Vinnie Returns in 6 Days

What is Vinnie Doing at 2 a.m. Will his parents get any sleep? LOL Vinnie returns June 3.

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Vinnie’s Mom Gets a Call From Vinnie’s Teacher

7

Vinnie’s mom stares at her ringing cellphone. A tremor fears shoots through her body. The only reason someone from the school calls is to complain about Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom blesses herself and answers. 

“Hello.”

. . . 

“I understand.”

. . .

“Un huh.”

. . .

“That doesn’t sound like Vinnie, are you sure?”

. . .

“He has an active imagination. We try to encourage it.”

. . .

“I don’t like your tone.”

. . .

“What do you mean, he’s setting a bad example? For whom?”

. . .

“Have you ever raised boys?”

. . .

“Being a teacher for thirty-five years does not count for raising a boy.”

. . .

“I don’t want him transferred to another classroom. There is only three months remaining of the school year.”

. . .

“Okay, we’ll talk about it. Thank you for calling, Mrs. Navis.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and tries to visualize a peaceful place. Nothing appears on her mind’s screen, everything is fuzzy. Vinnie’s mom checks speed dial. She considers calling Vinnie’s dad. She decides against it. He’s probably in a meeting and he’d be no help, he’s too much like Vinnie. She checks her contacts, and types in Dr. Verone. Dr. Verone heads the mom support group for hyperactive and over imaginative children. She decides not to call. 

Vinnie interrupts her from the kitchen, “Mom, do you need to talk? Rupert and Dexter and me can listen.”

“No, Vinnie. I’m thinking of what to make for dinner.”

“Mom, you know how you can always tell when I’m lying?” says Vinnie climbing onto a stool at the breakfast bar to eat a snack.

“What are you talking about, Vincent?”

“You’ve got the crock pot on. It smells like you’re making chicken fajitas for Dad and Rupert and Dexter and me. So, who called?”

Vinnie’s mom walks into the kitchen from the living room. She stops at the breakfast bar and stares at Vinnie. He looks up at her and smiles. Vinnie’s mom hates and loves Vinnie’s smile at the same time. No matter how angry she can be with him, his smile is still pure innocence. His smile, she thinks, could disarm a bomb in a matter of seconds. 

Vinnie’s mom leans over and rests her elbows on the counter, and looks at Vinnie. He looks back at her. “Want a carrot stick?” Vinnie picks a carrot stick off his plate and hands it to his mom.

“Did you wash your hands before you starting eating your snack,” Vinnie’s mom asks.

“I wiped them on my pants, Mom. Joey’s mom says that’s better than washing them.”

Vinnie’s mom isn’t quite sure if she’s going to laugh, cry, or demand Vinnie not hang around with Joey.

“You know what you tell me when I’m upset, Mom?”

“What, Vinnie,” Vinnie’s mom bites into the carrot stick.

“You tell me to talk about it. You even let me sit on your lap and talk to you. You’re too big to sit on my lap, but Rupert will sit on your lap and you can talk to us. Did you know Rupert is a trained child psychologist. That’s why he understands me.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Rupert sitting on the counter next to Vinnie’s snack plate, “Can you help me, Rupert?”

Rupert answers with Vinnie’s falsetto voice, “If it’s about anything Mrs. Navis said about Vinnie, don’t believe it.”

Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie Wonders Why Parents Always Say “It’s Good for You”

5

Mom, dad, and I sat down for dinner. Mom made chicken soup in the instant pot. Bummer. Mom’s on a healthy kick. I knew this was going to happen when I saw her watching a healthy eating show. I’ll starve this week. I said, “I thought we were having pizza?”

“I never said we were having pizza, Vinnie. Eat your soup. I got a healthy recipe off the Healthy Food Channel. It’s good for you. It will make you strong,” said Mom.

Why do parents always say, ‘It’s good for you? Chicken soup will make me strong? I’ve never seen a strong chicken. If chicken soup was so good for you how come you never see chicken soup fast food places?’ I said, “Can I made a bean and cheese burrito in the microwave?”

“No. Eat your soup,” said Mom.

“Can I microwave a hotdog?” 

“Vincent!”

“Okay,” I said. I took a bite of the soup and said, “Sorry, Mom. This really is good.”

“Thank you, Vinnie. I knew you’d like it.”

It tasted horrible. I was trying to think of a way to get rid of it. Dexter was at my feet waiting for me to toss him some scraps. It’s impossible to toss soup without making a mess of everything. I faked eating my soup. Dad got up to get a glass of water. Mom said, “Hurry up, Vinnie. You don’t want to be late for the soccer game.”

I said, “Mom, my soup is really good, but it’s too hot for me to eat. Can you save it for me so I can eat it when I get home? I want to get ready for the game.” When I come home, Mom will be busy with something else and I’ll take a personal frozen pizza out of the freezer and put it in the microwave.

“Okay, Vinnie. Good luck,” said Mom.

