Vinnie Wrote the First Paragraph. Is a Rewrite Coming? LOL


Vinnie comes running out of his bedroom brandishing his notebook in his right hand and holding on to Rupert with his left hand. Dexter follows at a beagle gallop, which isn’t fast, after all, he’s not chasing a squirrel, and there is no smell of food. 

“Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad,” hollers Vinnie.

“What’s wrong, Vinnie? What happened?” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom coming out of the study to meet Vinnie in the hallway.

“I wrote the first paragraph to my story, Mom. Can I read it to you and dad. I know you’re going to love it. It was like, my best writing ever. I could write the ending because I know I’ll be elected on Friday, but it’s better to wait, right, Mom?” says Vinnie coming to stop near his mom.

Vinnie’s dad gets caught up with action at the tail end. He says, “The games not over, how do you know how it will end?”

Vinnie and Vinnie’s mom look at Vinnie’s dad and simultaneously says, “Huh?”

Thirty minutes later, after the last five minutes of the basketball game, because that’s how long the last five minutes lasts in a professional basketball game, Vinnie and his parents sit at the dining room table. Rupert sits on the dining room table to Vinnie’s right, Dexter lies on the floor underneath the table at Vinnie’s feet. Dexter does not know what is going on because humans are not supposed to sit at the dining room table without food.

Dexter’s anxiety is lowered when Vinnie says, “Before I start reading, Mom, can I make a bean and cheese wrap? I’m hungry.”

Dexter perks up, he understands the word hungry because Vinnie is always asking him, “Are you hungry, Dexter?” What usually follows this question is Dexter wagging his tail, lifting his right paw to shake, and receiving a food reward.

Vinnie’s mom answers, “No, you may have an apple with peanut butter on it if you’re hungry. We’re going to eat in an hour. I’m making vegetarian chili and I don’t want you to spoil your appetite.”

“But, Mom,” protests Vinnie, “It’s not real chili, you only call it chili.”

“Dad loves it, don’t you, Dear?” says Vinnie’s mom. “Dear, please put your phone away. Did you hear me?”

Vinnie’s dad looks up from his iPhone, “Do I have to? I was checking on the baseball scores. You know baseball and basketball seasons overlap at the end of the basketball season.” 

Vinnie’s mom gives Vinnie’s dad a look. He turns his iPhone upside down on the dining room table. “Is that better?”

“Are your notifications turned off?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom busted you, Dad. Good one, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad picks up his iPhone and turns off notifications. He turns it face down on the table. “Okay, Vinnie, I’m ready to hear your paragraph. Dear, what’s for dinner?”

Vinnie and Rupert watch the interplay between Vinnie’s mom and dad. Dexter is on his haunches waiting for Vinnie to get his snack. 

Vinnie’s mom points the index finger and middle finger of her right hand toward her eyes. She says to Vinnie’s dad, “Look right here, do not look anyplace else. Concentrate. We’re having vegetarian chili and you love it. It’s one of your favorite meals.”

Vinnie’s dad is having a hard time concentrating and holding his attention on Vinnie’s mom’s eyes. He knows this is important. He’s trying to come up a good way to answer her question. He thinks he has the perfect answer, “It’s the best vegetarian chili ever. I think you should make a YouTube video on how you make it. It could go viral.”

Vinnie says, “Dad, you should have stopped at ‘It’s the best vegetarian chili ever.’ Rupert can’t wait to hear me read my story again. He’s already heard my first paragraph ten times.”

Vinnie mom says, “Just tell me one thing before you begin, Vinnie. Please do not mention Mrs. Navis in your story.”

“Mom, it’s not true but it’s true, it’s all about my election. I promise I will not mention Mrs. Navis.”

“I’m satisfied. Let’s hear the first paragraph to your story.” 

Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie’s dad, “You can quit staring at me. Pay attention to Vinnie.”


Vinnie Wants to Use His Dad’s Credit Card to Buy TV Time – LOL


Joey and Larry went home. Vinnie’s remains in his room talking election strategy with Rupert and Dexter. Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie’s dad are sitting on the sofa. Vinnie’s dad is holding the remote in his left hand, the arm and hand furthest away from Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s mom stares blankly at at large screen TV with men in shorts running back and forth with a small ball. Sometimes they bounce it, sometimes they pass it to another man, and other times they throw the ball in the air at a piece of wire with netting hanging down from it.

