Vinnie is staring at his dad. Vinnie’s mom is staring at Vinnie’s Dad. Vinnie’s dad is staring at the bowl of veggie delight. He says, “How about us all going to Mike’s for a pizza a bit later.”
“Al, does it taste that bad?”
“The wine’s good.”
“Trying to cook healthy for the two of you is nearly impossible. If you don’t watch out, Al, you’ll have love handles like Harry Johnson,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Are love handles shaped like hearts? If you got love handles, I could ask Mrs. Mavis to let you show them to the class.”
Vinnie’s dad glances at Vinnie’s mom, “I have high metabolism. I’m a fuel factory.”
Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes.
Vinnie says, “Dad, can I?”
“Can you what, Vinnie?” answers Vinnie’s dad. He’s learned never to agree to one of Vinnie’s open-ended questions.
“Can I go to work with Uncle Mike on Friday if he’s not in jail? If he is in jail, can I go to jail with him? That would be the coolest work day ever. Nobody in class will say they spent a day in jail.”
Vinnie’s dad takes another sip of wine.
“Well?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad gestures to his mouth indicating he can’t talk. Vinnie’s mom half turns and watches him. Vinnie turns Rupert so Rupert is facing Vinnie’s dad. Dexter is lying on the floor next to Vinnie wondering when his second helping will arrive.
Vinnie’s dad stops swirling the wine in his mouth and swallows it. He turns slightly toward Vinnie’s mom who’s giving him a ‘speak up’ look. He turns toward Vinnie who’s waiting for the okay to spend a day in jail. The only friendly face he sees is the stuffed grizzly bear, Rupert who’s always smiling.
Vinnie’s dad starts to push away from the table.
“Where are you going, Al? asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Uh, I was going to get my iPhone so I can check my calendar for next Friday.”
“Al,” says Vinnie’s mom sternly, “you already know what is going on Friday. I can tell you where you’ll be on Friday. I may not know the particulars, but I know where you’ll be. Want me to tell you?”
“Uh huh,” says Vinnie’s dad pulling his chair back up to the table.
Vinnie interrupts his mom, “Duh, Mom. That’s easy. Every Friday, Dad usually is bailing Uncle Mike out of jail because the police usually raid his pizza bar every Thursday night. After Dad bails Uncle Mike out of jail, Dad goes to court. He usually gets the first court case. You defending the mob next week, Dad? You defending Gino?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Uncle Mike does not get raided every Thursday. They didn’t raid him on Thanksgiving Day.”
“Good one, Dad. Uncle Mike is closed on Thanksgiving Dad.”
Vinnie’s Dad turns red.
“Busted, Al. Who are you defending Friday? Is it the mob?” asks Vinnie’s mom crossing her arms over her chest.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Are you wearing a wire?” He starts laughing.
“It’s not funny, Al. No, I’m not wearing a wear.”
“Why would Mom wear a wire, Dad? Does a bracelet count? How about a necklace?” asks Vinnie.
“Well, Al, are you defending the mob on Friday?” insists Vinnie’s Mom.
“I don’t work for the mob. I’m not a mouthpiece for the mob,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Well, who are you defending?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“I know,” says Vinnie frantically waving his arm.
Vinnie’s mom and dad turn and stare at him. In unison, they say, “Who?”
“Salvatore Abruzzi. He doesn’t speak English because he just came to the U.S. from Sicily. He helps Uncle Mike out at night when it gets really busy. Uncle Mike can speak Italian perfectly. He’s going to teach me.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Were you looking at my iPhone, Vinnie? You know that’s not right. It’s attorney client privilege.”
Vinnie says, I wouldn’t do that, Dad. Uncle Mike told me.”
Vinnie’s mom pushes away from the table.
“Marti, where are you going? We haven’t had dessert,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“I need to go for a walk.”
“Can we still go out for pizza later?” asks Vinnie’s dad.