She’s Never Met Anyone Like Eight Year Old Vinnie

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Vinnie’s dad pulls the family SUV into the Doggie Palace – Your Pets Home Away from Home parking lot into a parking space with a sign in front of it reading: Reserved for Our Canine Guests and Family. 

Vinnie’s mom stares straight ahead, fearful of what she might see in the seat behind her if she dares turn around. 

Vinnie’s dad turns the motor off, unbuckles his seat belt, and turns around to face Vinnie. He says, “Doggie Palace is a really a nice place. You can come inside with Dexter and me and say goodbye to … Vinnie? Vinnie? I don’t see him, Dear. The door alarm would sound if he jumped out.”

Vinnie’s mom unbuckles her seat belt and turns around. She lets out a deep sigh, tilts her head to the right, and says, “Vincent, come from under the suitcases, you’ll suffocate.”

From somewhere in the rear of the SUV a muffled 8-year old boy’s voice rises, “If you leave one, you leave us all. We signed a blood pact.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Ketchup doesn’t count.”

“It wasn’t ketchup,” says Vinnie.

“Nice try, salsa or pasta sauce doesn’t count, either.”

“Darn,” from the muffled voice.

“We’re still not going. Take us home. We’ll be okay. I can order to go pizza. You and Dad have a good trip,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom faces Vinnie’s dad and throws up her hands, “It was your idea to leave Dexter home. I told you what would happen.”

Vinnie’s dad whispers, “Not a problem, I know his weaknesses.”

“How much is it going to cost?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“I don’t bribe, Dear. I offer more attractive alternatives,” says Vinnie’s dad. He raises his voice, “Vinnie, I was thinking of trading in your tablet and getting you one of the new iPads.”

From the rear of the SUV, “Go right ahead, Dad. I hope it’s waiting for me when Dexter, Rupert, and me get home from vacation.”

“That went over well, Mister Super Negotiator,” says Vinnie’s mom. “Look. someone is coming from the kennel, maybe they can help us.”

“A kennel? A kennel. You said it was a home away from home. You didn’t say anything about a kennel. There might be pit bulls and vicious attack dogs there. Dexter doesn’t stand a chance,” hollers Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad lowers his window. A young, brown hair pulled into ponytail, woman says, “We’ve been waiting for Dumpster. Where is he?”

“Did she say, ‘Dumpster.’ That settles it, Dexter is not staying here. They don’t know his name. They’ll poison him. They don’t know how to cook for him. Dexter’s on a special diet,” hollers Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad shrugs. The woman says, “We run into this all the time. Is Dexter in back?”

Vinnie’s dad gives a wimpy smile and nods.

“It won’t be a problem. How old is your son?”

“He’s eight.”

“Perfect. My nephew is eight and I babysit him all the time,” says the woman as she walks to rear of the SUV. 

Vinnie’s mom whispers, “She’s never met Vinnie.”

The woman stands at the rear of the SUV and taps on the window, “Hi in there, what’s your name?”

A brief moment passes, then a face appears in the window and speaks to the woman in a high pitched falsetto voice, “Hi my name is Rupert. Dexter is not leaving, no way. You may as well leave. Nice to meet you. Bye.” The face disappears.

The woman calls out, “Did a stuffed grizzly bear just speak to me?” 

Vinnie’s mom says, “Yes.”

The woman says, “Mr. Rupert I’m going to open the rear door. I want to shake your paw.”

Rupert appears in the rear window and says, “If you open the door, I’ll bite your arm off.”

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Vinnie’s Back ~ It’s Going to be a Road Trip His Parents Will Always Remember

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Vinnie’s dad carefully organizes three suitcases in the back of the family SUV. He steps back, smiles at his organization. He looks at his home and neighborhood and thinks how peaceful everything is at five in the morning. A thought passes through his mind to forget about Vinnie while he and Vinnie’s mom go on vacation. As soon as the thought enters his mind, his guilt alarm starts shrieking. He didn’t try to think the thought. It happened. He wonders if it is a sin to want to leave your son behind while you relax. He shakes his head to force the thought out. He turns and starts walking back toward the house.

Vinnie’s mom comes out the front door carrying two large eco friendly grocery bags filled with snacks. She stops when she reaches Vinnie’s dad and says, “Dear, mind placing these where I can reach them. We’ll leave as soon as the kennel’s open.”

“That’s going to be a problem. Did you tell Vinnie we’re leaving Dexter at the kennel?”

“I thought you told him,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I didn’t. I thought you were going to tell him.”

“No, it was your job to tell him,” insists Vinnie’s mom.

“I remember you saying you were going to tell him,” counters Vinnie’s dad.

“Tell me what?” asks Vinnie from behind Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s mom turns around and says, “Oh, nothing, Vinnie. Go check your room. Make sure you have everything. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

“Okay, Mom. Rupert and Dexter will help me.”

Vinnie’s mom and dad watch Vinnie run toward his room. Vinnie’s dad says,  “I’ll tell him, but let’s wait and let him be surprised. No sense in starting the rebellion too soon.”

Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm and says, “Do you think they keep eight year old boys at the kennel?” She pauses for a second, “I’m terrible to say such a thing.” 

Vinnie’s dad says, “Not a bad idea. But I don’t think they do.” The both laugh.

At moment later, Vinnie arrives in the doorway holding Rupert in one hand and a box of doggie treats in his other hand. Dexter is at his side staring at the doggie treats wagging his tale thinking the family is going to take a walk in the park and he might see the cute toy poodle, his dog crush.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Hurry on to the car, Vinnie. Get in and get buckled so we’ll be set to leave as soon as Mom gets her purse and does a last minute check.” 

Vinnie’s mom takes hold of Vinnie’s dad’s hand, “Dear, this isn’t going to go well. You take it.”

Vinnie’s dad turns his head slightly toward Vinnie’s mom and whispers, “On second thought, I think you should handle it, you know how mothers are more nurturing and understanding than fathers.”

Vinnie’s mom whispers back, “Don’t label me with stereotypes.”

Vinnie’s dad whispers back, “You watched The View this week. I know it.”

“Only while I was running on the treadmill to keep my body beautiful for you. You know how I hate the news.”

Vinnie hollers from the SUV, “I got the best parents in the world.”

Vinnie’s mom and dad beam. Vinnie’s dad says, “Thank you, Vinnie. We try.”

Vinnie’s mom, a standard deviation more intuitive than Vinnie’s dad says, “What makes you say that, Vinnie?”

Vinnie doesn’t miss a beat. He says, “It’s going to be the best vacation ever. I get to take Rupert, my tablet, none of the books Mrs. Navis told us to read. And, most of all, I get to take Dexter. He can sleep with me on my bed, right Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom squeezes Vinnie’s dad’s hand and says, “Vinnie’s so sweet, Dear. What do you have to say?”

Vinnie Returns Wednesday 2/20

Vinnie Challenges His Dad to Eat the 72 Ounce Steak at The Big Steak House in Amarillo. Good Luck Vinnie, your mom is a vegetarian. LOL