Vinnie’s dad pulls into the driveway. He glances toward the porch. The door is closed. No one is standing on the porch to greet him. Even Dexter, the ever hungry beagle isn’t howling with delight. A bolt of fear rushes through him, he wonders if the police arrested Vinnie for disturbing the peace and is in the juvenile lockup. He shakes his head to toss the thought out. Vinnie’s dad gets out of the car, he walks onto the porch. He stops, he listens, he picks up the sound of a distant melodic gong. Vinnie’s dad opens the door and steps into the entryway. He sets his briefcase down, steps further into the house and looks into the living room. Vinnie’s mom is sitting in a lotus pose seeming to be in a trancelike state.
Vinnie’s dad says, “I’m home.”
Vinnie’s mom doesn’t answer, she has a serene smile on her face, her eyes closed, and her breathing slow and deep.
Vinnie’s dad tries something else. “Vinnie. Vinnie.”
Vinnie doesn’t answer.
“Dexter, old buddy, I have a treat for you.”
Dexter doesn’t bark, howl, or beagle yodel.
Vinnie’s dad walks over to the TV, he picks up the remote, turns off the YouTube video of music from a Tibetan monastery.
Vinnie’s mom opens her eyes, “Hi, dear. When did you get home?”
“How long have you been like this? Where is Vinnie and Dexter and Rupert?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie’s mom moves out of the lotus position, gets on her knees, and rolls up her yoga mat. She stands up, puts her arms around Vinnie’s dad’s neck and kisses him. She says, “This was the most peaceful hour I’ve had since Vinnie was born.”
“What happened?” asks Vinnie’s dad unsure about the serene look and attitude coming from Vinnie’s mom.
“At two, Vinnie asked me if he could take Dexter and Rupert and go to Joey’s house. Larry was going to meet the boys there. Vinnie said they were going to make summer plans. I took your advice for once and thought, ‘What could go wrong?'”
Vinnie’s dad puts a hand on both of Vinnie’s mom’s shoulders, “Marti, you’ve been our rock, the foundation, the strong one. Snap out of it. Do you know what you said?”
“Un uh,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Listen carefully. You said, “What could go wrong.”
Vinnie’s mom gasps. She put her hand to her head. “What was I thinking. I was so tired. Even the three shots of espresso and the four shots I had later didn’t help.”
“You drank seven shots of espresso this morning?” says an alarmed Vinnie’s dad.
“Yes, and two more with lunch. I had the jitters so bad, I called the doctor’s office. They said to drink plenty of water and try meditating. I didn’t get into the deep state until just before you got home. Vinnie’s been at Joey’s since two. There’s no telling what’s happening. Martha lets Joey do anything he wants. She’s probably been feeding them sugar all afternoon. Vinnie’s going to come home higher than the International Space Station.”
Vinnie’s dad tries to think what a guy is supposed to do in these situations. He remembers watching a sitcom where one of the male characters said, ‘I’m here for you.’ Before he makes bad situation worse, the front door opens and slams against the wall.
Vinnie’s greeting surpasses the 140 decibel level of a fighter jet taking off, “I’m home. Is dinner ready?”
Dexter trailing close behind Vinnie on hearing the words dinner, starts howling at the 110 decibel level the standard for a well mannered rock band.
Vinnie runs into the living room. He says in an announcement way, “Joey and Larry and me are going to be rich.”