“Thanks, Mom,” I said and took off for my room before Mom realized I didn’t eat anything. I always keep a stash of treats in my drawer for such occasions. I quickly ate a Snicker’s candy bar and I put another one in the pocket of my soccer shorts. I slipped on my jersey, shin guards and carried my soccer shoes to the car. I got in the car and waited for dad. It was his turn to take me to the soccer game. I hate to tell him, but it will be another big disappointment. I don’t care if I score a goal. If I luck out and play goalie, I don’t care if the other team scores a hundred goals. Don’t you hate it when parents try to live their life over through their kids?

We get to the soccer fields. There’s a gillion cars and kids and parents already here. My game starts at 7 and goes to 8. I could have used the time to play with my friends, mess on my tablet, or practice jumps with my skateboard. Playing soccer is like Mom’s chicken soup, it’s supposed to be good for you, or so parents say. Dad drops me off by Coach Tobin. I get out and run to my friend, Alex. 

I said, “Hey, Alex, I hope I can be goalie.”

Alex said, “I was hoping I could be goalie, Vinnie. I don’t feel like running up and down the field.”

Oh, oh, I thought. Alex is heavy and slow. Coach Tobin will stick him in goal for sure. That’s how it happened. Alex got to be goalie. I got to play forward. Whenever the ball came near me I kicked it. I even scored a goal. It was the first goal I ever scored. Too bad I kicked the ball past Alex and scored a goal for the team we were playing. It didn’t affect the game, we lost 10 to 2. 

On the way home, Dad said, “Son, the object of the game is to kick the ball in the other team’s goal.”

Like I didn’t know this. I came up with a lame excuse, “I know, Dad. I was trying to help Alex out. The poor kid doesn’t know a thing about soccer. I was trying to pass the ball to him so he could kick it downfield. He was daydreaming and the ball wait by him into the goal.”

Dad glances over at me and says, “That’s a pretty smart play, Vinnie. I admit, Alex just stands around.”

I say, “He usually is picking his nose when he plays goalie.” Why I said this, I have no idea. It seemed like something Alex would do. I take a chance Dad is as hungry as me, “How about you and me stopping by TCBY and getting a yogurt? You can surprise Mom with a cup of her favorite. That will make her happy.” 

“That’s a good idea, Vinnie,” says Dad.

I’m very thoughtful. Actually, I knew Dad didn’t like the chicken soup anymore than I did. He’s in pretty good shape. He goes to the gym in the morning before work. He got a large frozen yogurt. I got a medium but loaded up on toppings. I finished my frozen yogurt before we got home. I was starving. Now for my personal pizza. Before I can open the freezer, Mom hollers, “How did you do, Vinnie?”

I answer, “We lost, Mom.”

She says, “What was the score?”

I answer, “I think it was close. I forget the exact score. I played forward. I had so much fun. Soccer is a great game.” One of the rules you learn as a kid is to tell parents what they want to hear. If I told Mom I didn’t like it, lecture time starts, you know what I mean.

Mom hollers from her study, “Take a shower and head to bed. I’ll be in to say goodnight in a few minutes. You want to be ready for school tomorrow. You’re going to have a math test.”

This is news to me. It’s not fair, I didn’t have advance warning. Teachers love to torture kids with surprise tests. I say, “A math test? Mrs. Navis didn’t say we were going to have a math test.”

Mom says, “It was in an email she sent it to all the parents. I’m not worried, you had all your math homework correct. I’m proud of you.”

Oh, oh. I’m in deep trouble. 

22 ~ Gillis Assumes Wendy Wants to Go Camping With Him

22

“The green leaf? We talking trees? The leaves are starting to turn, Bro. It’s going to be tough once they start falling off the trees. Is this twenty-two question? I love that game. Is it vegetable or mineral or a trapezoid? Notice how I combined three questions into one, that’s how you play to win,” said Pickle obviously proud of his intellect.

Fleming’s eyes turned blank. His jaw dropped a tad. Gillis came to his rescue, “Dill, it’s obvious Bro hasn’t learned this intellectual pursuit. Let me put it another way to him. Bro, what do you mean the answer is the green leaf?”

“The Green Leaf is a vegan restaurant. It is the answer to where I saw the cufflink. Sonata Vowel, the owner’s son has a set of cufflinks identical to the one in the picture. They’re solid gold and if you look carefully, you’ll see a tiny v scrolled on the bottom right. All vegan males are required to wear them once they’re admitted into the vegan club. First you have to be nominated. Then you have to be vetted. The vetting process is very strict. The vegans hire an outside firm to do a background check on you. If they find out you do not have vegan purity, you’re out. If you get past the vetting, you are interviewed. I’ve heard rumors of nominees leaving in tears after the interview. Sampson has gone through it twice and failed. He was devastated and went into a deep depression. He had to go through dialectical behavior therapy each time. I still don’t think he’s fully healed. I’m sure he failed because of my background. Fortunately for me, the committee never divulges the report. Sampson’s offered to have a DNA test to prove his purity. If he ever finds out I really a carnivore he’ll toss me out and blacklist me. He’s trying to get himself nominated a third time.”

