Vinnie’s dad pulls behind a black SUV in the Starbucks drive through line. He takes out his iPhone, touches the Starbucks app and opens to order. “What do you want Vinnie? I’ll mobile order and everything will be ready when we get to the window.”
“Neat, Dad. Can I do it? You tell me what you want.”
“Have you ever used the Starbucks app?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Plenty of times, Dad. Joey’s mom lets me use her iPhone to mobile order Frappuccino’s for Joey, Larry, Sara and me on Saturdays.”
“You get a free Frappuccino on Saturdays?
“Yah, Dad. Sometimes on Sundays too.”
“Where do Joey and his mom get all this money to spend on you guys? Isn’t his dad a garbage truck driver and his mom stays at home?”
“Yah. Since last year I helped Joey’s dad make extra money.”
“You did? What did you do?”
“I asked Uncle Mike if he could find some extra work for Joey’s dad. Now, Joey’s dad checks in with Uncle Mike every day to see if he has any extra garbage to take to the dump.” Vinnie raising his hand, “I’m ordering, Dad. Don’t worry. I know what you like.”
“Wait, Vinnie. Let me check the order. Too late, Dad. It’s okay, you had enough to cover it. Isn’t this fun. It’s like Christmas, you’ll be surprised when you get your order. We only got six more cars in front of us.”
“How much did you spend, Vinnie?”
“You had thirty-two dollars on your card, Dad. That was plenty.”
Vinnie’s dad doesn’t have Vinnie’s mom’s sophistication of interpreting what Vinnie said. She would keep after Vinnie until she pinned him down. Not so, Vinnie’s dad.
“Okay. Did Joey ever say what was in the trash his dad picks up at Uncle Mike’s place?”
“Can I run inside, Dad and see if our mobile order is ready. I’m starving.”
“What about the trash, Vinnie?”
“Oh that. Uncle Mike told Joey’s dad never to look in the trash bags. He made Joey’s dad promise,” says Vinnie. “It’s our turn, Dad. Get ready.”
The barista sticks her head out the window. She repeats the order as she hands the drinks and food to Vinnie’s dad. “A venti coffee with four shots of espresso. A toasted white chocolate mocha, chocolate cookie crumble crème, and a double chocolatey chip crème Frappuccino. Two bagels with cream cheese. Two sausage cheddar and egg sandwiches. A chicken sausage and bacon biscuit.”
The carryall trays sit on the SUV’s floor at Vinnie’s feet. Vinnie says, “Thanks, Dad. Where we going for lunch?”
Vinnie’s dad glances at Vinnie and sees Vinnie dipping his sausage cheddar and egg sandwich into a double chocolatey chip crème Frappuccino. He makes a mental note to take Marti out for dinner Saturday night and tell her how special she is. He had no idea. No idea at all. He looks at the dashboard screen, it’s only 7:55 a.m. Thoughts race across his mind at the speed of light. He has another nine hours with Vinnie. He thinks, I married a saint. How does she do it? She was right, I should have agreed to let Vinnie spend the day with Father Pete.
“Whatcha thinking about, Dad. Don’t tell me, I know. You’re thinking about the technicality you’re going to use to get Uncle Mike off. Am I right?”
Vinnie’s dad takes a long sip of his four-shot espresso venti coffee and wished there were two more shots of espresso in it.