Moving with Annie

Moving is one of the worst things in the world.   Slowly your life becomes uprooted. Everything spare moment you are packing all those things you are not currently using;   Sometimes you pack up things and then dig through box after box looking for something you happen to need.   On the upside, you can get rid of all those plastic lids that fit nothing.

It never ends either because, weeks are spent unpacking all that stuff you packed.   It always happens too that the stuff you really need is hiding amongst the other boxes.   You can always find the Christmas decorations in July or that box of old cups collected over the years from various fast food restaurants that you hope to one day sell for  a pretty penny,  (half the country has the same collection and the same hope) but you can not find the coffee filters, or the coffee or the coffee maker.

I was lucky though, Annie found the coffee supplies, (she could not live without her sludge) before we went to bed our first night in our new place.   To bed; among the boxes, bags, suitcases, crates, and storage containers that held all of our belongings.    Lucky, because Annie said I was.

She  also claimed I was lucky because of all the help I had moving.   True, Duh-Wayne and Spam, plus a handful of Annie’s friends helped move one load of Annie’s stuff in exchange for a costly pizza party, 14 of which Annie ate and she didn’t help a bit; well she said she supervised.

Grandfather and I moved almost everything ourselves.   He claimed we could not afford a moving van so we wound up moving the majority of our things in our car making several trips.   It was really more than several.  We probably spent more in gas than we would have if we had rented a whole fleet of moving vans which is really what we needed.

We (grandfather and I) could have fit our personal stuff into one small van.   It was all of Annie’s stuff.   She had to have it all, her sugar shack, her wild life sanctuary ( try squeezing an elephant in the back of an SUV) her farm!!!   That was the thing.   She already had a farm with more animals than she could count.   True Annie could only count to about 5 and then she just made up numbers like erty-ten or skatey elebeteenager.  But I am just saying.

I’m a nice person, but this time I was really annoyed.  Annie could have moved all of it with her teleporter.   She popped back and forth all day every day for stuff.   She would see a nail in the new apartment that she had to hammer in or yank out along with half the wall.   She would teleport to our old place and get the hammer.   Or she would want a drink and pop home for a cup or a plate or toilet paper or her and Duh-Wayne’s hover boards.   Instead of leaving whatever it was there at the new place because eventually it would live there with us.   Annie would teleport it back when they were done.

I counted on Annie letting me use the teleporter.   Before I even knew we were moving, I took a weeks vacation.   Everyone said it was lucky I did; because I desperately needed to clean the mess Annie and Duh-Wayne had made.

Lucky sure, but every time I took a vacation something happened to screw it up.   I guess I could consider it lucky so I could spend time cleaning up old pizza boxes and confetti, but I really had wanted to just do nothing.   Annie chose to move.

Since Grandfather was working and our new place was in a totally different town, I had counted on Annie to let me use her teleporter to go to the new place to clean.   Figure it was broken.   I got to go a couple times, one day Annie let me use her motorized shopping cart but it ran out of gas and I would up pushing it and dragging a wagon load of our belongings behind me for 18 miles.   Another time, Grandfather took me.

I was able to get rid of all the junk Annie left laying around, a ton of cardboard boxes, and fast food containers, sand  from when she and Duh-Wayne played ‘beach’ , all the brown greasy cob webs Annie strung around the entire apartment to give it an eerie feel and shooed out all the flies Annie was ‘cultivating’.

Always something happened, that I was never able to get there as often as I needed, and all of the painting and cleaning I had planned on doing never got done.   So we wound up moving in with one room half painted and spent an extra week moving the final items from our old place.    Once I got moved in though, Annie happily moved all the rest of her stuff with her teleporter.   She even moved a few of our things, but I told her she didn’t have to after she dropped a box full of plates and a box full of bowls from a ladder at my feet and screamed, “Don’t say I never did nothing for ya, Slam.”

I like an organized move.   Annie on the other hand has no organizational skills at all.   This apartment was so much bigger than our old one so I figured it would balance out.   We had a spare room I was going to set up for K8 and Phil to sleep in when they came to visit so I figured I could put all the boxes in there, so we had room to move the furniture in.

More and more of Annie’s stuff kept showing up though and soon I was barely able to move at all.   Annie’s drum set was right next to the mattress I had on the floor.   I couldn’t set my bed up because Annie’s collection of antique type writer covers was sitting on top of it.  She couldn’t put that away because she wanted to display it and needed paint for the old plastic bread box she wanted to recycle into a typewriter cover display case.

The landlord old Hank had buried every bit of furniture  his tenants had left behind for the past 58 years.  Annie and Duh-Wayne were digging it all up.   “We need stuff to fill this place up,” Annie screamed at me dragging an old green,  wet dirt caked bug infested recliner with broken springs  up the stairs.   She was turning it into a telephone stand an item no one even used any more.   She wanted to put it in the parlor.    I am not sure which room that even was.

For some odd reason she was using old time terms, like parlor.   So was Duh-Wayne.  He asked Annie if we needed a daven port which Annie said she couldn’t turn down.   The ‘daven port’ was one of those 80’s couches with the weird old mill stream printed velour. Annie loved that!   She once bought a hundred yards of it at a lawn sale, and made Grandfather a three piece suit out of it, complete with a hat that she stuck a pelican feather in.

Spam kept asking me if I needed the fire stroked.   I had no idea what she was talking about.   I just knew something weird was going on.   I just sort of felt something was in the air.

Our second night in the new place I told Annie and the rest of the gang that everyone would be putting their own stuff away the next day,  The Nascart Museum was coming out of the bathroom, the sheep and flock of geese were going to the barn yard and I had no idea why Spam was keeping her canned meat memorabilia at our place.   She loved a slice of Pam cooked in her favorite oil named after her Spam but the butter flavor kind.

When I awoke,  the next morning, the front door was open.   Annie, Snoopy and Annie Jr. were all gone.   I ran out the door looking for them wondering where they were.    It was 3:22 am.   Annie set my alarm to go off at weird hours, that is why I was up so early.

I located the boys in the basement and they said Annie was missing.   Fat chance, she just did not want to put her stuff away.   I didn’t give it another thought until Curry called asking if I had seen Spam and Duh-Wayne.  I hadn’t but Snoopy and Annie Jr.  said  they had disappeared along with Annie.   But hadn’t told me because I hadn’t asked.

I wasn’t really worried, not at first but when all the stuff was put away and none of them returned even when I went in the basement, the last place they were seen and shook the cat food box none of them came.   I then worried.

“Were could my lil Annie be.” I thought to myself as I starred out the window.

 

 

 

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Annie picks a house

Over the years, almost every single time we made a move it was Annie’s doing. I grew up in the same house for the first 18 years of my life and I really liked letting my roots take hold. I really hated moving.

Annie on the other hand just loved the adventure of having a new space. She loved, weeks before the move rooting through closets and cupboards seldom used; finding things that had been put away and now could be useful or things that should have been tossed out last move. Annie never threw anything away though. At least it seemed as if she never threw anything away.

The current move was no exception. Like I said, Annie has been behind every single move I have made since she came into my life 16 years ago. The first one happened just a few months after I got Annie. She ran away two weeks before we had to move and returned the night before we moved out. I thought she was gone for good but I was mistaken and later found out she was making plans.

That move was a sudden and unexpected. Long story short our house was being sold and turned into a parking lot. We did not even get a full 30 day notice on that one. Rentals were scarce but the real estate agent had an apartment for rent.
Because my time was running short, I had no chance to be choosy, and with misgivings put my money down on an upper apartment located in a big old house which probably was a farm house once upon a time. It was huge and sprawling; four apartments in the main house and two additional ones in the part of the house that seemed to be added on. With the little stream running along side it next to what may have been a barn, it looked really out of place with a grocery store to the left, a furniture place on the right and directly across the street, burgers sold by a King; a creepy looking King who has changed over the years.

None of that even bothered me though. It was the fact that, Annie rarely picked an apartment where I could just pack my stuff and move from one place to another. There was only a couple places that I moved to where I was able to just move in without having to clean, paint and disinfect the place I was moving into. Annie loved picking the most horrible run down beat up places that took me almost a month to clean, fix up and repair before moving in.

