Later that Saturday afternoon . . .
“Al, can you turn the ballgame off. We need to talk about Vinnie. I’m worried he wants to become a mob boss.”
Vinnie’s dad sticks his hand in a bowl of buttered popcorn, puts it in his mouth, chews and swallows it. He says, “Did you say something, Marti?”
Vinnie’s mom stands up and walks in front of the television. “Al look at me, don’t try to look around me.”
“But, Marti, this is the third quarter.”
“Al, you’re watching a rerun of last year’s Super Bowl game.”
“It was a great game. Remember how you enjoyed the half-time show?”
“I didn’t enjoy the halftime show, I was too busy in the kitchen getting food and beer for you and Mike and your friends.”
“We all appreciated what you did, Marti.”
Vinnie’s mom extends her right arm and spreads her forefinger and thumb an inch apart, “Al, I am this close to pulling the plug on the TV.”
“Don’t, Marti. I’ll listen. If you pull the plug I’ll lose my place on the video. There, I paused it. I’m sorry, I love watching football, but not as much as I love you.”
Vinnie’s mom sits on the sofa, half turns toward Vinnie’s dad, takes his hand in both her hands, and says, “I was worried for a moment you loved football more than me.”
“That only happens when my favorite teams play. . . . I’m only kidding, don’t bend my finger. . . . What’s up?”
“What’s up? It’s Vinnie. He’s what’s up. He really wants to spend the day with Mike. Why can’t he spend it with you? Al, tell him he is going to spend it with you.”
“He’ll talk me out of it. I don’t know how he does it, but he gets inside my brain and I start thinking he makes sense even if he doesn’t make sense.”
“Al, you’re thirty years older than Vinnie.”
“Think that’s a problem?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“We need to see Dr. Sampson as a couple,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad reaches for his can of Diet soda and says, “This is the child psychologist who was talking to Rupert?”
“Uh huh,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Was Rupert speaking to her?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Uh huh,” says Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s mom turns her head slightly and stares out the front window toward the street. She turns back and says, “What are we going to do, Al? Vinnie needs order. Be the alpha male and lay the law down.”
“Do I have to?”
“Okay, I’ll tell him he has to go to work with me on Friday. He’ll ask me what I’m doing in court. I’ll tell him. He’ll be so excited he won’t sleep all week.”
“What does that mean?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“I forgot to mention to you last night about my court case for next Friday.”
“It’s perfect. Vinnie will see you in action in court. He’ll want to be a lawyer like his dad. It’s all working out just the way I hoped it would work out.”
“Not exactly,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Not exactly? Al, don’t hold back on me. I can handle it. Should I be sitting down?”
“You are sitting down,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Oh. “I know it’s bad, Al. I’m not sure I want to hear it.””
Vinnie’s dad takes the remote, turns off his football game, he takes a deep breath, exhales slowly and before he speaks, Vinnie’s dad and Vinnie’s mom hear Vinnie’s voice coming from the kitchen area.
“What’s up, Uncle Mike? Did you propose to Dr. Cashman, yet? When you get married do I have to call her Dr. Cashman or can I call her Aunt Janice?”
Vinnie’s mom instinctively reaches for her iPhone. She can’t find it. She taps her side jean pockets, they’re empty. She stands and taps the rear pockets on her jeans, they’re empty as well.
Vinnie’s dad extends his arm, “Want to use my iPhone?”
Vinnie’s mom hollers, “Vincent!”
From the kitchen, “Got to go Uncle Mike, talk to you tomorrow.”