OK, wow. I'm sorry about the month-long blackout on Purple Houses. I'm up and running again, I swear. More later on what I've been up to.
Here's a fun writing assignment from the group I meet with at a local coffee shop. (Thanks, Wade) Confront your neighbor about his/her unusual pet and the damage it has done to your property. For extra credit, don't directly name what kind of pet it is.
Give the assignment a try yourself. Offer it up as a discussion topic at dinner and see how many different pet ideas develop. I ran with my dad's suggestion. Here's the result:
As usual, it took my neighbor several minutes to answer the door. Through the screen, I heard his familiar hacking cough as he walked through a beaded curtain. He poked his bearded face outside.
“I believe this belongs to you,” I said, and handed my neighbor his pet. Its lime green leash dragged on his concrete porch. “The leash doesn’t help, by the way.”
“Oh,” he said, seeming perplexed. “Where did you find him?”
“The same place I found him last time,” I said, and handed him a bill for my new living room window.
“He went through it again?”
“Who would do that? There’s no love there, man.”
I handed him a bill for a new plasma TV. “This time, he hit the big screen. While I was watching Buffy. And that’s just unacceptable.”
“I’m really sorry,” my neighbor said, holding the bills in a way that would make it easy for me to take them back if I found it in my heart to forgive him. I didn’t.
His arm dropped along with the expression on his face. “It’s not my fault, you know.”
“But he belongs to you. This is what happens when you leave him in your front yard and some jokester decides to through him at our house.”
“I can’t help what someone else decides to do! This world is messed up.”
“Well, if you find ‘someone,’ then you can get reimbursed by ‘someone,’ but in the mean time, that’s your ‘pet,’ and that’s my house, and as you can see, it’s broken.”
He looked down at the pet in his hand. Its sad, painted eyes looked up at him. “But it’s so cute.”
“It was cute in nineteen-seventy. Now, it’s just lame. And while you’re at it, you might want to think about updating your house paint. The psychedelic daisies on your garage door make me look like I’m living next to the frigging Partridge family.”
He took the bills and retreated into his smoke-filled haven. I retreated to my broken window and broken TV, wondering how long it would be before I received another unexpected visit.