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This was a writing exercise:
1) Write about a trick.
2) Write about a disaster.
3) Use one of the following sentences in a story:
a) He's not normal.
b) She closed the door behind her.
c) The sky was stained crimson.
d) The little dog started barking.
:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

The result:

Crimson

Joan's hand shook just slightly as Melissa handed her the cup. Only a drop of coffee fell.

The little dog started barking. Melissa muttered under her breath, "If I ever find that bastard Frank again I'll kill him. What a dirty trick to play on anyone, on a dog... " The little pomeranian kept barking, as Melissa hurriedly scrubbed the stain off the couch. "Training a dog to bark at, at..."

Finally the coffee stain was gone. Melissa then had to pick Jock up and point him at the wet spot, let him smell it and agree that it was "clean enough."

Melissa raised her voice. "Do you see? He's not normal. No, that's not right, I shouldn't say that, it's not Jock's fault. It's Frank. Frank's not normal. Training a dog like that and then leaving him with me and running off. The bastard!"

"Someone at church said he was sent to Honduras, some kind of disaster relief." Joan tried her best to say something positive.

"Can you imagine what it's been like being stuck with this animal in this house for the last three weeks? I've had to CLEAN!"

Joan nodded silently to that. When she'd first seen Melissa's house she had been jealous, it was so spotless. She couldn't imagine keeping a house so clean. Now she just pitied the poor woman. She even found herself wondering if Melissa had some dark secret, if she had done something terribly cruel to Frank to have justified this.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Before Melissa answered it Jock was at the door, dancing around and wagging his tail.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't the great animal trainer!" Melissa said it through gritted teeth, seeing Frank standing there alone with a duffle bag over his shoulder. "Do you really expect me to take you back after pulling that stunt on me?"

Quickly, she pushed Jock outside with Frank. She closed the door behind her. Immediately, she and Joan heard a huge commotion from the dog outside. Jock had begun to bark furiously, louder than ever.

As Melissa went around to the window to see what was going on, she could now hear that Jock was alternating his barks with loud howls. She got there in time to see Frank with his hands on his ears, obviously in some pain. The neighbors were congregating out on their porches. A passing patrol car pulled a U-turn and drove up into the driveway, but the officers stayed in their car while they called the incident in.

Eventually it was sorted out. The Mayor, his house kept immaculate by paid housekeepers, agreed to give Jock a permanent home. Frank received a suspended sentence for his having maliciously caused a disturbance with an animal and compelling a woman to clean against her will, but he was required to pay damages of two months salary to Melissa.

Joan was the one who pointed out what had caused the dog to howl so much when he was put outside.

"The sky was stained crimson," she noted.


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