Joey, Larry, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter sit on chairs on the deck attached to Vinnie’s house. Vinnie tosses a basketball over a table to Larry who tosses it over the table to Joey who tosses it to Rupert who is on the table and who falls off the table onto the deck. The basketball rolls off the deck onto the grass.
“Grizzlies don’t have good hands for basketball,” says Larry.
Vinnie picks up Rupert off the deck and turns him toward Larry and speaks in the falsetto voice he uses for Rupert, “I coulda caught it, but my claws would have wrecked the ball. See what I mean?” Vinnie extends Ruperts arm and shows his plastic claws.
“Thanks, Rupert. I didn’t think of that,” says Larry.
At that moment Sara Johnson steps onto the deck, “Larry are you talking to a stuffed grizzly bear?”
Larry glances over at Sara, “Yah.”
Sara’s wearing a Cowboy’s ball cap with her brown ponytail pulled through the back. She says, “My mom says I can come over. If you guys get weird as Vinnie likes to get weird I have to come home.”
Vinnie says, “If your mom doesn’t know I’m getting weird, you don’t have to go home. But if she calls you and says am I getting weird what you tell your mom is that I am not as weird as Mrs. Mavis.”
Joey and Vinnie fist bump. Sara Rolls her eyes. Larry fist bumps Rupert. Dexter watches wondering when it’s snack time.
Vinnie’s mom looks out the kitchen window toward the deck and sees Vinnie gesturing with his hands, Joey and Larry fist bumping, and Sara raising her hand to speak. For a brief moment, Vinnie’s mom relaxes, everyone is smiling. Maybe, she thinks, summer is going to turn out perfectly and Vinnie will grow out of whatever stage he’s been stuck in since he was born.
Back on deck. . . .
“I don’t like the name of Grizzlies for our group,” says Sara while she is patting Dexter.
Vinnie says, “It’s already decided. Rupert named our group and he’s the smartest person on our planet.”
“He’s only a stuffed animal. He can’t think or talk,” says Sara. “Besides, I already thought of a better name.”
Vinnie is holding Rupert in front of him. Rupert is facing Sara. Rupert says, “Ask me any question and I can give you the answer. I already know what you are going to be when you grow up.”
“You do not,” says Sara.
“Do too,” says Rupert.
“Tell me if you are so smart,” says Sara.
“You forgot to say please,” says Rupert.
Vinnie’s mom watches Sara talking to Rupert. She feels a twinge of jealousy she isn’t on the deck. She has a few questions she wants to ask Rupert. She shakes her head trying to clear the fog. He’s only a stuffed grizzly bear. He’s not real. But why did Dr. Sampson want Rupert as her friend? What am I missing, she asks herself.
Back on the deck. . . .
Sara crosses her arms over her chest covering the words, Girl Power on her t-shirt. She says, “Rupert, please tell me what I am going to be when I grow up?”
Rupert says, “You are going to be very famous.”
Vinnie shakes Rupert up and down.
“I changed my mind. I think Grizzlies is a great name. Where are your instruments?”
Vinnie, Larry, and Joey look at each other. Vinnie says, “We’re working on that.”