“Tell me a story about my mom, Annie,” Annie Jr. begged as she snuggled in my lap. “Did my mom go to school?”
I was already thinking about a young Annie, I sighed. “Yes your mom went to school.”
Annie Jr. jumped to her feet. “She did? Mom said school made you dumb and she is one of the smartest cats, I know. ”
Maybe Annie was right school did make a person dumb because she was one of the dumbest cats I knew. I shook my head to clear the thought that school made a person dumb, Janey loved school and she was smart. “What kind of lunch pail did mom take?” Annie Jr. asked hopping up and down.
I pictured a little Annie in her bib overhauls, her little glasses (that she didn’t even need but said matched her style), her straw hat and back pack. “Little House,” I answered. “She had to have that one or she would not have went. It took me hours of internet searches and thousands of dollars to obtain one.
“Little House!” Annie Jr. screamed like she couldn’t believe it. “That old show! It’s not even cool anymore! I would want a Munster’s one.”
I pictured myself searching the internet for an even older Munster’s lunch box. “Did she ride a slog, like you Slam?”
“I told you before, I have no idea what a slog is. I never rode one and neither did Annie.”
“And I told you what a slog was! Annie said you rode one.”
I sighed. “Annie walked, well, she actually rode her scooter.”
“Was there a crazy pig lady?” Annie asked excitedly.
“No,” I stated emphatically. I really did not want to go there.
“A crazy cat lady?” Annie Jr. hinted.
“Isn’t it time for your nap?” I asked trying to get out of it.
“After my story. You promised.”
“I didn’t promise.” I said, “But okay a story. Once upon a time, there were three…”
“No about my mom!” Annie Jr. insisted.
“It is about your mom,” I said.
“No bout the crazy cat lady.” Annie Jr. insisted.
I sighed. “Before we moved here, there was a crazy cat lady.”
Annie Jr. jumped up and looked at me her eyes begging for more. “Start from the beginning, when you found Jackie Nermal, the first one.” Annie Jr. demanded.
“What Jackie Nermal?” I asked.
“The one that followed Aunt Dinyell and Slamma Jr. home and Uncle Rov named her Jackie Nermal, and she married, blind Ernie, Norbert’s real father. Remember she ran away with blind Ernie and she went crazy and then returned as black Jackie Nermal.” Annie Jr. explained.
I sighed. “We did have two cats named Nermal, but they were not the same cats.”
“Yes they were. Wasn’t black Nermal nuts?” Annie Jr. asked.
“Yes, but if you already know the story, why am I telling it?”
“The crazy cat lady part,” Annie Jr. insisted. “What was her name? How did you meet her?”
I exhaled deeply. “Her name was Rosie, she was a friend of Aunt Dinyell’s. She was always sneaking around trying to steal other people’s cats and seeing cats that weren’t really there.”
“Like the cat with the stick in it’ neck.” Annie Jr. pushed.
I knew she must have heard the story from somewhere. “Yes.” I agreed.
“Tell it!” Annie Jr. screamed. “I love this part.”
“Well, one day old Rosie came to the door and your Slamma Jr. was on the porch talking to her. She kept talking and waving her arms around like a lunatic so I asked Uncle Rov to go tell Slamma Jr it was time for dinner. Slamma Jr. came in and I looked for Uncle Rov and he was across the street with Rosie pushing the bushes around while she was waving her arms around. She said there was a cat over there with a stick in it’s neck.”
“Was it my mom?” Annie Jr. asked.
I nodded thinking about my ‘magic card’ being used for a stick in the neck, gross your friends out kit, Annie just had to have. “Yes, but never tell Uncle Rov, Rosie had him out there for two hours.”
“And he never found a cat with a stick in it’s neck?”
“No,” I responded only because Annie was upstairs looking out the window laughing.
“Then Jackie Nermal and her friend Dagget who looked like Janey ran away to live with the cat lady, because they stole the formula for the ever lasting poop stopper.”
“They didn’t run away to live with the crazy cat lady,” I sighed.
“Annie said they did. I love thinking about Uncle Rov with Rosie looking for a cat that wasn’t there.” Annie Jr. sighed and finally fell asleep.
Annie Jr. took off early the next morning with Annie to the poop factory. I began my day as well leaving for my job. I wasn’t there very long when my boyfriend sent me a picture; the house the crazy cat lady lived in across the street was on fire.
When I got home Annie Jr. was all kinds of bouncing off the walls. She and Annie heard the fire trucks and rushed home. With all the excitement on the street Annie Jr. was overwhelmed and overly excited. “Slam, did you hear?” she screamed as I came through the door.
“Jackie Nermal snuck into the factory and stole the formula for the ever lasting poop stopper and she was making it and started a fire!” she danced around as she related the story.
“No Annie Jr., that is not how the fire started.” I said. “The news said….”
“Fake news, Slam! It happened to Annie Swanka’s crazy pig lady the same way. Jackie Nermal, was trying to make everlasting poop stoppers and she set the pig lady’s house on fire and the whole neighborhood smelled like a blt for a week and it happened to that crazy cat lady where you used to live, and it happened again.” Annie Jr. said excitedly.
“No Annie Jr.” I sighed, seriously thinking about limiting her visits with Annie Swanka.
“Did that old crazy cat lady Rosie’s house catched on fire?”
“It was only a stove fire,” I replied.
“That’s what you say. Jackie Nermal was making the formula and blew everything to Singdom Comb.” Annie Jr. said.
This cat needed to go to school. “Nothing blew up.” I said.
“With Jackie Nermal in it.” Annie Jr. replied. “And then Annie closed the doors to the factory and no one could go in and no one could go out.”
“Annie Jr, she announced closing the doors, weeks ago. ” I was so exasperated with the nonsense.
“And five golden tickets were placed in random pieces of poop candy and I won one and on the way home, Jackie Nermal stopped me on the street and offered me money if I stole a ever lasting poop stopper for her.”
“I thought Jackie Nermal was in the house.” I contradicted.
“She had a teleporter.” Annie Jr replied.
“Figures!” I announced.
“But it didn’t work just like the formula she stole. It was a fake one. Annie learned that on SpongeBob. Jackie Nermal always gets a fake formula. Everyone knows not to mix gasoline and kerosene and a match together, except for Jackie Nermal. ”
“How’d she get out if her teleporter didn’t work?” I demanded.
“Through the door, duh! Slam?”
“Yes, Annie Jr.” I said.
“Why is Nation Wide on your slide? I didn’t even know you had one. I wanna be on your slide too.”