Vinnie sits on his bed, he has a sketchbook in front of him. Rupert sits opposite Vinnie on the other side of the sketchbook. Dexter lies on the floor alert for food dropping from heaven or falling off Vinnie’s bed. Vinnie is sketching ideas for his science project.
Vinnie stares at Rupert, “I’m hungry, Buddy. I think better if I’m not hungry. Do you have any more of the chocolate covered pretzels Gramma gave me that Mom doesn’t know anything about?”
Vinnie reaches across the sketchbook, shakes Rupert, and speaks in the falsetto voice he uses for Rupert, “I hid them under the bed, Mom never looks there. I put them next to the leftover Halloween and Christmas candy and a bag of Dad’s turkey jerky.”
Dexter’s head rises at the sound of turkey. He barks at the sound of the word jerky. Dexter’s vocabulary is limited, even for a beagle. He only understands words related to food or dog behavior related to getting food. Turkey and jerky are words Dexter knows. With a spry effort he quickly rises to all fours and barks.
Vinnie hops off the bed, nudges Dexter aside and slips down to the floor on his belly. He peaks under the bed. He extends his right arm and stretches it as far as he can under the bed. He says, “I got something, Rupert. I hope it’s the pretzels.”
Vinnie pulls the stash out, “Dexter, look, Dad’s turkey jerky. It has six pieces, you’ll have to eat all six because they stink once I open the package.”
Dexter’s on his haunches. His beagle intuition and sense of smell tell him Vinnie struck the mother load.
Vinnie’s reaches in again, moves his outstretched arm and hand like a metronome in two four time. “I can’t reach it, Rupert, I’ll have to get my baseball bat.”
Vinnie stands up. Dexter sits on his haunches, tilts his head slightly to left, lets his jaw drop an inch allowing his tongue to hang down. Vinnie says, “I need a scissors to open it, Dexter. I’ll be right back.”
Vinnie opens the door to his bedroom, walks down the hallway avoiding the kitchen. Vinnie’s mom, working on her healthy eats blog, senses Vinnie somewhere in close vicinity. She says, “Vinnie, where are you going?”
“No where, Mom.”
“You’re going somewhere, where are you going?” says Vinnie’s mom trying to concentrate on a way to make Brussels sprouts appetizing.
“My brain needs a break from all the homework, Mom. I’m going to walk into the garage and back.”
“Okay, was that so hard?” says Vinnie’s mom losing contact with Vinnie because she came up with a good idea for Brussels sprouts.
Vinnie walks around his bicycle, skateboard, basketball, soccer ball, soccer ball net, soccer shoes, two frisbees, and a baseball glove to get to his bat. He gets the bat and traces his steps back to his room. He stops near his mom’s bedroom. He walks in and goes in the master bathroom. He opens up a drawer in bathroom between the two sinks. He sees the small scissors his mom sometimes uses. He takes his mom’s scissors, closes the drawer, and heads to his bedroom.
He opens his bedroom door, Dexter is standing guard over the turkey jerky. Rupert is on the bed smiling. Vinnie walks to Dexter, kneels down and sits back on his calves. Dexter lays down, extends his short, compact body into a full extension, his two front paws touching Vinnie’s knees. Vinnie picks up the turkey jerky, and cuts away the top to the plastic packaging with his mom’s scissors.
Dexter smells the turkey jerky. Beagle protocol is to remain well behaved, but bark. Dexter mastered these two skills. He barks and gives Vinnie a look saying ‘I’ll sacrifice my body for you if you give me the turkey jerky.’ Beagles know they’ll never sacrifice their body for anything, except food, but humans don’t understand the beagle psyche.
Vinnie pulls out a strip of turkey jerky, he snips a piece off with his mom’s scissors. He holds it above Dexter’s head. Dexter looks at it, waiting for further instructions. Vinnie says, “Lie down, Dexter.”
This command confuses Dexter for a moment, then he decides to roll on his side and expose his underbelly. Vinnie says, “Good dog.” In Dexter’s parlance, this means food. He’s up on all fours and Vinnie drops the piece of jerky.
Vinnie starts to cut another piece when the bedroom door opens, “Oh my God, are those my special scissors?”
Vinnie glances at his mom, “Opps. Sorry, Mom. Dexter said he chews better if I cut the jerky in small pieces.”
“Dear Mother of God, please ask your son, why? I’ve stretched as far as I can go,” Vinnie’s mom mumbles.
Vinnie catches the last part of his mom’s prayer, “Your yoga strap can help you stretch further, Mom.