slowly turning purple. They ached from the lack of oxygen. There was nothing I could do to relieve the pain of the ropes except raise myself up so my weight no longer pulling on my wrists; this helped compensate, however briefly.

The weight of my body (I am slender and muscular, but still have plenty of weight when hanging from a cross), pulled on my arms. Starting with my forearms, the tension increased until it reached a pinnacle at my shoulders, which constantly felt like they might dislocate. This agony was perhaps the worst for some time; the strain of my weight constantly, unrelentingly pulling on my shoulders and back.

The strain eventually gave way to cramps. My shoulder and back muscles protested against the abuse and knotted up. This is when the actually agony began. I cried out, knowing that if I could just move my arms, free them and move them forward, the cramps would be relieved. But I could not. I was tied in place, stretched out and hung so that the cramps increased and spread across my entire upper back. I panted, knowing that it caused my body to shudder and breasts to heave, enticing the audience in their sadistic pleasure. Still there was nothing I could do.

There was nothing I could do except continue to experience pain which was designed to provide pleasure to those surrounding me, observing my every movement closely.

Another aspect of my torture was when I moved to relieve the agony of my wrists and shoulders; pressing down on my ankles caused equivalent pain to build in my legs and feet. It relieved the pain in my upper body, yes, and replaced it with pain below. The ropes dug in as I struggled to remain upright. As time went on raising myself became more and more difficult.

All this I accepted for money. A lot of money. I repeated the amount in my mind.


She danced the crux dance delightfully. Each time she raised herself up I could see the agony of strain shudder through her naked body. The crowd surged forward and watched her legs tighten and push, her body twist to get leverage that never quite worked. She endured additional pain as she rose with the promise of some relief to come when she finally reached the upright position. Her legs never quite completely came together, always spread slightly, revealing her cunt to all. As she remained aloft her thighs shook, vibrating with effort until she finally collapsed down once again with a soft cry of frustration and pain.

There were all the other little humiliations, indignities, degredations of being hung publicly naked on a cross for hours. My bladder filled. I knew better than to try and maintain any dignity, and simply released the urine. The crowd cheered. I stared down at the remnants of urine dripping, amazed that I was reduced to simply peeing in public like an animal.

My throat became raspy from lack of moisture and from crying out and screaming so many times. I wanted water so badly, for a while thirst was more painful than anything happening to my muscles and tendons. I cried out for water.

My hands took on the permanent shape of claws. I could no longer move the fingers.

The flies came around noon, buzzing around my face and body. I couldn't get rid of them and they drove me insane. I tried to blow them away from my face, but felt them crawling all over my body, into the crevices, over my most sensitive parts. They tickled and itched, but I could not scratch, yet another horror of agony to me. Eventually, I gave up trying to blow them away from my face and they crawled to my mouth, into my nose, and to my eyes.

And through it all I felt less and less human and more like a toy that suffered only for the pleasure of others.


Mid afternoon we gave her some water on a sponge. The old Roman custom of providing something in this manner was never a kindness. If it was water, it prolonged death. Too often it was wine or vinegar which merely intensified the sensations of thirst and dehydration. For her, the water would help her, keep her alive and healthy for the remainder of the show. I was falling in love with her by now. She was the most gorgeous object I had ever seen. But I could not tell whether it was her, or her suffering in with which I was in love.

The money became a mantra in my brain. I repeated the sum over and over to myself. I thought about how I would spend it. I wondered whether I could get it in $100 bills and roll around in it. Would it fill a bathtub? Could I literally bathe in the cash?

It was mid afternoon when I finally surrendered my mind. I begged to be let down. They had given me water but my lips were still parched. They had spread the water over my angry red sunburned skin to cool it. My entire body was in agony, and the money slipped away, no longer existed. All that existed was my pain and it needed to stop.

The Sadist approached and climbed to my ear, speaking softly.

"Remember, the money," he said softly, reminding me of the amount. "But I can help. This cross is fitted for a sedile. Do you want it?"

I raised my head. "How long?" I rasped.

"You have but a few hours. 9 PM. The sedile will be humiliating, perhaps painful, but it will be a different kind of pain and you can make it. I know you can. Remember..." he state the amount, once again.

"Give me the sedile, you sadist bastard." I croaked. "And fuck you, to the bottom of your black soul."


I kissed her on the cheek, feeling the soft, wet skin of her face against my lips. She didn't react. I cupped her breast in my hand, felt the nipple, slid my hand over her heaving stomach and finally down between her legs. She swore at me in her agonized voice and I smiled to myself. I had already ejaculated twice that day to her pain, and it was likely that I would orgasm at least once more before the night was out.

The most humiliating and disgusting part of the experience was when the men began to masturbate. I hung in the late afternoon and as it darkened the men slid down or opened their pants one by one, removed their cocks and stroked them until they spurt semen out onto the grass or dirt.  One man caught his semen and walked over to me. Raising his hand he smeared it over my stomach. Following his lead, others caught their own fluid and brought it to me, smearing it over my exposed and helpless flesh.

