I knew it would come eventually, despite my list; list of movies, I did not want Annie to watch. There were just certain movies, I didn’t want Annie watching and bringing to life. Of course, it took me a while to learn not to introduce Annie to movies, and paid for it. Like when Annie started filling the house with Beetles and then dumping juice over your head as you screamed beetle so you would scream juice directly after, or when Annie bought an umbrella and began a nanny service.
Those were the tame years, things got worse as she got older so I just sort of began a list of banned movies. Of course, not everyone paid attention to my list, because Annie and Annie Jr. decided it would be a good idea to fart in a crowded restaurant and keep doing it until Annie Jr. screamed, “Mom-mom you sharted!” We had to quit eating out because of it, however it did not stop them, they instead would do it during dinner or breakfast or snack time right at our own kitchen table. We won’t even go into Annie doing a striptease.
Annie had a plethora of friends and one of them was always suggesting, a movie Annie just needed to watch. Duh-Wayne was the biggest instigator, literally every movie on my banned list was on his, ‘need to watch with Annie’ list. I’d tried to work around some of them suggesting Annie was not old enough but since she had given parental permission to Annie Jr. she claimed it was not fair that she was unable to watch or she would just get permission from her own Mom-mom. Basically my list was useless.
What made it worse is when a movie from the 80’s was on the banned list and then bam 30 years later, they remake it or put out a part two and the one from the 80’s which has lain dormant suddenly is on every single channel.
I had already endured weeks of red balloons and Annie stuttering out, “Bet your fur,” not to mention waking up to the Annie’s starring at me with blood red smiles and rubber noses. I am so looking forward to part two of the remake of that one.
I should have known though. It was bound to happen. I’d seen the Annie’s faces close to Annie’s Ipad ear phones in, giggling over some cartoon, Siri had discovered for Annie. I should have been concerned. Then, one day, I over heard Annie exclaim to Duh-Wayne, “A movie? Hiiiiiighhhhhhhh!” Then, “More than one? Got it made in the shade!”
I felt nag in the pit of my stomach. That little instinct that tells you something isn’t right. It was the kind of feeling that feels like it has teeth and is having a snack on your inner abdominal walls. With Annie, I felt that feeling 2952 times a day, so even though it should have been a huge warning to me, I was so used to it, I missed all the signs.
I missed it when Annie and Duh-Wayne dragged home an old grand piano. Annie stated she was determined to learn to ‘play the thing’. The only thing she ever learned was playing two keys repeatedly over and over stating, “This drives, Slam nuts.” It did.
Then Duh-Wayne started driving an old hearse or maybe an old ambulance, it had lights and a faulty muffler and blew smoke, but Duh-Wayne was always dragging home some sort of ‘classic’ vehicle he and Annie needed to restore. I have no idea where they found the time but I for one was getting tired of washing the Annie’s coveralls that appeared as if they rolled in motor oil which Annie Jr. admitted to doing on several occasions.
Annie said, “I need to teach him boy stuff, cause YOU SLAM, got him all confused. Putting a dress on him and sending him to school naming him Annie. Poor guy; but my son Annie Jr. is no girly girl. He’s a Boyly Boy.”
“Annie YOU told me he was a girl and YOU named him Annie and YOU borrowed that dress from K8. Besides it’s Manly man not Boyly Boy. ”
“You don’t know your own gender,” She spat and arched her back.
Then one day on my way to the market, Annie handed me her list. It had one item, 14 cases of the one item, written in large scrawled print, capital letters, “Jumbo Smarshmallows; not little ones; Jumbo Slam; do you hear me?” She did not use punctuation on her list though, it was all lumped together, hear was spelled here, and yes she did spell marshmallows as smarshmellows, but I wrote it how I heard her voice in my head say it because she yelled it repeatedly like a siren as I walked to the car.
I did pause to question her reason for marshmallows, I mean who needs that many, without rice krispies or something. “Snores, Slam, we are making snores.” I knew what she meant but advised her they were difficult to make without chocolate and graham crackers. She grabbed the list and quickly added two cases of chocolate bars, two cases of graham crackers, and two cases of regular sized marshmallows. It seemed legit but I still had that nagging sense of dread.
I started the car, and this ladies voice rang out of the speakers singing, “Sitting on the toilet, sitting on the toilet.” I ejected Annie’s CD. That had to have been the dread. I mean who wants to hear that when they start the car.
The quiet ride to the store calmed me although Annie’s list took up most of the room in the vehicle forcing me to get one tiny bag, which I had to carry on my lap. I hated how Annie could never get one or two of any item, it had to be three or four cases and lately it had gotten worse. She had found a book in that box she claimed came from the past about a hoarding rabbit. Annie loved that book.
When I came home that nagging dread returned. I felt it was just because I was home. I always had that feeling when I pulled in the driveway and all the lights in the house were on, and the music was thumping and Annie’s friends were a steady trail of those coming and those going. We had to replace the sidewalk at least once a month the foot traffic wore it down so.
When I came upstairs, dragging as many bags as my hands could carry. I understood the dread. Asa had returned. His lawn mower was going at full speed, I heard it as I tripped over his wheelchair in the hallway. He claimed his legs were blown to smithereens back in WWII, however he had a habit of stamping loudly around the house late at night. Annie claimed it was his peg leg, as she creepily creaked his old wooden chair around in the darkness.
I was glad he moved out and now he was back. I came into the room and there was another wheel chaired bound haunt Annie later introduced as Stephen she pronounced Stefan. He was a wizard Annie claimed with a scientific mind.
“Annie!” I screamed. “Why are these ghosts here?”
Just then from out of no where popped Janey wearing a pair of glasses, asking, if I had indeed saw a ghost. “Yes,” I screamed waving my arm around as if to ward them off.
Then a bell rang as Janey, screamed, “Guys we got one!”
It was then that I noticed the fire pole which Annie, Duh-Wayne, Annie Jr and Grandfather came sliding down. “Are you now menstoooooooooooating,?” Annie screamed at me. As Annie Jr ran some sort of light meter over me.
It then dawned on me. “Annie please you don’t need any more ghosts!”
“It’s not for ghosts,” Annie retorted.
“Then why is he here?” I asked pointing at the new ghost.
“He is here to help me with my time machine so it works better,” Annie explained. “He is a wizard. You get my smarshmallows?”
I nodded. Then, out the door she and her goof troop ran, taking the cases of marshmallows with them. I smelled a campfire, I smelled s’mores and finally decided to go out and partake.
I heard Annie yell, “Here Puffy, here is your sailor cap.”
Then it dawned on me. What was worse than a house full of ghosts; a ninety foot man made of marshmallows, and there he stood in all his glory eating s’mores with Annie and the gang.
Puffy the s’more eating Navy Marshmallow man, now a member of our family until he catches fire or melts.