Vinnie opens the freezer door. He sees a frozen pizza, frozen cauliflower, a Tupperware bowl of leftover macaroni and cheese, a box of tofu sausages, a box of turkey burgers, a large package of ten real Italian meatballs, and two boxes of real meat sausages. He squeezes Rupert and says, “Change of plans, Rupert. I’m going to have a microwave pizza. Dexter will have the two boxes of sausages Dad loves. I’ll microwave the mac and cheese for mom and the meatballs for dad. They’ll love it.”
Vinnie took everything out and put it on the table. Dexter sat on his haunches next to Vinnie acting as if her were an apprentice chef. Rupert sat on the table, his back braced against a Christmas angel centerpiece. The centerpiece was special to his mom ever since she was a little girl. Her grandmother gave it to her the first Christmas she and Vinnie’s dad were married.
Vinnie’s mom calls out from the bedroom, “Vinnie, is everything okay?”
“I got this, Mom. It’s going to be the best breakfast ever.”
“You know Dad and I like coffee. Used the Keurig coffee maker. Fill it with water. Give dad the French roast and I’ll have the Christmas roast,” says his mom.
“Not to worry, Mom. Dexter’s on it,” says Vinnie.
“Don’t let Dexter near the food. You know he’s only supposed to eat dog food. The vet said Dexter was seven pounds overweight. I don’t understand since the only snacks he gets is if you have a little something left over from school.”
Vinnie hears his dad’s voice, “Vinnie will be okay. This is good for him. Let’s get another forty minutes sleep.”
Vinnie walks over to his Mom’s iPad. He opens it using her passcode. He looks for the music app. He finds her Christmas playlist. He taps shuffle and turns the volume up high. Bruce Springsteen belts out Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.
Vinnie hollers loud enough for the neighbors to hear, “Mom and Dad you hear what Bruce Springsteen said? He said ‘You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Can we go to see Santa right after breakfast? I want to be first in line because I have long list.”
“Vincent, it’s five fifteen. Santa is still sleeping. The store doesn’t open until 10. We’re not going until this afternoon,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie hollers back, “Can we talk about this?”
Vinnie’s dad hollers, “No.”
Vinnie speaks to Rupert and Dexter loud enough for his parents to hear him, “Adults get away with lots of stuff kids can’t do. I wish Mom and Dad were a lot more like you Rupert. You too, Dexter.”
From the bedroom, “Dear, please take the pillow off your head. You might suffocate.”
Vinnie empties two boxes of frozen sausages in the microwave. He glanced over his shoulder at Rupert, “How many minutes do you think I should do the sausages, Rupert?”
Rupert answers with Vinnie’s falsetto voice, “10 minutes. Dexter likes them well done.”
From the bedroom, Vinnie hears his mom’s voice, “Vinnie, who are you talking to?”
“Rupert, Mom. He’s learning how to cook by watching me,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom shakes Vinnie’s dad’s shoulder, “Dear, we really need to get up. I’m worried.”
“What could go wrong? He’ll make cereal or toast. Please let me fall back to sleep,” groans Vinnie’s dad.
Five minutes later, a series of small explosions come from the kitchen. Vinnie’s mom grabs her rob and rushes out to the kitchen. His dad is not far behind.
“Vincent, Vincent, are you. okay? What happened? What were those explosions?” asked his mom.
Vinnie peaked out from under the table. He was holding Rupert. “Watch out where you step, Mom. Rupert accidentally knocked over your favorite Christmas angel when the sausages I was microwaving for Dexter, I mean dad, exploded. I wanted to microwave them for 30 seconds but Rupert insisted ten minutes was better. Did you know sausages explode? Did I make a scientific discovery? Why are you looking at me that way? Mom, please don’t make me go back to my room. Santa is watching you.”