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












Be Sos’ed

We all know how obsessed Annie is with television and making whatever show she likes come to life. She has done it forever, and mostly it’s annoying; occasionally painful, like getting hit with Annie’s barbed wire covered bat. But it isn’t always Annie acting like someone in the show, sometimes it is creating a certain character.

When K8 was young, Annie became obsessed with one of those preschool shows with adults running around acting like nut balls. Then one day I came home to three grown men running around dressed in coveralls. K8’s other Slam knew a discount place to get those blue coveralls. Her husband preferred them, so she hooked Annie up. He was in the running for a lead part in Annie’s hobby, however he couldn’t play an instrument. Neither could any of the others, maybe it was because he was bald.

After that was Fat Albert and the gang, following me around everywhere I went. My voice grew hoarse screaming, “Get out of the bathroom,” and them looking at each other perplexed asking each other, “What’s a bathroom?” What a mess it when Annie got tired of them and tried to shove them back through the tv.

Over the years, I just sort of accepted this part of Annie. I mean it never lasted, they never stayed very long. They would either move out when Annie got tired of it; or she tried to shove them through a television set. She kept them close, though often allowing them to live in one of her condemned housing projects.

I knew it was coming. She talked about it day and night how if she could just wiggle her nose, instantly she would have a donut, or a cheeseburger or a mouse tail, covered pizza.

She had no real desire to be a witch, she felt that whole part of it was nonsense especially if you had to live with someone like ‘Dustpan’ which ‘she did’; pointing directly at me. As a matter of fact she did call me, ‘Dustpan’ and ‘Dogwood’ every chance she got. She just wanted whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it.

It didn’t even matter that her gofer Duh-Wayne made several trips a day to local eateries with several carts he would tow behind his scooter bringing Annie food. She used to do it herself but Duh-Wayne seemed to take over more and more, some of those tasks she found too challenging.

‘Too cold,” she complained, when Duh-Wayne returned with a cart load of fast food.

Even the teleporter, which delivered food so promptly it steamed, wasn’t good enough for Annie because she still had to pay for it. Annie wanted to wiggle her nose and have it right in her paw, hot tasty and free. With Annie, sometimes, waiting was not an option.

She new she would need to find a witch, but it would not be easy. When Annie was unable to fit properly in a pair of coveralls, it was as easy as finding three random guys to wear them. When she decided her hero, Don should move in, she simply bought a bright yellow hair piece and found a big guy with little hands and bone spurs. He was one of the easier ones, he just sat in the bed eating the cold cheeseburgers from the cart outside, drinking gallons of diet coke and watching tv. The only bad part was having to read him those political newspapers. He liked having them read to him, with a lot of expression and if there were pictures you had to hold it up so he could look at it while you read. He in turn would scream fake news after every other word, with a mouthful of cheese burger. We are still wiping it off the tv.

However, finding a witch, who could wiggle her nose and instantly give Annie her heart’s desire, was like finding a needle in a hay stack. I mean Annie had been trying to wiggle her nose and make something happen for years, she even made Siri make that noise like the tv witch and nothing happened. “A witch has  to be someone really special,” Annie said “Tossing a ferret on your head and eating cheese burgers is easy.”

It took a total of three hours; Annie, with the help of Siri, was able to serf the internet; high and low; going into the dark nether regions. There, she was able to post an ad seeking a witch who could wiggle her nose and give Annie her heart’s desire in exchange for housing; our housing.

That is how Samantha Olive Oil Stevens; Sos for short, came to live with us. She wasn’t a shapely blonde, she actually looked more like Olive Oil, but a shorter version; like if Olive Oil was an elf. She wore extremely large shoes so she could fill the ends of them with rocks. She had to weigh herself down somehow, otherwise she would blow away. She weighed next to nothing.

She didn’t have long scraggly traditional witch hair either. It was short and grey. She didn’t have warts but she did have a big witch nose.   She claimed her brother once accidently mistook her nose for a nail and broke it with a recoilless hammer, but she had a large pointy chin as well.   I didn’t ask about that.

She had a cackling witchy laugh combined with a unique kinda snicker.   She didn’t have a caldron to stir up some kind of magical spell, she couldn’t cook.   She didn’t ride a broom, she drove an old green Chevy Nova; two door with a white racing stripe.   She didn’t have a husband named Darwood or Dogbed, but she did have a duck.

A duck named Matthew; Matthew Jason Peep-peep Christopher Joey to be exact, what else would he be named.     Sos called him Mattie.   Mattie was her familiar. All witches have one of those.

She often took him for walks with a hair band around his neck; a leash attached to it and a plastic diaper with the tail cut out.   Sos loved the ‘new fangled diapers’ as she called them, however she always put the plastic on the inside and fastened them with a roll of black electrical tape.   She never could figure out why they leaked.

Mattie the familiar duck was quite the character, however he was evil.   He absolutely hated everyone except Sos.    I spent more time standing on top of my bed screaming and hoping up and down out of breath because Mattie had put his head down and came chasing after me; his wings flapping.   He wasn’t able to get on top of the bed.  Old Sos would stand near by laughing her cackling laugh tears running down her face. Annie joining in screaming, “Get her Mattie!”

You didn’t want to bend over any where because Mattie would come bite you in the rear end.   However, if you bent over in the back yard to dig him up some worms, he might quack nicely to you.   He laid eggs.

For a while, things with Sos were okay.   She would wiggle her nose and Annie would instantly have her heart’s desire in her hot little hands.   That worked out well for me because Annie wasn’t spending  my money like a drunken sailor.   She didn’t need to as a matter of fact with the wiggle of a nose, her bank account increased; not mine; just hers.

It couldn’t last though.   Annie and Sos were similar; as far as personality goes.   They were both controlling and sadistic.     When it came to this they butted heads; Sos would withhold nose wiggles to get Annie to do her bidding and Annie would pee in the can of frosting, Sos was inclined to eat in the middle of the night with several squirts of Annie’s home made maple syrup.

“You just can’t wiggle your nose and get that!” Sos would exclaim loudly as she gummed it happily in the kitchen, because at that time of night, Sos would have her dentures soaking in a cup of bleach.

Sos, as mentioned couldn’t cook, but for her that was okay, because she didn’t eat either, except for her midnight frosting snacks or occasionally, a plate with one tablespoon of each item of food served and eating only half of it then complaining she was so full she might barf.    Sos liked to clean, though, that was her thing.

She woke promptly at 2 am, fully rested, after filling her belly at midnight.   Cleaning would commence, you would wake fully at 2:08.   By that time, the house was full of the intoxicating smell of several house hold cleaning products mixed in a bucket.   It didn’t matter that there was a warning in huge letters not to mix certain products together, Sos did it anyways.   Sometimes there was a small explosion and a puff of steam coming from the mop pail.

The vacuum cleaner would be going, a feather duster would tickle your face if you didn’t get up quick enough, the washer would be going, the dryer would be going, clothes would be quietly making noises out on the line, beds would be stripped, everything sparkled.   I was in heaven; even though Sos had a habit of tossing things out.

