I walked out into the kitchen only to see Annie Jr.   climbing out of the deep recesses of the garbage can.   There was a banana peel hanging from her left ear, the end of an egg shell on her right and coffee grounds in her whiskers.     She jumped to the floor and I saw a fly sticker covered with flies stuck to her tail.

“Annie Jr.!” I scolded, “WHY are you in the garbage can?”

I picked the banana peel off her ear and threw it in the trash.   I went to pick the piece of tomato off her side, when Annie Jr. saw the fly sticker and screamed, “Help!” and began racing around the kitchen waving her tail around hitting everything with the fly sticker including me; right in the face.

“Annie Jr., stop running so I can get it off,” I hollered.

After 25 long minutes, she settled down enough so I could get it off her and get her into the sink to wash the sticky off.    “Why were you in the trash?” I asked again as I began washing her and flies began floating around in the soap water.

“I was looking for some dirt, Mom-Mom thought she lost.” Annie Jr. explained.   “It’s money.”

Just then Annie Jr. walked out and asked, “Did you find it sweetie?”

“Yes Mom-Mom, in the sandwich bag by the garbage.”

Annie walked over and picked up the bag which contained about a quarter of a teaspoon of dirt.   I looked at Annie then at Annie Jr. then back at Annie.   I waved my arm around to indicate  the flies and sticky stuff coated, all over everything,  the garbage that fell off Annie Jr. on the floor ,  and  the stuff she had knocked down as she ran over every inch of the kitchen including the counters.    “All of this for that tiny bit of dirt?”

“It’s money, Slam!”  Annie said.

“Why do you have to use filth to make money; Poop, dirt, old matted hair from the drain!”

“Cause no one else is,” Annie announced.

“Get a respectable job Annie!”

“I do!” Annie screamed.   “I sit right behind you!”

True, she did sit behind me, when she felt like coming in or wasn’t on vacation.   She was always complaining that 52 weeks of vacation was not enough.    “Yeah Annie you are so respectable on the job, telling everyone who calls to ‘Kiss your sandwich’ and hanging up.”

“What about how you answer the phone; “Thank you for calling this is Slam how may I help you?”  Annie mimicked.  “You sound so stupid everyone thinks so.”

“Like who?”   I asked.

“Krispen and Smokely.”  Annie replied.   “Only Maghen likes you,  but she doesn’t even count because she hates mustard!”

I sighed and finished washing Annie Jr then grabbed my purse and lunch bag, “Annie clean the kitchen, ” I instructed as I walked out the door, assuming since she still was in her duck pajama’s and hair net that she wasn’t going to work.

I was relieved to think she was staying home.   I had plans for the day.   I was leaving work early and going to a fair with my daughter’s and granddaughter’s then meeting up with my friend’s Smel and Hari.   Annie would have to go if she knew I was going to a fair which was exactly why I hadn’t told her.   Annie’s friend Maddie belonged to my friend Smel or Smel belonged to Maddie, either way Annie would not miss an opportunity to see Maddie.   My lips were sealed.   I had taken Annie to a fair before and I just did not want to be embarrassed by her around my friends.

I get to work and sit at my desk then hear a crazy laugh.   “Hey Slam!”  Annie is at her desk dressed in her green flowered dress, and hat.   She is eating crackers and tapping the crumbs off before she bites into it.

I groaned and slapped my head.   The  day seemed really long even though I was getting out early,  especially with Annie’s nonstop crunching of crackers.   Plus she had a mobile head set so she could walk around while she talked and since she had no need use her pc, she often could be found sitting in front my key board facing me.

She’d take a large mouthful of crackers and munch loud and rapidly.   She would then yell as loud as she could, “Why are you calling me?” spraying her mouthful of crackers into my face.

She and Windbag who sits across from me, have this huge blow up punching clown but it has my face with a cheesy black mustache, whenever they have a frustrating customer, which for Annie is everyone, they punch it in the face and it rocks back and whaps me in the head.   Then Windbag got them blow up mallets which they throw at me.

Then she and Grim start a conga line singing ‘Stray cat Strut.’ Someone is playing a drum and I think I heard a bass.

I listen to her argue with someone for a half hour, about him kicking her dog.   Everyone on the call floor heard her scream, ” You kick my dog.  Yes you did!” in a weird like southern, and Irish mixed accent.   One of the supervisors, started ringing a bell and everyone was standing and clapping for Annie.    I hated my job when Annie was there.  Not only that Annie ‘accidently’ took my lunch instead of hers.

Our lunch bags look totally different.   Annie has her fiddle shaped lunch pail.  Mine is square and blue.   Annie got it for me for Christmas one year.    It would be fine except Annie had it specially made.   It has a picture of me on it.   One of those goofy pictures you normally delete, you know the ones where you look as if you just let something dissolve on your tongue or drank too much moose made.   Plus it said, “Back off Ammie. This is Slam’s Lunch.”   Yes she spells her name Ammie.

