Save the Cat

The stray cat hangs around like it belongs in the family. And maybe it does.


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Harrison Amico’s daughter had named the cat Ebony. He’d warned her against naming strays. Naming them, and feeding the things.

At this moment, the feline claimed an oil-stained spot at the end of the driveway. The one reserved for Harrison’s aging Ford pickup. A rude, thoughtless action — typical of this rude, thoughtless waste of fur and whiskers.

Harrison laid a palm on the steering wheel horn for a solid seven seconds. No movement from the tubby thing. Exasperated, unwilling to tolerate one more damn thing after a day working the line at the Pop ’n Fresh Dough Factory, Harrison unclasped his seatbelt and exited the truck.

“Shoo! Come on, you bloated fleabag — go!” The kitty grumbled, yet she obeyed. As she waddled off into the darkness, Harrison took note of her form. Had a passing, paranoid thought that the pest was pregnant, yet again.

How much time had passed since the last batch? Wow, months, really? Wouldn’t be a surprise, the way his days had smeared into a stretch of recurring monotony ever since he’d taken that factory job.

Of the local strays, Ebony was the worst offender, finding its way into the house’s crawlspace opening — regardless of Harrison’s efforts to board it up — and gifting the Amico family with a new litter of kittens they couldn’t afford.

Especially these days.

He’d put the thought out of his mind by the time he reached the door of their humble cottage house, crinkly polyethylene bag susurrating against his side. Over the past year, he’d become an expert at putting on the Happy Daddy Face when coming home to his girls. Tonight, Harrison had dinner in the bag and a small treat for the grown-ups. A treat he hoped Karyn wouldn’t kill him over.

Harrison had set the bag on their kitchen table when he heard the steady steps of his daughter’s sneakers approaching. “Daddy! Let me have my sniff!” shouted Ariel. One benefit of the factory job, Ariel adored the scent of that dough.

“Might not be at my Pop ’n Fresh best tonight, honey.” His hand ran against her back as she hugged his right leg. “Our fried chicken might be overpowering the dough’s sweet aroma.”

Her honey-tinted eyes twinkled. “Is that the gas station fried chicken?”

“Yeah, it is.”

“Yes! That’s the best kind!”

“That’s what I always tell your mother. Where is she?”

Ariel’s demeanor shifted. “Oh. She’s in bed. Told me to tell you she doesn’t feel like eating.”

Last thing he wanted to hear today. Harrison prepared three plates regardless. After making certain Ariel had washed her hands, Harrison entered the master bedroom with a disposable dinner plate in hand.

“Hiya, sweetheart. Ariel said you’re not feeling up for dinner.”

She was in her buffalo plaid pajamas, watching the local news. Muting the television, giving Harrison half of a smile, she answered with her stock response: “I’ll be fine.”

Tousled, toffee-brown hair. Symmetrical dimples. That button nose. Even through it all, Karyn was as awe-inspiring today as she was on the day they met.

Harrison took a spot next to her on the bed. “I brought a plate anyway. Saved two thighs for you. Your favorite.”

Her round face twisted into exaggerated horror. “It’s not the —”

“Oh, heck yeah, it’s the gas station chicken. Best in town — you’ve been outvoted two to one on that one.”

She waved the plate away. “Maybe later.”

Harrison placed the plate on the nightstand. Accidentally knocked over one of her prescription bottles with it. He apologized, picked it up, then spent a moment studying his wife’s increasingly pale skin.

“Karyn, you know the doctor said it’s important you —”

“We both know what the doctor said.”

Harrison drew a breath. Dug his fingers into her shoulder. “He didn’t say it was happening in the next week. Karyn, you could have another year. But you’ll have to keep your strength up. Eat something, even if you don’t feel like it.” He knew she hated the lectures. Had to lighten the moment. “Even if it’s gas station crap loaded with calories, carbs, and artery-clogging fats. Better than nothing.”

Karyn’s stormy blue eyes moved from the ceiling back to her husband. Putting on another smile, she caressed his left arm. It was the sleeved one, with the elaborate tattoo designs that had caused the sweet girl with conservative parents to reject his first three offers of dinner and a movie.

“Any particular reason we’re dining Gas ’N Go tonight?”

“My truck was running on fumes, dearest. Had to stop.”


