Meanwhile, at Kennedy Elementary School . . .
“Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.”
“Vincent, I can see your hand waving, you don’t have to shout my name. You’re disturbing the other students,” admonishes Mrs. Mavis.
“Mrs. Mavis, I was only calling your name because a lot of older people are hard of hearing like my neighbor, Mrs. Crandall, she’s ninety years old.”
Mrs. Mavis makes a mental note to start searching for plastic surgeons on the Internet. She read someplace where fifty is new thirty. The thought races through her mind that the other fifty-year-old women don’t have Vincent Ricci or his family to deal with. He’s aged me ten years. My God, I must look like I’m in my sixties.
“I can hear perfectly fine, Vincent. What is your question? Only one question, that is your limit,” says Mrs. Mavis pleased with herself for outsmarting Vinnie.
Vinnie says, “I read all the rules you made for the family oral history, Mrs. Mavis.”
“Very good, Vincent. Is that all?”
“I haven’t asked my question?”
“Well, what is your question, I want to get on with class,” says Mrs. Mavis clicking her laser pointer on and off.
Vinnie holds a copy of the rules for the oral history project Mrs. Mavis gave the students. He reads from the rules, “Rule 1. You must interview two family members. Rule 2. You are to ask these three questions. Rule 3. Always end your interview by asking is there anything else you want to say. Rule 4. Make sure to say, thank you.’ These are good rules, Mrs. Mavis.”
“Thank you, Vincent. What is your question?”
“Is it okay if I follow the rules exactly like you wrote them?” asks Vinnie.
Mrs. Mavis says, “I want you to follow them exactly as I wrote them.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Mavis,” says Vinnie.
“Joseph and Lawrence and Sara, the oral history project is not a laughing matter. I don’t see what is so funny,” says Mrs. Mavis.
Mrs. Mavis quickly turns her attention toward Vinnie who’s busy writing in his oral history project notebook. Her stomach hurts. She wants to send Vinnie to the office, but she can’t think of a good reason.
Meanwhile at Vinnie’s home . . .
Vinnie’s mom speed dials Vinnie’s dad. “Al, do you have a few minutes, I need to vent,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad returned to his office five minutes ago after a bail hearing for Mario Donati, a pizza delivery boy and attitude adjuster as Mike calls him. Vinnie’s dad’s male brain is blaring sirens, wailing horns, and screams warning him to tell Vinnie’s mom he has time to listen. He says, “Okay, Marti, what’s up? Did Vinnie get suspended from school?”
“Al, it’s worse than that,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What could be worse than getting suspended? I’m sure he didn’t get arrested,” says Vinnie’s dad starting to pay more attention.
“It’s not about Vinnie. It’s all about the psychologist you recommended I see,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
“What psychologist? I don’t remember recommending any psychologist,” says Vinnie’s dad instantly knowing he’s lost this argument.
“Al, it’s Dr. Sampson. Do you know what she said to me today?”
Vinnie’s dad is trying to figure out how to answer this question. He can’t say yes because he doesn’t know what Dr. Sampson said. If he says no there’s no telling how long Marti will go on and he has a meeting in a half hour. He decides to take a middle ground, “What did he say?”
“Al. Do you ever listen to me?”
“All the time, Marti. You know I’m a good listener.”
“Dr. Sampson is a she. Why don’t you know that?”
“A slip of the tongue, Marti. What did she say?” Vinnie’s dad hopes he’ll get by with his lame answer.
“She said I was envious of Rupert because Rupert has a higher IQ than me.”
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of, Marti. Vinnie’s always telling us Rupert is the smartest person on earth.” Vinnie’s dad instantly regrets his attempt at humor.
“Al, Rupert is a stuffed grizzly bear.”
Vinnie’s dad presses his lips together with the forefinger and thumb of his right hand. He knows anything he says can and will be used against him.