I hate taking it and have tried several times to replace it but Annie always pees in my new lunch pails. I tried to use plastic bags but Annie insists on wearing them as a necklace or a cape depending on her mood so I can never find one.   Obviously, it didn’t aid in Annie figuring out which lunch is hers.   She blames it on the picture because she said I actually look good in it and not my normal ugly self.

But finally the day was over.    Annie thankfully was over the wall,  perched on Curry’s desk crunching a piece of celery screaming, “Dave’s not here man!”   I was able to get out of the building and into my daughter’s car leaving Annie and the fire truck she drove to work safely behind.

“Where’s Annie?” K8 asked.

“Working, well hardly working,”  I said.

“I thought she was going?”  K8 said.

“I never told her,” I said.   “I hate taking Annie to the fair.”

From behind me I hear, “Hi SLAM!”  Annie pops her head up and then Annie Jr. pops up beside her.

“Darn it,” I yell.

Annie is no longer wearing her green dress she is wearing a pair of short shorts, flip flops and a Michael Jackson tee-shirt.   Annie Jr. is wearing a snowsuit swaddled in a blanket.   I take Annie Jr and start unwrapping her before she overheats.

Annie says, “You are slow Slam.” then sings, “My old gram her name is Slam, she ain’t to fast cause she runs out of gas in a one gram race she’d come in last.”

“Annie you aren’t going!”  I yelled.

“To late, I already said she could,” K8 said.   “That’s why I asked where she was.”

“Darn it!” I yelled.

Annie crawls up to sit next to K8 and Phil and Annie Jr. now dressed in a paw patrol shirt, dark wing duck shorts, miss matched socks and four different shoes, sits in my lap. I try to fix her fur that is sticking up all over her head and try to wipe the dried egg off her whiskers.   She smelt like a rotten egg.

Annie insists on playing country music all the way there which is a long way.   K8 brought her Juice harp, Phil her Ukulele, Annie has both her fiddle and banjo, and Annie Jr. a harmonica and drums.    So they are all playing along with the music and singing for miles and miles.   Finally, we get there.

Annie sees Maddie and screams at the top of her lungs.   Maddie is wearing short shorts, flip flips and a Michael Jackson tee-shirt and now both of them are wearing there weird white plastic framed sun glasses.    “Annie!” Maddie yells and they hug like they have not seen each other in 15 years, when they had actually spent the night before playing poker until the wee hours of the morning.

“Gag me with a spoon!” Annie yells.

“Choke me with a knife!” Maddie yells back.

“Drink me with a glass!” they both yell at each other and run off.

K8 and Annie’s mom run after them because Annie announced in the car she had an endless supply of tickets and so did Annie Jr.   Leaving me, with my friends, Din-yell, Phil, Annie Jr. and my friend’s daughter Aster and her children, Emmet and Kia plus their grandfather, Candy.   Aster looks around quickly and runs off with Annie and Maddie and the unlimited tickets.

Smel looks at her granddaughters and asks, “Are you going?”

They shake their heads, no.   Annie Jr. looks at them and says, “I have unlimited tickets, you can ride with us.”   Then Annie Jr. starts screaming for rides.

The group of us walk around putting the kids on rides.   I listen to Annie and Maddie screaming at the top of their megaphones on every single ride.    I hear, “Hi Slam,” more times than I can count.    I handle multiple meltdowns from Annie Jr., like when someone was sitting in the green car (it was purple) and she wanted it.    K8 won a gold fish.  Annie won a shark and a six foot stuffed bison we had to tie to the top of the car.   She also bought a flock of geese, and a herd of heifers so we had to tie one of those cattle trailers to the back of the car and they weren’t even any animals at the fair.  We all wanted pizza Annie offered to pay, with my magic card, 18 mouse tail pies and 40 gallons of moose made later , everyone but me, Emmett and Kia were full.   Everyone else ate it like it was great but Emmett and Kia were looking at me like I was crazy and so was my family.   I understood.   I liked those kids, they gave me hope.

Finally we headed home.   Annie got a bad case of gas and crapped in one of Phil’s diapers because she had die-a-rear and insisted on keeping it because it was money.   She used some of her air freshener from her nature collection to cover up the poop smell.   It was rotten egg scent.   Plus she had Din-yell stop along the way to scoop up some skunk road kill for the following night’s dinner.   She promised Din-yell  the tail cause she wanted to fly it from her car antenna.

Smel, Hari, Candy(it’s really Candi) and Maddie are coming for roast skunk dinner and mashed eye balls, tomorrow night.    I am working over time.    I didn’t tell Annie.








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