Vinnie’s mom picks up Vinnie’s empty plate and substitutes a plate with a bean and cheese burrito on the table in front of Vinnie’s chair. She whispers to Vinnie’s dad, “If I put the burrito in front of Rupert, do you think he’ll eat it.”
“Put your phone away. You’re not listening to me. You didn’t hear a word I said,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I heard every word, but I don’t remember them. I mean, I don’t remember them in the order you said them,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“What were you doing on your phone?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“I was playing a game.”
“Oh, dear Lord, please, help me.”
“Mom, Dad, Dexter and me are back. He was quick. Don’t worry, I let him go on the Johnson’s lawn. I hid behind a bush so they didn’t see me. It was really big. I think you can see it from our front porch it was so big,” says Vinnie bouncing into his chair and eyeballing his burrito. Dexter slides in on the floor next to Vinnie.
“Tell me you didn’t let Dexter go on the Johnson’s lawn, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Okay, Mom. I didn’t let Dexter go on the Johnson’s lawn. Can I eat now?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Vinnie only followed your orders, Dear. You told him what to say and he did.”
“I’m feeling sick,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I think it is from the dinner you made, Mom. The best dinners are pizza and burritos and tacos and real barbecue.”
Vinnie’s dad steps in, “It’s Monday evening, the Johnsons always go straight from work and meet at the Sushi place on Hancock Street. They won’t know Dexter did anything.”
“Good thinking, Dad,” says Vinnie already halfway through his burrito. “Boy, this burrito is great. You’re a good cook, Mom.”
“It’s a frozen burrito from the store. All I did was microwave it,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“You did a great job with the microwave, Mom. You want to hear about my science project?”
“I’m all ears, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“That’s a good one, Mom. But, you only have two ears. You can’t be all ears. You can be all skin. Do you want to be all skin?” says Vinnie.
“Okay, Vincent. I’m all skin, now tell Dad and me about your idea for a science project.”
“It’s going to be the coolest science project in the history of the school. Here’s what I want to do. I want to buy three packages of hot dogs. One package will be regular hotdogs. The second package will be turkey hotdogs. The third package will be those hotdogs made with soy that you like, Mom.”
“You’re not going to eat them or make anyone eat them, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Not to worry, Mom. Dexter can eat them when I’m finished,” says Vinnie.
Dexter lifts his head. He heard his name. He heard hotdog. Dexter finds the linking of his name to hotdog to be a pleasurable experience for him. Almost as pleasurable as doing nothing, which he does most of the day.
“Okay, Mom. Listen to this. I’m going to put one hotdog from each package in the microwave and set the microwave on ten minutes. I’m only setting it on ten minutes because I need to have enough time until the hotdogs explode.”
“Stop, Vincent. You are not going to explode hotdogs in the microwave.”
“But, Mom. I’m going to go by the ingredients and see if the hotdogs with the most water explode before the others. I can see if sodium makes a difference. And, if I measure the time it takes to explode it will be the coolest ever experiment.”
“Who gave you this idea, Vinnie? You did not come up with it by yourself.”
“I thought of exploding the hotdogs. I a text to aunt Angie. She liked my idea and told me to write down the ingredients and see if the sodium content made a difference.”
“Dear God,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“She’s your sister,” says Vinnie’s dad. “I think it has possibilities. I like it. Besides, what could go wrong.”
“You would like it. And, you have no clue,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I don’t want to play Clue, Mom. Can we go to the market so I can get my hot dogs? I better get three packages of each in case I make a mistake,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Can I get a bratwurst?