Vinnie Knows What Is True


Vinnie sits Rupert on his lap. Rupert’s fuzzy, dark brown face rests on the table top. His black, shiny glass eyes stare across the table at Vinnie’s mom and dad. Vinnie’s mom wants to look at Vinnie, but Rupert’s eyes and smile force her to place her tongue between her teeth so she won’t laugh.

Vinnie says, “Rupert wants to asks the question. He said he’s made it simple for adults, it will be a true and false question. Are you ready?”

Vinnie’s Mom and Dad stare at Rupert waiting for the stuffed grizzly bear to speak. Vinnie lifts Rupert up so Rupert is in front of his face. Vinnie speaks in his high pitched nasal falsetto voice, “This is a two-part question. The first part is what is true?”

Vinnie turns Rupert around so that they are facing each other. Vinnie says, “Good job, Rupert. I’ll take it from here,” Vinnie sets Rupert on the table against his lunch box.

Vinnie’s mom blurts, “That’s not a true or false question.”

Vinnie points a forefinger at his chest, “Mom, you talking to me?”

“Well, Vincent, I’m not talking to Dad,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“Mom, I didn’t ask the question. It was Rupert. You should ask him. Hold on. I’ll get him.” Vinnie takes Rupert and lifts him in front of his face. Rupert eyes stare blankly at Vinnie’s mom. 

Vinnie’s mom begins, “Rupert …”

She interrupted by Vinnie’s dad getting up from the table and running to the front door. He opens it, goes outside in below freezing weather. The next sound Vinnie and his Mom hear is a loud burst of laughter coming from somewhere on Mulberry Street. Several minutes later, Vinnie’s dad returns and sits down. He looks at Vinnie’s mom and says, “Continue with your conversation with Rupert, Dear.” Vinnie’s dad’s eyes start to water, his face turns as red as a deep red Crayola crayon. He looks away and presses his fingers and thumbs against his lips.

“You’re no help, Dear,” says Vinnie’s mom to Vinnie’s dad. She turns her attention back to Rupert, “Rupert, I thought this was . . . excuse me for a moment.”

Vinnie’s mom follows the exact route Vinnie’s dad took a few moments earlier. Vinnie’s dad turns his back toward Rupert who is now looking at him. The uproarious sound of female laughter coming from somewhere on Mulberry Street filter into the house. Moments later, Vinnie’s mom returns, shivering. She says, “I’m going to make some tea. Does anyone else want anything?”

Dexter hears the invitation and barks. Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll have some.” 

Vinnie says, “Rupert and I will have hot chocolate. Dexter wants a strip of the turkey bacon you cook for dad.”

Ten minutes later, Vinnie’s dad and mom sip on hot tea. Vinnie sips on hot chocolate. Dexter already scoffed a microwaved slice of turkey bacon. And, Rupert stares at a small cup of hot chocolate placed in front of him. 

Vinnie says, “Rupert is busy with his hot chocolate. I’ll take over for him. Challenge round question, What is true? I already know the answer so don’t try to trick me.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll take this one. Something is true when it isn’t false.” 

“Poor answer, Dad. You and Mom get minus six points and Rupert and Dexter get seven points. Like I learned in school, one time people thought the world was flat. Did that make it true?”

“Well, no.”

“But, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s Mom, “If it was on a true and false test back then, it would be correct.”

“See Mom. Just because you say something is true, doesn’t make it true.”

“Boys got a point, Dear.”

“I guess we lost, Rupert and Dexter won. It was a nice game. Thank you, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom pushing back from the table.

“The game’s not over, Mom. You and Dad earned a chance to go to the next round card,” said Vinnie while he printed ‘Go To The Next Round’ on a paper napkin. 


Vinnie Asks, “What Could Go Wrong?”


“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 Changes the Rules of the Game


Vinnie’s mom checks the time on her iPhone. They’d been playing for fifteen minutes. It seems like fifteen years, she wonders if it will ever end. Vinnie’s dad is on his third cup of coffee. Vinnie is taking one question after the other out of his lunch box and crumpling them into balls and building a fence around Rupert with them. 

Suddenly, he stops crumpling the questions and says, “Ah hah. I found the perfect question. I’ve made a rule change to help you. First, I think I’ll put game recommended for smart people when I get a box for it,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh. She says, “What is the rule change, Vinnie?”

Vinnie says, “Since you both have trouble answering an easy question,  I’ve taken out the competition part. You are now partners playing against Rupert and Dexter.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad and says, “We’re playing against a stuffed animal and a beagle?”