I repeated the mantra of the money. The amount I would be paid, extracted from these vermin.

Two of the men that had come with women took them aside and fucked them within sight. Legs in the air, one woman panted and groaned and heaved to orgasm, all the while looking at me. The other couple did it against a tree, the man pushing the woman up against it until she raised her legs around his waist. They fucked noisily.

Knowing that the agony I was experiencing was causing the sexual climaxes of these people was the most obscene thing I had ever done or experienced.

The sedile came and was placed just below my hips. When I let myself down on it, I realized just how hideous it was. A thick, pointed object, I now had two choices for its position as I sank down, unable to hold myself up. It could penetrate my anus, or spread my cunt and plunge deep into my vagina. I had seconds to decide before my strength gave out and it chose for itself. I chose to have it rape me, plunging into my pussy and impale my cunt.

As my body sank down onto the vile protrusion I grunted and then cried out in unexpected pain. The sedile gave some relief from the weight pulling on my arms but replaced it with the pain of intense pressure on my cunt and deep inside my gut. This was no seat. It was another form of torture. I looked at the Sadist with hatred, and tried to rock back and forth on the sedile to spread the smashing pressure out. I couldn't. The long protrusion sticking deep up inside me prevented me from moving. I was truly impaled and no longer able to move the little bit I had moved before.

The Sadist brought another sponge of water to me. I didn't want to drink but I had to, I was so thirsty I literally thought I would faint soon. I sucked the sour tasting water down as quickly as I could. When it was dry I hung my head and remained motionless on the cross, no longer able to struggle, raise myself or move side to side.

I felt weak. The world had an unreal quality to it.


I don't think she understood just how much the crucifixion increased her beauty. Her body stretched out, flesh pulled tight against the rise and fall of her ribs and point of her hips; her legs showed their shape and the muscles of her body stood out as she writhed. Her hair hung in the most delightful manner, and her skin glistened with sweat. Most of all, her face showed the pain she experienced. There is nothing, nothing more beautiful than a woman in pain, enduring agony helplessly.

It was dark. I knew it would be over soon but it no longer seemed to matter. In my mind I was going to die and was already in the process. I no longer cried, no longer struggled. The thought of the money was the only thing that reminded me that there was a future, a world beyond this one.

I was rocking back and forth on the sedile, just a gentle, easy motion. It kept the muscles in my body from seizing up. Besides, it felt good.

The rocking motion continued, slow and easy, until a warm glow began to accumulate between my legs. If felt good so I rocked a little faster. The rocking motion began to hurt my lower back and shoulders, but I kept going. The audience took interest in my steady rhythm, gathering and looking at my body and its reactions. I didn't care, I was in my own world and if there was a tiny bit of pleasure in the midst of the pain and humiliation, so what?

The end of the sedile protruded up deeply inside me, pressing hard against my cervix. Rocking dragged the pointed end against the sensitive flesh, causing more pain but I kept going. There was nothing else in my life to live for. I rocked and as I rocked I breathed faster, heavier.

When the orgasm came it was unexpected and intense. I shook, shuddered and heaved, wildly jerking and fucking the sedile. For a short moment, perhaps 60 seconds, the pain in my body disappeared and a flood of pleasure encircled me. I gasped and moaned, tipping my head back and thrusting my body out and then back in, trying to get the maximum stimulation.

As the climax subsided the torment of my body, stretched out and hung from the cross, slowly reached back into my consciousness and I sank down. I became aware of the audience once again. I had just masturbated myself to an earth shaking orgasm in front of 30 people who were standing just a few feet away, observing my every movement.  My humiliation was complete. I had no pride, no self respect left. I was broken.


An hour later the Sadist and his riggers took me down, an unexpected agony in itself. I screamed as each arm was released, and again as they moved me down to lay me on the ground. Later, I lay on a stretcher sipping water from a bottle. A blanket was over me, though I no longer cared about being naked. There were congratulations and thanks from the audience, which I ignored for the most part. There was no strength left for social niceties.

The only reason a future existed was the money.

That night I spent in the farmhouse. I had liquid nutrition, and mild food such as rice. The next day I rested and in the afternoon the Sadist came to me and sat next to me on my bed.

"You were wonderful. Perfect. The most beautiful bundle of agony I have ever tortured," he said admiringly as he handed me the check. I looked at it and a little thrill ran through me. I had never had that much money all at once before.

"You actually enjoyed it, just a little, didn't you?" The Sadist said after a moment of silence.

I thought hard and then answered. "Yes, I guess I did. I mean, how many people can say they have been publicly crucified? The adrenalin was amazing, and the pain... I hated it. Really, really hated it. Agony. But there was something... exciting about it. At times I felt alive, the most alive I had ever felt. I couldn't have actually cum if I wasn't getting off on the pain and exhibitionist side of it."

The Sadist reached down and kissed me on the lips, gently at first and then more deeply. He was a balding man of 50 and rather ugly, and it disgusted me. I kissed him back, hard, and then he fucked me, hard. It was disgusting and hurt, which was what I liked.