Annie began a new thing.   Well she began a lot of new things everyday; like protesting, even things she didn’t believe in or had absolutely nothing to do with her.   For example, the time she protested with a bunch of wiener dogs who were demanding the owner of the hot dog factory they worked in provide free samples.   The dogs prevailed by the way, but the owner wound up going bankrupt.

There were other things, like her crocheting, the 24 mile scarf she didn’t know how to end, 17 odd pairs of elephant mittens because she lost some and an afaghan large enough to cover 19 California kings and it weighed 48 pounds.  I hated it when Annie washed it which was daily.   Our washer one time thumped itself to the next block.

These sort of things had been going on almost 16 years, the typical kind of Annie nonsense.   There were some differences though, because sometimes, this little small part of herself was Cara-Lyle, a kitten who Annie claimed to be from the past when my mother was young.  She belonged to my mother and her sister, Aunt Dorky.   Annie said she went back in the past created Cara-Lyle with a test tube using both her and Annie Jr. DNA.   My mother and my aunt raised Cara-Lyle until Annie needed to possess a body.   Which she did; when she died and came back and destroyed her decomposing body, trying to complete her bucket list.

Most of the time Annie, was Annie.   She’d be acting herself, laying around watching tv, eating some sort of gross food she made, something normally made of out the frozen road kill she had stuffed our freezer full of, or having some sort of adventure with Duh-Wayne.    Lately a great deal of their time was spent out on the race track frantically shoveling snow off of it.   They were terrified that it would be there and delay the opening of Duh-Wayne’s brain child; the worlds first Shopping Cart race track.   He called it Nascart.   Opening day was promptly on the first day all the snow melted.

She looked different in this new cat body, especially when she decided to dress up as a furry.   She had a mascot costume that looked exactly how she did before she died, except it was life sized. She loved wearing that because she claimed she could do things she was normally too small to do.   ‘Me and Duh-Wayne can do a do-si-do and Spam and I can wear hair nets and talk about pies.”

One thing she did do was stopped going to the poop factory every day, she was retired she claimed, although she had a brand new kitten body that was good for another 15 or 20 years.   Annie Jr. dressed in a shirt and tie went into the office daily, where he spun around on his chair all day and put his feet on the desk, ordering Spam who was Vice Executive to the cat in the suit, to get him another cat nip smoothie.    He always smelled like a poop factory when he got home at the end of the day.   But he did it faithfully to provider a ‘good life,’ for his kittens since it was so difficult for him; ‘coming up from the old country.’ I had no idea what he was talking about.

She did seem to still like tv and although she always had a fondness for older type tv shows, like Little House and Captain Kangaroo, she began watching even older stuff it that was possible, like Lassie, the Lone Ranger, and The Rifleman.   She also liked political history.   She loved watching documentaries about former Presidents.   That was something Annie normally wouldn’t have liked but she did manage to goof it up.

One day she was watching the current president on TV and said, “He is just like that sticky dick guy.”

“Sticky dick?” I asked so confused. “Who on earth are you talking about?”

“You know President Nitzen?” I looked at her confused.  “You know, I can not tell a lie so I will blow up a apple tree guy?  From when you were a girl; the piece a pizza sign guy.”

“Nixon; tricky dick?” I asked.

“Yes that is what I said, Nitzen Sticky dick.”

But one of the biggest changes in Annie was her shadow chasing.   If you got up and walked around Annie would be following along where ever your shadow was casting and would jump up and try to catch it.   Every surface of our house including our skin was covered with little scratch marks of Annie chasing and trying to catch shadows.   Grandfather made it worse because he like making shadow animals on the wall.

All he could really do was a coo-coo bird, him dangling his fingers around frantically.   I am not sure it was even an animal but that is what Annie called it and screamed all day long, “Do a coo-coo bird, Grandfather, do it!” Then Annie would jump half way up the wall high and higher each time until she was knocking pictures and shelves off the walls every time she would jump.

