Vinnie’s mom recalls a college child psychology class where the professor said that talking to a child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal and allowing the child to speak through the doll or stuffed animal is an excellent technique. She decides to try it. Vinnie’s mom touches Rupert on his shoulder, “Rupert, did Vinnie talk to you about his day at school today?”
Vinnie shakes Rupert and using his falsetto voice says, “Un huh.”
“What did Vinnie tell you about his school day, Rupert?”
“Vinnie said the best part of the day was when he told the class all about our trip to the Grand Canyon. The class loved his story. He didn’t get a chance to finish because mean Mrs. Navis stopped him.”
“Oh, she stopped him? Did he tell you why she stopped him?”
“The class was laughing so hard, Mrs. Navis told him to stop.”
“Did he stop telling the story, Rupert?”
“Once he got back to his seat he stopped.”
“Do you mean, Vinnie kept telling the story as he walked to his seat?”
“Mrs. Navis didn’t really tell him to stop. She said, ‘Vincent, return to your seat.’
“Oh, dear. Let me guess, Rupert, Vinnie didn’t walk straight back to his seat.”
“How did you know, Mom? Did Mrs. Navis tell you he didn’t go straight back to his seat, because she didn’t say, ‘Go straight to your seat.’
“What did Vinnie do, Rupert?”
“He walked around the room. He never really went to his seat.”
“He never went to his seat?”
“No, Mrs. Navis sent him to the office for second time.”
“Oh, dear God. What happened.”
“Mrs. Nokowski gave him a lollipop, asked him to sharpen some pencils and then sent him back to class. He didn’t get in trouble.”
“Did Vinnie tell you the story of our trip to the Grand Canyon? Can you tell me?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Sure, Mom. You know how you and Dad always want Vinnie to be creative?”
“He didn’t tell the story like it really happened, did he Rupert?”
“One of the best parts of his story, Mom, was when we stopped at a cattle ranch and Dad stepped in cow manure and smelled the car the rest of the way. He told the class you made him eat scorpions because he was being too loud.”
“Didn’t what, Mom? I wasn’t listening because this is private between you and Rupert. Rupert will tell me later what you talked about.”
“Vincent, how many times did you get sent to the office today?”
“Before or after lunch, Mom? I’m tired of talking, Mom. Can I work on my science project?”
“Vincent, Mrs. Navis is worried about what you are going to do for your science project. She wants you to keep it simple.”
“I can’t, Mom. I got to be me,” says Vinnie. “Can I be me, Mom. I don’t know how to be anybody else.”
“Go work on your project, we’ll talk about it at dinner tonight. Maybe, Dad has some ideas. I’m going into the yard, I need some fresh air.”
“Good idea, Mom,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie watches his mom go into the backyard. He glances at Dexter who glances up at him. “Fridge. Fridge. Fridge,” says Vinnie.
Dexter needs no further invitation, his beagle intellect takes over. Dexter races into the kitchen and skids to a stop in front of the refrigerator doing a perfect slide on his haunches. He looks back over his shoulder for Vinnie and barks.