“That’s what I said. P-U-R-P...”
“I know how to spell it. I just want to make sure I heard you correctly. You saw a purple dog running down your street?”
“That’s right. I know you think I’m crazy or off my medication or something, but the fact is...”
“I don’t think you’re crazy, Ma’am,” said the police officer taking the call, as he simultaneously spun his index finger in the air to let his colleagues know he was, in fact, talking to a crazy person.
“Well, you can believe me or not!” snapped the irate woman at the other end of the line. “I don’t know what I pay my taxes for...”
“Ma’am...” The officer rolled his eyes, but spoke with excruciating patience. “This purple dog you... um... saw. What was it doing, exactly?”
“Running past my house, following some children! And it turned and grinned at me!”
“Grinned. The dog... grinned.”
“Well, Ma’am... since it doesn’t appear that the dog posed a threat to you...”
“Oh, never mind!” And the caller slammed down the phone, much to the officer’s relief.
“Loony... completely loony,” he muttered to himself, just as one of the other officers called,
“I just got the weirdest call from a guy at Lintz’s Jewelers downtown. Says he saw a purple dog running down the middle of Main Street...”
Bryant blinked. He stared at his phone for at least a minute.
A purple dog? Okay, must be a prank. Or the dog knocked over a bucket of paint. Or...
“Okay,” he called, pushing back his chair. “Smith, you call animal control. Peterson—let’s go...”
* * *
Downtown, the crew from WXII-Channel 12 had a mobile unit at the scene with a reporter and camera operator. Petite and ever-stylish Tara O’Hara smiled into the camera and said,
“Yes, that’s right, Bob. Purple dog sightings are still coming in from all over the city. The dog ran past this location about ten minutes ago, and I caught a brief glimpse of him. No... no footage yet... but we’ll be prepared if he comes by again...” The camera swivelled toward two young boys, both with eager “I’m gonna be on TV!” smiles. “Here with me now are Brandon and Noah Dickerson. Brandon, you say you saw the purple dog?”
“That’s right!” said the older of the boys. “He ran right up and grabbed our soccer ball!”
“The dog stole your soccer ball?”
“He didn’t steal it! He threw it back to us. And then we threw it back to him, and he hit it with his tail, like it was a baseball bat, and...”
“So you actually played ball with... Well, thanks very much, boys!” Tara smiled at the camera again. “Okay, we’re going back to Bob at the studio. He’s just gotten a report that the purple dog is over at Western Hills Park playing frisbee...”
* * *
“Can you believe this?” said Brent Morton, motioning toward his TV set. “I bet Emily would like it. Where’d she go, anyway?”
“She’s upstairs,” said his wife, Amy. “You know she doesn’t like watching the news... especially since that school shooting...”
“Yeah, but there’s none of that stuff on tonight. It’s all about this purple dog.”
Amy went upstairs to her daughter’s bedroom. The small girl was seated at her little white desk, her long blonde ponytail held in place by a bright purple bow. Emily loved anything purple—and she seemed to be drawing something purple, too.
Amy crept softly across the room and looked down at the paper on Emily’s desk. Even at the age of six, Emily had real artistic talent. Her drawing was remarkably clear and detailed. The long floppy ears, the big gentle eyes, the wagging tail, the friendly grin... yes, it was unmistakably a dog. An unmistakably purple dog.
“Sweetie,” said Amy, “did you see that dog... maybe out the window?”
Emily shook her head.
“No, Mommy. I prayed.”
“Prayed? What did you pray?”
Emily didn’t raise her head. She only whispered, in a very small voice,
“I prayed that just for one day... there wouldn’t be any bad news... about people hurting each other...”
Amy heard a peal of laughter, and glanced out the window. She thought she glimpsed a flash of purple—then several children raced by, giggling and shouting.
Amy placed a gentle hand on her daughter’s head.
“I think God answered your prayer, Sweetie,” she said quietly. “I really think He did.”
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