Vinnie Gets A Special Message From His Mom

11

“When are we leaving, Mom? Mom? Mom? Are you still mad at Rupert for breaking the angel? He didn’t mean it,” says Vinnie watching his mom make the bed.

Vinnie’s mom straightens up, turns around, and sits on the edge of the bed. She looks at Vinnie holding Rupert standing in the doorway to the bedroom. Dexter is sitting on floor behind Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie come here.”

Vinnie doesn’t move, “Are you mad at Rupert, Mom?”

“No, I’m not mad. I only want to hug you,” says Vinnie’s mom holding her arms outstretched.

Vinnie runs over and crashes into his mom almost knocking her back on the bed. Vinnie’s mom wraps her arms around Vinnie, then tussles his short dark hair with her hand. She moves Vinnie to arm’s length away keeping on hand on both his shoulders. She says, “You know how much the angel meant to me?”

“Yes, Mom. It was your favorite Christmas ornament.”

“I want you to tell me the truth, did Rupert break the angel?”

“Mom? Are you talking to Rupert or to me?” asks Vinnie.

“You, Vinnie. I’m talking to you.”

“Awe, Mom. Rupert told me he’d take the blame for me so you wouldn’t be mad at me. It was an accident, honest. When the sausages started exploding I was opening the macaroni and cheese box I was making you for breakfast and I jumped and threw the box and the box hit the angel and the angel started to tumble and I tried to catch it and I just missed it as it rolled off the table. That’s how it happened, Mom. Honest.”

Vinnie’s mom smiles, “Was that so bad to tell me the truth?”

“Are you mad at me, Mom?”

“No. It was an accident.”

“Why did I get sent to my room?”

“I needed time to get over my disappointment.”

“Are you over it, Mom?”

“The angel is only a thing. You’re more precious than a thousand Christmas angels.”

“I think Santa is going to be really good to you this year, Mom. I love you,” says Vinnie breaking loose from his mom’s grip and giving her a hug.

“When are we leaving for the mall, Mom. There’s going to be a big line for Santa.”

“I promise you’ll see Santa today. We may have to stand in line for a while, but we won’t leave until you see him.”

“Can Rupert come with me? Rupert loves Santa. Maybe Santa will bring Rupert a present this year. Santa forgot to bring him a present last year. I don’t want Santa to forget Dexter, either.”

Dexter hears his name and saunters into the bedroom expecting a treat for answering to his name. When he realizes there is no treat, he saunters back out and heads toward the kitchen, the source of happiness for him.

Vinnie Returns Tomorrow

8 Year Old Vinnie Tries to Snare Santa in His Plan ~ Come by tomorrow to see if Vinnie’s successful.

Vinnie Claims it Was Rupert’s Fault

10

Vinnie opens the freezer door. He sees a frozen pizza, frozen cauliflower, a Tupperware bowl of leftover macaroni and cheese, a box of tofu sausages, a box of turkey burgers, a large package of ten real Italian meatballs, and two boxes of real meat sausages. He squeezes Rupert and says, “Change of plans, Rupert. I’m going to have a microwave pizza. Dexter will have the two boxes of sausages Dad loves. I’ll microwave the mac and cheese for mom and the meatballs for dad. They’ll love it.” 

Vinnie took everything out and put it on the table. Dexter sat on his haunches next to Vinnie acting as if her were an apprentice chef. Rupert sat on the table, his back braced against a Christmas angel centerpiece. The centerpiece was special to his mom ever since she was a little girl. Her grandmother gave it to her the first Christmas she and Vinnie’s dad were married.

Vinnie’s mom calls out from the bedroom, “Vinnie, is everything okay?”

“I got this, Mom. It’s going to be the best breakfast ever.”

“You know Dad and I like coffee. Used the Keurig coffee maker. Fill it with water. Give dad the French roast and I’ll have the Christmas roast,” says his mom.

“Not to worry, Mom. Dexter’s on it,” says Vinnie.

Dexter barks.

“Don’t let Dexter near the food. You know he’s only supposed to eat dog food. The vet said Dexter was seven pounds overweight. I don’t understand since the only snacks he gets is if you have a little something left over from school.”

Vinnie hears his dad’s voice, “Vinnie will be okay. This is good for him. Let’s get another forty minutes sleep.”

Vinnie walks over to his Mom’s iPad. He opens it using her passcode. He looks for the music app. He finds her Christmas playlist. He taps shuffle and turns the volume up high. Bruce Springsteen belts out Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.

