Tag Archive: MEDIUM

Akismet and Jetpack Issues, Stop Spammers and CloudFlare Save the Day

My Web Host Penalised Me Yet Helped Speed Up My Site


shared web hosting

shared web hosting

This site used to be hosted on Site5, in Texas.  I had a shared web host account, about the cheapest there is on Site5 though by no means the cheapest around (I’ve had experience of really cheap hosts….).  It worked alright, site management was good.  Then, I got hit by spammers.  Twice.  Big time.

Each time, this slowed the site down, made life hell for other shared accounts, especially when I introduced WordPress plugins to counter this.

Naturally, Site5 advised me to stop the hits or they’d pull my account (they’d already temporarily disabled it).  They advised me to cut the plugins, using GoDaddy’s plugin testing tool, WordPress Plugin Performance Profiler (P3).  So I did this, and after some trial and error, got the running processes down.  Of course, I lost a bit of neat functionality.

Testing Times

Apart from internal WordPress testing, it pays to test your site as if you are someone else somewhere else.  Pingdom have a set of tools that does just this, testing from various global locations and I can recommend it.


I used an iterative approach, testing various combinations of plugins and systems to end up as being in the top 8% sites for speed in the world!  Not bad for free is all I can say!   You’ll see in the screenshot above, that 92% of websites are slower than mine….   So is it really free?  Here goes…..

Paid For:
  • Web Hosting.  Shared.
  • My domain registration.
  • WordPress and all the LAMP functionality
  • WordPress plugins
  • CloudFlare
Pingdom Says

Pingdom Says

Automattic Issues

WordPress (which this site uses) is built by the Automattic team and naturally have expanded over time.  I’ve used their plugins for many years, Akismet from the off, which is a comment spam blocking system.  Latterly, they came out with Jetpack, where they say,

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.

P3 Selected Output

P3 Selected Output

This is all well and good, except when I tested it using the P3 plugin profiler, Jetpack was the biggest drag on everything!   The worst part of it, was that actually, I was only using a small part of its features and it was still the biggest suck on performance.

  • I didn’t use Carousel for photos since I had an old solution, NextGen Gallery, that I’m loathe to change.
  • The comments system mucked up all other comment plugins, grabbing all for itself (a bit like Microsoft here!)
  • I used the stats, and that was about all, yet they were very slow and not that informative, actually.
  • Nearly all the other stuff I looked at, tried and ditched for similar reasons.

So much for the awesome cloud power.  On top of this, you’re now supposed to pay for parts of Automattic’s offerings, like Akismet, the comment spam blocker while a major offering of theirs was actually slowing my site right up!

What Did I do?

Change host!

Well not initially, actually, though the heavy-handed Site5 approach got my ire a bit I must admit.  I did do loads of tests with a host of caching, anti-spam and page load improvement plugins first…



I now use Vidahost in the UK.  The site is faster to manage (along with my others) since the servers are in the UK with me, and it’s cheaper, providing almost the same functionality and tools as Site 5.  I took the opportunity to clean out a few dead files in the process, but essentially, all was moved, database and files.  The lot.  Just twiddled config.php and the .htaccess file a bit.

did worry that my American visitors, who are actually in the majority, would  suffer slower speed and thus I’d get hit in Google rankings, but hey, wait for later…!

I got it all working and as part of the whole “thinking” process since the very first warnings from Site 5, I’d been looking for better things.

Looking at Things Closely

  • I like Related Posts.   Related Posts plugins do just that.  I love the idea of pulling out meta-data relevant stuff from a website.  Site 5 had said, as have others on the web, that this sort of plugin makes big hits on a site.  Some of them really do!  I use  YARPP, with a limited subset of features enabled which cuts down processing.
  • I also like Andrew Ozz’s Shutter Reloaded which shows images nicely.   I also like his post editor, TinyMCE Advanced, it being the best of many I’ve tested over the years.
  • I like NextGEN Gallery having used it since before WordPress got all image fancy.  I haven’t got time to fiddle with thousands of photos now…
  • I’d like some statistics within WordPress.
  • I’m not that interested, any-more (though I was) in Social Networking sharing features.  Truth be told, if someone wants to share, they will.
  • I’ve read a lot on image improvements.  I’ve always shrunk images manually before uploading using the excellent IrfanView application.  But during this enforced research, other things like sprites and delayed image loading popped into the equation.

