Vinnie comes running out of his bedroom brandishing his notebook in his right hand and holding on to Rupert with his left hand. Dexter follows at a beagle gallop, which isn’t fast, after all, he’s not chasing a squirrel, and there is no smell of food.
“Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad,” hollers Vinnie.
“What’s wrong, Vinnie? What happened?” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom coming out of the study to meet Vinnie in the hallway.
“I wrote the first paragraph to my story, Mom. Can I read it to you and dad. I know you’re going to love it. It was like, my best writing ever. I could write the ending because I know I’ll be elected on Friday, but it’s better to wait, right, Mom?” says Vinnie coming to stop near his mom.
Vinnie’s dad gets caught up with action at the tail end. He says, “The games not over, how do you know how it will end?”
Vinnie and Vinnie’s mom look at Vinnie’s dad and simultaneously says, “Huh?”
Thirty minutes later, after the last five minutes of the basketball game, because that’s how long the last five minutes lasts in a professional basketball game, Vinnie and his parents sit at the dining room table. Rupert sits on the dining room table to Vinnie’s right, Dexter lies on the floor underneath the table at Vinnie’s feet. Dexter does not know what is going on because humans are not supposed to sit at the dining room table without food.
Dexter’s anxiety is lowered when Vinnie says, “Before I start reading, Mom, can I make a bean and cheese wrap? I’m hungry.”
Dexter perks up, he understands the word hungry because Vinnie is always asking him, “Are you hungry, Dexter?” What usually follows this question is Dexter wagging his tail, lifting his right paw to shake, and receiving a food reward.
Vinnie’s mom answers, “No, you may have an apple with peanut butter on it if you’re hungry. We’re going to eat in an hour. I’m making vegetarian chili and I don’t want you to spoil your appetite.”
“But, Mom,” protests Vinnie, “It’s not real chili, you only call it chili.”
“Dad loves it, don’t you, Dear?” says Vinnie’s mom. “Dear, please put your phone away. Did you hear me?”
Vinnie’s dad looks up from his iPhone, “Do I have to? I was checking on the baseball scores. You know baseball and basketball seasons overlap at the end of the basketball season.”
Vinnie’s mom gives Vinnie’s dad a look. He turns his iPhone upside down on the dining room table. “Is that better?”
“Are your notifications turned off?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Mom busted you, Dad. Good one, Mom,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad picks up his iPhone and turns off notifications. He turns it face down on the table. “Okay, Vinnie, I’m ready to hear your paragraph. Dear, what’s for dinner?”
Vinnie and Rupert watch the interplay between Vinnie’s mom and dad. Dexter is on his haunches waiting for Vinnie to get his snack.
Vinnie’s mom points the index finger and middle finger of her right hand toward her eyes. She says to Vinnie’s dad, “Look right here, do not look anyplace else. Concentrate. We’re having vegetarian chili and you love it. It’s one of your favorite meals.”
Vinnie’s dad is having a hard time concentrating and holding his attention on Vinnie’s mom’s eyes. He knows this is important. He’s trying to come up a good way to answer her question. He thinks he has the perfect answer, “It’s the best vegetarian chili ever. I think you should make a YouTube video on how you make it. It could go viral.”
Vinnie says, “Dad, you should have stopped at ‘It’s the best vegetarian chili ever.’ Rupert can’t wait to hear me read my story again. He’s already heard my first paragraph ten times.”
Vinnie mom says, “Just tell me one thing before you begin, Vinnie. Please do not mention Mrs. Navis in your story.”
“Mom, it’s not true but it’s true, it’s all about my election. I promise I will not mention Mrs. Navis.”
“I’m satisfied. Let’s hear the first paragraph to your story.”
Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad, “You can quit staring at me. Pay attention to Vinnie.”