“And — here’s a shocker — the machine wouldn’t take my card, so I had to pay inside. And the vapors of the Krispy Krunch Chicken … Karyn, they were taunting me the second I entered the store.”

“Of course they were.”

“Like one of those old cartoons, where the smoke takes the form of slender fingers, tickling under your nose and then enticing you — so seductively, so devilishly — to follow hither.”

“Right. And inches away from the alluring fried animal flesh … wouldn’t happen to be lottery tickets, hmm?”

Harrison’s eyes closed as he held a single pointer finger aloft. “Well, one display happened to catch my eye.”

“Harrison …”

He reached into his breast pocket. “Hey, first of all, look. They’re Gilligan’s Island-themed. You know what I happened to enjoy five nights a week at both six and eight as a kid? Gilligan’s Island reruns.” He sold it to her the way it had to be sold — as if this were the most blindly obvious decision of his life. “Five-six-eight. Three of my lucky numbers.”

“So it was fate.”

Yes. And, hey, I know what you’re thinking.”

Her fingers had moved off his arm. They were all laced together now, with the right thumb bopping atop her fists in agitation. “How much?”

“Yes, well, keep in mind, Clements repaid me for that loan yesterday. So it’s not as if —”

“How. Much.”

He released a sigh. “Sixty bucks.”

“Harrison …”

He moved closer, showed off the tickets again. They had Ginger, Gilligan, and the Skipper printed on them. How could she resist? “That paid for twenty tickets, sweetie. Twenty chances to maybe pay for Ariel’s dance classes, or to reshingle the roof, or … well, take you to that doctor in Bridgeport.”

Her expression shifted, as if a fast jab had connected with her abdomen. “Harrison, we talked about that. We’ve talked about all of this.

“Karyn, look, just indulge me this once, okay? If I don’t at least break even on these scratchers, I’ll never buy another ticket again.”

She made him wait an eternity before she answered. “Promise?”

“Hand to the Lord.”

“Even if they’re Brady Bunch themed?”

“Even if.”


“Her charms won’t work on me.”

Patty Duke?”

“Forget that girl and her cousin.”

The smile was back on Karyn’s face. Was a devilish one. “The Munsters?”

Harrison winced. “Oh, sweetheart. Don’t ask that of me.”

Joining Speed Racer, Jonny Quest, Eddie the Head, and Elvira on his arm was, in fact, a loving tribute to Herman Munster.

“Just get to scratching,” she told him. “If we’re going to be millionaires, I’d rather find out now.”

The thrill in unveiling truths hidden behind a ticket’s opaque latex had never left Harrison. A ho-hum disappointment. A minor delight. A shocking, indulgent gift from the gods of fate. How do you know until you scratch the card?

He’d been buying the things since the first weekend his fake ID was pressed. He never developed a taste for liquor and despised the smell of cigarettes. But scratchers, those were another story.

Minutes later, their earnings were tallied. Seven dollars.

Karyn didn’t give the lecture Harrison had anticipated. She could do nothing but stare at that final ticket in silence. Perhaps too kind to mock her husband, too proud to break into tears.

“Well,” she finally told him, “seems as if the Amico luck is running true to form.”

“Just one tiny setback, sweetheart.” He gave her a kiss on the cheek, then stood to leave. “An insignificant, easily forgettable spot of bother. I promise.” He put on a smile. Mouthed eat something as he closed the door.

Returning to the kitchen, he caught Ariel hovering over the table with a lumpy paper towel squeezed in her hand. He approached her, palm out. “Ariel, honey. What’d I tell you about this?”

She huffed and handed over the paper towel. Inside, three strips of chicken she’d pulled off her dinner.

“But Ebony is back,” Ariel protested. “I can hear her crying outside my room at night, Dad. She’s hungry.”

“She’s not our responsibility. And I told you not to name them.”

“Why can’t we have a cat? It’s not fair.”

Harrison slumped into his seat, the head of the kitchen table. “Consider yourself lucky to be learning this lesson before you hit double digits. Life is many things, honey, but fair isn’t one of them.”

It was a drama every few months. That cat squeezing out her newest batch of hungry pests. Having to drag them out of the crawlspace. Having to wait six weeks or more for the fat thing to wean her babies — all so adorable, Ariel can’t ever imagine giving them up.

