Meanwhile in the hallway . . .
Four-thirty, the birds are still sleeping, not a creature is stirring and it’s not Christmas Eve. Well, there are three creatures stirring, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter. Vinnie’s crawling, commando style, down the hallway past his parents’ bedroom. He nudges Rupert ahead with his head. Dexter, trying to impress Vinnie, that he is an intelligent beagle, makes a poor attempt at doing commando style. He looks like a gigantic black and white hotdog with a head and tail slithering alongside Vinnie.
When they pass Vinnie’s parents’ bedroom, Vinnie stops, Rupert stops, and Dexter anxiously awaits a reward for trying hard. Vinnie whispers, “We’re almost safe, once we make it to kitchen, I can make us breakfast. The only light I’ll have is if I leave the fridge door open. What do you think, Rupert?”
Vinnie stretches his arms out over his head, his hands gripping Rupert on each side. He turns Rupert to face him and whispers in his falsetto voice, “I was thinking the same thing.”
“Thanks, Buddy,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie glances at Dexter who is now on all fours alerted by one of the few words he knows, ‘fridge.’ Vinnie turns back to Rupert, “Dexter agrees with us. I’ll never have enough energy for school if I eat what Mom makes me. We’ve got to be quiet.”
Vinnie shakes Rupert as a sign of agreement. Dexter lets his tongue hang out three inches, a beagle sign of agreement. Vinnie and Rupert continue commando style toward the kitchen. Dexter runs ahead and waits for them.
Meanwhile in the Master Bedroom . . .
Vinnie’s mom opens her eyes. Every sense is on high alert. She taps Vinnie’s dad, “Al, did you hear something?”
“Did you hear something?”
“I don’t want to put the trash out. Can it wait until they come again on Friday?”
“It’s not the trash truck. I’m sure I heard something.”
“I really need sleep. I didn’t get to bed until two-thirty. Mike wouldn’t stop talking.”
“What did Mike say? You told me you’d tell me when you woke up.”
“I’m not awake. I talk in my sleep.”
“You are to awake.”
Can I get a continuance until after I have coffee?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “I think Vinnie is up to something.”
“Why would you think he’s up to something? He’s sound asleep. Let’s not create a problem by peeking in his room. If we wake him, he won’t go back to sleep. He’ll be too excited about the first day of school.”
“Maybe you’re right, Al. I worry too much. At least tell me this much, do I have to worry about what Mike told you?”
“It depends,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Depends on what?” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom.
“I need my coffee before I get into it. I need my sleep before I need my coffee. Please, I promise to tell you everything, even the stuff with attorney client privilege.”
“I smell pizza, Al.”
“I was talking to Mike, remember?”
“No. I smell pizza.”
“He’s awake,” Vinnie’s mom and dad shout in unison.