“That’s nice,” said Gillis not listening to a word Fleming said. “It’s my turn to talk. When was the last time you saw Sonata?” asked Gillis.

“Last night. I remember it because his father, Treble Vowel, is the cook. He sent Sampson and me a special plate of Bolero, named after Ravel’s famous work.”

“Hold on,” stammered Pickle. “Who’s this Bolero and Ravel? You sure it’s not Bolero and Ravioli, the mobsters from Chicago?”

Fleming turned quickly to Gillis for an interpretation. Gillis looked up from his iPhone. He said, “What?”

“I need help, detective Gillis. Detective Pickle thinks Bolero is a mobster and Ravel is really Ravioli and their mobsters from Chicago.”

Gillis checked his iPhone. He was waiting for a response from Wendy about her side of the bed preference. Gillis preferred the side closest to the bathroom. He told her she could choose. 

Gillis looked up at Fleming, “I’ve heard of them. What does the Chicago mob want with monkey innards. We answer that question, we solve the case.”

Fleming felt emotionally drained. He said, “Sonata wore the exact same cufflink.”

Pickle perked up. If he were a dog, one might think the owner said, ‘doggy treat.’ Pickle said, “Hold on, hold on, Bro.” He sets his cup down, “You said cufflink, not cufflinks.”

Fleming smiled, “Nice catch, Detective Pickle. Sonata is a nice guy. I didn’t want to get him in trouble. He’s got enough on his plate. Did you like my play on words? The Green Leaf restaurant. Enough on his plate?”

Gillis and Pickle stared blankly at Fleming.

Fleming continued, “Thing is, Sonata kept his right hand in his pants pocket. Never pulled it out while he was here.”

“That seems unusual to me. That strike you as strange, Bro,” said Gillis checking out photos of Wendy he took when she wasn’t looking.

“I have a theory about it, Gills. Maybe his boys were itchy,” said Pickle.

Gillis’ iPhone chimed. He looked at it and gave Pickle a wink. He opened the iPhone, tapped the messages app. He beamed, “Wendy agreed to sleep with me, Dill. This is the best day ever. I’ll have to buy a dozen ribbed for her pleasure rough rider condoms. We’ll use all of them.”

“I thought you didn’t like condoms,” said Pickle.

“I’m practicing being a sensitive male. Tomorrow, I’ll convince her to let me go a natural,” said Gillis.

“What did she say? You can read it front of Bro. He’s one with us now that he’s giving us free stuff under the table,” said Pickle.

Fleming nodded. 

Gillis read Wendy’s text, “Sleep in your bed? Never!!!! I prefer the dump.”

Gillis commented, “Wendy wants to go camping. She likes to do it out doors. Bro, you know if Sampson has any camping equipment you can give me and add it to the robbery?”

Fleming’s heart rate accelerated. Why did I agree to give him the priceless china? Why did I agree to give them the expensive Jamaican coffee? Why am I listening to them? The questions raced around and around in his mind like a gerbil on a treadmill.

Pickle interrupted the pattern. He said, “Here’s what you do, Gills. Text Wendy and tell her all the camp sites at the dump have been previously reserved by the homeless. Let her know her bed is okay, even if the sheets still smell of Pat.”

“Brilliant, Dill. I’m sending it word for word. I owe you one,” said Gillis. 

Pickle turned his attention back to Fleming, “Did you ask him if his boys were itchy? Was he scratching them with his right hand?” 

Gillis stepped in before Fleming could answer, “That’s a sensitive issue with guys if you know what I mean, Dill. We each have our favorite way of scratching. Ball players like to do it on TV. Ballet dancers got to numb the area while they perform because their pants are so tight. Me? I prefer to turn my back to the crowd, suck in my gut and go right after the itch. It’s a full arm thrust.”

“That takes guts, Gills Back to you, Bro. Anything else about Sonata seem unusual.”

Fleming’s head felt like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn. He said, “Sonata asked if the police had any leads on the killers. I told him you guys were running in circles. No offense meant, it was before I knew we were all low blood sugar guys.”

Pickle stood up. He slammed his fist on the table hard enough to send the three rare, gold embossed China coffee cups and their plates to the floor. Fleming screamed, “I’m finished. It’s over. I won’t be able to show my face in town. Sampson is ruthless.”

Gillis patted Sampson on the back, “It’s okay big guy. Give me the rest of the set, it’ll make the robbery look better. When we leave, toss the rest in the garbage. While you’re packing my cups and saucers, Jamaican coffee and cheesecake, toss in the painting of the Reclining Nude by Modigliani.”

“It’s priceless. I can’t do that,” whimpered Fleming.

“That’s just it, Bro. I’m taking something off your hands that isn’t worth anything. I’ll grab in on the way out. No need to trouble yourself. It will go great in my man cave. Wendy will love it. We’re on our way to the veggie place. Snap it up with the goods. I expect to frolic in Wendy’s bed tonight.”

“If you need a good recommendation, use Gills and me for references. Our word goes a long way in this town,” said Pickle walking into the living room to view the painting he missed seeing on the way in.