Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s dad, Rupert and Vinnie sit at the dining room table. Rupert’s back leans against Vinnie’s lunch box. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s chair. The scent of the lingering fragrance of hotdog residue in Vinnie’s pant’s pocket has Dexter’s beagle optimism reader on high. Vinnie’s dad says, “I’m ready to answer why you can’t do what you want.”
“Too late, Dad. The game’s rules say if you don’t answer it right away, I can change the question,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad knowing he has to score some points with Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie, this is a great game, but this is last question. The game ends after I answer the question, right or wrong.”
Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad and says, “You’ve got to do better.”
“I’m working on it, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie pulls an imaginary piece of paper out of the lunch box. He holds the imaginary paper in front of him and reads the imaginary words off of it, “When I grow up, will I be tall and skinny and nerdy looking like you, Dad. Or, will I be like Mom and be able to do sports really good and be really smart?”
Vinnie’s dad blushes. He says, “I am tall and you’re tall for your age group. You’ll be over six feet. But, I’m not nerdy and I like to run.”
Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm, “Dear, you need to answer the question. It is entirely appropriate.”
“Thank you, Mom,” says Vinnie.
“It’s not even a question because it’s imaginary. There was no paper. Vinnie made it up,” says Vinnie’s dad defensively.
“No I didn’t Dad. It’s right here,” Vinnie points to an imaginary spot on the table. He adds, “Rupert wrote it for me. He has great cursive writing.”
Vinnie’s mom, now enjoying the game for the first time says, “Can I see the question, Vinnie?”
“Sure, Mom,” says Vinnie picking up the imaginary question and handing it to his mom.
Vinnie’s mom accepts the imaginary question, holds it up in front of her face and reads it, “When I grow up, will I be tall and skinny and nerdy looking like you, Dad. Or, will I be like Mom and be able to do sports really good and be really smart?” She adds, “You’re right, Vinnie. Rupert has excellent cursive.”
“This isn’t fair,” says Vinnie’s dad. “Can I have a different question?”
“I like this question,” interrupts Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie reaches over to his mom and she hands the imaginary question to him. Vinnie says, “Dad, I’m going to mark you down. Don’t worry, I have a few extra credit questions for you to get you back in the game. Do you like ketchup?”
“Yes, Vinnie, I like ketchup,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Dad, do you like ice cream?” asks Vinnie.
“Yes, I like ice cream. What’s the point?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Then, Dad, do you ketchup ice cream?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad intuitively senses if he answers yes, Vinnie will go to the kitchen and bring his a bowl of ice cream with ketchup on it. If he answers no, Vinnie will tell him he didn’t tell the truth on the first two questions.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Dear, do you now understand what it’s like? Once you leave for work, he starts. Once he gets off the bus it begins again. Two or three times a week I’m called to school talk to teachers about Vinnie.”
“It’s all good stuff, right, Mom?” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie, you amaze your teachers every day.”
“Thanks, Mom. Dad, do you want some ice cream?”