The Music Teacher

It all began with a warped and rain soaked pipe organ.    Annie can never be happy with the amount of money she generates from the poop factory, but that is because she spends money faster than she can make it.   Her constant need for money and things, forces her to get creative with bringing in a second, third or fourth income.   That is where the pipe organ came in.

Since school had ended for the summer the Annie’s had time, not that Annie Jr. or Annie were going,    Yes Annie was still enrolled in several institutions of higher learning.    Sometimes, she went with K8, or Abe, or Bryan; occasionally the class where her Aunt Dinyell taught.   Actually she spent more time trying to get out of going to any of the classes she was enrolled in than actually going, and passing that trait on to Annie Jr.   So the whole pipe organ dilemma was quite ironic.

With no actual classes, Annie continued on with her role of running a junk yard, which meant she donned a pair of suspenders, adapted a wobbly walk and sat in the back yard with Duh-Wayne watching re-runs of the Edge of Night some old soap opera from the 70s.   Annie Jr. with his fake side burns and beard drove around the neighborhood picking up junk and loading it onto the back of his old red truck, while loud wild harmonica music pulsated from the speakers of his truck.

One day Annie Jr. carted home an old pipe organ.   Annie Jr. hauled it out of an old church on the North Side that had caved in back in ’42.  It was rain soaked, housed a family of Pakistanis  mice who were refuges from Mexico (all of them were terrified of ice even hearing it clink in a glass caused fear) and it smelled like moldy incense and church wine that turned to vinegar.

Annie of course was in awe because she loved playing any sort of instrument; badly.   She had her favorites; like her fiddle and the old bed springs but she had never had a pipe organ.     Annie pressed one of the organ’s keys and a puff of old dust honked out of one of the pipes.   Annie pressed another one and another putting her ear towards it like she knew something about it’s tune.   After a moment she was hitting the keys rapidly, while the organ sounded like a wounded intoxicated moose.

“I didn’t know you could play a pipe organ, Annie,” said Duh-Wayne.

“I can play anything.” Annie said. “My real mother, not ya know,” she glared at me nodded in my direction, “was a musical genius. I went to college with her.”
Annie closed her eyes and sighed. She pressed down on one key and it kept letting out this one note in a long drone. It went on for several minutes and then Annie sat up and opened her eyes then released the key. “Yep my Mom was a musical genius and I was better. I rocked that slide whistle and tambourine.”
Duh-Wayne’s eyes got big and he looked excited. “You know Annie,” Duh-Wayne began, “With your talent and your patience you could generate a lot of money teaching music lessons. ”

So that was how Annie became a music teacher and not just on the pipe organ but many other noise makers.   Her fiddle, which she played with a scratchy nails on the board sort of way and she jigged around while she did  so making sure her hips swiveled as she jigged.   Her bed springs which she plucked, her kazoo, an old police whistle which she often blew into her phone the second I answered her call and said hello.









Diary of a wimpy cat

Annie quickly lost interest in taking care of me, she claimed it was supposed to be a temporary job anyways.  I wondered not if, but when I would get a bill.    She would probably even charge me for plucking pigeons for her chicken figgies.

It was okay with me, I was getting around a little better and was able to do for myself.   In addition,  I was able to see what life was like during the day after I normally would have left for work.

With Annie no longer dressing like Annie Cleaver, she went back to her normal antics.  One morning Annie came out of the bathroom looking like she had been zapped by a lightbulb.    Her fur was puffed straight out and there was a lot of it and it was long.   She looked like a freaky sort of poodle.

At first I thought she had had an accident with the invention she and grandfather made.  It actually wasn’t an invention, it was more like a fire hazard.   They would plug a light in and set it right next to the toilet then soak a piece of toilet paper in air freshener (of course, something from Annie’s stink collection), put the toilet paper on the light bulb and turn the light on.   They claimed it worked better than just squirting it.

But Annie hadn’t had an accident.   She feared her fur was growing thin in places and had ordered some hair growing clinical trial stuff she found on the internet.   It had worked a little too well because she started looking less like a poodle and more like a mop head.

Another day, Annie spent half the day haggling with someone over the phone for a span of shopping carts some man had for sale on some garage sale group both Annie and Duh-Wayne were involved in.   Annie and Duh-Wayne were building a shopping cart museum and they wanted to display shopping carts from different time periods and different stores from all over the world.

Annie would buy up all anyone had.   She called it the fart of the deal.   Her method was to fart and people would agree to anything just to get away from her.   She used the extra carts to trade for carts she didn’t have or occasionally sell them.   Duh-Wayne bought a bunch of them for his shopping cart raceways a project he was working on.   He tried the fart of the deal with Annie but she just bottled it and sold it calling it ‘Skids by Duh-Wayne’  from her real men smell collection.

Weekdays were pretty much the same as weekends except different shows were on.   Annie really loved the talk shows and week days we had to watch them all.  Annie would be laying there gobbling bags of snack food and cart loads of burgers, pizza, tacos, and fries flipping from talk shows to my 600 pound life.  She would be stuffing half a pizza in her big yap and saying, “my god where do they put it all?”

Annie Jr. should have been going to school but Annie claimed his school was using up unused snow days.  He still was not coming near me and I felt badly because I really loved him and I loved hugging him.   Finally one day, I saw him creeping up close to me.

“Come on, Annie Jr.” I coaxed.   “Come over to Slam.   I am really not a ghost.”

He crept a bit closer and I picked him up and tried to hug him.   “Help!” He screamed.  “help, help!” He pushed my arm with his feet claws full out then he jumped and ran.

I sighed how could he be so afraid of me.  Asa was a ghost for goodness sakes, and Annie Jr. had been at the hospital with me every day,   He knew I had not died, and as far as I knew I hadn’t done anything to make him mad.

Later that afternoon, Grandfather headed to the store.   As soon as he left, Annie Jr. came creeping over to me.   “Come on Annie Jr. you can get into my lap.  I am not a ghost really.”

“I know,” Annie Jr. said.   “Asa told me.   He can’t see through you so it means you are not a ghost.”

Annie Jr. crept closer and I notice he is wearing these black hairy things on the side of his face.   “Annie what is on your face?” I asked.

“Sideburn,” he explained slowly making his way into my lap.  “I made them out of Mom mom’s extra fur.”

“Why?” I asked, then I got a smell of him, he smelled like  cigars and old spice.   “Annie Jr.why do you smell like you have been smoking cologne?”

“The same reason I am wearing sideburns.”  he began.   “Grandfather said cats that hug their Slams are wimpy.   So if I wear sideburns and old spice and smoke cigars I can hug you and not be a wimp.”

I sighed.   “No Annie Jr. you are not a wimp if you hug your Slam.” then I repeated the same things I said every day.  “Please don’t listen to grandfather.”

I was so glad Annie was letting me hug him again.    It made the time go by faster because I was getting anxious to get back to work.   I was starting to feel better.    Besides Annie was getting her summer plans started and I did not want to be around for it.

Duh-Wayne was digging a hole for the pool Annie felt she needed in the back yard.   She was anxious to play this game she called, “Skinny dip trivia.”  I certainly did not want to be around for that.

Until I was able to go back to work, I just enjoyed hugging my cigar and old spice smelling cat who wore sideburns.









Recovering with Annie Nightingale

After nearly two weeks of rest and relaxation, at a luxurious facility,  as Annie referred to it, I was allowed to leave the hospital.   I was no longer lumpy and blown up like a jiffy pop pan but I had a large incision in my stomach which was not healed  and I was barely able to get around.   I found out the only reason, I was able to leave was because Annie claimed to have an RN license.   She did have an RN but it did not stand for Registered Nurse, it stood for Rotten and Nasty.

It was a piece of paper that proclaimed, license to be rotten and nasty to anyone anywhere anytime.   She claimed she ordered it off from the back of a comic book she borrowed from my brother Sigh when she was visiting him in her time machine and forgot to return.   She also had a license to fart.

After two weeks of being away from home I was anxious to return there no matter how great Annie claimed the hospital to be.  I had planned on Grandfather coming with our car to take me home but my life would be so boring if Grandfather came to get me in an ordinary vehicle.

Even worse was the fact the nurse who accompanied me out to my ride acted as if she loaded patients every day into a recliner, tied to a wagon which was being pulled by a poop shaped golf cart.   Annie had her pink horned rimmed  rhinestones studded glasses with no lenses in them on, she sat on Spam’s lap fooling around with the radio trying to find a good song.  Spam rode shot gun (Duh-Wayne drove).  Spam had come along because she said it was a nice relaxing drive.

