Vinnie sits at the breakfast bar. Vinnie’s mom opens the fridge and brings out a plate with sliced honey crisp apple. She sets it on the counter and puts a scoop of peanut butter on the plate. She brings the plate to Vinnie, “What would you like to drink, Vinnie?”
“I’ll take a juice box, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom returns to the fridge thinking I feel as if I’m Vinnie’s servant. I wonder if all fourth-grade moms feel this way? She returns with the juice box, sets it in front of Vinnie and sets herself on a stool next to Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom is smiling at Rupert who is smiling at her. Dexter is at Vinnie’s feet. She says, “Tell me what you did as president, Vinnie. You’re really excited.”
Vinnie says, “When I finish the apple, Mom, can I have a cheese and bean burrito?”
“Yes, now tell me the news.”
“Do you want to hear about any other stuff that happened? My president news didn’t happen until after lunch.”
“Other stuff?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Uh huh,” says Vinnie.
“Okay?” says Vinnie’s mom trying to reassure herself since she didn’t get any emails, texts, or phone calls from the school.
“Mrs. Mavis was in the office before school.”
“How do you know she was in the office?”
“That’s easy, Mom. I went to the office to talk to Dr. Cashman about some ideas I had for being fourth grade president. Dr. Cashman was too busy to talk with me because she was talking to Mrs. Mavis. So, I went to my classroom and sat at Mrs. Mavis’s desk.”
“You did what?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I sat at Mrs. Mavis’s desk, Mom. Somebody had to be in charge. I wrote a note on a sticky pad and pasted it on her lesson plans for her to do today.”
“Oh, dear. What did you write?”
“Three things, Mom. One, let Vinnie tell the class his plans for the year. Two, give Vinnie permission to do other stuff if he’s bored. And, three, let Vinnie ask as many questions as he wants. Before Mrs. Mavis came back to the room, we moved the chairs into a big circle, that way we can see each other.”
“And . . .”
“And, Mrs. Mavis came back to class right before the bell. I said, ‘You’re lucky you got here before the bell, Mrs. Mavis or else you’d have to have a note from the office.”
“Mrs. Mavis said, ‘Vincent, why are you sitting at my desk?”
I said, “Because you weren’t here, Mrs. Mavis, so I was helping you by being in charge.”
“Why are the seats all moved into a circle?”
“Great idea, right, Mrs. Mavis?” I asked.
Mrs. Mavis said, “Vincent, not another word. Get up and find an empty desk.”
I said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Mavis, but if I get up your desk will be empty.”
Mrs. Mavis said, “Vincent, to the office.”
I said, “Thanks, Mrs. Mavis. I hope Dr. Cashman will let me do the announcements.’ Mom, your left eye is jumping up and down. Is anything bothering you?”
Vinnie’s mom touches the corner of her left eyelid with her hand and tries to hold it in place. It doesn’t work. “Vinnie, what did Dr. Cashman say to you when you went to the office?”
“This is where the good stuff started to happen, Mom.”
“Oh my God,” says Vinnie’s mom.