Annie said she did this to save me from having to pay a security, but most of the time I think it would have been easier to just pay the security. Sometimes though I paid the security and still had to clean.
That first apartment set the bar of my future homes and Annie tried to raise it each time. The real estate agent said I could move in on a certain date but at the last minute it was delayed. The current tenants were moving downstairs but had not moved yet because the downstairs tenants had not moved out, and I already have everything switched in my name. I pointed out repairs that were needed, cleaning and painting. We wound up having to help pack and move the current tenants downstairs and the only thing that got done was painting, around all their pictures, and knick-knacks on the shelves in the kitchen. There was even the outline of a can of shaving cream above the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. There was feces on the floor and a legit black stripe around the tub. I had to take it, I’d paid and I had no other place to go.
It was horrible there, the guy next door, looked like a blonde Charlie Manson with two creepy kids. He never changed his cat litter just added more, Annie used to go visit she called his litter box, Mt. Poopulous. Apparently he is quite rich now because Annie bought the whole thing for her poop factory. She said they are still making high quality diamonds out of it.

The whole place smelled like poop and rotten burned chicken. We could see into the neighbors bathroom because of the hole by the tub and their smells rose into ours. Plus, it was always like 190 degrees. Heat was included with the rent and the downstairs tenants kept it hot. We had our windows open 24/7 in the middle of winter. We stayed just four months and I found a good place.
Annie liked it there though it was where Nobert was born. Plus she was busy then, making plans for her poop factory. After that, it was all down hill. The place that had a wood stove, so I smelled like bacon daily, the place we took 18 bags of garbage out of and had swear words and odd pictures painted on the floor, then the filthy haunted house above a garage-

That was another thing was Annie liked; spooky houses. Former occupants who still resided in a place in transparent form was always a plus for Annie. Haunts, filth and stench were Annie’s three favorite must haves. Our current residents fit that bill, two apartments actually , one in the front and one in the back; the apartment that faced the front had a lovely patriotic kitchen painted red white and blue but sometime in the seventies and the only reason we moved in the back was because, it was bigger.
I can actually hear Annie’s voice coming out of the landlord’s mouth when he was trying to sell me on it, “Picture the possibilities!” He said as he spread his arms wide each hand touching the wall one either side. I should have known better than to trust a guy wearing cut off work pants really short and knee socks with moccasins but this was a situation where I had to move.

I had a nice place on the East side, one of the few places I picked. The haunted house above the garage had issues with the electric. Otherwise we probably would have lived there forever. So because I picked it was a nice place, I loved it a lot. Annie didn’t, she had an issue with a squirrel who climbed our fire escape and that was the end of that. Annie paid the dog to bark all day, forcing us to have to move here a place where a barking dog wouldn’t matter but because Jewel had an animal shelter started downstairs and 6 dogs doing the twilight bark even when it wasn’t twilight. Annie liked the area, and since her poop factory was around the corner she could easily transport the millions of pounds of poop produced by those dogs on a yearly basis.

The current move was not just by Annie’s choice because I learned after Annie gave notice we were moving, that the building was being sold. Annie may have already known that was going to happen because she records everyone and everything.
The new place was right on board with Annie’s must haves. The fridge full of food unplugged, with temperatures starting to rise was the best part, Annie said because she could now complete her collection of air fresheners called ‘Household stench’, and she took samples for her fungi collection, 7000 petri dishes growing spores Annie said would be on display.

There was also a huge swarm of flies that seemed to darken the place. It was farm country so the flies tend to be bigger. Annie said it is because they get good eats out there in the field when the manure spreader is going. Annie nixed anyone hanging fly stickers though.

‘Them are mine,” Annie cried, pointing at the swarm of buzzing flies. “Hey Floyd!” Annie screamed and waved.

“Annie no one keeps bugs as pets,” I said.

“Aunt Tammy-Roar does, she has bees.”

“They aren’t pets, Annie,” I explained. “Bees are useful they make honey.”

“Slam,” Annie began, I could already tell she was going to educate me on some sort of scientific fact because she put her glasses on the end of her nose and her mortar board on her head. “Flies are useful, they buzz, they block out the evil sun when their swarm is big enough AND they eat all that food we don’t want to eat.” She glared at me then shrugged her gown covered shoulders.

Plus Annie and Duh-Wayne had been hanging out there while we moved things. They had a small picnic, which brought in ants that Annie needed. They filled squirt guns with manure and squirted each other with them inside the apartment, because they wouldn’t be able to do it once my stuff got there because I wouldn’t allow it (Annie said in a sarcastic voice), Annie had the chickens and the goats in for a sleep over and Duh-Wayne brought chickens too and a mule he had rented for the weekend. The mule’s name was Ralph and he smoked a cigar and wore a straw hat. He and Coral exchanged numbers. Plus Annie had read some story on the internet about some cows getting into a brand new house and hanging out for a few days. Guess who tried it? Thankfully she asked Unkie Rov first and he agreed to only two; baby ones.

Annie had been bragging for weeks that she out did herself on this one. She did; so cleaning and painting had to be done. I am not even sure how much of it was left by the previous tenants and how much was Annie’s. There were pizza boxes and fast food wrappers and moose made bottles, haystacks, and fort made out of old blankets.

“See no security, Slam. ” Annie yelled as she spread her arms out wide.

“Annie there is no way this place could get any worse.”

It was bigger, but I would have to work from home and never get away from Annie. Annie smiled every time I mentioned that. I was terrified by the whole adventure.

“Closer to Duh-Wayne, Slam,” Annie said nudging me with her elbow. “And dear Curry and the girls. Oh and Chuckles of course.”

Duh-Wayne and Spam were at our house all the time, although Spam had been busy packing things up at the poop factory.

Yes we had to move that too. Annie claimed she liked to get up in the morning and inhaling the scent of her poop factory. There were several defunct old factories in the area that Spam had been dusting and cementing back together for Annie to transfer her poop factory to. Duh-Wayne was filling tankers with poop.

In addition to all of that, we had to move all of Annie’s back yard things, like the junk yard, the Nascart, the bowling alley, the sugar shack, the golf course just acres and acres of Annie’s “If I don’t get this, don’t tempt me, Slam.” There was no way we could teleport it, according to Annie. Getting a moving van or a moving company or a fleet of semis, was a dumb idea, we could just move everything in the car. Grandfather and Duh-Wayne agreed. Why did I have this family?

I just couldn’t wait to start this move.

The Misfit Farm

I woke up to a heavy weight on my face.   My mouth was full of fur and there was a horrible stench.   I had to date never smelt anything that bad before and living with Annie, I have had my share of stenchy samplings.   I opened my eyes and looked directly into Annie’s eyes.   She was sitting right on my face; staring into my eyes.

“Finally!” She screamed.   “Were you gonna sleep all day?”

I had just fallen asleep.   Annie had been practicing her accordion.  The Cara-Lyle part of Annie loved the Lawrence Welk show.   She had watched every single episode even the black and white ones.   Annie love Myron and his accordion.

She bought an accordion  and a wig so she could look just like him and danced around the room squeezing it,  screaming at the top of her lungs, “Slammie’s got a sleeze box, Annie never sleeps at night.”

“It’s squeeze box, Annie.” I told her.

“What’s a squeeze box,” Annie asked pulling her accordion way out then slamming it back together.

“It’s cheese box,” Little Ana screamed, riding her tricycle into the room on two wheels.  “Where’s my cheese?”  Little Ana was always hungry.

I closed my eyes a little and then, I smelled that stench again.   “Slam!” Annie screamed, I could feel her waving her arms around.   “Wake up! It’s time!”

“Time for what, Annie?” I cried.  “What’s that stench?”

“This?”  Annie asked, holding up a drippy bag, and taking a deep sniff.  She looked at me confused.

“Yes, ” I roared as she waved the bag close to my face.  “What is that?’

“A bag of road kill, and Burt the crow from across the street, he died of sepsis a few weeks back.” Annie said.

“Why do you have dead animals in a bag Annie?” I shrieked.

