Vinnie’s Mom Says, “I Think I’ll Have That Glass of Wine” LOL

3

It’s a bit past midnight, Vinnie’s mom and dad are  in bed. Vinnie’s mom stares at the digital clock on her bedside table. She reaches back and touches Vinnie’s Dad. She says, “Are you awake?”

Vinnie’s dad doesn’t respond.

Vinnie’s mom turns over and puts her mouth close to Vinnie’s dad’s ear and says a bit louder, “Are you awake?”

Vinnie’s dad struggles to open his eyes. He says, “Make me some coffee while I shower. I feel like I only slept a couple of hours.”

Vinnie’s moms says, “I haven’t slept. I’m worried. You have to help me.”

“What time is it? Do we need to talk about this now?”

“Un huh.”

Vinnie’s dad rolls onto his back, “Did I forget our anniversary? Maybe your birthday. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you. Is it still yesterday or is it tomorrow. If it’s tomorrow, I’ll make it up to you today.”

“We need to talk about Vinnie. I won’t be able to sleep until we’ve settled everything.”

Vinnie’s dad struggles to sit up. He adjusts his pillow behind his back. He tries to remember what a sensitive male is supposed to do in these situations. He says, “Do you need a glass of wine?”

“What are you talking about? I want to talk about Vinnie,” whispers Vinnie’s mom.

“You mean, Blackbeard the pirate?” chuckles Vinnie’s dad.

“It’s not funny. We both know Vinnie doesn’t do anything half way. He’s either all in or he’s out. Recall his detective agency? He and Joey were following Sara and her mother was hysterical.”

“I do remember, but he made our neighborhood safe,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“You’re walking on egg shells. You need to be serious. I will keep you up all night,” says Vinnie’s mom indignantly.

“Help me, I’m confused,” pleads Vinnie’s dad.

“I want you to take Vinnie to work with you. Maybe he’ll start think about being a lawyer or he’ll get some other ideas. At least he won’t be near Joey’s mom.”

“Martha is a nice woman. Sure she’s a bit crude, doesn’t eat the right foods, let’s Joey do what he wants, but she has a good heart.”

“Don’t get me started on Martha. When are you going to tell Vinnie, he’s going to have Mrs. Mavis as his 4th grade teacher?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“I thought that was your job,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I had to take the phone call. Now, you have to deliver the message. Maybe tomorrow when you boys go to work together.”

“Can I tell Rupert and tell him to tell Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s dad. Then he adds, “When I wake up can I check my calendar to see what I have scheduled for today. It is today, right? I might have to postpone talking to him until my calendar clears.”

Before Vinnie’s mom can respond the sound of bangs, and bongs and a howling beagle. Then the scream of an 8 year old boy, “Best one yet, Dexter. Let’s check the damage.”

Vinnie’s mom and dad are out of bed slipping on their robes. Vinnie’s mom reaches the bedroom door first. She peeks into the hallway. She looks toward Vinnie’s room. It’s quiet and dark. She looks toward the living room and kitchen, all the lights are on. Both parents hustle down the hallway, they walk into the living room. Every pan in the kitchen is stack on top of one another. Vinnie has a rope around the base. Rupert is sitting next to him. Dexter is lying on the floor on the other side of Vinnie.

Vinnie says, “Countdown to demolition, three, two, one.” He yanks the rope, the tower of pans falls sounding like a multi car pileup on the highway. 

“Vincent!”

Vinnie turns around, “Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. I changed my mind about being a pirate. I’m going to work with explosives. Is there a camp I can go to this summer?”

Vinnie’s mom turns to Vinnie’s dad, “I think I’ll have that glass of wine.”


Vinnie Tells His Mom He Already Knows All the Bad Words – LOL

2

Later that night Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s dad, Vinnie, Rupert and Dexter are in the living room watching the Secret Lives of Pets. Vinnie is sitting on the floor with his back braced against the sofa. Rupert is on his lap facing the TV. Dexter is next to him saying Beagle prayers Vinnie shares some of his popcorn with him. 

“Mom, how many times have we seen this movie? I know the lines by heart. Why can’t we watch something good that only adults watch?” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom sets her iPhone on her lap. She says, “You requested the movie. Don’t complain.”

Vinnie half turns his head, “That’s not right, Mom. Rupert asked you if we could watch it. You didn’t ask me or Dexter. Dexter told me he wanted to watch one of the shows you and Dad watch when you put me to bed. If the show is bad for me, why isn’t bad for you?”

Vinnie’s dad takes his attention away from his iPad and turns his attention toward Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s mom gives Vinnie’s dad a ‘Don’t you dare look.’ She says, “There are often words in the movie that young children shouldn’t hear. We’re only trying to protect you.”

