Writing Group: My Cup of Tea (PRIVATE)

Good day, Beverage Aficionados and British People!

Let’s see, we have earl grey…what about a nice jasmine? No? Well surely we’ll find something you like, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

My Cup of Tea

Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Most of us have likely heard the phrase “it’s not my cup of tea” at some point in our lives to refer to something that is not our preference—be that a type of food, a video game, or even tea itself. Even though we often hear it in the negative, it can be used in the positive too.

This prompt conjures similar vibes to the “I’m Never Doing That Again” prompt for me. The idea of doing something, deciding it’s not your cup of tea, and never doing it again. You could easily apply the prompt in such a way. Or you could use this prompt to refer to the opposite—someone doing something and deciding they very much like it and want to do it again. You could write about a kid going to the amusement park for the first time and loving it. Maybe your character was always afraid to try painting, but when they finally try for the first time they learn they love it. Maybe, as a kid, your character decided they didn’t like a certain food and they learn they love it now. You could even write about someone who thought pineapple on pizza was an abomination, but then tried it and found—to their dismay—that they loved it. 

Come to think of it, the prompt can be used in multiple ways in a single story. Maybe a family goes on a rollercoaster together, and one of them decides they love it, and another decides they hate it. Like in my examples, maybe someone decided something wasn’t their cup of tea, only to later realize they judged it too quickly. You could write a story about one friend trying to convince another something is actually good, despite their protests. 

But you don’t have to use this prompt in the sense of the idiom. You could write about literal tea. Maybe your character just likes tea, and that happens to feature importantly in the scene you write. Maybe you have a character like Iroh in Avatar the Last Airbender, for whom tea is an important part of his life. You could write about a tea party—be it with snooty people, or with stuffed animals. Maybe someone drinks out of your character’s cup while they’re in the bathroom and they walk into the room shouting “Hey, that’s MY cup of tea!” You could even write a story where the tea is poisoned, and someone drinks out of the wrong cup. 

Many cultures have traditions, old and new, that revolve around tea. Maybe there is a specific tea ceremony that your character participates in. Or perhaps your character breaks an unspoken rule of etiquette, like not allowing their host to refill their tea, or breaking a ceremonial tea-making instrument. How might that complicate the situation your character is in? Maybe your character is already familiar with tea, but is introduced to a new element that changes the experience. Maybe they try adding tapioca pearls, or yak butter, or raw egg into the drink. Maybe they’re drinking the tea from a saucer and holding a piece of rock sugar in their mouth. Maybe they try herbal tea or hallucinogenic tea? How does this new experience impact their worldview? Or is this a line they won’t cross for certain reasons? Perhaps you want to use this prompt to write about tea leaf reading. What’s left in your character’s cup of tea could mean a lot for the future…or nothing at all. 

Maybe it’s the cup that’s more important than the tea within it. Maybe a late loved one gave your character their cup, and/or they have fond memories of drinking the tea within it with their loved one. You could even write about a teacup coming to life, like Chip in Beauty and the Beast. 

Today, “tea” is a slang term for “gossip.” You could easily apply this use of the term in a story you write for the prompt. Maybe you want to write about how your character brings to the table their particular cup of gossip. 

I have two challenges for you this week. 

The person who submitted this prompt could have easily phrased this prompt as “Not My Cup of Tea.” But (whether the decision was intentional or not) instead they opted for the positive version of it. The phrase “My Cup of Tea” almost always comes with that “not” in front of it, and I think it’s where most people’s minds go with the phrase. My challenge for you is to write about the positive side of the prompt. What happens when something IS your cup of tea?

My other challenge is a strange one. Those who watch the Youtube channel Good Mythical Morning will likely remember “Snot Mike Up Puffed He.” Rhett and Link were playing a game, with cards that had nonsense phrases on them, and they had to parse the nonsense into well-known idioms. “Snot Mike Up Puffed He” turned into “Not My Cup of Tea.” But Link had an extremely difficult time figuring that out, and hilarity ensued. I have difficulty hearing the phrase “my cup of tea” without immediately thinking of “snot mike up puffed he.” My next challenge comes from this. Misunderstandings can be really difficult to write well. Often times they only serve to further the plot, but seem ridiculous and unrealistic, and are frustrating for the audience. My second challenge is for you to write about a misunderstanding. But do your best to write about it in a way that is fun, or even funny, which doesn’t frustrate the audience. 

