Back at Vinnie’s House . . .
Midnight. Vinnie’s sound asleep. Rupert is sound asleep near Vinnie’s head. According to Vinnie, it’s a proven fact, stuffed grizzly bears sleep with their eyes open. Dexter is snoring, yes, beagles snore, and lying near Vinnie’s feet. In the master bedroom, down the hall from Vinnie’s bedroom, Vinnie’s dad is sleeping. Vinnie’s mom stares at the ceiling. She turns on her side, she reaches for her iPhone, she checks the time, 12:01 a.m. She checks her email and scrolls through twenty emails. Nothing from Kennedy Elementary School. She checks a local news app. She glances at all the updated news stories, nothing about a principal being found murdered.
Vinnie’s mom, closes her iPhone, tells herself everything is okay, pulls the sheet and blanket up to her neck and closes her eyes. She turns on her right side. She turns on her belly. She turns on her left side. Sixty seconds later she’s back in her starting position. She props herself on her elbow and bends toward Vinnie’s dad. “Al, are you awake?”
The only response from Vinnie’s dad is heavy breathing.
“Al, are you awake?” she says a bit louder.
Vinnie’s dad pulls his pillow over his head.
“I know you’re awake. We’ve got to talk.”
A muffled voice from under the pillow, “Now? Why?”
“If anything happens to Dr. Cashman, is Vinnie an accomplice? Can he be tried as an adult?”
Vinnie’s dad takes the pillow off his head. He stares at Vinnie’s mom. “What are you talking about?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “I have a bad feeling.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Feelings are not admissible as evidence. Let’s go to sleep and talk about it in the morning.”
“It’ll be too late, Al. You’re a lawyer, you can get Dr. Cashman’s cell phone number. Call her and ask her if she’s okay.”
Vinnie’s dad sits up, “Marti, it’s all okay. He reaches for his cell phone. “Look, no texts, no calls, it must mean Mike didn’t get in trouble. You know I’m always the first one he calls.”
“I feel better, Al. I think I can go to sleep. Why did I let my mind play head games with me? You must have thought I was going crazy.”
“Well . . . Hey, I’m only kidding. Let’s get some sleep. It’s only 12:12 a.m.”
“Good idea. I could use a good night’s sleep. Thanks, Al. I love you.”
“I love you too, Marti. Good night.”
Vinnie’s dad puts his arm around Vinnie’s mom, in seconds they’re both asleep. Vinnie’s dad cell phone rings.
Vinnie’s dad sits up. He looks at his cell, “It’s Mike.”
“Oh, God. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.”
Vinnie’s dad taps, accept call. “Yes, Mike. . . . Uh huh. . . . Uh huh. . . . Uh huh. . . . Can this wait until morning? . . . It can’t? Wait a minute, Marti’s trying to sleep. I’ll take the call in my office.”
“How bad is it?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Try to sleep. We can talk in the morning.”
“You’ll wake me if you’re going straight to night court, right?”