Vinnie writes in his journal while Dr. Cashman reads the day’s announcements. Mrs. Mavis stares at Vinnie. Dr. Cashman finishes making the morning announcements. Vinnie’s right arm shoots straight up. Mrs. Mavis ignores Vinnie.
“Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.”
Mrs. Mavis knows Vinnie won’t stop until she acknowledges him. She says, “What is it Vincent?”
I have three great questions, Mrs. Mavis.”
“Can they wait?”
“They’re really, really, really important Mrs. Mavis.”
“Make it quick Vincent,” says Mrs. Mavis knowing it won’t be quick. Mrs. Mavis stomach begins to dance a salsa.
“First, Mrs. Mavis, Dr. Cashman said lunch today was meatloaf and potatoes and green beans. Is that mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or French fries? I like French fries with lots of ketchup.”
“What’s your next question, Vincent?”
“Mrs. Mavis you didn’t answer my first question. You must be still thinking about it. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to it. My second question is, Dr. Cashman said tomorrow is a teacher workshop day while the rest of us have to go to work with our parents. Do you think that is fair? Usually, when teachers have a workshop we get off from school and can play and forget about school.”
“Dear God,” says Mrs. Mavis. “What is your third question, Vincent?”
“Mrs. Mavis, my mom talks to God and Mary a lot when I ask her questions. If you’re stuck answering my questions, my best friend, Rupert, is the smartest person on earth. He’s so smart Mensa won’t let him in because everyone in Mensa will be jealous. Did you know my mom is a Mensa member? I think my Uncle Mike is even smarter than my mom but he’s not smarter than Rupert.”
“What is your third question, Vincent. We have work to do.”
“When it’s parents’ night can my Uncle Mike substitute for my mom and dad. He’s always asking me if he can talk to you. . . . Mrs. Mavis? Mrs. Mavis? Mrs. Mavis?” Vinnie walks to the front of the class. “I think Mrs. Mavis had to make an emergency run to the woman’s room. I’ll be in charge. What’s your favorite phone app?”
Meanwhile in Kennedy Elementary School Office . . .
Mrs. Nokowski glances away from her computer screen toward the office door. She watches a flushed Mrs. Mavis walk through the door. Mrs. Nokowski picks up the phone and pretends to be taking a call.
“Mrs. Nokowski, I demand to see Dr. Cashman this minute. My life is in danger,” demands Mrs. Mavis.
Mrs. Nokowski turns her head toward the counter, covers the phone receiver with her left palm and says, “Important call from central office. It’ll be a minute.”
“Well!” says Mrs. Mavis.
Sara Johnson, Joey, and Larry walk through the door and stops at the counter. “Mrs. Nokowski?” says Sara.
“Yes, Sara,” says Mrs. Nokowski.
“Vinnie sent us down to get twenty pieces of poster board, twelve sets of magic markers, five boxes of colored chalk, and a digital stop watch.”
Mrs. Nokowski glances at Mrs. Mavis who is showing four of tens signs for an impending heart attack. She says, “You say Vinnie sent you down?”
“Yes, Mrs. Nokowski, Vinnie is teaching class since Mrs. Mavis left to go to the bathroom.”
Mrs. Nokowski enjoying the purple blotches on Mrs. Mavis’ face, asks, “Sara, why does Vinnie need a digital stop watch?”
“Vinnie’s so cool, Mrs. N. It’s okay if I call you Mrs. N isn’t it? Vinnie says he calls you Mrs. N all the time because your name is so long.”
“It’s okay, Sara.”
“Well, Vinnie is going to divide us into teams and we’re going to race around the room. The winning team gets a double lunch period. Everybody wants Vinnie to the permanent teacher.”
Mrs. Nokowski turns toward Mrs. Mavis, “You left Vinnie in charge of the classroom?”
Mrs. Mavis turns toward Sara, Joey, and Larry, “Children go back to class.”
Larry says, “Mrs. Mavis, do you want to be on my team for the races?”
Joey asks, “What do we tell, Vinnie?”
Mrs. Nokowski turns toward Mrs. Mavis, “I can pass your message over the intercom.”