Vinnie’s mom reaches to the breakfast bar and picks up a piece of paper. She holds it up in her right hand. She says, “Vincent, do you know what this is?”
Vinnie shrugs and says, “Is it a trick question, Mom. I know it’s a piece of paper.”
“Vincent, do not try my patience. You know what this is.”
“Honest, Mom. I don’t want to try your patients. I’m not a doctor. Do you have patients?”
Vinnie’s mom lifts her eyes toward the ceiling, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, a little help here.”
Vinnie says, “If Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are too busy, Mom. Rupert, me, and Dexter can help.”
Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath. She’s thinking, he’s not being fresh. He’s being sincere. How can I scold him for his innocence. She takes another deep breath. “Let’s sit at the dining room table. You have some explaining to do young man.”
As Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie walk toward the dining room table, Vinnie says, “Is it about the burp?”
“Nothing, Mom. I was only talking to myself.”
Vinnie’s mom stops and stands behind a chair at the dining room table, “What burp, Vincent?”
“Mom, it was nothing to most people. But, Joey said I set a world record for the longest burp in history. After Larry stopped laughing, he said it sounded like an out of control freight train. Mom, all the guys burp because it grosses the girls out.”
“What did Mrs. Navis say?”
“She said, all right, who burped, step forward.”
“Did you step forward and own up to making a long, outrageous burp?”
“No way, Mom. If I did, Mrs. Mavis would have sent me to the office and I would have missed my turn to read my first paragraph, which is great. Besides, no one told on me. Mrs. Mavis stared straight at me and said, ‘I think it was you, Vincent.’ All I said was, ‘Mrs. Mavis, I can do a bigger burp. Do you want to hear me? ‘ All the kids started laughing. She told us to go into the room and get ready for class.”
Vinnie’s mom pulls out her chair and sits down. She motions to Vinnie to sit down. Dexter lies on the floor at Vinnie’s feet mistakenly thinking the family is eating an early dinner.
Vinnie says, “Can I get Rupert? He can help me explain some of the stuff you’re going to ask me.”
Vinnie’s mom resists laughing when her mind returns to Doctor Samuel’s office and Doctor Samuel wanting to keep Rupert for her fantasy friend. Vinnie’s mom says, “Okay, but make it quick.”
Vinnie gets off his chair and runs toward his room, Dexter, barks and runs after him. This is the beagle hunting instinct. Dexter is hunting for a snack.
A moment later, Vinnie is sitting at the dining room table and Rupert is sitting on the table facing Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie says, “Can I eat my after school snack first, Mom?I always think better when I have food in my belly.”
Dexter’s ears perk up at the word food. He lifts his head and begins sniffing, seeking any minute trace of a food scent.
Vinnie’s mom says, “No.”
“She begins reading, “One, I sent Vincent to the office five times. Two, I gave Vincent four timeouts. He cannot sit still. He cannot stop talking. Three, when he finished his math, he took Ralph’s paper and finished it for him. He told Ralph to vote for him in the election on Friday in exchange for doing his math. Four, when the class was singing, Vincent kept changing the words to vote for Vinnie. I knew it was him because everyone was laughing except Vincent. Five, he told me your husband and you approved his first paragraph, really, Mrs. Ricci? Now, I understand only too well. The next three weeks of school cannot go by fast enough for me.”
“Well, Vincent. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Vinnie looks around the dining room. He rubs his chin. He glances at the smiling Rupert. He reaches over to Rupert and picks him up. Vinnie whispers in Rupert’s ear. He turns Rupert around to face his mom. Vinnie speaks in his falsetto voice for Rupert, “Mom, Vinnie is innocent of all charges.”
“Not you too, Rupert?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Uh huh,” answers Rupert.