Mrs. Mavis Mavis stands in front of the counter separating visitors from the secretary, Mrs. Nokowski. Mrs. Nokowski knows Mrs. Mavis is standing in front of the counter but does not want to deal with her so she refuses to make eye contact. Instead, she picks up the phone and begins a conversation with no one. Mrs. Mavis’s blood pressure rises with each second Mrs. Nokowski doesn’t pay attention to her.
Mrs. Mavis’s patience left on the first train out of town this morning. She calls out, “Mrs. Nokowski, is Dr. Cashman in? It’s urgent I speak with her.”
Mrs. Nokowski looks up with a surprise look on her face, places a palm over the phone and raises one finger with her other hand. She takes her hand off the receiver, puts it to her ear and says to no one, “I have a small crises, Dr. Wenthrow. I’ll call right back.” Dr. Wenthrow is the school superintendent whom Mrs. Nokowski has never personally met.
“Oh dear. I didn’t want to interrupt a phone call with Dr. Wenthrow,” says Mrs. Mavis.
Mrs. Nokowski thinks, I know this is about Vinnie. I feel sorry for him having to put up with you for another year. She says, “Dr. Cashman is in her office, but she’s working on something very important. Can it wait?”
“No, it cannot wait. It will only take ten minutes.”
Ten minutes? Really? If it’s about Vinnie, it will last longer thinks Mrs. Nokowski. She says, “I’ll check with her.”
Mrs. Nokowski makes a show of arranging papers on her desk, closing a computer program, and looking for a notebook and pen. She’s thinking this must be how Vinnie feels when he’s pulling her chain. Mrs. Nokowski gets up from her chair, slides it under her desk and takes the long way around the office to Dr. Cashman’s office door. She knocks two times on the door. Waits a moment and opens the door a crack and whispers something. She steps inside, glances back at Mrs. Mavis, and closes the door. Five minutes later, Mrs. Nokowski opens Doctor Cashman’s door, steps out of Dr. Cashman’s office and says, “Dr. Cashman will see you now, Mrs. Mavis.”
Meanwhile . . .
Joey, Larry, and Sara are in Vinnie’s room. Vinnie’s mom is in the kitchen putting together a healthy snack for the kids. The doorbell rings two rings. It rings again. This time there’s a short and long ring. There’s a pause and it rings again, three short rings. Vinnie comes out of his room and says, “I’ll get it, Mom.”
Before Vinnie’s mom can answer, Vinnie is racing down the hallway with Dexter close on his heels. He runs past the breakfast bar into the living room and into the foyer. Vinnie opens the door, there’s a pause. Vinnie’s mom hears Vinnie say, “Thanks, Uncle Mike. You’re the best.” She hears Uncle Mike says, “Vinnie, you’re the man.”
Vinnie retraces his steps, running out of the foyer into the living room, past the breakfast bar, down the hallway and into his bedroom. Dexter is right on his heels yapping all the way. Vinnie’s mom tries to process what happened. She retraces the events. A ringing doorbell in some form of code. Vinnie says he’ll get the door. He races by with Dexter following him without saying anything. She hears him speaking with Uncle Mike. Vinnie runs by again without saying anything. She pauses, she knows she missed something. It hits her like a lightning bolt, the unmistakable odor of pizza.
Vinnie’s mom wipes her hands on a paper towel and walks to Vinnie’s room. She knocks on the door.
“Who is it?” asks Vinnie.
“You know who it is, Vincent. Open the door,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“How did you know I locked it?”
“Mom’s know these things.”
“Wait a minute, Mom.”
Thirty second later Vinnie opens the door, “Hi Mom. What do you want? We’re real busy planning the school year.”
“Where’s the pizza?” asks Vinnie’s mom pushing the door wide open. She looks at Joey, Larry, and Sara who are all looking at Rupert.
“What pizza, Mom?”
“Want a piece, Mom? It’s got pepperoni and extra cheese on it.”
Vinnie’s mom thinks, I should have taken him to school today. School can’t start soon enough.