“For Auntie Tammy-Roar.”  Annie said excitedly.  “And I got a cart load of bald eagles that died from wind mill cancer.” She pointed at a cart in the corner that was piled high with dead decomposing birds of all kind each with the feathers removed from their heads. Flies were swarming all around it and the buzz sounded like a crazy lawn mover.

“Annie those are not even eagles and there is no such a thing as wind mill cancer.” I said waving the flies away.

“There is Slam!  Don said so.   And he KNOWS!   A stable genius always does!”

I shook my head.     “Aunt Tammy-roar doesn’t want these anyways,” I screamed waving the flies again.

“Yes she does!”  Annie insisted.   “Dried dead animal’s sell on ebay.   I sold my skeleton from my first body for a hundred grand.”

“Annie who would buy your old bones?” I snapped, still waving flies away and trying to hold my breath to keep from smelling the stench.

Duh-Wayne wandered in petting a pile of bones.   “Well worth it, too,” he said, then continued, “We are ready to go.”

“Where?”  I asked again finally sitting up trying to rid myself of the flies still buzzing around me and the stench.

“The farm!” Annie said, like I was a total moron.

:What farm?” I shrieked, she was always doing this.   I never knew what she was even talking about.

“The Misfit Farm, Unckie Rov’s place,”  Annie continued.

It wasn’t really even a farm, but Unckie Rov, Aunt Tammy-Roar and Morganna along with Coral who used to live downstairs from us and now lived with Unkie Rov were trying to make it a farm.

They got chickens, one was named Gail, she didn’t have any feathers on her neck.   Annie claimed it was a fashion style for chickens and Gail was top of the line.   She and Annie were besties.   And there was Baronness Von Cluckenstein aka Helen broken beak, she was what Annie considered a very stable genius.

I told Annie not to get attached because those chickens were meat chickens and at some point they would become a nice chicken stew or a fajita or fried in a crispy finger lick’en good coating with 11 herbs and spices.   Annie didn’t care because she said she new how to put their souls into a new chickens in the spring and they would dine on their own home made chicken hot dogs.   Annie claimed it was a win win, because old chicken beaks went for high dollars.

Unkie Rov and Tammy-roar got goats too.   They were dairy goats so Annie could get attached to all of them.   Annie spent hours playing with them and riding them and hooking them up to a cart.   She taught them how to get their heads stuck in the gate, and how to baaa baaa baaa all the time.

Coral worked on tractors and planted seeds to grow all kinds of vegetables.    Annie helped with that too.   She loved chugging around on tractors, and log skidders and back hoes.

Their landlord Old Hank, Hayseed Hank owned the place, miles and miles of acres as far as the eye could see which was all the way  to the railroad tracks.    Coral claimed those tracks  carried coal from Californ-I-A to the outer banks of Maine.   Coral knew all the history of the area.   He was a walking history book.

Old Hayseed owned all the houses in the area and no one had worked the old farm in years.   The tenants were all putting forth effort and labor to make a go of the old place now dubbed the Misfit Farm.

Even Morganna helped; she had a friend name Hay-Den.   Not that having him really helped any but his name was kind of farmy and he liked having tractor races with Morganna.   Morganna prefered the back hoe though and the pair of them drive their ‘cool rides’ into town for chocolate milk.

Annie loved loved being on the farm.   She and Duh-Wayne had been hanging out there an awful lot lately.    The Misfit Farm was all they talked about.   Like how Auntie Tammy-Roar had to attach a spatula to Chatterbox’s horns cause she kept getting her head stuck through the slats of the fence.

I had agreed to go out to the Misfit Farm with Annie and Duh-Wayne she had been talking about it for a week and I knew she was excited about it.   But I really wasn’t expecting to leave minutes after midnight.

“Annie Unkie Rov and Aunt Tammy Roar are not even awake yet.” I sighed, pushed Annie off my face and rolled over.   “Get those dead birds outta here too.   They smell.  I am going back to sleep.”

“Slam!” Annie screamed shaking me and waving her corpse bag around.   “Wake up!  By the we get there they will be up!”

“Annie stop!” I begged.   “If we teleport around nine.”

“My teleporter is at Uncle Rov’s, Hip Hop needed it.   We are taking tractors.   We will be there just in time for breakfast.”

“Oh for goodness sakes!” I screamed, there was no arguing with Annie.   If she wanted to leave at 12:15 am and take off on tractors down a highway to her Unkie Rov’s farm with a  bag and cart full of dead birds that is what we were going to do.   I got up and followed Annie, Duh-Wayne and Spam down the stairs.

There were two tractors with hay wagons filled to the top with stuff from the back yard; the Nascart Sign, the sugar shack, Waleed Fazili, the golf carts, the little house on the prairie and the calliope.

“You are riding with me,” Annie patted the spot over the tire.   Annie turned the key and her old tractor roared to life and smoke puffed out of the smoke stack as the tractor chugged.   “I figured we might as well move some stuff, since we were going anyways.”  She said.

“Why are you taking all of this?” I asked confused, noticing Asa the lawn mower ghost driving up behind us on his lawn mower with six wagons behind it towing his hoard.  Yes Asa was a hoarder but so was Annie so it didn’t matter.

“You want us to leave it here for the landlord?” Annie asked looking at me like I was stupid.   “Feel free to leave your stuff but I am not.”

“Annie what are you talking about?” I screamed.

“Surprise!!!!” She yelled.   She threw a handful of dead bugs in the air, apparently they sold for ‘good money’ too and doubled as confetti.   “We are moving!”

“We are NOT,” I yelled back.   Why did she just do these things without asking?   I used to have a really super apartment on the east side and Annie got into a beef with a rival gang forcing us to move to the apartment I was currently in on the west side.

Annie picked it cause she felt the landlord was cool.   He wasn’t but he totally fit with Annie’s weird lifestyle and didn’t seem to mind at all that Annie filled the back yard with all of her projects and things.     Lately Annie had grown not so fond of him, often hiding when he came and Ana had complained that he got her head all wet when he came to get the rent because he kept kissing her head with his entire mouth Ana said and his breath smelled.   But that wasn’t  a new thing Annie had an air freshener called

“We have to,” Annie said.   “I gave the rent money to our new landlord.”

“You didn’t?” I screamed.

“We are living above Unckie Rov!’ Annie screamed, jumping up and down in the tractor seat.   “Life was getting a little stale anyways.   Think of all the new stories you can write!”

Life with Annie on the Misfit farm. Here we go.

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Nascart

Annie was standing on the kitchen table scooping sugar out of the sugar canister all over the table.   Duh-Wayne was catching the sugar into a sandwich bag.   The sugar was bouncing from Annie’s paws to the table then off to various sections of the kitchen,  and onto  Duh-Wayne’s red MAGA hat with the grease stain over the America part; grease  from the oil of a 47 Buick Estate Wagon.  Later it would be deposited in the bathroom when Duh-Wayne grabbed at tooth brush at 4 pm and brushed his incisors but only the top left and bottom right and only every other Thursday and Monday, .

“Annie!” I  screamed!  “What are you doing?”

“Getting a scoop,” Annie screamed zooming past me and pushing the Annie scooping sugar out with her paws out of the way.   The Annie I was yelling at.

The Annie who answered flew by with the cat litter scoop and dug into the sugar and attempted to scoop and pour into Duh-Wayne’s bag,   It went all over and two cat litter covered turds were in the sugar canister.

The Annie who was digging in the canister with the cat litter scoop and making more of a mess than the Annie digging with her paws was actually Ana, Annie Jr.’s daughter.   Jasmine had went to live with Great Aunt Jodie Slamma Jr. Great Great and Phil and Brussel Sprout and a grey dog named Roscoe who didn’t act like a dog at all.   Every time I visited he would jump from out of no where and practically knock me over trying to get his arm around my neck and yelling, “Hi Slam.”  He had a Russian accent.   Unfortunately, he only stayed for a while.   He said Great Aunt Jodie Slamma Jr. Great Great’s house had no excitement and moved back to the shelter.