Remember, these challenges aren’t mandatory! They are meant to be a fun bonus if you’d like to have a little extra challenge. But, if you don’t want to use them, please don’t feel obligated to!

Ah, the oolong and chamomile aren’t for you either? Neither is the green, or matcha, or chai? How about—? Oh forget it. Fine. I’ll get you that coffee. 

—Kaylie & Pearce

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
5 months ago

Writing Process
By Jesse Fisher

It was a calm day as the splash of the shallow waves hit the port and starboard side of the Hour of Wolves. Many of the crew did not understand the reason behind the name, some thought Waves Beneath would have been better given the vessel’s job. Thoughts of these trivial things were cut off by the morning call.

“Captain on deck!” Shouted the first mate.

This brought everyone to attention, some were in a state after a large wave rocked the ship. Scrambling to get to attention.

“Gentlemen be at ease,” The captain walked down from his cabin. “I am just checking on you due to the wave. While it might not be a major thing that felt rougher on such a splendid day.”

While they were distracted by the captain a wriggling limb began to snake up the ship.


“I thought you said we would not do the kraken attack again?”

“But that could set up for the action scene later.”

A pair of script writers looked at the shared document up on the projector screen.

“It is a rehash of a trope we’ve used like two scripts ago, and the producers wanted a more grounded story.”

“I know but we could just make it a giant squid.”

“That would work but they might just cut it due to another effect they have to do.”

“What about the reason for the squid attack? We could have a whale trying to get it while hitting the ship?”

“That could work.”


The beast reached up grabbing the mast as it felt the pull of the whale below, the poor crew were tossed about as any attempt to defend themselves were met with the ramming of the ship.

The captain looked worse for wear as his crew were thrown into the frothing waters.


An actor looked over the part of the captain, there was a scene about some paper lanterns but given the rest it seemed out of place. Loved everything else but that one scene. Maybe he can get it rewritten.

5 months ago

My Cup of Tea! (Chronicles of The Dragon)
by Makokam

The alarm chirped a reminder for Jostica’s daily tea and meditation. She looked up from her book and stretched before getting up and heading to the kitchen.

On her way, she stopped as Thomas wheeled a cart full of equipment to one of the vents and started unscrewing the cover.

What’s going on?” she asked.
“Ya know how you’ve been feeling off the last few days?”


“Well, everyone has been feeling like that. So I looked into it, and it turns out the air quality down here has gone to shit. So I’m checking the vents for problems. If it’s not something I can fix by tonight we’ll need stay somewhere else.”

“Do you think that’s likely?”

“I won’t until I find out what the issue is.”

Jostica nodded, “Well, let me know if you need any help,” and continued to the kitchen.

She started the kettle, and opened the cupboard to find she was almost out of her favorite tea. She’d need to get more soon. As she fetched a cup, an alarm sounded through the HQ. Moments later a voice came over the speaker system, “Jostica, guy with ice powers flipped his shit. We could use your help. He keeps freezing my plants and David and Khalid can’t get close.”

Jostica turned the stove off and replied, “I’ll be right there,” before running to retrieve her staff.

“Hey, I’m going too,” Thomas said.

“No, no. You stay and fix the air. The four of us can take one guy.”


Half an hour later, the four of them returned. Shivering, but mostly fine. They all retreated to their rooms, except for Jostica, who returned to the kitchen. She set her staff on the table then started her kettle again.

A few minutes later Jostica was steeping her tea, and enjoying the aroma as she carried it to the common room.

Suddenly dark black clouds burst from all the vents, filing the headquarters with dust and debris.

Hacking and spluttering Thomas stumbled into the room. “I fixed the vents.”

Jostica could only stare at her tea in despair.

Last edited 5 months ago by Makokam
6 months ago

Who Does The Choosing Anyway?
By Taja DaLeen

A young man, garbed in green… wait, wrong story. But this one was surrounded by quite some green; he was tending to his garden.

He loved his plants, you see, took care of them every day, even talked to them once in a while.

Gardening was hard work, but he had fun and always looked forward to the vegetables he got in return.

He also liked the fact his magical gift came in handy with cooking, when something he needed was… well, let’s say its time was up.

And on this fine day, the young man was kneeling in between his tomatoes, when suddenly another man appeared.

He looked rather old, with a long white beard atop his aloha shirt, which he paired with some oddly colored shorts and sandals, along with a gray hat to hide his balding head.