“I already know all the bad words, Mom.”

“You do? Where did you hear them? Dad and I don’t use them. I’m sure Mrs. Mavis didn’t use them. Did she? Tell me, Vinnie. Did Mrs. Mavis ever use bad words with you?”

“I could tell she was thinking them, Mom. She didn’t say any. Sometimes Pete the custodian uses them when he accidentally spills something or hits his finger with a hammer. I learned most of the bad words from Joey’s mom and dad. Joey’s mom uses them all the time. Sometimes when she’s talking to Joey’s dad all they use are bad words. I memorized them. I made a list in my notebook so I can use them when I am officially allowed to use them. Want me tell you want they are. I think I know some bad words you don’t know.”

“No, Vincent. I don’t want to know them. I don’t want to ever hear you say them.”

“Mom, if I don’t tell you what they are, how will you know what they are? asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom mutters, “I’m beginning to understand my phone call today.”

“What phone call, Mom. Who called? What did they say? Did they same some bad words you didn’t know were bad words, Mom? You should have asked Rupert, he’s smarter than you. Right, Rupert?”

Vinnie picks Rupert up. He lifts Rupert over his head so Rupert is facing Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie uses his falsetto voice for Rupert, “I was born smart, Mom. I’m too smart for Mensa.”

Vinnie’s mom turns to Vinnie’s dad. “I need some help here.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “You’re doing just fine.”

Vinnie’s mom knows this is the right moment to tell Vinnie the bad news. Then she wonders if there will ever be a good moment. She tries to change the subject, “Vinnie, what do you think of attending the science discovery camp at the university. I hear it is lots of fun.”

Vinnie sets Rupert down in the bowl of popcorn. He turns to face his mom. In turning, the popcorn and Rupert tumble over in front of Dexter. Dexter knows in this moment that a beagle’s life is the best life. He’s up on all fours consuming his gift, the spilled popcorn.

Vinnie says, “Where’d you hear that, Mom? Larry went to it last year. He  said it was  boring. They didn’t do any fun stuff.”

“Of course they did fun stuff, Vinnie. That’s what summer science camps are all about. Science is your favorite subject.”

“Not any more, Mom. Joey’s mom told me I’m a free spirit. What’s a free spirit, Mom? Mom, how come Joey’s mom is as skinny as you and she eats real pizza and cake and cookies.”

Vinnie’s mom says to Vinnie’s dad, “You take the free spirit question, I’ll take the food question.”

“Do I have to?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad gets the don’t play games with me look and says, “Vinnie, what is your favorite subject?”

Vinnie lifts Rupert and turns Rupert to face Vinnie’s dad. Rupert says, “I don’t think they teach it at school.”

“Well, maybe they don’t teach it in 3rd grade, but you’ll be in 4th grade. There will be more options because you’re older,” says Vinnie’s dad puffing up like he made a great closing statement in court.

Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm, “You think you were great, wait five seconds.”

Vinnie pulls Rupert down. “I can handle this, Buddy.” Vinnie twists and looks at his dad. “Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up. Can I go to a summer camp that will help me be what I want to be?”

Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm and says, “Be careful.”

Vinnie’s dad is still puffed up from his previous response. He says, “Sure.”

“You asked for it,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Dad, I want to be a pirate.”

“A pirate?”

“Yes, Dad. I need to learn how to sail a boat, sword fight, and plunder. I’ll need a patch for my right eye and a bandana to wear on my head. Joey and Larry and me already talked about. You won’t have to pay for college since pirates don’t need school. The first thing, I’m gonna do is make Mrs. Mavis walk the plank. You’re the greatest, Dad.”

“You’re the greatest, okay,” says Vinnie’s mom to Vinnie’s dad.


Vinnie’s On Summer Recess – His Poor Mom

1

Vinnie’s mom’s cell phone rings. She picks it up, checks the caller ID, and a shiver of anxiety runs through her body. It’s from Kennedy Elementary School. Vinnie’s in the yard playing with his buds, Joey and Larry. School let out yesterday for summer recess. Something’s wrong, what could it be? Vinnie’s home. Vinnie’s Mom’s mind within a millisecond computes two-hundred and fifty probabilities. 

Vinnie’s mom touches the accept call icon. “Hello?”

“How are you, Mrs. Ricci? Do you have a moment?” says Doctor Cashman, school principal.

“It’s no bother. How can I help you, Doctor Cashman?” answers Vinnie’s mom as she steels herself for the bad news.

“It’s about Vincent and his 4th grade room assignment.”

Vinnie’s mom internal warning system flashes red alert, red alert, red alert. She says, “Are you calling every parent and telling them who their child’s teacher will be next fall?”

