"Sorry for the wait, I had to take care of the cat."
I let the innocuous words slide until I realize that this guy's headed to the airport from a dive motel on Interstate and that we don't have a cat with us in the car. As I pull out of the parking lot, I hear a cat screaming in the background.
Ordinarily I'd say something in this situation, but the guy's got about five inches and a hundred pounds on me. He's also angrily explaining to me how everyone in Oregon, including the cab company, the doctors and the cat, is an evil betrayer.
I nod my head and give him the "uh-huh" treatment. He calms down a bit and says that Oregon is the 16th state he's been to in search of someone to perform "the necessary surgery" on him, but doctors everywhere can't be trusted. He then tells me how he's had three wives and six soul-mates murdered by Christian terrorists.
"Really," I say, "that's horrible."
It turns out that he's persecuted by the Christians because he's a prominent Luciferian ("A purer form of Satanism," he explains). They've hunted down everyone he loves, and will soon get him. He's sought shelter with Satanists and Luciferians all over the country, but they've all refused him. They think he's crazy.
I wouldn't disagree with them. It's a relief to get him unloaded, and as soon as I'm back in the cab I have the dispatcher call animal control.