Honestly it was getting annoying.   Annie’s marble collection got knocked down, and her parrots all got loose when Annie accidently bumped into the bottom of the cage and broke it.   They were flapping all around and pooping all over everything even into the sludge Spam and Duh-Wayne were drinking.   Duh-Wayne said it gave it a cilantro cinnamon flavor.   Spam felt it was more ginger garlic.   They argued for three hours.

I hated her doing it and I could only really blame Grandfather for encouraging her and deliberately trying to get her to jump as high as some thing hanging or dangling above her head, like plants and her collection of model boxes she had hanging and dangling from the ceiling which cast their own shadows making Annie shake her head and run in circles.      Annie had been doing that from the time we got her.

As a matter of fact she claimed the reason she went crazy in the car when Annie called us to come get her was because she was chasing shadows and accidently dug me so badly I needed medical assistance.   It calmed her she said.   It was something she did with my mother, and Aunt Dorky when she lived with them.

“Things were poor back on the farm,” Annie Cara-lyle, began.  “Grandfather Great Great was not sowing enough wild oat and neither were his sons, I loved Unckie Barnyard.   Slamma Aunt Loosewheels and Aunt Dorky had lost their mom to the sneezles or some old timey sickness and they  had hardly any foods to cook.   That is how Annie and Spam learned to make sludge.   Yummy yummy sludge from my Slamma Aunt Loosewheels and Aunt Dorky.   They was making it once for Mickey Mouse and I tried it, then I said, ‘Spam try this,’ and she did and she,”

“Wait, this is you Cara-lyle with my mother and my aunt when they are teenagers right?” I asked.

“Yes,” Annie Cara-Lyle said shaking her head in agreement.

“HA,” I yelled bringing my arm down so fast Annie Cara-Lyle almost missed the opportunity to chase the shadow.   “I caught you”

I did not believe Annie had a time machine.   I mean she had died and now somehow was living in a kitten’s body a kitten that had a personality all her own named Cara-Lyle.   I could not explain it but I highly doubted that Annie had gotten into an old box she had painted not very well attached some dials to and a sign that said time machine, zapped into the past before I was even born and had my mother and my Aunt raise a kitten.   Now I had proof because Spam would not have been there.

“How was Spam there?  Spam would not have known my mother,” I said.

“Spam and Duh-Wayne was both there,” Annie Cara-Lyle said.  “Annie picked up a young Spam and young Duh-Wayne in her time machine and took them back so they was all friends.”

“I don’t believe any of this and what does any of this have to do with you chasing shadows.” I asked.

“Cause they were too poor for toys so they made shadow animals on the wall.   There wasn’t a lot for cats to do back then and we were so poor even mice did not move in, so I had to chase the shadow animals.  The coo coo bird is my favorite though.   But Unckie Barnyard could do a Mooselpant.”

“A what?” I asked.

“A fat moose,” Duh-Wayne answered.

“With a trunk,” added Spam and, “and husks on either side.”

“That’s musks,” Annie Cara-Lyle corrected.

I guess it sort of made sense if I believed in the time machine; but I didn’t   Without a time machine though the whole thing made no sense at all.    “Things got better though, after Duh-Wayne and Spam explained the gold like qualities of poop,” Annie Cara-Lyle continued,  “Now with Annie Jr. going back and forth running both factories and Grandfather Great Great and his sons not needing to sow their wild oats but still making a good living working for Annie Jr. in the factory they bought a tv.”

“Huh,” I said out loud some people expanded internationally but Annie was expanding in multiple time zones.    I began walking out of the room.   My head was spinning.

“Slam you wanna hear more,” Annie Cara-lyle screamed, “Like when Slamma Aunt Loosewheels had to get a job in the poop factory?”

“No,” I yelled already knowing I was going to have nightnares over this.   Knowing  the saga of my mother and her sister Dorky was only beginning.



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