Vinnie’s mom looks at Vinnie, “Vinnie, we are going to sit at the table until you tell Dad and me what is going on with Uncle Mike and the school.”
“I can’t, Mom.”
“Why can’t you tell Dad and me?”
“Uncle Mike and me shook hands on it. We promised we got each other’s back. He told me friends got each other’s back and don’t spill the beans. That’s true, isn’t it, Mom?”
“Well, yes. But, we’re your parents. You can tell us because we always have your back. When did you see Uncle Mike?”
“I remember one time when Mrs. Mavis called and you took her side, how come you didn’t have my back then, Mom,” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad who turns toward the dining room window. He says, “I never noticed that bird nest in Johnson’s oak tree.”
Vinnie’s mom feels like screaming, is anybody listening. She pauses for a moment, centers herself as her yoga teacher instructed her, and says, “We really had your back because sometime parents have to do tough love. You know what tough love is, right?”
Vinnie glances at Rupert, he says, “Rupert, I thought love wasn’t supposed to hurt.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Vincent, leave Rupert out of this. When did you see Uncle Mike?”
Vinnie understands when his mom uses his full name the next step must be tough love. He says, “Uncle Mike came to Joey’s house to hang out with us. He brought us three pizzas and he brought Joey’s mom a box of cannoli.”
“What do you mean, Uncle Mike was hanging out with you and your friends?”
“Well, I texted him on Joey’s iPhone. How come I don’t have an iPhone, Mom. Don’t answer yet. I asked him to bring the pizzas and we might have a couple of questions for him since Uncle Mike is second only to Rupert for being the smartest person on Earth. You used to be second, Mom. Uncle Mike got past you. Maybe you should watch more reality shows and not always educational shows.”
Vinnie’s mom looks at Vinnie’s dad, “Al, you have to call Mike and tell him to tell Vinnie it’s okay to tell stuff to his parents. And, I don’t believe he is smarter than me. Tell me you believe me.”
“I see how Vinnie thinks that way. After all, Mike is smart enough to hire the best lawyer in the city to keep him out of jail,” says Vinnie’s dad trying to walk a narrow path. He feels a burst of volcanic cosmic energy erupting from Vinnie’s mom and says, “Of course, you’re smarter. I think you’re the smartest person in the world.”
Vinnie’s holds Rupert up, “Sorry, Dad. It’s no contest. Paws down, I’m the smartest in the world.”
“Do you understand what I go through every day?” Vinnie’s mom pleads with Vinnie’s dad.
“You’re my hero,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Al, you’re digging a bottomless hole. Stop while there is still daylight,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Can I text Mike instead of call?” says Vinnie’s dad. Vinnie’s dad doesn’t wait for an answer. He switches from his sports app to his messaging app. He texts, Mike, ok for Vinnie to break the bro promise you two made so he can tell us what’s going on?
A moment later, Vinnie’s dad’s messaging app chimes. He checks his text.
“What did he say, Al?”
Younger bro, you got to think about this. You really want to ask Vinnie to go back on his word? I say this because I am Vinnie’s godfather. I think my messages are being read by other people, know what I mean and when I say, godfather, I mean, not like the movie but something that happened when Vinnie was baptized.
“I knew it was a mistake to have Mike as Vinnie’s godfather. You insisted,” blurts Vinnie’s mom.
“Uncle Mike’s a great godfather, Mom. He really wants to help. He’s a genius. He might be too smart for Mensa. Wait until you see how everything turns out,” says Vinnie.
“Another one who is too smart for Mensa?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What other choice did we have at the time? Your sister Jo is the godmother, so tradition has it one godparent from each side,” says Vinnie’s dad having trouble tracking the conversation.
“Can Rupert and Dexter and me vote?” asks Vinnie.
“Ching, ching,” another text arrives. I can’t text anymore because I am going to talk about stuff with the principal. I’m gonna make her an offer she can’t refuse.
“Oh, dear Lord,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Uncle Mike’s the best,” says Vinnie. “I shoulda thought of this last year.”