Vinnie’s mom is busy cleaning the living room rug praying one Hail Mary after the other. Vinnie’s dad is hiding in the study. Vinnie and Dexter make a run for the kitchen.
Vinnie stands in front of the refrigerator. He turns to Dexter and puts his forefinger in front of his mouth. Dexter understands this command. If he keeps quiet he’ll get a reward. If Dexter went to beagle college he might graduate number one in his class of beagle canines. Although he repeated doggy levels one and two to get his Good Canine Certificate. Even then, the class instructor told Vinnie’s mom it was a social promotion.
Vinnie opens the refrigerator door, he whispers to Dexter, “I think better when I’m not hungry. Promise not to tell Mom we’re eating?”
Dexter hasn’t a clue what Vinnie said. He does what all good beagles do when they stand in front of an open refrigerator door, he wags his tail and assumes a pointing position as if he were hunting.
“Thanks, Dexter,” says Vinnie. “It looks like Mom had Chinese take out for lunch. Do you like tofu?”
Dexter wags his tail.
Vinnie empties the to go box on a dish and places the empty to go box back in the refrigerator. He closes the refrigerator door and opens the freezer door. After a few seconds, he pulls out the ice cream sandwich box. He’s only allowed to have an ice cream sandwich on Friday and Saturday nights. There are two ice cream sandwiches in the box. Vinnie takes both of them and puts the box back in the freezer.
“Let’s go, buddy. I’ve got the goods. Now, we’ll come up with a good science project.”
Vinnie and Dexter enter Vinnie’s bedroom. Rupert is sitting in the same spot in the middle of Vinnie’s bed smiling.
“Hi, Rupert. Thanks for guarding the room. I don’t like anybody messing with my stuff.”
Vinnie uses his falsetto voice to speak for Rupert, “Sure thing, Bro.”
Vinnie sets the plate with the Chinese tofu and veggie meal on the floor. Dexter looks at it for point seven seconds before he begins eating as if he hadn’t eaten in a month. Vinnie fixes his pillow and gets on the bed. He places his ice cream sandwiches between his legs and reaches for Rupert. He sets Rupert down to his left.
“I’m going to share my ice cream sandwiches with you, Bro. You can’t tell Mom.”
“My lips are zipped, Bro,” says Rupert.
Vinnie glances over the side of his bed, Dexter is on his haunches looking up at Vinnie wondering if he gets one of the ice cream sandwiches for desert.
“You probably set the world record for fast eating Chinese take out food, Dexter,” says Vinnie.
Dexter barks, hoping Vinnie will interpret this as a request for an ice cream sandwich.
Vinnie ignores Dexter’s request and says to Rupert, “Buddy, adults don’t understand kids. I’ve told Mrs. Navis and Mom about and thousand good ideas for a science project and they won’t let me do them. Now, Mom says I need to think of a question to answer and the way I answer it will be my science fair project.”
Rupert says, “All your ideas are brilliant.”
“Thanks, Rupert,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom calls out, “Vinnie, are you ready for bed. I want to come in and tuck you in.”
Vinnie glances down at his two ice cream sandwiches. He peaks over the side of his bed and sees the plate Dexter is licking even though there is nothing there to lick. He answers, “Not quite, Mom. I’ll tell you when I’m ready.”
Vinnie jumps off the bed and pushes Dexter’s plate under the bed. Dexter doesn’t understand this game. He lies down on his belly with his head pressed against Vinnie’s mattress and his beagle nose stuck under the bed. Vinnie climbs back on the bed. He looks at Rupert, “Good thing the ice cream sandwiches are frozen solid.” Vinnie sticks the ice cream sandwiches under his pillow.
He calls out, “I’m ready, Mom.”
A moment later, Vinnie’s mom knocks, then enters Vinnie’s room. She stops at the doorway. “Do I smell Chinese food?”
“I don’t know, Mom, do you?” says Vinnie.
“Were you eating Chinese food, Vincent?”
“Mom, you know I don’t like Chinese food. Only you and Dad like it.”
Vinnie’s mom turns and looks down the hallway toward the study and calls out, “Dear, were you into my Chinese togo box?”