That part was true, it was a nice relaxing drive, but a long one.   A longer one if the drive was made in a golf cart, and not relaxing at all if you are riding in a wet recliner attached to the golf cart with a wagon, with the poop stench coming from the golf cart and a fart smell coming from Annie, Duh-Wayne and Spam playing a game they called ‘road trip farts’, and it’s raining.

It seemed to take forever, but we finally arrived home.   Annie yanked the wet blanket off me, handed me an umbrella, then jumped into my arms and forced to me carry her upstairs even though I was not allowed to lift over five pounds and Annie was way over that.

I made it in the door and saw Annie Jr. sitting on Asa’s lap coloring in his coloring book.    “Hi Annie Jr.” I said.

Annie Jr. looked at me and screamed.   “A ghost!  Oh my god a ghost. Help Asa, help!”

“Annie Jr. it’s me Slam.” I said.   “I’m not a ghost!”

“Yes you are!” Annie Jr. screamed.  “Mom-mom said you died.”

I sighed deeply the last time I spent a significant time in the hospital, due to Annie, she had also told all the other animals I died.   “Annie Jr. you were at the hospital every day.   You know I didn’t die.”

Annie Jr. clung to Asa, scared to death of me;  fearing I was a ghost.   I shook my head and headed to the other room.

Grandfather had purchased a recliner for me.   It was easier for me to get in and out of than the bed.   Annie had eaten a bunch of crackers in it before she had come to get me and it looked like an entire case of crumbs were scattered into the seat.   Grandfather was shoveling them off into a pile in the corner.

Finally, I was all settled in my chair.   “Comfy,” Annie yelled  into my face, her breath was foul.   It was like moldy bones and unwashed body hair.

My stomach was having a hard time dealing with stink and riding home in the fartmobile was bad enough.   “Annie!  Your breath!” I screamed.

“Sorry Slam,” Annie said.   She took a bottle from the pocket of her apron.   Yes she was wearing an apron and some sort of dust cap on her head, a 50’s style dress, and a pair of nylons with runs in them and a pair of slippers.   I didn’t ask.

She squirted whatever was in the bottle into her mouth.  “Better, Slam?” Annie yelled again blowing, like she was trying to toot a tuba, right into my face.

I gagged it was a million times worse.    “No! Annie what is that?”   I screamed.   I grabbed the bottle.   ‘Annie’s breath spray.   Natural Body smell…moldy bones and unwashed body hair.’ It read.

‘Figures,’ I thought as I handed the bottle back.   I fanned the stink.

“Wanna squirt?”   Annie asked.

“No Annie, but it’s really hot in here.”  I said.

“Hot?  How do you mean?”  she looked at me vaguely.

“Hot Annie!?! Turn the heat off, open a window, turn on a fan!”

She brought me  sweater.   I knew it was going to be a rough recovery.

The next morning Annie was laying on the arm of the recliner, playing with her ipad.   Annie Jr. was sitting on the other side of the room wearing a ghost buster uniform pointing some sort of ghost gun at me and he was glaring.    “Annie Jr., it is really me, I am not a ghost. Don’t be afraid.”

“I ain’t fraid of no ghosties,” Annie Jr. hissed but would not take the ghost gun off me nor would he come near me.   He occasionally snapped a picture of me on his cell phone and Annie was sharing  them on the internet with the caption, ‘real live ghost in our house; the demon slam.’

I saw it several times on facebook because Annie kept tagging me in them.   It was just a picture of me sitting in my recliner, using my computer while Annie sat next to me.   People kept liking it and sharing it.    It was on twitter too.   Donald Trump liked it and retweeted it captioned, ‘Slamn Witch Hunt.’   This was all in a matter of minutes.

I almost missed it because of the viral paranormal (paraidiot) post, but I did see the recipe Annie tagged me in with the caption, ‘dinner?’.  It was a recipe for chicken riggies. Since I was not able to stand long enough to cook, I figured I couldn’t be choosey.

I looked at Annie who was still sitting on the arm of my chair and said,  “okay” and “follow the recipe!!!!”;  since she had made me boxed mac and cheese the day before and had added the cheese powder to the water and boiled it with the macaroni.

Then  “Make sure grandfather helps you turning the stove on,”   Annie had a habit of just starting a log fire in the oven instead of just turning on the stove top.

Annie replied, “Eye I Captrain.”    She logged into my account and posted my verbal reply then logged in under her account and replied to it.

Around four in the afternoon, I waited to start smelling dinner cooking.   I knew Annie was working on it because she had posted a picture of herself in an old Mc Donald’s uniform and a Burger King hat holding a meat clever.   It said, “Cooking up some Slam dinner!” She was also banging pots and pans around.   I heard the blender, mixer, food processor, can opener, coffee grinder and electric knife going.   I sighed wondering who was doing the dishes, because Annie’s ‘the dog has been pitching in and helping’ was not reassuring.

Finally Annie posted a picture of dinner.   It looked fantastic.   I was impressed.   It was on a paper plate, I guessed no one was washing the dishes but that was okay.   I was looking forward to that paper plate full of riggies.   I still was not able to smell them.

Since Annie was still in the kitchen I replied, on her post.   “looks good Annie, I will take some!”

I should have known, I can predict it better than 10.99 a minute psychic, I should have known.   But I fell right in it;  both feet, head first.   Annie walked in, still wearing her uniform and hat, she was covered in blood, feathers all over her paws, gooey brown crumbs of some sort, covering her whiskers and she was wearing those rhinestone glasses with no lenses.

In her hand is a plate, it has raw rotted meat, mixed with crumbled up fig newtons.   “Annie what is THAT?” I screamed refusing to even take the plate.

“Chicken figgies!’ Annie replied.   “But I didn’t have any chicken so I had to use pigeons.”

I shook my head.   “You didn’t even cook it,” I screamed again as if it even made a difference.

“Grandfather wouldn’t turn the stove on,” Annie screamed back.

“Did you ask him?” I asked, knowing full well she hadn’t.

“How can you be so stupid?  I swear that surgery messed up your ever loving mind.”   Annie screamed.   “I can not even believe you asked that. ”  A long pause, then, “Well?”

“Well what?” I asked.

“So you aren’t eating this?” Annie asked.

“No, Annie, jesus!”

“Well would your HIND ASS want something else then, since she is too royal to eat something I slaved over an open fire for?”  Annie sneered.

I wasn’t sure how to even respond since Annie acted so out of control.  Then she became all sweet and loving.   “I have some tuna fish I can mix with some mayo and put on those fresh rolls grandfather bought,” Annie said.  “I can put a little slice of onion on it.”

“You’ll change your bloody shirt and wash the feathers off your hands?” I ventured.

“Of course, Slammie Sweetie.”   I watched her come out of the bathroom several minutes later freshly bathed and clean clothes.   She was back to the 50’s outfit this time a poodle skirt and saddle shoes with bobbie socks.

I heard her singing in the kitchen as she made the sandwich for me.   She came in the room, and I saw the fresh roll and lettuce and tomato along with the onion.   There was a fresh napkin.   It looked really good and my stomach growled.

I picked up the sandwich and took a bite.   I should have known, I should have known.   It was bound to happen and I jumped right in; both feet butt first.   It wasn’t tuna fish.

I spit the mouth full out on the plate and screamed, “Annie that is NOT tuna!”

“It is too,” Annie screamed. She ran to the kitchen and came back with a can.   “T-u-n-a,” she spelled out then handed me the can.

“Tuna and liver cat food Annie,” I read.

Grandfather wound up ordering pizza again.   Annie screamed excitedly when she learned we were having take out again and decided we all needed to watch a movie.   She chose one based on the fact the lead character was named Annie just like her and she had a pig just like Aunt Din-yell did and she had a writer laid up in her house just like she had a blogger laid up in her house.

I sighed.   I was only one day into my recovering at home and it was misery already.   I was picturing life with my number one fan.   Annie Nightingale was bad enough.




The Jiffy Pop Experiment

Anyone who owns a cat already knows that difficult challenges are daily hurdles that one must somehow get over.   Living with a cat like Annie, hurdle days are good days because they are few and far between, normally it’s hills, mountains, and volcanos to get over every day.   Cats like Annie don’t do just typical cat annoyances like knocking stuff off the counter or playing tag at 3 am or leaving dead animals at the side of your bed so you step on it.  She does all of that but takes it a hundred steps further.

It all began with Annie breaking another microwave.   Over the years she has put quite a few of them out of commission.    Like the time she put her blow dryer into it to warm the handle, or the time she was trying to invent some super strong glue made out of maple syrup and gasoline (she is still working on that one and says she is close to a break through). The time she was trying to use it as an incubator for a dozen eggs she had picked up at the local market and most recently trying to melt silverware figuring if the words stainless steal were melted away she could sell it for actual silver.

