Vinnie’s Big Plans When He’s Elected 4th Grade President


Sunday afternoon. Vinnie’s dad sits on the sofa with a bag of corn chips between his legs, and a beer bottle on the coffee table next to a bowl of salsa. He is watching one of the endless basketball playoff games. 

Vinnie’s mom is sitting next to Vinnie’s dad, she has her MacBook on her lap watching YouTube videos. She glances up at the screen, “How much longer is the game? Why don’t we take a ride to Morales State Park and walk around the lake loop? It’s only a forty minute drive. The fresh air and exercise will do us all good.”

Vinnie’s dad dips a large corn chip into the salsa bowl, his eyes never leaving the TV screen. He says, “This is the crucial third game of this playoff series.”

“Who’s playing?” asks Vinnie’s mom without looking up from her YouTube  video.

“Two really good NBA teams,” says Vinnie’s dad sticking the salsa load chip into his mouth.

“You don’t know who’s playing, do you? Admit it,” says Vinnie’s mom setting her laptop aside, standing up and moving in front of Vinnie’s dad blocking his view of the TV.

“I do too. Move aside, this could the crucial play,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad moves side to side to see around Vinnie’s mom. She moves with him. She says, “How much longer will it be until the crucial game of the teams whose names you do not know will be over.”

“The game just started,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom grabs the remote and clicks off the TV. 

“Why did you do that?” asks Vinnie’s dad. 

“All you need to see is the last two minutes,” says Vinnie’s mom.

From the kitchen, “Mom’s right, Dad. Mom, is it okay if Joey and Larry come over and so we can plan my strategy to win the election this week?”

Dexter races out of the kitchen and skids to a stop in front of Vinnie. He doesn’t see or smell anything remotely resembling food. He lifts his head up toward Vinnie, beagle disappointment showing on his face.

Vinnie’s mom turns and looks toward the kitchen. Behind Vinnie is the shorter, dark hair over his ears Joey. Behind Joey is the burr cut taller Larry. 

Larry waves, “Hi Mrs. Ricci.”

Joey walks in to the living room, “Can I have a chip, Mr. Ricci. Who’s winning?”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Hello, boys. Yes, Vinnie you can have your strategy meeting in your room. Dad’s all through with his chips, why don’t you take them with you.” She turns toward Vinnie’s dad, “We really need to talk. It’s only the first quarter.”

“Can it wait?” asks Vinnie’s dad already knowing the answer.

Vinnie walks in to the living room, Dexter follows him. Vinnie grabs hold of the chips from between his dad’s legs, a few chips spill on to the tile. Dexter, the canine vacuum cleans up.

Vinnie says, “Let’s go guys. I got some other good stuff stashed away.”

The three boys pass through the living room.

Vinnie’s mom calls out, “What good stuff, Vincent?”

“You know, Mom. Healthy stuff like carrots and celery and apples. Only it’s not carrots and celery and apples. Don’t bother us, this is a top secret meeting.”

Vinnie’s mom watches Vinnie open his bedroom door. Vinnie followed by Joey who’s followed by Larry who’s followed by Dexter enter the bedroom.

Vinnie’s dad says, “What are you staring at? The boys and Dexter went into the bedroom. Can we talk so I can watch my game?”

Vinnie’s mom begins counting down, “Ten, nine, eight, seven …”

The door to Vinnie’s bedroom opens a crack. She whispers, “Vinnie’s checking to see if the coast is clear. He’ll make a run for the refrigerator with Dexter in the next five seconds.”

“I doubt it,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“One, two, three . . . There is he goes.”

“I was counting on the left over pizza for the second half of the game,” moans Vinnie’s dad.

“There goes the pizza, the jar of salsa, the cup of guacamole, a box of ice cream sandwiches, and your tofu beef jerky,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Not my tofu beef jerky? I was saving that for the next game.”

Thirty minutes later, the door to bedroom cracks open, “Mom?

“Yes, Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Rupert is my campaign manager. Rupert thinks before summer vacation I’ll be in charge of the whole school.”

Joey hollers from the bedroom, “Yah, Vinnie’s going to let work us with Pete the janitor and not go to class.”

Larry hollers from the bedroom, “We’re going to fire Mrs. Navis.”

Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie’s mom. “We really have to talk.”

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