Friday evening, Vinnie’s in bed, he’s lying on his side, his right arm holds Rupert close to his chest. Once Vinnie’s mom does her final check on Vinnie, Dexter jumps onto the bed and curls up on the other side of Rupert. The house is quiet with the exception of a conversation in the living room between Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie’s dad reaches for the remote.
“We have to talk about Vinnie. He thinks he really is a private detective,” says Vinnie’s mom taking a sip of merlot.
“What harm can he do? Let it run it’s course. He’ll be on to something else by Sunday,” says Vinnie’s dad staring at the remote.
“I don’t care who’s playing. I don’t care if it is the most important sporting event of the century. No TV until we figure out what to do and your suggestion doesn’t cut it,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad recalls the last time Vinnie’s mom felt this strongly was when he wanted to buy a motorcycle and she called it a donor cycle and said if he bought it she quit cooking, doing laundry, and any activities Vinnie’s dad enjoyed. Vinnie’s dad learned his lesson. He says, “What could go wrong? I’m serious.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Okay, Mr. Mouthpiece for mob. How are you going to feel when Vinnie goes to school and tells everyone you work for the mob?”
“He wouldn’t?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“When we got home from having ice cream, Vinnie started writing his fiction story for school. He showed me the first paragraph. I told him he couldn’t use that angle. Of course, Vinnie asked, “Why, Mom. It’s a true story about Dad’s work.”
“What did he write?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“It went something like this, Louie, the mouthpiece for the mob, met with Frankie. Frankie wanted Louie to get him out on bail. Tony said he was innocent, he only killed Fred because Fred didn’t pay for his pizza.” Do you know a mouthpiece for the mob with the first name Louie? Or, how about a pizza maker with the first name Tony?”
“Uh, do you think it’s a coincidence that my name is Louis and my brother’s name is Mark and Mark owns a bar that sells pizza?”
“Are you serious? You know how he thinks. What I read was probably the best part of the story, wait until he really gets into it.”
“We can talk to him,” suggests Vinnie’s dad.
“You know what he’ll say, don’t you?”
“Uh, I’m not sure. Help me here,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“You really are clueless. Vinnie is eight years old and you can’t predict what he’ll say. Do you ever listen to anyone?”
“Uh, I try to listen to my clients, but I record the conversations in case I’m not listening and thinking of something else,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Well, Mr. Mouthpiece, this is what Vinnie will say when you ask him to write something different. He’ll say, ‘Dad, you need to talk to Rupert. He’s dictating the story to me. He’s the smartest person on the Earth. He knows what everybody else doesn’t know.'”
“Rupert’s a stuffed grizzly bear. He can’t be the smartest person in the world,” argues Vinnie’s dad.
“You want to tell Vinnie that Rupert is not real? I did and you know what Vinnie said to me?”
“Vinnie said, ‘Mom, you’re just jealous because Rupert’s smarter than you and Mensa asked him to talk at your next meeting on how to be smarter.'”
“You think Vinnie could help me with a case I’m working on,” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Oh for God’s sake watch your football game.”
“It’s a classic Super Bowl game. You remember the one between the Falcons and the Patriots. Want to watch it with me? I’ll pour you another glass of wine,” says Vinnie’s dad trying and failing to sound compassionate, considerate, and understanding.”
“I already know the outcome.”
“Dear Mary, what am I going to do with these two?”