Vinnie’s mom is putting the final touches to dinner in the kitchen. Vinnie’s dad is squatting down in his lawyer suit and over the calf black stockings spraying Lysol disinfectant on the floor where he tracked dog poop into the house. Vinnie’s sitting at the dining room table waiting for dinner. Rupert is sitting on the table facing the kitchen. Dexter’s beagle nose is twitching trying to make sense of tofu, onions, broccoli, brown rice, dog poop, and Lysol disinfectant.
Vinnie says, “Mom, Dexter is starving. He can have my portion. Can I have four hot pockets?”
“No, Vinnie. After you try this dinner, you’ll want me to make it every night,” says Vinnie’s mom from the kitchen.
“Can I ask you something without you getting mad at me?”
“Of course,” says Vinnie’s mom bracing herself for what Vinnie is going to say.
“Mom, how many times have you said ‘After you try this dinner, you’ll want me to make every night?’ You have been right once, Mom.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever said it, well ever said it exactly like that,” Vinnie’s mom gives herself a silent pat on the back for her quick catch. After all she thinks, I’m in Mensa.
“Rupert knows. He told me you said it two-hundred three times.”
Vinnie’s mom suppresses the desire to argue with a stuffed grizzly bear. She says, “What else did you want to tell me about the announcements you made at school?”
“Oh, I’ll wait until Dad’s at the table. Mom, when I get older can I intern with Uncle Mike?”
Vinnie’s mom has a heart palpitation. She calls out, “Al, are you almost finished. I’m putting dinner on the table.”
“I think I ruined my shoes,” calls out Vinnie’s dad. “I sprayed them with the garden hose. I don’t know if they’ll come back.”
Vinnie’s mom thinks, ‘sometimes I think I’m raising two boys.’ She says, “Al, put them in a plastic bag and you can take them to Martinez Shoe Repair tomorrow. Jose will have them looking like new by the end of the day.”
“Why didn’t I think of that?” asks Vinnie’s dad as he passes through the kitchen on his way to change.
Vinnie’s mom turns her head a bit, glancing at the back of Vinnie’s dad’s head and thinks, you really want to know?’
Fifteen minutes later, “Vincent, you have not touched your food.”
“Yes I have, Mom. I’ve been stirring it around on my plate looking for a good bite.”
“It’s all good, Vinnie. Now take a bite of tofu and broccoli and tell us the news. Dad also has some news to tells us.”
Vinnie stabs a piece of broccoli. Then he stabs a piece of tofu. He holds his fork up in front of his face and says, “I’m allergic to broccoli and tofu, if I die when I eat it, please let Dexter finish my plate.”
“Eat it, Vincent,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie closes his eyes, opens his mouth wide, pinches his nose with his left hand and sticks the stuffed fork into his mouth. He chews three times and then swallows. “I’m getting dizzy. I think I might pass out. Call Joey’s mom and ask her to bring me a piece of pizza, it’s the only way I’ll live.”
Vinnie’s mom and dad stare at each other.
Vinnie opens his eyes.
“Was that so bad?” asks his mom.
“Un huh. Know what I said in my last announcement?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “No. You didn’t tell me.”
“Vinnie made the school announcements today?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Al, quit playing with your food. It’s good for you.”
Vinnie gets off his chair and stands in front of the table. He pick up a salt shaker and uses it as a pretend microphone. He speaks into the top of the salt shaker, “I’m interrupting the announcements for breaking news.”
Vinnie’s mom takes hold of Vinnie’s dad’s hand.
“This a news flash from Mrs. Mavis fourth-grade classroom. Vinnie quit being fourth grade president so he could concentrate on flag football. Sara Johnson is new President.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “After all work you did to get elected, you quit?”
“Yah, Mom. It was more fun trying to be president than being president even though I was only president for thirty minutes.”
Vinnie’s dad interrupts, “Does anyone want to hear my news?”
“Is it bigger news than what Vinnie told us?”
“Yes. It’s about Mike.”
“What is it, Dad? Did you get Uncle Mike off again? Tell me everything. What did Uncle Mike do this time? Is he going to move in with us? You can buy bunk beds and Uncle Mike can sleep on the bottom, Rupert and me will sleep on the top bunk.”
“No, Vinnie, Uncle Mike was not in trouble and he is not moving in with us,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“What is it?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“First things first. Marti, you know Fast Eddie Genaro, right?”
“Not really, he came to our wedding. You’re not involved with Fast Eddie. He’s in the mob for sure. Isn’t he doing time?”
“I was working on his appeal and his case got overturned, he’ll be released in two weeks.”
“You are the mob’s mouthpiece, Al. Admit it. What’s Fast Eddie got to do with Mike?”
“Uh, some things are client and attorney privilege. But other things that are not attorney client privilege have come to light,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“This is going to be good, Dad. I’m thinking of starting a school newspaper. I already got some good stories to put in it,” says Vinnie.
“My life is spinning out of control,” blurts Vinnie’s mom.
“Good one, Mom,” says Vinnie.
“Al, just tell us what you want to tell us and don’t beat around the bush,” says Vinnie’s mom stifling the aftertaste of sautéed broccoli and onions.
“You’ve met Fast Eddie Genaro’s sister and you talk to her nearly every week,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Al, are we playing Twenty Questions or Jeopardy? Who is it?” demands Vinnie’s mom.
“Dr. Cashman. Dr. Cashman’s maiden name is Janice Genaro.”
“I knew it. I knew it. She loves power. She’s got the mob behind her,” says Vinnie’s mom. What’s this have to do with Mike?”
“He told me he’s in love with her and is going to propose to her.”
“That’s great news, Dad. Once they’re married, Uncle Mike can fire Mrs. Mavis.”
“Mary, I need help, now,” prays Vinnie’s mom.