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One Eyed Cat

         “I'm beside 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 cat.”

         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 their  way.

        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 fella.

           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.

          Zeke had 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, anyway.

          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 men.

         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.

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