Vinnie Already Knows the Answer



Dr. Cashman sits behind her desk weighing the advantages and disadvantages of being a bartender at Mike’s Pizza Palace. She’s smiling at the ranting Mrs. Mavis who’s sitting across from her.

“Dr. Cashman, have you heard a word I’ve said?” demands Mrs. Mavis.

Dr. Cashman smiles and says, “Go on.”

Mrs. Mavis rises from her chair, takes a step toward Dr. Cashman’s desk, leans over and places her two palms face down on the desk. “Dr. Cashman, my life is in danger. I demand you get a restraining order to keep Mike Ricci from coming to parents’ night.”

Mrs. Mavis’s mention of Mike Ricci brings Dr. Cashman back to the present moment. She remembers Mike is taking her out for dinner tonight. She says, “Mike Ricci? He’s the kindest, sweetest, gentlest man I know.”

Mrs. Mavis stammers, “Dr. Cashman. Mike Ricci is head of the mob. Did he threaten you and make you say these lies? He’s a violent man. I heard he fixes races, lends money at high interest rates, and cleans up problems. You know what I mean by cleaning up problems, don’t you?”

“Really, Mrs. Mavis. Mike, I mean Mr. Ricci is a good influence on Vinnie. Why, look at the leadership skills he’s exhibiting by taking charge of your classroom while you’re speaking with me. Why, Mr. Ricci is going to be in court with Vinnie and his dad tomorrow.”


Meanwhile in room 107, Kennedy Elementary School . . .

Vinnie’s standing on top of Mrs. Mavis’s desk, his arms outstretched over his head. “Listen up. It’s time for speed learning.”

Joey raises his hand, “Vinnie, will this hurt?”

The class laughs.

Vinnie says, “No, Rupert and I do this all the time. Rupert says it’s the best way to learn, that way you don’t have to worry about homework.”

Sara interrupts, “Vinnie’s right. Rupert is so smart even the smartest people in the world want to talk to him.”

Vinnie says, “We’ve got one minute to do our English assignment. Emily will start and we’ll go around the room. Say any English word that comes into your head. We’re going for the world’s record.”

Larry asks, “What’s the record, Vinnie?”

Vinnie does an imaginary text on an imaginary phone. He stares at his imaginary phone. Vinnie makes a ching sound and says, “Rupert texted me and says it 53 seconds.”

Tracy blurts out, “You did not text Rupert. You don’t have a real phone in your hand.”

Vinnie doesn’t miss a beat, Rupert and me text over energy waves. We watched an NPR show and Rupert figured out how to do it.”

Joey says, “Can you teach us how to do it Vinnie? That is the coolest thing ever.”

“What will we do when we finish?” asks Larry.

“We can use the rest of English time for recess.”

The class cheers.

Mrs. Mavis walks into the classroom. She stares at Vinnie standing on her desk. Vinnie looks at Mrs. Mavis. He says, “Should I go to the office?”

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