“Hey there! Nice tomatoes. Are you Pete, by any chance?”

The young man, Peter, looked up from his work and, wondering what the hell that weirdo wanted, slowly nodded.

“Oh, great! Means I found you faster than my colleagues thought. You know, we’d just love for you to join us! We can…”

“Who are you?”

The old man had the decency to look shocked at this point. Or sheepish, not that it mattered.

“Darn, I’m sorry! I completely forgot to introduce myself, no? I am Greg, a wizard and part of the Magical Research Bureau! We find out lots of things, you might ev…!”


To Peter the conversation was over. But obviously, Greg thought otherwise.

“What? No! You can’t do this! I drove all the way out here just for you! We need you, you’re our chosen one! Do you know how rare time elemental magic is?! You just have to…!”

“This sounds like a you problem, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I like it here. So, leave now. Please.”

Peter grabbed his basket and went inside; leaving Greg to his moping and us without a chosen one story; to make himself a nice calming cup of coffee.

Who’d have thought. Not Greg, for sure.

Last edited 6 months ago by DaLeen
6 months ago

What’d You Mean By “Tea Party?” (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Following his phone’s navigation system, Jidz trotted through the unfamiliar suburbia where Feleron’s house was supposed to be. When Sam and Roselyn exited a car three houses ahead of him, he knew he was in the right spot.

He waved at his friends as he caught up with them. “Looks like half the gang’s already here!”

Sam nodded. “You excited for the tea party?”

“Yup! Brought my mug, too.”

Jidz reached into his bag and removed a beautiful mug that was also capable of holding a gallon of liquid.

“Wait, were we supposed to bring a mug and not a cup?” Roselyn asked. She removed a strange-looking case from her purse, presumably containing a teacup and saucer.

“Did Feleron say which one?” Jidz put his mug back in his bag. “I’m not sure.”

“I, uh, really hope we don’t need either,” Sam laughed awkwardly. “Because all I have are six tea bags.”

“Usually hosts for these things provide the tea, right?” Jidz asked.

“Usually when I get invited for tea, it’s actually to talk business. But this is Feleron, so…” Roselyn waved her arms around in an expression of thought, almost hitting the large bushes on Feleron’s front lawn.

“Did he clarify in the invite?” Sam asked. “I’m not sure he—”

“Please, you’re all overthinking this.”

They jumped. None of them had heard Cypress join the group.

“If Feleron didn’t say to bring anything, then don’t,” they explained. “Also, he’s gonna let us in any second now.”

The front door of Feleron’s house flew open. “Hi guys! Come on in, I’ve got everything set up!” he said before vanishing inside.

Cypress snorted a laugh. “See? None of you know what a tea party is.”

They also disappeared inside. Sam, Roselyn, and Jidz looked at each other, shrugged, and followed suit.

“It’s great to see you guys!” Feleron said. “Do you guys like green tea, black tea, hot or iced, I’ve got everything—”

“Sorry I’m late!” Ahna dashed in the door, catching her breath. “Were we supposed to bring anything? I made cookies for everyone. Is that okay? I—what’s so funny?”

6 months ago

What Do The Leaves Know, Anyway? (Illusions of Heroes)
By Gerrit (Rattus)

Emrys tried to focus on the earthy smells of the drink before him, hoping it would distract him from the skepticism riding in his chest. Who’d ever heard of reading the future in tea leaves, anyway? He’d humour Serennia, of course, but she definitely owed him one after this.

When the billowing steam faded to a thin wisp, Serennia raised the mug to her lips and took a long sip. A shallow exhaled escaped her lungs, followed by the hint of a smile as she passed the mug to Emrys.

Emrys took it in one hand and considered it a moment. He looked up for a moment, and caught the expectant gaze of the seer. No point in delaying, he supposed.

With a single long gulp, Emrys finished off the drink. He extended the mug back to the seer, who took it with a touch more excitement than Emrys would have liked.

As the seer peered into the mug at the remaining leaves, the colour began to drain from his face.

“Everything alright?” Emrys asked.

“I’ve never seen the leaves speak so strongly.” His voice was little more than a whisper. “They scream of pain, and darkness.”

The seer tilted the cup for them to see, as if either Emrys or Serennia would be able to make sense of them. When the two of them looked at their supposed future, the leaves around the edge of the cup feel to the bottom, obscuring whatever picture the seer might have seen.