“Apparently so, dear,” answers Vinnie’s dad. 

Vinnie’s mom says, “I need a five minute break. It might be good for all of us.”

“I agree with Mom,” says Vinnie’s dad.


“Yes, Vinnie?”

“Will you set your iPhone timer for five minutes. If you both are not ready to play in five minutes, you get penalized and Rupert and Dexter will get your points.”

Dexter slowly got up on all fours and barks thinking he was being called to eat. Rupert sat on the table against the lunch box, his smile never leaving his face.

Vinnie’s mom left the dining room and headed to the bedroom. Vinnie’s dad didn’t bother putting on a coat before he heads out to the deck where the large round circle thermometer read both 140 F or -10 C. Vinnie’s dad prefers reading the Fahrenheit reading because it seems warmer. 

With his parents out of the room, Vinnie uses the time to prep Dexter in the only language Dexter knows, food. Vinnie walks into the kitchen, Dexter trails closely behind. Vinnie opens the pantry door, he finds his dad’s favorite snack, a soy based faux meat jerky beef stick. He takes the largest bag, opens it and turns to Dexter. Dexter immediately sits on his haunches. Dexter knows this is the default position for receiving rewards from adults. 

Vinnie opens the package, breaks a piece of jerky off and says, “Dexter, bark if you know the answer.” 

Dexter is not too bright, but food is an excellent incentive. After five tries, Dexter catches on. 

Vinnie’s mom hollers from the bedroom, “What’s Dexter barking at?”

Vinnie answers, “He’s practicing answering questions. How much time is left on the timer, Mom?”

There is a brief pause. Then Vinnie’s mom answers, “There’s one minute and five seconds.”

“You better get Dad, Mom. Rupert and Dexter are ready to play.”

On time, Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s dad, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter are in place for the game to continue.

Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie’s mom, “Isn’t it a bit early for a glass of wine, Dear?”

“No,” answers Vinnie’s mom.

“Do you mind if I get a beer?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

8 Year Old Vinnie Returns Monday

Wondering What Vinnie Is Up to? Vinnie’s Dad attempts to tell Vinnie the facts of life. Bad move – LOL

Vinnie Offers To Help His Mom Find Eye Lines


Vinnie’s Mom rolls a five. Vinnie hands the dice to his dad, “Dad, I want to go last.”

“Why, Vinnie?”

“I’ve been thinking. I invented a new game. Clue is boring. I already know the murderer, weapon and room, but you won’t let me tell you. Face it, Dad, Clue is out of date. The only people who like to play it are old people.”

“Vincent, you were the one to suggest Clue. And, we are not old, says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom, when do you become old? I don’t want to be old, Mom. When will you be old? Is Dad old?”

Vinnie’s mom reaches over to her hand bag and pulls out a small mirror. She holds in close to her face and moves her fingers around the edges of her eyes. She puts the mirror back and says, “Dear, do you see lines starting to form at the edges of my eyes?”

Before Vinnie’s dad can answer, Vinnie says, “Want me to get my magnifying glass, Mom? I bet I can find some.”

Vinnie’s dad jumps in, “There are no lines. Vinnie, we are going to play Clue. No one will turn over their cards until someone enters a room. Does that satisfy you?”

“Only if I’m the first one to get in a room. Please, Dad. Let me guess. Please? What if I am right about the murderer, weapon, and room? If I am, can we play the game I invented? The only thing I haven’t worked out is a board and pieces. I have all the other stuff. Please, Mom. Please.”

“On one condition, Vincent. If you have any wrong answer, you play Clue the right way and no complaints or wise comments. Agree?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Okay, Mom. Promise you won’t get mad if I get all the answers right?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom’s brain sends out a warning siren. She knows something is afoot, but can’t place her finger on it. She looks quizzically at Vinnie’s dad. 

He shrugs and says seriously, “Does this mean I lose my turn?”

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes. She picks up the container holding the three cards with the solution to the case. She holds the container in the palm of her hand. She gestures with her hand toward Vinnie, “Okay, what are your answers.”

Vinnie says, “This is so easy, “The murderer is Mrs. Navis. She did it room 107. And, she stabbed the victim with her laser pointer.”

Vinnie’s mom pulls the three cards out of the container. “Vincent. You ruined the Clue game by writing Mrs. Navis, room 107, and laser pointer on the cards.”

“I wrote them on all the cards, Mom. Check your cards out. I’m right. So, we can play the game I invented,” says Vinnie.