“Oh no. I thought you could use the summer months to prepare Vincent to have a successful school year with his 4th grade teacher. After all, he’s 4th grade president. You must be so proud.”

“There’s something you’re not telling me, Doctor Cashman. The only time you called during the past school year was when Vinnie was in trouble. He’s on summer recess, now. He’s in the yard with Joey and Larry,” says Vinnie’s mom. Suddenly a surge of fear rushes through her and she wonders if the three boys rode their bikes to school and got in trouble. She covers the iPhone mic and hurries to the back window. A rush of relief gushes over her. The boys are shooting baskets.

“I have some good news for you, Mrs. Ricci. Vincent will have one of our best teachers as his 4th grade teacher.”

Vinnie’s mom picks up a tremor of nervousness in Doctor Cashman’s voice. She says, “Who, and it better not be Mrs. Mavis.”

“I didn’t choose the teachers and the class roster. It was all done by computer and the selections were random. Vincent will still have his friends Joseph and Lawrence with him. He’ll be a year older and more mature. Isn’t it exciting, you’ll see how much more Vincent has grown.”

Vinnie’s mom doesn’t stop to think. She blurts out, “Oh, dear God, no. You have to do something. It is not right. Vinnie will not be happy.” 

“My hands are tied. If we made an exception for you, we’d have to make an exception for everyone,” says Doctor Cashman.

Vinnie’s mom wants to strangle her phone. She says, “If you made exceptions for everyone, Mrs. Mavis won’t have any students. Admit it. You can make the change. I don’t believe your hands are tied. You’re the principal.”  

“I don’t like your attitude, Mrs. Ricci. I’m only following school board policy.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath. She tries to picture a peaceful mountain lake, but it doesn’t come into focus. She says, “I don’t care if it is a school board policy. You know what’s going to happen when they see each other.”

“Mrs. Mavis isn’t happy either. She told me she won’t be able to sleep all summer knowing she will have Vincent in class in the fall.” 

Vinnie’s mom answers, “I don’t care if she’s not happy, she’s an adult.”

“I am only paying you a courtesy, Mrs. Ricci. I hope you and Mr. Ricci will help Vincent to have a positive attitude about being with Mrs. Mavis in 4th grade.

“We’ll do our best to make sure Vinnie has a positive attitude when school begins. My husbands a lawyer and he will not be happy. Please make a note of my protest,” answers Vinnie’s mom.

“Don’t threaten me with Mr. Ricci. I know he is a lawyer for the mob. I even heard he’s their mouthpiece,” stammers Doctor Cashman.

Vinnie’s mom raises her voice, “That is not correct. I don’t care where you heard it. My husband is not a mouthpiece for the mob.”

“Vinnie told Mrs. Rokowski, my secretary. And, on the day when the children were to tell the class what their parents did for work, Vincent told his class, that his father only handles mob cases,” Doctor Cashman says with a bit of I got you in her voice.

“Vinnie says a lot a things. He has a vivid imagination. It’s not true,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie, Joey, and Larry come in the house and head toward the refrigerator. Dexter follows close behind. Dexter’s beagle instincts knows three boys on summer recess it’s like being in beagle heaven, there will food all day long.

Vinnie sees his mom staring at her iPhone. He says, “Want me show you how to do snapchat?”



“I Demand A Recount,” says Vinnie’s Teacher

33

Lunch time at Kennedy Elementary School. Doctor Cashman sits behind her desk. Mrs. Mavis Mavis, Lori Swift, the counselor, and Mark Doolittle, the assistant principal sit in a semi-circle in front of her desk. Doctor Cashman ordered sandwiches from Ponti’s Deli for the meeting.

Doctor Cashman says, “Mrs. Mavis, I can’t arbitrarily say Vinnie didn’t get elected fair and square.”

“You have to. He’ll destroy the school. He doesn’t deserve to be president. He’s the worse student in the school,” argues Mrs. Mavis.

Lori Swift says, “I know you and Vinnie don’t get along, Mavis. But he’s far from the worse student in school. He’s polite. His achievement scores are in the upper one percent.”

Mrs. Mavis huffs and puffs like the big bad wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story and says, “Vincent has you fooled. Oh, he can be charming and sweet, but underneath he’s out to get us.”

“Mark Doolittle says, “It’s been a stressful year for you Mavis. Everything alright at home?”

Before Mrs. Mavis explodes at Mark Doolittle, Doctor Cashman steps in, “What was the final vote for President of the third grade when you count the ballots from the three third grade classrooms?”

Mrs. Mavis says, “Vincent barely won if you only count the legitimate ballots.”