He had to haul them away to the pound whenever she was at school. Sometimes, he even had to call in sick in order to ensure he was there when the pound’s hours were simpatico with the school’s. Had to do it to avoid her massive kid eyes, colored like candy, broadcasting waves of guilt and inadequacy.

Harrison had gotten good at the stories. Telling the girl the kittens had gone off exploring in the woods behind their house. That they would probably be back someday soon. Distracting her with a new Captain Underpants or Purple Ronnie book.

That fat mother cat, Ebony (if she must have a name), was a crafty one. Always managed to evade Harrison’s padded gloves.

The next morning, after ensuring a hearty Pop Tarts breakfast for all, Harrison was checking his watch and heading for his truck. An unexpected sight was propped against his right front tire, a mass of fat and thick, black fur.

Ebony. Deep in sleep, a twitching tail her only sign of life. And fatter than Harrison imagined last night. Had to be pregnant, yet again.

Harrison wasn’t proud of the thought, but it occurred to him that perhaps it was time for the cat and her libido to become someone else’s problem.

“Hello, Fat Cat I Told Her Not To Name. Moving a little slow, aren’t you?” Tossing his lunch bag into the truck’s cargo bed, he scooped his hands under the feline’s imposing form. “A mite lackadaisical, I see. Rather indolent in your steps. No, no. Nothing personal, but we’re not repeating the past three years. Sorry, big girl, but it’s time you were introduced to my friends at the pound.”

He called in late for work. Took care of business at the Simon County Animal Control. Entered the factory’s locker room 35 minutes late.

Harrison was halfway changed into his uniform when he heard the approaching footsteps of Billy Clements, a lifer at the plant. In most respects, the two men couldn’t have been more different. Clements found himself at Pop ’n Fresh because that’s where his father had spent 40 years of his life. Harrison ended up at the plant after the collapse of the conceptual art revival of the 2000s, the fifth menial job he’d taken simply to keep food on the table.

Harrison suspected Clements couldn’t relate to the pain of empty gallery openings, or a garage packed with unsold pieces. But Clements did understand the rush of a wager; understood it quite well, Harrison had learned. Something the two men from disparate backgrounds so easily bonded over.

“There’s the lucky SOB,” Clements said as he approached, envelope in hand. “Waltzing in thirty minutes late, whistling a jaunty tune …”

He motioned for Harrison to take the envelope. “You going senile, Clements? You paid me back yesterday.” Clements said nothing, though his smile was widening.

Harrison, mouth agape, was counting out the envelope’s contents. Hundred-dollar bills. “Clements, this is … this is two thousand dollars!”

“To the victor, his spoils.”

“What the … how?”

“Five months back, that pool on when Lobito’s wife was gonna deliver the baby. You, somehow, nailed not only the gender, not only the date, but the freaking hour, Amico. Three in the a.m., just today.”

“Two … thousand …”

Clements released a wheezy laugh. “Healthy kid, since you asked. Girl. Eight pounds. Got that wrinkly Winston Churchill look to her.”

“That’s … no, that’s great.” Harrison tried to remove his eyes from the cash, to look Clements in the eye and politely maintain the conversation. The reality of the thin paper slices between his fingers was heavy, though. “Two … thousand … dollars.”

“Listen, don’t be flashing that around the floor, okay?” Clements said, hand patting Harrison’s back. “Maybe not everyone’s as happy for you as your buddy Clements. Fortune don’t usually smile that bright on the rest of us, y’know.”

The rest of the work day was a blur. Two thousand dollars. Not enough to start a new life, sure, but enough money to alleviate some of the accumulated angst of a well-worn life.

Ariel could sign up for those lessons now. And that list of home repairs wouldn’t be nearly as much of a burden. Although, if Harrison had his way, every penny of the money would go toward Karyn’s treatments, if only she could be convinced to go through with them.

Well, perhaps not every penny. On his way home, Harrison did stop by the Godiva Chocolatier on Broad Street. First time since he’d proposed to Karyn. Following a sensible meal he didn’t complain once about preparing, Ariel was put to bed and Harrison joined Karyn on the couch.

She was feeling better today. Not nearly as queasy, thank heavens. It was as if this random Wednesday had been uniquely blessed. During a lull in the conversation, Harrison presented her with a tray of dark chocolate cherry cordials.

“Harrison!” she said, shock entering her perfectly round face. “What’s gotten into you?”

“Well, these are your favorites, right?”

