It is early evening, the sun is stretching toward the horizon, Vinnie’s mom and dad sit on lounge chairs on the deck sipping iced tea. Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s forearm, “Al today was the best day so far this summer. I think Vinnie’s turned a corner.”
Vinnie’s dad is holding his iced tea in his left hand and his iPhone in his right hand. He’s streaming live baseball from somewhere on planet Earth.
“Al? Al?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Are you listening to me?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Un huh,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Okay, what did I say?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Do I have to answer now? The game is at a crucial moment. There is a no hitter going,” pleads Vinnie’s dad.
“Vinnie’s mom says, “I have two questions: One, what teams are playing? And, two, what inning are they in?”
Vinnie’s dad turns his head away from his ball game and says, “Can I plead the 5th amendment?”
“We’re not in court and you’re not talking to Vinnie. You didn’t hear a word I said, admit it.”
“Not true, Marti. I heard every word you said. I don’t remember them, I was singing the national anthem along with the crowd. Was it important?”
Vinnie’s mom remembers what she said and wonders if men ever mature. Her psych teacher in college never lectured on male emotional intelligence. She’s taken out of her thinking when Vinnie’s dad interrupts. He says, “What are you thinking?”
Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad and says, “Vinnie’s following in your footsteps.”
Vinnie’s dad beams. “That’s so nice of you to say. I try really hard to be a good role model for him.”
“Believe me, Vinnie’s taking it all in,” says Vinnie’s mom. “Where is Vinnie, Al? I haven’t seen or heard him since dinner.”
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Vinnie’s mom anxiety alarm is beeping. “Tell me what?”
Vinnie asked if he could go to Joey’s house with Larry and Sara to work on their bug project.”
“Dear God, you let him go to Martha’s kitchen? Did he take Rupert and Dexter with him?” says Vinnie’s mom sitting straight up on the lounge and reaching for her iPhone.
“Vinnie didn’t say anything about going in Martha’s kitchen. He said they were going to watch a show on the Discovery Channel that will give them some ideas. He promised he’ll be home by 7:30,” says Vinnie’s dad checking the time on his iPhone. “He’ll be home in twenty minutes.”
“What show? Do you have any idea how many calories of junk food he’ll consume in twenty minutes?”
“He didn’t say anything about junk food,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Why do you think he always wants to go to Joey’s house? Martha greets people with cookies and cake and that’s at the door,” says Vinnie’s mom, “There’s no telling what she’s going to give them while they’re watching TV. They’ll probably get pizza, fries, popcorn, and ice cream.”
Vinnie’s dad’s eyes light up with the thought of grabbing a piece of Martha’s homemade pizza. He stands up, “Don’t bother calling, I need the exercise, I’ll walk over and get them.”
“Dear Lord, is there any hope?”
“You talking to me, Marti?” says Vinnie dad as he’s leaving the deck.