Occasionally, it was annoying; like when you would put your pay check and car keys on the counter, in order to grab your purse from the chair behind you and in that instant, Sos would have removed them and put them away, which normally meant in the garbage.     She hated clutter except for her Moose collection.

This is where the problems began.   Annie loved moose, especially if it was something Moose made, but it was the  collections that caused the rift.    Sos had her lovely Moose collection, but tossed a great many of Annie’s collections out.   Out went Annie’s rotten potato collection, out went the dust collection, and the spider web one Annie had been collecting for years.   The used diaper collection Annie had been collecting since K8 was born went into a garbage bag and into a dumpster, which already had Annie Jr. box collection and his bread tie collection.   It was this, and this alone. which made Sos’s stay with us quite short.

All in all the pair really loved each other.   In the end, Sos went to live with Aunt Paulie.   They got along much better.   Mattie, now chased Aunt Paulie who didn’t run quite as fast as me.   Sos nagged Aunt Paulie all day long, but she kept the place clean.   It worked.

Sos gave Annie, the ability to wiggle her nose three times a day and get her heart’s desire.  Annie tried holding out for more but Sos had the upper hand.   In exchange, Annie agreed to tell Sos if any family member had splinter because Sos enjoyed removing them with her long darning needle and Annie kept Sos stocked up with home made maple syrup.

It was a win win for both of them.   We had been Be Sos’ed.   Life would never be the same.




Poor Man’s Christmas

Valentine’s Day is always one of my favorite times of year.   How could it not be?   All the reds and pinks with some white to set it off.

I remember back in grade school, taking almost an entire afternoon to create some sort of box decorated with library paste and sloppily cut out hearts so in the coming days, we would have some place to put the box of seventy nine cent pre-made valentines in.  Sometimes this project lasted a week or more and to top it off, an afternoon spent opening those cheesy valentines, and getting stuffed full of cup cakes and cookies and candy.    Who couldn’t love missing even one afternoon of math or science?

Selecting my box of Valentine’s was always a good time, then sitting at the table, making sure the right card went to the right kid.   Nope, not that one, (he or she) might think I like them…neutral card.

Going with your dad to the neighborhood drug store to pick just the right box of chocolate for your Mom.   Making sure you select the box that has lots of candies with nuts instead of gaggy lemon cream, because you know that most of those candies will wind up in your own belly.   And, I will say it here and now, Dad was wrong my mom really did want that heart shaped box of chocolate with that lovely doll on top of it, even though she would have given it to me, she really wanted it.

As I grew older enough to appreciate the day of love, I found it wasn’t that monumental, until it started coinciding with tax return season.   I, then began to see the day of love in with new eyes.   For me it was poor people’s Christmas.

“Sorry kid’s I know you wanted that (fill in the blank) for Christmas but tax time is coming so is Valentine’s Day.”

For me it was also the one time of year, Annie wasn’t draining my ‘magic card’ and I had a limited amount of time to drain it before Annie could.    Tax season Annie seemed to have a never ending supply of cash, she had lots of dependents, and write offs, and deductions;  her usual refund was larger than her over all yearly income which was more than six figures.

Since, Valentine’s Day, coincided with Annie’s annual tax refund lottery, she had to follow her traditional, festivities.    Since this was Annie’s Jr’s first Valentine’s Day, she wanted it to be very special.

It doesn’t matter how ‘technically’ rich, Annie is, she somehow feels the struggle of the poor, probably because most of the time she spends her money so fast she rarely has any available liquid cash.    She finds the positive aspects  of poverty, and finds peace there.   So ‘Poor Man’s Christmas’ is a magical event for her, well any event where Annie will get something is magical.

Annie carefully dresses for the beginning of her festivities.   She puts on her wig, complaining her hair is thinning, attaches a dozen hair curlers then wraps it in a scarf.   Next she puts on her face; applying make up without washing the sleep crust and goo out of her eyes is important.    She continues wearing the same plaid pajama pants she has been wearing for the past three days, puts on a hot pink top that says, ‘Kiss my grits!” in sparkly letters.   Then gets Annie Jr. ready.

She messes up his hair, and dresses him in pants that are way too long, and a shirt that is way too tight so it rides over his fat little belly.   No shoes and maybe one sock.  She hands Annie Jr. a bottle of highly caffeinated  carbonated beverage to make sure he is completely wound up.   Then she is ready to go.

Typically, Annie would take the city bus, down to the Walmart, however, after what happened last year, breaking the handicapped lift on the bus because she was hauling 18 shopping carts behind it, she decided a new approach was more appropriate.

She bought herself a car, a station wagon, from the 80’s.   It was a cross between burgundy and brown a dusty sun bleached, kinda color.    The two front doors were different colors one was yellow and one was green, neither of the windows opened.   There was fake paneling on part of the car and real paneling on the other half.   There was a third seat in the back that Annie said was a plus because, not only could Annie Jr. watch the road going by through the big rusted out hole back there, but if the brakes quit he could stick his feet through and stop the car.  It sounded like a machine gun as it roared to life and all four of the bald tires wobbled and looked as if they would fall off any second.   Annie said it was because she was missing a few lug nuts, she had five to be exact.   She purchased it at the local junk yard, she registered it, slapped on a ten day inspection sticker and was good to go.   It had a luggage rack though, Annie justified.   ‘Widder Hen’ was written on the back of it in orange spray paint.   She named her, ‘Carol’ after the Brady’s mom.   The stereo which worked well surprisingly played a continuous loop of the Brady’s greatest hits along with an occasional song like ‘Rocking Robin’.   Annie would pull up along side old guys with crazy hats and long hair, thump her music and make faces at them.

I had planned my own outing that day, keeping the whole thing under wraps, because Annie seemed to always horn in on any plans I had and make them her own.   I was planning a shopping day with my daughters, but, different town, different Walmart, no chance of running into Annie, besides her car wouldn’t make it too far although part of her plans involved getting some parts to fix up her car.

I left  after Annie was well on her way to the local Walmart with Duh-Wayne following behind with his scooter tow truck out fitted with a complete car repair kit.  Annie claimed triple A was too expensive.

Dinyell, Slamma Jr, K8, Phil and I pulled into a Walmart several towns away we even changed our plans twice, we parked and the absolute second we did, we heard the unmistakable sound of Annie’s old rattling death trap pull up beside us and there is Annie in her curlers waving and Annie Jr screaming, “HI SLAM!” from the back.   Old black dusty foam is covering his face because there is no fabric on the roof of the car just the foam and it constantly falls down like a snow storm.   His nose is and has been running and it looks like some weird sort of painting across his upper lip, greens, yellows brown all weaved together and different textures.

“I didn’t know you were coming to THIS Walmart.”  Annie said.

“Yes you did!” K8 said.   “You texted me and asked me.”

