Meanwhile . . . Dr. Cashman’s day goes on and on without any end in sight. She cancelled the search for Pete the custodian. Dr. Cashman glances across her desk at her assistant principal and counselor. They’re both working their phones as if they’re teenagers on Snapchat or Instagram. She clears her throat. Mark Doolittle looks up from his fantasy football app and says, “Do you need a throat lozenge, Dr. Cashman?”
Lori Smith instinctively reaches into her handbag and says, “I only have sugar free lemon lozenges, Dr. Cashman. I eat them for snacks when my blood sugar feels low. I don’t know if they’ll help a ticklish throat. Your throat doesn’t hurt, does it? I’d hate to think you have strep on the first day of school.”
Before Dr. Cashman can speak, Mark Doolittle turns toward Lori and asks, “If your throat lozenges are sugar free how can they help when you have low blood sugar?”
“I never thought of that, Mark. That’s genius.”
Dr. Cashman can’t take any more, “Please, let’s finish up. The children will be here tomorrow at 8 a.m. I think we’re all set with Mrs. Mavis and the Ricci’s. Are they any other . . .”
Dr. Cashman sees her intercom light flashing. She holds up one finger to Mark Doolittle and Lori Smith. She picks up the receiver, “Yes, Mrs. Nokowski?”
“I don’t want to speak with him. Tell him I’m busy.”
“He said he’ll wait,” says Mrs. Nokowski.
“Tell him today I’m only speaking to parents with children in the school.”
“He says and I quote, ‘It don’t matter, she gotta make room for me because I am a concerned uncle.”
Meanwhile . . . at the supper table.
Vinnie’s mom carries the slow cooker pot to the table. She goes back to the kitchen and brings a plate of sliced crusty French bread and sets it next to the salad. She sits down, and says, “Vinnie will you say grace.”
“Sure, Mom. Bless us oh Lord for these thy gifts that some of us are going to eat but are bad for us from thy bounty and if Mrs. Mavis is in a cranky mood tomorrow, have her call in sick. Bless Uncle Mike. Bless my vice president, Sara. My secretary for fun, Larry, and bless my secretary for better food at school, Joey. And, let Mom think her soup is really good even if it isn’t, Amen.”
“Vincent, that is not the way you learned to say grace,” says Vinnie’s mom. “And, my soup is very good and it is good for you.”
“God works fast, Mom.”
“Al, say something,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Tell us about your plans as class president, Vinnie.”
Vinnie is using his spoon to pick out the white beans one at a time and place them on a slice of French bread.
“Vincent, stop playing with your food and answer Dad,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I wasn’t playing with my food, Mom. I was making a bean sandwich for Dexter. He told me he loves white bean sandwiches.”
“Al, say something,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Vinnie, you haven’t told us your plans as class president.”
Vinnie looks up, “I can’t because you and Mom don’t have a security clearance. Isn’t that something that means if you don’t have one you can’t know what’s going on?”
Vinnie’s dad sprinkles two extra-large spoonful’s of parmesan cheese on his white bean and kale soup. Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes. She says, “There will be no pizza, burrito, or ice cream snacks tonight unless you both eat your soup.”
Vinnie says, “You first, Dad.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Who has a security clearance?”
Vinnie says, “Rupert, Dexter, Joey, Larry, Sara, and Uncle Mike.”