I gave up and vowed not to get another one.   We only used it for popcorn anyway and there are other ways to make popcorn.    When the pop corn cravings set in, I grabbed a package of popcorn the kind you can make on the stove.    Annie Jr. begged for the Jiffy Pop kind.   Annie told him that it was THE coolest way to make pop corn and he just had to have it.  I agreed but with the condition that neither of them use the stove to pop it without my supervision; they agreed and I bought it.

Annie Jr. had promised Annie the pop corn would be an event they would share.   Annie Jr. was quite anxious to see how it worked but Annie was having her girls night out with Duh-Wayne, Kiko, Maddie, Allie, Chad, Aunt Paulie and a few other friends.   I was left with an inconsolable Annie Jr. who sobbed and sobbed over the popcorn and kept watching out the window for his beloved Mom-mom to return.

Even with the constant sobbing going on, and repeated phone calls to Annie’s voice mail with Annie Jr. screaming, “Mom-mom get home it’s an emergency!”; I kept drifting off to sleep.    I had to work the next morning.   Finally around mid-night, after calling Annie’s phone myself a few times, and Duh-Wayne’s, and Kiko’s, and Maddie’s and Allie’s and Chad’s and Aunt Paulie’s and several others, I told Annie Jr. he would have to wait until the next day because I was going to sleep.

Now what happened after I went to sleep, is what caused all the problems.    Annie returned shortly after I fell asleep.   She claimed she tried to wake me up, but I wonder how true her story was, it seems I would have awoken at some point.   Annie had ways of disrupting my sleep patterns making me have crazy dreams or putting me so deeply asleep that a train driving over my body would not even cause me to sigh in my sleep.   I suspect the latter is what happened.

Since Annie was unable to wake me and since Annie Jr. was so impatient; Annie decided to disobey me and make the popcorn without me.   She claimed later that they had merely agreed not to make it on the stove top and since I said absolutely nothing about making it in the oven she figured she was not doing anything wrong other than pleasing her son and if I had woken up none of it would have happened.   It was further all my fault because I was too cheap to buy an oven with a light bulb inside, for it if had a light bulb none of it would have happened.   Not only was Annie Jr., unable to see the jiffy pop pop in the dark oven, Annie successfully burned the only package of jiffy pop to a crisp.

Annie Jr. went off into one of his terrible one’s tantrums, throwing himself on the floor, kicking and screaming.   Waking everyone in the neighborhood up, except for me.    Then it happened, Annie got an idea, an awful idea, but one she hoped would soothe her crying child.

What was jiffy pop, she thought, other than popcorn kernels packed  in something that would expand.  She grabbed the package of popcorn and looked around for something that would expand; stomachs expand she guessed correctly.    With that knowledge she inserted a gastro tube she had collected on one of Duh-Wayne’s medical visits, and ran it from my mouth to my stomach and blew each and every piece of popcorn into my stomach, then using a blow dryer set to extra hot she popped it right inside of me making me look like a huge lumpy piece of popcorn.

That wasn’t even the worst part.  I mean I could totally deal with looking like a huge lumpy piece of popcorn but there was so much of it, and it was packed in so tight only surgery could fix it.   Annie claimed I should have been grateful because I got a free day off from work, actually quite a few days, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

Even worse, was having Annie,  Annie Jr. and Duh-Wayne hanging out all day with me at the hospital from 9am to 9 pm.  Since Duh-Wayne became Annie’s personal driver because Annie accidently flushed her glasses down the toilet and couldn’t see, I had to get used to him visiting as well.

Every day was the same thing and each day ran into the next.  There was nothing to look forward to, the nurses came at the same time, the same shows were on at the same time, the food came at the same time and the menu never varied.

Typical of any gastro surgery, you have a diet that starts with zero on the menu and gradually food is added, like water, broth and jello.   Even though you are starving to death it all looks, smells and tastes gross and then when you can get something good like chocolate ice cream, you eat one bite and feel as if you had a 10 course meal with a double dessert.

Even though Duh-Wayne and the Annie’s came daily often bringing a special guest star(s) as a surprise visitor(s), like the homeless duck in our neighborhood, the dog I saw from a car window while on vacation in another state with my family in the early 80’s, the great great great great great grandson of a hamster I once owned from the 70’s, three girls who knew a guy who knew a guy who was related to another guy that who had a cousin who saw Captain Kangaroo live in concert, there still wasn’t much to look forward to.    Duh-Wayne chain smoked next to a bunch of oxygen tanks, Annie Jr. jumped around the room with his pogo stick making sure every other jump was on my bed, until I forbid him to use it and then he tied springs to his feet continuing to jump and sing ‘the wonderful thing about Annie”.   Annie dressed in a white lab coat ran around the hospital, picking up useful information about other patients, staff and visitors and would come back at the end of the evening with large pizza’s or hamburgers or something equally delicious smelling and share it with Duh-Wayne, Annie Jr. and the woman in the bed next to me (not me though because I was not allowed to have it) and regale them with tales about others.

She also got in the habit of bringing back large ice cream sundae’s heavily laden with multiple kinds of syrup, sprinkles, nuts, candy and whipped cream and sharing with that with the woman in the next bed as well.   No one could figure out why her sugar registered so high, it was almost as high as Duh-Wayne’s.    But as Annie always said about her own die-a-beat-us…”I can have a little bit of sugar,” when someone called her out as she reached for a chocolate bar then took and ate nine of them.

When I was finally able to eat, even though the food tasted good, I was only able to consume a little at a time.   Then Annie mixed up her chocolate and her ex-lax.   Not only both Annie’s and Duh-Wayne got diarrhea, but the lady in the next bed did as well.   Since she was unable to get out of bed, she had to use a bed pan and always had to go right during meal times.    I could actually see the smell come over and envelope my food.

Annie took full credit for the few pounds I lost.    Claiming the whole jiffy pop experiment was planned for this reason and this reason only thus relieving herself of any guilt she may have had, but didn’t over the fact I was in pain, my intestines would never be the same, I’d need another job to pay for the medical bills not to mention, I would be incapacitated for awhile.   Annie also took glorified credit to the fact that I now had a nice long summer vacation.

I was finally allowed to leave the hospital and begin that vacation.  Thus ending the saga of the Jiffy Pop experiment but the beginning of Annie Nightingale.



April Foolish Easter

Easter, another holiday where Annie lavished herself and her son with basket, after basket filled with every kind of egg decorated with gold paint and jewels, candy, toys, money. It was the kind of holiday when Annie felt a flock of baby ducks, and a herd of baby lambs, and little chickens snuggled with new born bunnies to keep warm, were at the top of her ‘need to get’ list.

This Easter also happened to fall on a special day for Annie. First, it fell on April 1st which was the day Annie had married her ferret wife Gladys. Normally Annie would spend part of April Fool’s Day, mourning the death of Gladys, even though, Gladys (the ghost ferret) stopped by quite frequently.

“That is what you do,” Annie had remarked one year as she mourned; while Gladys sat nearby. drinking a cup of ghostly tea; she seemed to enjoy Annie’s relentless wails of grief.

The latter part of April Fool’s day was spent pranking everyone. My phone would ring repeatedly, Annie’s custom ring tone would yell, “Slam it’s me Annie.” I would answer the phone knowing Annie would be at the other end asking, “YOU ODOR EGG ROW?” She wasn’t very good at it.

Since the holiday’s fell together this year and since both were a first for Annie Jr., Annie decided it must be special and Annie Jr. seemed to have brought Annie out of her normal April 1st Day funk. Oddly Annie decided to take Annie Jr. on vacation for the Easter holiday.

I was a little sad thinking I would miss Annie Jr.’s first Easter, relieved as I would avoid a basket full of raw rotten Easter eggs, that were still wet with the exterior wall paint Annie used to color them with.

But Annie had that coupon from the failing golf course and she wanted to take advantage of it before it expired, so she packed up her customized golf cart shaped like a pile of poop complete with stink, stink lines and flies. It putted along expelling a fart like noise as it moved forward and an obnoxious smell was emitted even worse than the obnoxious smell that was already present. And she packed up Annie Jr.

Annie Jr. who could not possibly leave his pet wolf home for even one night and Annie Jr.’s basket of Easter Eggs, some good, some raw, some rotten, some ready to hatch, some unknown species and ready to hatch. Then of course, no trip would be complete without a driver.

But Annie for some reason really liked driving the poop golf cart, standing on her hind feet steering it with her front paws , laughing like a crazy lunatic when an obnoxious smell, smelled even more obnoxious than ‘normal’. So Duh-Wayne, rode shot gun, making himself useful. Annie Jr. had several bags of prank eggs he was painting to look like golf balls, Duh-Wayne was helping.