“They’re my very expensive favorites. Yesterday, the lottery tickets. Today, this.” She held on to one of the candies, refusing to place it between her lips. “Harrison, you’ve got to start —”

“I think I’m allowed this small indulgence,” answered Harrison, grabbing one of the treats for himself. “I happened to have a fantastic day today, sweetie, and I wanted to share something special with you. No need to worry about the money.”

“Yeah, that inconsequential thing called money. Only some minor distress. A piffle. A trifle. Certainly something we know nothing about.”

“We get to enjoy nice things sometimes, Karyn. I get to treat my wife.” He kissed her hand, leaving a sticky stain on her knuckles. “She deserves it.”

She moved the chocolates to the coffee table. Turned to her husband and spoke in a deliberate tone. “I just want you to think about the future sometime. To be more responsible. Harrison, you have to know what we’re going to face … it’s not going to be easy. Not for you. Especially not for Ariel.” She wrapped both of her hands around one of his. “Both of you are going to be forced to grow up. Likely sooner than either of us would prefer.”

“I don’t like it when you get so morbid. And maybe we’re not as broke as you think.” His grip tightened around her hands. “Karyn, I really think you should call that doctor in Bridgeport.”

“Harrison, please. We’ve been over this. I’ve … tried to make peace with everything. As much as a person can, I think.” She couldn’t finish the thought all at once. Had to take a breath and speak the words slowly. “And I need you to do that, too. I need you to be strong for our girl.”

Harrison’s vision was growing misty as he contemplated his next words. He’d have to encourage her. Keep her from getting morose, tell her she’s no martyr. Ariel’s voice rang through the air, unexpectedly, circumventing his next words. He stood, told Karyn he’d take care of it.

“Honey, you ought to be asleep,” he said, cracking open Ariel’s door.

She was on her knees, ear to the floor. “Dad, can’t you hear it?”

“Hear what, kiddo?”

“Those are kittens, Dad. Listen to them cry.” Her eyes returned to her father. Had her guilt beams going at half-power. “Dad, I think something’s wrong.”

Those weren’t meows, they were squeaks. Pathetic cries of help. Cries from innocent newborns who had lost their mother.

Turning back into the hallway, muttering “no no no no no,” Harrison jogged to the closet. No batteries for the good flashlight, but the old industrial model he’d owned since high school was working.

Fingers on the front doorknob, he heard Karyn’s footfalls behind him. “What’s going on?”

“It’s nothing, sweetie.” He didn’t know for certain this was a lie, but he could feel it in his gut. “Well, I mean, it’s nothing you need to be worried about.”

Ariel came bouncing out of her room. “Mom, kittens! There’s a new litter — but Dad has to check on them. I don’t think they’re all right.”

Before Karyn could speak a word, Harrison head-bobbed in the front porch’s direction. Join me, he mouthed.

It was a mild spring evening. Tantalizing taste of damask-violet in the still air. He was hoping earlier, if Karyn was up to it, she could join him tonight on the porch for a showing of Bug Zapper Theatre.

And now he was staring at her, contemplating how he could explain away what had felt like such a fantastic idea this morning.

“Listen,” he said, reaching for her arms, “there’s something I’ve got to confess.”

Her blue eyes turned electric. “Didn’t we already have a confession yesterday?”

“I don’t know if you’ll rank this one better or worse. That black cat, Ebony, I saw her this morning. Saw her all bloated and pregnant and I took my shot. I nabbed her and dropped her off at the pound.”

“You know how Ariel feels about that cat!”

“Well, you know what that cat leaves under our house! But, stupid me, I didn’t realize she’d already squeezed out another litter before I caught her.”

“So now we have baby kittens but no mama cat. That’s perfect, Harrison. Do you realize what this’ll do to Ariel?”

“Didn’t you just say she’s going to need to grow —”

“No.” Karyn’s pointer finger was high. “You are not throwing that back at me.”

He raised hands in surrender. “Look, I’m not trying to fight. Why don’t you look online for how we can take care of the things … while I crawl under this damn house and do exactly what I was already sick of doing.”

Harrison descended the steps, took a hearty breath, and entered the crawlspace. Twelve minutes later, he’d emerged with scrapes on his elbows, dirt on his tongue, and four small, mewling animals that barely resembled kittens.

