Vinnie’s Mom Learns One of Vinnie’s Dark Secrets

23

Day 3. 

Vinnie’s dad has the SUV on cruise control zipping along Interstate 40, in eastern Arizona. Vinnie’s mom looks over her right shoulder and sees Vinnie completely engrossed in writing in the notebook she gave to him. She taps Vinnie’s dad on the thigh, he glances over. Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie hasn’t said a word in over an hour. He’s really into whatever he’s writing. I’d love to know what has taken hold of him.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Believe me, you don’t want to go there.”

Before Vinnie’s mom responds, Vinnie says, “Where? Maybe I want to go there. It might be fun. Do they have rides?”

Vinnie’s mom whispers, “I’m sorry.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “It’s only an expression. Mom and I were having a conversation.”

“What were you talking about, Dad? Was it me?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom and dad make eye contact. Vinnie’s dad shrugs his shoulders, “We were wondering what you were writing, that’s all.”

“I thought you didn’t want to go there,” Vinnie’s mom mouths to Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad shrugs. He frequently uses this strategy when he can’t explain why he did something. It’s a strategy many males learn early on in relationships if their brain is four steps behind their actions.

“I was writing a story. I’m going to give it to Mrs. Navis when I go back to school after vacation is over. I’m pretty sure I’ll get an A because I write the best stories in the class. All the kids want me to read my stories out loud.”

Vinnie’s mom’s heart rate increases by twenty beats per minute. She says, “What?”

“I’ve been doing it all year, Mom.”

“What do you write about? How come I haven’t seen your stories?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie looks out the window. He turns back, reaches over to the adjacent seat and picks up Rupert. He holds Rupert in front of him. “Rupert, Mom wants to know why you told me not to show her the stories I write for Mrs. Navis.”

“What are these stories about, Vincent?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie turns Rupert around to face his mom and picks Rupert up high enough to hide his face from his mom. Using his falsetto voice as Rupert’s imaginary voice, he says, “I told Vinnie you might get upset with his stories because they are all about us.”

Vinnie’s dad dives in, “What do you mean, Rupert, all about us?”

Rupert says, “You know, you and Mom and Dexter and Vinnie and me. His last story was how he rescued you when you were talking to fat Mrs. Bevis.”

“He didn’t,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“He did.”

“What did Mrs. Navis say?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Vinnie never got to finish reading his story because he was laughing so hard, Mrs. Navis sent him to time out.”

“Time out? I didn’t know.”

“Opps. I don’t think I should have said anything, Vinnie,” says Rupert.

Vinnie’s mom turns to Vinnie’s dad. I don’t think we can ever go home. No wonder Julia Bevis has been snubbing me. I must be the laughing stock of all the parents.”

“Mom. I told better stories about Dad.”

“Huh!”

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Vinnie Has The Happiest Day of His Life

16

“Are you happy, Dad? Are you happy, Mom? I am so happy. This is the best day of my life. I met a real cowboy. He gave me his bandana. I’m going to wear it every day of my life. You can never wash it, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad, nods his head. Vinnie’s mom says, “I’m happy we stopped. You met a real cowboy and you’ll always have his red bandana,” Vinnie’s Mom already processing how she is going to wash it without it appearing that she washed the bandana. She’s drawing a blank.

“He told me to visit him every time we come by, Mom. Can we come back this way. His ranch is the Circle C. When I grow up I want to be either a cowboy, a rock star, or veterinarian.”

Vinnie’s dad chimes in, “You’ll probably change your mind a lot as you grow up.”

Vinnie shakes his head, “I don’t think so, Dad. Sam can ride his horse all day long. He has dog, Cactus that goes with him. Dexter can go with me when I ride my horse. Once I get good at riding, I’m going to go in the rodeo.”

Vinnie’s mom catches Vinnie’s dad about to object. She touches Vinnie’s dad’s forearm. She says, “Vinnie what event do you want to do when you ride in rodeo?”

“I want to ride bulls, Mom. I bet Sam rides bulls. He can teach me all the tricks. And, I want to ride horse that bucks like crazy. Can we go to rodeo again this year? Can we? Can I bring home a fried turkey leg for Dexter and a fried Snicker’s bar for Rupert?”

Dexter barks at the sound of his name and the word turkey.

“Mom do you have a snack for Dexter? He’s starving. I think he’s getting sick. He’ll throw up all over the place. The car will stink. Please, Mom, please. Dexter needs food.”

