Vinnie walks down the hallway. He stops in front of the closed office door. He stares at it. He reads the words on it, School Office. All Visitors Must Sign In. He opens the door and walks inside. Vinnie says, “Hi, Mrs. Nokowski. How are you feeling today? You look really busy. Is this a bad time?”
Vicky Nokowski is the school secretary. All the teachers agree, Vicky Nokowski runs the school. Vicky has the landline phone cradled against her ear while she works on her computer. She stops and glances at Vinnie, takes the phone away from her neck and covers the receiver with her hand. “It is a very bad time, Vinnie. Dr. Morrow is in an important meeting, and I’m a very busy. Is it important?”
Vinnie smiles and says, “Everybody knows you run the school. It’s not important. I wanted to see how you were doing.”
Vicky Nokowski is familiar with Vinnie. He gets sent to the office at least twice a week. She doesn’t understand why Vinnie is sent to the office because he’s always polite and he has the cutest smile. When Vinnie is sent to the office he engages her in non stop chatter. She decides she doesn’t have time for chatter today. She says, “Vinnie, go on back to your room, tell Mrs. Navis you spoke to me and I sent you back to class.”
“I don’t think she’ll believe me. Can you give me a note?” asks Vinnie.
“Okay.” Vicky smiles and scribbles something on a piece of paper, “Thank you, Vinnie, here’s a note for Mrs. Navis, now run along.”
Vinnie stops at the door, turns back toward the counter, “Mrs. Nokowski, you are the best ever, bye.”
“Bye, Vinnie,” says Vickie making a mental note to give Mrs. Navis fewer supplies than she requests this week.
Vinnie decides to tour the school on his way back to his classroom. First stop, the boy’s restroom. He walks in and sees it empty. He flushes each of the urinals and toilets. He washes his hands in each of the six sinks. He carefully wipes his hands after each washing, dries them with paper towels and practices shooting baskets with the wet paper towels. Each time he misses, he walks over, picks up the paper towel and walks back to the sink. As he does, he makes a fake dribble, a fake pass, and impersonates an announcer, “Vinnie is deep in the corner. There is only time for one shot. He’s in the air, he let’s the ball go, swish. Game over. Vinnie wins another game.” It takes Vinnie sixteen attempts to get all the used paper towels in the trash container.
He leaves the bathroom, turns left and sees the custodian, Pete, halfway down the hall. Vinnie waves and hollers, “Hi Pete, what are you doing? Need any help. I have some free time.”
Pete knows Vinnie and figures Vinnie doesn’t want to go back to class. He says, “I think you told me once, but I forgot who you have for a teacher.”
“Mrs. Navis, Pete,” says Vinnie.
Pete rolls his eyes.
Vinnie hurries down the hall and stands next to Pete. He says, “I wish I could skip the third grade, Pete. I’m smart enough for fourth grade.”
Pete puts his large hand on Vinnie’s shoulder. He says, “I was like you. I didn’t like my third grade teacher and I’d run out of class and out of school. I drove my mom and the teacher crazy. I wish I studied more. Now, I got this job. It’s okay. I think I could have done better if I paid more attention in school. Why don’t you go back to class. You’re a smart boy. One day, when you’re famous, I want your autograph.”
“Really, Pete,” says Vinnie.
“Really, Vinnie,” says Pete, giving Vinnie an ear to ear smile.
“I can give it to you now. It might be worth more than if you have to wait until I’m old.”
“I think I can wait. Now off you go.”
“Keep working on your shooting in the bathroom, you’re getting better,” says Pete.
“How’d you know, Pete.”
“I gets around.”