Duh-Wayne’s family, “Duh-Difficult” he was called by them, was not really happy he was going to be gone over the holiday. Curry had a melt down asking who was going to wear the traditional Easter Bunny costume and hop around the back yard planting eggs filled with $20 bills, winning lottery tickets, $100 gift cards, silver and gold in very obvious places for good little girls with names like Abe and Bryan to find. Spam, who had Annie sitting on one knee and Annie Jr. on her other, said in a cold harsh voice, “I think you are spending just a little bit too much time with this ‘Annie’ person.” “Yeah, Duh-Wayne,” Annie echoed.

They all even pointed out that Duh-Wayne didn’t even play golf, however Duh-Wayne just shrugged and said, “It’s free!” As if that was all that mattered, since Annie was paying.

It didn’t really matter anyway, before Abe and Bryan even wiped the sleep out of their eyes, on Easter morn, Duh-Wayne was home; the trip suddenly cut short.

It happened this way, Annie decided since it was April Fool’s day that she should trade golf carts.  They were about half way through the course when Annie spotted a golf cart with what she called a ‘precedental seel’ on it.

“It was just sitting there empty,” Annie explained to me later.

Leaving the poop cart behind, the trio if you didn’t count the wolf, headed onto the next hole.   It was Duh-Wayne’s turn.   Annie Jr. placed the ball on the tee and Duh-Wayne gave it a healthy whack.   Instead of the ball busting on impact and emitting a horrible stench or freeing a baby bird or baby reptile, the ball actually flew through the air.

Duh-Wayne made a hole in one, however it wasn’t the right hole.   It was a rabbit hole, a big rabbit hole, a rabbit hole owned by an important rabbit.

Now every single person knows that the Easter Bunny has a huge candy making factory in a hole under the ground.   All year he and his barn yard or woodland friends or a combination of both depending on who is telling the story,  lay eggs and make candy.  Every single person also knows that although Walmart and dollar stores and grocery stores and drug store sell the exact same candy, the jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and eggs filled with yolky looking sweetness are 100 times better when made in the factory beneath the earth and delivered to your basket by a rabbit pushing a wheel barrow filled with candy through the night to well behaved children.

It was that rabbit and that hole where Duh-Wayne got his first and only hole in one.   Now having a ball zoom through the air at top speed and land in your hole can cause a great deal of damage.    Thank goodness, the bunny and his friends had left on vacation as soon as the last egg was hidden and no one was hurt.

Had the ball simply landed in the hole the damage would have been substantial, but fixable.   This ball exploded.   It exploded because it was April Fool’s Day and everyone had prank balls.

After that Annie decided she had her 50 cents off worth and turned around the cart with the ‘precedental seel’ on it.   She found her poop cart a short ways behind her, a baby duck, a baby turtle, and a baby lizard sat on the seat.   A short distance away was a man with yellow hair in tan pants, white shirt and red hat  shaking his golf club screaming, “WHY DO MY BALLS STINK?” whenever he teed off.

Duh-Wayne and the Annie’s along with the wolf and poop cart teleported home a short time later.   Annie had business to conduct.   She called the Easter Bunny and offered him a hole on her golf course which wasn’t failing and wasn’t exploded.   It was a win win for Annie.    She got rent money for a hole in the ground and the yard smelled like marshmallow shaped chickens covered with pastel colored sugar.

Duh-Wayne got to dress as a deranged Easter Bunny and hide eggs for Abe and Bryan. I got to enjoy Annie Jr. on his first Easter.   He and Annie both sitting on a mountain of candy gobbling it as fast as their mouths could move.

It was a April Foolish Easter.


Happy Birfday

The planning had been going on for a year, the ‘birfday’ trees had been planted March 23rd of 17.   I had assumed at the time, Annie was merely greedy with the tree that grew for an entire year and sprouted gifts after 365 days give or take and had planted an extra because somehow 15 trees were not enough.      I knew now it was all planned in advance and the second tree was for Annie Jr.

The giant cake was planned and constructed with plans Annie and Duh-Wayne drew with a compass, a protractor and a straight edge.   Spam pinned it shared it and Annie loved it and announced she ‘just had to use this idea for her special little guy’s first birthday.’

Packages had been arriving since Valentine’s Day had ended and it was getting confusing with Easter right on the tail end of a ‘Birfday’.   How Annie kept track of which packages were ‘Birfday’ ones and which were Easter ones, I am not sure; Annie never opened any of them because she wanted to be surprised.

Balloons were bought, goodie bags were fill then loaded onto the back of a flat bed truck and the back end of a red Chevy, fences and  a barn were constructed for a petting zoo complete with a pond for the baby ducks and the new born hippo, who Annie fed a bottle of hay to several times a day.   Duh-Wayne said it was a pooping gold mine.

Clowns were interviewed.     Annie hired an orange faced one named Spanky, he also ran a circus so Annie got more for her money, plus she got 50 cent coupon for an overnight stay in some failing golf course.   She was pleased, she loved driving golf carts.

A merry-go round was erected, tables littered the back yard, each covered with an array of different  themed  table cloths, plates and cups because the Annie’s could never make up their minds and had to have all the themes.   A pile of birthday cards stacked up in a large pile waiting to be opened and raided for money before being tossed in the burn pile unread but appreciated, nevertheless.

Stages filled a field as several bands fought for a place on one of them to sing a special ‘birfday’ song for the Annie’s.    Only the best were granted the pleasure.   I was worried when two guys showed up to play; introducing themselves as 40 year old stepbrothers, and they kept asking if this was Catalina Moose Made mixer.

AnnieTV had been counting down the days for weeks at midnight of March 23rd, sirens began going off and the tv screaming breaking news, that the Annie’s ‘birfday’ party had officially began and fireworks began going off in the back yard.    Would I ever get a full night’s rest.

“It’s my BIRFDAY!” Annie Jr. screamed landing on the bed the second, Annie’s coo-coo clock, came alive and a Wood pecker popped out and laughed long and loud twelve times.

“Annie Jr. it’s birthday,” I sighed stressing the ‘thuuu’ sound.

“It’s your ‘birfday’ too?” Annie Jr. screamed stressing the ‘fuuu’ sound.

“No Annie Jr. her ‘birfday’ is in MuuuMuuuMuuay not MuuuMuuuMuuarch.   And since that is when it is MuuuMuuuMuuuother’s day we skip it.” Annie announced.

I was just getting ready to explain when, Annie Jr. screamed “I’m one Grandfather!”

He jumped directly on his grandfather’s face and stifled a snore.  “Happy ‘Birfday’ grandson!” Grandfather said sitting up fully awake even though seconds before he had been sleeping through ear splitting noise as the Annie’s special day dawned.

I skipped explaining it because Grandfather was already pleading the Annie’s case to open one little thing before breakfast rolling a present laden hay wagon through the door and then another.

I got up and began making breakfast.   It was a work day however Annie’s birthday had somehow become a National Holiday.   It was paid, however your pay was transferred to Annie’s account.     If you happened to have a job where you had to work like a Nurse or a fireman, or a white house lawyer, you got double time and a half, and transferred double time and a half right straight to Annie.   It was her ‘birfday’ and people were glad to do it.

I honestly would have rather worked, but I was forced to cook breakfast, it was part of a legal agreement I was black mailed into signing; while the Annie’s tore open presents in the middle of the kitchen, filling the floor quickly with discarded wrapping paper.    Annie screamed over the new addition to her booger collection.  Annie Jr. covered grandfather with purrs and cuddles over his new live werewolf.

I glared at grandfather, who I had distinctly forbid to buy it.  He looked at me sheepishly shrugged and said, “I had one when I was a boy.”

“You did NOT!” I yelled.

Duh-Wayne and Spam arrived, blowing the siren of the fire truck Duh-Wayne had borrowed from Annie, to deliver the hoard of presents he had gotten. They came early because they had a cake to create.   Annie was already dragging out the mixer to beat a large bowl of something brown and quite ripe smelling to peaked points.

Duh-Wayne and Spam were dragging a large pan up the stairs, they could hardly get the thing through the door.   There was no way they were getting that in the oven, however, once Annie poured the icky mixture into it, in no time, Spam worked some kind of magic, and got it into the oven.    By that time, breakfast was ready.

Special mouse shaped ‘birfday’ pancakes for all were set on the table and everyone began gobbling and talking with their mouths full, food projectiles passing from one mouth to another; everyone but me.   Whatever flavor cake, Annie was baking, it smelled a lot like some kind of animal waste, that and the pleasant table manner’s made dieting very easy.

Just then Duh-Wayne, pushed his chair across the floor, farting and yelling, “Jet POWER!”  Everyone was laughing and clapping except me; suddenly angered at myself for getting kitchen chairs with wheels.   The kitchen floor looked like a race track now because of the jet powered chairs.