Dexter barks in agreement. 

Vinnie’s dad can’t help himself, “Being a rodeo rider isn’t much of a career. You have to think of something else.”

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes. 

“I’ll be happy, Dad. Don’t you want me to be happy?”

Vinnie’s mom fights to hold back a smile.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Of course I want you to be happy. You can be happy doing other things.”

“You don’t look happy when you go to work, Dad. You always look serious. Are you happy when you go to work?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie’s mom seeking a sign she’ll help. Vinnie’s mom zips her lips and smiles.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Do you think that being happy is what work is about?”

“Uh huh,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad starts to speak. Vinnie interrupts, “Look Dad, Look. Can we go. You can do it, Dad. I bet anything you can do it.”

“Do what. Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s Dad.

“Look at the sign ahead of us, Dad. The big sign with the cowboy and the big stead. You can do it, Dad. It’s The Big Texan Steak House. It says if you eat a 72 ounce steak and all the fixings in one setting it’s free. You can do it, Dad. I know you can do it. Can we go, Dad?”

“That’s six pounds of meat, Vinnie. I’m not counting the other food they give you. It’s not healthy. Right, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad trying to wiggle free.

Vinnie’s mom enjoys the reality show taking place in their SUV. She says, “Oh, I think you should try. I think you can do it.”

Vinnie jumps in, “Dad, Dad you’ll save money even if you don’t make it. You won’t be able to eat until we get home. I had a great idea, right, Dad? Dad, it’s only 32 miles ahead. We’re going to go right by it. I bet Sam can finish it. He’s a real cowboy.He’s big, Dad.”

“Please help me, I’m drowning,” says Vinnie’s dad to Vinnie’s mom.

“I don’t see any water, Dad. You know how to swim. How can you be drowning? How, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom reaches into a large book back by her feet, and pulls out a package. She turns toward Vinnie, “Vinnie, I want to surprise you and Dexter. I brought a special treat for Dexter. Real turkey jerky.”

Dexter barks and rises to his haunches. His eyes fixed on whatever is in the plastic casing being held by Vinnie’s mom. Dexter thinking it’s cuisine specifically prepared for a beagle palette. 

“Wow. Thanks, Mom. You’re the best Mom. I wish Dad took after you,” says Vinnie reaching for the turkey jerky.

“I wish he did too, Vinnie.”

“I owe you,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I’ll add it to your tab,” laughs Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie Knows What Is True

12

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 Helps His Mom Out

7

Vinnie sticks Rupert’s hand into his lunch box. He moves Rupert’s hand around, first this way and then that way. “Pick out an easy one for Mom, Rupert. She’s in last place. I always thought boys are smarter than girls.”

Vinnie’s mom puts two fingers to her lips and lets go with a shrill whistle, “Hold on, Buster. Boys are not smarter than girls.”

“No need to get upset, Mom. I’m trying to help you out,” says Vinnie.

“I don’t want an easy question. I want the hardest question you have in the lunch box. I’ll prove girls are just as smart as boys.”

“That’s the spirit, Mom. Already, my game is more exciting than Clue, don’tcha think?” asked Vinnie.

“Vinnie’s dad glances at Vinnie’s mom, “Vinnie’s makes a point. Vinnie, I have a question about the game.”

“Sure, Dad. If I can’t answer it, either Rupert or Dexter can answer it. They helped me with the questions,” says Vinnie.

“When does the game end?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“End? It doesn’t ever end. That’s what makes my game great, Dad. It never ends so there is no official loser. Problem is there is no official winner. Rupert is still working on the last part.”

Vinnie’s mom interrupts, “Vinnie, this doesn’t make sense. A game has to end. All games have winners and losers. Let’s play to ten points. The first person to get ten points is the winner. I think we can all agree to that.”

Vinnie shakes his head, “Mom, you’re thinking like an adult. You have to start thinking like a kid. If kids ruled the world we wouldn’t have wars or bad stuff going on. All that stuff comes from adults.”

“That’s pretty good, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Quit taking Vincent’s side,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I wasn’t taking Vinnie’s side. You have to admit he’s got a point, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom’s face turns a tad red, she turns to face Vinnie’s dad. She says, “I’ll grant you, Vinnie has a point. But who has been in charge? It’s boys who grew up to be men. I’d like to see woman rule the world for a change.”