“Oh well let’s go shopping,” Annie said, hopping out of the car, shoving Annie Jr. into my arms.   I grab some wet wipes from Phil’s diaper bag and start mopping Annie Jr. face with it.

“Annie for goodness sakes, I have clothes for Annie Jr. that actually fit.   Why do you dress him like a ragamuffin?” I asked, sniffing as she approached.   “And why do you smell like pee?”

“My depend is full,” Annie said pulling a bottle of body spray out of her purse and began spraying it.   “Is that better, Slam?”

“No it smells like pee, what kind is it?  And why are you wearing a depend?” I asked.

“It’s called ‘depend overflow’ from my body smell body spray collection.   That why I am wearing a depend.  I also have ‘dried colostomy bag’ scent as well. ”  Then she lifted her shirt displaying a colostomy bag.

“Annie omg why?” I screamed.

Annie laughed her crazy laugh and said, “You did it.”

“Not by choice!” I screamed.

“Oh Slam,” Annie laughed slapping me on the back.   “I am not pooping in it.  I am just wearing it and drying it out.”

“Annie where did you get that nasty poop filled colostomy bag?   Have you been visiting the hospital dumpster again?”  I screamed stepping away from her.

“No Slam.   Duh, it’s from my colostomy bag collection!”  Annie said.

“You have a collection of crap filled bags in my house, and you probably have no idea whose poop it even is?”  I yelled.

“I have an idea of who it belongs too…I collected all of yours.” Annie laughed.

I shook my head and kept walking.

Annie Jr. couldn’t make up his mind which box of Valentine’s cards he wanted.    He wound up getting 8 different boxes plus 2 boxes Annie felt he needed and since he could not possibly give ‘his’ cards away, he had to get double on everything so he could give some away and keep the rest.   He had to get several new and expensive toys.   Annie tossed several clothing items for him in the cart never bothering to see if they were the right size or even matched anything.    “These are nice!” she would scream and toss in a lilac colored shirt that said, “mommy’s princess.”

Annie’s multiple carts continued to increase, in went a book about the digestive system of the walrus, Annie had on her reading list, it had lots of pictures some of them pop up.   In went the entire ‘it smells to high heaven’ hair care collections and then the matching body wash. Why a cat would need both body wash and shampoo is beyond me; especially since Annie avoided water normally unless she was bugging me for a bowl, (she pours stuff all the time except water) or she is swimming in it cause she loves swimming.

She made sure to visit the automotive department, where she bought a cover for her steering wheel made out of fake porcupine fur (you can’t make this up), an air freshener with a bare chested guy with a beer belly on it, a cup holder and a litter bag; she needed a back hoe to get all the trash out of her car, fast food wrappers, empty cans, old receipts, discarded socks and old shoes (she’d had the car two days).

She was even generous to the pets at home.   She had asked each of them for a list of their hearts desires, promising to move heaven and earth to make it happen for them.   She grabbed a hand full of 2 for a dollar cat toys and one irregular chew toy for the dog and called it good.

We left the store making several trips to the car loading all of Annie’s purchases into the big hay wagon Duh-Wayne had attached to his tow truck tractor.   I am not sure where his tow truck scooter went but obviously it was not capable of pulling a hay wagon full of Annie’s spending spree and he’d exchanged it for something more powerful.

The Annie’s horned in on our dinner out and unfortunately, I was forced to ride home with Annie in the death trap.   There wasn’t room in the car for me, since the hay wagon was not able to carry all of her purchases so I had a choice of standing behind Duh-Wayne on the tractor or being tied to the luggage rack.   “Luggage rack it  is,” Annie screamed before I had a chance to answer.

I was glad the first part of the Poor man’s Christmas was over, however the festivities would continue until Annie’s money ran out.    But I was used to it.   She’d been doing it for years.

When we got home, Annie came and said, “Bought ya a present, Slam.   Happy Valentines Day.”   She pulled out a heart shaped box, on top was a beautiful doll with a stunning lacy dress that covered the entire top of the box.    It was exactly like the one I wanted my dad to buy my mom.   I was so touched, a tear rolled down my cheek.

“Annie, this is wonderful, thank you!” I said.

With that Annie snatched the box from me, ripped the doll off the top tossed it to Annie Jr. and said, “Here son, Slam doesn’t want this.”  Then she began stuffing all the nut filled candies into her mouth as fast as she could working her way down from the top while Annie Jr. ate from the bottom up, smearing chocolate and coconut all over the dolls hair and dress.

Yes, a Poor Man’s Christmas with Annie.




Crazy Little Shack

Despite all of Annie’s protests, Annie Jr. adored ‘fool books’.   He loved having me and, occasionally Janey, reading to him.   In fact he loved stories so much, he began reading on his own even though his attendance at school was spotty at best.

He always was ‘ready’ to go to school on a snow day, then stamping his feet and storming off to his room in a huff when he ‘heard’ that school was closed, putting on a big show.  If there was so party going on he would be occupying his seat next to Phil, making sure he got his fill of treats and prizes, then going home with Phil and driving Slamma Jr crazy until Annie decided to pick him up.   Annie Jr. has been driving trucks, back hoes, motorcycles, scooters, helicopters, golf carts, before we even knew he wasn’t a she, and he needs to wait for Annie to come get him; which could be a few hours to a few days late.

Most day’s Annie Jr was at home and if he wasn’t doing some sort of crazy adventure with Annie and Duh-Wayne which was most of the time, he was either being read to or reading himself.    Annie Jr. was very particular about his taste in books.    His favorite, a prized collection of the Prairie girl series , he had gotten for Christmas.   Annie claimed it was one grinched from me in her time machine.

It was one of the few things Annie kept from her grinching escapes to my ‘past’.   That and the easy bake oven that literally burned everything you attempted to bake.

Annie wanted Annie Jr. to share her love of the Little House show.  Annie Jr. hated the show, although he loved the books.   He was somehow convinced, the girl in the book was not even the same girl on the tv.   The mother and son bonding moment over the show was a goose egg, but the mother and son bonding over the book wasn’t.

The pair of them along with Duh-Wayne (because someone had to feed the live-stock and hack a chunk of frozen bear off with an axe for dinner) spent much of the winter in Waleed’s house on the Prairie.    Waleed had decided to spend the next six weeks in his warm little hole on the golf course, contentedly dreaming of grinding ground.

One of Annie’s favorite parts of the series  was the part about making maple syrup.   For Annie, there was just something alluring about tramping through waist high snow around a sugar bush to tap some maple trees.    The book only gave a limited description of how to make maple syrup.

Annie had employed a flock of wood peckers to drill her trees with holes, since her electric drill would not work on the prairie.    She had a couple reindeer she traded Santa, one of her left over dump trucks for,  hooked to a sleigh.    (I wondered why I got a box of empty jiffy pop pans and a bag of mismatched socks.)

