Vinnie’s mom and dad are driving to Tony Biggilo’s. Vinnie’s dad says, “This is really a nice treat. We get to celebrate your birthday at one of the city’s top restaurants and it’s all free.”
“I can’t relax, Al. Vinnie’s with Mike. I won’t be surprised if you have to go downtown to bail them both out of jail.”
“You’re kidding, right?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“No. Vinnie will have a new career goal after tonight, he’ll want to be a don or something whatever the title is.”
“Mike said he was only kidding.”
“Do you remember when Mike came over about three months ago and we all played Monopoly?”
“That was a lot of fun, we have to do it again,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Do you remember Mike trading you Boardwalk, the best piece of property on the board for your two get out of jail cards? He said the two get out of jail cards were more valuable than any piece of property on the board.”
“He was kidding.”
“No, he wasn’t and he threw in an extra five hundred dollars,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“How do you remember this stuff?
“Some things you don’t forget. Let me see your phone, I want to see if you have any text messages.”
Meanwhile, back on Mulberry Street.
Vinnie and Rupert are riding with Uncle Mike in his black Lexus. Vinnie is in the front passenger seat, Rupert is buckled in behind him.
“Got to apologize for not letting Dexter come along, Vinnie. We got a couple of errands we gotta do and it’s better if we don’t have a dog hanging around.”
“It’s a good thing you didn’t tell Mom or Dad what we’re going to do. Dad always says it’s better not to ask permission and then to say you’re sorry after if you get caught.”
“I know whats you mean, Vinnie. The only thing is I usually don’t say I’m sorry, I usually say, I wanna call my lawyer.”
“This is foolproof, Uncle Mike. I checked it out with Rupert and he’s the smartest human on earth.”
“You talking about the grizzly bear in the back seat?”
“Uh huh. The grizzly bear brain works backwards that’s what makes grizzly bears so smart.”
“I wish my brain worked backward, I wouldn’t get into as much trouble as I usually do. I figure Marti and Al will be home by 9 so we gotta work fast. We ain’t gonna leave no fingerprints, no trace we been anyplace but where we were supposed to be.”
“What if they leave early, Uncle Tony?”
“I got it covered. Tony got his head waiter on it. When they finish, the head waiter is gonna tell them to wait until he brings them a to go desert to have tomorrow. When he goes back to get it, he’ll text me.”
“I wish school was as exciting as working with you Uncle Mike,” says Vinnie.
An hour later Uncle Mike’s cell phone chimes. “That’s the text, Vinnie. One more stop and then we got to beat it back to your place.”
“Yah, Uncle Mike.”
“You don’t think Dexter will rat us out?”
“Not to worry, Uncle Mike. Dexter never rats me out.”
“Those are the kinds of friends to have, Vinnie.”
Fifteen minutes pass and the black Lexus pulls in front of Vinnie’s house. Vinnie, Uncle Mike, and Rupert hustle up the walk to the house.
Meanwhile . . . on the way home from Tony Biggilo’s.
“Al, I can’t shake the feeling that Mike and Vinnie are up to something.”
“What could they be up to? You’re letting your imagination run wild. Mike loves Vinnie and would do nothing to hurt him.”
“I know he loves Vinnie, Al. But a leopard can’t change his spots.”
Al signals to turn on Mulberry Street. “Look, no police cars, no EMTs, no yellow crime markers around our yard. Our porch light is on, the lights in the living room are on. Mike’s car is in front of the house. It’s just another quiet Saturday night on Mulberry Street.”
“I feel so guilty, Al. I imagine all kinds of things. You were right. I’m sorry for being such a pill at Tony Biggilo’s.”
“You were fine, Marti. We had a great time, one to remember.”
Vinnie’s dad pulls into the driveway. They walk up to the porch, Vinnie’s mom opens the door and steps in. “Vinnie? Mike?”
Vinnie’s mom turns around, “Al, they’re not here. Something is wrong.”
Vinnie’s dad steps inside the house and they walk into the living room.
“Vinnie?” calls Vinnie’s mom.
“Surprise, surprise, surprise,” screams Vinnie, Uncle Mike, Joey, Larry, and Sara and their parents. Dexter starts barking.
A mandolin and accordion player start playing happy birthday.
Vinnie’s mom turns to Vinnie’s dad, “Did you know about this?”
Before Vinnie’s dad can speak, Vinnie rushes over and hugs his mom, “Happy birthday, Mom. Did we surprise you?”