Every morning I would roll over to get out of bed and my feet would hit the floor,  covered with soft mushy rotted carpet.   We didn’t have a carpet though, it was Annie’s dead saggy skin covered in stinky  fur.   She let it down at night and it covered the entire square footage of our apartment.

The smell was awful  and in several spots maggots were growing.   Prior to her loosing all of her weight, she lost a shopping cart full of food in multiple rolls of skin, so maggots had formed eating the food and then into Annie’s flesh so a fresh swarm of flies flew around her.   She looked a little like a pig pen, all she needed was a fence around her but no one had that much fence.

So until Annie woke up we all had to sink our feet into her yucky fur.  She said she didn’t even feel it because under her fur her skin had grown into a hard callous.   She had shaved a few spots on her stomach cleaning off all the fur so she could see the callous.   She liked putting her maggots on it so they could eat it.   She had a whole website on the internet and a show was in the works to come out on AnnieTV.

Once she woke up, Duh-Wayne would put her skin up into a pony tail and Annie would be able to get around; free of her saggy skin.   I still complained.   I mean she already smelled like the ground she dug herself out of and now there was a ton of extra skin covered in skanky fur and fat  maggots munching on her icky hard scaly epidermis. Even if we weren’t always stepping on it we were smelling it as a matter of fact everything was absorbing the smell.  I started smelling like her and no amount of baths could get rid of the stink because the source smelt worse daily.

“Annie you need to get rid of your extra skin,” I yelled one morning.

Annie was at the table gobbling a serving bowl full of cereal.   “Do you really need all that cereal?” I nagged.

“I’m sharing it,” she replied letting the milk drip off her spoon slowly pouring it onto a herd of maggots hanging near her left thigh.

“Annie,” I screamed, “I am not sure how much more I can take.  Those maggots are going nom nom nom when they eat.   And your skin is oozing and it smells.”

Duh-Wayne ran over with a skin brush and comb and began gathering  up Annie’s skin and making a braid on either side of her head, pulling the rotted maggot infested furry skin tight into big fat long braids.   If it wasn’t so gross it might have been cute, I mean what is cuter than a cat in braids.

“Annie call your doctor and tell him your sag skin needs to go.” I insisted.

“Fine Slam!”  Annie said.

Later that afternoon one more time, a camera crew arrived to tape another hour long episode of the reality of Annie’s life.   It began with Annie talking about her skin and her maggots and how I enabled her and made her life miserable by suggesting she exercise to tighten her skin.

She made arrangements to have her skin removed and told me it would take place the following day.   I rolled out of bed early that morning not sure what time Annie had to be in Houston to have her surgery.   She hadn’t really shared all the details with me.  I put my feet down and thought about how I would never have to feel the icky skin carpet on my feet, again, this was the last time.

I cringed as I put my feet down waiting to feel maggots crawl between my toes.   I waited and all I felt was floor.   I knew Annie was home cause I could hear her snoring loud and obnoxious in her Princess bed.   Perhaps she wore her braids to bed.

Another noise was going on as well, a loud loud buzzing.   I turned the light on and I could see it shining but it seemed to be blurred out by a black fog, then I got it; Annie’s maggots hatched into flies.   I opened the window and started fanning them out.

Annie was in her princess bed screaming, “good bye, good bye, good bye!”

It seemed to take forever to get all the flies out.   But once I did, I turned and screamed, “Annie WHY?”

Then I looked at her.   Her skin wasn’t up in a couple fat braids or a big large pony tail, it was gone along with the maggots.  There was no stinky rotting stretched out skin covered with fur, callous’ and maggots.  Just a pile of bones shaped like a cat.

“Hi Slam,” Skeleton Annie said in the bone clicking voice.

Lately, I had been dealing with all kinds of Annie’s, a dead dug herself out of the ground Annie, a fat Annie that made out floor weak in several spots, then a saggy skinned Annie covered in rotting maggot callous covered fur and now a talking cat skeleton that still smelled horrible because there were pieces of rotting flesh still hanging on to her.   I didn’t know which one was worse, I just wanted my cat back.   The cat I had before she ‘died’.

Why did I have a weird cat, why was this happening to me?   Why couldn’t I have a regular cat that just laid around sunning herself and licking her fur?   Nope, I had to have a talking skeleton cat, who would be in some other form with in the coming days.

“Annie,” I screamed.   “I can’t take this anymore.”

“What Slam?” Annie’s bone clicking voice asked, I knew her eyes were giving me that questioning look even though I couldn’t see them just the boney sockets.   She shook her head and her skin fur braids which were somehow weirdly still attached to her head moved as she shook it, a few left over flies flew out and into the room.

Annie Jr. and Grandfather ran after  them, Grandfather with a fly swatter and Annie Jr. who had wrapped several fly stickers around himself.   I knew it was going to be one of those day.    “Got ’em Grandfather,”  Annie Jr. screamed.   “Good job, son,” Grandfather yelled clapping his hands and yelling, “Yahoo” like a loud yodeler.

“I want my cat back,” I screamed.   “I want my regular Annie back, a furry Annie that doesn’t stink and isn’t all rotted and boney.   I wish you hadn’t died.   I know it was on your bucket list but you did it and I can’t stand it without you. ”   I was sobbing when I stamped out of the room.   I vaguely heard a bone clicking whisper of,  “it’s time.”