Vinnie hollers loud enough for the neighbors to hear, “Mom and Dad you hear what Bruce Springsteen said? He said ‘You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Can we go to see Santa right after breakfast? I want to be first in line because I have long list.”

“Vincent, it’s five fifteen. Santa is still sleeping. The store doesn’t open until 10. We’re not going until this afternoon,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie hollers back, “Can we talk about this?”

Vinnie’s dad hollers, “No.”

Vinnie speaks to Rupert and Dexter loud enough for his parents to hear him, “Adults get away with lots of stuff kids can’t do. I wish Mom and Dad were a lot more like you Rupert. You too, Dexter.”

From the bedroom, “Dear, please take the pillow off your head. You might suffocate.”

Vinnie empties two boxes of frozen sausages in the microwave. He glanced over his shoulder at Rupert, “How many minutes do you think I should do the sausages, Rupert?”

Rupert answers with Vinnie’s falsetto voice, “10 minutes. Dexter likes them well done.”

From the bedroom, Vinnie hears his mom’s voice, “Vinnie, who are you talking to?”

“Rupert, Mom. He’s learning how to cook by watching me,” says Vinnie. 

Vinnie’s mom shakes Vinnie’s dad’s shoulder, “Dear, we really need to get up. I’m worried.”

“What could go wrong? He’ll make cereal or toast. Please let me fall back to sleep,” groans Vinnie’s dad.

Five minutes later, a series of small explosions come from the kitchen. Vinnie’s mom grabs her rob and rushes out to the kitchen. His dad is not far behind. 

“Vincent, Vincent, are you. okay? What happened? What were those explosions?” asked his mom.

Vinnie peaked out from under the table. He was holding Rupert. “Watch out where you step, Mom. Rupert accidentally knocked over your favorite Christmas angel when the sausages I was microwaving for Dexter, I mean dad, exploded. I wanted to microwave them for 30 seconds but Rupert insisted ten minutes was better. Did you know sausages explode? Did I make a scientific discovery? Why are you looking at me that way? Mom, please don’t make me go back to my room. Santa is watching you.”

VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY – WHAT WILL HE SAY TO SANTA?

Vinnie Discovers the Truth About Santa

9

5 o’clock Tuesday morning, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, except for Vinnie, Dexter, and Rupert. Vinnie tosses off the covers, they land on Dexter who is sleeping on Vinnie’s bed. Dexter looks like a mole trying to find a way of out of an underground maze. Vinnie jumps off the bed, snatches Rupert, and pulls up his jammy bottoms. He glances back at his bed and suppresses a laugh when he sees Dexter worming his way through the covers. He frees Dexter. Dexter jumps off the bed anticipating an early breakfast before the real breakfast.

Vinnie holds Rupert out in front of him. He says, “Rupert, today’s the day I am going to see Santa. I want to make sure we’re not late.” 

Vinnie turns back toward Dexter, “Too bad you can’t come with us, Dexter. I’ll put in a good word for you. Santa loves all animals.”

Dexter smiles, wags his tail, and translates Vinnie’s words to say, “Dexter, I’m going to give you all the left over pizza.” Some things are lost in translation.

Vinnie opens his bedroom door and walks into the hallway connecting the guest bedroom, the guest bathroom, his bedroom, and his mom and dad’s bedroom. He opens the guest bedroom and walks in the room. Dexter follows. Vinnie closes the door and flicks on the light. He turns his head toward Rupert, “Linda said parents hide the presents in the guest bedroom. Dexter, you check under the bed. Me and Rupert will check the closet.”

Two minutes later Vinnie emerges from the closet. Dexter is lying on the floor waiting for something to happen. Vinnie says, “Linda’s in big trouble when I tell Santa she doesn’t believe in him. I’m going to tell him to give her worms or beetles. There are no presents in the guest bedroom, Rupert. There really is a Santa. This proves it. Let’s go wake up Mom and Dad. I don’t want them to oversleep today. It’s only a few more days until Christmas. I’ve got to see Santa or Christmas will be ruined.”

Dexter becomes disoriented when Vinnie opens his parents bedroom door instead of heading to the kitchen. He barks to signal Vinnie he’s taken the wrong turn. Vinnie flicks the switch to the overhead light and hollers, “Wake up Mom. Time to get up, Dad.”

Vinnie’s mom sits up, a startled look on her face, “What’s wrong, Vinnie? Did you have a nightmare?”

Vinnie’s dad reaches over to the end table and grabs hold of his iPhone and checks the time, “It’s five oh four. What are you doing out of bed?”

“We’ve got to get up and get ready to see Santa. You know how long it takes you to get ready to go shopping, Mom. As for Dad, he’ll start working on his laptop and we’ll have to pull it away from him. Come on, Dad. Do you want Dexter to lick your face?”