Two were solid black. One an even mix of white and black (he’d already guessed Ariel would be naming her “Oreo.”) The outlier was the runt with marbled tabby colors, an indication Ebony had been less than faithful to her main Lothario.

Ariel greeted him at the front door, clearly on a roller coaster. “Babies! But, they’re so young, they look like rats! So cute — but ugly! Where’s their mom? What do we do with them? Are they going to die?”

Karyn took over from there, wrapping the babies individually in T-shirts Ariel had recently outgrown. She rattled off factoids she’d read about caring for newborn kittens. Harrison made the mistake, talking more to himself than anyone, of stating with conviction that they could do this. This was bad, but it could work out okay. All that had to be done was to keep the rodents alive until they’re big enough to take to the pound.

“Harrison,” Karyn said in a whisper, “you’re going to the pound tomorrow. First thing.”

“Sweetie, these things are so young, I don’t —”

Not to give the kittens away. To bring their mother back.”

“Karyn, no, not after we’re finally rid of that furry money-suck—”

“These babies need their mother. You took her away. Harrison, you have to fix this.”

“I had good reason to take her off, and you know it. The headaches, all the money we have to spend … it’s just going to repeat, Karyn.”

“Babies need their mothers,” Karyn said, voice breaking. “And sometimes mothers have to leave too early … but if we’ve done something to keep a mother from her babies, if it’s something we can make right, then, by God, we’ll make it right.”

She wouldn’t speak to him again the rest of the night. Lying there in the dark, basket of kittens by the bed (requiring a feeding every three hours, Harrison’s responsibility), he reflected on the capriciousness of fortune. It was the worst kind of bad luck — the kind that rears its head when you think you’ve scored a run of the good stuff.

No school for Ariel the next day — some holiday Harrison barely knew existed and was sure wasn’t important enough to close down a school back when he was a kid. Karyn stayed behind to look after the kittens, while Harrison used another sick day and headed to the vet’s for the special milk formula they had been reading about. Ariel tagged along, playing with the radio and workshopping names for the kittens Harrison was telling her not to get attached to.

Oreo was, of course, one early favorite. She’d decided to name another one “Lucky,” which prompted Harrison to reinstate the “no naming of strays” rule.

Next stop after the vet’s office was the pound. Harrison assured Ariel that whatever happened with Ebony was only a misunderstanding. The sort of misunderstanding her loving father was going to make right.

He did, however, instruct Ariel to keep her eyes straight ahead — no eye contact with any of these furry food vacuums so desperate for a home. Bad enough, he silently groused, that one of these strays was returning to their house, even after he’d finally gotten rid of it.

A man with a willowy build and light brown freckles sprinkled across his cheeks greeted them at the door. Harrison explained the situation, omitting details he’d rather Ariel not hear, as the employee nodded sympathetically. To Harrison’s irritation, however, he was unable to provide any information on Ebony’s whereabouts.

“It’s policy, sir. The cat you’re referring to is no longer at this facility.”

“I just brought her! Are you saying she was adopted the first day?”

“Again, sir, I can’t divulge those details.”

Ariel was tugging on her father’s pants leg. “Dad … is he saying Ebony is dead?”

Are you saying that?” Harrison plunked his daughter on top of the counter. “Are you telling my little girl you gassed an innocent mama kitty on her first day in the pound? Is that how you treat the inmates here?”

Let her work that guilt magic on someone else. See if this guy can resist those rays of self-condemnation and bad conscience.

“Sir, like I told you …” the employee said, attempting a veneer of professionalism, even as those honeyed eyes were surely melting him on the inside. “Look, the cat wasn’t put to sleep. And I can’t give you any names in regard to her leaving here.” Exasperated, he broke eye contact and moved to a nearby counter rack. Pulling out a business card, he clicked his pen and scrawled something on the back. “But, apropos of nothing, I’m writing an address on this card.”

Harrison accepted the card and immediately recognized the address. It was the local university, where he’d taken art courses over ten years prior. He looked up and caught a “catch my drift” expression from the employee.

The university, Harrison’s alma mater, offered far more than liberal arts degrees. Harrison was well aware of the animal testing laboratories overseen by the Health & Science department.

He hated the thought, but this is what happens to animals at the pound, right? They’re either adopted, put to sleep, or sold to those kinds of labs.

