Vinnie, Rupert, Vinnie’s mom, and Vinnie’s dad sit in a booth in La Grande Taco restaurant. A large bowl of chips is in the middle of the table and two smaller bowls of salsa sit on either side of the chips. Vinnie’s dad and mom sip iced tea. Vinnie is feeding Rupert a chip.
Vinnie’s mom says, “Vincent, we’re all tired after a long day. You know Rupert can’t eat. Don’t play with the food. You’re making a mess. Look at his mouth and the crumbs on the table.”
Vinnie looks over at his mom, “He can too eat, Mom. He eats all the time. You want to know his favorite foods?”
“No. Dear, where is the waiter? I need some water, I have a splitting headache.”
Vinnie’s dad, attempting to show his compassionate side, touches Vinnie’s mom forearm, “Do you know what caused your headache? We had a great day.”
Vinnie stops feeding Rupert and watches his Mom and Dad.
Vinnie’s mom turns her head slightly toward Vinnie’s dad and says, “Let me list the reasons.”
Vinnie’s dad wisely removes his hand from Vinnie’s mom’s forearm. His right leg begins bouncing at a 140 beats per minute, the equivalent of a fast rap song.
Vinnie’s mom says, “We’ve been driving for three days.”
Vinnie says, “Check.”
“We’ve been tossed out of two different motels.”
“Check, check,” Rupert answers.
Vinnie’s dad doesn’t dare give Vinnie a look.
“Our reservation at the Grand Canyon was cancelled because we didn’t show up yesterday.”
Vinnie says, “Check.”
“We’ve been stopped by the police.”
“Please stop saying check, Vinnie,” Vinnie’s dad momentarily looses control.
“It’s okay, Vincent, keep score,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Rupert’s on it, Mom.”
“We only have three days left of our week vacation and have to be home so Vinnie can go to school. If we turn around tomorrow, we might make it in time,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Check,” says Vinnie. He adds, “Mrs. Navis won’t miss me, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom knows Vinnie is telling the truth, but decides not to say anything. She says, “And, this is your idea of a great restaurant? We’re the only people in here and we haven’t been waited on.”
“Checkmate,” says Vinnie.
“It had a good rating on Yelp,” says Vinnie’s dad apologetically.
Vinnie begins scrolling on his tablet. He says, “Dad, is one star the best or the worst on Yelp?”
Vinnie’s dad looks around, “Your blood sugar is low, Dear. Eat a few chips. They’re very good,” says Vinnie’s dad dabbing a chip in the salsa. “And, the salsa has a kick to it.”
The guy waiter stands at the table, “All set to order?”
“I’ll have five chicken tacos with extra cheese on the tacos,” says Vinnie.
“You can’t eat five tacos, Vinnie. He’ll have two tacos, and no extra cheese,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad mouths the word, ‘Dexter’ to Vinnie’s mom.
Before Vinnie’s mom responds, “Vinnie says, “I want to change my order. Can I have a full order of chicken fajitas? If there are leftovers, can we get a carryout box?”
“What else?” asks the waiter looking at his girlfriend and winking.
Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll have the Muy Grande Pollo Burrito with a side of rice and beans.”
“Man, that’s a lot of food,” says the waiter blowing his girlfriend a kiss. “And, for you señora?”
“Do you have vegetarian dishes?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Hey, Tony, do we have have vegetarian food?” hollers the waiter toward the kitchen.
“We got beans and rice,” a voice hollers back.
“Was that Tony?” asks Vinnie.
The waiter looks at Vinnie, smiles and says, “It was either Tony or Tony junior. They both sound the same.”
“Can I have your autograph?” asks Vinnie pushing a paper napkin toward the waiter along with a pen.
“Sure.” The waiter signs the napkin and pushes it back toward Vinnie.
Vinnie looks at it, “Thanks, Tony.”
“No problem, kid.”