Vinnie runs ahead of his mom. Dexter chases Vinnie, Dexter’s leash flying behind. Vinnie cuts across his front lawn to the porch steps and leaps over the three steps. The portly beagle, Dexter, takes one step at a time. Vinnie opens the door and hollers, “Rupert, Buddy, I’m home. I’m out of prison.
Vinnie’s mom is on the sidewalk in front of the house and hears Vinnie’s scream. She turns back and looks at the three moms walking behind their perfect three children. Vinnie’s mom is sure she can read lips and one mom said, “Mulberry Street has never been the same since the Ricci family moved on our street.”
Vinnie’s mom wants to holler, “You betcha.” Instead, she calmly walks up the sidewalk to the steps. Climbs the steps onto the porch and walks through the open door. She calls out, “Vinnie, I’m going to make your after school snack. While you’re eating it, you can tell me all about your day.”
From Vinnie’s bedroom, “Don’t have time for a snack today. I’m telling Rupert about my day. Rupert can tell you when I go to Joey’s house.”
“You are not going to Joey’s house,” answers Vinnie’s mom.
“Why not, Mom? It’s Friday. You always let me go to Joey’s on Fridays.”
Vinnie’s mom knows Vinnie’s is right. She struggles for an answer. She says, “I’m making your favorite meal tonight. I don’t want you to spoil your appetite.”
“Mom, I don’t smell pizza sauce. Are you sending out for Uncle Mike’s pizza? Can he deliver it so I can start asking him questions?”
Vinnie’s mom stalls for time. “What snack did you give Dexter? I hope it wasn’t fattening.”
“Mom, Dexter’s not fat. He’s solid. The food I give him all goes into muscle.”
“Where did you hear that, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom wondering why she’s having this conversation with Vinnie still in his bedroom and she’s in the kitchen.
“Joey’s mom told me. Dexter loves going to Joey’s. His mom always gives him a plate of leftover meatballs. How come we don’t have leftover meatballs?”
“You know how I feel about meat. You’ll love tonight’s dinner and don’t ask, there is no tofu in it.”
“Does it have vegetables?”
“Yes. They’re good for you.”
“Does it have weird thing in it that sounds like goose goose?”
“Do you mean, couscous?”
“Yes, that’s what I mean, Mom. Even Dexter won’t eat it.”
“The way I’m making it, Dexter will want seconds.”
“Can he have mine?”
“Sorry, Mom. Promise me you’ll eat dinner here if I let you go to Joey’s. You cannot cross anything. I want a true answer.”
Vinnie’s mom feels a surge of pride, she finally cornered Vinnie. He’ll have to eat her healthy cooking if he chooses to go to Joey’s.
“Can I use your phone to text Joey and ask him to come over here?”
Vinnie’s mom turns to prayer, “Mary, does it ever get easier?”