“Annie,” I nagged as soon as she walked in the door, that evening.   “I need to talk to you, about school for Annie Jr.”

“Slam, I already done told you she is going to school like a normal cat. ”  Annie replied.   She waved her hand around as if to brush the stunned look off my face, then said.   “I know you had your heart set on home schooling the little dear, but she needs normal  friends her own age.   Not like that rag muffin, Murray on the other block.”

Murray was actually the only ‘normal’ friend Annie Jr. had, unless you counted Chad and I didn’t, or Paul the homeless cat, or Cindy skunks children who lived under the neighbor’s porch and I hated when she was going out to play a game of tag with them.   But there was no way I was going to argue with Annie, if she was actually agreeing to let Annie Jr. go to school.   “You are right, Annie.”   I agreed.   “But we need to get her school clothes.”

Annie shook her head and waved her arm around.   “I knew you were going to say that, Slam and I already took care of it.”   She pointed to a gigantic box in the hallway.   I dragged it inside as Annie dragged herself into the other room.

I took the box into the next room with Annie and called Annie Jr. to the room.   “Annie, why do you look so disgusting?”   I asked as I started opening the box.

“How do you mean?” Annie asked flopping her dirt caked carcass onto my clean bed.

“Your face is filthy, every white part of your body looks like you walked through mud, and what is that huge hairy gob hanging from your tail?”  I said backing away because she didn’t smell too well either.

Annie looked down at her tail and sniffed the hairy gob.   Annie Jr. ran over and sniffed it too then started singing , “It’s poop.   It smells like poop.   Icky slicky  licky sicky I love POOOOOOOP!”

Annie sniffed it again, inhaling deeply, “It’s poop.”

“Hairy poop?”

“It’s a hair ball,” Annie said.   She began removing the gob and said to Annie Jr., “Get Mom-mom a baggie sweetie.   Mom-mom needs this; we are running a batch of wigs and hair extensions tomorrow.”

‘Good grief,’ I thought, what is with this mom-mom thing.

I began tackling the cover of the big box, when Annie Jr came running in with an empty sandwich bag and another one filled to the top with black hair.    “Here Mom-mom!” she screamed.     “And I got all this!” throwing the bag of hair up into the air.   Thank god it was closed.

“Honey, sweetie, baby that is a gold mine where ever did you get that beautiful stunning hair?”  Annie purred.

“Grandfather was razoring his head and it fell off in gobs so I ran around behind him with a bag!”   Annie Jr. yelled jumping up and down.

“The wig idea you had was perfect Annie Jr. I would have never thought to recycle hair.”

Annie Jr. beamed.   “I love pushing my face into a soft bunch of hair and smell poop,” Annie Jr. sighed.   “I slick my fur back with poop.”

So that is why the top of her head always smelled like a raunchy old fart.   “The wonderful thing about poop is poop is a wonderful thing, the top is made out of….” Annie Jr. began singing.

“That is quite enough young cat,” I said.   “Come help me with this box.   Your mom got your school stuff,” I announced.

“Did you get my Munster’s lunch box?” Annie screamed.

“Nah, I couldn’t find it.   I got you one shaped like Pa’s fiddle.”  Annie replied.

“I’m NOT taking that one,” Annie Jr. screamed.

I got the box opened finally.   Inside was an old time underwater scuba suit, a fiddle shaped lunch pail, and package of men’s boxer shorts with hearts and rainbows on them size 56.   “Annie this is school clothes and supplies?” I screamed.

“Yeah,” she answered.

“I love these, look Slam unicorns!” Annie Jr. yelled putting a pair of bright pink boxers with little unicorns on them over her head.

“Them are for, Dad,” Annie announced.

“Those are too small for Grandfather!” Annie Jr. insisted.

“We will have to go to Walmart, then,” I explained.   “This will never do.   Come on Annie get yourself cleaned up!”

“I’m tired, Slam and I have plans,” Annie complained.   “You take her.”

“No Annie you are going!  What plans do you have?”

