myself!” Marty was exasperated. “That cat has got to go.” She picked up
the phone to call her foreman. “Zeke, you have to do something with this
Her foreman knew
the one. The old Tom cat had been around the dude ranch for as long as he
could remember. Over the years with all of his brawls he had gradually
become as tattered as a torn garment. The ends of his ears were frayed.
Bits of fur had been lost leaving a remaining scar. He had even lost an
eye to one of his battles. Because the cat had been on the property so
long he must have felt he owned it. When guests arrived he would hardly
move out of their car's way. Grudgingly he would get up from the warm
blacktop where he was sunning himself to casually, slowly walk out of
Of course, people
who were paying money for a resort like vacation on a dude ranch did not
want to be greeted by a mangy old cat.
“I can't have that
impudent old cat running off my paying guests.”
Zeke was quietly
listening. He knew sooner or later he would have to deal with the problem.
He had already made a decision for what he was going to do.
Marty knew about
Zeke's soft heart. In fact she had watched him giving the cat special
food. She was having to be careful what she said to him as far as the old
Tom was concerned.
“What are we
going to do with this cat?” Marty put Zeke on the spot.
“Well, I have
been thinking about it. You know I have a place of my own. It is out in
the country around thirty miles from here. It's peaceful out there with
nothing to bother. I think it would be a nice retirement for the old
So began the
attempts to trap the rogue. The morning coffee session was mostly devoted
to the methods they had tried and then the newer, untried, plans.
“If you would
quit leaving out and feeding him that high dollar cat food maybe he
wouldn't be so smart!” Marty snapped at Zeke.
maintained his job over the years by balancing personalities, first of the
owner and then the constantly changing guests. He looked away, but then,
didn't open his mouth. Instead he reached over to the always ready pot of
coffee to pour everyone's cup full again.
When Marty walked
out of their meeting and out the front door of the office, who was there
but the old Tom. He affectionately rubbed against her legs as he greeted
her with his purring. She reached down to stroke his back.
“Cat, I don't know
why those guys can't catch you. Here you are just as gentle as a kitten.”
Marty wasn't about to pick him up though. Cat fur wasn't exactly what she
wanted on her dressy western clothes, not this early in the morning,
Her foreman did
catch the cat, and this is what he told her the very next day.
“I carried your
four legged friend home with me last night.” Zeke was triumphant.
“Oh my! Good
news.” Marty was pleased
That day she was
visiting with a friend and told her. “Zeke caught that old Tomcat! Can
you believe it?”
Her friend was
quiet for a bit and then replied. “He will be back. I'll give him three
or four days.”
Marty and her crew
were meeting early as usual in the room beside the pool. It was a pleasant
place to discuss their plans for the day. The wall of full length windows
opened the room up to a nice view. She had her notes in front of her and
was going over them. Her back was turned partially away from the windows.
Zeke was facing the outside. Marty looked up at the man. When she did she
thought he must have seen a ghost. His eyes were big with a frozen stare
on his face. She turned to try to see what had his attention.
That old one-eyed
cat was slowly walking along the edge of the pool next to the windows. He
had his head turned to look into where they were sitting.
“I've never in my
life seen such a look of total hatred.” The woman had to admit to the
Sure enough, the
cat was all but glaring at them. “I'm telling you, if looks could kill,
we'd be all dead. Thaaatt does it. I'm not wasting another minute on that
cat. If the guests are so delicate they can't stand an old one-eyed cat,
they shouldn't be coming to a dude ranch at all.” With that thought Marty
totally dismissed the problem from her mind.