Dexter starts howling at the front door. His howl is similar to a boy transitioning through puberty hitting every note on the C scale with all half-steps included. Vinnie’s mom is in the sleeping baby poise on her yoga mat. She tilts her head toward the front door. “Dexter, what’s wrong.”
A half second later, Vinnie’s mom internal alarm system starts pulsing. She reaches for her iPhone. She checks the time. “Oh no. I’m not on the sidewalk waiting for Vinnie. I never miss him.”
Dexter’s howling increases five levels sounding like a squad of emergency vehicles. Dexter is up on his hind legs scratching at the front door. The front door slams open, Dexter deftly stepped back and sits on his haunches waiting for his treat. Vinnie kneels down, “Dexter, buddy, here I am. Did you miss me? I missed you. You weren’t waiting for me on the Johnson lawn.”
Dexter has no clue what Vinnie is saying. He’s cradled in Vinnie’s arms, hoping beagle affection will win Vinnie’s heart and bring a food reward. Vinnie lets go of Dexter, slings off his backpack, and opens it. He sticks his arm in his backpack and turns his head a bit, “Oh, hi, Mom.”
“Vinnie, I’m sorry I didn’t meet you today,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Why, Mom? Joey and me played keep away from Larry. We kept tossing his backpack all the way down the street.”
“Vinnie, that sounds so mean. Poor Larry,” says Vinnie’s mom remembering she didn’t make Vinnie an afterschool snack.
“Ah, Mom. Guys do it all the time. The worst is when somebody grabs your hat and runs with it and scales it like a frisbee. That’s why I don’t wear a hat.”
“I hope you don’t do that,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What do you want me to say, Mom?” Do you want me to say I don’t do it? Or, do you want me to tell you truth?”
Vinnie’s mom silently prays, “Mary, I asked you every day for a girl. Whose idea was it to give me a boy?”
“Mom, are you praying to Mary again?” asks Vinnie as he pulls a sandwich out of his backpack. He takes it out of a sandwich baggie, and breaks the sandwich into four pieces. Dexter is on his haunches. His tongue hanging four inches out of his mouth. His tail moving to a beagle hip hop melody.
Vinnie says, “Dexter, roll over.”
Dexter sticks out his right paw.
“Good try, Dexter,” Vinnie gives Dexter a piece of the sandwich.
“Vinnie, why are you rewarding Dexter when he didn’t do what you said?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“He did, Mom. Rupert and me trained Dexter to do everything wrong, but its right because we trained him the wrong way to be right.”
“Watch, Mom. Dexter, stand,” commands Vinnie.
Dexter obediently lies down.
“Good boy,” says Vinnie handing Dexter another piece of sandwich.
Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes, “Vinnie, put your backpack up, wash your hands and wipe them on a towel, not your shirt or pants. Then come and have your afterschool snack and tell me all about your day.”
Vinnie says, “You sure you want to hear all about it? Don’t answer, Mom. I got to see Rupert. We’ve got stuff to talk about.”
Vinnie takes off running toward his bedroom. His backpack slung over one shoulder, two pieces of a bologna sandwich in his other hand. Dexter running behind him barking as if he’s caught the scent of a rabbit.
Vinnie’s mom prays, “Dear, Lord. I know you’re testing my patience again. Why?”