For many years, if you lived in Greene County and you needed a cat pitcher, Roscoe Williams was the man you’d call.
He was the best–prompt, courteous, discreet, professional, treated the animals humanely, and didn’t ask too many questions. Everything you could ask for in a cat pitcher. Reasonable rates, too.
But let me back up a bit for those of you who aren’t familiar with what a cat pitcher does. Basically, they’re the person you call when you have a cat you no longer want (or never wanted in the first place, like your cat’s new litter of kittens that won’t stop meowing), and–for a nominal fee–the cat pitcher will get rid of said cat or cats. Don’t get the wrong idea; “get rid of them” doesn’t mean Old Yeller-style. No, what the cat pitcher does is he or she takes the cat or cats, drives them out to the country, and “pitches” them–lets them loose–somewhere safe, like near a farmhouse or some place like that.
So as I was saying, Roscoe was the best. He’d built quite a little business almost entirely by word-of-mouth. And this was pre-Internet, so it was actual word-of-mouth, no Angie’s List or anything like that involved. One person just told another, who told another, who told another, the old-fashioned way.
And then one day, Roscoe stopped answering his phone, stopped returning calls, and just…vanished.
Some people thought the guilt got to him–taking cats away from their homes, taking kittens away from their mothers–and he freaked out and just took off. Some thought he’d accidentally crossed the wrong person by pitching the wrong cat and got “pitched” himself. And then there was the odd person who explained Roscoe’s sudden disappearance by theorizing that he was Jesus or an angel. And of course, there were also a handful of people who thought the opposite, that Roscoe was taking the cats to do something sinister, like secretly eat them or what have you.
So everyone was surprised when word got back to them that Roscoe was alive and well and living in Florida…with EVERY cat he’d been hired to pitch since he’d started his pitching business (all the ones that were still alive, anyway). And what’s more, he’d trained the cats to, of all things, perform circus acts. Roscoe was the human ringleader of the world’s first and only All-Cat Circus.
Well, it goes without saying that in addition to the obvious surprise, more than a few of Roscoe’s old customers were also none too pleased to find out, years after the fact, that they’d paid Roscoe for a service he’d never provided. Some of the angriest of these duped customers even organized a trip south to confront Roscoe and demand refunds.
So off the caravan went, and upon arriving at the All-Cat Circus grounds, Roscoe immediately greeted the peeved travelers and completely disarmed them with his charm. He’d remembered all their names and their cats, and was completely upfront with them and full of contrition. He admitted his wrongdoing, offered a sincere apology to all (as well as complete refunds, before even being asked), and, on top of that, invited them all to attend that evening’s performance as guests of honor, free of charge.
And the story goes that the performance that night was FANTASTIC. Those who were there for it still talk about it today in awed, hushed terms.
Afterwards, all was forgiven, and the people who came to confront Roscoe and his deception no longer even wanted their refunds any more. After all, how can you be mad at a man who takes your unwanted cat and teaches it to walk a tightrope?
*For my Mom. Happy birthday to the world’s biggest cat lover! Seriously, if you are inclined to send my Mom a card and/or buy her a gift for her birthday, make sure it involves lots of cats. In fact, if such a thing as an All-Cat Circus does exist somewhere, tickets to it would be the perfect gift for her. FYI.*