Before dishes were even washed, the caterers arrived.   A band of badgers dressed in white jackets and a real hyena sou chef trooped into the back yard.    Annie couldn’t possibly cook on her own birthday and there was no way I was going to make pulled road kill, and stink cabbage rolls.

Spam announced the cake was baked and with multiple pot holders  Annie, Spam and Duh-Wayne squeezed the huge hot cake through the door and out to the back yard to cool and decorate before the guests began to arrive at 7 am.   For a cat that appears to sleep all day, Annie seemed to never get an ounce of it, with her active lifestyle.

I watched from the window as the trio in the back yard removed the pan from the cake.  It was shaped like an enormous pile of poop.   Now I knew what flavor it was.   I backed away from the window reminding myself, it was a perfect time to begin a diet.

By 8 am the party was in full swing.   Annie’s posting of her epic cake fail, signaled the beginning.   She had put the eyes of the poop on the bottom the mouth on the top and the eyes were crossed other wise it simply looked like a gigantic pile of poop with an upside down face.

Food was eaten, presents and cards piled up, kids lined up to ride an Ostrich named Al and a giraffe named Shorty, people danced, ate, mingled and jumped in a bouncy house shaped like poop.

At high noon, the band began to play, and everyone cleared their throats and began to sing, “Happy Birfday” to the Annie’s.   I watched upstairs in the comfort of my living room.  It was broadcast on AnnieTV.     I would have preferred to watch something else, but Annie still had not given up the password for the parental block.

It was sort of weird hearing the singing coming out of the tv and coming from the back yard because the tv seemed to be on a two second delay.   So I actually heard everyone screaming and clapping before I saw the top of the cake open.   Slowly from the center of the cake, something began to rise.   It was Duh-Wayne dressed as a piece of corn coming out of the center of a poop cake, and the most epic fail of all, Duh-Wayne was dressed not only as a piece of corn it was candy corn.

More presents than any cat ever deserved littered the back yard, leftover plates covered with drips of bbq sauce, a half eaten poop cake, left over goodie bags, and popped balloons, became mine to pick up and put away after the party ended.   Annie Jr. was curled in a pile of wrapping paper, his whiskers covered with poop frosting, his werewolf snuggled close.  They both snored.

Annie was preparing for her best gift of all.   She and her Aunt Dinyell, had tickets to a concert.   Rod was coming and it was Annie’s dream to hear her favorite singer sing her favorite songs, live, in front of her, hopefully in a speedo.

With the back yard clean finally and Annie Jr. happily watching tv with his werewolf, (he named him Eddie), I settled down with him, smiling sheepishly at Eddie who growled.   I was baby sitting while Annie went to the concert.   I was happy to do it, the other choice was to go with Annie.

Annie left dressed in an appalling amount of make-up dressed in a short black skirt.  I got a text from her right before bed.   It was a picture of Annie and Din-yell dressed identically with Hay-Seuss dressed the same as Annie and Din-yell but in male attire along with Rod in a speedo.   Annie’s birfday wish had come true.   And so did Annie Jr.’s as he snuggled close to me on one side and Eddie on the other.





Scamming Annie

“Shut the front door!” Annie screamed one morning at the breakfast table, then jumped up. Her sludge sloshing out of her favorite, Garfield coffee cup with a thump on the table. Her toast points she was dipping in rat juice eggs (I am not sure what that even is), flipped plate and all into the air and landed on the table upside down.

Annie upset the chair she was sitting in as well. “Oh MY GAWD!” she screamed, jumping up and down.

She was shrieking like a siren. “Annie for heaven sakes what is wrong?” I cried.

“My debit card was declined for insufficient funds!” she cried. “I don’t even know what that means!”

“Annie it means you don’t have enough money in your account. It happens to you all the time and you just use my card.” I sighed, sort of mad that Annie cause such a stir over nothing.

“But I do have money,” Annie said. “It’s pay week. I have 7 million 9 hundred 82 thousand, 6 hundred 38 dollars and 14 and a half cents. I just checked.”

“14 and a half cents? And isn’t pay week next week?” I asked.

“Yes but I have that card that pays a week early,” Annie replied. She tapped at her lap top and then screamed. “It’s gone! See that with drawl?” she pointed to the screen.

Sure enough there was the deposit and with drawl, and it actually said 14 and a half cents. “Annie you need to call customer service.” I said.

“Oh Slam, you know I can’t deal with customer service reps. They all suck so much. They never try to help you. Here you call,” she handed me her phone.

I glared at her as I took the phone, because I was a customer service rep and I tried to help people. It was Annie, who, when she actually showed up to work, constantly answered the phone screaming, “Dave’s not here man,” and hung up on people. Lately however, Annie had been given off the phone work, she strolled around entertaining people with her banjo while Annie Jr. joined along on a kazoo.

I should have known that helping Annie with anything is a big mistake, however, sometimes, I forget. Sometimes, I get swayed in by something that appears easy. It was the prompts that sounded easy, surprisingly.

The words, “Press or say one to speak to customer service,” came out of the speaker of the phone I was holding. I pressed one. The phone said, “That is not a valid choice.” I pressed one again. The phone let me know I had pressed an invalid choice. So I said, “One.” Again not a valid choice. I repeated it louder and clearer. I screamed it. I spelled it. I tried Uno, I spelled Uno. I hit the one button rapidly. This went one for 15 minutes before annie said, “Customer service.” The phone replied in an annoyed voice. “Finally, thank you, just a moment while I connect your call.”

I should have hung up then but I somehow love to be tortured.   The voice prompt had spoke perfect sarcastic English with a normal American accent.   The customer service agent that answered had an accent, I was unable to define.   “Harrow, my name is Ut-oh, actually, harrow I hep ya?”

“Wait what is your name?” I asked not understand a whole lot of what was said.

“Ut-oh Pah S’gettio?” He sang his name in a question like it was common to be named after a canned spaghetti jingle.

I figured since I got this far I would continue.   I knew it sounded stupid, but I went on.   “My cat’s credit card got hacked.”  I said.

“Your fat birthday card got wacked?” replied the rep in now a distinctly, heavy Bronx accent.  “Yo’ we don’t sell birthday cards here baby girl. Calm down and eat some cake.”

“By the way,” he continued reverting back to the original accent.   “Harrow a good Barfday.”

“No my cat Annie, her credit card has a suspicious charge?”  I said again slowly.

“Your fat fannie, has a fart that is stinkily large?” replied the voice.   “Hold please!”

I heard no hold music instead I head Ut-oh say to his neighbor, “Lawd this girl be tripping she farting and everything.”

“I said nothing about a FART, Ut-Oh!” I screamed.

“Please continue to hold, while I research your account,” said a voice that sounded familiarly like the hold prompt.

“I did not even give you an account number,” I yelled back.

Just then Duh-Wayne came in.   ‘Duh-Wayne,  my credit card got sacked!” Annie screamed.

“Again, dear god Annie,” Duh-Wayne yelled, then took the phone and yelled into it, “Yo’ Ut-Oh it’s Duh-Wayne.”

“Big D…how goes it bro,” Ut-Oh responded.   “Annie’s credit card got sacked?” Then he flipped off the speaker phone and wandered into the other room asking after Ut-oh’s kids, Ragu and Cascade.

Duh-Wayne returned a short time later.   “Ut-Oh is sending out a new card express mail, you should have it in two hours. But they can’t give you your money back because that last time it happened they told you to get a new card.”

“Oh and wait two hours for a new one.   I need my money,” Annie screaming wringing her paws.

Just then Annie Jr. wandered in.   “Did you order my Wigwam, Mom-Mom?”  he asked, he was wearing a cowboy hat and spurs.   Lately Annie Jr. had been into the whole cowboy thing; ever since he found out his hero the Duke was really named Marion.   Annie Jr. thought Marion was as strong a name as Annie and if the Duke was named Marion no reason why there could not be a cowboy named Annie.

“Annie Jr. baby, honey, someone slacked my magic card, and I drained Slam’s card an hour ago getting 45 cases of corn removers.” she cried.

“You have CORNS?” Annie Jr. screamed in surprise.

“No,” Annie said, “I take care of my paws, but you never know.”

“I want my Wigwam.” Annie Jr. screamed.

“Baby honey, I have a new card coming,” Annie said looking at her watch. “you’ll have to wait sweetie.   It will be here any half hour.”

Annie Jr. stamped his foot at having to wait.   He was so like his mother.  “It will be longer than that,” I stated; feeling like being a Debbie Downer.  “You won’t have any money on your magic card.”

“Wait, what? I won’t!” Annie screamed.

“I told you Annie, “Duh-Wayne said.   “You gave that guy over there in Nigeria your credit card number so he could get buy wax to burn cause he has no electricity in his house.   You told him only $2.00 and he took it all, 8 times.  Ut-oh says you have reached your limit for refunds cause you wouldn’t change your number.”

