“And I better have a pig by the end of the day!”  I jumped a foot at the loud screech behind me as Annie screamed into my ear with her mega phone.   She snuck up behind me several times a day startling me like that.   My coffee flew out of my cup and the sudden jerk caused a pain in my back, then cat litter rained down over my head as Annie dumped a box that had been used several times over me.

She’d been doing this, demanding a pig or else,  for a few days.   Ever since she found out her Aunt Din-yell was getting a pig for a pet, Annie was obsessed with getting one before Din-yell did.   It was the same thing with Lars.   Din-yell got a St. Bernard, so  Annie had to get one and this time she was determined not to let her Aunt get a pig before her.   It didn’t matter that she had 92 of them in her sanctuary.   They were ‘wild’ pigs she claimed because they slept in a barn, rolled in mud puddles, ate slop from a trough, and made friends with spiders and rats.

“Annie just because someone else has something does not mean you have to have it too, ” I explained, knowing she would not pay attention, I had only said this 18 times a day for the past 14 years.    Annie stared at me blankly and I notice she is wearing the same out fit I am wearing.

“No pig!” I state emphatically actually putting my foot down so Annie would understand.   I mean it was bad enough her St. Bernard and the Turkey were both sleeping in my bed.   Most nights, I slept standing up in the only corner where there was room but since Annie had put up  an 85 foot Christmas Tree in that corner,  I could not afford to loose any empty space I could find to sleep.   I once tried sleeping on a soft chair on the gaming floor but Duh-Wayne and his band of security dogs kicked me out.

I stood in the window watching the back yard fill up with dump trucks they had been coming in pairs, every hour since the first of December.   Annie and Annie Jr’s Twenty five days of Christmas.   Annie was still opening 42 trucks from last year most of which she tossed in a dumpster with the wrapping paper screaming it was now out dated.

No one ever raided the dumpster surprisingly, it would all go to a dump, then after it became rain soaked covered in mud, and old onion peels and used Kleenex, Annie Jr. would go drag it all back for Annie and Duh-Wayne to fix up and re-sell.

Once in a while, Duh-Wayne would grab a large screen tv, or corvette, the deed to a vacation home in Maui out of the dumpster.   Annie would call him a garbage picker. Then scream at him to stop eating her collection of Vintage Mc Donald’s French fries because she was keeping them.

From the kitchen, I hear Annie and Annie Jr. singing.    “Oh Christmas Tree oh Christmas Tree rain down presents for both Annie’s!” Then, “Dashing through the snow in a filled with presents sleigh,” and then, “We wish you would give us presents and more on New Years,”.

“Annie for god sakes, you have been playing Christmas songs on surround sound nonstop for days and you finally turn it off, and now you are singing and playing instruments loudly and badly.   I want a nap.”

“It’s a Christmas Carol, Slam we have to practice them.”

I put my ear plugs which are for some reason coated with honey into my ears and go snuggle up, in my bed.    It’s covered with dog hair and slobber but I don’t care.   I fall asleep really quickly.    I am just hovering into that deep sleep when I feel a tug at my ear.   I swat at it.   I roll over and feel another tug at my other ear.   I swat at it.   Then I hear it chains and moaning.    I sit up in a darkened room only to see Asa stagger in wrapped in Christmas lights that are blinking on and off.   He is rattling a chain and moaning.   “I never let Annie Swanka have a pig and now I am doomed, beware, you will be visited by three ghosts and I don’t count….hooooooooo hooooooo,” he moaned then flapped his arms and staggered out of the room.

I jump up and chase after him and run smack through the door of the time machine that is directly in my path.    Asa flaps above the door right at the last second and closes the door behind me.

Annie is inside. She is wearing a white sheet with holes cut out for eyes.    “Let’s see your past Slam.”   Annie presses buttons and the time machine shakes and rattles and makes noises and a screen appears.    A house comes into focus and I see it is the house I grew up in.    “Christmas 1967,”  Annie narrates.   I see cradle come into view there is a baby in it.   I hear my mother’s voice say what does baby want for Christmas and the baby holds up a sign that says a pig.    Fast forward, to Christmas day baby has a rattle and a black and white cat with a sign over it’s head that says Ammie (ironically that is how Annie spells her name) that is playing with a pig.    This scene continues, my younger self begging my parents and Santa year after year for a pig and Annie get’s one first and I never do.

“Annie none of this happened,” I yell.

“Now you know how it feels not to have a pig, first Slam do you fremember how it feels.”

Annie moans and is suddenly replaced with Annie Jr. also wearing a sheet.   “This is your life Slam,” he moans and another video starts.   “No Annie no pig!” I see myself screaming.   I look kinda like that Octopus woman in the Little Mermaid.   “Now clean the fire place Annerella.”   Then, I become the Grinch.  “All the noise noise noise noise   stop those fool Christmas songs!”   Annie Jr. disappears and it’s  Duh-Wayne in a sheet I can tell it’s him by the smell of Mc Donald’s French fries from the back end of an old Plymouth on his breath.    He shows me one last video of Din-yell hugging a pig and one of Annie looking sad.   The Annie’s face saying, “Karmel Slam Karmel!”

Then I am back in my bed, my head aching slightly.   I hear a noise coming from the street.   Annie and Annie Jr. are coming down the street singing their Christmas Carols.   They are pulling a large wagon that is filled with presents people are throwing into it.

I run down to the porch and watch.   Annie is screaming.   “It’s  a Christmas Miracle.”

In the wagon is a great big black and white pig.   “His name is Carol, Slam, Christmas Carol.   Thank you Santa wherever you are.  And god bless us everyone.   I got a pig first Din-yell.”


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