Vinnie’s Mom Knows Something Is Wrong



Mrs. Mavis, her face redder than a ripe tomato, resists the urge to grab Vinnie and turn him around and send him as far away from her as is humanly possible. She says, “You’re making a scene, Vincent. I’m only paying a fine. It’s nothing. Now, please find your father and leave me alone.”

Vinnie says, “What’s the fine for? Were you speeding in a work zone?” Did you go through the electronic light at State Street and Washington? How much do you have to pay? You want me to get my Uncle Mike to help you? He has lots of connections.”

Mrs. Mavis puts her right hand against the wall. She feels a touch of vertigo.

Vinnie’s dad appears on the scene. “Mrs. Mavis, I’m Vinnie’s dad. You’ve met my wife, Marti but we’ve never met. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” says Vinnie’s dad extending his hand toward Mrs. Mavis.

Mrs. Mavis flushes. She extends her hand and wonders if this is one of the mob signals that she’s marked for a hit.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Are you okay?”

“”I’m fine, no need to help me. Nice meeting you.”

Vinnie’s dad taps Vinnie, “Vinnie tell Mrs. Mavis you’re sorry for bothering her.”

“Dad. Dad. Dad. Can you get Mrs. Mavis off? Use a technicality or something. If Mrs. Mavis gets sent to the big house I might get a worse teacher.”

“It’s okay. It’s nothing,” says Mrs. Mavis hoping Vinnie and his dad disappear.

“The least I can do is to help out. No charge. May I take a look at your citation?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

Mrs. Mavis hands Vinnie’s dad her speeding ticket. “Honestly, my mind was on something else and I was driving on Washington and didn’t see where the speed limit changed from thirty-five to twenty-five. I’ll pay the two-hundred dollar fine. It’s okay.” Mrs. Mavis left unsaid, “Please leave me alone. Move away and never return.”

Vinnie’s dad reads the citation. He nods his head up and down a couple of times. Vinnie pulls on his dad’s sleeve, “I know a technicality, Dad. Want me to tell you?”

Vinnie’s dad half turns his head toward Vinnie and nods. Then realizes he shouldn’t have nodded.

Vinnie says, “I knew it. I knew it. You’re not going to go jail Mrs. Mavis. We’ll be together on Monday. Can I go first to tell everybody about my day with my dad? Please, please, please?”

Mrs. Mavis wonders if prison is better than teaching fourth grade.

Vinnie’s dad turns toward Vinnie and says, “What’s your idea, Vinnie?”

Mrs. Mavis thinks, no wonder he’s the mouthpiece for the mob. He can’t get a real job. He has to ask a fourth grader for advice.

Vinnie says, “I know where this happened. Joey and Larry and me ride our bikes on Washington to get to the soccer field. The twenty-five mile an hour sign is covered by a tree branch and you can’t see it.”

“Are you sure, Vinnie?” asks his dad.

“Positive, Dad. Did I give you a technicality?”

“You sure did.” Vinnie’s dad turns to Mrs. Mavis, “I’ll talk to the court clerk. I don’t think there will be a problem.”

Before Mrs. Mavis can speak, Vinnie’s dad goes to the front of the line, speaks to the security agent and is let inside the traffic court.

Vinnie looks at Mrs. Mavis. “Mrs. Mavis you were lucky to run into me and my dad. If you didn’t you might have got locked up. I don’t know if you could get off with good behavior. When you’re real old like one-hundred and I’m a mouthpiece for the mob just like my dad, if you get arrested, I’ll get you off.”

Mrs. Mavis reaches into her purse, pulls out a prescription bottle and shakes a Xanax capsule out and swallows without water.


Later that morning . . .

Vinnie’s mom is kneeling in the front pew of Saint Peters in front of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Mary, I know something is wrong at court. I can feel it. Please pray for me that Al and Vinnie are not arrested. I know Vinnie’s a handful, but I love my handful. Al’s a handful too, and I love that handful . . .

Vinnie’s mom’s prayer is interrupted by her vibrating iPhone. She reaches into the back pocket of her jeans knowing it’s Al asking her to come to court to bail Vinnie and him out of jail. She looks at the caller ID, it’s Al. “Dear God, I was right,” she mutters.

She quickly glances around the church, there are two old women praying rosaries in front of a statue of the holy family. She taps accept call and places it to her ear and whispers, “I’ll be right down Al as soon as I go home and get my checkbook. How much is bail?”

Vinnie’s mom’s head is nodding, she stops kneeling and sits down on the pew. She continues listening. After five minutes she says, “Let me get this straight, Al. You and Vinnie ran into Mrs. Mavis who was going into traffic court. You asked to see her citation. Vinnie gave you the reason to have it tossed out. You took the citation and went into talk to the traffic court officer. While you were inside the traffic court, Vinnie is with Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis put a Xanax in her mouth and tried to swallow it without water. She started choking. Vinnie did the Heimlich on her and it popped out. The TV stations are coming down to do a story on it because Vinnie’s a hero for saving his teacher. Mrs. Mavis blood pressure spiked when she heard the TV stations were coming down and she was taken to the ER for observation. Al, where is Vinnie?”

Vinnie’s going to lunch with the mayor?”

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