Early one morning, I crept slowly in the bathroom, and sat down on the toilet. It was all quiet, Grandfather was still at work and would not be home for several hours. The Annies had finally settled down. They always did once I woke up.
The running stopped, the jumping on my bed and using me as a spring board jetting themselves off the surgical wound on my stomach stopped, the climbing on top of the headboard staring at me until I opened my eyes and then screaming, “good morning Slam,” before landing on my face stopped; because that is when I normally woke up.
As I sat there, silently giving thanks that the pair of them had not put my hand in a bowl of warm water which they did sometimes, or they hadn’t lured some sort of creepy animal or insect into my ear or nose with some sort of food. Once I caught them trying to lure a rat into my mouth with a hunk of limburger cheese placed on my tongue.
Yes, I sat there feeling thankful. It was a good day when I could start my day without cleaning bleeding claw marks on my face or some sort of animal bites on the inside of my left nostril. Then I heard it, a little squeaky crying voice and a bump sound on the inside of the bathroom cupboard.
Most people would just open the door and take a peek but I was not most people. I had a couple black and white cats named Annie and when that happens normal goes right out the window. The last time this kind of thing happened, there was a buzzard named Dave living in the cupboard. Annie rented it out for six months. Every time I would get a towel, it would be covered in feathers because it was molting season, then he got a girlfriend and I told Annie he had to go.
I slowly pulled the cupboard door open and saw Mary Jane laying there purring quietly. “Are you squeaking?” I asked.
“No,” she replied quietly, with her eyes half closed like she was really tired.
“Did you catch a mouse?” I asked.
“No, Slam.” she replied purring louder.
“What is that squeaking?” I asked.
“My babies.” she replied, and she started purring even louder and licking something near her belly.
“Your babies?” I yelled, opening the cupboard door wide and peering into it. Sure enough there were two babies in the cupboard one was mostly white with orange and black spots scattered all over her. The other was black and white just like the Annies with a little heart shaped black splotch on her nose.
“Where did these kittens come from?” I screamed.
“From me,” Mary Jane replied. “Annie wanted me to be the test tube for her test tube babies. She said she needed grandchildren. So she mixed my dna with Annie Jr. and I was the test tube. Now I have to raise them Annie said.”
I stormed out the bathroom, there was always some sort of nonsense going on at my house. I would have rather had Annie jump off the headboard with her claws out. Now I had seven cats. Seven cats! It was official I was a crazy cat lady; but only because Annie drove me there.
“Annie!” I screamed, as I stomped into the living room. Annie was curled up purring softly in my recliner. Annie Jr. was laying on his back next to her. His back feet were in the air and his front paws were wrapped around Annie’s neck. They always slept that way.
They looked funny. Annie had little short legs since she was still technically a kitten, and a short fat squatty body. Even though she had tiny little ears that stood straight up on the top of her head she looked like a little bunny rabbit. Annie Jr. on the other hand was long and thin. He walked around in a slinky type walk and his ears were big but they did not point upwards, one leaned to the left and one leaned to the right. He looked like a little fox.
So there they were; a black and white bunny sleeping with a black and white fox. My voice woke the pair of them, Annie Jr. jumping and Annie just opening her eyes. “Why are there two kittens in the bathroom cupboard?”
“Kittens?” Annie screamed. “Annie Jr. they came!”
Annie jumped up tossed on a surgical gown she seemed to pull out of nowhere and tossed one to Annie Jr. and the pair of them went into the bathroom. For the next half hour they howled in pure joy, made phone calls, and took selfies with the kittens to post on face book. My phone kept pinging as Annie tagged me in every single picture.
I was fuming. My phone kept signaling me that Annie had either taken another picture or someone had liked it or loved it or left a comment or both. I was surprised that so many of Annie’s face book friends would be awake so early in the morning and I was even more surprised that so many of my friends were liking and commenting. If I posted something I normally got a handful of likes but if Annie tagged me in something even if it was something I had previously posted like every single one of my friends liked it.
