4th Grade Classroom, Kennedy Elementary School . . .
Mrs. Mavis pulls out the top drawer to her desk. She shakes four Tums into her hand and puts the Tums into her mouth. She closes the drawer, begins chewing the Tums when her eye catches a frantically waving hand three desks back in the middle row. “Yes, Vincent?
“Mrs. Mavis, is it okay if I snack? I traded my sandwich for a Twix Bar,” asks Vinnie.
Mrs. Mavis stops chewing and feels the chalking paste of the Tums congealing on her tongue. She manages to hoarsely say, “No, Vincent?”
“Why not, Mrs. Mavis? You’re eating candy. It’s not fair if teachers can eat candy and kids can’t. Should I go to time out or to the office?” asks Vinnie anticipating Mrs. Mavis answer to his question.
Mrs. Mavis walks out of the classroom and stops at a water fountain in the hallway. She takes a long sip, swirls the water in her mouth. She turns back toward the classroom door when she hears, “Mrs. Mavis, want me to take over while you’re taking a break?”
“Vincent, return to your seat.”
“Can I have a sip of water? I’m thirsty,” asks Vinnie.
“To the office, Vincent, now.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Mavis. Can I bring back any supplies when they send me back?” asks Vinnie.
Vinnie walks past Mrs. Mavis toward the office. When he reaches the office door, he looks over his shoulder and sees an empty hallway. Coming around the corner is Pete the custodian.
Pete sees Vinnie and says, “Hi Vinnie. How’s my man?”
“I got to do time in the office, Pete. Need any help?” Vinnie says walking over to Pete and fist bumping him.
“I pretty much got this, Vinnie. What you get sent up for this time?”
Vinnie shrugs, “I’m not sure. Maybe I ask too many questions. Maybe I get on Mrs. Mavis’ nerves. Maybe I can’t sit still.”
“Maybe all the above,” laughs Pete.
“Pete,” says Vinnie. “I want to do an oral family history on my dad’s side of the family. My mom doesn’t want me to do it. I was going to start with my Uncle Mike. What do you think?”
Pete the custodian has his large broom in front of him. He folds his two hand on top of the handle and rests his chin on his hands. “From what I know, you’re Uncle Mike is very interesting.”
“And smart,” adds Vinnie.
“I give him that, Vinnie. He gets his name in the papers at least once a week.”
“Yah, but my dad gets him off on a technicality.”
“You talk to your Uncle Mike to see if he wants you to do a story on him?” asks Pete.
“Not yet, Pete. I got lots things I can interview Uncle Mike about. I can interview him about the Pizza Palace. Or, his cement business. Did you know he is a mathematician?”
“No, never heard that one,” says Pete.
“Yah. One time I heard Dad say something about Uncle Mike having the biggest numbers racket in the city.”
“You might want to leave it alone, Vinnie,” says Pete.
“Why?” asks Vinnie.
Pete rolls his eyes up looking for an answer. One comes to him. Pete says, “Numbers are boring. I’d leave it alone.”
“You’re right, Pete. Thanks,” says Vinnie.
Mrs. Nokowski opens the office door and looks into the hallway, “Vinnie, did Mrs. Mavis send you to the office?”
“Yes, Mrs. N. I was talking to Pete, first.”
“Okay, Vinnie. Go back to class. I’ll buzz Mrs. Mavis and let her know you’re coming.”
“I don’t have to do time?” asks Vinnie.
“Not this morning, Vinnie,” says Mrs. Nokowski.
“See you later, Pete. I hope Mrs. Mavis didn’t start talking about the oral family history project,” says Vinnie running down the hall toward his classroom.
“How long before he comes back, Mrs. N?” asks Pete the custodian.
Mrs. Mavis says, “I’m not a betting woman, Pete. If I was to bet, I give Vinnie an hour, tops.”