Ana and Annie looked very much alike except in the face and the fact they were almost exactly the same size made it difficult to tell them apart.   I worried a little bit about Annie being so tiny in her new body, but Annie suggested that she had the body of a dwarf cat.   She claimed on purpose to be like Aunt Dorky because she was really short.

“Stop throwing sugar,” I screamed.  “What on earth is going on?”

“Bag’s full,” Duh-Wayne yelled from down on the floor and out the door all three of them ran.

I heard the sound of power tools and did not have to ask any further.   They were working on their Nascart.   Well several Nascarts.   They each had to have their own and in between working on their own carts they were selling their left overs ones , left and right.

Spurred by their visits to the shopping cart museum everyone wanted a Nascart.   A Nascart to drive, ride or apparently fly I had no idea what that was about.   A Nascart to bet on.   A Nascart to put your name or label on.   Sometimes more than one.

Even grandfather spent  four dollars on a cart.   He bought one early on before Nascart was even thought of.   He bought one to take groceries to the house, since he had to park in the street because Annie had the driveway full of her carts.   He turned his cart into one with a big ‘fro and a label that said, “Mail Bikes.”

“Get it,” he asked, his eager face showing.

“No, I don’t,” I answered.

His face fell.   “Annie said you would.”

I got Annie’s cart.   It was a huge pile of crap.   Crap that flew off in every direction when it moved and made everything dark with the swarm of flies on top.    Annie levitated with her hands firmly on the handles and moving forward by raising her legs up and down like she were swimming in air.

Duh-Wayne and his family made theirs into Mario carts.   Duh-Wayne wanted to be both Mario and the King and made his cart like both.   They could all grow wings by eating a handful of grapes.  The talon feet which grew at the same rate as the wings allowed them to pick up their cart and fly over everyone else.   It didn’t last long but if there was a seed in one of the grapes it lasted double.

Elm Tree carved her cart out of a maple tree, using only a butter knife.   Her cart blared old Joan Jett songs from the 80’s as it rolled and Elm Tree wore her hat backwards.

Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great even got into it.  She and Brussel Sprout had their own carts.   The did not do anything to make their carts special.   They just ran pushing their carts and jumped on them.  They both wore flip flops causing them to slip every time.  This caused their cart to fly forward by its self while the drivers slide behind it on their rear ends.   They would then get up and run after the cart and do it again.   They were leading the pack most of the time.

The whole thing was like a weird Nascar race combined with Mario cart and the Wacky racers.  There were no winners, there were no losers.  There were no trophies.   Water cost eight dollars a bottle, Moose Made sixteen.

Everyone was selling something. Spam ran a concession stand selling Annie’s road kill specialties.  Elm Tree sold her coffee table book, ‘Carts through the ages.’  Annie sold her creations of recycled clothes, a skirt made out of used underwear, a vest with miss matched socks sewn on to make sleeves, a face mask made out of an athletic supporter (she sold 14 of them).    Duh-Wayne charged people a nickel to use the row of outhouses and he also  was serving security.  He was seen escorting out some man who was screaming, “I was just sitting there all broken hearted, I paid a nickel and only farted.”

It was an exciting day at Nascart.   At least that was what man yelling into a loud speaker that could be hear for 10 miles and for some reason we could also hear every racer going vrrroooom vvroooom with their mouths when that same man said start your engines.

It was Duh-Wayne’s brain child, a thing he could check off his bucket list, it was NASCART.   Duh-Wayne’s fame.   All these people enjoying his dream.   He smiled a famous smile because he did it.   He was the famous Duh-Wayne!  Face of Nascart.

 

 

Shopping Cart Museum

I prayed and prayed it wouldn’t happen but Annie had a machine that directed my prayers out in space so no one actually heard them, well anyone that counted anyway. Annie listened to them and most of the time shared them on her youtube channel and made meme’s out of them with a photoshopped photo of me. ‘Praying Slam,’ she called it.
I don’t even know why I prayed because once Annie heard my prayers, and no place was private as Annie had long ago acquired the ability to capture my words, movements and even my thoughts, Annie would make the opposite happen. It was bound to happen anyway, Annie and Duh-Wayne had been planning it for a month or six of Sundays and now with Elm Tree hanging out and becoming a part of the menagerie that hung in my back yard on a daily basis, there was no way it couldn’t have happened.
Nascart! It was all Duh-Wayne had talked about. His brain child that would make him famous. Fame, that was Duh-Wayne’s desired. He wanted his face plastered all over the internet and his name in lights. He could see it on Broadway, “Famous Duh-Wayne; the musical.” He polished his ballet slippers daily. He always knew it would happen and he was on the cusp of it with Nascart; and if that didn’t work he had the Shopping Cart Museum.
The shopping cart museum was a project Duh-Wayne and Annie began and never thought they would see the completion of. They built the building and Annie hung a piece of paper on the wall that explained the history of the shopping cart. Annie wrote the top half in her big backwards letters most of it misspelled and illegible and Duh-Wayne wrote the bottom half in tiny letters saving a spot for his drawing of a 12th century shopping cart.
Duh-Wayne had already acquired a bunch of shopping carts, that is how Nascart started, ‘What to do with 150 partly banged up shopping carts!” There had recently been a surge in the sale of shopping carts in the Annie and Duh-Wayne junk yard in the back yard; because of Nascart.
The original plan was to sell the shopping carts off because Duh-Wayne was always getting these deals but in bulk, like when he got a deal on 19 bolts of green and black plaid. 18 bolts of it still covered every piece of furniture in my house and part of a wall. I was charged for 18 bolts plus labor from Annie and Duh-Wayne’s business called ‘Up Up upholstery chumps. That whole transaction was accomplished during one of my morning walks; one half hour and Grandfather slept through it even when Annie cut the bed in half with a chain saw to make room for Duh-Wayne’s dog sled. That is what she said.
The shopping carts didn’t sell, though they just took up space in the back yard. What made it worse was Duh-Wayne was so hyped on selling them he bought several more racks of shopping carts. They did get rid of a few, trading them off to some homeless person. It was one of these transactions that lead to the idea of a museum. One guy wanted to trade his odd looking yellow cart for a more normal looking one. Annie took one look at his yellow cart with a googled eyed face and she fell in love. She had to had that cart. She definitely traded one cart for the yellow one and let him fill his cart with items from the junk yard and offered him a place to park his cart at night in her park with benches and tents. The museum idea emerged because both Duh-Wayne and Annie had a passion for shopping carts; they loved them ever since the first time they ran one into someone’s heels or over someone toes.
So after they got the yellow cart with the face on it they built the museum and put the yellow cart on display next to the piece of paper Annie tacked to the wall. Then she and Duh-Wayne got several different carts from different stores and placed them in various spots around the museum with a piece of paper, written in Annie’s handwriting on top and Duh-Wayne’s on the bottom, describing said cart. Annie never even bothered looking any of her information up, she just made it up as she went along. Duh-Wayne drew his 12th century shopping cart on every one. They had five altogether and they were lucky to have them.
Then Elm Tree came into their lives. I love how I have friends and somehow some way they are introduced to Annie and pfffttt Annie has a new friend. I mean look at Curry and Duh-Wayne; Curry’s dad, grandfather to the famous Abe and Bryan. All of them now friend’s with Annie.
Elm Tree had a passion for shopping carts too. It came from the old days, down on the Island, the long one when Elm Tree was a young girl. Elm Tree was the best shopping cart slider in her hood. There was no one back in the day who could handle a cart like Elm Tree. It was her passion. She lived, ate, breathed and talked shopping carts.
Want to know how many bags of sugar fits in a cart, she knew. Want to know when the first shopping cart with four wheels was invented; she knew. Want to know what kind of material a certain cart was made out of she knew. She also knew the history of the store behind each cart. Which cause plenty of debates between Elm Tree and Annie, because Annie who made up facts screamed fake news at Elm Tree all day long.
Elm Tree took it in stride like she did everything. Like when she came over and Annie was rocking on a rocking horse in a pair of short shorts and no shirt. But the best part about Elm Tree was that she had a storage shed full of shopping carts just looking for a home in a museum.
Elm Tree also had the great idea of taking some of the extra carts and using them to make a ride through the museum where people could ride through it on a cart while listening to Elm Tree rap the history of shopping carts through a microphone. Grandfather and Duh-Wayne rapped in ‘Nas-cart Nas-cart’ and Annie screamed, “do the Nas-cart Strut Do the shopping cart do the shopping cart.” And they were all clapping. They all wore dreds except for Elm Tree cause her hair was ‘fly’ already.
I was forced to record it several times because they wanted a bunch of out takes so they could make a video of it. The video was to be displayed on the wall so people could watch it while they rode around in the carts.
It was a huge hit. People came from near and far just to visit the museum and to buy a cart from Duh-Wayne and Annie’s junk yard and prepare themselves for a greatest thing since sliced pizza, “Nas-cart!’
The only thing left to do was build their carts and start their engines. The race was about to begin.