Vinnie’s mom says, “When are we going to talk?”


“You’re avoiding a difficult conversation,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“About what?” says Vinnie’s dad staring at the basketball game.

“Dear God, we need to talk about Vinnie. You know, he’s our son,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Look at this play. Here’s the rerun. Watch how Davis goes to the hoop,” says Vinnie’s dad.

From the bedroom, “Hey, Dad?”

“What, Vinnie?”

“Can I use your credit card to buy TV time. Okay?” asks Vinnie.

“Un huh.”

Vinnie’s mom jumps up and grabs the remote out of Vinnie’s dad’s hand. She points it at the TV and turns the TV off. 

“What’d you do that for? Is it time to eat?” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Do you know what you allowed Vinnie to do?”

“Did he ask me if he could go to Joey’s for a half hour?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“No, he asked you if he could use your credit card to buy TV time to run for fourth grade grade class president.”

“He wouldn’t?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“From the bedroom, “Is it okay if I call WGBT TV and ask them to send a team to talk to me and Joey and Larry and Rupert and Dexter after school on Monday?”

“Whose phone are you using, Vinnie?”

“Your phone, Dad. Why?”

Vinnie’s mom and dad are off the sofa and racing toward Vinnie’s bedroom. Vinnie’s dad twists the door nob and pushes the door. “The door seems stuck,” says Vinnie’s dad to Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Vincent, get away from the door or you are in the biggest trouble ever.”

“Do I have to, Mom?” asks Vinnie.


Vinnie says, “First, should I press 1 to report a crime, 2 to hear the weather, 3 to connect to the newsroom? Three’s a good choice, right, Mom?”

“Three, two,  . . .” Vinnie’s mom’s countdown to big trouble ends when Vinnie moves away from the door.

Vinnie’s dad opens the door. Vinnie’s mom and dad stare into Vinnie’s room. Sheets of paper are strewn over the bed, over the floor, and stuck to the wall with tape. Dexter has a paper wrap around his body. The wrap reads on one side, VOTE. On the other side, VINNIE.

“Vincent, where is Dad’s credit card?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Which one, Mom?”

Vinnie’s Big Plans When He’s Elected 4th Grade President


Sunday afternoon. Vinnie’s dad sits on the sofa with a bag of corn chips between his legs, and a beer bottle on the coffee table next to a bowl of salsa. He is watching one of the endless basketball playoff games. 

Vinnie’s mom is sitting next to Vinnie’s dad, she has her MacBook on her lap watching YouTube videos. She glances up at the screen, “How much longer is the game? Why don’t we take a ride to Morales State Park and walk around the lake loop? It’s only a forty minute drive. The fresh air and exercise will do us all good.”

Vinnie’s dad dips a large corn chip into the salsa bowl, his eyes never leaving the TV screen. He says, “This is the crucial third game of this playoff series.”

“Who’s playing?” asks Vinnie’s mom without looking up from her YouTube  video.

“Two really good NBA teams,” says Vinnie’s dad sticking the salsa load chip into his mouth.

“You don’t know who’s playing, do you? Admit it,” says Vinnie’s mom setting her laptop aside, standing up and moving in front of Vinnie’s dad blocking his view of the TV.

“I do too. Move aside, this could the crucial play,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad moves side to side to see around Vinnie’s mom. She moves with him. She says, “How much longer will it be until the crucial game of the teams whose names you do not know will be over.”

“The game just started,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom grabs the remote and clicks off the TV. 

“Why did you do that?” asks Vinnie’s dad. 

“All you need to see is the last two minutes,” says Vinnie’s mom.

From the kitchen, “Mom’s right, Dad. Mom, is it okay if Joey and Larry come over and so we can plan my strategy to win the election this week?”

Dexter races out of the kitchen and skids to a stop in front of Vinnie. He doesn’t see or smell anything remotely resembling food. He lifts his head up toward Vinnie, beagle disappointment showing on his face.

Vinnie’s mom turns and looks toward the kitchen. Behind Vinnie is the shorter, dark hair over his ears Joey. Behind Joey is the burr cut taller Larry. 

Larry waves, “Hi Mrs. Ricci.”

Joey walks in to the living room, “Can I have a chip, Mr. Ricci. Who’s winning?”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Hello, boys. Yes, Vinnie you can have your strategy meeting in your room. Dad’s all through with his chips, why don’t you take them with you.” She turns toward Vinnie’s dad, “We really need to talk. It’s only the first quarter.”