So I like certain plugins or functionality.  I try and use the one that works best for me.  Too many plugins make a big hit on the server and thus website loading.


A way round this is caching.  e.g. If a post is created and has related posts clagged on the bottom using YARPP, then the post is cached and YARRP is only running once.  How and where the caching is done is the crux of the issue…

Site 5 suggested W3 Total Cache as a better alternative to Wp Super Cache,  which I’ve used for years.    Naturally, I’ve tested this and my conclusion was that it could be fast, and it was fast for a while, but over time on each of my sites I got issues around lock-ups and the huge and complex caching system around files, databases and sprites.  This list is long.

I’ve also tested various database query caching plugins likewise over the years.  W3 Total Cache incorporates this method too, but ultimately, it made too much work for not a lot of difference IMHO, since I’m lazy.

However, it did point me to one thing!  CloudFlare.


CloudFlare Admin1

CloudFlare Admin1

Ah.  The power of the cloud is back!

Not only that – it works!

CloudFlare Admin2

CloudFlare Admin2

You re-direct your DNS at your domain registrar (joker.com in my case) to CloudFlare’s DNS servers, set up the site malware protection level you want – then after a few hours your whole site is cached and protected.  Best of all, it’s free for a little site like this!

In fact, using CloudFlare speeded everything up even before I got caching going again…

Further Plugin Work

Now, I went back to Wp Super Cache from Doncha and it all works fine.  Site speed good.  I then ditched Jetpack after testing it again.  It really does interfere with all comment plugins, and I really like this comment one as do people who comment here:

  • U Extended Comment

It works great and does everything I want.  So Jetpack, it’s bye bye.  Take all your fancy commenting system, your stats, your social media and fancy image handling.

But What About Comment Spam?

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results1

Stop Spammer Results1

I’ve found the best solution is a plugin called Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin.  It needed a bit of fine tuning and a re-activation of Akismet to whip out a few wisps of spammer, but it works and seems to trap and report more spammers than ever Akismet did alone.  Akismet, by itself, does the commenting bit in tandem with the plugin, rather well.

Registration Spam

SABRE Results

SABRE Results

Unfortunately, during testing, a few unwanted visitors managed to register on the website.  They can’t do real harm since I use the lowest role level at registration time.  So I re-enabled SABRE and since then, no more unwanted visitors.  I’ve tested SABRE as a visitor and the settings I’ve chosen are just about right – I’ve had issues with it previously when it blocked registration!  But reducing the feature set and re-uploading a clean plugin fixes that.

CloudFlare and the CDN Issue

I toyed around getting a CDN to host images.  But they (can) cost and anyway, I’ve gone off Amazon and others because of their anti-Wikileaks actions plus they don’t pay UK tax…

Delayed Image Loading

However, in the course of my reading, I found that images can be loaded just as the page comes into view, which speeds up page loading, and as a consequence the perceived nippiness of a site.  The plugin BJ Lazy Load does this for me and works brilliantly.  Check this last post about Australia which has a lot of medium sized images to see them pop into view!

Delayed Javascript Loading

I use two plugins that handle this end of the issue around JavaScript.


WP SlimStat1

WP SlimStat1

Well, Jetpack is gone.  I won’t be using it unless some serious improvements are made, it being the prime reason for the server load that brought me to this position in  the first place.  As soon as I disabled it (and simultaneously blocked all comments to the site, which isn’t the best thing, this being a blog after all), all server loads went away.

I now use SlimStat and it works very well.  I’ve tried many over time, including Google’s analysis tools, my webhost’s stats tools, Wassup and more, but for now, this is it.


My site works pretty fast and is pretty protected from the bad guys.  I actually still use more plugins than what is usually recommended – 50 is a huge lot according to web gurus and sages.  Currently there are 31 in active operation with 8 inactivated.  I love trying new ones, it’s like that, that’s just the way it is.

The delayed image loading is particularly apparent on a post with a lot of images, say this recent one.  The post loads fast and you see the first images load, and as you scroll down you’ll see other images appear with a slight delay.