Serennia smiled. “Well, at least we’ll be together once the pain and darkness is done.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Rattus
6 months ago

My cup! Mine!
by Aracnarquista

His tales were so flamboyant, it is no wonder Pirate Captain Anastasius would also prove to be quite the character.

Good thing his tales came to an end a few minutes ago.

Bloodthirsty and relentless, they said. No Imperial ship was spared his wrath and greed. All riches of the Crown were his for the taking. The fear he commanded spread far inland. Those were the stories.

That was not the character that was brought before me. Strange and striking, sure. But not all that scary. He even tried to persuade me into sparing his sailors, “ignorant children who had no choice but following his orders in fear”, and taking only him to meet justice.

So I don’t believe the tales that paint him as such a cruel and frightful man. Neither do I believe the tales that say he was captured and hanged thrice before… only to reappear terrorizing the seas after a few months.

Most Admirals would love to be the one to finally hang the dreaded Anastasius, and not a few of them would mind the credit… even if they had to hang another poor sod as if they were the scourge of the Crown riches.

But I know I have the real deal here. I got his cup.

This may be the strangest of Anastasius’s tales. His love of tea, and his treasuring of this particular porcelain cup. Surely, that’s not something I’d expect to find in a pirate’s booty. Exquisitely built – a delicate wonder of refinement adorned with the blood red markings of a serpent biting its own tail. “Admiral, I’m the only one who drinks from this cup.” Those were his words.

As steam rises from the hot beverage, I smile at this little irony. His prized cup, now in my hands. Just before putting the tea to my lips, I watch his lifeless body hanging from the courtyard. Even in death the scoundrel kept that mocking grin on his lips.

Hm… Pomegranate tea. My favorite.

My mouth contorts into a taunting smile.

“Told ya. Nobody but me drinks from this cup.”

Fog Wall
Fog Wall
6 months ago

~Fog Wall

Across my vision came a small bubble with the number one in red. With a thought, it opened a message from Koalle that read, “Sorry that I’m running late!”

Pushing back in my chair and lifting the front legs up. I Closed my eyes, I examined the overlay of my augment. My compass stretched across the top of my vision and a small selection of applications dotted the bottom left corner on a scroll wheel. Over the past month, I’ve gotten used to my new eyes, at least now that my face doesn’t hurt.

I felt arms wrap around my shoulders and I instinctively went to stand, but they held me down and the chair fell flat. “Wha?” Opening my eyes and looking to my left, I saw Koalle smiling beside me.

“Did I scare you, James?” She asked with a cocky smirk.

My face felt warm, but I declined to answer, “You’re late, you’re never late. What’s up?”

She rolled her eyes, stood and rounded the table. “You’re never any fun, are you?”

That made me smile, “Fine, you did spook me. I already made our orders. So; what’s the plan for today? We got a job?”

“That we do!” She gave me a big grin. “We’re off for the day, so I got us some tickets.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Uh…” A small robot rolled up and delivered a tray, two chai teas. “What are the tickets for?” I took one of the cups and took a drink, enjoying the warm sweetness of it.

“Wait, I thought you got me a coffee?” She countered my question.

I just nodded. “I did, enjoy your cup of tea, it does have an espresso shot in it. No dodging, where are we going?”

“Sky Waters Thrill Park,” was all she said before taking her drink and walking away, leaving me to catch up.

Grabbing my coffee, I swiftly caught up to her. “How can I pay you back?”

“I really don’t like Chai…” She grumbled and took a drink. “…With espresso? Really?”

6 months ago

Proper British Tea
By MasaCur

Mizuki adjusted the coachman’s hat on her head and grabbed the whistling kettle. She poured the water into the pot and put in the infuser, then tapped her phone. Gears rotated on the screen as the hands ran backwards, and numbers in nixie tubes counted down from three minutes.

“You take making tea way too seriously,” Ritsu commented.

Mizuki shook her head. “Tobose-san, have you heard of the term, ‘not my cup of tea?’”

Ritsu shrugged. “Sure, of course.”

“Well, making a proper British tea is my cup of tea, so to say. Which means, English breakfast tea blend, steeped for exactly three minutes. Loose leaf, never in a sachet.”

“I’m pretty sure the British use tea bags. In fact, I know they do. They sell them in that store you go to.”

“I said proper British tea. I do things the traditional way. Do you have milk?” Mizuki glanced at the counter on her phone.

