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’s Doesn’t Tell His Mom Everything

2

Vinnie walks into the kitchen. Dexter trails close to his heels. Vinnie picks up Dexter’s food dish and carries it to the pantry. Dexter runs in front of him and barks at the pantry door. Dexter believes the space behind the door holds an infinite supply of food. Dexter has a reoccurring dream of being locked in the pantry with its endless supply of food. 

Vinnie rubs Dexter’s ears. He says in a cheerful voice, “You’re such a dumb dog, Dexter.” Dexter wags his tail. Vinnie laughs.

Dexter’s tail looks like a metronome beating out 16th notes. He barks again and steps back away from the door.

Vinnie steps into the pantry, knocks over the large bag of dog food, kicks the loose dog food out of the way and out of sight. He fills Dexter’s bowl leaving a mountain peak on top. He closes the door to the pantry and whispers to Dexter,  “Don’t tell Mom. I’m doubling your helping. I’m hoping Santa will see how generous I am with you.”

Dexter barks whether in agreement or in anticipation of eating, only Dexter knows. Vinnie carries the overfilled bowl to a corner in the kitchen. He sets the bowl down, spilling a quarter of its contents. No problem, Dexter is on it and any evidence of a spill is gone within ten seconds. 

Vinnie fills Dexter’s water bowl with fresh water and sets it down next to the nearly empty food bowl. He calls out to his Mom, “My chores are all done, Mom. I fed Dexter and changed his water. Want to hear what happened to me at school today?”

Vinnie’s Mom rises out of the sleeping baby poise on the yoga mat in the living room. She says, “I only have the downward dog to do and I’ll be right there. Don’t leave. I want to hear all about it.” 

“Okay, Mom. I’m going to make out a list of the things I want Santa to bring me. It will take me a while. You can watch your program,” Vinnie says, getting a notepad and pen off the cabinet.

His mom says, “I think Santa already knows what you want. He’s pretty smart, you know.”

Vinnie, busy writing, says, “I think the blood is rushing to your head in the downward dog poise, Mom. Santa’s smart, but he can’t read my mind.”

The soft spoken women on the YouTube yoga video, stops speaking and Vinnie knows his mom turned the TV off. His mom walks into the kitchen. She sits down at the table next to Vinnie and says, “Let me see what you put on your list?”

Vinnie quickly turns the notebook over, “This is between Santa and me, Mom. If Santa brings these things to me, you have to let me have them.”

Vinnie’s mom stares at him for a long moment, “If you’re asking Santa for a large drone so you can spy on Mrs. Navis at her home, forget it.”

“Awe gee, Mom. Why can’t I have a big drone? All the kids are getting a big drone this year. It’s the in present. You don’t want me left out, do you? Anyway, how did you know I wanted a big drone? Wait a minute, did Rupert tell you?”

Vinnie’s mom wonders whether she should tell him she overheard him talking to Joey about it last Sunday. She says, “I’m not saying where I heard it. I asked Rupert and he said he promised you he’d keep it a secret. He didn’t tell me.”

“Phew,” says Vinnie wiping a hand across his brow. “I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t trust Rupert with my secrets. 

“Instead of a drone, can I have a body cam to wear to school so you can see how mean Mrs. Navis is to me?”

“Is that on your list to Santa?” asks his Mom.

“No, but I’m trying to think out of the box like you and dad always tell each other,” says Vinnie. 

“Let’s forget about Christmas presents and your list to give Santa. Tell me the exciting news about school. Then I’ll tell you the exciting news I have for you,” says Vinnie’s mother.

Vinnie looks at the apple slices covered with peanut butter that sit on a plate in front of him. He glances up at his mother, “Mom, why can’t I have chips, or cookies, or brownies like all the other kids when they come home?”

“Because this is a healthy snack. I don’t care what other children eat. I only care what you eat,” says his mom.

“Okay. Thanks for watching out for me, Mom,” Vinnie feels pleased with himself for sucking up to his Mom. Rupert told him it was the perfect strategy before Christmas.

“Thank you, Vinnie. Now about school,” she asks.

Vinnie finishes off an apple and peanut butter slice, then he says, “Mrs. Navis told me she was very proud of me today. She never told me that before.”

“That’s really nice, Vinnie. Did she tell you why she was proud of you?” asks his Mom.

“Probably because I’m really trying hard,” says Vinnie. Vinnie realizes if he told his mom the real reason was because he didn’t get put in time out for the first time in two weeks his Mom may get upset since she knew nothing about his being put in time out for ten straight days.

“She must have had a reason,” says his Mom.

Vinnie, eager to change the subject, says, “What’s your big news, Mom?”

Vinnie’s Mom smiles at him and says, “You’re going to love this. Remember last year when you were in the living nativity scene at church? Well, you get to be in it again this year.”

“I don’t want to be in it, Mom. I was a dumb sheep last year. Do you know how stupid I felt in the sheep’s costume? Very stupid. Sorry, Mom. I’m busy,” says Vinnie picking up another piece of apple. 

“You’re in it, Vincent. No more arguments about it,” says his mom.

“I protest. I am not going to be a sheep. I’ll be Joseph,” says Vinnie.

“You’ll be whatever Sister Janet says you will be,” says his Mom.

“If you make me do it. I’m going to tell Santa on you and Dad and you’ll see. Santa won’t bring you any presents,” says Vinnie.

“Vincent!” says his Mom.

