Vinnie’s Mom Gets Her Sleep 5 Minutes at a Time



Meanwhile . . . In the kitchen . . .

Vinnie is sitting on the kitchen floor, his back braced against the fridge. Rupert is sitting in between Vinnie’s legs facing Vinnie. Dexter’s confused. He’s never seen anyone sit on the kitchen floor with their back against the fridge, the source of beagle happiness. Dexter’s poor beagle brain tries to work out what’s happening. He walks close to the fridge and stares at it hoping he catches Vinnie’s attention. He can’t catch what Vinnie is whispering in Rupert’s ear. Every now and then Vinnie shakes Rupert’s head as if Rupert is agreeing with him. Dexter uses another beagle strategy, he barks at the fridge. It’s Dexter’s belief the fridge can hear him and will open on the right beagle command.

Back in the master bedroom . . .

Vinnie’s mom sits straight up. She shakes Vinnie’s dad’s shoulder. “Al, Al, I heard Dexter bark. There must be a prowler.”

Vinnie’s dad mumbles, “How many times did Dexter bark?”

“I heard one bark, but it was ferocious,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Only one?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Only one. You don’t think someone is in the house and hurt Dexter?” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad half turns toward Vinnie’s mom, “Mess with our attack dog? You must be kidding. Please let me sleep. It was probably a raccoon.”

“I haven’t seen raccoons in months,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad says, “I think it was an armadillo. They’re nocturnal.”

“I suppose so. I wish you’d let me sleep and not let every sound bother you,” says Vinnie’s mom lying back down and pulling the cover up to her neck.

“Huh?” says Vinnie’s dad seconds before he slips into sleep.


Meanwhile in the kitchen . . .

Vinnie’s standing, holding the fridge door open with his right hand, and staring in to the fridge. Dexter is standing beside Vinnie and he’s staring in to the fridge. Rupert is on the breakfast bar facing the fridge, smiling and apparently staring into it.

Vinnie says, “Dexter, Rupert told me to experiment with my food choices. He said I might discover something that will taste good besides pizza.”

Vinnie pulls out a to go box of vegetable Chow Mein, opens it, looks inside, smells it, and turns toward Dexter, “Buddy, I found some dog food for you.”

Dexter only understands the word, food. His beagle brain sees a box in Vinnie’s hand. His highly trained and extremely sensitive beagle noise understands whatever is in the box is edible. Beagles do not have any food biases.

Vinnie sets the to go box of Chow Mein on the kitchen floor. Dexter, the beagle vacuum, is over it like orange on a pumpkin, savoring every bite and hoping there is a second course.

Vinnie walks away from the open fridge door to the kitchen counter. He pulls the blender away from the wall. Vinnie, takes the top off the blender. He turns to Rupert, “I am going to make Mom and Dad a healthy breakfast drink. When I’m done, I’ll put it in the fridge and they can have it with their coffee for breakfast.”

Rupert smiles in agreement.

Dexter looks up from the empty to go box and wonders when he’ll receive the next course.

Ten minutes later the blender is jam packed with grapes, pasta sauce, coffee, an uncracked egg, apple juice, left over tofu, vanilla yogurt and a half cup of sugar. Vinnie goes back to the fridge and takes out the bottle of wine. He turns toward Rupert and says, “One of the chefs on the cooking channel says wine makes everything taste better. I’ll pour the wine in until all the empty spaces in the blender are full.”

Vinnie speaks in his falsetto voice for Rupert, “Good idea.”

Vinnie stands next to the blender, one hand on the lid on the top of the blender, his other hand extending a finger poised to strike anyone of fifteen possible options. “Countdown, Rupert. Three, two, one, blastoff.”

Meanwhile in the master bedroom . . .

Vinnie’s mom and dad bolt upright. The turn and face each other, “Vinnie!” they exclaim in unison.

Vinnie’s mom hits the floor as if she is a first responder heading to an emergency. Within a space two point one seconds she secures her bathrobe, pulls her hair into a ponytail, and is out in the hallway. Vinnie’s mom learned one skill from her dad as a young child and only uses it in high stress, I need attention situations. It’s go time for her. She sees Vinnie carrying Rupert, football style, Dexter chasing at his heels, and all three heading for the front door. Vinnie’s mom sticks her thumb and forefinger in her mouth and lets go with an ear piercing whistle.

Vinnie skids to a stop on the tile floor, Dexter skids into Vinnie’s legs knocking him over. Vinnie rolls over and says, “Nice tackle, Dexter.” He looks back at his mom, “Mom, will you teach me to whistle like that? It will help me get Mrs. Mavis attention when she doesn’t want to call on me.”

“Vincent, meet me in the kitchen, now,” orders Vinnie’s mom.

From the master bedroom, “Marti, will you make me coffee if we’re staying up? Please?” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie, Rupert, Dexter and Vinnie’s mom get to the kitchen at the same time. Vinnie’s mom stares at the food splattered splashboard, countertop, and tile floor. She glances at Vinnie, he’s coated with multilayered covering of blended food particles that might take a team of the world’s leading scientists weeks to completely identify.

“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” demands Vinnie’s mom.

A soaked and soiled Vinnie smiles and says, “Don’t worry, Mom, Dexter will clean it up.”

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