“I’m not going,” says Vinnie.
“You are to going,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Who’s going to take care of Dexter?” asks Vinnie
“He’ll only be in the kennel for the weekend. He’ll see you Friday and Sunday. You’ll only miss Dexter on Saturday,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie folds his arms across his chest. He picks up Rupert and turns Rupert so Rupert is facing him. He says, “Rupert what is worse than spending a day with Mrs. Mavis?”
Vinnie uses his falsetto voice as Rupert’s voice, “That’s easy, Bro. It’s having to spend an entire weekend with Melanie Larson who is meaner than Mrs. Mavis. It’ll be worse than prison, Bro.” Vinnie turns the smiling Rupert to face his mom.
“You can’t argue with the smartest person on Earth, Mom. You don’t want to send me to prison, do you? I’ll turn out just like Uncle Mike.”
“The boys are staying in the bunk house with Kyle Foster. You know Kyle, he coached you in youth soccer last fall.”
“Not Kyle Foster, Mom. Please tell me it’s not Kyle Foster. He never smiles. He’s always hollering to give better effort. He makes us run around the field,” says Vinnie.
“Vincent, that is not true. I went to your practices and games and Kyle was very nice to you boys. I didn’t see any punishment laps.”
“That’s because you were probably looking at your iPhone, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom folds her arms across her chest, she attempts to give Vinnie the evil eye and fails when Vinnie breaks into a big grin. “What’s so funny, Vincent?”
“Mom, you can’t do the mean look. Uncle Mike can do it. I saw him one time do it a guy who was getting noisy in the bar.”
“My God, what were you doing in Mike’s bar?”
“That was day Dad picked me up at practice and he had to talk to Uncle Mike about his trial.”
A violent shudder surges through Vinnie’s mom and she momentarily considers donating the tickets to Mensa. Then she thinks, Vinnie will only be with Mike for two or three hours, what could go wrong? She says, “I forgot to tell you Joey and Larry are going on the trip. The three of you will have so much fun. I bet Joey’s mom will put a lot of snacks you like in Joey’s backpack.”
“Are you bribing me, Mom? Did you pay for Joey and Larry?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom feels a pink shade growing up her neck and heading to the top of her head. It’s something that happened since she was a small girl and got caught. She says, “I was being kind. Joey and Larry’s moms are so nice to you always giving you the snacks you like.”
Vinnie puts his right hand to his chin, he looks at Rupert. After a short minute, he says, “I’ll go. Joey and Larry and Me will show Kyle the ropes.”
Vinnie’s mom feels a flood of relief, Vinnie’s not going to argue. There will be no pouting and excuse making. He won’t lock himself in his room or hide her purse. Maybe, she thinks, just maybe, Vinnie is growing up, after all he’s going to be president of the 4th grade.
Vinnie says, “Mom can I go to Joey’s house to make plans for the weekend. I’ll be back in time for dinner. Dexter and Rupert are coming with me, okay?
Vinnie’s mom hears the excitement in Vinnie’s voice. It’s all turning out better than she could imagine. “Sure,” she says.
Two minutes later Vinnie is racing down Mulberry Street with Rupert clutched under his right arm. Dexter is right on his heels. Dexter knows the route to Joey’s house. For Dexter, Joey’s house is an all you eat can buffet.
Vinnie’s mom stands in front of her closet trying to decide what to take to New York when the thought hits her like a lightning bolt out of a blue sky. What is Vinnie planning?