“Dad, Dad, Dad, can Dexter and Rupert play too? Don’t feel bad if they do better than you and Mom,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom quick to remember the painful experience of the game Vinnie invented, says, “No invented games, Vinnie. It has to be a game we all know. It’s only fair.”
Dexter is sitting on his haunches. It’s an automatic response to hearing his name called. Dexter, like all other beagles, learns early on as part of dog etiquette. Dexter knows sitting on his haunches tells humans he is a beagle with good breeding and a strong sense of dignity.
Vinnie’s mom twists and sees Dexter. She says, “Why is Dexter sitting?”
Dexter’s ears perk up and his tongue drops out of his mouth.
“Is Dexter smiling at me?” asks Vinnie’s mom. “That is so adorable.” Vinnie’s mom reaches into the overstuffed book bag and pulls out a package of doggie treats. She tears the top off of the bag and takes out three treats.
Vinnie’s mom hands the treats to Vinnie, “Here, Vinnie. Dexter is the cutest dog, he can have a treat.”
Vinnie reaches for the treats. Dexter’s eyes follow the exchange. His tail now moving to the beat of Ed Sheeran singing a love song. Even the remote possibility of food stirs strong, instinctive romantic images in Dexter’s mind even if he’s neutered.
“Thanks, Mom. Dexter sit. Oh, you’re already sitting. Good one, Dexter. Shake. Good boy. Stand up. Good boy. Lie down. Good boy. Dexter may be the smartest beagle in the world, Mom. He ate his three pieces. He’s ready to play. We are going to play, Can you see what I see. I go first.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “That’s not a fair game, Vinnie, because you can see things in the back and out the side windows. I have to keep my eyes on the road.”
“Thank you, Dear. You saved us from extraordinary suffering,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
“What did Dad do, Mom? Did he miss hitting an antelope? Did he swerve out the way of a runaway truck? Is Dad a hero, Mom? Is he, Mom?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie’s mom, “Am I a hero?”
How did I weave my own trap? We have seven more days of this vacation and we’re not close to the Grand Canyon. Why didn’t we fly? No, we tried that once and I think Vinnie got us on the Watch List. Whose idea was the car ride? The thoughts rain through Vinnie’s mom’s mind circling and diving deeper and deeper forming a vortex from which few humans recover. Fortunately, Vinnie saves her.
“Rupert says Dad is a hero, Mom. Rupert is the second smartest person I know and the smartest grizzly bear I know.”
Vinnie’s dad always seeking to show his sensitive male side, says, “Rupert was thinking what Mom was thinking. He must be able to read minds. I’m sure Mom is the smartest person in the world.”
“Sorry, Mom. You’re not the smartest person in the world. I have proof who’s the smartest person in the world.
Vinnie’s Dad attempts thought projection into Vinnie’s mom’s mind telling her to let Vinnie’s comment go. He quickly realizes Vinnie’s mom set up a barrier blocking incoming thought projections.
“If I am not the smartest person you know, I want to know who is the smartest person you know,” says Vinnie’s mom sounding hurt.
“Mom, can you take your finger off?”
“That’s a silly trick, Vinnie. It has nothing to do with intelligence,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Can you take quarters out of my ear?”
“There are no quarters in your ear and there never were quarters in your ear,” says Vinnie’s mom already knowing where Vinnie is going before Vinnie announces where he is going.
“I think you’re mistaken, Mom. Can you make burps about two meters long?”
“What does burping have to do with intelligence, Vincent?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Everything, Mom. Gramps said there’s science behind long, loud burps. When he came over last week, he was teaching me to do it. You want to know what he taught me?”
“Your Dad is one of the most interesting and intelligent men I’ve met, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad trying to be sensitive again and again failing.
“What would you think, Vincent, if I made loud, long burps,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie answers, “You would be the coolest mom in the all the world. Can we play 20 questions? I go first.”