Vinnie becomes bored with the conversation and slips away from the table and heads to the refrigerator. While he is away, Rupert keeps an eye on the players. Dexter follows Vinnie to the refrigerator. Vinnie opens the refrigerator door and stands in front of the open refrigerator staring at all the choices. There’s nothing he sees that he likes. If Dexter were taking a multiple choice test, he’d circle all the above. Vinnie removes a plate with two pieces of left over grilled chicken breast and tips the plate letting the chicken drop on the floor. He puts the empty plate back in the refrigerator. Closes the door and heads back to the table. Dexter stays behind eating his gourmet snack. 

Vinnie climbs into his chair, “Where were we when the game got interrupted?”

Vinnie’s dad is happy to get out of a conservation where he was losing ground faster than a bob sled going downhill. “Uh, I’ll think about what you said, Dear. You make a good point. Vinnie, I asked you how we would know when the game ends.”

“Right, Dad. I told you it never ends. You just had a memory fail, Dad. Never mind, I’ll pick a hard question for Mom. If it’s too hard, Mom, I’ll put it back and keep pulling one out until you think you can answer it,” says Vinnie giving his mom his best helpful look. 

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes and watches Vinnie stick his hand in his lunch box and squirrel it around. Vinnie pulls out a folded piece of paper. He carefully unfolds it and shows it to Rupert, “Do you think this is a good question for Mom, Rupert?”

Vinnie shakes Rupert so Rupert’s head moves. Vinnie’s mom silently prays, “Lord, we’d try for another child, but what if she was a he and he was a Vinnie clone? It is too much for any human to bear.”

Vinnie Asks His Dad if He is Neutered

Vinnie’s dad swallows, rubs his eyes, stretches his arms over his head. Vinnie interrupts him, “Dad, you only have thirty seconds to answer and you’ve used up half of them.”

Vinnie’s dad takes a sip of soda and says, “I was putting my thoughts in order. There was a rule change, I wasn’t prepared. I think I’m ready.” 

Vinnie’s mom perks up and twists a bit to catch Vinnie’s dad’s full profile. She crosses her arms over her chest.

“Let’s hear it, Dad. I’ve got sixty more questions and they get harder. This is an easy one. We’ll be lucky to finish by tomorrow night.”

Vinnie’s dad takes a deep breath that sounds more like the intact engine on a NASCAR racing car. He says, “You know how we take Dexter to the park sometimes?”

“Uh huh,” nods Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom roles her eyes.

“Sometimes we let Dexter off the leash, right?” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Dexter loves it, Dad. You do it so you don’t have to pick up Dexter’s poop if we walk in the neighborhood, right?” asks Vinnie.

“You don’t pick up Dexter’s poop?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“He doesn’t mom. He looks the other way. Sometimes he says, ‘It will disintegrate in time.’ I saw a kid step in one time. He skidded and fell down. It was one of the slippery kind Dexter does.”

“Enough,” says Vinnie dad. “Let me finish my answer. When Dexter runs loose, sometimes he jumps on a female dog from behind. That’s how babies are made. That’s how you got inside Mom.” Vinnie’s dad returns the smirk to Vinnie’s mom. He congratulates himself on handling a sensitive question.

Vinnie asks a two part question, “Is Dexter my real father? What are you doing here, Dad, if Dexter is my real father?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Dexter’s neutered, remember when we took him to the veterinarian and had his private parts snipped?”

“I do, Dad. Are you neutered? If you’re neutered, how’d I get inside Mom’s belly?”

Vinnie’s mom covers her mouth and stifles a chuckle.

“I am not neutered. I have all my body parts, just like you,” says Vinnie’s dad a bit defensively.

“Let me get this straight, Dad. Your answer is that I got to be here because you and Mom act like dogs in the park when I am asleep?”

Vinnie’s mom cocks her head and raises her eyebrows waiting for Vinnie’s dad’s answer.

“More or less. It’s the way all children come to be, Vinnie.”

“That’s disgusting. The more I hear about being grown up makes me want to stay eight all my life even if I live to one-hundred,” says Vinnie.

“Well, did I answer it and do I get the points?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Wait a second, Dad. Rupert is scoring your answer. I’ll talk with him to find out your final score.” 