“Make him go back to bed,” Vinnie’s dad begs.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to get up. Rupert and me will make breakfast. I’ll call you when it’s ready. That way you can get a little more sleep.”

Dexter’s thinking, did Vinnie mention breakfast? Dexter barks twice.

Before Vinnie’s mom can speak, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter are out of the bedroom and on their way to the kitchen. 

Vinnie holds Rupert in front of him. He says, “What are we going to make for breakfast, Rupert?”

Vinnie uses his special fake voice for Rupert. Rupert answers in a high pitch squeaky voice, “Let’s make pop tarts and cover them with peanut butter. We can stick Fruit Loops on the peanut butter.”

“Great idea, Rupert. When you grow up, you might be a famous chef.”

Dexter barks. Vinnie glances at Dexter. He says, “I forgot all about you, Dexter. I’ll give you a special breakfast and microwave the sausages Dad loves to eat when he doesn’t work. He won’t mind because he’s too excited about going to see Santa.”

In the bedroom, Vinnie’s mom says, “Dear, do you think it’s safe to let Vinnie alone in kitchen?”

Vinnie’s dad pulls the pillow off of his head and says, “What could go wrong?”

Vinnie Thinks His Dad Is Afraid of Sister Janet

8

“How did everything go at rehearsal, Vinnie?” asks his dad. “Well? You seem pretty quiet. What happened? You don’t look happy? Why the frown. Don’t tell me you are going to be the sheep again?” 

“Dad, I didn’t think it could get worse and it got worse,” says Vinnie shrugging his shoulders.

“What could be worse than being a sheep?” asks his dad.

“Dad?”

“What, Vinnie?”

“Can I say a word you might not want me to say? I don’t want to get in trouble with Santa and you, Dad.”

Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie, “Is it a curse word, Vinnie?”

“I don’t think so, but I think Mom might not like it if I went around saying it,” says Vinnie.

“You can tell me,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Promise not to tell Mom?” asks Vinnie.

“Promise,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I’m going to be a jackass,” says Vinnie and he starts laughing.

“A jackass? What do you mean, Vinnie?” asks his dad.

“Oh, Dad. I’m going to be the donkey. I have to lie on straw at the foot of the manger. How dumb is that?”

“That’s pretty dumb, Vinnie. I have to agree with you.”

“Will you tell Mom I don’t have to be in living nativity?” asks Vinnie

Vinnie’s dad pretends he’s concentrating on driving but he’s thinking about what he wants to say to Vinnie.

Vinnie interrupts his dad’s thoughts, “Dad you don’t have ask, Mom.”

“Thanks, Vinnie. Mom’s heart is set on you being in the Nativity. It’s only one night. I know it’s a lousy role, but suck it up. Santa will really appreciate it. I’ll email him and tell him you got stuck with a lousy role but you’re going to do it anyway.”

“Thanks, Dad. Dad?”

“What is it, Vinnie?”

“Will you also email Santa and tell him not to leave Sister Janet any presents. Put Mary Avery’s name on the list.”

“Why?”

“Because Sister Janet is mean. She’s meaner than the Murphy’s German Shepherd. And, Mary Avery stuck her tongue out at me. Besides, Sister Janet let Mary be Mary. If it were my choice, Mary would make a very good snake.”

“I don’t think there are snakes in a living nativity scene, Vinnie,” says his dad. 

“What about a cockroach?” suggests Vinnie.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cockroach in nativity scene,” says Vinnie’s dad wondering how long this will go on.

“I think I’ve seen a nightcrawler, Dad. I really think there was one at my feet when I was playing the sheep last year.”

“I remember that, Vinnie. Do you remember how that got you in trouble?” asks his Dad.

“Okay, so I dropped a gummy worm in front of Joanne.  She screamed. It was very funny.”

“Mary is not supposed to scream in the living nativity scene, Vinnie.”

“Oh.”

“Will you tell Sister Janet to change the roles? I want to play a wiseman because I am very smart.”

“No, I’m not going to tell Sister Janet anything,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Are you afraid of Sister Janet, Dad? I didn’t think you were afraid of anyone.”

“There’s Mom waiting for us?” says Vinnie’s dad trying to change the subject.

“Well, Dad?’

“Yes,” says his dad.

“Yes, what, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

“Yes, I’m afraid of Sister Janet.”

Vinnie’s dad pulls up to curb. His mom opens the passenger side door and slides in. She turns toward the backseat, “How did practice go today, Vinnie?”