Two Birthdays One Cat

Annie sat at the table scribbling on a piece of paper.   She had an entire box of 988 crayons covering every inch of the table and several chairs.    “Where’s the blue, I can’t find an yellow.” she would scream occasionally.   Lately she was mixing up the use of an and a….you know an before a vowel or as Annie now said ‘an vowel.’ I was tired of correcting her.   Sometimes she would do things for a period of time, a couple years at least and then forget about it.   I was letting it go; for now.

“An slice of paper.  Give me an slice of paper.”   Annie cried, looking up from the piece  of paper she had set aside.

“Annie,  it’s a piece of paper.” I corrected.

“No.  Uncle Rov said slice.”

“Only about pizza.” I replied.

Annie rolled her eyes at me and held her paw out and hissed sarcastically,  “An piece of paper or is it A slice of paper?  Spelling police!”

I handed her a slice I mean; a piece of paper from the pile sitting right in front of her face.   Annie put a crayon up to her noses and smelled deeply.   “I love the mell of new crayons.   Don’t you Slam?”

“Yeah, I do,” I said, picking up a green colored crayon with orange color spots in it. “And it’s smell Annie, not mell.”

I smelled deeply and immediately gagged it was the worst smell in the world.  I looked at the wrapper and it said, “ravioli spotted, gross green vomit.” I set it down.   My eyes tearing.

Annie picked up another crayon and sniffed it, and screamed, “OMG this one stinks so bad!”  It was kind of a yellow and green striped crayon.  “Mell it Slam! Mell it!” Annie continued screaming trying to shove the crayon in my face.

“No,” I yelled trying to cover my face then Annie jumped on me and knocked both me and my chair over and shoved the crayon under my nose.   I knew she would not get off until I melled it, I mean smelled it.   I decided to just get it over with and I sniffed really loudly so Annie would hear me.   It smelled like a crayon.

Annie picked up a red and black mixed up crayon smelled it and stuck it under my nose with out a comment.   I smelled it before I even sniffed, it was even worse than the ravioli spotted gross green vomit.   I saw the wrapper and it said, ‘mangled rotted crow corpse’, I grabbed the one that smelled good and looked at the wrapper.   Figures; it said,’ new crayon’.

“Put that one in the bad mell box Slam,” Annie directed.

“It’s smell,” I muttered.   “What are you drawing anyway?”

I picked up one of the papers she had apparently finished and set aside.  It was a hand made invitation to Annie’s birthday announcing her special day in great big bold letters and in tiny small letters at the bottom it said, ” And Annie Jr.”

“Annie,” I began.   “Technically; you are dead so we would not have a party for you,” I wasn’t really worried, she only had three pieces of paper scribbled all over with her crooked backwards over huge letters, she had been sitting there 14 hours. I figured her big birthday bash would have tops six guests and hopefully, two of those would be me and Grandfather.

“You say happy birthday to your mom Slamma Aunt Loosewheels and she is dead; technically,” Annie argued.

“We don’t have a party for her,” I replied.

“You do!” Annie screamed, pointing a claw at me.  “We had it last year right at my mother’s house, Great Aunt Jodi Slamma Jr. Great Great!”

“That was a party for your mother,” I yelled.   “They were born on the same day.”

“Technically no they were NOT!   You there giving birth to my mother, the same day your grandmother was giving birth to your mother?  Was ya squatting out in the same corn field? Cause that is how they did it back then?   Huh Slam?” Annie shook her head.   “Technically YOU are a NOT a TRUMP SUPPORTER; that means illegible.  Stupid and illegible SLAM.”

I shook my head and poured a cup of real coffee before Annie realized I made it and dumped it out to make fresh sludge, she currently had 37 pots going.   The struggle to have one coffee pot for myself was real.   I decided to let it go.

“And technically,” Annie screamed not wanting to let it go, “I am NOT dead cause your stupid ugly face is yacking to me right now.”

“I talk to Asa your lawn mower ghost every day,” I screamed.   At that moment he floated in demanding his aigs and some corn mealing musk; that is how he requested eggs and corn meal mush for breakfast.   He said it stuck to his ribs even though he no longer had any.

“I’m not like Asa,” Annie screamed, “I don’t say aigs.” That was true, Annie said oggs.

Every day it was, “I want some hogs and oggs, Slam-a-lam-a-ding-dong.” She called me that when she was being playful.   I have know idea where she gets some of her expressions.  I had my suspicions though.   Duh-Wayne!

“And I don’t sit on my lawn mower and rev the engine all day or turn the mower part on inside the house every day.   I only do that once a week,” Annie continued, “And I don’t float.” She paused and I could see this laugh forming in her eyes.   Annie’s eyes did laugh when she was ready to burst out with something funny.   I knew Annie’s sense of humor so I was kind of scared.

“I don’t float, but I can,” Annie said still holding back a laugh and all of a sudden she was levitating and finally zooming around the room.

“Annie,” I screamed, “How do you do that?”   I tried snatching her out of the air but she kept zooming around.    It had to be a string.   I finally got her but there was nothing attached to her.

“Annie how did you do that?” I asked.

“I made a levitation device, out of some old bannana peels, oh about 4 years ago,” she said.   “That was the brain child of Duh-Wayne.”

“Annie you did not even know Duh-Wayne four years ago.”

“Didn’t I Slam, Didn’t I?” Annie said seriously.  “Anyways it came in handy when I was six hundred pounds, I had to get out and do stuff.”

“Annie you had this when you were six hundred pounds?” I screamed. Thinking about the hernia I got dragging her up the stairs and how I struggled daily to wash her rotted maggotty fat callous and how she had non stop die-a-rear and how I had to grunt to lift her and clean her while she stuffed food into her mouth like a steam shovel, putting three or four slices of pizza topped with chicken wings into her mouth and then crunch crunch crunching them and her hitting my back every three minutes with another empty box or contatiner or bottle.   And all this time she could have easily lifted herself.   Annie must have been thinking about it too because she started laughing loud and long.   Yes that was it that was why her eyes laughed.

Annie was floating around and rolling in the air laughing.    She was laughing so loud and hard that she was snorting;  occasionally her  laugh would come out as a loud caw caw caw, I don’t know what it was all about but it was how she laughed.

I let it go just like the an and a thing, and the slice and piece, and her making me cater to her every need and nearly break my back dragging her six hundred pound rotting corpse around for months because I was getting off.   I was getting off on having one of her famous huge birthday parties with a hundreds of guests, news reporters (who Annie called the fake media but needed them there nonetheless), circus animals giving guests rides on their backs, circus animals riding on ferris wheels, bands, food, food carts, food wagons, buffetts, Dr. Now, pin the tail on the donkey, a huge cake wheeled out on a cart it took nine people to push and one lonely cup cake for Annie Jr.   I was saved from cleaning the mess, having my bank account drained and video’s of me posted on facebook of close ups of my left nostril.

Annie Jr. came out pulling a wagon filled with a towering stack of papers.   “These are all the invitations that came back already,” he said to Annie.

Ana came behind her pulling a wagon half the size of her father’s, “here are more,” she said all out of breath.

Spam brought up the rear with a hay wagon (how they got it in the house is beyond me and how in the world Spam was dragging it is also beyond me).   “I think this is the end of them,” Spam said.