“But I just got a new number, DUH! Duh-Wayne that is why I am waiting.”  Annie screamed hysterically.

“You had to change it last time,” Duh-Wayne said.   I was so relieved to know at least someone was looking out for Annie’s finances.   I mean she had that accountant, the one who looked like Mr. Magoo.   Annie chose him because he was a former sanitation engineer; he drove a garbage truck, into a tree, his first day on the job,  he couldn’t see, because Annie was trying on his glasses.   Annie hired him immediately.   He had no idea how to account for anyone’s money, however he had no idea how to drive a garbage truck either and he did that for 3.5 minutes.

“They aren’t putting it back, Annie,” Duh-Wayne said his lip curling into a frown and a tear forming in his right eye.   “No money til, next pay day.”

“I refuse to wait until tomorrow,” Annie screamed.

“I need my wigwam!” Annie Jr. screamed, shooting his cap gun multiple times into the ceiling.

“Annie Jr.!” I yelled. “I have told you not to shoot that cap gun in the house.”

“It’s not a cap gun, it’s a bb gun,” he yelled back.

“Annie why does he have a bb gun?” I asked concerned.   He was only a year old for heaven’s sakes.

“Cause he is a militia, Slam!  You need to check on your gum rights.   Second Armageddon.”  Annie replied.

“Annie that’s amendment.” I sighed.

“No it isn’t it’s the right to bare your arms…that is why you say ‘arm a getting’!  You need to stop watching the fake news channels, Slam.”

I shook my head.

“Besides,” Annie continued.  “That doesn’t get my money back.   Salami took my money and Salami should give it back, all of it.   We should quack him back, he has definitely over-quacked my account enough.”

“I will handle this,” Annie Jr. said.  He grabbed Annie’s cell phone, clicked the photo of a Salami, hit the send button.   “Hey Salami, it’s me Annie Jr.  Listen, Mom-mom said, you took all her money.” a long pause…”You didn’t? Well that is too bad cause I just got paid and I was going to give you my credit card number too.”   another long pause.  “Well the thing is someone quacked my credit card.   So I had to get a new one but it cost’s five dollars and I can’t get the card, without that five dollars so I was thinking, if you just give me your credit card number, I will take five dollars off and then send you my new card number.”   pause.   “Great, I will call you back in five minutes.”

By this time Annie’s new card had arrived and within minutes, Annie Jr. successfully transferred all the funds from Salami’s card onto Annie’s new card, blocked him from calling her and messaging her.   Since he hadn’t spent any more than the amount he needed to buy wax to light his home, Annie Jr. was able to get all of Annie’s money back from the 8 times he had hacked her account previously, plus all the people he had scammed money from for the past 12 years.

Annie ordered, two wigwams that day and life returned to normal.







St. Poopy’s Day

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, came off without a hitch and did not need to be put off a week due to snow, even though there was a lot of it. It was just not going to snow on St. Patrick’s Day; just cold very cold.

Because we all endured last year’s St. Patrick’s Day’s adventure, one would think it could never be topped. Who could forget Annie’s poop float and the bagpipe full of die-a-rear exploding in the kitchen at midnight; and how that said set of exploding bag pipes had somehow gotten stuck in Annie’s backside. The adventures she had with Kiko, the zombie dog, her pal, her confident, her brother of sorts with Annie’s own creation of a family tree.

However, that was last year; before Duh-Wayne, who was just a fart, waiting patiently to be let. With his creative mind and opposable thumbs, it was bound to be a St. Patrick’s Day the likes the world has never seen. It all began with the annual tradition of passing the shillelagh.

Duh-Wayne knew a guy who’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s Aunt Bert, was looking for a classic hearse, which Duh-Wayne had. Since Puffy grew stale in the cold wind and then slowly melted in the back yard and was now a big sticky, snowman, with a sailor hat, Duh-Wayne no longer needed the hearse with lights, a ghost in a red circle with a cross through it and a loud muffler. He traded it because Aunt Bert had a niece, who’s husband’s Uncle Sandy knew a guy who was a boss to a man whose Grandfather Patrick O’Callahan was in charge of the passing of the shillelagh. Favors got called in, there were 18 fights on social media, none of them about the shillelagh, and Annie wound up having the thorny walking stick in her possession and it with was with that honor; that Annie changed the theme of the parade to St. Poopy’s day.

She did keep the color green theme, since she had never learned her colors and figured it was her favorite color red, it pleased her beyond compare; especially since she had ordered all the snow along the parade route to be colored green. All the taverns, in tavern town, continue onward with their own planned festivities with the exception of serving green flavored Moose Made which Annie had complained fiercely about the year before. I am not sure what green flavored tasted like but I was not willing to try and find out either.


I knew it would come eventually, despite my list; list of movies, I did not want Annie to watch.   There were just certain movies, I didn’t want Annie watching and bringing to life.   Of course, it took me a while to learn not to introduce Annie to movies, and paid for it.   Like when Annie started filling the house with Beetles and then dumping juice over your head as you screamed beetle  so you would scream juice directly after, or when Annie bought an umbrella and began a nanny service.

Those were the tame years, things got worse as she got older so I just sort of began a list of banned movies.   Of course, not everyone paid attention to my list, because Annie and Annie Jr. decided it would be a good idea to fart in a crowded restaurant and keep doing it until Annie Jr. screamed, “Mom-mom you sharted!”   We had to quit eating out because of it, however it did not stop them, they instead would do it during dinner or breakfast or snack time right at our own kitchen table.   We won’t even go into Annie doing a striptease.

Annie had a plethora of friends and one of them was always suggesting, a movie Annie just needed to watch.   Duh-Wayne was the biggest instigator, literally every movie on my banned list was on his, ‘need to watch with Annie’ list.    I’d tried to work around some of them suggesting Annie was not old enough but since she had given parental permission to Annie Jr. she claimed it was not fair that she was unable to watch or she would just get permission from her own Mom-mom.   Basically my list was useless.

What made it worse is when a movie from the 80’s was on the banned list and then bam 30 years later, they remake it or put out a part two and the one from the 80’s which has lain dormant suddenly is on every single channel.

I had already endured weeks of red balloons and Annie stuttering out, “Bet your fur,” not to mention waking up to the Annie’s starring at me with blood red smiles and rubber noses.   I am so looking forward to part two of the remake of that one.

I should have known though.   It was bound to happen.   I’d seen the Annie’s faces close to Annie’s Ipad ear phones in, giggling over some cartoon, Siri had discovered for Annie.  I should have been concerned.  Then, one day, I over heard Annie exclaim to Duh-Wayne, “A movie?  Hiiiiiighhhhhhhh!” Then, “More than one? Got it made in the shade!”

I felt nag in the pit of my stomach. That little instinct that tells you something isn’t right.    It was the kind of feeling that feels  like it has teeth and is having a snack on your inner abdominal walls.  With Annie, I felt that feeling 2952 times a day, so even though it should have been a huge warning to me, I was so used to it, I missed all the signs.

I missed it when Annie and Duh-Wayne dragged home an old grand piano.   Annie stated she was determined to learn to ‘play the thing’.   The only thing she ever learned was playing two keys repeatedly over and over stating, “This drives, Slam nuts.” It did.

Then Duh-Wayne started driving an old hearse or maybe an old ambulance, it had lights and a faulty muffler and blew smoke, but Duh-Wayne was always dragging home some sort of ‘classic’ vehicle he and Annie needed to restore.   I have no idea where they found the time but I for one was getting tired of washing the Annie’s coveralls that appeared as if they rolled in motor oil which Annie Jr. admitted to doing on several occasions.

Annie said, “I need to teach him boy stuff, cause YOU SLAM, got him all confused.   Putting a dress on him and sending him to school naming him Annie.   Poor guy; but my son Annie Jr. is no girly girl.   He’s a Boyly Boy.”

“Annie YOU told me he was a girl and YOU named him Annie and YOU borrowed that dress from K8.   Besides it’s Manly man not Boyly Boy. ”

“You don’t know your own gender,” She spat and arched her back.

Then one day on my way to the market, Annie handed me her list.   It had one item, 14 cases of the one item, written in large scrawled print, capital letters, “Jumbo Smarshmallows; not little ones;  Jumbo Slam; do you hear me?”   She did not use punctuation on her list though, it was all lumped together, hear was spelled here, and yes she did spell marshmallows as smarshmellows, but I wrote it how I heard her voice in my head say it because she yelled it repeatedly like a siren as I walked to the car.

