Fifteen minutes later, Vinnie opens the door to his bedroom. He sticks his head out the door. He hollers, “Mom, my brain is frozen. I need a break. My story is not due until next Friday. Mrs. Mavis only needs the first paragraph on Monday. It’s only Friday night. Besides, I work better under pressure,” says Vinnie.
“I was the same way in school and college,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Why am I not surprised?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Can I come out, Mom? I think Dexter is going to go poop. He needs to go outside. I volunteer to take him out. I’ll walk him down the street as far as Joey’s house.”
“Listen up, Buster. I know what you’re up to. You can walk Dexter to the corner of Mulberry and State Street. When you reach the corner, turn around and come straight home,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie understands when his mom uses the word Buster, she means business. His brain is searching for a workaround. He says, “Mom, Did you know Dexter only likes to poop on Joey’s lawn. He’s very particular where he goes because he’s smarter than all other dogs. He probably won’t go if I walk toward State Street.”
“Dear, will you handle this, my blood sugar is dropping faster than an Arctic cold drops the temperature. I need to feed my anxiety. When you’re finished handling this situation, make a run for me and get me a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.”
“I only think it comes in pints,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Then get me eight pints and don’t you dare touch them,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Uh, do you know how long you’ll have to run on the treadmill tomorrow to burn those calories?”
“That’s the point. I’ll have to run all day and you’ll be home alone with Vinnie to help him with his story.”
Vinnie hollers from the bedroom, “What are you guys talking about? Rupert is very smart, he can help if you’re stuck.”
Vinnie’s dad calls out, “Vinnie, we’re okay. Mom was telling me the kind of ice cream she likes.”
“Why is she stressed out, Dad? Did you do something to make her stressed?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom breaks into hilarious laughter.
Vinnie’s dad whispers, “It’s not funny. I need some help.”
Vinnie’s mom is holding her belly, tears are rolling down her cheeks, she can’t stop laughing.
“No, I didn’t stress her out.”
“She only eats ice cream when she’s stressed. It’s usually Mrs. Navis who stresses her out,” says Vinnie.
Another wave of laughter erupts from Vinnie’s mom.
“Dad, are you tickling, Mom?” asks Vinnie.
The sound of laughter reverberates off the living room walls.
Vinnie’s dad tries to regain control and uses his lawyer strategy by asking a question, “Why did you want to see Joey?”
“How did you know I wanted to see Joey, Dad. You are so smart. You guessed it. I’m starting a detective business and Joey is going to work for me. We’re going to solve crimes. If we solve a crime this weekend, it will be my story. It’s a great idea, right, Dad? Can I go?”
Vinnie’s dad pauses for a moment. He looks at Vinnie’s mom who’s squeezing her lips with the thumb and forefinger of her left hand.
Vinnie’s dad says, “It sounds like a good idea. Let Dexter out back before you go. Come home in an hour.”
“Thanks, Dad. You won’t regret it,” says Vinnie scooping up Rupert.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Oh, yes you will.”