All the other stuff is incremental improvement, with the biggest, by far, being the free CloudFlare service which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It’s a no-brainer, go and do it?

My Full List?

These are the plugins currently running that help my site work.  Many are for security, which demonstrates the state of play versus the bad internet guys full well.

Related Posts:

Is There Really a SwipeAuctions to SellOffAuctions Link?


I’ve been reading this post on Penny Auction Watch:


..and can agree with Amanda that many of the search results are “very interesting“, as she says.

The claims from “anonymous” and others really should be chucked out for believability because they are unsubstantiated.  But there still lie many interesting things.  Things like the Google screen-shots which demonstrate links over long periods of time between a clutch of business entities, most of which include substantial volumes of complaints and dissatisfaction summarised by the word “scam”.

This linkage is there in the internet record, no matter how much business entities chop and change their identity, on-line or off-line.

Blog Posting

Of particular interest is Amanda’s mention of a SellOffAuctions blog.  I remember this when it started, but it’s no longer extant although this huge web comment stream gives a description of its genesis.  However, a quick Google search on the first line of the text pulls out the two blogs in Amanda’s narrative.


Blog Similarity Search


TerraMarketing’s output is in this shot below, but the SellOffAuctions blog is now unavailable:

Spam The Wrong Way To Market Your Business

Spam The Wrong Way To Market Your Business

Yet the SellOffAuctions basic blog contents at start-up show up clearly in the Google cache of the web-page:

SellOffAuctions Blog

SellOffAuctions Blog – webcache

…and the original “Why Free Isn’t Better?” post from the old blog  is here on yet another Willms blog:



What Does this Mean?

Well the thread at PAW makes plain that a high degree of website copying has been going on.  A guy claiming to be from SellOffAuctions makes this point as an excuse to speed up the site set-up.  Others have pointed out that if this is the case and there has been no collusion with SwipeAuctions, then the brief happy Willms’ outfit would have a very good case for copyright infringement.

Bid Auction Software

Bid Auction Software – a Google Search

One extra spanner in the works that may block any suing is that on-line templates exist for the express purpose of setting up “Bid Auction” type websites!  So of course they’d be similar! (That is a screendump of a Google search for Bid Auction software on the right!)  This does not explain the similarity in the blog postings mentioned below, though.

Another extra spanner that might possibly confuse people over intra-website or intra-business linkages is the addition of the SellOffAuction.com domain (n.b. no trailing s).  This was pointed out here.

It Is Very Interesting

It’s also very interesting that two blog posts from the Willms’ website stable found their way into the Google cache of a direct competitors blog, is it not?  We now know that the blog was pulled, but in its entirety?  Maybe after all, there was copying and the blog was simply pulled as being past its purpose.  This happens all the time, not least with Willms’ myriad of blogs such as described here.

The WHOIS records for all websites above follow the usual patterns with the notable introduction of “Internet Holdings” into the mix (what happened to TerraMarketting?) and also the movement of some Willms domains to the Ashton Manning registrant noted a while back:

One Last Twist!


There is of course potentially, a plethora of SellOffAuction domains.  the dot net one, is one and a full screenshot is on the left complete with a the biggest footer of exclusion clauses that I’ve ever seen!.  Here’s what the top of the page looks like:

You’ll see that it contains a video, the very same video used by SwipeAuctions.com on their website and affiliate promotions.  Also, it’s on selloffauctions.com too!

Even more interestingly, all the links supposedly go to SellOffAuctions.com if you look carefully – except they don’t!!  They actually point to:


…which then redirects to:


This is a site to flogging big knob stuff, a whois puts them as follows below with 45 similar big knob sites listed here.


Leading Edge Marketing Inc.

c/o DM Contact Management Ltd.

Suite 100 – 645 Tyee Road

Victoria, British Columbia V9A 6X5




Leading Edge Marketing’s T&C contain the USA phone number  1-866-621-6886 which throw up a few complaints mainly from folks who don’t like porn.  Personally, I can take it or leave it.  I just don’t like thieving scammy bastards.

In this case, it’s an affiliate fuck up either by design or accident.