I did pause to question her reason for marshmallows, I mean who needs that many, without rice krispies or something.   “Snores, Slam, we are making snores.”  I knew what she meant but advised her they were difficult to make without chocolate and graham crackers.    She grabbed the list and quickly added two cases of chocolate bars, two cases of graham crackers, and two cases of regular sized marshmallows.     It seemed legit but I still had that nagging sense of dread.

I started the car,  and this ladies voice rang out of the speakers singing, “Sitting on the toilet, sitting on the toilet.” I ejected Annie’s CD.   That had to have been the dread.  I mean who wants to hear that when they start the car.

The quiet ride to the store calmed me although Annie’s list took up most of the room in the vehicle forcing me to get one tiny bag, which I had to carry on my lap.   I hated how Annie could never get one or two of any item, it had to be three or four cases and lately it had gotten worse.    She had found a book in that box she claimed came from the past about a hoarding rabbit.   Annie loved that book.

When I came home that nagging dread returned.   I felt  it was just because I was home.   I always had that feeling when I pulled in the driveway and all the lights in the house were on, and the music was thumping and Annie’s friends were a steady trail of those coming and those going.   We had to replace the sidewalk at least once a month the foot traffic wore it down so.

When I came upstairs, dragging as many bags as my hands could carry. I understood the dread.   Asa had returned.    His lawn mower was going at full speed, I heard it as I tripped over his wheelchair in the hallway.    He claimed his legs were blown to smithereens back in WWII, however he had a habit of stamping loudly around the house late at night.   Annie claimed it was his peg leg, as she creepily creaked his old wooden chair around in the darkness.

I was glad he moved out and now he was back.   I came into the room and there was another wheel chaired bound haunt Annie later introduced as Stephen she pronounced Stefan.   He was a wizard Annie claimed with a scientific mind.

“Annie!” I screamed.   “Why are these ghosts here?”

Just then from out of no where popped Janey wearing a pair of glasses, asking, if I had indeed saw a ghost.   “Yes,” I screamed waving my arm around as if to ward them off.

Then a bell rang as Janey, screamed, “Guys we got one!”

It was then that I noticed the fire pole which Annie, Duh-Wayne, Annie Jr and Grandfather came sliding down.    “Are you now menstoooooooooooating,?” Annie screamed at me.   As Annie Jr ran some sort of light meter over me.

It then dawned on me.   “Annie please you don’t need any more ghosts!”

“It’s not for ghosts,” Annie retorted.

“Then why is he here?” I asked pointing at the new ghost.

“He is here to help me with my time machine so it works better,” Annie explained.   “He is a wizard.   You get my smarshmallows?”

I nodded.    Then, out the door she and her goof troop ran, taking the cases of marshmallows with them.    I smelled a campfire, I smelled s’mores and finally decided to go out and partake.

I heard Annie yell, “Here Puffy, here is your sailor cap.”

Then it dawned on me.   What was worse than a house full of ghosts; a ninety foot man made of marshmallows, and there he stood in all his glory eating s’mores with Annie and the gang.

Puffy the s’more eating Navy Marshmallow man, now a member of our family until he catches fire or melts.









Back to the Farm

“Read me this book, Slam,” Annie Jr. said climbing into my lap, forcing a book into my hand.

“I had this book when I was little,” I said feeling overwhelmed with nostalgia.

“It is your book,”  Annie Jr. replied.  “look here is your name and here is that piece of gum you got stuck to it back in ’72.”

Sure enough there was my name written in large scrawling hand writing and a piece of gum on the back page dirty and black from the years of dust it had collected back when it was still sticky.

“Where did you get this?” I asked assuming for some reason, it had found it’s way into a box and been long ago forgotten and stored.   I mean I hadn’t seen any of my old books for a really long time.

“Outta this box,” Annie Jr. said pulling a large book laden box towards me.

I had never seen this box of books.    I picked one out, it was one I used to have and so was the next and the next.   “Where did this box come from?”  I asked.

“Mom-mom, gave it to me.  She said they were yours,” Annie Jr. explained. “You really liked stories about cats.”

I watched Annie Jr. separating books and setting the ones about cats in a pile.  “How come you scribbled this kid’s  eyes on every page?”  he asked.

“Because he found a basket of kittens on a treasure hunt and I wanted to find them,” I answered absently and then.  “Wait; what? Let me see that book!”

Annie Jr. handed me the book and I thumbed through it, I vaguely remembered scribbling out that little boy’s eyes because I was so jealous he found kittens.  I looked for a similar basket for days and not being able to find one, I had  scribbled his eyes out in anger.    It couldn’t have been my book, Annie in no way could have gotten them.

She had mind control device in which she could read my thoughts.  I wondered; had she bought these books, scrawled my name in them and colored out eyes with a pen.  It was quite possible, but Annie didn’t chew gum though.

Just then Annie came strolling into the room.    “Hi Mom-mom!” Annie Jr. screamed.  “These books are GREAT!   Thanks Mom-mom!”

“Your welcome, Annie Jr. my special little guy!”  Annie purred.

“Annie?” I yelled.  “Where did you get these books?” I asked.

“From my time machine,” Annie said.

I shook my head, I still didn’t believe that Annie’s time machine actually worked.   It was made out of a vacuum cleaner box, contact paper, some empty tuna cans and a crudely drawn red button that said, ‘fart’.

Annie Jr. still going through the box, was stacking them in categories.   “Slam you musta really loved cats.”  Annie Jr. remarked.

“We had lots of cats when I was little,” I replied, thumbing through a book about a set of twins turning two.

“You have lots of cats now.”  Annie Jr. said. looking up.

“We had lots more than now,” I sighed remembering my childhood.

“And they all lived in your house?” Annie Jr. cried in disbelief.   Annie by this time had crept close and was listening intently.

I gave her a sly look as I made my reply, “Of course not Annie Jr.   Cats had it hard back then.   They lived in the chicken house, and had to earn their keep, keeping it free from rats.”

“You could discriminate back then?” Annie Jr. asked.

“Discriminate?”  I asked.

“Yeah you had housing for cats and chickens and not the rats?   They need housing too. ”

“The rats would eat the chicken food,” I said.

“Then ya shoulda buyed them some rat food.   They can’t starve you know.   Think about Templeton, he had to eat old left over slop,” Annie Jr. screamed waving a book with a pig and a spider on it at me.

I sighed.

“Look at all of these farm books.   Did you live on a farm too?” Annie Jr. asked thumbing through a book I remembered with fondness.

“We had chickens and for a little while ducks and occasionally a rabbit, but it wasn’t  a farm.”  I explained.

“Is that where the old guy lives?” Annie Jr. asked.

“What old guy?” I asked having no idea what Annie Jr. was talking about.

“Remember when Mom-mom and K8 were little and you would say, One day K8, Mom-mom, and Slam were taking a walk and they found a little teeny itty bitty tiny baby goat and you would feed it a bottle.   Every day you found a different itty bitty teeny tiny little animal and take it home.”   Annie Jr. said.

“Yes, I remember.” I said fondly thinking of stories I would create for my K8 when she was little bitty teeny tiny.

“AND YOU FORGOT?” Annie Jr. screamed.

“Forgot what?” I shrugged having no idea what Annie Jr. was talking about.

“You told K8 that all those animals you got were living on a farm with some old guy and he was holding them for you and when you gotted rich you would buy the farm?”  Annie Jr. said excitedly jumping around as he spoke.

“Annie Jr. it was a story, there were no baby animals and there is no farm.  Besides, I don’t know the first thing about farming.” I explained.

“Mom-mom said you know a whole lot about pulling teats, she said it was one of your first good paying jobs.”   Annie Jr. responded.

“It was a long time ago, and we are not buying a farm.   Now go drag that box of books your Mom-mom drained my bank account for into the other room and find just a couple that I can read you before bed time.”

Later that evening, Annie Jr. settled down for sleep after his ‘couple’ (14) books.   “You, K8 and Mom-mom used to play the wonder pets too right?”  He asked drowsily.

“Yes,” I replied.   His purr relaxing me, his drool dripping on my arm.

“Mom-mom and Duh-Wayne play it with me.”  Annie Jr. said.   “Mom-mom always thinks up good stuff.   Like today it was a cow stuck in a garden hose and Duh-Wayne had to suck him out and save him.  Mom-mom calls Duh-Wayne suction lips now.”

Annie Jr.’s purr became loud and strong, my arm lay in a puddle of icky cat drool.   “I wish we had a farm.   I could just see you walking around with a piece of straw in the side of your mouth, a pair of bib overhaul with “Slam” written across the front.”

His eyes snapped shut and I quickly followed.   I had just hit that hard fast sleep and I heard the birds chirping outside and saw the light streaming through the window.    Annie Jr. was just standing up and stretching.   That was a fast sleep, I thought as I stretched.