“Vinnie has a point, Dear. It’s pretty creative, don’t you think?” says Vinnie’s dad. He quickly adds, “What if we all go out for Sushi tonight?”

“We’ll, okay. Vincent, promise me you won’t write Mrs. Navis’s name on any more board games,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Promise, Mom. I’ll be right back with my game. You guys will love it.”

“What’s it called, Vinnie,” asks his dad.

“I haven’t thought of a name yet. I only tried it with Rupert and Dexter. They really like it,” says Vinnie.

“What’s the object of the game, Vinnie?” asks his mom.

Vinnie smiles at hearing his mom call him Vinnie instead of Vincent. He wonders if going out for Sushi improved his mom’s attitude. 

Vinnie’s on a Roll Beginning Monday

Vinnie’s a handful for his mom and dad. Find out what Vinnie is up to beginning Monday.

Christmas Eve – Not a Creature was Stirring . . . Only Vinnie


Vinnie’s Mom and Dad sit on the sofa each with a glass of wine staring at the glowing logs in fireplace. Christmas carols softly play in the background. The Christmas tree lights dimly light the living room. 

Vinnie’s mom squeezes Vinnie’s dad’s hand, “We made it, dear. There were moments today when I wasn’t sure I could hold it together.”

Vinnie’s dad raises his glass toward Vinnie’s mom, “To you, dear. The house is beautiful. How does the poem go, ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . .’

“Mom! Dad! Mom! Dad!”

“You spoke too soon, dear. Will you check on Vinnie and see what’s bothering him. I don’t think I handle it,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“Never mind, Mom, Dad. I’ve got it,” Vinnie hollers from his bedroom.

“Dear, please check on Vinnie. Whenever he says, ‘I’ve got it,’ something dreadful happens,” whispers Vinnie’s mom resting her head against Vinnie’s dad shoulder.

“What could he be up to? I don’t want him to spoil to the moment. The Christmas lights, the Christmas music, the crackling of the wood in the fireplace, it’s all so good,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Yah,” sighs Vinnie’s mom.

A moment later, Vinnie races in the living room, Dexter follows hoping food is at the end of this game. Vinnie’s carrying the fire extinguisher. He comes to a sliding halt in front of the fireplace. 

“No, Vinnie, no,” hollers his mom.

“Vinnie, don’t spray the extinguisher,” hollers his dad.

Dexter barks.

Vinnie pulls the fire extinguisher trigger and a white cloud fills the fireplace. The Christmas tree lights go out. The kitchen lights go out. Vinnie yells, “I can’t see. Am I going blind?”

Vinnie’s dad scoops Vinnie up, “Let go of the fire extinguisher, Vinnie. You’re okay.”

“Dad, Dad, Dad fix the electricity for Santa. He’ll be here any minute. I’ve been tracking him on my tablet. He just left Peru and is heading toward toward Panama. Santa moves fast, Dad.”

“Who’s going to clean up this mess?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I’ve got it,” says Vinnie’s dad immediately regretting his choice of words.

Vinnie’s dad set Vinnie on the sofa next to his mom. Vinnie’s mom pulls a soft blanket around Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie, didn’t you know those are electric logs? Dad got them at the after Christmas sales last Christmas.”

“I forgot, Mom. I was afraid Santa was going to come down the chimney and get burned up in the fire. I had to protect Santa. You understand, Mom. Right, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom rubs Vinnie’s head, “I understand my first responder. You did what you thought was the right thing to do. The lights are back on. I think Dad fixed it.”

“Boy, Mom. When I grow up I want to be just like Dad,” says Vinnie admiringly.

“I think you already are like, Dad,” says Vinnie’s mom. Then she silently utters, “Dear Lord, why oh why?”

Vinnie’s dad has a sponge mop in hand, he stops cleaning and comes over to the sofa. “I heard Mom call you her first responder. Give me a high five and fist bump my man. Come and help me finish. You know what Santa told me in his email?”

“What, Dad, what?” 

“Santa said he’s not going to stop until we are all asleep. Make sure the cookies are far enough away from the edge of the table so Dexter won’t get them. The same with the glass of milk. Now, off to bed.”

“I’m on it, Dad. Can I give Dexter a cookie after I pick out all the chocolate chips.

“No,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“It’s Christmas Eve, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Okay, but only one,” says Vinnie’s mom.

A minute later from the kitchen, “One cookie for Santa, one for you Dexter, and one for me. If you give me your chocolate chips, I’ll give you my cookie, Dexter.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep sigh and says to Vinnie’s dad, “What’s he going to be like when he’s a teenager?”