Three in the morning. Vinnie’s Mom flips her pillow for the twenty-seventh time searching for the cold side of the pillow. She looks like a rotisserie chicken the way she flips from her left side to her right side, nearly nonstop. She tries lying on her belly, but nearly smothers with her face stuck in the pillow. She tries lying on her back but her legs involuntarily jerk. She gets out of bed to go to the bathroom. She sits on the toilet and plays an iPhone word game.
Vinnie’s mom comes back to bed, crawls in between the sheets rolls on her right side and taps Vinnie’s dad on the shoulder. Vinnie’s dad subconsciously interprets the tap as telling him to pull the blankets over his head. Vinnie’s mom reaches under the blankets and pulls on Vinnie’s dad’s earlobe and says, “Al. Al. Al.”
Vinnie’s dad’s male brain understands he is going to have to answer, yet true to his species, he is not going to answer without putting up a strong defense. Vinnie’s dad takes the pillow out from under the covers and covers his head, leaving a tiny space for a nose to get oxygen.
“Al, I know you’re awake. We need to talk. I haven’t slept all night. I’m going to turn on the lights and play my workout playlist, it won’t be pretty.”
The pillow comes off Vinnie’s dad’s head. He pulls the blankets down off his face. He opens his left eye and squints at Vinnie’s mom. “What is it? Is it the Johnsons? What is Harry complaining about?”
“No, it is not about Harry Johnson.”
“What did Vinnie do?”
“He didn’t do anything yet?”
“I don’t understand? Why can’t I sleep?”
“Well, I’m not sleeping and I need company.”
“Can you get Rupert? He’s good company, he never closes his eyes.”
“It’s not time for jokes, Al. What is the charge Mike is facing?”
“Can we talk about it at breakfast?”
“Thanks, wake me up at six-thirty.”
“I’m getting up to make breakfast now. You can help.”
“No, please. This is unfair. You’re coercing me into divulging client and attorney privilege.
“It’s a technique your side of the family uses all the time.”
“Wait a minute. They do not use it all the time, only when it seems useful.”
“You admit it then, your family is mobbed up and you’re the family’s mouthpiece.”
“That’s all rumor?”
“What’s Mike charged with, Al?”
“This has to stay here. You can’t tell anyone, promise?”
“Yes, I promise. Cross my heart,” says Vinnie’s mom tracing an X over her heart.
Vinnie’s dad adjusts his pillow against the headboard and sits up. “Mike is charged with threatening to do bodily harm to a guy.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Let’s say it’s over a past due bill. But don’t worry, I got an eyewitness who will testify Mike did not threaten bodily harm and asked very nicely for his money.”
“You have a witness? Is it one of Mike’s hoodlum buddies?”
“No, the witness is highly credible. You know the witness.”
“I know the witness? Who is it?”
“Dr. Cashman. Mike and she were out on a date when Mike spotted the guy and asked him for a down payment on his debt.”
“Oh, dear, Dr. Cashman.”
From the bedroom door . . .
“This is awesome. I can’t wait to tell my friends about it,” screams Vinnie. “I’ll have the best parent and kids’ day at work ever.”