I didn’t feel refreshed at all, and the bed felt lumpy and weird.   It squeaked when I moved.   Memory foam doesn’t squeak.   The blanket felt weird, then I opened my eyes and looked down.   It was the bed spread I had as a kid, the one with the big strawberry.

I sat up opening my eyes wide, surprised I could see so well without my glasses.   I was in my old room, that tacky pink painted room with the ugly chocolate brown trim.   I could smell the lemon pledge my mother’s house was famous for.   Exactly as I remember it, except for the Annie’s sitting on my bed.   Annie Jr. still rolling around and stretching and Annie looking at me with a huge cat smile; her eager face pleasantly obvious.

“I’m going back to sleep, Annie,” I yelled.   “I have begged you not to use your dream control device on me.”

“I used my time machine, Slam.” Annie said.   “We are back at the farm.”

“Annie I will never believe your time machine works and I never lived on a farm!” I said, laying back down and pulling the sheets over my head, noticing for the first how hard that feather pillow was.

“You worked on a farm!” Annie Jr. screamed jumping on my head.  “And it’s Saturday.   Remember that is the day you said you cleaned the barn?”

“Come on Slam, up and at ’em.   We need to get down to some serious teat pulling,” Annie yelled.

“Slam, breakfast is ready,” I heard my mother call.   Why was she calling me Slam?

“Annie turn that machine off,” I hissed, covering my head further under the covers.

“Slam, come on, you need to get to the barn,” my mother kept calling.

Annie Jr. stood by the side of my bed with a pair of bib overhauls with Slam written across the front.   I knew my mother would keep yelling and Annie would keep the dream going unless I just went along with it.   I jumped up and grabbed the pants and put them on.    “Annie you are going to get it,” I hissed again and shook my fist at her.

My mother had never gotten up at 4 am to fix me breakfast and no one in the family would have been up at that hour but there they all were gathered around the table.   “Hi Slamma Aunt Loose-wheels and Slap ya Uncle Pan,” Annie Jr. screamed.

“Hi Annie and Annie Jr.” my mother said.

“Have a piece of cheese,” my father said dropping an entire brick on the floor.   There were already several bowls of cat food all different kinds on the floor, the entire living room was filled with a huge cat house structure.

“Now  I know you are lying Annie, they didn’t have those cat houses back then.”  I said.

“Why; that sweet little cat would never lie, ” my mother said setting  a huge sausage sandwich in front of Annie who was sitting up at the table in the old high chair.   “She drew the plans and your father made it with wood.”

I looked over at my brother who was pouring orange juice on his bowl of boo-berries while reading a comic book.   “Why are you pouring orange juice on your cereal?” I asked.

He sighed really deeply and replied, “Annie drank all the milk.”

“Oh, Sigh, ” Annie sighed equally deeply,  “I will bring you some more when we get back from the farm.”  She sang the end part like it was part of a reality show.  ‘Back from the farm,” she sang again and everyone but me laughed.

Annie jumped up quickly and said, “I know you’ll want coffee, Slam.”   She grabbed a cup and poured hot water from the tea kettle into it.   “She drinks coffee now.” Annie explained to everyone.

I sat there looking around, sort of feeling dizzy trapped into a dream created and controlled by Annie.   I didn’t even stop to think when I saw her pouring the water from the tea  kettle that the coffee would be instant.   Instant coffee was the worst and I never even noticed that Annie was putting tablespoon after tablespoon of coffee into the cup.

Annie set the cup in front of me and absently I took a long drink, then I choked gagged, and tried not to throw up as I swallowed it just to get the awful taste out of my mouth.  “Annie this is awful.   It’s thick.” I yelled.

“You wanted it, you better be drinking it,” my father said.   “No waste in this house.”

I’d forgotten about that, too.   I glared at Annie as she said, “Drink it up, Slam.   We gotta feed the pig.”

“What pig?” I asked.   “There was never a pig.”

“Top of the morning to you all,” I heard a very British sounding voice say.

“Hi Gracie,” everyone but me shouted as Din-yell’s pig Gracie came into the room.

“There’s a pig now, Slam,” Annie screamed.

“Annie Gracie doesn’t talk and she is not from England she is from Brooklyn.” I said.

“Not anymore,” Annie yelled.

Gracie sat down at the table and began daintily slurping a  cup of English tea and nibbling on a spot of tomato and a sausage link.   I shook my head watching Gracie at the table and my mother letting a stream of chickens through the front door while my Dad tossed fried eggs onto the floor calling, “here chick chick.” I noticed a white duck with a pink hair band around his neck and a diaper among them.

“Come on, Slam, time to pull some teat,” Annie screamed.

“Annie will you stop saying that!” I yelled back.

“Saying what?” Annie looked at me confused.

Annie Jr. was getting several more hugs from my mother and eating one more pound of cheese out of my dad’s hand.   “Bye Slamma Aunt Loose Wheels,” Annie said giving my mother a large noisy smack on the cheek.   “Love ya sweetie, I will bring your angel Annie Jr. back often.”

I was so confused.  My mother hated cats, well she grew to like them over the years but, this was way over the top.   Mom was actually sniffing back a tear.   Well, at least that meant we weren’t staying and eventually I would wake up from this crazy dream.

“Slap ya Uncle Pan,” Annie screamed and kissed my father atop his bald spot.

Dad handed her a brick of cheese.  “Take care of yourself, Annie.”  He opened his wallet and handed her two one hundred dollar bills.   “You’ll need it taking care of that young cat by yourself.”

Annie sniffed back a tear but I could tell her eyes were laughing.   She played them like a fiddle.   Annie sighed deeply, then ran over and rubbed my brother on top of his head messing up his hair.   “Sighhhhhhh,” she screamed.   “I lied.   There is milk in the fridge.  I milked the rats before bed.”  Then she yanked the comic book out of his hand and said, “Give this a whirl,” I saw the title.   “Life with Annie.”  There was a crudely drawn cat on a scooter headed towards a building labeled ‘poop factory’.

“HIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow Annie, thanks.  Mom, look at this!!!!  And rat milk! Got it made in the shade!” He said jumping up and opening the fridge.

“Don’t you waste that bowl you already have,” Dad yelled.

I walked out the door.   Annie and Annie Jr. followed me down the road to the neighbor’s barn.   “Annie, I am not sure what kinda stuff you are pulling,” I yelled at her once we were out of ear shot of the house, “but after this barn time and getting your fill of ‘pulling teat’ you better be waking me up or whatever you have to do, but I want to be back in my own bed in my own house.  Got it.”

“Sure Slam, sure.”  Annie said, then whispered to Annie Jr. , “She’s nuts.”

The barn was exactly the same as I remember but not the people in it.   Instead of my neighbors, it was Duh-Wayne, accompanied by Abe and Bryan.   “Why are they here?” I screamed.   “They weren’t my neighbors.”

“I don’t know your neighbors,” Annie screamed.

“Well come on let’s get this over with.”   I demanded.

We milked cows by hand, by machine, wore one of those funny things strapped to your rear end to sit on while your milked.   We fed the calves, from a bucket, from a bottle, climbed a silo, fed the cows.   Then the highlight of the day, we cleaned the barn.

Annie started it first tossing a large cow patty at the back of my head.  Annie Jr. went next and Abe and Bryan followed suit, pelting me with cow poop.   Then we mucked out the stalls and scraped down the floors and watched all that poop slowly move around on a track into the back of a poop spreader.

Once the barn was totally ship shape, I begged Annie to please end my crazy dream.   “One last thing slam, we need to spread the poop.  Start the tractor, Duh-Wayne.”

Duh-Wayne jumped in the seat and started the old red international.   “Fords better,” Annie screamed.

“No, I’d take an international any day,” Duh-Wayne screamed back.

Abe and Bryan jumped onto either seat over the tires, an Annie sitting next to each of them.   I was forced to stand behind the seat.   Duh-Wayne lurched the tractor forward and out of the barn.   He kept shifting the gears screaming,”lets see if we can get this up to 180 Annie, got that flux whatchacall it?”

Steam was coming out of the smoke stack as the tractor chugged faster and faster.  Abe and Bryan were screaming, “Faster, faster.”  Poop was flying from the back.   Everyone was laughing with glee and I was screaming.

I awoke with a start.   I sat up and rubbed my eyes, trying to get them to focus.   My bed.  My room and I couldn’t see without my glasses.   What a weird dream, I was thinking.

I got up wondering what in the world smelled so bad.   I realized it was me.  Bib overhauls, Slam written across the front covered in cow poop, my hair in braids.   I turned around knowing I would have to strip my bed and put fresh sheet on it, then I noticed the spread had a large strawberry on it.
I stripped the bed and headed to the shower. Just another day in the life with Annie.  17626287_1522307404466917_5501380554968191631_n