Jamie was a high school student with a good life. He lived in a nice house in the suburbs and had a lot of video games. He had a nice dog named Spot. Most of the time he got along well with his parents. They understood one another and were respectful to each other for the most part…
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One of Jamie's favorite things to do was to play baseball. He and his friend Dave often practiced hitting and pitching in Jamie's backyard. Jamie would take a turn hitting and then Dave would take a turn. The backyard looked out onto a neighbor's yard. The neighbor was named Mr. MacGregor. He was a reclusive gentleman, about 85 years of age. He rarely came out of his house, but when he did he usually looked quite angry. No one knew anything about MacGregor, no one knew what he did before he became such a recluse.
One day Jamie and Dave were playing baseball in the backyard. Dave pitched a ball to Jamie, and Jamie connected with it, cracking it towards MacGregor's house. It was Jamie's favorite ball. It had been signed by Roberto Hernandez, his favorite major league player. Jamie watched as the ball sailed towards MacGregor's house and smashed through the old man's sun-room window. “Oh no!” thought Jamie.
Jamie and Dave discussed the issue between the two of them. Jamie was frightened of MacGregor but he knew he would have to get the ball back somehow. While Dave hid behind a tree, Jamie went to MacGregor's front door and rang the bell. MacGregor opened the door. He was holding the prized ball in his hand.
“What do you want, kid? Are you the one who broke my window?”
“It wasn't me,” said Jamie, “it was my friend, Dave. All we want is the ball back, sir.”...
I'll do anything.” “OK,” said Mr. MacGregor, “maybe we can work out an agreement. I have a number of things you can do to help me out. Otherwise, you're going to have to pay for the broken window and I think it will be around $500 at least.” Jamie looked back towards the tree where Dave had been hiding, but he couldn't see him anymore. He gulped. “Okay,” he said. “What do you have in mind?” MacGregor invited him into the house and closed the door behind him. He smiled cruelly at Jamie. “First of all, my cat Tabitha is missing in the basement. I need you to go find her. Be careful—she is very vicious.” Jamie went to the basement and climbed down the stairs. It was dark and gloomy. He could hear some mewing coming from a corner. There was Tabitha. She was an old, orange cat and looked mean. He tried to grab her with one hand, but she clawed at him and scratched his forearm. Jamie shrieked. He found an old blanket and threw it over the cat. He brought the bundle back up the stairs to MacGregor. “Not bad,” said the old man. “Now, please have a look at the bathroom in the basement. There is a huge spider there I need you to deal with.” Again Jamie went to the basement and looked around. He found the small bathroom in the corner. Inside the drain of the sink was the biggest insect he'd ever seen. It wasn't a spider; he realized as it seemed to have a dozen different heads and at least 40 legs. It must be some exotic creature from Africa, he thought. He turned on the faucet and the insect was washed away. “Next,” he thought to himself. He went up the stairs again and went to find Mr. MacGregor. “OK,” said the old man. “Next, you have to help me with something else.” He pointed to the
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