“Hi Old Slam,” Annie Jr. called as she rolled a pink bicycle through the door after her meeting with Annie Swanka. She unbuckled her little bike helmet also pink and her name written in sparkly red letters on either side. She’d left on her scooter.
I was sitting at the kitchen table with a fresh ice pack on the golf ball sized lump on my head, a result of my fainting and Annie Jr. driving straight over my face with her scooter on the way out the door. The chains Annie put on the scooter tires for the winter were still on them, she claimed she just hadn’t found the time the last time I complained about the tires tearing up the floor, and continued laying on a stuffed duck feather bed watching a commercial about colon flush eating cheese stuffed kangaroo paws. She’d put them on about a month ago while she stood in the back yard dressed in a snowsuit in 95 degree heat stating the air felt nibbly and snow was on it’s way.
In the several hours that had passed since Annie Jr. had left for her visit I had worried myself into a frenzy about how I wound up with the cats I had. Other people had cats and their cats didn’t own poop factories, that made piles of money which rapidly got spent on needless things like six foot kite shaped like an igloo, or a dilapidated submarine purchased at the junk yard that will be eventually turned into a tiny house for homeless field mice.
A winkled furrow was etched in my forehead a forever part of my face due more to Annie and now Annie Jr. than age, it complimented every grey hair on my head; like the one I got when Annie had amnesia, claimed she was a woodpecker and decided to fly across the grand canyon with a balloon on a string tied around her waist, a couple pringles in her mouth to simulate a beak, a peacock feather in each one of her front paws and a pink feather duster glued to the end of her tail, which she twirled with her tail making it work as a propeller. It never worked because she could only go backwards.
Annie Jr. hopped onto the back of my chair slide in behind me and began scratching my back and pouncing my hair. I reached behind me and picked her up, she bit the skin between my thumb and forefinger three times snarling, “agggghhhh I’m a Vampirate!” between her teeth.
“Annie Jr. what did your grandfather tell you?” I scolded as I brought her out from behind me.
“Bout what?” she asked innocently opening her mouth and ceasing the increasing pain being inflicted on skin that was about to spurt blood. Her little eyes looked into mine slanting slightly in a way she knew tugged at my heartstrings, her tiny pink nose; a black dot on either side, twitched and her little paw patted my cheek softly; a soft, ‘I am so comfortable purr’ began to roar inside her.
“About biting?” I shook my finger at her and tried to ignore the sweet little antics of her trying to bat at my finger with her claw retracted paws.
Annie Jr. stood at attention. Her back paw tapped the top of my leg where she was perched. Her front paws went behind her back she cleared her throat then humbly recited in a loud voice, “BITING SLAM IS A SPECIAL TREAT, IT MAKES YOU WANT TO PROUNCE HER FEET!”
She snuggled up next to me purring and rubbing her head on my chest. We go through this 197 times a day. She slides behind me, scratches me, bites me and then gets all snuggly on my lap and lets me pet her while she purrs and sleeps. Those are the times, I love Annie Jr. when she is acting like a cat.
“Annie Swanka is really great Slam,” Annie Jr. sighed as she kneaded her claws lightly into my chest.
She was quiet in thought was a moment then popped up and looked at me. “You know that Annie’s have been around for a gazillion years. You know all of them live over in the Nursing Home in the poop factory. Some are so old and dusty they look like Walkers Slam but you can’t kill them. I had Lucy Jr. and ya just can’t.”
“Annie got you a bat?” I screamed.
“Yeah,” Annie Jr. shrugged. “We all have them…all the Annie’s do. For a gazillion years they have had bats and chased walkers.”
“Annie Jr. that can’t be true, that show has not been on a gazillion years, there was not even TV’s a gazillion years ago.”
“Fake news, Slam!” Annie Jr hissed and bit the end of my nose. “The Annie’s had fart phone’s a gazillion years ago they made them in their poop factories and everybody has always pooped.”
“Annie Jr, it’s called a Smart phone.”
“No those just smell icky like ground up rotten cheese and snail horns!” She continued…”And all the Annie’s have been black and white, and only very very special people get to own a Annie. Annie cat’s are extremely lucky. You probably know all about the E’Jetsons and Hunky King Kluck, they thought cats were lucky.”
“Annie Jr. I have no idea what you are talking about…the Jetsons?”
“No the E’Jetsons they lived a long long time ago in those scheme houses.”
I looked at her clueless.
“Yeah, you know kinda like those businesses Annie is always starting the friangle schemes?”
“Pyramid scheme? They lived in pyramids?”
