On the road, somewhere in Texas.
“Dad, Dad, Dad?”
“Where are we?”
“We’re in Texas.”
“I thought we were in Texas yesterday. Why are we still in Texas today, Dad? Did you get lost, Dad? Did you forget to ask Mom for directions? Mom says you’re too proud to ask for directions. Right, Mom?”
Vinnie’s mom turns a bit toward the back seat. She holds up a plastic baggie with celery and carrot sticks, “Want a snack, Vinnie? I know how you love celery and carrot sticks.”
Dexter hears the word snack, sits up on his haunches and lets his tongue hang out.
Vinnie says, “I do? Do you have any chips, instead? Or, M & M’s? I’ll even eat popcorn. Did you bring hot pockets? How about bubble gum? I like to chew five pieces at the same time. I think I can do ten pieces. If you have ten pieces of bubble gum I might set the world record for the biggest bubble ever.”
Vinnie’s mom takes a deep sign, she holds the baggie toward Vinnie’s dad. He glances over at it and says, “Great snack, I’m stuffed from breakfast.”
Vinnie’s mom twists toward the front and opens the plastic baggie, “If you boys don’t want to eat celery or carrot sticks, I’ll enjoy them. You don’t know what you are missing.”
A moment later from the back seat, “My stomach is killing me, Mom. I need real food before I die. Is there a hospital on the way?”
“You had a banana and English muffin with peanut butter at the motel before we left. You are not going to die,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
“I think I got food poison, Mom. The banana was bad. Can Dad sue the motel?”
“I picked out the banana, Vincent. It was not rotten. It was a perfectly good banana.”
Twenty seconds of silence. “Here, Dexter. I have some bacon I snuck out of the motel.”
“Will you share it with me, Dexter?”
“Vincent, where have you been carrying the bacon? And, don’t you dare eat any of it. Only one piece for Dexter,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
“Too late, Mom. Dexter already ate the six pieces I took. He was starving. I didn’t want him to die too. Don’t worry, I didn’t put the bacon in my pockets. I stuck under my shirt against my belly. Do you think that’s why Dexter wants to lie on my lap?”
Vinnie’s dad signals to take the next exit.
“Why are we getting off the highway, Dear?” asks Vinnie’s mom
“I thought we could stop at a gas station and pick up a few man snacks.”
“Thanks, Dad,” says Vinnie.
“What is a man snack?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Can I answer, Dad?”
Vinnie’s dad is sorry he used the term ‘man snacks.’ He’s happy to pass the answer baton off to Vinnie, “Sure, Vinnie.”
“Hot pizza slices. Hot pockets. Hot dogs. Tacos if they have them. Bubble gum. Chips. A sixty-four ounce soda, and box of Krispy Kreme donuts. If they don’t have Krispy Kreme, whatever cupcakes are on the shelf. I like the chocolate ones stuffed with cream. Dexter and Rupert are men. Dexter wants a large bag of beef jerky and Rupert wants four bags of Skittles.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “It’s vacation.”
Vinnie says, “What are girl snacks, Mom?”
Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes and mumbles, “Oh, dear Lord. It’s only day two.”