“Uh, yeah, I think so.” Ritsu went to his fridge, and pulled out a half empty carton. “I don’t put milk in my tea though.”

“Well, no, not if you’re going to drink the instant green matcha that you usually have. That isn’t meant for milk. But, again, I said a proper cup of British tea.” She took the milk from his hands. “Sugar? Honey will also do, but refined sugar was quite the rage in the Victorian age.”

“No honey. I have sugar.” Ritsu grabbed the sugar bowl and held it out to her.

Mizuki placed the bowl next to the two tea cups on the counter. “Hey, did you know the Victorians invented the sugar cube?”

“Now that you’ve told me, I’m not likely to forget it.”

A bell chimed on her phone, and Mizuki pulled the infuser from the pot. She poured tea into each cup, added milk and sugar, and held one cup out to Ritsu. “Here. Try.”

Ritsu took the cup with some scepticism. He took a sip. It was sweeter than what he was used to. “It’s not bad, but I don’t think it will replace matcha.”

6 months ago

The Perfect Cup

Almost everyone will meet me in their lifetime. Or, if they don’t meet me, they will at least have heard of me. But for the ones that do meet me, I greet them like an old friend and serve them a cup of tea, perfectly suited to their liking.

I did have the pleasure of serving tea to a dragon. Hers was an Earl Grey that had steeped for so long it was nearly black, served with cream. It was always pleasant to visit her.

Her daughter, however, required a lighter taste. A green tea steeped until golden suited her far better, and milk instead of cream to add smoothness, but retain lightness. This woman, out of anyone I ever met, was always in need of a smile, so I would provide it to her.

The dragon’s granddaughter, though, took very much after her grandmother. Maybe not in appearance, but in palate. Her tea was also bitterly black, but like her mother, she preferred milk over cream. Her personality really shone, however, with the addition of tiny white chocolate shavings to make it look like the night sky.

It would be a while until I was able to provide a soothing beverage for one of the dragon’s other daughters. She took much after her mother’s taste, but she had spent so long trapped in bitterness that it only made sense to sweeten it with honey.

I don’t often have the pleasure of serving kings, but they do always stand out. This one had been cursed in his youth, and he yearned for two tastes, which I provided. It had been the first thing he tasted since then. Matcha with chocolate. A remnant of his seafaring days, before he was a king.

His granddaughter inherited that curse. Her tea would be the first thing she had tasted in her lifetime. Hibiscus with cinnamon. I remember her tears of joy, which flowed as freely as her grandfather’s.

Those reactions are priceless; I cherish each one.

I wonder how you will shine in your cup.

Which tea fits you best, I wonder?

6 months ago

So Happy Together
By Marx

Nisha was beautiful.

Her long, silky blonde hair. Her flawless complexion, which had just enough of a rosy tint to give her porcelain skin that angelic glow. Her sea-blue eyes which made everything reflected in them that much more striking. Her-

“Why do you stare at me with such intensity?” Nisha asked, her eyes narrowing with suspicion. “Tell me this instant!”

Despite Nisha’s demand, Murphy remained silent for a moment. He took time to gather his thoughts before he finally answered, “Would you do something for me?”

“You know I would do anything you ask. …as long as it didn’t endanger you. What do you ask of me, my love?”

Murphy nodded, determination burning in his eyes. “Would you drop your glamour or illusion or… whatever it is? Can I see the real you again?”

Nisha’s eyes widened in horror as she shook her head. “N-… no! You like me like this! I’m pretty like this! You said so, yourself! Have you grown bored with this appearance? You can choose a new one!”

Murphy took a deep breath. “You’re beautiful like this. Trust me. This isn’t about you. It’s about me. I need to see your true form again.”

Nisha wrapped her arms around herself, her head still shaking. “No no NO! I like the way you look at me when I’m like this! I… don’t like how you look at my true form. It scares you. I scare you…”

“And that’s exactly the problem… I need to get used to it.”

“Why? You know this is a lie! You like the lie! Why won’t you just let me make you happy with the lie?!”

“Because…” Murphy stared unblinking at the floor as he sighed. “…you almost died. You almost died because in your weakened state, you were more worried about using the little magic you had left for ‘that’ instead of healing yourself…”

“I’ll… be better then!”

Murphy nodded. “We both will. I know you’ll do your part. Allow me to do mine.”

“I hate you being scared of me…” Nisha murmured.

“And that’s why you should help me.”