“Those house made of blocks and shaped like a frectangle, and it had zillion of stairs and Hunky King Kluck lived there!”
“Egyptians? I do recall reading about them having cats. I am not sure if they considered them lucky or not. Who is that King Kluck?” I asked.
“Dean Martin sang him.” She said then started singing, “King Kluck, how’d you get so hunky you’re a duck. King Kluck come on mucky lucky ducky King Kluck.” By this time Annie Jr. was on her feet dancing around like an Egyptian but she looked more like a drunken sailor doing a clog dance in hip boots.
It dawned on me…Steve Martin…King Tut.
“King Tut?” I asked.
“Who is he?” Annie Jr. said sitting down. “Anyway King Kluck had the first Annie. He was buried with his cat he wrapped her in toilet paper and turned her into a slummy but she really teleported out of there straight for her poop factory.”
“Wait that was not even a gazillion years ago not even close Annie Jr!” I said finally able to put a sock in all of this tom foolery.
“Oh before that we were just organizations and we lived in bowls made out of tree-pee with jello in it. That is scienglific.” She said.
“And Slam!” Annie Jr. shrieked as she jumped onto my head. “Every person who owns a Annie is insanely wealthy.”
“I am not insanely wealthy! You cats drain my ‘magic card'” I said sarcastically, “like a cheap battery and now my account is frozen AGAIN!”
“Cause that is where you put cheap batteries when they loose their charge in the freezer. That is why Annie put your magic card in the freezer so it will work again. She needs to get great great great great great great great great times 85 Slamma Annie a new horse. She was Charles’s barn cat.”
“Charles?” I asked.
“Pringles. On the Prairie. His real named was Snoozeen Snorokilts. But he changed it to Little Joe and then Pa when he moved away from Bonanza. ”
“Annie Jr., the ACTOR who played, Pa, or Charles, and also Little Joe on an entirely different show…changed his name. The name wasn’t Snodgrass whatever you said either, it was something like Eugene Horowitz…. And Pa was hardly rich. As much as Annie has watched that show, (daily for the past 14 years) she should know they were poor. The Olsen’s living it up in the Mercantile eating KFC, while Ma is serving up the canned beef stew she got at the local mission.”
“But he was rich Slam he got to be a Angel…..Stairway to Heaven and Mr. Edwards was there. And Fred Clamburger? Remember him? He had a black and white cat.”
“No I don’t” I got up to get coffee. I needed it.
Annie Jr. picked up her banjo and began to sing. “Come and listen to a song bout a guy name Fred a poor buccaneer his cat rode on a sled then one day he was pooping at a school…..”
“Stop,” I held up my hand. The banjo playing was bad but I figured out the tune. “That was a tv show.”
“The point is,” Annie Jr. began, “He was poor and then rich.”
“The point is,” I said. “Those two were not real people.”
“King Kluck was.”
“But he was a King it had nothing to do with his cat.” I argued.
“Doesn’t it Slam?”
“No it doesn’t!”
“Well Annie says you will be rich and whatever Annie says comes true.”
“It does not!” I insisted.
“Then why are folks spending $9.99 a minute to hear Mystical Annie’s predictions!” Annie Jr. stated.
“I heard some of her calls. She asks the person what their name was and then tells them what letter their name starts with and half the time she doesn’t even get the letter right.” I was getting exasperated.
“And they are amazed!” Annie Jr. said her eyes glowing with affection for her hero Annie.
“Oh for goodness sakes,” I sighed. “No one in this family is getting rich!”
“But don’t you see, you are the luckiest of all cause you have two of us at the same time. You are the chosen one.” Annie Jr. explained. “Annie Swanka says they predicted this way back in ’76.
“It was during the war of 1812, when then President Ben Franklin was flying a kite in a thunderstorm when his cat Annie told him that a chosen one will have two Annie’s. At that moment, lightening hit the kite and Ben chopped down a cherry tree, lied about it and made a log cabin and a stove pipe hat then started a war with cotton growers.”
“None of that makes any sense at all. Ben Franklin was never even President.”
“Was too, his face is on money.”
I slapped my head. “Enough Annie Jr. It’s time for you to go to bed, history lesson over.”
Just then the tv announced another winner of a golden ticket. The fourth one. “I can’t now Slam.” Annie Jr. screamed. “I need to open some poop candy. I just have to win a ticket.”
She opened the first of many boxes. She opened the first wrapper slowly, revealing just candy. She tossed the wrapper and the candy and took out another. At least she would be occupied for a while.