I had to write a 260 page screenplay. That’s six hours. Jack said, “Well now you’ve got to cut out 40 pages.” I said, “God, I can’t.” He said, “Go ahead, I know you can do it. I’ll be behind you.” So I cut 40 pages out. He said, “OK, now you’ve got to get another 40 pages out.” But I got it down to 180 pages. And then Jack said, “Thirty more.” And I said “Impossible, impossible!” OK, I got it down to 150 pages. He said, “OK now thirty more.” Well, he kept telling me I could do it. And, by God, I went through a final time and got it down to 120 pages. It was better. ~ Ray Bradbury
Vinnie’s mom’s eyes glaze over. She sees herself walking along a deserted beach surrounded by sandpipers. The only sounds are the rhythm of the surf rolling onto the shore and seagulls circling the beach looking for food. Suddenly, she’s transported into the present moment.
“Mom, Mom, Mom,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom travels one-thousand miles in the blink of an eye, “Yes, Vinnie?”
“You’re not paying attention, Mom. Your mind is somewhere else,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom gets indignant, “It is not. I was paying attention.”
“No, Mom. Mrs. Navis says the same thing to me when I get the same look on my face. Where were you?”
“Is this part of the challenge round?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad steals a glance toward Vinnie’s Mom, “I’d like to know. Was I with you wherever you were?”
Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh, “If you both must know. I was thinking about dinner and where we should go tonight. I was thinking we’ll go for pizza at Mario’s Sport’s Bar and we can all watch the ballgame while we eat.” Vinnie’s mom immediately regrets her words. She hates sport’s bars. She tired of pizza. And she doesn’t know who’s playing and she doesn’t care who wins. And, she just blew the private date she and Vinnie’s dad agreed to earlier.”
“Wow, Mom. I hate having a baby sitter. This is so cool. This day is already getting better and I didn’t think it could get any better. Can Rupert come? I promise he’ll behave,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom is thinking about seeing a present moment coach. She can’t back out of this one. Her day is like a winter storm when forecaster says, “Hold on, the storms going to get worse before it gets better. I hope there’s plenty of food in fridge.”
Vinnie’s dad says, “Great idea. I’ll invite Mike and Michelle to join us. That’s the bar where they met.”
Vinnie’s mom thinks, ‘Can this day get worse? Yes, it has and there’s no telling how bad it is going to get.”
“Mom doesn’t like Michelle. She thinks she uses too much makeup. Isn’t that what you told Marsha? Dad. Can we invite Larry and his mom. At least I’ll have someone to talk to besides you both,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom wants to deny what Vinnie said, but can’t she knows she said it. She makes a mental note not to be candid with anyone if Vinnie’s awake and then she can’t be sure if he’s sleeping. She says, “Can we get the challenge round over with?”
Vinnie smiles. He says, “Great. Let’s do the challenge round then I’ll invite Larry and his mom.”
Vinnie’s dad raises his hands up, “Hold on, Vinnie. We didn’t agree to inviting Larry and his Mom to Mario’s tonight.”
“But, Dad. You didn’t say no,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom sensing an opportunity for payback, says, “Vinnie makes a point, Dear.”
Vinnie’s dad hearing his words repeated back to him feels as if he’s driving into a cul de sac and has no escape, “I thought you didn’t like Emily.”
Vinnie glances at his Mom. “You don’t like Larry’s mom, Mom? Why? I’m making this the first part of the challenge round, so you have to answer it.”
Vinnie’s mom prays silently, ‘Mary, Mother of God, help me. I’m dying here. I’m trapped in deep pit and they’re tossing dirt on top of me.’ Vinnie’s mom forces a smile, “Of course I like Emily, Vinnie.”
“But Dad said you don’t like Emily. Dad, why did you say Mom didn’t like Emily if she says she likes Emily?”
Vinnie’s dad doesn’t dare glance at Vinnie’s Mom. He can feel her shooting large jagged icicles at him. He says, “Can we take the original question? I was ready to answer it.”
Vinnie says, “I’ll have to talk to Rupert and Dexter about this rule change.”