Harrison had been tasked with creating protest signs during his sophomore year. He’d blown off the actual protest for a three-day Atlantic City trip — typical of his priorities at that age — but he recalled the pamphlets those activists were passing around. Images of animals he’d been eager to forget, images he resented now returning to memory.

Back in the truck, Ariel was filled with questions. Harrison handed her the puzzle book they kept in the glove box and informed her he was still dealing with a grown-up issue. He’d explain it to her later, and yes, he was doing what he could to reunite Ebony with her babies.

Forty minutes later, Harrison was trying to remind himself these labs exist for a reason. That the scientists aren’t ghouls, they’re devoted researchers doing work necessary to alleviate human suffering. But after struggling in vain to get the pockmarked man in a lab coat to actually listen, his resolve was weakening.

“She’s a black cat. Fat. Just brought in here within the past twenty-four hours.”

“We don’t sell the animals, sir. If you’re looking for a black cat, I’m certain you’ll find what you’re searching for elsewhere.”

“I don’t need a black cat. I have to get this one back. She’s a mother, and her babies need her.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” the man in the lab coat said as he turned away, “but we have regulations to follow, sir. There’s truly nothing we can do.”

Blowing out his frustration, Harrison exited the Health and Science lobby. Was headed back to the truck when he felt the approach of a figure coming from behind. He turned to see a young man with mutton-chop sideburns and a leather backpack tossed over his shoulder. Harrison recognized him as one of the lab assistants who were hanging around the Health and Science building’s entrance.

“Hey. I caught some of that,” the student told Harrison. “Pretty messed up.”

“I appreciate your sympathy,” he answered sarcastically, not slowing his stride.

The kid picked up the pace and trotted along with Harrison. “Maybe I could, y’know, help out.”

“Help out in what way?”

He flashed his laminate. “Trust me,” the student said, grinning, “I could get that cat. No fuss, no muss.”

“Huh. That’s very — wait. She isn’t half-shaved with diodes poking out of her flesh, is she?”

“No, no. She’s fine — was brought in only a few hours ago. I was feeding her five minutes before you showed up.’

Harrison closed his eyes. “And you’re doing this out of the kindness of your heart?”

The kid laughed.

The resulting negotiation was brief and intense. Whatever plans Harrison had yesterday for his winnings were now thoroughly eradicated.

Counting out each hundred-dollar bill felt like individual daggers inserted between individual ribs.

Harrison returned to the truck, hauling a pet carrier he’d promised to return by the afternoon. Ariel was waiting, the AC and radio both blasting, finishing another one of her puzzles. She caught sight of the carrier, of the green eyes peering out from within, and squealed with heartbreaking elation.


At least the girl was happy. The initial thought gave Harrison little joy, but as he reflected on it during their ride home, he warmed to the idea. A mother was going to be reunited with her babies, after all. A small tragedy occurring on this indifferent world had been adverted, and his daughter could hold on to some sliver of innocence for a while longer.

She’d have to face too many painful truths in the months ahead. Have to realize that not all mothers are allowed to see their children grow and fail and succeed and turn into whatever it was they were meant to be. But for today, he’d been able to shield her from a reality so painful even he could barely consider it.

The only pain experienced today was the one in his wallet, and Harrison Amico decided on their ride back to that humble cottage house that he was perfectly okay with that.

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  1. I enjoyed this story Gene, even though it was basically sad, and ironic. You mixed in some humor too, with the lottery ticket descriptions. I never buy them, but can see how fans of classic ’60s TV might, even if they wouldn’t otherwise. Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt (speaking of cats) sounds purrrfectly tempting, but no thank you.

    I’m glad Harrison won the workplace bet from months earlier regarding the baby, and got the $2k in cash. It was uncanny as described, and unfortunately too good to be true. A young daughter, a dying wife, and a cat that should have been spayed a long time ago.

    He did the right thing in retrieving the cat for his daughter for reasons money can’t buy, especially for the times ahead. What the lab student did was both immoral, and unethical. I would have made sure this guy didn’t know I had any more than $200 on me, played the guilt card (if needed) and told him it was his once the cat was handed back. If he got greedy at that point, I would have said it was my final offer. “Get the cat, get $200 cash you didn’t have until now, so I don’t have to tell your bosses about this unfortunate incident, and we never had this conversation. Your choice.” “Let me get your cat sir, I’ll be right back.”


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