Christmas Eve – Not a Creature was Stirring . . . Only Vinnie

22

Vinnie’s Mom and Dad sit on the sofa each with a glass of wine staring at the glowing logs in fireplace. Christmas carols softly play in the background. The Christmas tree lights dimly light the living room. 

Vinnie’s mom squeezes Vinnie’s dad’s hand, “We made it, dear. There were moments today when I wasn’t sure I could hold it together.”

Vinnie’s dad raises his glass toward Vinnie’s mom, “To you, dear. The house is beautiful. How does the poem go, ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . .’

“Mom! Dad! Mom! Dad!”

“You spoke too soon, dear. Will you check on Vinnie and see what’s bothering him. I don’t think I handle it,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“Never mind, Mom, Dad. I’ve got it,” Vinnie hollers from his bedroom.

“Dear, please check on Vinnie. Whenever he says, ‘I’ve got it,’ something dreadful happens,” whispers Vinnie’s mom resting her head against Vinnie’s dad shoulder.

“What could he be up to? I don’t want him to spoil to the moment. The Christmas lights, the Christmas music, the crackling of the wood in the fireplace, it’s all so good,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Yah,” sighs Vinnie’s mom.

A moment later, Vinnie races in the living room, Dexter follows hoping food is at the end of this game. Vinnie’s carrying the fire extinguisher. He comes to a sliding halt in front of the fireplace. 

“No, Vinnie, no,” hollers his mom.

“Vinnie, don’t spray the extinguisher,” hollers his dad.

Dexter barks.

Vinnie pulls the fire extinguisher trigger and a white cloud fills the fireplace. The Christmas tree lights go out. The kitchen lights go out. Vinnie yells, “I can’t see. Am I going blind?”

Vinnie’s dad scoops Vinnie up, “Let go of the fire extinguisher, Vinnie. You’re okay.”

“Dad, Dad, Dad fix the electricity for Santa. He’ll be here any minute. I’ve been tracking him on my tablet. He just left Peru and is heading toward toward Panama. Santa moves fast, Dad.”

“Who’s going to clean up this mess?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I’ve got it,” says Vinnie’s dad immediately regretting his choice of words.

Vinnie’s dad set Vinnie on the sofa next to his mom. Vinnie’s mom pulls a soft blanket around Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie, didn’t you know those are electric logs? Dad got them at the after Christmas sales last Christmas.”

“I forgot, Mom. I was afraid Santa was going to come down the chimney and get burned up in the fire. I had to protect Santa. You understand, Mom. Right, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom rubs Vinnie’s head, “I understand my first responder. You did what you thought was the right thing to do. The lights are back on. I think Dad fixed it.”

“Boy, Mom. When I grow up I want to be just like Dad,” says Vinnie admiringly.

“I think you already are like, Dad,” says Vinnie’s mom. Then she silently utters, “Dear Lord, why oh why?”

Vinnie’s dad has a sponge mop in hand, he stops cleaning and comes over to the sofa. “I heard Mom call you her first responder. Give me a high five and fist bump my man. Come and help me finish. You know what Santa told me in his email?”

“What, Dad, what?” 

“Santa said he’s not going to stop until we are all asleep. Make sure the cookies are far enough away from the edge of the table so Dexter won’t get them. The same with the glass of milk. Now, off to bed.”

“I’m on it, Dad. Can I give Dexter a cookie after I pick out all the chocolate chips.

“No,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“It’s Christmas Eve, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Okay, but only one,” says Vinnie’s mom.

A minute later from the kitchen, “One cookie for Santa, one for you Dexter, and one for me. If you give me your chocolate chips, I’ll give you my cookie, Dexter.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep sigh and says to Vinnie’s dad, “What’s he going to be like when he’s a teenager?”

Advertisements

Vinnie’s Mom Tells Vinnie to Drop It

19

“I did good, huh, Mom, huh,” says Vinnie.