“Can it wait?” asks Vinnie’s dad already knowing the answer.

Vinnie walks in to the living room, Dexter follows him. Vinnie grabs hold of the chips from between his dad’s legs, a few chips spill on to the tile. Dexter, the canine vacuum cleans up.

Vinnie says, “Let’s go guys. I got some other good stuff stashed away.”

The three boys pass through the living room.

Vinnie’s mom calls out, “What good stuff, Vincent?”

“You know, Mom. Healthy stuff like carrots and celery and apples. Only it’s not carrots and celery and apples. Don’t bother us, this is a top secret meeting.”

Vinnie’s mom watches Vinnie open his bedroom door. Vinnie followed by Joey who’s followed by Larry who’s followed by Dexter enter the bedroom.

Vinnie’s dad says, “What are you staring at? The boys and Dexter went into the bedroom. Can we talk so I can watch my game?”

Vinnie’s mom begins counting down, “Ten, nine, eight, seven …”

The door to Vinnie’s bedroom opens a crack. She whispers, “Vinnie’s checking to see if the coast is clear. He’ll make a run for the refrigerator with Dexter in the next five seconds.”

“I doubt it,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“One, two, three . . . There is he goes.”

“I was counting on the left over pizza for the second half of the game,” moans Vinnie’s dad.

“There goes the pizza, the jar of salsa, the cup of guacamole, a box of ice cream sandwiches, and your tofu beef jerky,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Not my tofu beef jerky? I was saving that for the next game.”

Thirty minutes later, the door to bedroom cracks open, “Mom?

“Yes, Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Rupert is my campaign manager. Rupert thinks before summer vacation I’ll be in charge of the whole school.”

Joey hollers from the bedroom, “Yah, Vinnie’s going to let work us with Pete the janitor and not go to class.”

Larry hollers from the bedroom, “We’re going to fire Mrs. Navis.”

Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie’s mom. “We really have to talk.”

“I’m Not a Mouthpiece for the Mob,” says Vinnie’s Dad


Vinnie’s mom tosses the covers off and gets out of bed. She asks Alexa to turn on the smart light, reaches for her robe, slips it on and cinches the belt around her waist. Before she can take a step toward the bedroom door, the patter of six feet run by her door, Vinnie’s two feet and Dexter’s four feet. Vinnie’s mom turns back toward the bed, “Are you coming with me?”

Vinnie’s dad looks toward Vinnie’s mom with his eyes half closed. He says, “You can handle it. I have great confidence in you. Do you mind asking Alexa to shut the light before you go?”

“I feel like I’m a hall monitor at a freshman dorm at college,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“That’s a good feeling, right?” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad turns on his side, pulls the blankets over his head, and presses the pillow on top of the blankets against his head. 

Vinnie’s mom says, “Alexa, play the top rap songs.”

The Echo device comes alive with the top rap songs and illicit lyrics fill the room. Vinnie’s dad bolts straight up as if he were stuck with an electric prod. “Please tell that thing to stop. I’ll go with with you. Promise,” pleads Vinnie’s dad.

A moment later Vinnie’s mom and dad enter Vinnie’s room. Vinnie is sitting up in his bed eating pizza and writing on his note pad. Dexter is licking a clean plate. Vinnie looks up at his mom and dad.

“Want to hear my brilliant idea for my story? I’m only going to turn an outline in on Monday because I don’t have to turn in the whole story until Friday. I’m sure Mrs. Mavis will approve,” says Vinnie taking a bite of pizza.

“Vincent, it’s the middle of the night. You are to be asleep. Who said you could have pizza?” asks Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s dad stands groggily behind her.

Vinnie picks up Rupert and faces Rupert toward his mom. “Hi Mom,” says Rupert. “Vinnie always thinks better when he isn’t hungry. I knew you wouldn’t mind.”

“I do mind, Rupert,” says Vinnie’s mom. 

Vinnie’s dad taps Vinnie’s mom on the shoulder. Vinnie’s mom around toward Vinnie’s dad, “What?”

“Do you know you’re talking to a stuffed grizzly bear?”

Vinnie interrupts his parents, “I’m not going to be a detective. I’m not going to write a detective story.”

Vinnie’s mom and dad both turn and look at Vinnie. Vinnie’s mom says, “You’re not?”

