Clifford the Big Red Dog was bored. His friends were all gone for the day, probably having a lot more fun than he was. He sighed as he took a walk around the neighborhood, looking for anything to do.
Then something seen out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. "Huh?" He turned his head to look, but nothing was there. "That's weird, I thought I saw a…" Then it appeared again. He blinked. There was a big, black ball swinging in and out of view around the corner, begging to be chased. He perked up and ran over to where it was, and the next time it came into view he caught it in his mouth and pulled, wagging his tail happily. Then there was a large crash.
Several men with orange vests and yellow hats came out and started to yell at him.
"Um, sorry," he said as he dropped the ball from his mouth. It fell to the ground with a thud, sending the men running in all directions.
The leader of the men approached him. "You've ruined our wrecking ball!"
Clifford looked and saw that the ball he had caught was connected by a cable to some kind of machine, which was now twisted up and lying on its side.
"Oh," he said, slightly embarrassed, "Was that me?" The man seemed furious about it, whatever it was.
Just then Emily Elizabeth came walking down the street. "Oh, hi Clifford!" she said cheerfully to him, "Are you here to watch the construction?"
"More like destroy it," the foreman said grumpily.
"What do you mean?" she asked, then she saw the wrecking ball. "Oh Clifford, what did you do? Those are for knocking down buildings, not for playing with!"
"Listen little girl, is this your dog?" the man asked her.
"Good, then you can pay me back for the damages!"
"Oh no, I don't have that much money!" she said, "Isn't there something else we can do for you? Maybe he can help with the construction. I'm sure he's strong enough to do whatever you wanted that machine to do!"
The man thought about it. "We'll let you off the hook if you let us make sure that this will never happen again."
Emily Elizabeth nodded. "Okay. Clifford, you need to do whatever these men tell you to."
Clifford gulped. He didn't like the sound of that.
The men led him to the center of the construction site and told him to crouch down on his forepaws.
He hesitantly obeyed them.
Then they flung steel cables around and over him and anchored them down, pinning him in place. An excavator rolled into position behind him. The arm was pulled as far back as it could go, then the operator made it swing forward quickly.
Clifford yelped as the bucket slammed into his backside. "Ow! What are you doing?!"
The man in the excavator ignored his cried as he repeated the process again and again.
Clifford whimpered and flinched each time that the metal bucket made contact on his rump, the skin of which was turning as bright red as his fur.
The man kept it up relentlessly as the other construction workers watched.
Soon Clifford was howling and straining to get free as the area of impact became a deep red, which stood out against his bright red coat.
The man continued mercilessly, swinging the arm back and forth and hitting the same spots several times over.
Clifford began to cry large tears as he strained forward, managing to pull up a few of the cables. The rest of them stayed rooted, however, so he still couldn't move much.
By the time they were done, Clifford's rump was crimson and his tears had formed a small pool in the ground.
The men untied him and let him stand.
"You can go now," the foreman said, "But don't let this happen again!"
Emily Elizabeth nodded. "Yes sir. Come on Clifford, let's go home!"
Clifford walked home limping slightly and head drooping. This was a day he'd never forget!