The yoke fit Duh-Wayne perfectly, while Annie Jr. practiced almost a non stop jig getting ready for the dance.    Last but not least, they had built a crazy little shack beyond a track, that they had to add to the back yard.    An entire railroad town in our back yard they called Mankato, just for a crazy shack they needed and called yes, the Sugar Shack.

Beyond that her fully grown sugar bush, right in the ever expanding back yard.   One day it was just there.    Now that Annie had most of her gear she needed some lessons.   So she reached out to Blonda.

Blonda was one of the Grosbeak Clan from up North.    The last name had absolutely nothing to do with their noses, because they all had perfectly normal noses.  Perhaps it had to do with the array of colors, that grosbeaks come in.    The clan  seemed to make the world colorful, with their love of nature.   Blonda would make you see the white and blues and grays on a cold winter morning, just with her words.

If anyone knew all about the makings of maple syrup it was Blonda, so it was she, Annie connected with to get some lessons.   Actually things were quiet while Annie was off learning the art of syrup making, it was when she got back that things got a little crazy.

Annie Jr. had went along and had made a sled while he was gone and he was anxious to try it out.    Annie had been begging me to come along and help her with her syrup business.   I was having no part of it, it seemed difficult and any plan involving Annie was more difficult than I wanted to handle, however, I did give into Annie Jr.’s nagging for one ride on his sled.

I pulled Annie Jr. and his sled, way out to the sugar bush.     I figured it couldn’t be all that big, but after three miles of trudging through deep snow to reach the hill that was just around the corner, I was wishing I had not agreed to this one ride.    We finally made it and I see Duh-Wayne and Annie standing at the top of this huge hill.   They are grinning.   I knew then I had probably made a mistake.

Annie and Duh-Wayne piled on the sled with Annie Jr. getting ready to fly down the hill.   Since there was no room for me, I decided to go back home.   Annie Jr. started crying because he really wanted me to ride down the hill.   I didn’t want to because the hill was huge almost a mile long.

Annie said she had her truck and would give me a ride home and that she had  something I could ride on  down the hill.    She produced a skip jack for me to ride.   A skip jack is  a ski with a seat attached to it, and you have to balance it as you ride, sort of a like a unicycle but with a ski instead of a wheel and you don’t have to pedal it.   On the negative side you don’t have much control over speed and there aren’t any brakes, except your feet.   I’d never master the skip jack so I figured, I would at least fall off so much I would wind up walking down most of the hill anyway.   I agreed because Annie had the truck and she offered to get a pizza.    Pizza actually sounded good, as long as she ordered something I liked.

I lowered myself onto the skip jack and before I could even get my balance, Annie gave me a shove and down the hill I was flying, down this steep mile long hill and Annie’s crazy laugh ringing in my ears.     I looked down the hill, rounded the bend and at the very bottom I see a huge snowman and I am head straight for it.   I tried to turn but hit it head on.   Covered in snow with a carrot sticking out of my ear, I see Duh-Wayne and the Annie’s coming to a stop beside me.

I took my ride, I am ready to go home.   I look around for Annie’s truck.

“Annie where is your truck,” I asked.

“Over yonder a ways,” Annie said.    “We have to get our sap first.”

I knew it, I knew it!  I was going to wind up tramping around Annie’s sugar bush to collect sap.   I always somehow got trapped in Annie’s escapades.   After almost 15 years, I should have known better, but it was Annie Jr. who played me like a fiddle.    He had not quite gotten equal to Annie’s devilment but this put him over the top.

Just a couple of containers, Annie, said.   The containers were troughs, and there were five of them.    It took us several hours to collect them put them onto the sleigh, Annie had dragged out there.    The reindeer she had specifically traded Santa for, were back in Annie’s barn on the prairie.    They’d done their job flying the sleigh out there in the first place they could not be expected to fly a full sleigh through the sky.

Duh-Wayne’s ‘die-a-beat-us’ was acting up he complained as he drank glass after glass of sap slushies he made out of snow and sap, so he was unable to help.   Annie Jr. couldn’t help because his ‘feets’ were cold.   He had lost his boots in some deep snow I had forbid him to enter.   Annie said she was the only one insured to drive the sleigh, although Duh-Wayne flew it to the corner store, several times a day.   So it was me pulling it back, while Annie sat in the seat wielding a whip screaming, “Giddy up Slam.”

It was almost dark when we got back to the bottom of the mile long steep hill.   “How far to the truck, Annie?” I asked.  Figuring there must be some other way out from the bottom of the hill and the truck was parked close by.

“Just around the corner,” Annie said.

“What corner?”  I asked.

Annie pointed to the big bend in the mile long hill.   “That one.  The truck is at the top.”

“Annie I refuse to pull all of you up that hill.   You run up and drive the truck down and get us.”

“Slam I can not drive my truck through all of that snow!”  Annie screamed.

“Where is your teleporter then?” I yelled.

“Home.   There were no teleporters on the prairie.”

“There weren’t trucks either!”  I shouted.

“There weren’t?” Annie asked seriously; doing her blank stare and crazy thing with her eyes.

Of course, I wound up dragging all of them and the sap and the sled up the hill along with Annie and Annie Jr.’s  snow collection which for some odd reason they needed to take home.    The only thing I held out for was a warm truck and a huge piping hot pizza.

We get to the top of the hill, no truck in sight.    We still have three miles to go.   We get thirty feet and Duh-Wayne has to go to the bathroom, a number two and the toilet paper is in the truck and guess who is forced to make the trek to the truck for the toilet paper.   I suggest Annie going along and driving the truck back or letting me drive it back, but of course that would be way too easy.

The truck is a standard which I can’t drive, but my cat can.   Duh-Wayne certainly could not be left alone out in the woods a wolf might get him, Annie claimed and Annie Jr. could not protect him.   It didn’t matter that a wolf might get me.

So I make the trek to the truck bring back toilet paper; only to find all three of them sitting around a campfire waiting for me.    Duh-Wayne only had gas.   I retrace my steps this time pulling the sled, the heat of my anger keeping me warm and going.

Once we got to the truck it was me who was tasked with  loading it, while Annie warmed up the truck.   It was an old model A.   She is in the truck, trying to get it started and I am behind it, loading up the vats of sap.   I hear the truck chug to life, it sounds like a tractor and the next thing I know Annie has backed over me.

“Watch it, Slam!” Annie screams as she pulls forward thus running over me again.  Thankfully the snow was so deep I wasn’t hurt.   The truck is finally loaded but of course there is no room for me inside the truck because no it was would be dangerous for Annie Jr. to sit on my lap and someone had to bring the sled back.

“Annie,” I screamed, “You promised me a ride.”

“I’ll give you a ride later.”   she yelled over the chugging truck.

I really felt like just going home and leaving the sled.   I shouldn’t have to put up with this but Annie had the SPCA on speed dial.   Pulling the sled somehow was the lesser of two evils.

The truck got stuck every 200 feet.   “Thank god I remembered a shovel right Slam?” Annie yelled as she and her comrades sat in the truck watching me eating pop corn and drinking hot chocolate.

