Mrs. Navis stands by the doorway and greets each child with a smile and a good morning in a lyrical voice as the kids walk into her classroom. That is, every child but Vinnie. She says, “Vincent, I do not want to hear about artificial insemination. It’s not appropriate for a science project. Now, find your desk and get ready for class.”
Vinnie doesn’t move. He stands in front of Mrs. Navis and stares at her for a moment. Then he says, “Why, Mrs. Navis? Joey said I could use his cat in the project.”
“Vincent, no means no.”
“Okay, Mrs. Navis. I have another idea. I want to test to see what helps make the longest burps, diet soda or regular soda. Can I do that, Mrs. Navis? Can I?”
Mrs. Navis places a hand on Vinnie’s left shoulder, “Vincent, where do you come up with these ideas? Who is helping you? Is it your mother? I’m sure it is. Tell me.”
Vinnie turns his head and looks at Mrs. Navis’ hand on his shoulder. She remover her hand. Vinnie says, “Oh no, Mrs. Navis. I don’t talk about my science fair project with my mom or dad. I want to surprise them. I have a great science mind who talks to me about them. He’s my friend.”
“And, who is this great science mind? Is it Joey? Tommy? Larry?”
“No, Mrs. Navis. It’s Rupert.”
“Rupert? Is Rupert a university professor?”
“He’s like Einstein, Mrs. Navis. Oh, there’s the bell. Maybe Rupert can come in and teach class someday. I’ll ask him if he can do it?”
“Vincent, in your seat.”
Vinnie walks to the center of the room. All the other students are at their desks. Vinnie stops in front of Mrs. Navis desk and announces, “Class can begin, I’m here.” Vinnie starts laughing and the class joins in until. …
“Children, children, that is enough. Vincent, sit down.”
Mrs. Navis waits for Vinnie to sit then says, “After the pledge of allegiance to the flag and the announcements you will take turns standing in front of class and telling everyone about your spring break. I’m sure each of you had something exciting happen to you even if you didn’t go on a trip.”
Mrs. Navis tries desperately to ignore a waving hand coming from the middle of the third row behind Sara. She can ignore the waving hand, she can’t ignore the incessant, “Ooh, ooh, ooh, Mrs. Navis. Ooh, Ooh, Ooh.”
“What is it, Vincent?”
“Can I be first, my vacation was the best vacation in the history of spring vacations. Can I, Mrs. Navis. Can I?”
“I bet it wasn’t as good as mine,” says Mary sitting across from Vinnie. “My parents took me to Disney World and I went to the Magic Kingdom.”
“Boring, boring, and more boring. Everybody has been to Disney World or seen it on TV.”
“It was not boring. I got to hold hands with Cinderella,” says Mary.
“Children, stop. We’ll go alphabetically,” says Mrs. Navis hoping there will be no time left for Vinnie.
“That’s not fair, Mrs. Navis. My name begins with a V and I’m always at the end,” blurts Vinnie.
“Will you promise I’ll get a chance to tell my story? Please, Mrs. Navis. I’ll tell my mom what a good teacher you are,” says Vinnie.
Mrs. Navis thinks the last thing she needs is a principal and teacher and parent conference on why she didn’t let Vincent tell his story. “Okay, Vincent, we’ll make sure you have a chance to tell your story.”
“You won’t regret it, Mrs. Navis,” says Vinnie.