That’s about it.  I can’t find direct linkages for now.  There’s too much supposition and too little actual proof.  Sechrists pop up and go.  Blogs pop up and go.  Websites pop up and go.  So for now, that’s it.  Inconclusive is my take on any connection.

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Banksy Headless Chicken? Evelyn Moves.

Banksy Local

A mural by graffiti artist Banksy, which once featured on the cover of a single by rock band Blur, has been painted over by Hackney Council.  The spoof image of the Royal Family, painted on the side of a building in Stoke Newington, east London, was partially covered with black paint

A mural by graffiti artist Banksy, which once featured on the cover of a single by rock band Blur, has been painted over by Hackney Council. The spoof image of the Royal Family, painted on the side of a building in Stoke Newington, east London, was partially covered with black paint

Evelyn has moved to a new place (in Bristol) with her mate. My mate Nobby and I helped her move. Amazingly, she’s got her own bit of (probable) Banksy art right outside her front door – a headless chicken! (see images below.)

Hopefully it’ll stay as it’s quite neat, I think. (The pictures are taken with my Panasonic TZ5 on auto, mostly from across the street).

Leonard Da Vinci: The Last Supper

Leonard Da Vinci: The Last Supper

Co-incidentally, today a house in Stoke Newington has had it’s Banksy mural almost completely painted over until the resident got Hackney Council to stop!  Click the picture for the story.

So what is ‘art’ and how ‘permanent’ or otherwise should it be?

  • Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper‘ started falling apart within decades of it’s creation.
  • The famous fingers almost touching in the Sistine Chapel aren’t even Michaelangelo‘s work as his original painted plaster fell off! An unknown monk filled in the bits years ago…
God, Sistine Chapel

God, Sistine Chapel

So two of the most iconic pictures in history are both repaired versions of the originals!

Temporary art, or permanent art.  It’s all the same really.  Music even more so, especially as a performed work.  Whoosh and it’s gone, remembered as a dream within a dream.

 Bristol Flat.



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Peter Hook Meets the Plumber, the Astronomer, and Crawling Chaos

a.k.a.   How Internet Sites strip out Content for Their Own Purposes

These are called feed harvesters or content scrapers amongst other terms and exist solely to copy other people’s content for the purpose of serving adverts, charging folks for getting good hit rates, hosting malware… etc

Gas Chair ClownI came across one while checking a Google Alert on “Crawling Chaos”.  Out popped a reply today, one I’d never seen before.  This is the phrase that you can do a nice Google search on.  It pops up in lots of places.

play bass in New Order/Joy Division/Crawling Chaos

The full text of the paragraph is:

In the wake of Tony Wilson’s death and rumours of New Order “reforming” with Hook, Hook recently wrote on his MySpace blog that “in a conversation with Oliver Wilson about a tribute gig for his father, he asked me what the chances were of getting New Order to perform. I said, ‘Seeing as we have just split up, pretty slim.’ He then said to me, ‘If I could get the others to agree, would you do it?’ I said, ‘In honour of your father, I’d do anything.'” He added that “this means I would sell the popcorn, take the tickets, sweep up after, play bass in New Order/Joy Division/Crawling Chaos.”

The thing is, that this came out in 2007!  This is the NME report on the subject: Exiled bassist hints at possible reunion for Tony Wilson.

Joyce D'FissionNow here are two sites with identical text content, although one has a bit-of-an-indexing system.

  • Plumbot – a site apparently for plumbers!
  • AbsoluteAstronony.com – a site devoted to .. well, astronomy, I suppose

Once I found these two, I didn’t look any more as two is enough to make my point.  The sites are copying this one, Wikipedia!

  • New Order – Wikipedia Main Article, no less.

Who are these people?

Here are the two whois lookups for plumbot and AbsoluteAstronomy.  They’re both USA based apparently and so must be capable of reading Wikipedia’s terms and conditions.

Isn’t Wikipedia Copyright?

We’ll yes & no. Wikipedia say this under Verbatim Copying (which is what the two sites have done)

You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.
You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.

Now go and check the two site – the above text isn’t included with the articles and both sites even have the audacity to put “All Rights Reserved” at the bottom!!!