Half way home the truck was out of gas.   Annie said not to worry about it.   She would teleport it home the next day, I could just pull the sled home they had sufficiently warmed up anyways.   They were all wearing the Olympic heated parka’s; but of course they only had three.

Pizza dinner kept me going until  we arrived back at Waleed’s Little House and I am expecting Annie to dial her cell phone and order something good and she takes a dried up crust out of her root cellar.   She rummages around and says, ‘Ahh some old tomato peels, and some slimy mushrooms, some cheese and how about tuna?  Any one have a problem with tuna?”

“Annie really?  All that work and a pizza made out of old tomato peels and tuna?”  I watch Annie set the cheese on the table.   “Annie is that mold on the cheese?”

“Just a little, we can cut it off,” she replied.

“Why don’t you just throw it into the sky and call it a moon? C’mon Annie, order a pizza. A good one with stuff I like!”

“You like all of this stuff,” Annie screamed.  “Besides there were no phones on the prairie.”

“There wasn’t pizza either or that tv you have in the corner.”

Annie, shrugged.   “I guess we can make the syrup now, since Slam doesn’t want pizza.”

“No Annie, I am going home.”  I said.

“SPCA lets go to the SPCA they will lock up our Slam for neglecting her cats,” Annie and Annie Jr. sang.   For some reason Duh-Wayne was suddenly wearing a leather coat and caps.

“Alright!” I screamed.   “At least I will be warm.”

Warm I was and best there was nothing for me to do.   Duh-Wayne was fire man and Annie was skimming and cooling it.   Annie Jr was running around making sure everything was flowing.

I tried to help but I was forced to wear a sterile gown, a hair net and a mask to keep any contaminates out of the syrup.   Annie kept screaming about my dust and germs, while eating handful after handful of something crunchy spaying crumbs all over the sap as she spoke with her mouthful.

I finally curled up in a corner and fell asleep.   I woke up after a while only to see Annie, Annie Jr and Duh-Wayne finishing a large meal of subs, soda and chips.   “Where’s mine?” I asked.

“Did you help, Slam?”  Annie asked.  “No you slept in a corner.”

I walked home.   I’d take my chances with the SPCA.


Ground Grinder

Pennsylvania had Punxsutawney Phil, Annie had Waleed Fasili.   She’s had him for years, he lives on Annie’s golf course at her country club in our back yard; where else would it be.    He appeared one afternoon, as wildlife often do; little grey mustache, fedora, a stick with a bag tied to it, walking hunched over.

People in the neighborhood mistook him; often shouting, “Look at that big old chuck dad!” “Tarnation son get the Remin’ton, Maw put some logs on that fire! We eating  ground chuck tonight.”

Then poor little Waleed had to drop on all fours and run for his life.   He lost more sticks that way not to mention fedora’s.   He was more appalled at being called a chuck than being mistaken for dinner.

He wasn’t a prairie dog either even though he was called that on occasion.   Bah, just because he liked living in that little house on Annie’s prairie didn’t make him a dog.  He might have been a dawg but never a dog.

Never never was he a hedge hog, as adorable as they might be he would never hedge.  Hedge he would not!   He was a ground hog.

Annie knew he was a ground hog the moment she saw him grinding ground.   She claimed his curled little tail was a dead give away.   “All hogs have curly little tails,” she claimed.

Waleed confessed once, that his curly little tail came from an incident with  a slinky, rather than genetics.   Every time that sing songy tune came on, even the mere sound of someone humming it caused poor Waleed to tremble in fear.

When Annie saw him one afternoon contentedly grinding ground, she approached him and began to converse.    For years she had been spoiling the predictions of the ginder in PA with her weather machine.   Shadow or no shadow it was whether Annie felt like an early spring or a longer winter, and sometimes she got distracted and just let nature take it’s course.

It wasn’t the weather that bothered Annie.   It was all the money little Punxsutawney generated with his merchandise and it was that and that alone that made Annie need a ground grinder; that and the fact that grinding ground was tough work and she would be getting it for free.

Annie claimed only a ‘wild’ ground hog could accurately predict the weather.   Wild, he was because Annie’s ground hog party beginning promptly a midnight of February 2 fit right in with that type of lifestyle.   Like all of her events, people came from far and wide to partake in the festivities.

Waleed partied all night, and participated in the Battle Rap, the thing Annie had been practicing for endlessly.   With Duh-Wayne on a mic making a loud fart noises into it, occasionally a slurp when he had built up too much saliva Annie would rap, “my name is Annie and I’ll tell ya  why when I was born Slam was baking me a pie.   The name of the pie was fan-fannie that’s why she named me A-Annie.”

“Annie how about bannie pie?” I suggested trying to be helpful.

“Bannie?  What is a bannie pie?” Annie snorted.

“Like a banana.    I called you Annie Bannie sometimes.”

“Who would eat a pie made out of bananas and no one says bannie’s.”

Just then Grandfather came through the door with Annie Jr and groceries.   “We got bannie’s just like you wanted Mom-mom,” Annie Jr.  yelled.    “Slam can make a pie!”

So Annie rapped about her fannie pie…Annie Jr. rapped about ‘Slam eating a fly named bannie.’ Duh-Wayne rapped  making his own fart noises into a microphone that was behind him.

His rap was fairly original with, ‘my name is Duh-Wayne….Duh Duh Duh Wayne.”

Waleed with his rapping rendition of how much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood brought the entire house down.

The party ended at exactly 11:59 pm.   Everyone left with their Waleed balloons, shirts, stuffed toys not even knowing if Waleed saw his shadow or not.   He had actually went home around 10:30 and went to bed.   Not because he saw his shadow, but because he was simply tired.

I asked Annie on the morning the of the third, whether Waleed saw his shadow or not, I knew how Phil had fared but I was hopeful simply because my only chance of an early Spring was Annie and her weather machine.    I poured her a cup of her favorite sludge, and a slice of bannie crème pie made with her special mouse crème and set them before her.   I looked at her smiling sort of, with a hint of hope in my eyes.

Annie did her blank stare then began winking one eye and then the other, her eye balls rolled back in her head and she flopped on her back and began to spin.   “Annie, what is wrong?” I screamed.

She stopped spinning and lay flat out, still with her tongue hanging out, her face frozen in a sneer.   “Annie!” I screamed knowing she must have had a heart attack or something.

She jumped to her feet and screamed, “Six more weeks of winter.”

“Annie!” I scolded tears already pouring down my face, in reaction to her playing dead which she did 750 times a day.   “Why do you do that?”

“Cause I need sugar snow!”

“I was talking about your playing…..wait what?  Sugar snow?”

“Yeah for my new business, maple syrup!”




The Flippers

They called her Cherokee.   She was  a Native American  Princess.  Her father thought he might have been German, he wore lederhosen.   Her mom was from the old Country, (Poland) she wore wooden clogs.    She lived a good life and her glass was never empty.   She showed up at our house one day after Asa and Gene brought her home.