“Walking Dead, Slam! The new season is coming up.   It’s tradition to watch them all before a new episode comes out.”

“You finished watching it yesterday!” I screamed.

“A hundred times, Slam.  I have 99 times left before October I need to get cracking!”

“Go get a bath Annie.” I demanded.   “You are going.”

“Fine,” Annie screamed getting to her feet.   A pile of dirt was left on the bed but Annie looked no cleaner.  “Let’s go!”

“Annie you need a bath!” I yelled.

“It’s only Walmart!” Annie retorted.   She had a point she did look like a typical Walmart shopper with her tight pajama pants that said ‘cutie’ across the butt, her spongebob hat and black lacy bra.

But the filth was a little over the top, that was fine for Family Dollar where anything goes.   She looked like she dug herself out of a grave and smelt like fresh laid dog poop.   “Annie get cleaned up!”

She stomped into the bathroom and came out moments later.   She had washed her face, toothpaste foam was in her whiskers, she’d polished her dirty toe nails, and put on a pair of sun glasses and a head wrap, the bottoms of her feet were still black with filth and her flip flops really accented the fact but they looked the same exact color as the filthy white brown tops.

“You still stink,” I complained.

Annie poured a bit of vinegar on a piece of paper towel dabbed it under each arm pit, grabbed a container of some old lady  flowery smelling powder dumped it over her head so we were all choking as we breathed it in then she topped it off with a couple spritz of her fart collection air freshener.   “Better?” Annie hissed.

Both Annie’s rode in the cart.   I was thumbing through a rack of paw patrol shirts, when I heard Annie say, “My what a ugly little brat you have,” to some lady with a perfectly normal looking little kid, who was sitting quietly in the cart, while Annie Jr. wearing a pair of pink hee-haw overhauls was climbing up a display of old lady panties so she could parachute down to the cart.

“Annie stop that!” I scolded.

“Mind your own bees wax,” the lady sneered at me.   “He is an ugly little brat!”   She flicked her kid in the ear, looked at Annie Jr. floating down with a huge pair of pink undies.   “Maybe next time,” she sighed with a look of admiration for Annie Jr., then she patted her round little baby belly.

Several moments later, I saw Annie snatch clothes out of another cat and when the woman looked at Annie, Annie innocently explained, “For my daughter Annie Jr,” who was beating off an old man on a scooter with her Lucy bat, screaming, “Walker’s Slam.”  I told her to leave that in the car and Annie promised she would not let Annie Jr. watch that show.

The lady nodded at Annie as if what Annie did made perfect sense and walked away.    Some how we actually found a Munster’s Lunch pail.   There were a whole bunch of them, even so,  Annie kick boxed an old lady stole her umbrella and beat a young father over the head to get one.   He was reaching for a Fat Albert one.  She took the Fat Albert book bag out of his cart and explain, “For my daughter, Annie Jr.”  who was sitting in the cart screaming at the top of her lungs, “Pa, I’m blind. I can’t see, help me Pa.”   An older lady near by, pushed her husband and yelled, “Smells go get Reverend Scald’em.” A whole crowd of people started singing, “Bringing in the Sheep!”

I just randomly started tossing anything I thought Annie Jr would need and ran to the check out.   This was all too stressful for me.   With the excitement of Annie Jr. actually going to school, I forgot how bad shopping with Annie was and now I had two of them.   Annie was snatching stuff off the shelves as I ran filling the cart with random things I did not need or want, like diaper rash cream, canned peeled eel, boxes of irregular nails,  1/2 expired freezer burnt ice cream sandwiches.

I got to the cash register and cashier a bird nosed woman with her hair tied tightly back into a bun said, “We don’t extend credit here at the mercantile, Mrs. Slingals.”

I played along and said, “I will be paying cash,”  Annie was still throwing random stuff into the cart, a  chia pet, several candy bars, a large box of legos and Annie Jr. was in the sub shop next door ordering a large lunch for herself and a light lunch for her mom-mom.

I sighed as I started the car excited for a few moments of silence as the cats teleported home with their food.   All in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.



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