Vinnie’s sound asleep. Rupert is sitting on Vinnie’s bed smiling at him. Dexter lies next to Vinnie dreaming beagle dreams of an unending supply of food. All is quiet in Vinnie’s world. Not so in Vinnie’s parents’ world.
Vinnie’s mom stands at the bathroom door, “Al, how long can you brush your teeth? We really need to talk. Vinnie cannot interview Mike.”
A moment later the bathroom faucet turns on and off. Vinnie’s dad calls out, “I have to gargle with mouthwash and then I’ll be out.”
“Why do you have to gargle with mouthwash?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“You put too much garlic in your special meal. I keep tasting it,” answers Vinnie’s dad.
“I did not. I followed the recipe,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Where did you get the recipe?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“I got it off the garlic grower’s website. Besides, it’s good for you and your heart. Hurry so we can talk,” urges Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad begins gargling. Vinnie’s dad continues to gargle. Vinnie’s dad gargles a currently popular pop hit.
“Al, you are acting like Vinnie. Stop gargling to that song. That’s disgusting.”
The door to Vinnie’s room cracks open, “Great one, Dad. Can I do it with you?” asks Vinnie.
“Vincent, back to bed, now,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Mom, can I get a snack, Dexter and Rupert are hungry?” asks Vinnie.
“No. No. No, says Vinnie’s mom.
“Okay, good night, Mom. Dad, do another song?” says Vinnie.
“Vincent!” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Okay, Mom. Dad should go on America’s Got Talent,” says Vinnie.
The door to the bathroom cracks open, “Is it safe for me to come out?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Don’t be silly, Al. We’re going to sit down and discuss the problem like intelligent and rational parents. Dr. Sampson told me this is the sign of good parenting,” says Vinnie’s mom.
From the crack in the bathroom door, “Who was she talking to? You or Rupert?”
“Well, she was talking to Rupert, but I heard everything she said,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad steps out of the bathroom. He takes Vinnie’s mom by the hand, “Let’s sit at the breakfast bar and talk about it. I could use a snack.”
“You just brushed your teeth.”
“I’ll brush them again.”
From Vinnie’s bedroom, “Can I come?”
“Does that mean no, Mom?”
Vinnie’s dad microwaves a cold piece of pizza. “Do you want a piece, Marti?”
“No. I want to talk about Vinnie and then I want to go to bed. It’s been a long day.”
Vinnie’s dad carries his microwaved piece of pizza on a piece of paper towel. He sets it down on the breakfast bar. He looks at Vinnie’s mom, “Pizza and beer always go well together.”
“No. Eat your pizza. I think we should make Vinnie interview my dad and me. It will be safe. There will be no surprises. And, I will be able to sleep. Do you agree?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Look at it from Vinnie’s viewpoint, Marti. He truly loves Mike and my dad. It’s male bonding at an early age.”
“Why can’t he bond with my dad?” asks Marti.
“I really love your dad, Marti,” says Vinnie’s dad hoping it stops here.
“My dad’s a college professor. I think Vinnie will be a great professor. Dad can teach him how to get tenure.”
“Marti, Vinnie’s only in third grade. He has no clue about tenure.”
“Well dad says it important to think about publishing early in your career if you want to survive in academia.”
“Marti, did you talk to Rupert about this? He’s the smartest person on earth. Even you and Dr. Sampson admit this,” says Vinnie’s dad holding his slice New York style and biting into it.
“Well, what’s your big idea?” says Marti. Vinnie’s mom adds, “I think Mike is recruiting Vinnie into the mob. Before you know it, Vinnie will want to apprentice with Mike.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “I don’t think Mike does apprentices. Think of it this way. Mike is going to ask Dr. Cashman to marry him on the sixth anniversary of their first date. Mike will never say anything that will jeopardize his relationship with Dr. Cashman. Remember where we’re going tomorrow?”
“I remember. Do I have to eat all the food your mom sets on the table? I’ll gain ten pounds.”
“You love her sauce and her cannoli are to die for,” says Al.
“I suppose, but I’ll have to go to the gym every day next week and hit the sauna. You know I’ll be cooking healthy all week. No to go pizza or barbeque or Chinese.”
Vinnie’s dad suppresses the desire to say, ‘No worries, I’ll bulk up on Mom’s cooking. Instead he says, “Here’s my idea. Mike will be at dinner tomorrow and when we’re all at the dinner table, Vinnie can interview the whole family. You’ll be there, I’ll be there, it’ll be safe. When dinner is over, Vinnie’s project will be finished with his project. We’ll have peace.”
Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm, “You really think so, Al?”
Vinnie’s dad finishes off the pizza and says, “For sure. What could go wrong?”