Just then Duh-Wayne ran in.   “I got them all in the mail, Annie,” he said, “And turn the tv on; it’s there!”

And IT was.   Every single channel, shouting, ‘come to the greatest birthday party of all.’ It sound so fun with the music and the free eats and music and the FAMOUS DUH-WAYNE and of course Annie.   Just bring the perfect gift for Annie, gifts for Annie Jr. optional.

I slapped my head.   It never fails.   It never fails.

Annie still floating around near my head floated up and put her butt right in my face.   I tried in vain to move but she kept up pushing her up turned tail closer and closer.   “Annie stop!” I screamed.   My back already hurt knowing I would be cleaning the party mess for days.

“And just think Slam,” Annie yelled pushing her hips one more time right at me and I felt fur all the way around my face except for my nose.   I screamed and tried to get away but it was like she was attached.   “In August we do it again.”

I finally pulled away from her.   “What do you mean again?”

“I died on August 5th and that is the day Cara-Lyle was born so we have to celebrate again.   Two birthdays one cat!” Annie screamed.

She and Duh-Wayne high fived and the both screamed.   “Got it made in the shade.”

 

Elm-Tree The Mighty Oak

Four fifty-eight and I was ready to go.   I had my purse in one hand, my coat hung over my shoulder.   Four fifty-nine, the seconds clicked away and seemed to slow as each second passed.   I hovered my mouse so I could log out the exact second it hit five pm because I had plans after work.

My friend Elm-Tree was coming to see me. I had not seen her in more than fifteen years,  I knew Elm-Tree back in the day when I was  first cutting my teeth in the customer service circuit   It seemed that it was a circuit of sorts, I compared it with the factory workers back in the twenties, the women worked factory jobs.  They would work until the work ran out and move to the next factory.

In the customer service trade there were different reasons for the migrations of employees.    Sometimes work ran out,  they laid off then either picked back up or dried out completely, sometimes company politics and the wage war companies battled against each other,  forced the migration of head set wearing, averages joes most of whom were female.   The top most reason for a forced migration was because someone came in the door at half past,  left out that door at quarter of , or never walked in the door at all way too many times or  a rep had just lost their mind and thoughts verbalized; it never mattered who started it.   Bottom line they walked the walk of shame.

The circuit of people running the customer service gauntlet was vast and wide.   But sometimes it seems real small because you always ran into someone who knew someone;  or a friend  worked there but before you or after you and sometimes you ran into old friends on a new job.   In those cases if they walked the walk of shame once, you wondered  how soon would they repeat it.

Meeting up with my friend Elm-Tree was good.   She worked a some places I had worked but we only worked together at one company.   She had worked with several of my current co-workers and one of them was Currie.

One second to five ‘BEEP’. I got a phone call.    I swear to all that is holy sometimes people plan this.   They know you close at a certain time and literally watch the clock to the exact second to make the phone ring just before closing.     The phone lines can be quiet all day; every single person that calls in gets responded to top speed and right at the end of the day they call; normally apologizing for calling so close to closing  or defending their thoughtless action by saying they called earlier; waited on hold 45 minutes then they needed to use the rest room.   While they are saying it you can hear them flushing their toilet or hear some noise you really did not want to hear.

These people never call with some easy issue, that late in the day.    It’s  always someone trying to get to a department that is closed for the day, those are pretty easy because you just repeat that their department has closed and apologize for 15 minutes, muting them and swearing.   Or someone that calls about something that happened two years ago they need straightening out at 4:59:59 on a Friday.   Or someone who’s next payment is due; sometime next fall,  needs to make one before he/she gets a late charge.

“Hurro,” I hear this voice.  “Hurro!” It sounds like hello but in a weird fake Asian accent.

“hello?”  I answer.

“I gotta bag pipe stuck in my rear!” then I hear this horrible awful like noise in my ear; it is loud.   I hear a crazy laugh.   “You need egg row.”  Then that squeaky bag pipe.   It was Annie.   She did it all the time she claimed to do it to save me from getting a call and give me a ‘spot’ of over time.    I never claimed the over time and it just slowed me down because she would occasionally  have someone else call and act like a customer.

I hung up on her and logged out, texting Elm-Tree who was waiting outside for me.   The first thing I noticed was Annie’s fire truck.   I was hoping that she would not try to follow me.   As soon as I go out the fire truck rolls up, Elme riding shot gun and Annie in the driver’s seat; with a set of bag pipes up her rear.

It was nearing St.Patrick’s Day and Annie liked getting in the Spirt of things early.   She blew the horn on the truck loud and long, then screamed into the microphone, “Slam over here, SLAM!”  I could see her she was right there in a fire truck dressed in her furry out fit;  a 5 foot 2 slightly over weight cat.     A cat dressed as a cat; driving a fire truck with the lights and sirens  going; it wasn’t like I couldn’t see her she was waving the gloved paws of her mascot outfit  around ;waving like some deranged clown.

How did Elm-Tree know Annie or vise versa?  I worked with Elm-Tree long before I had Annie and I had not seen Elm-Tree in all of this time.    “Hi,” Elm-Tree yelled over the sirens and the horn Annie was still blowing through the microphone.   She also had her Granda Pa Jones CD going full blast.   Plus every time she moved her bag pipes went off.

“I didn’t know you knew Annie.   I knew Annie back in the day when she used to be Tony. We met up earlier today when I had six hours to kill waiting for you to get out so I have been hanging out with Annie.   She said she had to come here to get her Slam after work then  we put two and two together and here we are.   THIS  IS GREAT!”   Elm-Tree explained excitedly.

“When Annie used to be Tony?” yelled over the music.   Tony was my daughter; now referred to forever an always as Great Aunt Jodie Slamma Jr. Great Great, had been a young girl.   Tony was her imaginary dog, a Dalmatian dog who my daughter claimed was the dog from this show from the 70’s called ‘Emergency.’   The dog on that show was a hound dog or something but not a Dalmatian.

Annie looked at me like I was an idiot.   “Yes when I was Tony,” Annie replied.   Even though she was dressed in a cat costume I could still her eye expressions.

I threw my hands in the air.   “What about Annie Swanka?” I asked.

“Annie who?” Annie asked again looking at me as if I were nuts.

“The poop factory Annie Swanka and the gold tickets and the crazy cat lady?
I asked remembering that whole painful time in my recent past.

“No clue what you are talking about.” Annie said. Even though it was her who told us this whole story about Annie Swanka and the poop factory and how she; Annie had come to be.

I let it drop and figured Annie made the whole thing up about being Tony.   She always had to horn in on my friends and my good times and now here she was horning in on an outing I had with a friend I had not seen in quite sometime.

“Remember when I wore those suction cups on my feet?” Annie said as if she read my doubtful mind.

“And you were walking around on the ceiling?” Elm-Tree continued, “And your slam called the security to come with their ladder and get you down?”

“My mother slapped Slam right in the face for that when she told her.   Remember that Slam?” Annie laughed her crazy laugh and reached over and slapped me in the face.

“So where are me going?” Annie asked.

“Well I wanted to take Elm-Tree to that one store.”  I suggested.

“We already went there,” Annie said.

I sighed so we just went home.    Annie blaring her siren and running every red light and going around cars that pulled over just for her.   The ten minute ride took three.  because Annie was driving a 150 all the way, her bag pipes still squeaking and Grandpa Jones blaring through the huge speakers Annie had put all around her truck singing about his good old mountain dew.

Elm-Tree the Mighty Oak as Annie called her, stayed for quite a while, talking about the past, drinking moose made and enjoying themselves.   Duh-Wayne and Spam showed up and quickly warmed up to Elm-Tree, when they found out that she was friends with Currie.

Of course, Duh-Wayne began talking about his brain child, his Nascart and the museum he and Annie were building dedicated to classic shopping carts and that was when Elm-Tree announced she loved shopping carts as a matter of fact she was a shopping cart expert.   She had an original shopping cart from America’s First Supermarket.   A bag lady in Long Island had one and Elm-Tree paid a pretty penny for it back in the day.

“It has King Kullen right on it.”