She was always tagging me in pro-Donald Trump memes like ‘Don Don he is not a con ‘ or ‘Trumpy Trumpy he is soft and lumpy.’ I am not sure what that even meant or why it was pro Trump. I tried a few times to unfriend Annie or block her but she knows my password even if I change it every ten minutes she somehow figures it out. So I gave up and just stood there fuming waiting for her to get over the joy of her grand kittens.
She finally came out to the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee I had just made. She looked at it and dumped it and the rest of the pot down the sink. I didn’t ask because I knew she felt it was not thick enough. I had recently bought us both brand new coffee makers exactly the same make model and color, I put an A on hers but she claimed she didn’t know her letters so I put her picture on her pot. It still didn’t matter because she filled both pots with sludge every day.
Normally, I would have been complaining about her using both pots and explaining one more time that her coffee maker had her picture on it and a letter A and mine had none of those things. She still never got it. However this morning, I had more important things to discuss with Annastasia Annamarie Albergeti.
Annie poured herself a cup of sludge out of the pot she had made earlier and asked, “Want me to top yours off?” while pouring the sludge into my cup without waiting for me to respond.
“Annastasia!” I demanded. “Why are there kittens in the bathroom? There are way too many cats in this house already, not to mention, your plethora of ghosts, your parrots and owls, your turkey, and Duh-Wayne and Spam here most of the time.”
Just then Duh-Wayne and Spam came from the direction of the bathroom, Spam screaming, “OMG Annie that little Ana looks just like you and Annie Jr!” I don’t even know how they got in. I thought they had left, after their card game with Annie; hours earlier.
Annie screamed, “I know,” as she poured sludge into a cup for both Duh-Wayne and Spam. Duh-Wayne took a huge slurp out of his.
“Annie!” I yelled again. “Why do we have kittens?”
Annie looked at me and rolled her eyes, “Cause Phil wanted a cat.”
I sighed. Annie had been convincing my grand daughter Phil for months that she needed a cat. They were moving to a new bigger house and Annie had been pushing it. She was always over there anyways or Annie Jr. was, so Phil technically did not need a cat. There was a bigger reason.
“If Phil wanted a cat why are there two kittens?” I sighed knowing my frustration with Annie was hitting a top level.
“I figured there was a 50/50 chance of a kitten being ugly because you know Mary Jane is so fugly and a 50/50 chance of one being absolutely perfect and looking like me. If I made two I would get one of each and not leave it up to chance.” Annie explained.
“Annie that doesn’t even make sense you could have wound up having two calico kittens just like Janey or two black and white kittens or even an all orange one. Snoopy is all orange and his is Janey’s real brother.” I explained.
“Really Slam, we didn’t even use Snoop Dogg’s DNA.” Then she shoved the camera in my face and said, “Look at my name sake Ana!”
“Is that what Phil wanted to name her kitten? Ana?” I asked, because Annie had not once mentioned the other kitten.
“No,” Annie said. “She wanted her cat named Jasmine, so that other thing is named Jasmine.”
“I thought you wanted a pretty kitten for Phil?” I demanded knowing I had caught Annie in a lie.
“I did,” Annie said, “But unfortunately there is only one beautiful kitten; my name sake Ana so Phil will have to be happy with ugly Jasmine. She isn’t that ugly but in no way as cute as my Ana.”
I glared at Annie and stuck my finger right in her nose and shook it, “Annie you will let Phil pick which ever kitten she wants. If she picks Ana, she picks Ana. AND, which ever kitten is left, you will try to find it a home and not this home.”
Annie glared back at me and shook her cup of sludge at me, I was covered with it and it smelled like old vomit and stale poop. Duh-Wayne took another big slurp out of his and Spam topped both cups off.
