Vinnie’s mom’s cell phone rings. She turns and sees her phone lying on the breakfast bar. “Let it ring,” she says.
Vinnie jumps down from his chair, drops the French bread with white beans mashed to on the floor. Dexter quickly snaps it up leaving no evidence. Vinnie says, “I’ll get it, Mom. It could be important. Maybe they want me to be school principal on the first day.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Bring it to me. Do not answer it or you are in big trouble.”
Vinnie slides to a stop at the kitchen counter and picks up her phone. He looks at the caller ID. “Mom, it’s Mrs. Johnson. Want me to tell her you’re busy. You don’t want her to ruin your dinner.”
Vinnie’s mom is on high alert. She feels a pulsating vibe somewhere in her brain that whatever Teresa Johnson has to say it won’t be anything she wants to hear. Her right eye starts twitching. Her heart rate is accelerating. Her left knee is bouncing up and down faster than the beat to a rap song. She extends her hand for the phone. Vinnie hands it to her and returns to his seat.
“Marti, you have to do something,” says Teresa Johnson.
“Can this wait? We’re in the middle of eating dinner,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I’m worried about Sara. I’m also worried about all the other kids in their class except Vinnie.”
“Why are you worried? Vinnie’s up to date on his vaccinations. You know there’s an outbreak of measles among the unvaccinated. Are you an anti-vaxxer?” asks Vinnie’s mom instinctively knowing where the conversation is going.
“Sara is up to date on her shots. It’s about that thug,” says Teresa Johnson.
“What thug?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“The one who is always getting arrested and then getting off because your husband represents him in court.”
“Mr. Ricci is one of the best attorneys in the city,” says Vinnie’s mom defensively
“You know what I’m talking about,” says Teresa Johnson.
“Honestly, I have no clue.” She turns and glances at Vinnie. He’s talking to Rupert. His bowl is empty. She knew he’d like her soup.
Meanwhile Back at School . . .
“It’s five-thirty, Dr. Cashman. How much longer do we have stay, Dr. Cashman? Monday Night Football begins tonight,” says Mark Doolittle.
“I’ve ordered takeout for my family. I can stay as long as you need me,” says Lori Smith showing off her best sucking up skills.
“Can I order a pizza from Mike’s Bar and Pizza, it’s the best in the city,” says Mark Doolittle.
“Who do you think is sitting in the office waiting for our meeting to end?” asks Dr. Cashman.
“Can I look?” asks Mark Doolittle.
“No. It’s Mike Ricci. He’s waiting to meet with me after our meeting. I’m going to out wait him if I have to sleep here tonight.”
“Have you ever met with him?” asks Lori.
“No and I don’t want to. We all know his reputation,” says Dr. Cashman.
Mark Doolittle scratches his head, “I got an idea.”
“Let’s hear it, Mark,” says Dr. Cashman.
“I’ll go out in the outer office and talk to him. I’ll ask him to join the fantasy football league if he’ll sponsor the teacher Christmas party. Think of the money we’ll save and the goodwill we’ll get with the mob.”
Dr. Cashman reaches into her top left drawer and takes a handful of Tums.
“If they’re the fruit flavored Tums, can I have some?” asks Mark Doolittle.