Vinnie’s Home for the Christmas Holidays

1

Vinnie’s Home For the Christmas Holidays

Vinnie steps off the school bus, he slings his backpack over his shoulders and takes off down the street toward home as if a pit bulldog is nipping at his heels. Vinnie’s mom stands on the front porch watching him. She starts waving when she sees Vinnie step off the school bus at the corner of Mulberry Street. Dexter, the family dog, strains at the leash she holds in her hand, his nose pointing toward Vinnie. Dexter has two likely thoughts, one his friend Vinnie is home. And, more importantly maybe Vinnie didn’t eat all his lunch and he’ll give him what’s left. All Dexter cares about is food, it doesn’t matter if it’s cooked, raw, vegetable, dairy, meat, or road kill. Dexter starts howling when he detects food in Vinnie’s backpack. He hits high notes Pavarotti only wishes he could have hit in his prime.  

Vinnie waves his arm at his mom and starts calling out to her two from two houses down, “Mom, Mom”.

His Mom smiles, she knows why Vinnie is excited. It’s Friday, December 18th. Schools are on holiday break for Christmas and New Years. 

Vinnie runs up onto the porch. Dexter, Vinnie’s portly beagle, rises to his hind legs and stands against Vinnie’s leg. Vinnie bends over and hugs him, “I’m home buddy. No school for two weeks. I think you want what’s left of lunch.” 

Dexter doesn’t have a clue what Vinnie said. Dexter’s world is simple, uncomplicated. All Dexter wants is a little love and little food. Vinnie unslings his backpack, opens it and reaches inside and pulls out a bean and cheese taco. He holds it up and says, “Sit, Dexter.”

Dexter sits, his tongue hangs out nearly to his paws, his eyes, laser fixed on the half eaten taco. Vinnie says, “Shake.”

Dexter sticks out his paw. Vinnie grasps it and says, “Good boy, here’s your taco.”

Vinnie lets go of Dexter’s paw, hands Dexter the Taco who drops it and consumes in three point two seconds. Vinnie laughs and gives his mom a hug. 

Vinnie says, “Hi, Mom. Dexter is such a good dog, I wanted to surprise him. Think Santa will see how good I am to share with Dexter?”

His Mom steps back, “I’m sure Santa saw your good deed. That was so nice of you, Vinnie. Did you get enough to eat at school?” 

“Oh, yah, Mom. It was Joey’s birthday and his mom brought in cupcakes and bought pizza for the whole class.”

“That was fun,” said Vinnie’s mom.

“I’ve got great news, Mom. Wait until you hear what happened to me at school,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s Mom says, “Great news? Better news than being on vacation?”

“For sure, Mom. But you’ll have to wait to hear it. I’m going to do my chores, you won’t have to remind me. Then I’m going to clean my room.”

“This doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas coming up, does it Vinnie?” says his mom.

Vinnie gave his mom a surprised look. “Mom, Christmas is still a week away. I’m always good, right, Mom? Santa doesn’t remember the bad stuff does he?”

Vinnie’s mom shrugged, “We’ll have to wait to see.”

When do I get to see Santa. I need to talk to him. I’m not sure he knows what I want for Christmas. I want to make sure he doesn’t forget. The only one I’ve told is Rupert and Rupert knows how to keep secrets,” Vinnie says.

“Get your chores done. Then, come and have your snack and tell me all about the good news that happened at school. I can’t wait to hear about it.”

As Vinnie walks into his room, his mom calls out, “After you tell me your good news, I’ve got some good news for you.”

Vinnie glances back over his shoulder toward his mom, but she already is walking toward the kitchen. Vinnie drops his backpack on the floor and dives head first onto his bed. He grabs hold of Rupert his stuffed grizzly bear and squeezes him. “Hi Rupert, I escaped from school. I’m out for two weeks. I pulled off a good one at school today. When Joey’s mom brought the pizza in from Tosca’s Pizza, in one of the boxes there was a packet of the red hot pepper. I opened it and sprinkled it on Freddy’s piece of pizza. You should have heard him hollering. He was saying his mouth was on fire. Mrs. Navis said she was going to call Tosca’s Pizza and complain.”

Vinnie tosses Rupert up in the air and catches him. He sets him on his chest and looks into Rupert’s glass eyes. He says, “Rupert, you got to help me come up with a good story for Santa about how good I am. I hope he doesn’t check with Mrs. Navis or Dr. Crossman. I’m not sure they like me.”

Vinnie’s mom interrupts his conversation with Rupert, “Vinnie, how are the chores coming?”

“I’m cleaning my room, Mom,” Vinnie climbs off the bed, places Rupert on the center of his pillow and carries his backpack over to his desk. He sticks the backpack under the desk, glances at it and says, “I don’t want to see you for two weeks.”

Vinnie hollers, “I’m done cleaning my room, Mom.”

Vinnie’s World Returns on Monday

Loveable 8 year old Vinnie Tells Sister Janet Girls Can’t Play Joseph in the live nativity scene.

Vinnie Returns on Monday, November 26th.

Vinnie’s World Returns Monday

Loveable 8 year old Vinnie Adds Another Name to His Naughty List for Santa

Vinnie Returns on Monday, November 26th.

Vinnie’s World Returns Monday, the 26th

Loveable 8 year old Vinnie wants to know if Santa remembers the bad stuff.

Vinnie Returns a week from today, Monday, November 26th.