The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club

I’ve said elsewhere that Hooky was the only one out of Joyce D’Fission that I could talk to – all the rest were too posey (ACR were worse though), up their arses and well yes, unstable, in Curtis’s case.  That was my opinion at the time.    Ironically, given his comment,  I did have an idea once to get him to play with us (even part-time) and I may have actually suggested as much when I was pissed up after drinking all their lager at the Russel Club.  If he replied, I think he said it was impractical/too busy/NO/tied up/band wouldn’t like it/etc.  I liked his twangy sound and tend to play that way myself.

Time moves on.  We’ve all changed.

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Waldo Jeffers is in the News

Inmate escapes German jail in box

The Velvet UndergroundParalleling a personal comment I made last week to Stuart, this week in Germany, a prisoner made a post-haste dash for freedom.  I think he must’ve been listening to The Velvet Underground’s “The Gift”

In the monolgued song, voiced by Cale in his Welsh accent, poor little man Waldo Jeffers has the bright idea of paying a surprise visit to his absent girl-friend, in a cardoard box.  He ends up dead, with little rhythmic arcs of red pulsating gently in the morning sun as a pair of scissors goes through his head.  The fun of course, is in the telling.

Man not in a box

Today’s story, picked up by the BBC alone, is about a Turkish drug-dealer prisoner in  a German jail who followed exactly the same tactics.

He was a big bloke by all accounts and no-one noticed that the box was a bit heavy!

As far as we know, he is “little red rythmic arc” free – and hasn’t been caught.

If there’s anyone who hasn’t heard “The Gift”, well you should.  I used to know it almost off by heart.  The words are below.
View Larger Map


“The Gift” by The Velvet Underground – from White Light/White Heat (1968)

Waldo Jeffers had reached his limit
It was now mid-August, which meant he’d been separated from Marsha for more than two months
Two months, and all he had to show was three dog-eared letters and two very expensive long-distance phone calls
True, when school had ended and she’d returned to Wisconsin and he to Locust, Pennylvania, she had sworn to maintain a certain fidelity
She would date occasionally, but merely as amusement, she would remain faithful
But lately Waldo had begun to worry. He had trouble sleeping at night, and when he did, he had horrible dreams
He lay awake at night, tossing and turning under his depleted quilt protector, tears welling in his eyes
As he pictured Marsha her sworn vows overcome by liquor and the smooth soothings of some Neanderthal
Finally submitting to the final caresses of sexual oblivion, it was more than the human mind could bear.
Visions of Marsha’s faithlessness haunted him, daytime fantasies of sexual abandon permeated his thoughts
And the thing was, they wouldn’t really understand how she really was
He, Waldo, alone understood this. He had intuitively grasped every hook and cranny of her psyche. He’d made her smile
She needed him – and he wasn’t there…
The idea came to him on the Thursday before the Mummers Parade was scheduled to appear
He had just finished mowing and edging the Edelsons’ lawn for a dollar fifty
and had checked the mail box to see if there was at least a word from Marsha
There was nothing but a circular form from the Amalgamated Aluminium Company of America inquiring into his awning needs
At least they cared enough to write. It was a New York company. You could go anywhere in the mail. Then it struck him.
He didn’t have enough money to go to Wisconsin in the accepted fashion, true, but why not mail himself? It was absurdly simple
He would ship himself parcel post, special delivery
The next day Waldo went to the supermarket to purchase the necessary equipment
He bought masking tape, a staple gun and a medium-sized cardboard box, just right for a person of his build
He judged that with a minimum of jostling he could ride quite comfortably
A few airholes, some water, of course some midnight snacks, and he would probably be as good as going tourist
By Friday afternoon Waldo was set. He was thoroughly packed, and the post office had agreed to pick him up at three o’clock
He’d marked the package “fragile”, and as he sat curled up inside, resting on the foam rubber cushioning he’d thoughtfully included
He tried to picture the awe and happiness on Marsha’s face as she opened the door, saw the package, tipped the deliverer
And then opened it to see her Waldo finally there in person. She would kiss him, and then maybe they could see a movie
If only he’d thought of this before…
Suddenly rough hands gripped the package, and he felt himself borne up. He landed with a thud in a truck and was off.

