Vinnie and his mom stand on the front porch. Vinnie sets his backpack on the porch. Dexter knows something good is in the cosmic works. His beagle brain initiates a food alert when Vinnie comes home from school and sets his backpack down. Dexter assumes the beagle position to answer a simple command like shake or lie down or stand up. His brain is close to overflowing with the three complex for a beagle commands. Dexter is on his haunches, he tracks Vinnie’s every movement as closely as an air traffic controller tracks airplanes.
Vinnie’s Mom has one eye on Vinnie, her other eye tracks the three moms and their children. All six are staring at Vinnie and Dexter.
Vinnie is standing, holding a hot dog three feet above Dexter’s head. Dexter obediently awaits the word. Vinnie says, “Dexter stand.”
Dexter is up on his two hind legs looking like a ballerina. His mouth wide open, his red tongue hanging three inches over the side of his beagle jaw.
Vinnie says, “Good boy.” He drops the full hot dog into Dexter’s open mouth. Dexter’s tongue straightens out quicker than a rattlesnake strike to capture the entire hot dog to form a slide for the hot dog. The hot dog travels on a well paved road through Dexter’s mouth, throat and esophagus. Once the hot dog reaches Dexter’s stomach, Dexter returns to his haunches expecting a second hot dog. Dexter follows the beagle rule of why chew when it’s easier to swallow food whole.
The children on the side walk point at Dexter and Vinnie and laugh. Their mother’s shake their heads and usher their children across the street fearing Vinnie and Dexter and Vinnie’s Mom may be contagious.
Vinnie’s mom wants to holler, “You’re looking at the next fourth grade president.” She decides against it thinking it is a childish, although pleasing thought.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Let’s go inside. After you settle in your room, I’ll have your snack ready for you and you can tell me about the best news ever.”
Vinnie glances up at his mom, “Mom, I will give you a spoiler alert. This news is going to win me the election.”
Before Vinnie’s mom can answer, Vinnie is running through the house hollering, “Rupert, Buddy, I’m home. You’ll never score.”
Vinnie’s mom shakes her head, steps inside the house, and watches Vinnie come to a sliding stop in front of the door to his room. Vinnie screams at the top of his lungs, “Here I come, Buddy.”
“Where does he get the energy? He wears me out. Dear God, let me listen to him and not pop his balloon. I need some help here,” prays Vinnie’s mom.
“Nailed you, Buddy. I stopped you at the one-inch line.” Vinnie’s mom hears Vinnie’s door slam. She thinks I’ve got to bug his room. I know he’s telling Rupert about his day. Rupert’s the only one who hears the whole truth. I wonder if I ask Rupert what Vinnie said if he’ll tell me. He won’t, Rupert is loyal to Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom shakes her head, she says aloud, ‘Snap out of it. Rupert’s a stuffed grizzly bear.’
Vinnie sits at the breakfast bar. He stares at peanut butter filled celery pieces covered with raisons. Vinnie makes a face and points to the celery pieces, “Mom, what’s this? It looks disgusting.”
Vinnie’s mom turns from the refrigerator and says you’ll love it. Try it.”
“Mom, don’t feel bad. This is not a good snack for the next fourth grade class president.”
Vinnie’s mom is ready. She waited all day to spring this on Vinnie. She says, “Do you know what this snack is called?”
“Let me guess, Mom.” Vinnie picks up the plate and brings it close to his face. He laughs, “That’s a good one, Mom.”
“I bet you call it ants on a stick.”
“How did you know?”
“Sara took some for lunch last week and gave me the ants. She hates raisons.”
Vinnie’s mom sighs. It’s the last time she’ll ask June Johnson for a snack recipe.”
Vinnie puts a celery stick up to his mouth. He runs his tongue along the celery groove licking off the peanut butter and raisons.
Vinnie’s Mom turns away, she knows Vinnie will give whats left of the celery to Dexter and Dexter will eat anything. She calls over her shoulder, “What’s the big news?”
Vinnie finishes licking the second celery stick then says, “Everybody who’s running for president has to give a speech on Thursday. I’m going to write mine tonight. It’s going to be the best speech ever.”
“Do you want some help? I once ran for class president and had to give a speech.”
“Did you win, Mom?”
“No, but I gave a good speech.”
“No thanks, Mom.”