‘Oh, dear God, I’m at the mercy of a stuffed animal and a beagle,’ mutters Vinnie’s Mom.
Vinnie doesn’t let up on his mom and dad. They must have the patience of saints. LOL Vinnie returns Monday.
We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. ~ Ray Bradbury
Vinnie can’t help himself, he’s an 8-year old boy with a vivid imagination. He returns on Monday.
Dandelion Wine, like most of my books and stories was a surprise. I began to learn the nature of such surprises, thank God, when I was fairly young as a writer. … No one told me to surprise myself … I learned to let my senses and past, tell me all that was somehow true. ~ Ray Bradbury
“What is the challenge round, Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“You haven’t heard of the challenge round, Mom? I thought everyone knew about it. Rupert and Dexter knew about it,” says Vinnie.
“Vincent, you said you made up the game. It’s the first time all three of us have played it,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“That’s true, Mom, but moms and dad are supposed to know what their kids are thinking if they are in tune with them,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s dad takes his eyes off his iWatch and says, “Where’d you hear this? In school?”
Vinnie smiles and says, “No, Dad, I’m not allowed to go to PTA meetings. It’s just for adults. I heard it last week when I came home from school. Mom was watching Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob said it.”
“You watch Dr. Bob?” says Vinnie’s dad raising his eyebrows.
“I do not watch Dr. Bob. I was getting ready to do my yoga. I always practice yoga when Vinnie is doing his homework. I turned the TV on and it happened to be on the channel that broadcasts the Dr. Bob show,” says Vinnie’s mom folding her arms across her chest.
“Dr. Bob’s pretty smart, Dad. He’s a doctor. You’re not a doctor. Mom’s not a doctor,” says Vinnie.
“Can we get to the challenge round, please,” says Vinnie’s Mom. She adds, “Dear, can we get a sitter for tonight? I really, really, really need to go out.”
“Mom, can I go? If we don’t finish the game, we can continue at the restaurant. I’ll be at a disadvantage since Dexter can’t come. Can I take Rupert? Please, Mom. Please.”
Vinnie’s dad, often not the most sensitive male in the world, catches the urgency in Vinnie’s mom’s voice. He says, “Mom’s talking about her and me, Vinnie. We can get a sitter or I can call Gramma and Gramps. Do you have a preference?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “Thank you, Dear.”
“I don’t need a sitter. I got Rupert and Dexter. What could go wrong?” says Vinnie.
“Oh my God. Where do you want me to start?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Let’s start the challenge round, Vinnie. We’ll figure out the sitter situation after the game,” Vinnie’s dad feels his world spinning around and threatening to crash.
“Okay, but I don’t want Heather, she smokes pot and has her boyfriend come over and all they do is kiss on the sofa,” says Vinnie happy with himself for constructing a no win situation for his parents since Heather is the only sitter who agrees to stay with him.
“I don’t believe you,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“She’s sneaky, Mom. She told me you are so easy to fool. She tells me how to fool you. It’s like she’s a brain when it comes to fooling adults.” Vinnie’s words spill out of him one after the other as if he is a sous chef at a five star restaurant making a gourmet meal.
“Okay. I’m going to call her parents right now. If I find you are not telling the truth, you are grounded for the rest of your life,” says Vinnie’s mom reaching for her iPhone.
“Can we start the challenge round, please,” begs Vinnie’s dad.
“Mom, if you call Heather’s mom, she won’t know anything because Heather told me her mom and dad don’t have a clue,” Vinnie feels his stomach starting to do a backflip. Vinnie’s mind starts working on a reverse story plan.
He blurts, “No need to call Mom. You passed my test.”
Vinnie’s mom puts her iPhone down, “What test?”
“I was making sure you loved me. I heard Dr. Bob say young kids always need to know their mom and dad love them.”
Vinnie’s mom stretches her arm across the table, “Of course we love you. You don’t have to test us. But we’re going out tonight and you are staying home. Case closed.”
“Darn. Okay, here’s the challenge round question.”
VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY ~ WILL HIS PARENTS SURVIVE HIS GAME? DON’T MISS A SINGLE EPISODE