Vinnie’s mom unconsciously closes her eyes and rubs her temples. A long moment later she opens her eyes, Vinnie’s not at the breakfast bar. The ding, ding on the microwave goes off. Vinnie’s mom turns around, “Vincent!”
“I thought you were doing one of the yoga things to get your center or something, Mom. I’m starving. Look, most of my hummus is gone,” says Vinnie taking a bean and cheese burrito out of the microwave. Dexter is standing next to Vinnie wondering if he is going to get more hummus or a second course.
Vinnie puts the bean and cheese burrito on a plate and carries it to the breakfast bar. He sits on his stool. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s stool. Vinnie takes a bite of the burrito, “Mmmm, this is so good. It’s almost as good as your hummus, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom glances at Dexter and thinks, I wish you could talk like Rupert, Dexter.
“What’s so funny, Mom?” asks Vinnie.
“Nothing. I thought of something, that’s all. Now, before you take another bite, tell me what happened or I will read the email.”
“Okay, Mom.” Vinnie takes a gulp of apple juice, swirls it in his mouth, swallows it, and clears his throat. He gets off his stool and steps back a pace. “It went like this, Mom. Mrs. Navis said, ‘Okay, Vincent, it’s your turn. I’m listening.’ I said, ‘Thank you, Mrs. Mavis.’ I stood up and asked Mrs. Mavis if Joey could stand near me because he is my campaign manager. Mrs. Navis said, ‘I suppose so, but no funny stuff.’ I walked to the front of the class. Joey stood next to me. I touched Joey on the shoulder and he said, “Put your hands together for Vinnie.” The class started clapping, then I said, ‘Who you gonna vote for?’ the whole class except for Tommy and Megan and Mrs. Mavis said, ‘Vinnie.’ Mrs. Mavis said, ‘That’s enough class. Joseph sit down. Vincent, give your speech why you should be elected student President of the 4th grade.’ I turned toward Mrs. Mavis and smiled and made a slight bow. The kids started laughing. I turned back toward the class and started my speech, Mom. That was about it. Can I finish my burrito and go to Joey’s house?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Do you think I was born last weekend? I want to hear all of it.”
Vinnie says, “Do you want Rupert to rub your temples first?”
“I can rub my own temples, Vinnie. Now, start talking.”
“Okay. I began my speech this way, “You all know my name so I don’t have to introduce myself like the two teacher pets.”
“Oh, dear. What did Mrs. Mavis do?”
“I heard her take a deep breath but I talked before she could stop me. I said, if you elect me president I’m going to ask Doctor Cashman to make sure we get a good teacher in 4th grade.’ Mrs. Mavis said, ‘Vincent, that’s enough, sit down.’ Then she said to the class. Be responsible when you vote tomorrow. Choose someone who is not always in trouble and who will work with her teacher.’ I said, “That’s not fair Mrs. Mavis, you’re favoring Megan. Mrs. Mavis said, “Time out, Vincent.” I went to the timeout desk and had to stay there until 3rd grade lunch.”
“Is that all?” says Vinnie’s mom knowing there has to be more.
“Let’s hear it, Vinnie.”
“When the 3rd grade class went to lunch. I waited until almost everybody was done eating and sitting at their tables until the end of lunch bell rang. All the teachers were sitting at their table at the back of the lunch room. Mrs. Neary, the teacher’s aide was with us in the cafeteria. She is very cool. When Mrs. Neary was at the far end of the lunch room, I climbed on my table and hollered, “I’m Vinnie and I want to be 4th Grade president. I’ll be the best president ever. I’ll ask Doctor Cashman to put ice cream on the lunch menu. I’ll ask her to make recess ten minutes longer.’ That’s all I got to say before Mrs. Mavis got to our table. I got off the table before she asked me because I know she was going to ask me to get off the table. That’s pretty smart, right, Mom?”
“What did Mrs. Mavis do?”
“Before she said anything, I said, “I’m on my way to the office, Mrs. Mavis.” I got up from my seat and started walking to the office and the whole 3rd grade started saying, Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie.” I think they would have kept on going, but Mrs. Mavis very meanly said, “Stop this instant. I mean stop.” I don’t know what else she said because I met Pete the custodian in the hallway and asked him if he needed help. He let me help him empty the trash cans in the boy’s restroom. I didn’t want to go straight to the office. Besides, Mrs. Mavis didn’t tell me to go straight to the office.”
Vinnie’s mom wonders where she should begin. There are so many starting places. She starts laughing. Vinnie says, “What are you laughing at, Mom?”
Vinnie’s mom knows she is laughing at her desire to ask Rupert where to begin. She says, “I’m picturing the scene. If it was on television, I think it might be funny. But it’s real, Vinnie. You can’t act like this, you’ll always get in trouble.”
Vinnie, innocently, says, “Didn’t you tell Dad during the last election, ‘Sometimes you got to cause trouble to make things change. I think I’m going to get elected tomorrow, Mom.”