I ignored everyone that whole day, I just sort of kept thinking about Annie, Annie as she was, when we first got her and reviewing all of her life and how much I missed that Annie.   The soft little black and white cat that would crawl in my lap sometimes and how her fur smelled and felt when I petted her.   I spent the whole day wishing I had her back.   I didn’t want a bone clacking cat with skin braids.   Who had a cat like that?   Me.   I was such a weirdo.   I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and the first thing I noticed was that boney gross smell was out of the house.   It smelled like someone cleaned, I could smell the grass fed cow manure scent; Annie’s favorite scent for house cleaning.   That had was so much better than the rotted flesh smell we had been smelling.

Annie’s princess bed was empty but it was clean.   The grave slime that had covered it for weeks and weeks was gone.    Annie Jr. was sitting in the corner with Janey, they were reading books, Annie Jr with a pair of blue horned rimmed glasses hooked over his ears.  Grandfather was cooking breakfast and it smelled great.    Everything was peaceful and bright and happy; it was almost eerie and I was frightened.

I poured a cup of coffee, for once it was real coffee and not the sludge Annie was partial to.   We had sugar and my favorite creamer.   We were always missing one of the three.   I sipped it and it tasted wonderful, but I just couldn’t enjoy it because I knew.

I took one more sip.   “We have to go get Annie,” Grandfather announced looking at his cell phone.

“What?” I asked.   I knew then this was it.   The morning was too pleasant and it was about to go downhill in  a handbasket.

“She said bring the cat carrier,” Grandfather said still looking at his phone.

“Oh Jesus,” I said.   I knew it was bad.   “Where is she?”

Grandfather mentioned a little hill billy town outside the city.   What in the world would Annie be doing there and then I remembered, it was Annie.

“She said the sooner the better and she is typing in caps.”

“Oh good god,” I screamed.   What was this all about.   “Get the cat carrier,” I yelled.  “I have to get dressed.”

I zoomed into the bathroom to put my clothes on.   I ran a brush through my hair and scrubbed my teeth, then zoomed out of the bathroom to get my shoes.   I found Grandfather kneeling on the floor trying to tie the cat carrier together.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“The clamps are gone,” he responded.

Sure enough the clamps that went around the box were all gone.   “Well where are they?”

Grandfather shrugged, “I looked for them but I can’t find them.”

“Who would have taken them off?” I asked.   “That isn’t even ours, it’s Curry’s.”

“Annie said we need to hurry,” Grandfather said, putting his phone back in his pocket and grabbing the cat carrier and a bungee cord he was trying to tie it with.

Off we went to the little hill billy town.   Grandfather texted Annie to let her know we were there.   The next thing we knew, an older guy knocking on the window of our car.     “I got ya cat,” he said.

He opened the door to a rusted out old red truck and handed me a plastic milk crate with a dish pan over the top.   In it was a little black and white kitten.   It looked like Annie in the face but had a black beard like Annie Jr and was marked more like Annie Jr.

“That’s not my cat,” I said.

“You answered a ad for a cat right,” he asked.

Then I knew, there wasn’t much I could do.   I mean who would believe my dead cat had set me up to get a free kitten.   ‘I hope you got a crate,” he said.

“Well sort of,” I said.

“She’s scared, she will be a bit wild, make sure she doesn’t bolt out of the car,” this old guy instructed.

I got into our car with the kitten and removed her from the box, and she went crazy.   She bit, she scratched, she jumped around the entire vehicle acting like a flying violent winged rabbit.   She was all over the place and I was covered in blood.   She took a chunk out of one finger.   I finally got her and decided to get her back in the milk crate and she went quite willingly.   Grandfather promised to return the man’s crate and dish pan at a later time.

I sat on the back seat and sighed.   My heart was pounding my hand dripping blood all over the white pants I put on.   “What is wrong with Annie?” I screamed.   “Why would she set us up to get a kitten, especially one that is totally nuts?”

“Hi Slam,” said the cat in the crate.

“Annie?”  I said looking at her.

The cat in the box began to laugh her crazy laugh.    I looked at her.   Granted the eyes were hers but the rest of her looked more like Annie Jr.   “How Annie?” I screamed.

Annie was inside the box laughing her crazy cat laugh.   Then she said, “I made the first test tube cat.   Me and Annie were visiting Slamma Aunt Loosewheel’s back in the past and me and Annie Jr made a test tube kitten.   Then I ate it’s soul and took over the body.   Slamma Aunt Loosewheel’s has been watching it all this time, growing it and stuff.   Then Duh-Wayne  dropped it off to some guys house who would wanna get rid of it.   Then I placed a ad looking for a cat and emailed it to that guy. Now here we are.”

I didn’t buy any of it.   She just somehow turned into a kitten and got her skin back and painted herself so she had more black there was no way she ate a sole or went back through time.    At least she didn’t stink or have maggots on her.

“Why did you scratch me and bit me like that.   My one finger looks infected all ready, it’s red and swollen?” I asked.

“I had to make it look real,” Annie replied.

So life went back to normal, with a non dead Annie, a smaller blacker Annie, but my Annie.   One I could let sit in my lap and one I could pet and snuggle.   It didn’t matter, I had her back and she was far from dead.

I wondered what happened to the bones.   I mean there were two cats.   When I went to work however, some of my co workers had come in to decorate for Halloween.   Dead Annie was on that committee.    Our theme was a coven of witches, I had a witch dress, I had been planning for weeks to wear.   I noticed there was a cat skeleton in a cage.   My heart beat hard.   I knew those sockets.   I stayed away and tried to forget and cuddle my little Annie at home.












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