They called her Cherokee.   She was  a Native American  Princess.  Her father thought he might have been German, he wore lederhosen.   Her mom was from the old Country, (Poland) she wore wooden clogs.    She lived a good life and her glass was never empty.   She showed up at our house one day after Asa and Gene brought her home.

They frequented a club on the North Side, called the Gee’ze’ Spot.  Back in the day it was the spot where the G’s, hung out.  The Gee’ze’ Spot became popular; after people found out what it was.    The G’s moved on but always returned to haunt the Gee’ze Spot once they passed on.   Of course, it became a hot spot for all ghosts, and Ghost Hunters and tourists.    That is where they met Cherokee.

There was a Ghost Hunting Event was going on.   Inviting all the local Ghost Hunters to come and capture evidence.   Annie and Annie Jr. along with their camera man Duh-Wayne, went.   Asa and Gene went as ghosts.

A regular night at the Gee’ze Spot, cups would be flying around, ghost would zip out of the toilet bowl just as you went to squat down, electronics would go crazy, cell phones would be prank calling people in power…Don was actually getting mad about answering his cell phone and yelling into a crowd of people, “I need a Drew P. Wiener.   Drew P. Wiener where are you?”

The place was packed every night more so for the ghost activity than for the drinks, as a matter of fact it had gotten so, they only needed a couple vending machines in the corner for refreshments.   People came from all around to see ghosts, and ghosts came from all around to see the people.

However, the second the police got called for suspicious activity, or  a News Crew arrived with a band of reporters and cameras, or ghost hunters came to capture the activity and warn the public, all activity would stop.    Ghosts who could be seen with the naked eye with a glass in their ghostly hand ready to chuck it at the pool table, would suddenly vanish and the glass would return to it’s original resting place.    Voices would become quite whispers with frequent, ‘shhhhhh’ going on and an occasional, “Stop laughing.”  Then quiet.

Reports would be taken, paranormal experts would do their thing and maybe; maybe if they were lucky and the ghosts became bored enough, they might run the battery down on a camera, or  eerily make a door slowly creak closed.    A ghost with a sense of humor might respond on some recording device to be Moe Run.  Of course there was always the typical, icy chill, weird smells, like perfume or cigars or some foul sickening scent.     For the most part, though  the actual evidence was rather small, compared to the reported activity.

Cherokee came from out of town for the event and since she really had no life, she came home to live with us.   It was told that Cherokee was a wizard in the kitchen and Annie adored her because her specialty was roadkill casserole.   Asa loved it too, he said Cherokee could make good eats.  Then he would smack her on the back as she walked by.

“Watch your hands Mister!” Cherokee would say.

“You’re a good woman, Cherokee,”Asa would flirt.

“Kiss my grits, Asa!” Cherokee would yell; her  ghostly voice taking on a sort of a southern accent, which really was part of her heritage, or so she said.

One of her most annoying hobbies besides her home cooked meals over an open fire, was her ‘gift’ of interior decorating.   She pointed out my horrible skills the second she floated through the door with her old battered suitcase covered with stickers from every country in the world she had found for a steal at the junk store.   There was nothing in it but ghosts didn’t really need anything.

So because it was her hobby and her habit, Cherokee began to rearrange our place.   Basically cleaning out and organizing Annie’s hoard and displaying her collections as they were meant to be displayed.    Building shelves and display cabinets out of old lumber in the back yard.

Every day I came home to a home cooked meal of squirrel helper or something equally tasty, and being in a completely different place than the one I left.  I might leave with an entire wall displaying Annie Jr’s toilet paper roll collection to a wall of photo shopped pictures of me every year for the past fifty years with words loser of the year 50 and counting.   Come to think of it, Annie had been taking random close ups of my face lately.

The kitchen table might be a kitchen table when I left and when I returned it would be a tv tray and later maybe coffee table then an end table, only to somehow wind up being a kitchen table again, looking completely different.   The kitchen might look like Beaver Cleaver’s kitchen in the morning and Mel’s diner in the afternoon.

The vacuum  started at 5 am, and ran most of the day.   Just sat in the corner and ran. Cherokee loved cleaning, running the dish washer we didn’t have and washing the walls with a garden house.

Plus she was a crafter, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, needle point, quilting, scrapbooking if it was crafty she was on it and she made her own clothes too.   So room was needed for her stuff.   My bed got moved again, not that I ever slept in it.   There wasn’t any room.   Currently, I had been sleeping in a ceramic kiln.

One day, after waking up with a large vase hardened to my back side, I told Annie, that her friends, at least the ghost ones, had to go.   Of course, Annie had a fit, screaming she could not just kick them out in the street, they would freeze to death.

“They are going, Annie,” I fired back, “Asa and his lawn mower, Gene and his rapping sales pitch, and Cherokee and the tee pee she has set up in the bathroom.”  I paused then stopped and said. “And that Gus in the attic goes too.   He has brought another mouse into the house.   It jumped out of the cupboard at me this morning.”

“Leroy! You found Leroy!” Annie Jr. shouted. “Leroy come on boy.”   A large grey sewer rat came slinking out of the corner and ran to Annie Jr.

“Um no that wasn’t Leroy I saw.   And he is not living here either!”  I stamped my foot and left the room.   Leaving everyone crying and moaning because they knew I meant business.   “I am taking my bed back too!” I bellowed but no one heard.

Duh-Wayne saved the day by suggesting they buy a house and flip it.   Then Annie and Annie Jr. and Duh-Wayne could have paranormal lock downs once the house was flipped and successfully haunted.    Annie was all for combining two of her loves into one, flipping houses and ghost hunting.   So with Cherokee as the head designer, they set out to find the perfect home.

I was thankful their search was being conducted way on the other side of the city.   So thankful in fact I never said anything when Cherokee decided to practice her house flipping skills at my house.    Having a toilet in the kitchen in front of a whole row of windows was not my idea of lovely, but since she and the rest of the haunts were moving and moving far away, I endured.

They wound up buying a house on my street, one that had burnt down and Annie Jr had stripped most of and drug into our back yard.    They built a third story added a balcony and they were in business.   It became a hot spot for ghosts, and tourists, and ghost hunters.   Business at the Gee’ze spot suffered.

Nothing really changed at my house.  Gene popped in every hour seeing if I have canned cheese.   Annie collections are still displayed and she bought the kiln.   Cherokee still cooks every night, it’s too cold to cook in the garage where she  currently has her kitchen, so they come to use my kitchen.   She raves about my kitchen though, how practical it is to have a toilet in the kitchen.

The other night as I settled down to sleep in my kiln, Annie Jr. kneading my front, Annie kneading my back, a ceramic unicorn under my butt, Annie whispered in my ear, “You are so lucky to have me right Slam?”

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