They frequented a club on the North Side, called the Gee’ze’ Spot.  Back in the day it was the spot where the G’s, hung out.  The Gee’ze’ Spot became popular; after people found out what it was.    The G’s moved on but always returned to haunt the Gee’ze Spot once they passed on.   Of course, it became a hot spot for all ghosts, and Ghost Hunters and tourists.    That is where they met Cherokee.

There was a Ghost Hunting Event was going on.   Inviting all the local Ghost Hunters to come and capture evidence.   Annie and Annie Jr. along with their camera man Duh-Wayne, went.   Asa and Gene went as ghosts.

A regular night at the Gee’ze Spot, cups would be flying around, ghost would zip out of the toilet bowl just as you went to squat down, electronics would go crazy, cell phones would be prank calling people in power…Don was actually getting mad about answering his cell phone and yelling into a crowd of people, “I need a Drew P. Wiener.   Drew P. Wiener where are you?”

The place was packed every night more so for the ghost activity than for the drinks, as a matter of fact it had gotten so, they only needed a couple vending machines in the corner for refreshments.   People came from all around to see ghosts, and ghosts came from all around to see the people.

However, the second the police got called for suspicious activity, or  a News Crew arrived with a band of reporters and cameras, or ghost hunters came to capture the activity and warn the public, all activity would stop.    Ghosts who could be seen with the naked eye with a glass in their ghostly hand ready to chuck it at the pool table, would suddenly vanish and the glass would return to it’s original resting place.    Voices would become quite whispers with frequent, ‘shhhhhh’ going on and an occasional, “Stop laughing.”  Then quiet.

Reports would be taken, paranormal experts would do their thing and maybe; maybe if they were lucky and the ghosts became bored enough, they might run the battery down on a camera, or  eerily make a door slowly creak closed.    A ghost with a sense of humor might respond on some recording device to be Moe Run.  Of course there was always the typical, icy chill, weird smells, like perfume or cigars or some foul sickening scent.     For the most part, though  the actual evidence was rather small, compared to the reported activity.

Cherokee came from out of town for the event and since she really had no life, she came home to live with us.   It was told that Cherokee was a wizard in the kitchen and Annie adored her because her specialty was roadkill casserole.   Asa loved it too, he said Cherokee could make good eats.  Then he would smack her on the back as she walked by.

“Watch your hands Mister!” Cherokee would say.

“You’re a good woman, Cherokee,”Asa would flirt.

“Kiss my grits, Asa!” Cherokee would yell; her  ghostly voice taking on a sort of a southern accent, which really was part of her heritage, or so she said.

One of her most annoying hobbies besides her home cooked meals over an open fire, was her ‘gift’ of interior decorating.   She pointed out my horrible skills the second she floated through the door with her old battered suitcase covered with stickers from every country in the world she had found for a steal at the junk store.   There was nothing in it but ghosts didn’t really need anything.

So because it was her hobby and her habit, Cherokee began to rearrange our place.   Basically cleaning out and organizing Annie’s hoard and displaying her collections as they were meant to be displayed.    Building shelves and display cabinets out of old lumber in the back yard.

Every day I came home to a home cooked meal of squirrel helper or something equally tasty, and being in a completely different place than the one I left.  I might leave with an entire wall displaying Annie Jr’s toilet paper roll collection to a wall of photo shopped pictures of me every year for the past fifty years with words loser of the year 50 and counting.   Come to think of it, Annie had been taking random close ups of my face lately.

The kitchen table might be a kitchen table when I left and when I returned it would be a tv tray and later maybe coffee table then an end table, only to somehow wind up being a kitchen table again, looking completely different.   The kitchen might look like Beaver Cleaver’s kitchen in the morning and Mel’s diner in the afternoon.

The vacuum  started at 5 am, and ran most of the day.   Just sat in the corner and ran. Cherokee loved cleaning, running the dish washer we didn’t have and washing the walls with a garden house.

Plus she was a crafter, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, needle point, quilting, scrapbooking if it was crafty she was on it and she made her own clothes too.   So room was needed for her stuff.   My bed got moved again, not that I ever slept in it.   There wasn’t any room.   Currently, I had been sleeping in a ceramic kiln.

One day, after waking up with a large vase hardened to my back side, I told Annie, that her friends, at least the ghost ones, had to go.   Of course, Annie had a fit, screaming she could not just kick them out in the street, they would freeze to death.

“They are going, Annie,” I fired back, “Asa and his lawn mower, Gene and his rapping sales pitch, and Cherokee and the tee pee she has set up in the bathroom.”  I paused then stopped and said. “And that Gus in the attic goes too.   He has brought another mouse into the house.   It jumped out of the cupboard at me this morning.”

“Leroy! You found Leroy!” Annie Jr. shouted. “Leroy come on boy.”   A large grey sewer rat came slinking out of the corner and ran to Annie Jr.

“Um no that wasn’t Leroy I saw.   And he is not living here either!”  I stamped my foot and left the room.   Leaving everyone crying and moaning because they knew I meant business.   “I am taking my bed back too!” I bellowed but no one heard.

Duh-Wayne saved the day by suggesting they buy a house and flip it.   Then Annie and Annie Jr. and Duh-Wayne could have paranormal lock downs once the house was flipped and successfully haunted.    Annie was all for combining two of her loves into one, flipping houses and ghost hunting.   So with Cherokee as the head designer, they set out to find the perfect home.

I was thankful their search was being conducted way on the other side of the city.   So thankful in fact I never said anything when Cherokee decided to practice her house flipping skills at my house.    Having a toilet in the kitchen in front of a whole row of windows was not my idea of lovely, but since she and the rest of the haunts were moving and moving far away, I endured.

They wound up buying a house on my street, one that had burnt down and Annie Jr had stripped most of and drug into our back yard.    They built a third story added a balcony and they were in business.   It became a hot spot for ghosts, and tourists, and ghost hunters.   Business at the Gee’ze spot suffered.

Nothing really changed at my house.  Gene popped in every hour seeing if I have canned cheese.   Annie collections are still displayed and she bought the kiln.   Cherokee still cooks every night, it’s too cold to cook in the garage where she  currently has her kitchen, so they come to use my kitchen.   She raves about my kitchen though, how practical it is to have a toilet in the kitchen.

The other night as I settled down to sleep in my kiln, Annie Jr. kneading my front, Annie kneading my back, a ceramic unicorn under my butt, Annie whispered in my ear, “You are so lucky to have me right Slam?”

Rear end Jack

One of our famous neighborhood ‘stories’ was the story of Eugene.    Every neighborhood has them.   You move into a new place and one of the neighbors will go ‘pssttt come here’ and they will tell you some story about the neighborhood sort of sharing the joys and sorrows welcoming you to the family.   Most of the time, there is just a shred of truth to the story depending on how long ago the event happened.    The older the story the bigger the lie.

