Vinnie Struck Water, Oh Oh

9

Vinnie’s mom looks out the back window. She watches Vinnie, Joey, and Larry studying a large white poster board with lines haphazardly drawn over it. Dexter lies on the lawn next to Vinnie. Rupert sits on a table on the deck watching the boys and Dexter. Vinnie’s mom thinks this is the cutest thing. The boys are busy talking and it looks to her like they are having fun. Vinnie’s mom thinks, Vinnie is finally settling into summer break. I can begin to relax and not worry about telling him who his teacher is until I get the official letter. Maybe they’ll change their minds. She silently wishes.

Vinnie’s mom walks to the deck door, slides it open and calls out, “Are you boys okay? Do you want some water or a piece of watermelon?”

Vinnie turns around and says, “No thanks, Mom. We’re really busy right now. Maybe a little later.”

Dexter wonders how Vinnie can turn down food. He’s not sure what watermelon is, but it sounds like it could be food to the beagle ear.

“What do you have on your poster board, can I see?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“It’s a map of the yard, Mom. We’re making sure we didn’t miss anything when we were making it,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom thinks, I wish I recorded this so Al could see it. He’d be so happy to see Vinnie and his friends enjoying whatever it is they’re doing. Vinnie’s mom takes one last look at the boys, Dexter, and Rupert and decides to take a long, relaxing hot shower. It’s something she hasn’t done in a while.

Vinnie’s mom goes into the bathroom, she selects the music app on her iPad and chooses an album by her favorite artist. She sets iPad down on the countertop. She lights a scented candle, turns the water on in the shower, and steps in. Five minutes pass, Vinnie’s mom is settling in to a relaxed state. She begins to sing with the recording artist. She lathers and rinses, lathers and rinses. In the middle of her third lathering, the water abruptly stops. She turns, twists the faucet, no water. She steps out of the shower and wraps a towel around her body and tries each faucet in the two bathroom sinks, no water. She picks up her phone to text Teresa Johnson next door to ask if she lost water, when . . .

“Mom, Mom, Mom, we struck oil. Come quick. We hit a gusher in the backyard,” screams Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom hears the door slam as Vinnie runs out of the house to stare at the oil strike. Vinnie’s mom tracks soapsuds through her bedroom, down the hallway to the kitchen. She looks out the window to the backyard. Vinnie, Joey, and Larry and are jumping up and down, hollering, “We’re rich. We’re rich. We’re rich.”

The boys surround a hole they dug in Vinnie’s yard. A streak of water is shooting thirty feet in the air out of the hole.

Vinnie’s mom’s heart reaches an anaerobic heart rate and her blood pressure spikes. She speed dials Vinnie’s dad.

“Al, Vinnie struck oil, I mean water in our yard. . . .  Don’t tell me to calm down, we don’t have any water. I was in the shower and I’m covered with soap. We’re going to flood out the neighborhood. Do something. . . .  Don’t call Mike, he’ll only make things worse. . . .  No, I don’t have a better idea, how about a plumber? . . . .  I know Mike did plumbing work without a license before he was arrested for stealing jewelry. . . .  I don’t care if you got him off with time served. . . . I am not going to stand under the geyser and rinse off.  . . .  I don’t care if the judge is banging her gavel . . .  Al? Al? Al?

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