Vinnie smiles, “It was great, Mom. I don’t have to be the sheep. I get to be the donkey and lie at the foot of the manager. I can’t wait for Wednesday night.”

“I am so proud of you, Vinnie,” says his Mom.

Vinnie’s dad looks in the rearview mirror and makes eye contact with Vinnie. He says, “Vinnie was so excited after practice. He told me he’s going to be the best donkey ever. Right, Vinnie?”

“I’m on it, Dad. I’m thinking how I can make my role come alive.”

Vinnie’s dad feels his stomach take a small backflip. 

Vinnie Causes Sister Janet to Pray for Help

6

Sister Janet, all five feet one inch, stands straight and thin as a flag pole. One hand on each hip, she stares at Vinnie as the Church bell chimes two o’clock. “Vincent, you got here not one minute too soon. Try to be a bit earlier for the dress rehearsal on Monday afternoon.”

“It wasn’t my fault we were late. It was Dad’s fault. I begged Dad to leave early, but he had important work to do on his computer. Don’t be made at him, he had to make trades for his fantasy football team. He’s leading his league. If he wins, he’ll get the one hundred dollar jackpot.”

“Your father thinks fantasy football is more important than rehearsal for the living nativity scene?” asks Sister Janet. The tone of her voice made Vinnie happy Mrs. Navis was his teacher even though she was really mean.

“Fantasy football only comes once a year, Sister. Most of the time he’s really nice. I plan to put in a good word with Santa for him. Mom and me have to be patient with him. Are you sure we have rehearsal tomorrow afternoon? It’s Sunday and Sundays are family days, right? When is the living nativity scene this year? I hope it’s not at night. I don’t want to get frostbite? What if it snows? We’ll have to cancel, right?”

Sister Janet didn’t know which question to answer. She stares down at Vinnie and says, “I think you’re a handful for your mother and father.”

“Oh no, Sister. I’m a lot bigger than a hand. Want me tell you how much I weigh without my clothes on?” asks Vinnie.

“Never mind, Vincent. Let’s go into the gym, everyone is here but you,” says Sister Janet.

“Excuse me, Sister, but I’m here. You can see me,” says Vinnie.

Sister Janet rolls her eyes, turns and walks toward the gym. Vinnie follows a few feet behind just like Dexter follows him. 

 Sister Janet and Vinnie walk into the gym. Vinnie stops and calls to Sister Janet, “Sister, where are all the big people? Who’s going to play Joseph and Mary? Who’s going to play the wisemen?”

Sister Janet didn’t answer Vinnie, instead she points to ten other children sitting on the bottom row of the bleachers near center court. “Go and join the other children, Vincent. I’ll be over in a minute to explain everything.” 

“It looks like there’s too many kids, Sister. It’s okay to drop me. You won’t hurt my feelings,” says Vinnie.

Sister Janet, paused, turned toward Vinnie and says, “Vincent, I don’t make mistakes. I want you to go over sit next to Sara Johnson.”

“Ah, Sister, can I sit next to Joey? He’s almost my best friend. My best friend is Rupert, but you didn’t pick him. He really wanted to have a part. Can I tell him he can take my place?”

“Vincent, you are incorrigible. March over and sit next to Sara. See how nice she is behaving?” orders Sister Janet.

Vinnie shrugs his shoulders. He sticks his hands in his pants pockets, and walks toward Sara Johnson. Vinnie mumbles, “You girls always stick together. It’s not fair.”

“Did you say something, Vincent?” calls Sister Janet.

Vinnie stops and turns and says, “Yes, Sister. I was saying how smart you are the way you organize everything.”

“Thank you Vincent, now run along,” says Sister Janet. She speaks to the ten children. “Children, I will only be a minute, I am going to get the scripts for each of you. Most of you only have a couple of lines. Mary and Joseph will have the most lines. What is it Tommy?”

Tommy Tupiski is waving his hand, he stops when Sister Janet calls on him, “Sister, I want to be one of the wise men. You know the one carrying gold. Is it real gold? I never held real gold.”

Larry Donald blurts out, “That’s not fair, Tommy. I want to be the wise man who carries the gold. Last year I was the donkey. My mom said I did so well as the donkey, I deserve a better role.”

Sister Janet blesses herself and mutters, “Dear Jesus, surely this is my living hell. Please help me. When she finishes her little prayer, she says, “Children, there is to be no squabbling about roles. We’ll draw them out of a box. That way it will be fair to everyone.”

Vinnie calls out, “Sister, can I hold the box to make sure no one cheats?”

“Oh dear God. Help me to get through the hour.”