Vinnie’s mom is waiting on the front porch as Vinnie’s dad pulls the car in the driveway. She waves at him. Vinnie’s dad waves back. He turns the engine off and climbs out of the car. He opens the back door and gets his laptop and briefcase. He turns back toward the porch. He says, “What’s wrong?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Is it so obvious?”
“I don’t see Vinnie or Dexter. What’s he done?” says Vinnie’s dad walking toward the front porch.
Vinnie’s mom says, “That’s just it, nothing yet. But, I know the four of them are planning something.”
Vinnie’s dad reaches the porch, climbs up the three steps and kisses Vinnie’s mom. He says, “I had a tough day in court. I could use a beer before dinner. Where’s Vinnie?”
“He’s in his bedroom. I checked on him and he’s sitting on the floor on the side of the bed away from the door. He stuck his head over the bed and said high and bye. Then he disappeared.”
“Did you walk around the bed to see what he was doing?”
“Well, I thought it was kind of nice he had his own little space. When I was a little girl I made a space for myself in the closet. Mom and dad never bothered me when I went in there. I guess he needs his space too, but there’s something mysterious going on, Al.”
“What makes you think somethings up?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Right before everyone went home, they put their hands on top of each other’s hand and said, ‘All for one and one for all and none for Mrs. Mavis.’
Vinnie’s mom is at the fridge, she pulls out a beer bottle and the cabernet. She pours cabernet into a wine glass and screws off the cap to the bottle. She returns to the living room with the drinks. As she’s sitting down on the sofa with Vinnie’s dad, Vinnie’s voice comes from his bedroom, “Don’t set a place for me. I’m too busy to eat. I’m still full from yesterday. If you tell me I have to eat dinner I won’t be able to hear you because Rupert is blocking my ears with his paws. His paws are sound proof.”
Vinnie’s mom sets her wine glass on the coffee table. That’s it, he’s up to something. What are we going to do, Al?”
“Can I finish my beer, first?”
Before Vinnie’s mom can answer, her cell phone rings. Vinnie’s dad says, “Leave it alone, it’s probably a robocall.”
Vinnie’s mom checks the caller ID. She holds it toward Vinnie’s dad? “It’s Sara’s Mom, Teresa. The only time the Johnson’s call is when there is a problem. Do you want to answer it?”
“I really had a hard day defending the mob,” laughs Vinnie’s dad.
“He’s just like you, Al,” says Vinnie’s mom touching the answer icon on the cell phone.
“Hello, Teresa. How are you?” . . .
“No, I didn’t know anything about it.” . . .
“I resent that, Teresa. I keep a close eye on the kids when they’re here. I can assure you nothing happened.” . . .
“They’re not serious. It’s all an imaginary adventure.” . . .
“Yes, read me the note Sara showed you.” . . .
“Thank you, Teresa. We’ll speak to Vinnie. . . . Yes, I’ll tell Vinnie Sara can’t play with him and his friends for a week. Bye.”
Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie’s mom. He says, “Harry and Teresa overreact to everything. Last Saturday, Harry asked me to have Dexter stop pooping on his lawn. I told Harry there are lots of dogs in the neighborhood and Dexter poops in our yard. Harry apologized. He told me he’s thinking of getting a surveillance camera to catch the phantom pooper.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “It is Dexter.”
“Oh,” says Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie comes running in the living room, “One quick thing, Mom. I need a four month advance on my allowance. It’s important. I’ll take twenty dollars out of your purse and leave an IOU. Thanks, bye.” Vinnie turns around and runs toward his bedroom.
“Hit the brakes, Buster,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie skids to a stop, turns around, and says, “What, Mom. Rupert and me are really busy.”
“Sara’s mom, called,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Busted, I knew Sara would break the vow of silence. Don’t worry, Mom, I’m teaching her my tricks. She won’t spill anything next time.”
“There is no next time, Vincent. Go get cleaned up for dinner.”
Vinnie’s dad whispers, “I have ten dollars the next time happens before sundown tomorrow.”