Vinnie’s mom returns after a fifteen minute absence. She’s carrying Starbucks’s largest coffee drink. Vinnie’s dad says, “You didn’t say you were going to Starbucks. I could go for a coffee.”
Vinnie’s mom doesn’t answer. She sits down at the table, places the coffee in front of her, wraps two hands around it and says, “Is the game over?”
Before Vinnie can answer, Vinnie’s dad says, “Can I have a sip, please?”
Vinnie’s mom carefully slides the to go cup to Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Are you okay?”
Vinnie’s mom nods. She says almost trancelike, “I’m ready to continue.”
Vinnie’s dad takes a sip, “OMG. This is strong. Did you add a shot of espresso in here.”
“It has four shots of espresso, Dear. Now pass it back. I need all the caffeine I can get to help me through this game.”
“Mom, can I have a sip?” asks Vinnie.
“No, you may not.”
“Why not, Mom? You don’t have to answer because I want to get to the next question. When you and dad die where will Rupert and Dexter and me live?”
Vinnie’s mom takes a long sip of her coffee. Vinnie’s dad taps his iPhone and says, “Hey, Siri, whats the life expectancy of a healthy thirty-five year old male?”
“No fair using your iPhone, Dad. You just lost some points,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Dad and I are going to live a long time and you’ll be on your own by the time we die. You’ll have your own family.”
Vinnie says, “But, Mom. You and Dad are my family. I don’t want to live with your mom and dad because their house always stinks of garlic. I don’t want to live with Dad’s mom and dad because they’re always watching CNN. Can Rupert and Dexter and me live with Joey and his mom? She lets Joey do anything he wants. Why can’t I do anything I want? This is part two.”
Vinnie’s mom takes another sip of her drink, “Dear, why don’t you take part two. I took part one.”
Vinnie’s dad gives Vinnie a bewildered look, “I’m not sure I understand the question, Vinnie. I heard two questions. Did you want to know if you could live with Joey’s mom if we died? Or, did you want to know why you can’t do anything you want?”
Vinnie turns to the side and whispers in Rupert’s ear. He pulls Rupert’s mouth close to his ear. Vinnie nods his head three times. Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s forearm and whispers, “What is Rupert saying?” Vinnie’s dad breaks into hysterical laughter. Vinnie’s mom starts laughing, tears streak down her cheeks.
Vinnie finishes his conversation with Rupert. He looks at his mom. He says, “Is this an adult joke kids don’t understand?”
Vinnie’s mom shakes her head yes, wipes tears out of her eyes, and takes a Kleenex to blow her nose. She takes another long sip of coffee. She says, “I’m ready.”
Vinnie says, “Rupert says it’s your choice. He’s hoping you choose the first one because he gave me a follow up question. If I were you, Dad I’d take the second question it’s the easiest one. Which one you taking, Dad, the first one or the second one?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “I think you”re trying to trick me. I’ll take the first question.”
“You sure, Dad?” asks Vinnie.
“I’m sure. I’m ready with a great answer.”
“Okay, Dad. Why can’t I do anything I want?”
“Wait a minute, Vinnie, that’s the second question, not the first.”
“Rupert told me to switch them around so the second question was the first question and the first question was the second question.”
Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm. “Are you beginning to see what’s it like to be home alone with Vinnie? Maybe you’ll understand my need for the spa.”
VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY WITH AN EMBARRASSING QUESTION