In the case of Eugene, it was fairly recent, at least when I moved to the neighborhood it was.  But I often felt the whole thing was a big whopper.     Eugene was a salesman, vacuum cleaners to be exact.    His territory was the West side, which included my neighborhood.   It was a large territory if you were selling Avon, or had one of those trucks full of sides of beef and whole chickens, even an ice cream truck would have fared better, I mean how many vacuums can a person use.    But Eugene was no quitter,   and rumor had it he was a successful salesman.

He drove a custom Benz, with a huge pounding stereo pumping out some loud hip hop, the hub caps spinning even when the car was not in motion.    The car was dark blue and the custom plate simply said ‘Big G’.   At work he was Gene but after hours, he was ‘Big G’ because he was a G.    A rich G, a G who made his money square,  and spent his off hours at the club, being a G and attracting the ladies.    I mean he was a typical G.   The swagger, never a hair out of place, smelling like they just walked out of an old spice factory, big smile, kinda short, little bit cocky; they were all the same and that was Eugene or Gene or Big G.

His epic sales skills were what supported his flashly life style.   He sold these high power vacuums.   It was told this vacuum could suck a bowling ball throw a garden hose.  Gene, with his big cheesy ’70’s stash; he wore as a reminder of his father, a Pizza maker from the old country (New York City) would  demonstrate this cool feature of his vacuum.   “This vacuum,” Gene would announce, “Will suck dirt from under your foundation! This vacuum will suck the filth from your house.”

Even with a great product like a high powered vacuum, sales is a hard job, people might like it and might desire it but most times they won’t trade green for it.   But Gene sold them like the ice cream man sold cones out of the back of his truck.   People bought three four, eight, two or three times a week, every time Gene came round they were buying.   Who knows what they did with them because apparently they lasted a life time and beyond, as a matter of fact the vacuum Gene demonstrated with was his grandmother’s grandmother’s.

It didn’t matter because no one in the neighborhood actually owned one now.    Anyway, the story went that one day Gene was demonstrating a vacuum  cleaner at someone’s home although no one actually knew which home.   He had just sucked up a bunch of rat traps showing how they could be sucked up without being sprung.   I am not sure why anyone would need to do that but Gene was the man.   Big G!   His tie somehow got stuck in the hose.   He began to yell and scream but he hadn’t yet got to the part of  how to power the thing on and off, nor how to unplug it, and it happened so quick Gene was in the tank in a flash.   The buyers could hear the traps going off and Gene yelling.   Unfortunately, the vacuum had this cool feature of never having to empty it, as a matter of fact you couldn’t open it.  And it was indestructible.

They said Gene the Ghost haunted our neighborhood.   Moving in with a family for a few weeks and moving in with someone else.  Big G they called him.   I didn’t believe a word of it.

One day I came home from work and Annie, Duh-Wayne, Asa, Annie Jr. and Rov were sitting playing poker with this ghost, a kinda short guy with a swagger shuffle, dressed up hair slicked back…”Hey, I am Gene.   Big G they call me.   I told  Annie, Slam is gonna love me.   I’m her new salesman for the junk yard.   She said I could use your bed.”  Then he gave me this huge hug, his scent was over whelming, I sneezed.   “It’s called Tally Ho. My dad wore it in the old country.   NYC baby.”   Then he started rapping, “My name is Gene and I’ll tell ya why when I was born mom was married to a guy.   The name of the guy was Eugene…that’s why she named me Guh-guh-ene. Guh-guh-ene.”  Rov joined in on his guitar and Annie on her fiddle.  Annie Jr. tooted a horn and Duh-Wayne played a juice harp.  Asa played the bones.

Big G was wrong about me loving him, I can’t even say I totally liked him.   Oh he had his moments.   He really loved his sales job, he always aspired to sell bedding.   Sales were high when Big G arrived on the scene and they picked up even more, it seemed we always had a crowd in the back yard.  Plus Gene gave inside deals to everyone 90% higher than the list price and people ate it up.

I think though it had more to do with Big G, and his stories, all about him often repeating the same ones each time it becoming bigger and better with new details, also his famous hot dog paninis.   Honestly, his kitchen skills were quite creative, he could make lasagna out of canned pork and beans, a bottle of ketchup, and some canned cheese.   Sales had been so good in fact, they were only open for business one half hour a day.

That left a lot of time for a group of rambunctious hooligans.   Annie and her gang of cohorts, were seen leaving the house one afternoon, each with a big pink bag slung over their shoulders.

“Annie, what do you have in the bag?” I asked, I didn’t trust them lately.   The day before they had an egg tossing contest inside the house.

“Balls,” Annie replied.   “We all have ball bags.”

“Where are you going to do with them?”

“Bounce them,” Annie said.   “To the left and to the right.   It’s my belief that my big balls should be thrown at each other every night.”

“Mom-mom said we are going to play Rear end Jack!”  Annie Jr. yelled trying to drag his big bag of balls across the floor.

“Rear end Jack?” I asked.

“Yes, you do dumb stuff.   Mom-mom and me watched it with Big G and Big D,” then he whispered to me, “Mom-Mom is Big A.   And we watched that show funny grandfather and Annie says when you finally kick the bucket me and grandfather are going on a road trip and you get ta ride in the trunk and go swimming at the end.   I wish I was the one who gets to shart on the wall, Grandfather is so lucky!”

Then it dawned on me what Annie Jr. was talking about.   I had been after Annie Jr. about referring to donkey’s by the a-word.   And referring to his rear end by the a-word.

“You are way too young to be watching that.” I said.  “So is Mom-mom!” I glared at Annie.

“Big G says that cats age faster, so I am old enough and Mom-mom is 180.”

“I am not Annie Jr.! I am the same age as Big D, I think!”

“Ghosties never age,” Annie Jr. said jumping up and down,  “Asa is well I can’t count that high.   His room-a-tiz bothers him and his ‘roids.   Big G will always be thirty….”

“Twenty-eight baby.  NYC!” Gene screamed.

“So we are going outside to throw our balls at each other.   If the ball explodes on you, you win.   It’s full of poop.   Then Big G is gonna ride a skateboard with a shopping cart carrying an old freezer on top down a ice hill and over a ramp, over the house into a poop puddle.”   Annie Jr. explained.

“Annie,” I said looking straight at Annie Jr.’s Mom-mom  who was wearing sunglasses,  a pair of Nikes and  NBA shorts and a jersey that said Big A with a pink ball bag over her shoulder.  So much for hating sports, Big G loved sports so at least Grandfather liked him because sports was a popular channel now.   “Some one is going to get killed! With your shenanigans.”

Annie took off her sunglasses and her eyes began that crazy blinking thing as she stared blankly at me.   They all trooped out the door, and I could hear Annie screaming through her bullhorn, “Suck it up looser!”

“NYC Baby!”  Big G. yelled.

“What about me?” yelled Big D.







