Vinnie’s Mom Gets a Call From Vinnie’s Teacher


Vinnie’s mom stares at her ringing cellphone. A tremor fears shoots through her body. The only reason someone from the school calls is to complain about Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom blesses herself and answers. 


. . . 

“I understand.”

. . .

“Un huh.”

. . .

“That doesn’t sound like Vinnie, are you sure?”

. . .

“He has an active imagination. We try to encourage it.”

. . .

“I don’t like your tone.”

. . .

“What do you mean, he’s setting a bad example? For whom?”

. . .

“Have you ever raised boys?”

. . .

“Being a teacher for thirty-five years does not count for raising a boy.”

. . .

“I don’t want him transferred to another classroom. There is only three months remaining of the school year.”

. . .

“Okay, we’ll talk about it. Thank you for calling, Mrs. Navis.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and tries to visualize a peaceful place. Nothing appears on her mind’s screen, everything is fuzzy. Vinnie’s mom checks speed dial. She considers calling Vinnie’s dad. She decides against it. He’s probably in a meeting and he’d be no help, he’s too much like Vinnie. She checks her contacts, and types in Dr. Verone. Dr. Verone heads the mom support group for hyperactive and over imaginative children. She decides not to call. 

Vinnie interrupts her from the kitchen, “Mom, do you need to talk? Rupert and Dexter and me can listen.”

“No, Vinnie. I’m thinking of what to make for dinner.”

“Mom, you know how you can always tell when I’m lying?” says Vinnie climbing onto a stool at the breakfast bar to eat a snack.

“What are you talking about, Vincent?”

“You’ve got the crock pot on. It smells like you’re making chicken fajitas for Dad and Rupert and Dexter and me. So, who called?”

Vinnie’s mom walks into the kitchen from the living room. She stops at the breakfast bar and stares at Vinnie. He looks up at her and smiles. Vinnie’s mom hates and loves Vinnie’s smile at the same time. No matter how angry she can be with him, his smile is still pure innocence. His smile, she thinks, could disarm a bomb in a matter of seconds. 

Vinnie’s mom leans over and rests her elbows on the counter, and looks at Vinnie. He looks back at her. “Want a carrot stick?” Vinnie picks a carrot stick off his plate and hands it to his mom.

“Did you wash your hands before you starting eating your snack,” Vinnie’s mom asks.

“I wiped them on my pants, Mom. Joey’s mom says that’s better than washing them.”

Vinnie’s mom isn’t quite sure if she’s going to laugh, cry, or demand Vinnie not hang around with Joey.

“You know what you tell me when I’m upset, Mom?”

“What, Vinnie,” Vinnie’s mom bites into the carrot stick.

“You tell me to talk about it. You even let me sit on your lap and talk to you. You’re too big to sit on my lap, but Rupert will sit on your lap and you can talk to us. Did you know Rupert is a trained child psychologist. That’s why he understands me.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Rupert sitting on the counter next to Vinnie’s snack plate, “Can you help me, Rupert?”

Rupert answers with Vinnie’s falsetto voice, “If it’s about anything Mrs. Navis said about Vinnie, don’t believe it.”

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