Monday Afternoon, Kennedy Elementary School . . .
Dr. Cashman, school principal, addresses the faculty at a faculty meeting: “Teachers, I have exciting news.”
In the second row, Mrs. Mavis Mavis, fourth grade teacher, turns her head toward Jillian Peoples, fifth grade teacher, “I hope she tells us Vincent and his entire family moved out of state.”
Dr. Cashman pauses, gives Mrs. Mavis a look, then says, “Our grant proposal is one of five in the whole state to be accepted by the National Endowment for the Humanities. We’ll have a full day workshop on Friday with faculty from the university to help you all implement the grant. I know the children will be very excited knowing they are going to collect an oral history about their family.”
“Dear God,” says Mrs. Mavis says loud enough for the Pete the custodian to hear in the hall.
“Mrs. Mavis, is something wrong?” asks Dr. Cashman already knowing it’s about Vinnie, it’s always about Vinnie.
“You know Vincent Ricci is in my classroom for the second year in a row?”
“I know, Mrs. Mavis, it was a computer assignment, go on,” says Dr. Cashman.
“He’ll want to do an oral history of his family. We all know about his family and the mob connections. Who knows how many crimes and murders he’ll dig up. I don’t want to do this.”
“Now, Mrs. Mavis, there is no proof the Ricci’s are part of any mob. Vinnie’s father is a lawyer and his mom is active in our PTA and in her church.”
Mrs. Mavis says, “You mean, Vincent’s father is the mob’s mouthpiece. It’s common knowledge. Why Harold told me yesterday he was talking to James Stetson, he’s the highway department supervisor, who told him he thinks Mike Ricci dumps bodies in the city reservoir. I won’t drink water out of the faucet anymore. Will the school department give us free bottles of water? Mike Ricci is Vincent’s uncle. Can you imagine the stories he’ll tell Vincent if he’s included in the oral history project?”
Dr. Cashman takes a deep breath, “Mavis, we can’t say things that are not proven. As far as I know, no bodies have been pulled out of the city water reservoir. I’ve met with Mr. Ricci and he is a nice man.”
Dr. Cashman quickly adds, “Are there any more questions? Good, Mrs. Nokowski will hand you guidelines for the oral family history project. Please review them this evening and tell the students about it tomorrow. The whole project will culminate with a school wide oral family history fair. The local TV stations and paper will cover it.”
“This is not going to end well. If I try to control what Vincent does, he’ll have that horrible mob boss uncle of his put a contract out on me. My murder is on your head, Dr. Cashman.” Mrs. Mavis turns to the teachers, “You’re all witnesses.”
Dr. Cashman fantasizes for a moment that Mike Ricci is putting out a contract on Mrs. Mavis. After a fantasy moment, she chases the thought away. Dr. Cashman says, “I heard a rumor that Vinnie’s dad took care of your speeding ticket when Vinnie and he saw you in line at traffic court. Certainly, anyone who is that nice, is not bad.”
Mrs. Mavis snaps, “That’s how the mob works. They do you a favor and then expects you to do a favor for them when you least expect it.”
Meanwhile at Vinnie’s Home . . .
Vinnie is eating his afterschool snack at the breakfast bar. Rupert, Vinnie’s BFF and stuffed grizzly bear, sits on the counter smiling at Vinnie’s mom. Dexter, Vinnie’s overweight, eager to please, food is my life, beagle lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s stool hoping food falls off of the counter. Vinnie’s mom is reading the local news on her iPad.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie, did you hear about the grant your school is getting to have the students do an oral family history? It’s exciting. I took an oral history class in college. I can be a big help to you on this project.”
Vinnie says, “I already know about it.”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Did Mrs. Mavis say anything about it in school today?”
“Well, how do you know about it?”
“I can’t say.”
“What do you mean, you can’t say?”
“I promised Uncle Mike I wouldn’t tell anybody. Opps, I mean I promised somebody I wouldn’t tell anybody.”
“Uncle Mike told you? How would he know?”
“You know who his girlfriend is, right, Mom?”
“Oh, dear. Dr. Cashman told him.”
“I didn’t say that, Mom. Rupert said I should do my oral family history on Dad’s side of the family because they are way more fun than your side.”
Vinnie’s mom thinks, “Here it starts again. Will it ever, ever end?”