“I’m Not a Mouthpiece for the Mob,” says Vinnie’s Dad


Vinnie’s mom tosses the covers off and gets out of bed. She asks Alexa to turn on the smart light, reaches for her robe, slips it on and cinches the belt around her waist. Before she can take a step toward the bedroom door, the patter of six feet run by her door, Vinnie’s two feet and Dexter’s four feet. Vinnie’s mom turns back toward the bed, “Are you coming with me?”

Vinnie’s dad looks toward Vinnie’s mom with his eyes half closed. He says, “You can handle it. I have great confidence in you. Do you mind asking Alexa to shut the light before you go?”

“I feel like I’m a hall monitor at a freshman dorm at college,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“That’s a good feeling, right?” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad turns on his side, pulls the blankets over his head, and presses the pillow on top of the blankets against his head. 

Vinnie’s mom says, “Alexa, play the top rap songs.”

The Echo device comes alive with the top rap songs and illicit lyrics fill the room. Vinnie’s dad bolts straight up as if he were stuck with an electric prod. “Please tell that thing to stop. I’ll go with with you. Promise,” pleads Vinnie’s dad.

A moment later Vinnie’s mom and dad enter Vinnie’s room. Vinnie is sitting up in his bed eating pizza and writing on his note pad. Dexter is licking a clean plate. Vinnie looks up at his mom and dad.

“Want to hear my brilliant idea for my story? I’m only going to turn an outline in on Monday because I don’t have to turn in the whole story until Friday. I’m sure Mrs. Mavis will approve,” says Vinnie taking a bite of pizza.

“Vincent, it’s the middle of the night. You are to be asleep. Who said you could have pizza?” asks Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s dad stands groggily behind her.

Vinnie picks up Rupert and faces Rupert toward his mom. “Hi Mom,” says Rupert. “Vinnie always thinks better when he isn’t hungry. I knew you wouldn’t mind.”

“I do mind, Rupert,” says Vinnie’s mom. 

Vinnie’s dad taps Vinnie’s mom on the shoulder. Vinnie’s mom around toward Vinnie’s dad, “What?”

“Do you know you’re talking to a stuffed grizzly bear?”

Vinnie interrupts his parents, “I’m not going to be a detective. I’m not going to write a detective story.”

Vinnie’s mom and dad both turn and look at Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom says, “You’re not?”

“No, Mom. Rupert and Dexter and me went on patrol on Mulberry Street at one this morning. It was boring. There was no crime and no sign of the mob. Thanks, Dad for the telling the mob to lay off our street.”

“Dear God, you didn’t go out of the house,” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom.

“I’m not a mouthpiece for the mob,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Right, Dad,” says Vinnie winking at his dad. Vinnie adds, “It was okay, Mom. Rupert and Dexter won’t let anything happen to me,” says Vinnie.

“Say something,” Vinnie’s mom says to Vinnie’s dad.

“Uh, what’s your new idea, Vinnie?”

“St. Jude, patron of impossible cases, pray for me,” says Vinnie’s mom. 

“Ask him to pray for me too, Mom, because I’m running for class president. The election is Friday and I’m going to write about how I win the election. Rupert and Dexter are my campaign managers. I’m going to make Joey run for vice president because he’s easy to boss around,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Good idea. Finish your outline in the morning. You might get some more good ideas while you sleep.” Vinnie’s dad touches Vinnie’s mom on the shoulder, “Let’s go back to bed.”

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“What could go wrong?” asks Vinnie’s dad turning and walking out of Vinnie’s bedroom.

Vinnie’s mom tucks Vinnie in and kisses him on the forehead, “We’ll talk about it in the morning, Vinnie. Now go to sleep.”

Vinnie looks up at his mom, “Mom, when I’m class president you can’t kiss me.”


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