Vinnie’s mom, dad, and Vinnie sit in the living room watching The Christmas Story. Vinnie is eating from a bowl of popcorn. Rupert sits next to Vinnie, Vinnie’s left arm drapes around Rupert. Vinnie’s dad snacks on a piece of pizza and sips on a beer. His Mom has an open box of chocolates on her lap. Dexter is on the floor next to Vinnie’s feet hopeful Vinnie will toss him some popcorn.
Vinnie’s dad mutes the TV during a commercial break. Vinnie says, “You know what Linda Michaels said in school today?”
Vinnie’s mom looks up from the chocolates, “Linda is such a sweet girl. I bet what she said made a lot of sense.”
Vinnie says, “Linda said there is no such thing as Santa. She said parents were Santa. Tommy Smith started crying. Is there a Santa or isn’t there a Santa?”
Vinnie’s mom looks at Vinnie’s dad and says, “Honey, why don’t you tell Vinnie the truth.”
Vinnie’s dad takes a sip of beer and says, “Linda’s parents are weird, but don’t tell her I said that. Of course there is a Santa. I’m working on my Christmas list tonight. I’m going to email Santa my list when I’m finished.”
Vinnie’s mom’s mouth clenches tight around a chocolate covered caramel.
Vinnie says, “Dad, will you give me Santa’s email. I want to tell him what a good job he’s doing and not to leave any presents at Linda’s house. Mom, you could try being a little more like the mom in the Christmas Story and maybe Santa might be nicer to you and bring you something you like for a change.”
Vinnie’s mom starts coughing.
Vinnie jumps up knocking his popcorn over the floor. “Opps. Don’t worry about the popcorn, Mom. Dexter will clean the floor. I’m going to get you a glass of water. Dad, will you tell Santa Mom didn’t have to ask me to get her a glass of water. I volunteered?”
“Sure, Vinnie. That will make Santa happy.”
“Tell him how I shared my popcorn with Dexter. Santa loves animals. I can name all his reindeer. Do you want to hear their names. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer …”
“I think we know the names of Santa’s reindeer,” Vinnie’s dad says. “Run along into the kitchen and get Mom a glass of water.”
Vinnie takes two steps toward the kitchen, stops and turns around, “Mom, is there a Santa? You never lie to me. Rupert can tell if you’re lying. He’ll tell me when I go to bed. He’s got super powers.”
Vinnie’s Mom says, “Vinnie, let me ask you a question, who has been bringing you presents on Christmas for as long as you remember?”
“Santa,” responds Vinnie.
“Does that answer your question?” his mom asks.
Vinnie cocks his head a bit upward and thinks about it. Vinnie says, “Pretty much.”
Vinnie walks to the kitchen. Dexter finishes the popcorn clean up and follows Vinnie into the kitchen hopeful Vinnie will sneak him a snack out of the fridge. Dexter is always the opportunist. Vinnie hollers from the kitchen, “Dad, want another piece of pizza? How about a cookie? Can I get you a bowl of ice cream?”
“No thanks, Vinnie. Thanks for asking,” says his dad.
Vinnie hollers again from the kitchen, “Dad?”
“What is it, Vinnie?”
“When you write your email to Santa will you tell him that I wanted to do these nice things for you?”
“Sure thing, Vinnie,” says his Dad.
“Don’t forget to ask Santa to bring Mom the kind of chocolates she likes, not the kind you buy for her. I don’t think Santa will hold it against you. She hates the kind with nuts and cream filling on the inside.”
“Thank you, Vinnie,” his Mom says.
Vinnie runs the water and whispers to Dexter, “Dexter, I can’t tell if Mom or Dad are telling me the truth. Tomorrow, we’re going to be detectives. We’ll start by searching the guest bedroom to see if they are hiding presents. That’s where Linda says parents hide them.”
Vinnie takes a sugar cookie off the plate on the counter and breaks it in half and gives it to Dexter. Dexter scoffs it and wags his tail approvingly. Whether Dexter was approving of the plan to search Vinnie’s parents’ room or asking for another cookie we’ll never know.
“You talking to me, Vinnie,” calls out his mom.
“Uh, yes, Mom. I want to know if you want me to get the box of chocolates Uncle Tony sent,” says Vinnie.
“What a sweetheart you are, Vinnie. The Christmas season is special. Get the chocolates.”
“Sure thing, Mom. Tell Dad to put it is his email to Santa.”