What’s Vinnie Done Now?


Vinnie’s dad walks through the front door and steps into the entry way. The only one waiting to greet him is Dexter. Dexter sits on his haunches and waits for a treat. This is a time tested beagle strategy to win over the hardest of hearts.

Vinnie’s dad stoops down and pats Dexter’s head. “One minute, Dexter. I’ll get you a . . .”

“Dear, is that you? I’m doing an extra yoga session. I needed it after I read Mrs. Navis’s email.”

Dexter’s confused. He was following along waiting for the word food or treat when Vinnie’s dad stopped talking and Vinnie’s mom started talking. Dexter asks for clarification and barks.

Vinnie’s dad glances down at Dexter, then says, “Where’s Vinnie? He’s usually waiting for me.”

“Wait a minute, I’m going into the half lotus position and I don’t want to talk. Give Dexter a treat.”

Dexter hears two magic words, his name and treat. Dexter believes this is the highest form of communication in the English language. He heads for the kitchen, the primary source of food. Vinnie’s dad obediently follows him. 

Vinnie’s dad reaches the kitchen, opens the refrigerator, pulls out the meat bin and takes out the last turkey hot dog from the bin. He tosses the whole thing on the floor. He doesn’t want to get Dexter’s drool on his fingers. Dexter bypasses the sniff test and immediately begins consuming the hot dog. four point two seconds later Dexter is on his haunches waiting for another hot dog.

Vinnie’s dad calls out, “Will I need a beer?”

From the half lotus position in the living room, “Yes, and pour me a glass of wine.”

Vinnie’s dad pulls out a locally brewed, high-priced beer and the merlot. He carries both into the dining room and sets them on the table. He returns to the kitchen and gets a wine glass from the cabinet. He doesn’t know where the napkins are and breaks off two paper towels from the paper towel roll. 

Vinnie’s mom is sitting at the living room table when Vinnie’s dad returns. He says, “You look good in yoga pants. I ever tell you that?”

“Pour me my merlot, please. Don’t interrupt. I don’t think it’s Vinnie’s fault. She doesn’t understand him. If we can only get him through the next three months, he’ll be on to fourth grade and away from Mrs. Navis.”

Vinnie’s dad twists the top of the beer bottle, sets the top on the table, and lifts the beer bottle to his lips. He closes his eyes and lets the cool liquid wash away whatever comes next. He finishes his drink, sets the bottle down and says, “What’s Vinnie done now?”

“That’s just it. I’m not sure. She asked me if I am feeding Vinnie sugary cereal or chocolate in the morning for breakfast. The woman’s got a nerve asking me that question.”

“Why did she ask you?” says Vinnie’s dad only listening to part of what Vinnie’s mom is saying.

Vinnie’s mom puts her hand on Vinnie’s dad’s forearm, “Dear, I need your full attention. Look at me. Are you listening to me?”

Vinnie’s dad nods, “Un huh.”

“What did I say?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad scratches his forehead stalling for time while his dendrites scramble for an answer. 

“Well?” demands Vinnie’s mom.

“You said, Mrs. Navis is nervous.”

Suddenly, “Mom, Dad, I’m home. I got a great idea for my science project. We got to go to the store right after dinner so I can experiment.”

Vinnie’s dad believes an unseen cosmic force saves him from complete humiliation. He says, “I better go and see Vinnie.” He gets up and hurries to greet Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom takes a sip of of her merlot. She thinks, “I know he’s mine, but why doesn’t he have any of my DNA?”

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