“And I TOLD YOU SLAM, that you ain’t the boss round here. I will be keeping my namesake Ana right here and that ugly splotted thing that looks like MARY JANE can go live with Phil and her Great Aunt Jodie Slamma Jr. Great Great!”
I knew it was senseless to even argue. I was still letting Phil pick the one she wanted and which ever one was left, if a good home presented itself then fine otherwise I would retain my status of crazy cat lady.
Phil did come and Annie handed her Jasmine and yelled, “oh Phil sweetie this one is the cutest and the smartest.” Phil hugged little Jasmine right close to her. Annie pushed Ana behind her with her foot like she didn’t want Phil to see her. “Oh Phil, honey she loves you. Yes little Jasmine loves you.” Jasmine was all cozied up to Phil.
I picked up Ana who was totally hidden behind Annie and held her up to Phil. Ana began crying and she kept it up just a ear piercing squeak so loud. Phil gave her a pat but she was smitten with Jasmine who she renamed Ariel and then Cinderella, before she left so Annie insisted we call her by all three names.
“I will have her all trained for you Phil and Mooom,” she yelled, as my daughter carried Phil down the stairs. The kitten would have to stay with Mary Jane for several more weeks before it could live with Phil and they had not moved into their new home yet.
“Congratulations, Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. great great,” Annie yelled and waved as they went down the stairs.
I was still really angry with Annie, but Phil did seem excited about having her own kitten and little Ana was very cute. It would work itself out and I enjoyed watching their little eyes open and their crawls turning into wobbly walks to hopping and bounding like little rabbits. It was fun watching them grow and learn new things.
Annie claimed it was her training, but she was only training Ana, never Jasmine. Fortunately, Jasmine was attentive to her sister’s lessons and learned how to do all of those things a cat needs to do like, climbing out of the box, and using the litter box and eating tasty cat food grandfather brought several times a day, how to claw Slam’s legs when she came to the bathroom.
It was during one of these ‘classes’ Annie was holding that I over heard her with Ana. “No no Ana, Jasmine is in no way smarter than you and she is not prettier than you. I just told Phil that because I wanted Phil to take Jasmine. You sweetheart,” Annie cooed and I peeped around the door to see Annie stroking Ana’s fur, “would not like living with Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great.”
Annie sighed and shook her head and made herself get comfortable, I knew she was going to start one of her stories, I kept quiet still peeping around the corner, thinking I might need popcorn because this was going to be good.
“Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great, hates cats. She only likes dogs, except in my case she loved me way more than Moose over there,” Annie nodded her head at Moo, one time Phil mistakenly called the dog Moose and instead of correcting the mistake Annie changed the dogs name and only referred to her as Moose. Moo didn’t care she came to any old name you called anyway.
“Jasmine will get old stale food from the Penny Store some weird gross flavor like cardboard garlic sugar,” Annie continued. “She will not have nice clay litter like grandfather gets, she will be peeing rock salt and she won’t have a fancy plastic box to poop in, she will have to crawl in a sandwich bag. She will have to sleep out on a cold icy wet porch with nary a blanket. Plus there is this Brussel Sprout guy and he drives a truck full of farts every day. That is his job. And your sister will really be a Cinderella because she will be cleaning and cooking and taking care of Phil and Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great and the dog; the dog will get everything. Cell phone, his own room with bunk beds, his own dog park. Granny Annie doesn’t want that happening to you sweetie.” Annie patted Ana on the head.
Somehow that seemed to make everything okay. Jasmine Ariel Cinderella was happy to go with Phil and Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great and Ana was happy to stay and be spoiled by her Granny Annie. Annie did buy a gift card to give her mother when Jasmine Ariel Cinderella went to live with her. She knew if her mother bought Phil’s new kitten anything she would look like she was lying so with a few dollars on a gift card she saved face.
Now I had three Annie’s. There would not be any more though cause I threw all the test tubes away. But I accepted my crazy cat lady status proudly with two Annie’s curled in my lap purring and a spot reserved for Ana when she got big enough.