“No, Mom. Rupert and Dexter and me went on patrol on Mulberry Street at one this morning. It was boring. There was no crime and no sign of the mob. Thanks, Dad for the telling the mob to lay off our street.”

“Dear God, you didn’t go out of the house,” says an alarmed Vinnie’s mom.

“I’m not a mouthpiece for the mob,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Right, Dad,” says Vinnie winking at his dad. Vinnie adds, “It was okay, Mom. Rupert and Dexter won’t let anything happen to me,” says Vinnie.

“Say something,” Vinnie’s mom says to Vinnie’s dad.

“Uh, what’s your new idea, Vinnie?”

“St. Jude, patron of impossible cases, pray for me,” says Vinnie’s mom. 

“Ask him to pray for me too, Mom, because I’m running for class president. The election is Friday and I’m going to write about how I win the election. Rupert and Dexter are my campaign managers. I’m going to make Joey run for vice president because he’s easy to boss around,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Good idea. Finish your outline in the morning. You might get some more good ideas while you sleep.” Vinnie’s dad touches Vinnie’s mom on the shoulder, “Let’s go back to bed.”

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“What could go wrong?” asks Vinnie’s dad turning and walking out of Vinnie’s bedroom.

Vinnie’s mom tucks Vinnie in and kisses him on the forehead, “We’ll talk about it in the morning, Vinnie. Now go to sleep.”

Vinnie looks up at his mom, “Mom, when I’m class president you can’t kiss me.”


Vinnie’s Dad Reaches for the Remote – Bad Move

Friday evening, Vinnie’s in bed, he’s lying on his side, his right arm holds Rupert close to his chest. Once Vinnie’s mom does her final check on Vinnie, Dexter jumps onto the bed and curls up on the other side of Rupert. The house is quiet with the exception of a conversation in the living room between Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad reaches for the remote.

“We have to talk about Vinnie. He thinks he really is a private detective,” says Vinnie’s mom taking a sip of merlot.

“What harm can he do? Let it run it’s course. He’ll be on to something else by Sunday,” says Vinnie’s dad staring at the remote.

“I don’t care who’s playing. I don’t care if it is the most important sporting event of the century. No TV until we figure out what to do and your suggestion doesn’t cut it,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad recalls the last time Vinnie’s mom felt this strongly was when he wanted to buy a motorcycle and she called it a donor cycle and said if he bought it she quit cooking, doing laundry, and any activities Vinnie’s dad enjoyed. Vinnie’s dad learned his lesson. He says, “What could go wrong? I’m serious.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Okay, Mr. Mouthpiece for mob. How are you going to feel when Vinnie goes to school and tells everyone you work for the mob?”

“He wouldn’t?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“When we got home from having ice cream, Vinnie started writing his fiction story for school. He showed me the first paragraph. I told him he couldn’t use that angle. Of course, Vinnie asked, “Why, Mom. It’s a true story about Dad’s work.”

“What did he write?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“It went something like this, Louie, the mouthpiece for the mob, met with Frankie. Frankie wanted Louie to get him out on bail. Tony said he was innocent, he only killed Fred because Fred didn’t pay for his pizza.” Do you know a mouthpiece for the mob with the first name Louie? Or, how about a pizza maker with the first name Tony?”

“Uh, do you think it’s a coincidence that my name is Louis and my brother’s name is Mark and Mark owns a bar that sells pizza?”

“Are you serious? You know how he thinks. What I read was probably the best part of the story, wait until he really gets into it.”

“We can talk to him,” suggests Vinnie’s dad.

“You know what he’ll say, don’t you?”

“Uh, I’m not sure. Help me here,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“You really are clueless. Vinnie is eight years old and you can’t predict what he’ll say. Do you ever listen to anyone?”

“Uh, I try to listen to my clients, but I record the conversations in case I’m not listening and thinking of something else,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Well, Mr. Mouthpiece, this is what Vinnie will say when you ask him to write something different. He’ll say, ‘Dad, you need to talk to Rupert. He’s dictating the story to me. He’s the smartest person on the Earth. He knows what everybody else doesn’t know.'”

“Rupert’s a stuffed grizzly bear. He can’t be the smartest person in the world,” argues Vinnie’s dad.

“You want to tell Vinnie that Rupert is not real? I did and you know what Vinnie said to me?”