That was definitely the kind of cart Annie and Duh-Wayne needed for their museum.  Elm-Tree was the kind of friend a pair of Nascart owners needed for their newest project.    Elm-Tree the mighty oak became part of the circle.

 

 

Dick and Jean

“Slamma Aunt Loosewheels never wore shoes,” Annie Cara-Lyle began.

Spam and Duh-Wayne sat there drinking  sludge with their eager mcbeaver faces on;  even though they probably already lived through this episode of the  ‘Slamma Aunt Loosewheels story.”  According to Annie,  they were all close through high school and when Spam and Duh-Wayne were newlies.

Newlies  was apparently some 50’s word for newly  weds;  Annie Cara-Lyle said they sloshed it (another 50’s word meaning talked about it)  down at the Sludge Pot, where you could get sludge and  Moose Made too; if you were old enough.   I think she made  it up, the words I mean, and maybe the rest of it.

Annie Cara-Lyle told these stories all the time.  It never made sense to me that her stories seemed to span such a long period of time.   Annie had created Annie Cara-lyle the kitten in a test tube ‘in the past’ when my mother was a teenager.  We got Annie Cara-Lyle at 8 weeks.   But the stories she told spanned at least a decade, through my mothers teenage years and to when she was a young single mom and on the verge of meeting the man of her dreams.

Annie Cara-Lyle claimed that time went by faster in the past that was why people were skinny back then, time went by so fast they only had time for one meal.   Duh-Wayne said it had to do with that loose thing a ma bob a jig that was loose on that control panel of the time machine.     It was making time jump around and only slowing down to a normal pace at fun times like going to a fair and Christmas.   Annie decided to leave the thing a ma bob a jig alone.

“She had corny feets,” Annie Cara-Lyle continued, “and those hard things that Grandfather uses his electric egg on; to make them soft as a baby brillo pad, and she had large onions on either side of her foots.  She wore flip flops so her onions hung out.   Corns and onions; old vegetable feet, we called her.”

Every day there was some story going on about my mother and her sister Dorky.   It was like an old weird sit com.   Annie Cara-Lyle was getting to a high point in the story.

Slamma Aunt Loosewheels, car ran out of gas on her way home from the Sludge Pot one evening and she was forced to walk back to the sludge pot in her old flip flops.   Duh-Wayne and Spam who were driving right behind her suggested she go and ask that guy who had tripped over her while she was taking a nap on the floor; for help.    ”

That guy was Slap-ya Uncle Pan,” Annie Cara-Lyle said.   “That’s how they met.   Meanwhile, back at the bush, that’s another 50’s word, it means home.”  Annie-Cara-Lyle was waving her arms around while she explained.

“Wait a minute, that is not a 50’s expression,” I interrupted and explained,  “The house we lived in was located in an area that was referred to as a bush so my dad would say ‘let’s go back to the bush,’ and my parents were not even living there yet. So that proves your story false and your time machine fake.”

Annie Cara-Lyle was glaring at me and then I realized it was actually just full blown Annie.   “Puker’s bush?” she hissed.   “Is that where you meant?”

“Something like that,” I agreed, feeling Annie’s horrible anger coming off her like heat.

“We all KNOW Slap-ya Uncle Pan said, ‘back to the bush’ we hear all about it in episode 325 called, “Back to the bush, its a fifties thing” Annie kept glaring at me, then waved at me and said, “Get outta here with your fake and quit interrupting.”

Annie’s expression all changed and she was Annie Cara-Lyle, I kind of felt I was in that made for tv movie, ‘Sybil’.   “Meanwhile back at the bush,” she glared at me suddenly becoming Annie but just for a second or two almost daring me to say something.   I nearly did, but the story continued.

“Aunt Dorky reined herd on two young children, Dick and Jean.   She would run after them with her trusty thermometer commanding, ‘Come, Dick, come. here Jean, here.’  Dick always came, he liked it; the thermometer.   Jean always ran.

They were supposed to be watching Kukla, Fran and Ollie.   But they weren’t cause Jean said it was a re-run and Dick couldn’t see it because of those horn rimmed coke bottle lensed glasses he wore.  Aunt Dorky was looking for ‘old trusty’ to calm things down.

Jean had buried ‘old trusty’ in a hole where some men would be pouring a cement sidewalk the next day.   Dick was threatening to tell Aunt Dorky where it was so Jean grabbed her bow and arrow.

Back then, they didn’t have those fake arrows with the rubber tips had the real thing.   The absolute real thing purchased from a real live Native American.    They had them back then; Native Americans.”

“We still have them,” I sighed.

Annie Cara-Lyle gave me an Annie type glare.   Slowly she was becoming more and more like Annie.   It was a shame too because for the briefest time, she was just a sweet little bundle curled up purring in my lap.   She was doing less of that and more of standing on my head board staring at me until I opened my eyes and screaming, “Catch me Jebus,” and landing claws out smack in the middle of my face.   They started calling me scabby at work because I was covered with scabbed over claw marks.

Annie Cara-Lyle continued.   “Dick cried, ‘It’s over here Aunt Dorky.’ “Shut up Dick, you little chicken. ”  Jean hollered running full speed after him with her bow aimed.

Dick kept yelling cause he really loved old Trusty.   “You will do anything to have something in your mouth, Dick,” Jean yell.   “Suck this one.” Jean aimed the bow and shot the arrow right in Dick’s leg.

Aunt Dorky was coming along behind both of them at a slow jog puffing out, “Stop Dick Stop,” keeping her eye peeled for old Trusty.  “No Jean No,” was coming out of her mouth as the arrow pieced Dick’s upper thigh.

Dick fell to the ground and began sobbing, his tears washing away the dried tears on his glasses from the day before.   Jean ran up on the scene and slapped him upside the head and screamed, “Want me to give you something to cry about?” She yanked the arrow out of his leg and said, “I’ll get the alcohol.”

While Jean was in the bathroom getting first aid supplies, Dick stopped crying long enough to disclose the hiding place of old trusty and he was calming himself with it when Jean came.   She took one look at him and slapped old trusty right out of his face.   Old Trusty fell to the ground and broke in a zillion pieces.

Aunt Dorky had a funeral for him, after Dick stopped crying.   Jean poured a half a bottle of alcohol on his leg cleaning the wound every time he cried or even looked like he was going to cry, Jean slapped him a few times in the head and screamed, “I can give you something to cry about.” It lasted for hours.

“They were the best kids,” Annie Cara-Lyle said.

“Yup,” Duh-Wayne agreed.

“Yup,” said Spam.

“Yup,” screamed Annie and you knew it was Annie cause she got loud and laughed her crazy laugh.  “To Dick and Jean.”

They clinked Sludge cups then Duh-Wayne began to deal out the card.  Story time had ended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

;

 

aun

 

 

 

Shadow Chasing

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.

 

 

The Blustery Blizzard

“I am so happy it is Windsday!” Annie said sitting on one of my kitchen chairs, petting a baby chicken named Constance-Slam.   It was Bryan’s chicken, the Bryan from ‘Abe and Bryan’; Duh-Wayne’s granddaughter’s.   The chicken was named after me.    Annie called her Constant-Slam and she would slam the door really hard when she said it, then  would scream, “Shut the front door!’  Duh-Wayne had brought Constance-Slam over to play with Ana and Jasmine Ariel Cinderella.

“If you mean Wednesday,” I said looking at  Annie, “it’s not, it’s ”

“No I meant Windsday,” she  cut me off.

Just then the kitten’s came out.   They were both dressed in bathing suits, sun glasses and they had flippers on each paw.   “We are ready to go out and play Granny Annie,” they screamed.

Annie put the chicken down and  Spam slipped her into a pink one piece swim suit while Duh-Wayne fastened a sun hat under her beak.   Annie grabbed a wagon full of pails, shovels, squirt guns, water balloons and some kite string, the kittens and the chicken jumped into it and Annie, thump thump thumped it down the stairs, the kittens meowing and the baby chicken peeping or clucking or bawk bawking whatever a baby chicken does.