The Reality Show (LWS)

The one present Annie got for Christmas that she loved more than anything was her wall sized tv 8 feet tall and 40 feet wide.   We didn’t even have a wall where it would fit but Annie made it fit.   Now she had more room for the many collections, her dump trucks full of presents beheld, like her collection of empty trial sized hand sanitizer bottles.

She sat in front of the tv most days watching her shows and assisting Duh-Wayne with their current project.    They were making pillows and beds to sell in the junk yard.   Annie would sew two pieces of moldy  cloth together leaving one end open and Duh-Wayne would stuff it with a pile of lawn rakings, Annie saved all year, dry grass, dog doo, little scraps of garbage like empty soy sauce packets and cigarette butts.   Annie had a tractor she mowed the yard with then raked it up into a pile then sucked it up in the shop vac. She’d bring it upstairs and dump it by the recliner Duh-Wayne claimed for himself; the recliner was shaped like Big Bird.

There was a huge pile of lawn rakings.   Our yard could never generate that much ; Annie Jr. began an after school job (even though he didn’t go to school) mowing peoples yards.  Not only did he earn a lot of spending money but Annie and Duh-Wayne had ample filling for their beds and pillows which they wound up selling.   They could never keep up with the demand.

There they would sit sewing and stuffing, watching TV.   I may have enjoyed the tv; however Annie had full control of the remote and the only thing she would watch was her own TV  station AnnieTV.  As a matter of fact, the only station that would play was AnnieTV on any of the TV’s in the house.   Annie had put parental controls on everything and was holding all other channels hostage.    She charged me extra to watch what she called, ‘fake news’.

Sometimes it wasn’t too bad, Annie watched some shows I enjoy.   But then cat week happened on AnnieTV.    Every single show had a black and white cat in it.   The Brady’s got a black and white cat, Jan became allergic to it so she went to live with Grandma, and the black and white cat replaced Jan.   Ghost Adventures, got a physic black and white cat, and suddenly they were snapping photo’s, having coffee, playing pool and hanging out with ghosts interacting in ways they never knew.   Even Basketball games that Grandfather and Snoopy paid to watch had a new and rising little black and white cat, with Annie Jr. written on the jersey wearing a jet pack who made dunk after dunk.

Every show was all about Annie.   The news station reported on Annie, heaping praise on the gazillionare cat who thought only of others and put her money right back into the economy even running me into poverty just to keep the economy going.   It was a never ending cycle of how beautiful she was, how smart she was, how great she was, a very stable genius she was dubbed by newscasters.   God forbid anyone who crossed her because it was breaking news.

She even had her own shows.    There was a talk show called, ‘This is your smell’ where both Annie’s and Duh-Wayne sat around smelling foul looking stuff in jars trying to guess what the smell was.   I hated that show especially since Annie’s new tv had a smell function, so if someone farted on tv you smelled it, actually you could see it coming out of the tv in like a steam form but it was colored steam, depending on what it was you were smelling.

I forgot about the commercials.    Something Annie, orientated was always being advertised, ‘Poop Factory tours’, ‘Visit the Annie Swanka museum,’ and a hundred other things she was charging admission to.   There was Annie Jr hocking Annie and Duh-Wayne’s  homemade pillow’s wearing a cheesy mustache and Grandfather looking at Annie Jr in the mirror and screaming, “you are that homemade pillow cat!”    Annie Jr. lawn service in the summer and plow business in the winter.   The lawn service one had been running almost non stop since the snow began, the phone never stopped ringing.

One evening, I sat down with Annie and Duh-Wayne.   Annie Jr. was laying on his belly up close to the tv like he couldn’t see it; when you could  from 10 miles away, crunching bird beaks or something.   Annie was tossing a handful of the same thing into her mouth.  Duh-Wayne was eating them one at a time.

I put my ear plugs in because Annie had the volume set to max infinity, even so she had a funnel shaped horn up to her ear so she could hear better and her thick lensed glasses.  Duh-Wayne was wearing his too, but he had his over his head pushing his hair back like a head band.   It was standing up in sort of a fringe over his head.

The show starts and I see three letters come on the screen…LWS…then a cat sitting in a darkened room with only the glare of the computer to lighten things, you see the computer screen and then typing.   It says, “I am Ammnnie.” A picture of Annie flashes and then typing, “Dish is my sun Anmie Jr.” Then a picture of Annie Jr flashes he is wearing a cowboy suit covered in Rhinestones .   His hair is slicked back like Elvis.

‘Oh good lord this is going to be good.’ I think.   Then I see the cat type, “This is my ‘life with slam!'” A hideous picture of me is displayed on the screen.   It’s clearly photo shopped because I don’t have thick eye brows and warts.

Even with my ear plugs in, I can hear the tv, “Hi I’m Annastasia and this is my son Annastasia Jr.” Annie screams on the screen.  “Another episode of Life With Slam the best reality show on TV.   This week I will show you what I have to put up with on a daily basis.”

Annie Jr. is crunching his beaks rapidly.   “I can’t wait to see what happens!” He announces.

A commercial comes on, it is me, holding a tube of preparation H.  “Hi I’m Slammmmmm,” said a voice which sounded exactly like Annie.  “I have ‘roids, die a rear and I wear depends.   Buy a fleets enema!”

“Annie for goodness sake!” I yell.

“The show is back on Slam!” Annie Jr. screams.

“Yeah zip it Slam!” Annie agrees.

“So here we are Woodstock 1969 and look at Slam.” I see myself looking similar to myself in the ’80’s wearing a hat with an ostrich feather and a leather vest and a few hankerchieves, dancing some sort of crazy dance on the back of a wagon being pulled by peace sign painted bus being driven by Rov?   There was Spam and Duh-Wayne or was it Om and Snowfish, filling barrels with shovel’s full stuff from the outhouses, waving to the camera.  There was Tammyroar dressed in a habit flashing a peace sign and was that Morganna selling tie die shirts and candles?  Canned Heat was playing loudly in the back ground.

“Annie none of us were at Woodstock, I was only two and Uncle Rov was not even born yet!”

Then I see myself on the screen saying exactly what I had just said to Annie, except I am wearing so creepy looking glasses and there are maggots in my hair.   How does she do that?

“This is my life with Slam!” Annie’s voice screams dramatically.   “Now lets see tonight’s Tweets. ”

Annie starts posting tweets like, “Life with Slam Sucks.   I feel sorry for you Annie.”  and another.   “How do you deal with her Annie.   Lock her up!”

Annie looked up at me from her sewing.   She was doing her crazy eye blinking thing then she began to laugh, her crazy laugh.

Annie Jr. dumped the rest of the beaks into his mouth and screamed, “That was intense!”

Duh-Wayne sighed, then jumped up quickly and screamed, “Turn it up it’s the Om and Snow fish show!”   Om and Snow Fish came on stage.  Om looked like someone put a bowl over his black hair and cut around it and he had a cheesy 70’s ‘stash, Snow Fish had long black hair.   They were singing, “I got you babe.”

I left the room the reality was way too real.