Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s Dad, and Vinnie sit at the dinner table. Rupert sits on top of the table to Vinnie’s right. Dexter lies on the floor beside Vinnie’s chair. Vinnie stares at the food on his plate. He looks up at his mom, “Mom, is this safe to eat? Do you know if anyone is trying to poison me because I’m getting too close?”
Vinnie’s mom’s mouth drops open, she twists her head slightly to look at Vinnie’s dad. Vinnie’s dad turns his head toward the window. He says, “I think I saw a cardinal.”
Vinnie’s mom mumbles, “Mary, you have to help me.”
Vinnie says, “Mom, you talking to Jesus’ mother again? Ask her if she knows who is trying to poison me.”
“Vincent, no one is trying to poison you. The beans are organic. The rice is organic. The broccoli is organic. I’m going to take a bite of your food to prove it’s not poison,” says Vinnie’s mom reaching her arm across the table and taking a small fork full of the beans and rice.
Vinnie picks up Rupert and uses his falsetto voice to speak, “Mom, Mom, Mom don’t. Poison doesn’t bother Dexter. Let him eat Vinnie’s food and buy Vinnie a pizza at Del’s. They deliver.”
Vinnie’s mom pushes the fork of food into her mouth. “Nooooo,” hollers Vinnie and he shuts his eyes.
Vinnie’s mom chews it, swallows it, and takes a sip of wine. “I’m still alive, Vinnie. You can open your eyes. Your food is safe to eat.”
Vinnie looks at his mom and says, “Dexter told me to say it was poison because he’s not getting enough food to eat. I can tell he’s too thin.”
Vinnie’s mom shakes her head, “Dexter is overweight. His belly is nearly dragging on the floor. The vet wants him on strict diet.”
“It’s all muscle, Mom. Dexter does sit ups every morning with Rupert,” says Vinnie. He quickly adds, “Rupert is thinking of going into a triathlon and wants company.”
Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad, “You were the one who recommended Reggie.”
“Who’s Reggie?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Dr. Sampson. Where did you get his name?”
“I Googled it.”
“How many stars did he have? One?”
“I didn’t check. When I clicked on his website it said he was very sensitive and formerly practiced in a geriatric unit,” says Vinnie dad helping himself to more rice and beans. “Say, this is really good.”
“Don’t change the subject.”
During the exchange between Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie’s dad, Vinnie’s been busy feeding Dexter rice and beans. Vinnie stops for a moment and says, “Who’s Dr. Sampson, Mom. Are you feeling okay? Is your blood pressure okay? If it’s high, it’s Mrs. Navis fault for sending me to the office all the time.”
Vinnie’s mom directs her attention toward Vinnie. She looks at his plate. She says, “I thought you might like dinner if you tried it. I am okay. I went to Dr. Sampson to see if he could give me some advice to help you to work with Mrs. Navis.”
Vinnie’s mom feels a sense of pride welling up in how she deftly handled Vinnie’s questions. She’s thinking she might write a book if she survives raising Vinnie.
“Rupert could have saved you a lot of time, Mom.”
“Oh? What advice would Rupert give me.”
Vinnie takes hold of Rupert and moves him in front of his face. He speaks in his falsetto voice for Rupert, “The first thing Mrs. Navis needs to do is apologize to Vinnie for being mean. The second thing is Mrs. Navis should do is let Vinnie do what he wants. The third thing …”
Vinnie’s mom interrupts Rupert’s narrative, “Stop. This is terrible advice. Let’s change the subject. How are you coming along with your story?”
“I only have two more movies to watch and I’ll be ready, Mom. I’ve already thought of the first couple of lines. I didn’t write them down, but they are in my brain. I won’t forget them.”
Vinnie’s dad jumps in, “Excellent way to approach the story, Vinnie.”
Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad wondering if all males are alike.
Vinnie says, “Here is the first sentence. ‘The evil dragon, breathing fire and lava through her very bad teeth because she doesn’t brush and floss every day growled at the students in her class.”
“No. No. No,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Why, Mom?” asks Vinnie politely. “It’s science fiction.”
“What is the dragon’s name in your story?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“It’s Mrs. Nasty,” says Vinnie innocently.
“Vincent. We both know who you mean by Mrs. Nasty,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Who?”
“Dear Lord what would either one of them do without me?”