Dr. Cashman sets her phone down and stares at Mark Doolittle and Lori Smith. “Mark will you set your phone aside, we have a problem and it’s getting bigger by the moment.”
Mark Doolittle glances up at Dr. Cashman, “With all due respect, Dr. Cashman, fantasy football is a huge morale booster among the faculty. Everyone is waiting for me to make my selection.”
“Please make it and put your phone away,” says Dr. Cashman.
Mark Doolittle says, “Should I choose a quarterback or a wide receiver?”
Dr. Cashman quickly calculates how many years she has until she can retire. She’s still ten years away. A wave of depression floods over her.
Mark Doolittle says, “I chose a tight end. Thanks Dr. Cashman. I’ll tell the faculty how you supported me. Are we done?”
“No, we are not done. Here is the problem and we need to come up with a plan. I’m beginning to think Mrs. Mavis is making sense and that scares me.”
Lori glances up from her online grocery shopping app. “Did I hear you correctly? You said, Mrs. Mavis is making sense?”
Mark Doolittle gets up off his chair and walks to the window. He stares out into the parking lot.
Dr. Cashman looks at Mark and says, “Mark, what are you doing?”
“I’m checking to see if there are any guys with baseball bats hiding near my car. I’ve always been nice to Vinnie. I think I’m okay.”
“Lori, ask Mrs. Nokowski and Pete the custodian to join us,” says Dr. Cashman hoping Mrs. Nokowski can bring some sanity to the meeting.
“Why?” asks Lori getting up from her chair and walking toward the office door.
Dr. Cashman thinks she is raising two children. Dr. Cashman silently counts to five, that’s as high as her limited patience reserve allows her to count. She says, “They’re friendly with Vinnie and perhaps can give us some fresh ideas.”
“Oh,” says Lori opening the door. She turns back to Dr. Cashman, “Mrs. Nokowski isn’t at her desk, do I have to look for Pete the custodian?”
“I’ll help,” says Mark Doolittle.
Meanwhile at Vinnie’s Home . . .
Vinnie cradling Rupert in his right arm, opens the door and bursts in with Dexter on his heels. “Mom, Mom, Mom, I’m home.”
“I heard you the first time,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“You didn’t answer the first time or the second time, so I said it a third time,” says Vinnie.
“How did it go?” asks Vinnie’s mom already knowing how it went because of Dr. Cashman’s call.
“We got it all figured out. If everything works out, I won’t have to worry about working too hard as President. I can concentrate on soccer, video games, and playing football with my friends.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “I’ve been working on dinner. I knew you were hard at work with Joey, Larry, and Sara so I made your favorite . . .”
“You ordered takeout pizza from Uncle Mike?”
“No, that is not your favorite. Your favorite is my white bean and kale soup.”
“I’m pretty much full, Mom. Mrs. Alberti kept feeding us all afternoon. I’ll stay in my room while you and Dad eat bean and kale soup,” says Vinnie.
“Vincent! You will sit at the table and eat white bean and kale soup.”
“Do I hafta?”
“Yes, you hafta.”
“What’s this about you calling Dr. Cashman?”
“Did she call or email, Mom?”
“She called and she was not happy. Do you mind telling me about your conversation?”
“Uh, I forgot most of it, Mom. It’s okay. I thought about the first call and talked to Joey, Larry, and Sara. We came up with a better plan. I called her about thirty minutes ago.”