Vinnie, Joey, Larry, and Sara are tossing a frisbee in Joey’s yard. Joey’s mom calls out from the back door as Vinnie sails the frisbee to Larry, “If you’re not too busy, kids, I just took some chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. They go great with milk or ice cream.”
Vinnie, Joey, Larry, and Sara stop playing frisbee and run toward Joey’s back door. Dexter follows closely behind, yipping a beagle call as if he is on the trail of a rabbit. The frisbee continues sailing until it hits the fence and drops to the ground. Joey’s mom already set a table with four plates each holding an oversized chocolate chip cookie. A half-gallon of vanilla ice is open and sitting in the middle of the table. Joey’s mom calls over, “I have more cookies if you want them. I have milk and soda. If anyone wants hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, let me know. Don’t worry, Dexter, my cute little beagle. I’ve got a special treat for you. I made you a big juicy hamburger.”
Dexter hears his name. He hears the words treat and hamburger and begins to howl.
The response from the table, “I do. I do. I do. I do.”
Vinnie breaks his cookie in half and scoops ice cream onto the bottom half. He covers the ice cream with the other half of cookie.
“That’s cool, Vinnie. Can I try it?” asks Larry.
“Sure. It’s easy to break the cookies in half while their still warm. The best way to eat it is to press the two halves together and start squeezing the ice cream out the sides. Then you can lick the ice cream around the sides.”
“Where did you get this idea, Vinnie. It’s brilliant. We don’t have ice cream. Mom only buys fruit to make smoothies,” says Sara.
“Rupert taught me the trick. He said his grandfather taught him how to eat ice cream. Mom wants me to work with my dad next Friday. I want to work with Uncle Mike. I’ve got to come up with a plan to make her change her mind.” saysVinnie.
Sara stops licking her ice cream cookie and wipes her lips with a napkin. Joey and Larry wiped their lips on their shirts. Sara says, “Your mom wants you to learn how to be a mouthpiece for the mob?”
“What’s a mouthpiece?” asks Larry.
“I think it is something like a retainer the orthodontist gives you,” says Joey.
“I’m not sure what it is. My mom is always asking my dad if he’s a mouthpiece for the mob. He always shrugs his shoulders and laughs. They don’t talk about it too much,” says Vinnie. “It always comes up when dad goes to court to get Uncle Mike out of trouble.”
“Is your Uncle Mike a gangster? My dad says he’s the head of the mob. He’s afraid of him,” says Sara.
“What’s a mob?” asks Joey.
“I think it’s a bunch of people rushing in a store to get the sales at Christmas time,” says Larry.
“I’ve seen flash mobs on YouTube,” says Joey.
“I’m going to work with my dad,” says Sara. “He’s really important. He works city hall and he makes the decisions on who gets hired.”
“What are you gonna do when you go to work with him? It sounds boring,” says Vinnie.
Joey interrupts, “I got a great job with my dad. He drives the garbage collection truck. I get to ride with him all day. He’s always finding cool stuff the rich people toss away. One time he found a gun.”
“He found a gun? What did he do with it?” asks Sara.
“He turned it in to the police. Mom doesn’t want any guns in the house.”
“What if he kept it in a box in the backyard?” asks Larry.
“Not a good idea, Larry. A burglar could get the gun and rob Joey’s house,” says Vinnie.
“How do you figure this stuff out, Vinnie? Asks Larry.
“Rupert teaches me stuff at night when my parents are asleep. Sometimes we sneak outside and lay on the grass and look at the stars. I know most of the constellations.”
Joey and Larry look at each other. Joey says, “I’d get grounded if I snuck out in the middle of the night.”
“Me too,” says Larry.
“It is such a cool thing. I’d do it, but I’m afraid my parents would catch me,” says Sara.
“My mom’s really cool. She’ll only put me in jail for an hour then she lets me out of jail if I promise to be good,” says Vinnie.
“Your mom puts you in jail?” says a horrified Sara.
“It’s what I call it,” says Vinnie. “I heard Uncle Mike ask dad if he can keep him out of the slammer or the big house. I think they mean jail.”
“Wow, I wish I had an Uncle Mike,” says Joey.
“Me, too,” says Larry. Larry adds, “I got the best job next week.”
“What?” asks Vinnie.
“My dad is taking the day off and we’re going fishing. I got to figure out what to tell Mrs. Mavis.”
Vinnie says, “I saw this thing on the Discovery Channel about people called adventurers. Just tell her your dad is an adventurer.”
“Where do you get these great ideas?” asks Larry.
“I don’t know. They just pop in my head from somewhere.”
Joey’s mom calls out from the kitchen, “Vinnie, your mom texted, it’s dinner time.”