Vinnie pulls Rupert close to him, he whispers in Rupert’s ear. He pushes Rupert away and waits for two seconds. He pulls Rupert close to him and puts Rupert’s mouth against his ear. Vinnie nods three times. He sets Rupert down.

Vinnie’s dad says, “What was Rupert’s decision?”

“Each answer is worth ten points. Since Mom passed it to you, Dad, you get seven points and Mom has three points deducted from her score. Mom, what is three from zero?”

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 Wants to Know Where He Came From

5

“What kind of question is that, Vincent?” asks his mom. It’s only ten in the morning and she knows it’s too early for a glass of wine.

“It’s an easy one, Mom. It’s not one of the hard, hard questions,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom fidgets, she runs her left hand through her hair, then she touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm and says, “Why don’t you take this one, Dear?”

“You can’t do that, Mom, unless your questions says you can pass on the bottom of it and this question doesn’t say that. You have to answer. If your answer is incomplete, I can tell you to keep answering until you get it totally right or totally wrong. I’m making up the rules as we go along. I only had time to write questions. I didn’t think about the rules.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Do you know the answer?”

Vinnie says, “No. That’s why I asked the question.”

“If you don’t know the answer how will you know if I’m right or wrong?” asks Vinnie’s Mom.

“Rupert is the judge. He’ll whisper to me if you got it right or wrong or if you need to keep talking. If you talk to much, it’s a penalty. If you don’t talk enough, it’s a penalty. I just made up this rule, like it?”

Vinnie’s mom fights off vertigo. She says, “You were inside me. When it was time for you to be born, I went to the hospital and Doctor Sanchez delivered you. I know this is the perfect answer.”

Vinnie holds Rupert up to his ear. He nods his head three times. Vinnie says, “Rupert says you have to keep talking. He wants to know how I got in your belly and how I came out.”

“Oh, God. I warned you, Dear. You have to admit you were forewarned,” says Vinnie’s mom staring at Vinnie’s dad who’s staring at anything other than Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s mom feels a distinct pink color rising from her chest and spreading up through her neck into her face. She tries to speak, but her lips can’t move. She forces the words. “Well, it will take a long time. Don’t you have categories like they do on Jeopardy? I’ll take cooking for six.” 

Vinnie says, “Sorry, Mom. We’re not playing Jeopardy. Don’t you know where I came from? Joey’s mom told him that she and his dad went to the hospital and they looked at all the babies and thought Joey was the cutest so they chose him. Is Joey right, Mom? Do you think I’m cuter than Joey? Gina said her mom told her she was an unexpected surprise. And, Larry said his mom told him she didn’t know because Larry was five years old when his mom and dad were married. You have to give me an answer, Mom or you get moved to the penalty round.”

“What’s the penalty round, Vinnie?” asks his mom.

“If you get moved to the penalty round, you get the next seven questions and Dad gets all the points for your correct answers.”

“That doesn’t seem fair, Vinnie. Can you change the rule? asks Vinnie’s mom.

“I wished I could change the rule, Mom, but I have a rule that says you can’t change a rule especially if your mom asks you to change a rule.”

“When did you make up this rule, Vincent?” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“Just now. The game is coming together. Will you video it so we can put it on YouTube. I bet it goes viral.”

“Did you help him?” Vinnie’s mom points an accusing finger at Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad raises his hands as if he were being held at gunpoint. He says, “Honest, it’s all Vinnie’s creative work. Tell Vinnie what you know about where he came from so we can go on.” Vinnie’s dad quickly averts his eyes from Vinnie’s Mom.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Can I make up a rule for the game?”

Vinnie whispers in Rupert’s ear. He puts Rupert’s mouth to this ear. The back and forth goes on for a minute. Vinnie sets Rupert down and says, “What’s your rule? Rupert will make the final decision if it is a good rule.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “My rules is if you don’t have the right answer, another player in the game has to answer it.”

Vinnie turns toward Rupert. He picks him up and gives him a little shake that makes Rupert’s head nod yes.

“Rupert says it’s a good rule, Mom. Thanks for helping out.”

“No problem, Vinnie. I pass the question to the other player in the game, Dad.”

Vinnie’s dad eyes turn into moon pies. His Adam’s apple start bobbing, and a slight tic develops in his right eyelid. 

“You’re on, Dad. Where did I come from.”

Vinnie’s mom gives a smirk to Vinnie’s dad.

VINNE WILL RETURN MONDAY ~ HIS POOR PARENTS