“You were amazing. Sister Janet told me after it was over that you helped Eileen, Alice, and Lori with their wisemen line.”

“I told Sister Janet you can’t have girls playing wisemen, Mom. Me and Tommy and Larry would have done a better job.”

“I disagree with you, Vinnie. A girl can play one of the wisemen just as well as the boys,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad interrupts the conversation, “How about singing Christmas carols? We can stop by the coffee shop and get hot chocolate or something. It was a good night.”

“Dad, do you think Santa noticed I saved the living nativity scene?”

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Santa sees everything.”

“I guess he saw Eileen, Alice and Lori needed help from me. They probably won’t get many presents this year because they didn’t know their lines, right, Mom?”

“Drop it, Vincent,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Drop what, Mom? I’m not holding anything. Are you talking to Dad? He’s not holding anything, either.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Let’s not talk about the living nativity any more. Let’s sing a Christmas carol. I like Silent Night.”

“Mom? Mom? Mom?”

“I wish today were Christmas,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“I don’t, Mom.”

“Why’s that, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Dear, did you have to open that door?”

“What door, Mom? You’re not supposed to open the car door when the car is moving. Did you know that? Mom, what if there was a bad guy in here with a gun and the car was moving could I open the door then and jump out, could I, Mom?”

“Dear, can you drive a little faster?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“You don’t want Dad to get a ticket, do you Mom? I hope Santa didn’t hear you. Do you think Santa heard Mom, Dad?”

Vinnie’s dad glances at Vinnie’s mom and smiles, “Santa hears every word, Vinnie.”

“Don’t take his side. You boys always stick together,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie starts laughing.

“What are you laughing at, Vincent?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“That’s what I always say about girls, Mom. That was funny. Can we sing Santa Claus is coming to Town?”

Vinnie’s mom and dad joined in the laughter. Vinnie starts the singing, “Here comes Sanity Clog. Here comes Sanity Clog. …”

“That’s not how it goes,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“I know, Mom. It’s how Joey and me sing it.”

“Oh, dear Lord, help me to get through Christmas,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie & Santa Share a Fist Bump

13

Vinnie and Rupert skids to a stop at the front of the line next to a mom carrying a baby in a papoose. She is holding on the hand of her three year old daughter. Vinnie looks up at the woman and says, “Can you please help me. My mom and me just got here and my mom says the line for Santa is too long. Mom’s had a terrible day, it all started when there was an explosion in the kitchen and her favorite glass angel her gramma gave her broke. Her day got worse after that. Can I please see Santa next. I promise I won’t be long. I only have a couple of things to say to him. Please? Please?”

The woman says, “Where’s your mom?”

Vinnie answers, “She’s in Starbucks getting her mobile order. See I’m waving to her. She can see me.”

“Is that your mom waving at you to come to her?”

Vinnie didn’t answer. Vinnie and Rupert scamper up the red carpet to Santa. Vinnie says, “Hi Santa. I think you need to take a break after my turn. I don’t want you to get worn out from seeing all these kids.”

Santa puts an arm around Vinnie and says, “What’s your name and who’s your friend?’

“I’m Vinnie and this is Rupert, Santa. He’s my best friend. I can tell him secrets and he won’t tell anybody.”

“I bet he won’t. It’s nice to have a friend you can trust. Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.”

Vinnie hands Santa his folded list. “You don’t have to read it now, Santa. You can read it tonight and send the order up to your elves. Everything on the list is important so don’t leave anything off.”

“I’ll do my best. Have you been good this year?”

“I’ve been better than good this year, Santa. My teacher, Mrs. Navis told me she was proud of me.”

“I bet you do very well in school if your teacher says that about you.”

“I can do better, but school is so boring. Was it boring for you, Santa?”

“Tell you the truth, Vinnie, the best part of school for me when I was your age was recess.”

“Me too. Can we fist bump, Santa?”

“Sure thing,” says Santa. He fist bumps Vinnie.

