“Jennifer, I won? I really won?” says Vinnie’s mom to Jennifer Curtis-Smith.
Vinnie’s dad touches Vinnie’s mom arm and whispers, “What did you win?”
“Shh,” mouths Vinnie’s mom and she gives Vinnie’s dad a look that freezes water on a summer’s day.
Vinnie’s dad opens up his cell phone and pretends to check sports scores while listening to Vinnie’s mom talking to someone named Jennifer.
“No, I am not going to donate my prize back to Mensa, Jennifer. I won fair and square. If I don’t get my prize Al will sue you. He’s an excellent attorney.” Vinnie’s mom pauses, “That is not true. He is not a lawyer for the mob. Where did you hear he was a lawyer for the mob?” Vinnie’s mom listens. Then she says, “He defends Mike because he’s Mike’s younger brother. Besides, Mike is not in the mob.”
Vinnie’s mom stares at her cell, “She clicked off.”
“What did you win? Who is this Jennifer?” asks Al.
Vinnie’s mom turns to face Vinnie’s dad. She takes hold of his right hand with her two hands, “Al, tell me the truth. Is Mike part of the mob?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “I don’t ask him.”
“That is so lawyer speak,” says Vinnie’s mom. Her eyes light up. I almost forgot to tell you. I won.”
“What did you win?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“I won the grand prize an all-expense paid vacation to New York City and tickets to a Broadway play. It’s for this weekend.”
“Does the all-expense paid trip cover Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
Vinnie’s mom says, “It’s a trip for two. I’m afraid Vinnie can’t go. You’ll have to find someone who’s willing to let Vinnie stay with them for the weekend.”
“Me?” asks Vinnie’s dad. “I only know guys who are mobbed up. Only kidding. Mike’s always said he’d be happy to have Vinnie for a weekend. I’ll give him a call.”
“Don’t you dare. Vinnie will probably come away from a weekend with Mike with a lot more than pizza on his mind,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What about Joey’s mom?”
“No. She’ll poison him with all the junk food.”
“What about Larry’s mom?”
“No, have you ever seen the tattoos on Larry’s mom and dad. I think the only place they don’t have a tattoo is on the inside of their mouths and I’m not sure.”
“What’s wrong with tattoos? I’ve always wanted to get one. Mike has several and he says they tell the story of his life.”
“Really? Does he have one with a cell door? The Johnson’s are out . . .”
Before Vinnie’s mom can finish, Vinnie’s dad shouts, “I’ve got it. It’s perfect. If you make the call I’m sure she’ll agree, even if it’s filled up. It’s our only chance to get away. Vinnie won’t get in trouble. He’ll be properly supervised. It’s perfect.”
“What? What? What? What did I miss that you know and I don’t?” says an excited Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad smiles as if he just threw a game winning shot as time runs out.
“Enough with the theatrics, tell me,” insists Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “For the past three weeks, I’ve received emails from the city’s recreation program describing a weekend camp for kids in grades three through five at the Rocking W, a working cattle and horse ranch. Melanie Larson and Kyle Foster are going to lead it. Melanie will bunk with the girls. Kyle with the boys. There will be lots of outdoor activities. They leave from the rec center parking lot by bus at 3 p.m. Friday. We can catch a late plane to New York and have the weekend. Mike can pick Vinnie up when they get back at 2 p.m. Sunday. Give Melanie a call and see if there is any room left for Vinnie. It’s our only chance. The other choice is to donate the tickets back to Mensa or give them to the Johnsons or . . .”
“Stop, enough. I’ll call. First, I’ll call Joey and Larry’s moms and tell them about the rec center program. Vinnie will go if Joey and Larry are going.”
“It’s devious, but an excellent way to trap him. For once, we’ve outsmarted Vinnie.”
“Promise me Mike won’t cause problems on Sunday afternoon?”
“Really, Marti. Mike’s a nice guy. It will all work out.”
Vinnie’s mom mutters, “Like it always does.”