Vinnie, Rupert, and Vinnie’s Mom follow Vinnie’s dad in the motel lobby. Dexter sits on the front passenger seat following his family into the motel. Vinnie’s dad and mom walk over to the counter. Vinnie carries Rupert and walks over to tray of courtesy cookies, apples, and bananas.
“Can I help you?” asks the desk clerk.
Vinnie hollers, “Do you have any more cookies?”
The clerk glances over at Vinnie, then back to Vinnie’s parents. Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie thinks you were speaking to him. It’d be a big help if you had a few more cookies, believe me.”
“Rupert is starving,” hollers Vinnie.
“I thought his name was Vinnie? Does he talk in third person?” asks the clerk.
“Rupert is his stuffed grizzly bear,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“How could he be starving, Sir?” asks the desk clerk.
“Please get the cookies,” says Vinnie’s mom, her words walking the tightrope between normal conversation and begging.
Vinnie hollers in his falsetto voice, “Feed me. Feed me. I’m dying. I can’t last much longer.”
“Who is that?” says the desk clerk.
“That’s Rupert,” says Vinnie’s mom. “He won’t stop. I know. I’m his mother. It’s only going to get worse. Please get the cookies.”
Vinnie’s dad says to Vinnie’s mom, “I can handle this, why don’t you go with Vinnie?”
“I don’t have the energy. He wore me out on the drive. I’ll handle this, why don’t you go with Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s mom.
The desk clerk follows the conversation as if she were at a tennis match. “I’d get the cookies but there is no one to cover the front desk. I’ll get fired if my boss finds out.”
“Mom, Mom, Mom, I’m giving Rupert CPR. The only thing that will save him are more cookies. I can hardly feel a pulse beat. Mom, Mom, call 9 – 1 – 1. Hang in there, Buddy. The cops will arrest the desk clerk when they get here.”
Vinnie’s mom looks at the desk clerk, “He’s exaggerating about the police.”
“No I’m not, Mom. I have your phone. See?” says Vinnie holding up his mom’s iPhone.
The desk clerk glances at Vinnie’s dad credit card, types something into the computer. She shakes her head, hits a few more keys, shakes her head. Vinnie’s mom says, “Is something wrong?”
“We don’t have a reservation for you.”
“Where are the cookies? I’ll get them. Rupert is desperate. Do you have any dog treats?”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, yes, ma’am. I’m sure,” says the desk clerk.
“Can I see your screen?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“It’s against policy, ma’am.”
“Dear, did you make reservations at this motel?”
Vinnie’s dad pulls out his iPhone. He opens his email app. Scrolls through his emails. “Here it is. He turns the reservation around and shows the desk clerk.”
“Sir, that motel is in Williams, Arizona. It’s thirty miles west of here.”
“Do you have any available rooms?” pleads Vinnie’s Mom.
“You didn’t look.”
“We want cookies. We want cookies. We want cookies,” Vinnie chants.
“I’m really sure, Ma’am,” says the clerk.