The wine didn’t help. Talking didn’t help. Vinnie’s Mom checks her iPhone, it’s 4 a.m. She’s not sure if she slept. She glances at Vinnie’s dad, sound asleep. Vinnie wanting to be a demolition expert didn’t bother him. Vinnie wanting to be a pirate didn’t bother him. She flips her pillow over looking for the cool side. She turns on her right side, her face toward the bedroom window, and closes her eyes. She remembers watching an NPR program on sleep and a suggestion to count backward from one-hundred. She begins counting to herself, 100, 99, 98, before she reaches 97 she falls into a deep sleep.
A flash of light on the window, followed by loud bang and rain beating on the window wakes her. Another flash of light, another loud bang, and more rain.
She hears Mr. Johnson’s voice from next door, “Whoever is making that racket, stop or I’ll call the police. Vinnie, is that you squirting me with the hose? The flashes of light stop. The loud banging stop. The rain stops.
“We’ve got to move out of this neighborhood,” Mr. Johnson says loud enough for Vinnie’s mom and dad and the all the neighbors to hear.
Vinnie’s mom shakes Vinnie’s dad. He mumbles, “Huh?”
“I think Vinnie soaked Mr. Johnson with the hose,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Vinnie’s in bed. What would he being doing outside? What time is it?”
“A bit past four. I’m sure he’s outside. Will you check?”
“Will you look in his room first? If he’s not there I’ll go outside. I don’t want to deal with Johnson.”
“You have to face Larry, we don’t have another choice. Suck it up and go. I’m going to take a shower and make myself a triple espresso. It’s too late to go back to sleep,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“No it’s not,” says Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie’s dad sits on the edge of the bed rubbing his eyes. He stretches his arms over his head and yawns. A flash of light briefly lights up the bedroom window. Vinnie’s dad counts, one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one- thousand three … Before he reaches one-thousand four a loud crash sounds and water hits the bedroom window.
Vinnie’s dad twists a bit toward Vinnie’s mom and says, “That lightening strike was close. I don’t think I should go outside. It’s not safe.”
“That was no lightening strike, Al. That was Vinnie. Now, go before the Johnson’s call the police.”
Vinnie’s dad stands up, walks to the door, opens it, and steps into the hallway. He glances toward Vinnie’s room. Vinnie’s door is open. He walks down the hallway toward Vinnie’s room.
Vinnie’s mom calls from the bedroom, “Get ready for another clap of thunder, he shined the light on the window.”
Vinnie’s dad looks in Vinnie’s room as the sound of thunder rings in his ears, or is he hearing the sound of a baseball bat against the metal top of rain recycle can? Vinnie’s dad turns and rushes toward the kitchen. When he gets to the kitchen, the door from the kitchen to the outside deck opens, Dexter comes running in. Vinnie and Rupert follow him.
“Hi Dad? Is it time for breakfast?”
Vinnie’s dad stares at Vinnie. He’s in his Captain American pajamas holding onto Rupert. He says, “What were you doing outside?”
“I don’t want to be a demolition expert, Dad. I want to control the weather.”
Vinnie’s dad tries to say something but his lips won’t work.
Vinnie’s mom stands off Vinnie’s dad’s shoulder. She says, “Dear God, Al. Go outside and if Mr. Johnson is outside, apologize and tell him it won’t happen again.”
Vinnie’s dad nods. He steps past Vinnie and walks out onto the deck. Harry Johnson is standing on his deck glaring at Vinnie’s dad. He growls, “Al, if you weren’t a mouthpiece for the mob, I’d call the police or sue.”
“I’m not a mouthpiece for the mob. Where did you hear that, Harry?”
“It’s all over. Everyone knows it. Okay, you can’t admit it. We all know its true. Do you think you can put a curfew on Vinnie so we can get some sleep?”
Vinnie sticks his head out the door, “Mr. Johnson, did the thunderstorm wake you up, too?”