“Vinnie said, ‘Mom, you’re just jealous because Rupert’s smarter than you and Mensa asked him to talk at your next meeting on how to be smarter.'”

“You think Vinnie could help me with a case I’m working on,” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Oh for God’s sake watch your football game.”

“It’s a classic Super Bowl game. You remember the one between the Falcons and the Patriots. Want to watch it with me? I’ll pour you another glass of wine,” says Vinnie’s dad trying and failing to sound compassionate, considerate, and understanding.”

“I already know the outcome.”

“You do?”

“Dear Mary, what am I going to do with these two?”

Healthy Living ~ Invite a Friend for Lunch or Coffee

Strong, healthy relationships are important throughout your life. Your social ties with family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others impact your mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.“We can’t underestimate the power of a relationship in helping to promote well-being,” says NIH psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Valerie Maholmes. Studies have found that having a variety of social relationships may help reduce stress and heart-related risks. Strong social ties are even linked to a longer life. On the other hand, loneliness and social isolation are linked to poorer health, depression, and increased risk of early death.


Vinnie Asks His Mom, “Does Dad Finally Understand What, Mom?”


Vinnie’s dad says, “I’m going for a ten mile run. When I come back, we are going to talk about your detective agency, Vincent.”

Vinnie tilts his head a bit sideways and says, “Something bothering you, Dad? You usually only run three miles. Me and Joey can check out the mob if they’re bothering you.”

Vinnie’s mom pulls the throw pillow back over her face and a muffled sound that is a cross between a heavy metal band and hyaena filter through the cushion. 

“Why, why, why did I say it was okay to watch the Bogart movies? Somebody tell me why,” says Vinnie’s dad to no one.

“Dad, is this one of those questions you don’t want me to answer? If it isn’t I can tell you why? Dexter and Rupert were with me when you said we could watch them. You must be real old, Dad, because all the films are in black and white. Was that like a hundred years ago?”

More sound effects from behind the throw pillow.

“Oh, dear God, help me before I say something I regret,” mutters Vinnie’s dad.

“Mom usually prays to Mary. You want her to pray you’ll say the right things in court on Monday to protect the mob?” says Vinnie.

The throw pillow comes off Vinnie’s mom’s face and she stretches out on the sofa holding her belly, taking in large gulps of air, and tears streaking down her face.

“It’s not funny,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“What, Dad? Why is Mom laughing?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie, then he glances at Vinnie’s mom laughing hysterically barely staying on the sofa. He says, “I’ve got to run and run and run. He hurries to the front door, opens it, hollering over his shoulder, “I’ll be back when I finish my run.” 

Vinnie’s dad closes the door behind him and takes off as if he is running in finals for the Olympic 100 meter dash.

Vinnie’s mom regains control of herself. She says, “Vinnie, Dad’s going to come home with blisters on his feet, his good pants will need to go to the cleaners, and every muscle in his body will ache.”

“I know what we can do, Mom,” says Vinnie.

“I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to fill a pan with hot water and Epson Salts to soak his feet. I’ll chill a beer for him. I don’t know what else to do.”

“I do, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom wonders if Vinnie wants to talk to the mob for his dad. The thought is a spark trying to ignite her laughter button. She takes a chance, “What is your idea, Vinnie?”

“Let’s follow Dad in the SUV. He’ll be exhausted by the time he reaches 8th Avenue. We can give him a ride home and his feet won’t hurt much. He’d feel better if we stopped at Double Scoop for an ice cream, what do you think, Mom?”

Five minutes later a dark SUV pulls along side a tall, slender man with one hand holding onto a telephone pole. He’s bending over, gasping for breath. His shirt is wet with sweat. 

Vinnie’s mom lower’s the window, “Hey, Champ. I think you set the record for the  100 meters in dress shoes and suit pants.”

Vinnie’s dad twists his head toward the SUV. He takes in a deep breath and says, “You think so?”

Vinnie lowers his window from the rear seat, “Hurry in, Dad. We’re going to Double Scoop for ice cream. Does the mob own it?”

Vinnie’s mom lays her head against the steering wheel and starts laughing. 

Vinnie’s dad walks around the SUV to the passenger side door and opens it and slides in. 

Vinnie’s mom straightens up and says, “Do you finally understand?”

Vinnie’s dad gives Vinnie’s mom a quizzical look.

From the rear seat, “Understand what, Mom?”