“Do I Have To Kiss You, Mom?” asks Vinnie

19

Vinnie’s dad is standing next to the breakfast bar. He’s sipping coffee from a cup in his right hand. He’s staring at his laptop screen. Vinnie’s mom says, “I’m making oatmeal, want me to put in extra for you? It’ll be good for your heart.”

Vinnie’s dad glances up from his laptop, takes a sip of coffee, “No thanks. I’ll stop by Starbucks and get something. I’ve got a big case today.”

Vinnie’s mom turns her attention away from the pot of oatmeal and looks at Vinnie’s dad, “No you don’t. You’re doing a pro bono case and you said the defendant was going to plead guilty and hope to get a light sentence.”

“When did I say that?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Last night. You promised you’d sit at the table with Vinnie and me this morning and listen to the first two paragraphs of his story. You are not going to weasel out of it,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad’s mind is desperately seeking an excuse to leave. He says, “I think I found a loop hole to get my client off.”

“Yes? Let me hear it,” says Vinnie’s mom stirring the oatmeal.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Okay, you got me. It’s not a big case. I know I said I would sit at the table with you and Vinnie and listen to his first two paragraphs. You know this is not going to go well. It’s better if you do it alone.”

“It is?” asks Vinnie’s mom turning the stove off and scooping oatmeal into a bowl.

“Yes, Dear. First, you’ll warn Vinnie you don’t want to hear anything about Mrs. Mavis. Vinnie will tell you he left her out of the story. Vinnie will read his two paragraphs. By the third sentence there will be a clear reference to Mrs. Mavis. You’ll get upset and look at me and ask me to say something. I’ll say something like, ‘It’s good so far, let me hear the rest.’ You’ll kick me in my shin. I still have a bruise on my shin from when you kicked me the other day.”

Vinnie’s mom cuts strawberries and puts them on top of her oatmeal. She picks up a jar of honey and drizzles honey on the oatmeal. She says, “This is so much better than what you’ll get at Starbucks.”

Vinnie’s dad thinking he’s home free says, “I wasn’t going to get their oatmeal because your oatmeal is so much better. I was going to get a piece of their poppyseed lemon cake.”

“Dear God, do you know how many calories are in that cake?”

Vinnie’s dad answers, “Is it calorie free?”

“Go before I lose it.”

Vinnie’s dad comes around the breakfast bar and kisses Vinnie’s mom. He picks up her spoon and takes a helping of her oatmeal. He says, “This is good.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “You and Vinnie, I don’t know what to do with the two of you.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Love us, promise?”

“Yes,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s door opens, Vinnie is running down the hall carrying Rupert under his left arm, his right arm holding his notebook, and his backpack slung over his shoulders. Vinnie says, “I don’t have time for breakfast, Mom. I promised Joey I’d meet him at his house and read my story first to him. Bye.” Vinnie runs past his mom and his dad.

Vinnie’s mom hollers, “Stop and come back here.”

“Do I have to kiss you first, Mom?” asks Vinnie.

“No, you have to read Dad and me the first two paragraphs of your story. I better not hear Mrs. Navis’s name anyplace. And, you are not going to have breakfast at Joey’s house.

“Why not, Mom. Joey’s mom cooks so much better than you. She’ll give me bacon, breakfast sausages, a strawberry filled donut, and she’ll repack my lunch.”

Vinnie’s mom’s jaw drops open. Her mouth stops working. Vinnie’s dad recognizes the signs of a brain freeze. He says, “Vinnie get up to the breakfast bar, Mom made you healthy oatmeal.”

“What are you having, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

“I’ve got to go. I’m going to get lemon poppyseed cake at Starbucks.”

Vinnie’s mom silently prays, “You really need to find me a good support group.”

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