Vinnie’s mom sets her phone down and comes back to the table. First thing she notices is all the parmesan cheese is gone. The second thing she notices, the crock pot is still two-thirds full of white bean and kale soup. Vinnie’s dad dips his spoon into his half-filled bowl and takes a sip. He swallows his soup and says, “This is the best white bean and kale soup I’ve ever had.”
“Good one, Dad,” says Vinnie. “It’s the first time Mom made white bean and kale soup.”
“Who ate all the cheese?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie holds Rupert in front of his face and turns Rupert to face his mom, “Not me.”
“Put Rupert down, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom. “Did you eat all the cheese?”
“No, Mom. Dad and Dexter helped me.”
Dexter hears his name and wonders if Vinnie going to give him another bowl of white bean and kale soup with added parmesan cheese. As far as beagles are concerned, one type of food is as good as another.
“Do you two know what it’s like cooking for the both of you?”
Vinnie answers, “I think it’s fun, Mom. You’re always singing while you cook, unless you’re asking me spelling words.”
Vinnie’s dad stands up and stretches, “Anyone want some ice cream for dessert after that wonderful soup.”
“Al, please sit down. We have something important to discuss,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I guess I can leave since I don’t get a vote in important stuff,” says Vinnie sliding off his chair.
“Vincent, climb back on your chair,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What did I do, Mom? Honest, I’m innocent,” says Vinnie. “Dad will you help me?”
Vinnie’s mom’s mind flashes to the vegetarian website that claimed white bean and kale soup is a winner for every member of the family. The author didn’t know her family. She shakes the thought out of her head and says, “Teresa Johnson called and wanted to know why you used Sara’s phone to call Uncle Mike. I want to know why you were calling Uncle Mike. And, what does all this have to do with the first day of school? Rupert is not going to answer for you.”
“How about Dexter?”
“Dad, can you get this changed until tomorrow?”
Vinnie’s dad makes a mental note to stop talking about his cases in front of Vinnie. Vinnie doesn’t miss a thing and now he using what he says.
Vinnie’s mom looks at Vinnie’s dad. Vinnie’s dad says, “Well, er, uh, no.”
“Mom, you asked me a bunch of questions. I think Mrs. Johnson is mad because Sara told me her mom stepped in dog poop when she was working in the yard. She told Sara she’s sure it was Dexter’s poop, but Sara told her she didn’t think so because I told Sara I trained Dexter to go in the toilet.”
“Vincent, you make up these stories. The neighbors must think we are strange,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Did you teach Dexter to go on the toilet? I won’t have to walk him when it’s raining, snowing, and freezing cold.”
Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes, “Vinnie, we need to talk about Uncle Mike.”
Meanwhile back at School . . .
Dr. Cashman looks at Lori, “Look through my spyhole and see if he’s still in the office.”
“What spyhole?” asks Lori.
“Move the picture of the superintendent aside and you’ll see it. Peek through it and tell me if he’s still here.”
“Wow, that’s neat. Can I have one for my office?” asks Mark Doolittle.
Dr. Cashman ignores Mark Doolittle and stares at Lori Smith. Lori gets up and walks over to the door. She slides the superintendent’s picture aside and puts her eye to the spyhole.
“Well?” whispers Dr. Cashman.
“He’s cleared off the counter and he has a deck of cards. He’s on his phone. I think he’s playing blackjack. He reached into his pocket and took out his wallet. He put some money on his cards. Now his talking. He turned over his card. He banged his fist on the counter. I believe he said, “I won. Let’s play another.”
“Dear God. If anyone finds out gambling is going on in the outer office, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
“Might be best to resign,” says Mark Doolittle.