Vinnie, Rupert, and Vinnie’s Mom and Dad sit at the dining room table eating dinner. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie ready to use his beagle food snatching reflexes to snag any unsuspecting morsel of food that drops within a five foot radius.
Vinnie stares at his spaghetti. Vinnie’s mom says, “What is it, Vinnie? You love spaghetti.”
“It doesn’t have enough sauce and there are no meatballs. It only has little bit of red sauce and broccoli and peppers and onions and what’s this green and yellow stuff?”
“That other stuff is zucchini and summer squash. It will taste like meatballs when you try it.”
“Dad, did the squash taste like meatballs to you? When we visit Gramma’s house, she makes the best spaghetti. She cooks her sauce all day and it has real meatballs in it. Did you cook the sauce all day, Mom?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad quickly twirls spaghetti on his fork, lifts it to his mouth, and says, “Why don’t you take this one, Dear.” He stuffs the spaghetti into his mouth.
Vinnie’s mom says, “I bought the sauce at Whole Foods. It was very expensive and it was made in Italy. So it is better than Gramma’s sauce. The spaghetti is whole wheat spaghetti that is higher in protein and fiber. So, you’re getting all your protein, you don’t need meatballs.”
Vinnie says, “I still think Gramma’s sauce is better and she doesn’t ruin it with vegetables.”
“Vincent, eat or your dinner. Tell Dad and me all about your day as soon as you take a big bite of your spaghetti,” says Vinnie’s mom trying to get Vinnie off track.
Vinnie sticks his fork into the spaghetti. He twirls it around and around until the fork is no longer visible. Then he twirls is again.
Vinnie’s mom interrupts Vinnie’s twirling, “Vincent, what are you doing?”
Vinnie looks up from his plate and says, “I want to finish my spaghetti with one mouthful.”
“You cannot fit all of that spaghetti on your fork into your mouth,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Yes, I can, Mom. Watch.”
Before Vinnie’s mom can respond, Vinnie opens his mouth wide and somehow manages to squeeze two-thirds of a plate of spaghetti into his mouth. His cheeks puff out. He starts to chew.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Do you think Vinnie’s mouth will explode?”
Vinnie mom half turns toward Vinnie’s dad and says, “You’re no help.”
Vinnie reaches for his glass of milk. He swallows. He swallows again. He swallows again. He lifts the milk to his lips, tilts his head back and fills his mouth with milk. He seals his lips and starts to swirl the milk in his mouth. Vinnie’s dad excuses himself from the table and rushes to the bathroom. Vinnie’s mom hears a wail of laughter coming from the master bathroom. She blesses herself and waits.
Vinnie swallows his milk, “That was great spaghetti, Mom. Where’s Dad? Can I give the rest of my spaghetti to Dexter?”
Dexter hears his name. It’s what he’s been waiting for since dinner began. He’s on all fours, his eyes lovingly glued on Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom nods. Vinnie takes his plate and sets it on the floor in front of Dexter. Dexter likes vegetables covered in sauces. Dexter licks the last molecule of sauce of the plate. He finished cleaning Vinnie’s plate of any traces of spaghetti, sauce, or vegetables in three point six seconds.
Vinnie says, “You don’t have to wash my plate, Mom. Dexter took care of it.”
Vinnie’s dad returns.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Before you tell us about you day, is your homework done? How is your fiction story coming along? It’s due on Friday.”
Vinnie laughs, “I did all my homework when Mrs. Mavis put me in timeout this afternoon.”
“Why did she put you in timeout?” ask Vinnie’s mom.
“I couldn’t stop laughing. Larry was pulling his mouth apart and making his eyes go crosseyed at Gina.”
“Don’t you dare leave again,” says Vinnie’s mom to Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie says, “My story is done, Mom. All I have to do is finish writing my speech for Thursday.”
“Your story is done? I want to read it,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Sorry, Mom. I can’t change a word. I know I’m going to get elected, so that’s how I ended the story.”
“I will read your story and how do you know you’re going to get elected?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Easy, Mom. Timothy and Patricia are the other kids running for President. The only thing Timothy can do good, is spell. He always gets a hundred. And Patricia is always sticking her hand in the air like she’s the smartest kid in the world.”
“Dad and I want to hear your speech, now.”
“I’m still working on it, but I’ll do it. I have to stand up to do it, because that’s what we have to do in class. We have to stand in front of the class and give our speech.”
Vinnie gets off his seat and steps back from the table, avoiding the plate.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Don’t you need notes?”
“Me, Mom? You’re kidding, right?”