“One more thing, Santa. I have a nice letter I want to send to my teacher, Mrs. Navis. Can you mail it for me? I put your address on the envelop so she will think it comes from you. She’ll be happy when she reads it.”

“Did you sign my name on the letter, too?” asks Santa.

“Uh huh. That’s okay, isn’t it, Santa. I already put a stamp on it so you didn’t have to buy one.”

Santa holds the letter up to the light, then he puts it inside his pocket. “Your parents are lucky to have son like you, Vinnie. Not every boy will write a nice letter to their teacher and have it sent from Santa.”

“My teacher says I’m too smart for my own good. That’s a compliment, right, Santa?”

Vinnie Doesn’t Play by the Rules

12

The line to see Santa wound around the Christmas tree, past Starbucks wrapping its way along the mall like a giant boa constrictor wraps its prey. Vinnie and his mom stood in line across from Starbucks. 

Vinnie tugs on his mom’s hand, “Mom, can you see Santa? How many more people in front of us? I can’t see him, Mom. Are any of his helpers here? I told you we should have left when I got up. Rupert agrees with me.

Vinnie’s mom glances down at Vinnie, “The line’s moving along pretty well. It won’t be long. Be patient, Vinnie.”

Vinnie let go of his mom’s hand and reaches inside his coat pocket. He pulls out a folded piece of paper and a small envelop. He unfolds the small paper and begins reading it aloud, “Dear Santa, I have been really, really, really good this year.”

Vinnie’s mom bends over and whispers, “Don’t read aloud, Vinnie. You don’t want everyone to know what you are going to ask Santa. What’s in the envelop.”

Vinnie looks up at his Mom. “You’re right, Mom. These kids will probably all be disappointed because they didn’t write a letter to hand to Santa. I don’t trust the Post Office to get the letter to Santa on time. If I wrote the letter in October it would probably reach him, but I wasn’t thinking about Christmas back then. I’m really smart to bring a letter to Santa, right, Mom?”

“What’s in the envelop, Vinnie?” asks his Mom.

“Oh, that. It’s nothing, Mom. It’s personal between Santa and Rupert,” says Vinnie.

“That’s so nice of Rupert to write Santa a letter,” says his Mom.

Vinnie’s mom was staring into Starbucks. Vinnie says, “Mom, text dad and tell him to get you a coffee or one of those drinks you like with whipped cream.”

“I can’t, Vinnie. Dad is off to another shopping area to buy me a present for Christmas.”

“Mom, I told him not to go to Home Depot. I don’t know if he listened to me. I’ll be okay in line. Why don’t you mobile order? Your drink will be ready before you know it. You’ll hardly be away from me. You can watch me from inside.”

“I don’t know, Vinnie. I don’t want to leave you alone.”

“Mom, there are police all around. Besides you can see me. And, I have Rupert with me. I’ll be okay.”

Vinnie’s mom stares into Starbucks. She smells the fragrant aroma of coffee, and says, “I could really use a cup of coffee. Promise you’ll stay in line?”

“Promise, Mom. I promise I will stay in the Santa line. If I finish with Santa before you get your coffee I’ll come right to Starbucks.”

“I’m not going to take my eyes off you. I’ll be watching you every second,” says Vinnie’s mom taking out her iPhone, tapping the Starbucks app to place a mobile order. “I’ll only be a minute.”

Vinnie waves to his mom as she walks into Starbucks. He lifts Rupert to his mouth and says, “Rupert, this is our chance. I’ve got to see Santa before he takes a break. I don’t want to see him when he’s tired. Besides, he’s probably waiting for me. Santa knows everything. I bet he is the smartest person on Earth.”

Vinnie takes a last look at his Mom. She’s standing by the mobile order counter. He waves to her. She waves back. Vinnie says, “Rupert, it’s time to see Santa.”

Vinnie glances toward his mom, sees her picking up her mobile order. He turns, steps out of line and starts running toward the front of the line. Rupert goes right along with him.

