Vinnie’s dad is taking Vinnie a courthouse tour. They’re walking down a long corridor on the second floor. Vinnie’s dad says, “Each of these rooms is a court for one of our districts. If Uncle Mike were going to court, I’d be in that room, the court for district 47.”
“Dad, why do the police pick on Uncle Mike? Uncle Mike told me the cops are always trying to pin a rap on him. Uncle Mike doesn’t like rap music, so why do the cops try to say he does?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “I’m hungry, Vinnie, how about a bagel?”
Vinnie’s mind jumps from one thought to another quicker than the speed of light. Vinnie asks his dad, “Can I see a murderer?”
“In court, Vinnie, you’re innocent until proven guilty. There might be someone in court accused of murder, but not a murderer until the jury makes a finding of guilty,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“How come I can’t have a trial in school before I get sent to the office, Dad? It’s not fair. Can I call you and have you come to school to get me off on a technicality.”
Vinnie’s dad checks the time on his iPhone. “Oh, dear God,” he thinks, “Will this morning ever end?”
Vinnie blurts, “What’s that line of people over there, Dad.” Vinnie points to the other end of the hall.
Vinnie’s dad, grateful for the momentary reprieve, says, “Oh, that’s traffic court. Most people will pay a fine, some will try to fight the traffic citation they got and they almost always lose.”
“If you were their lawyer, Dad. I think you’d win,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad rubs Vinnie’s head, “I think you’re right. I’d find a technicality and get them off.”
Vinnie and his dad continue down the hall. Vinnie’s dad spots a colleague and waves. He turns back to his iPhone and one, checks the time; two, checks sports scores; three, checks email. Four, stares at his phone and pretends he’s looking at something important. While he’s staring, Vinnie takes off like an Olympic sprinter racing down the hall.
Vinnie has a twenty-yard head start before Vinnie’s dad realizes Vinnie is not standing next to him. Vinnie’s dad can’t holler, he can’t run, he tries to think what Marti would do. Before he can do anything, he sees the DA wave him over. Vinnie’s dad first thought is Mike got arrested before he left court. Vinnie’s dad doesn’t get a second thought because he hears Vinnie scream, “Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.”
Every head in the court hallway turns toward a frantic, running, screaming boy waving his hand at a slightly overweight, middle aged woman with a decade all hairdo in the traffic court line.
Vinnie screams out again, “Mrs. Mavis my dad can get you off on a technicality.”
The DA watches Vinnie’s dad half walk, half jog toward Vinnie. The DA thinks, I don’t get it, how does he beat me all the time?
Vinnie comes to a skidding stop on the marble hallway floor. “Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Are you going to get sent to the slammer?”
Vinnie’s teacher, Mrs. Mavis Mavis’ first thought is to send Vinnie to the office. She can’t. Her second thought is to put him in time out. She can’t. She says, “Vincent. Not so loud, please. What do you want? I’m busy. People are staring.”
Vinnie enjoys it when people are staring. He speaks loud enough for everyone in line to hear, “You must be in big trouble to have to go to court, Mrs. Mavis. What did you do? Did you get caught for speeding? Talking on your cell phone? Running a red light? Did the police have to chase you and test you to see if you were drinking? Did you steal a car? You can tell me, I won’t tell anyone.”
The hallway audience waits for Mrs. Mavis’ answer.