“Ninety-one splashes of poop on the wall, ninety-one bottles of poop. You take one down and pass it around, their are ninety splashes of poop on wall.”
“Vincent, stop singing that song. It is disgusting,” says Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s mom starts rubbing her temples.
“Which part, Mom?” asks Vinnie.
“How much further to Flagstaff, Dear?” asks Vinnie’s mom. “I feel like we’ve been riding for twenty hours straight without a stop. How long has it been since our last stop?”
“Thirty minutes. Here’s something to brighten your spirits. It’s only sixty miles to Flagstaff. You can see the mountains in the distance. The highest mountains still have snow on their peaks. We should make it there by five,” says Vinnie’s dad. Before Vinnie’s mom responds, he says, “Vinnie, what has been your favorite part of the trip so far?”
Vinnie’s mom bows her head and puts her hand over her eyes. Vinnie’s dad glances over and sees Vinnie’s mom’s lips moving. “What are you saying, Dear?”
“A Hail Mary.”
Vinnie says, “I’ve got lots of favorite things so far, Dad. I’m making my top ten list. When I’m through making my list, want me to read it to you and Mom? If you like it, I’ll ask Mrs. Navis if I can read it in front of the class when I go back to school.”
Vinnie’s mom twists a bit toward Vinnie’s dad, “I am not going to get you out of this one. Your on your own.”
“What do you mean, Dear? What harm can come from Vinnie making a list of his favorite things so far on the trip?
“Have you been listening at all for the past seven hundred miles? Hello, Earth to the International Space Station, please come in,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “This is a difference between you and me.”
“Oh?” says Vinnie’s mom. “I want hear it.”
Vinnie’s dad avoids eye contact and pretends he’s concentrating on driving. He says, “I look at the bright side of everything. I can find good in almost any circumstance. It’s one of the things noted on my annual evaluation. You should try it.” A pause. the front seat quickly fills with the chill of an early winter. Vinnie’s dad attempts to turn on the emotional defroster, “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
Vinnie’s mom stares straight ahead, her arms folded across her chest.
The tension breaks when Vinnie says, “I’ve finished. It was hard because I had to leave off some of the best things that happened so far.”
Vinnie’s mom looking for an opening says, “What is one best thing you left off your top ten list, Vinnie?”
“That’s an easy one, Mom. It almost made the top ten. The top ten were the best ever.”
“Well?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Yes, Vinnie. Tells us the top best thing you left off your best things list,” says Vinnie’s day making a failed attempt to charm Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie opens his notebook. He says, “Rupert will read it. He is a very good reader. I don’t think many grizzly bears can read as good as Rupert.”
Vinnie places Rupert on his lap and holds his notebook in front of Rupert. He uses his falsetto voice as Rupert’s voice, “The best thing that happened that wasn’t on the list happened when we stopped in Gallup. When Dad came out of the men’s room, his zipper was down. Some kids were pointing and laughing at Dad and he didn’t know it.” Vinnie now speaking in his voice, “Dad, is your zipper still down?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “We haven’t started the top ten list, Dear. I want to hear your positive spin on this one. Please two hands on the wheel, you can zip your pants when we reach Flagstaff.”