“It’s Santa time, Rupert. Like Dad always says, sometimes you got to break the rules.”

Vinnie Discovers the Truth About Santa

9

5 o’clock Tuesday morning, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse, except for Vinnie, Dexter, and Rupert. Vinnie tosses off the covers, they land on Dexter who is sleeping on Vinnie’s bed. Dexter looks like a mole trying to find a way of out of an underground maze. Vinnie jumps off the bed, snatches Rupert, and pulls up his jammy bottoms. He glances back at his bed and suppresses a laugh when he sees Dexter worming his way through the covers. He frees Dexter. Dexter jumps off the bed anticipating an early breakfast before the real breakfast.

Vinnie holds Rupert out in front of him. He says, “Rupert, today’s the day I am going to see Santa. I want to make sure we’re not late.” 

Vinnie turns back toward Dexter, “Too bad you can’t come with us, Dexter. I’ll put in a good word for you. Santa loves all animals.”

Dexter smiles, wags his tail, and translates Vinnie’s words to say, “Dexter, I’m going to give you all the left over pizza.” Some things are lost in translation.

Vinnie opens his bedroom door and walks into the hallway connecting the guest bedroom, the guest bathroom, his bedroom, and his mom and dad’s bedroom. He opens the guest bedroom and walks in the room. Dexter follows. Vinnie closes the door and flicks on the light. He turns his head toward Rupert, “Linda said parents hide the presents in the guest bedroom. Dexter, you check under the bed. Me and Rupert will check the closet.”

Two minutes later Vinnie emerges from the closet. Dexter is lying on the floor waiting for something to happen. Vinnie says, “Linda’s in big trouble when I tell Santa she doesn’t believe in him. I’m going to tell him to give her worms or beetles. There are no presents in the guest bedroom, Rupert. There really is a Santa. This proves it. Let’s go wake up Mom and Dad. I don’t want them to oversleep today. It’s only a few more days until Christmas. I’ve got to see Santa or Christmas will be ruined.”

Dexter becomes disoriented when Vinnie opens his parents bedroom door instead of heading to the kitchen. He barks to signal Vinnie he’s taken the wrong turn. Vinnie flicks the switch to the overhead light and hollers, “Wake up Mom. Time to get up, Dad.”

Vinnie’s mom sits up, a startled look on her face, “What’s wrong, Vinnie? Did you have a nightmare?”

Vinnie’s dad reaches over to the end table and grabs hold of his iPhone and checks the time, “It’s five oh four. What are you doing out of bed?”

“We’ve got to get up and get ready to see Santa. You know how long it takes you to get ready to go shopping, Mom. As for Dad, he’ll start working on his laptop and we’ll have to pull it away from him. Come on, Dad. Do you want Dexter to lick your face?”

“Make him go back to bed,” Vinnie’s dad begs.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to get up. Rupert and me will make breakfast. I’ll call you when it’s ready. That way you can get a little more sleep.”

Dexter’s thinking, did Vinnie mention breakfast? Dexter barks twice.

Before Vinnie’s mom can speak, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter are out of the bedroom and on their way to the kitchen. 

Vinnie holds Rupert in front of him. He says, “What are we going to make for breakfast, Rupert?”

Vinnie uses his special fake voice for Rupert. Rupert answers in a high pitch squeaky voice, “Let’s make pop tarts and cover them with peanut butter. We can stick Fruit Loops on the peanut butter.”

“Great idea, Rupert. When you grow up, you might be a famous chef.”

Dexter barks. Vinnie glances at Dexter. He says, “I forgot all about you, Dexter. I’ll give you a special breakfast and microwave the sausages Dad loves to eat when he doesn’t work. He won’t mind because he’s too excited about going to see Santa.”

In the bedroom, Vinnie’s mom says, “Dear, do you think it’s safe to let Vinnie alone in kitchen?”

Vinnie’s dad pulls the pillow off of his head and says, “What could go wrong?”