A story using the words: river, ivory, briers, maps, mermaid, haunted, webs, light, anthracite, apples, tongues, flute, grey, meadow, frozen, touch, and glow.
Ned the sheep dog stood at the edge of the river, staring at the painful briers embedded deep into his left paw. For what seemed like an eternity, he stood frozen, afraid that the slightest move would once again cause the pain to re-ignite into what could only be described as tongues of fire. Poor Ned.
He found himself in this predicament barely an hour before...
There he was, minding his own business, resting comfortably on the floor. Before him was a glowing light of a warm fire in the fireplace and behind him was the funny tree his master had brought in only the day before. This tree was quite different from the ones of years past. Those other trees all grew wider closer to the floor and every now and then they would have awful tasting little brown biscuits hanging from the branches. Master always called them pine cones. Ned, assumed the word meant tastes awful in the human language but he never asked. He was a dog, after all.
This years tree was all round at the top and had large red balls hanging from it's branches. The master's bitch took one off, took a single bite and then talked about pies for tomorrow's dinner. Then she tossed the rest of the apple into the fire. She's didn't even offer it to Ned! Bitch. Ned wasn't in a good mood for all that transpired next.
So there was Ned, resting as he was, when all of a sudden he heard a commotion coming from the fireplace. Little puffs of smoke came down and out from above. Light soot particles fell into the fire. Was the fireplace haunted? Then even more suddenly, there appeared the back end of what had to be the fattest human he had ever seen. Ned went up to catch a sniff to see if it was someone he knew. He overlooked the stitched label that clearly read Acme Fire Retardant Santa Suit. He was a dog, after all.
The fat male human crawled out of the fireplace, fluffed up his grey but obviously once white beard, and then looked down at Ned and smiled. He then reached back up the flue and pulled out a large bag stuffed with unknown objects. Ned, still upset over not getting the apple, looked to the man and wagged his tail. It was his way of saying "Hey, help yourself to anything you want! They wouldn't share, but I will!" (insert evil dog snicker here)
Evidently the man had other intentions. From his bag he first pulled out a pile of folded papers. Maps, no doubt. The bitch was always telling the master where he could go and obviously this man was here to give him the directions. These all went into a sock that was very conveniently nailed above the fireplace. The master thinks of everything!
Next, the fat man pulled out a small black plastic box with a little mermaid on the face of it. Ned had eaten one of these critters once before and pulled it's thinner than thin black entrails all around the house and out the doggie door and back. The man stuffed into the sock that smelled like the human pup.
The fat man reached in again, felt around and pulled out a stick. Did the man want to play Fetch? Ned's tail began to wag even harder. Drat! The stick had holes it. This meant that it was a music stick that the bitch often blew into in the evenings. Without hesitation the man stuffed the flute into the bitch scented sock.
With only one sock remaining, Ned grew excited. His tail wagged at near light speed. Here it comes! The man reached back into his bag. He felt around. He felt around. He felt around a little more. The man frowned.
Pausing only for a moment to think, followed by a look of inspiration, the fat man reached into his pocket, pulled out an object and quickly stuffed it into the sock labeled Ned. The mutt wouldn't know. He was a dog, after all!
Well, dogs just so happen to have a sense of smell unrivaled by most other home quadrupeds. Also to be noted is that Ned's master just so happened to be the worlds foremost geologist. An image formed in Ned's head... Anthracite! As you can imagine, everything went downhill from there.
Years of animal oppression had been hard on Ned, but being the good dog he was, he pushed his feelings down. When he had to go pee in the deep snow, he pushed his anger down. When the bitch didn't give him the once bitten apple he again pushed his anger down. When the fat man put a lump of coal in his sock, Ned pushed his anger down. There are only two words to describe Ned now: Critical Mass.
The man thought he had gotten away with it so he smiled and reached down to touch Ned's head. Big mistake. Big big mistake. Mind you that Ned isn't a chihuahua, he's a sheep dog. Chihuahua's bark at fat men, sheep dogs eat fat men. Images of Cujo flashed in the fat man's head. It was time to make a run for it.
In a flash, the fat man bolted for the back door. Dogs may be fast, but Ned still wasn't fast enough to get to the door before the fat man exited and pulled it shut behind him. The man peered back through the window, only to see Ned coming toward it, airborne no less. The fat man had no time to react before Ned came crashing through the glass and hitting him squarely in the face.
They rolled back together but the fat man was quick to his feet and he scurried up the decorative ivy ladders on the back outside wall. Ned leaped and snapped at the man but was only able to get high enough to remove a large patch of the man's pants, clearly exposing his pearly white butt. Score one for Ned.
The man climbed into the roof and was met by a group of reindeer hauling a sleigh big enough to accommodate the fat man. Ned waited for the customary "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen. On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen. And you in the front, turn the red light on!" but it didn't come. Instead Ned heard "Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Mad dog! Mad dog! Move it now! Get your flying reindeer butts in gear!" The reindeer leaped into action and in seconds they were up and gliding over the nearby meadow. Ned followed on foot.
Ned never did catch up with the fat man and his herd, but he did get the satisfaction of seeing them hitting a sudden down draft, smashing through some trees hard enough to knock an ivory colored antler off the off the lead reindeer with the built in headlight.
As Ned walked back home, he though to himself "Oh what tangled webs we weave, when we practice to dis Ned on Christmas Eve."
Oh, and how does this all relate to where he found himself with briers in his paw? He stepped into a thorn bush on the walk back. Disappointed? Hey, life can be that way some times so get used it.
Based in part on the character Ned the Sheep Dog from an earlier poem by Laura Minges.
The computer sheep dog, Ned,
is in the red
for losing some computer equipment.
the cat "socks" was in the box,
and Ned, hating socks,
packed it up and shipped it.