Marsha Bronson had just finished setting her hair. It had been a very rough weekend
She had to remember not to drink like that. Bill had been nice about it, though
After it was over he’d said that he still respected her and, after all, it was certainly the way
of nature, and even though, no, he didn’t love her, he… did feel an affection for her
And, after all, they were grown adults. Oh, what Bill could teach Waldo… But that seemed many years ago
Sheila Klein, her very, very best friend walked in through the porch screen door and into the kitchen
“Oh God, it’s absolutely maudlin outside.”, “Ach, I know what you mean. I feel all icky.”
Marsha tightened the belt on her cotton robe with the silk outer edge
Sheila ran her finger over some salt grains on the kitchen table, licked her fingers and made a face
“I’m supposed to be taking these salt pills, but” – she wrinkled her nose – “they make me feel like throwing up.”
Marsha started to pat herself under the chin, an exercise she’d seen on television
“God, don’t even talk about that.”
She got up from the table and went to the sink, where she picked up a bottle of pink and blue vitamins.
“Want one? Supposed to be better than steak’, and attempted to touch her knees. “I don’t think I’ll ever touch a daiquiri again.”
She gave up and sat down, this time nearer the table that supported the telephone
“Maybe Bill will call”, she said to Sheila’s glance
“After last night I thought you’d be through with him.”
“I know what you mean. My God, he was like an octopus, hands all over the place”
she gestured, raising her arms up in defence.
“Thing is, after a while you get tired fighting with him, you know, and after all I didn’t really do anything Friday and Saturday,
so I kind of owed it to him, you know what I mean.” She started to scratch
Sheila was giggling with her hand over her mouth. “I’ll tell you, I felt the same way, and even after a while”
Here she bent forward in a whisper – “I wanted to.” And now she was laughing very loudly
It was at this point that Mr. Jameson of the Clarence Darrow Post Office rang the door bell of the large stucco colored frame house
When Marsha Bronson opened the door, he helped her carry the package in
He had his yellow and green slips of paper signed and left with a fifteen cent tip
that Marsha had gotten out of her mother’s small beige pocket book in the den
“What do you think it is?” Sheila asked
Marsha stood with her arms folded behind her back
She stared at the brown cardboard carton that sat in the middle of the living room
“I don’t know.”
Inside the package Waldo quivered with excitement as he listened to the muffled voices
Sheila ran her fingernail over the masking tape that ran down the center of the carton
“Why don’t you look at the return address and see who it’s from?”
Waldo felt his heart beating. He could feel the vibrating footsteps. It would be soon
Marsha walked around the carton and read the ink-scratched label. “Oh God – it’s from Waldo!”
“That schmuck!” said Sheila. Waldo trembled with expectation.”You might as well open it”, said Sheila.
Both of them tried to lift the stapled flap.
“Arhh…”, said Marsha, groaning, “He must have nailed it shut.” They tugged at the flap again
“My God, you need a power drill to get this thing opened!” They pulled again.
“You can’t get a grip!” They both stood still, breathing heavily
“Why don’t you get a scissor”, said Sheila.
Marsha ran into the kitchen, but all she could find was a little sewing scissor
Then she remembered that her father kept a collection of tools in the basement
She ran downstairs, and when she came back up she had a large sheet metal cutter in her hand
“This is the best I could find.” She was very out of breath
“Here, you do it. I’m gonna die.” She sank into a large fluffy couch and exhaled noisily
Sheila tried to make a slit between the masking tape and the end of the cardboard
But the blade was too big and there wasn’t enough room. “God damn this thing!” she said, feeling very exasperated
Then, smiling: “I’ve got an idea!” “What?” said Marsha
“Just watch!”, said Sheila, pointing her finger to her head
Inside the package Waldo was so transfixed with excitement that he could hardly breathe
His skin felt prickly from the heat, and he could feel his heart beating in his throat. It would be soon
Sheila stood quite upright and walked around to the other side of the package
Then she sank down to her knees, grasped the cutter by both handles, took a deep breath
and plunged the long blade through the middle of the package
through the masking tape, through the cardboard, through the cushioning,
and right through the center of Waldo Jeffers’ head, which split slightly,
causing little rhythmic arcs of red to pulsate gently in the morning sun

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