“Stay right in the back yard,” I heard Annie scream.    “It’s a Winds Day, ” she looked up at me, I could hear the wind howling, then she stuck her head back out the door and instructed the kittens and the chicken,  “I wouldn’t even bother with a kite with all the wind going on.”

“Annie it is starting to snow,” I said.   “Shouldn’t you dress them a little warmer?”

“Slam!” Annie screamed, “You NEVER know your weathers!”

“No, Annie, you don’t know your ‘weathers’,” I said sarcastically.

Annie stuck her tongue out and held her paw straight up in the air, shook it and yelled, “Abba GEE!”

Whatever that meant!  I went into the kitchen .    I could hear Annie stamping up the stairs behind me; making twice the noise the wagon did although she had left it outside.

Spam was making a new pot of sludge and Duh-Wayne filling cups with the other pot; always two pots of thick sludge made out of god knows what going at the same time.   If I bought a new pot  just for my coffee which Annie called weak, three pots of sludge would be going.

They all slurped too, like loud slurps and you could hear the hum of their lip.   It kind of made you not even want coffee.   I  couldn’t stand the sound of it, so I wandered into the living room.   I loved watching the kittens play so I opened the curtains and looked out the window.

I notice a little fish tank with wheels and a bright orange fish playing with the kittens and the chicken.    “Annie did you buy the kittens a fish?” I asked.

“A fish?” Annie screamed, she jumped up and knocked over four chairs even the two Spam and Duh-Wayne were sitting in and the table, and a hutch on the other side of the room.

She ran into the living room dragging the table cloth and the coffee maker behind her.   She knocked me out of the way and peered out the window.   She whirled around, pushed me again and ran out of the room still dragging the coffee maker and table cloth.

“I’ll make a new pot of sludge,” Spam hollered from the kitchen.

“I’ll righten this hutch.” Duh-Wayne chimed in.

Annie ran back into the room, this time with her glasses perched on the end of her nose, now that she had a new kitten body, she didn’t even need them anymore.   She wore them not so much for vision but for fashion.

That was how she ruined her eyes to begin with.   She went through a ‘nerd’ stage where she wore horned rimmed thick lensed glasses and a pocket protector.   She wore them two years and when she took them off she wasn’t able to see without them.   I kept telling her not to do it again but she didn’t listen.

This time though it was a pink plastic pair with diamonds around the edge.   She had a cord around them so she could wear them around her neck, she never did though she just randomly set them down then would freak out and start screaming, “Where are my glasses, I can’t see,” then, “Help Pa! I’m blind!”  She would quickly turn it all into a Little House on the Prairie episode and everyone playing along like it was normal.

Yes she came running in with her glasses on her nose, this time somehow finding them without drama, minus the coffee maker and table cloth because Duh-Wayne was rightening things and Spam making her special recipe sludge which she was now quite famous for since Annie made her recipe go viral both on facebook and twitter.

Annie took her glasses off and squinted, opened the window wide open and looked out.   “Oh Slam,” she laughed.   “That is Windbag’s fish.”

I looked at her confused.   “You know Windbag from our job, her work son fish? A-B-C….Alpha Beta Charlie?”

I knew exactly who she was talking about.   One of my co-workers Windbag and another girl Krispen, had decided to co-parent a fish and he (the fish) lived in our office in a fancy tank right between his mothers.

Annie knew him because she was an employee at my office.   She had literally been employee at every job I ever had since she was born.   No one felt it was weird though other than me.   She wasn’t there very often though, she only worked two weeks out of the year, the rest of the year she spent using up her vacation, sick and personal time.

It was one of these times that Annie had met Alpha Beta Charlie.   It just so happened to be on the same day she wore her hip boots and brought her fishing gear and tackle box.  They spent the entire day playing.   Annie would catch him in her net or with her pole, he would laugh and Annie would toss him back in the tank.   When they were tired of that they would yell, “Dave’s not here man,” into Krispen’s head set to help her clear the out the phone calls that were waiting on hold.

Unfortunately for Alpha Beta Charlie, that assistance he gave his mom on the phone was one of his biggest regrets.   Krispen, got a promotion and she moved to a new department.   She tried to be a good absent work mom to a fish but, her visits became less and less and little Alpha Beta Charlie settled his fate of being from a broken home with an absent mom.   He was heart broken.

“Why is he here?” I asked.

“Windbag is baking a cake or a pie or a submarine Sammy or whatever it is she cooks,” Annie said.   “So I told her I would baby sit.”

“Why isn’t he at the office,” I asked.

“They are cleaning the carpets cause of the die-a-rear,” Annie said.

Yes, we had a food day and Annie made her famous mexi-cali yum yum.   I don’t know what was in it and had never tried it.   Apparently it was no carb, low calorie ,weight busting great; but it smelled like old rank feet.   Every one in the office raved over it, not knowing the secret ingredient was a laxative.   So yeah, die-a-rear; it didn’t happen to me because I didn’t eat it, but I wasn’t grateful because I had to stay all alone in the building listen to the die-a-rear settle and enjoy the aroma.

“Why didn’t Windbag knock or something?” I asked.

“Oh ABC Alpha Beta Charlie is a free range fish,” Annie said.  “She is one of ‘those’ kind of mothers.”

‘Those kind of mothers,’ meant a mom who dropped her fish son off on the side walk with his motorized tank which he steered into the back yard; beeped, waved and drove off to bake a cake or a pie or a submarine Sammy or whatever it was she cooked.   Annie,  however, had her son driving around in an old pick up truck picking up junk for her junk yard before he even turned a year old.    I sighed she always judged, it was negative 14 outside and her grandchildren were in swim suits, so was the chicken at least the fish had earmuffs on, sparkly silver ones.

I looked back out the window and noticed that it was a complete blizzard outside.   I could no longer see the kittens or the chicken or the fish.  “Annie, a white out,” I screamed, pointing at the window.

Annie stared at me like I was a moron.   “A blizzard, the kittens and the chicken and the fish are out there!” I said frantically, waving my arms around.

Annie kept staring at me, this time shaking her glasses at me the chain she had them on to hang around her neck made a clinking sound and she, ’tisk tisked,’ me.  “Annie we need to get them!” I yelled, looking around for my shoes.

Annie peered  out the window then put her glasses on and looked again, then opened the window and stuck the top half of her body out the window and came back in.   She calmly shut the window walked straight to the kitchen and said, “Edwards, the kids are out in that blizzard!”

Then slowly life turned into a Little House on the Prairie episode and ‘the kids’, two kittens a chicken and a fish were lost somewhere in our back yard, which appears small but somehow honestly goes on for miles; with it’s prairie, and golf course, amusement park, a nearly completed shopping cart race track which was a new coming attraction in the spring.    I knew it was to the Prairie we headed.

Annie, Duh-Wayne and Spam quickly changed into swimming attire, Annie wore a snorkel.   I tossed on a heavy coat a hat, long johns, mittens, boots and pair of tennis rackets on my feet since Annie had ruined my snow shoes playing Volley Ball in them.

Annie Jr. climbed came around the corner, pulling a what Annie called a one horp Olsen sleigh.   Everyone piled on including Annie’s horse. Sugar and I began to pull.   I gave up complaining about this stuff.   If I just went with it, it got over faster.

Every now and then, Annie Jr would screaming in a new sort of manly growly voice he somehow acquired since the kittens were born, “ANA, JASMINE ARIEL CINDERELLA!”

It was during one of those loud screams in my ear I looked up and saw a sparkly silver thing in the air and over the wind I hear the glub glub glub of Alpha Beta Charlie.   I turned that way and pointed to him.   Annie slapped the rains and snapped a stick over my head.

We then saw the kittens flying Alpha Beta Charlie into the air, like a kite.   I drove over, and Annie hopped off the sleigh and the storm instantly stopped.   Annie shut her weather machine off.   She planned this so I would be involved in her Little House game.

Everyone laughed as I stamped back to the house and hummed the little house song.   Later I saw I was tagged in a photo that was going viral is was me walking back to the house, it said, “Slam on a Blustery Blizzard on a Windsday with a fish and a chicken and two cats.”

“Happy Windsday,” Annie yelled when she saw me watching my viral photo on the news.