Lori Swift jumps in, “I did the recount for all the grades and Vinnie had 67 votes, Tommy had no votes, and Megan had two votes. I think Tommy voted for her.”

Mrs. Mavis says, “That’s reason enough to make Megan 4th grade president because Tommy is a gentleman and he always raises his hand. Tommy would know who would make a good class president.”

“Mavis, 3rd grade is always difficult, even for the best teachers, like you. May I suggest switching to another grade next year. The computer will assign you a random class and one that does not have third graders,” says Doctor Cashman.

Mrs. Mavis puts her hand to her chin and ponders the suggestion. She says, “Change might be good. I don’t want to have that Vincent creature in my class next year.”

Mark Doolittle blurts, “There’s only a very slim to none chance that is going to happen. There is only a 6.67 chance of you having Vinnie in class again. Great odds.

“How do you do that, Mark?” asks Lori.

“I got an A in third grade in math,” says Mark proudly.

“Okay. I’ll do it. When will we know the class assignments and rosters, Mark?” asks Mrs. Mavis.

Mark Doolittle glances toward Dr. Cashman who nods. He says, “We’ll have it all worked out by the first of August.”

Doctor Cashman checks the time and says, “Mavis, after lunch I’m going to announce the results of the elections for grades four and five. Let’s all brace ourselves. We know how Vinnie will react. Let him get his energy out. Please don’t send him to the office for being excited.”

“Can I put him in timeout for the rest of the day?” asks Mrs. Mavis.

“Mavis, try to enjoy Vinnie’s excitement,” says Lori Swift

“If he’s ever elected president of the US, it’s your fault for not stopping it now. At least I won’t have to worry about him next year.”

Vinnie’s mom stands on the sidewalk in front of the Johnson’s house holding Rupert against her chest. Dexter is sniffing around on the Johnson’s grass. The three women are standing twenty feet in front of Vinnie’s mom all talking at the same time and occasionally turning back toward her.

Vinnie’s mom strokes Rupert’s head, “Rupert, what if Vinnie lost? He’ll be heartbroken.”

Vinnie’s mom puts Rupert between her two hands and stretches her arms with Rupert facing her. She uses her falsetto voice for Rupert, “No chance, Mom. Vinnie’s going to win.”

“What if Mrs. Mavis takes it away from him.”

Rupert says, “Tell Dad to threaten a lawsuit.”

“You are so smart, Rupert. Here comes the bus. Keep your finger’s crossed. I mean your paw crossed.”

“How about my front legs, Mom?”

The school bus flashes it’s orange lights and comes to a stop switching to flashing red lights. The bus door opens. Vinnie leaps out. He screams, “I won. I won. I won.”

The kids on the bus start chanting, “Vinnie! Vinnie! Vinnie!”

Vinnie turns back toward the bus and bows. He hollers, “Thanks, it’s gonna be the best fourth grade ever.”

The three mothers are shaking their heads. They involuntarily move closer to curb not know where Vinnie is going to run on his way up the street. 

Vinnie turns toward home, gets down in the set stance of an Olympic 100 meter champion and hollers, “On your mark, get set, go!” He races forward, arms flailing, fists pumping, heading straight toward the three women. Their amusement turns to terror as Vinnie heads on a collision course straight toward them. At the last second he veers to his left leaps over the small picket fence onto old Mrs. Crandall’s lawn. 

Mrs. Crandall is standing on her porch holding onto a walker for support. Vinnie yells, “Mrs. Crandall I won. I’m 4th grade president.”

“Atta boy, Vinnie. Watch out for my rose bush.”

Vinnie hurdles the rose bush with ease. He crosses the Johnson’s lawn and dives head first toward Dexter who patiently knows all this is coming. As long as the backpack makes it, Dexter is cool.

Vinnie’s outstretched arms wrap around Dexter’s neck. He says, “Safe at home, Dexter. Maybe next time.” He glance up, “Mom, I won.”

She says, “I heard.”

VINNIE RETURNS MONDAY, JULY 30

Vinnie Causes A Scene When He Gives His Speech

32

Vinnie’s mom unconsciously closes her eyes and rubs her temples. A long moment later she opens her eyes, Vinnie’s not at the breakfast bar. The ding, ding on the microwave goes off. Vinnie’s mom turns around, “Vincent!”

“I thought you were doing one of the yoga things to get your center or something, Mom. I’m starving. Look, most of my hummus is gone,” says Vinnie taking a bean and cheese burrito out of the microwave. Dexter is standing next to Vinnie wondering if he is going to get more hummus or a second course.

Vinnie puts the bean and cheese burrito on a plate and carries it to the breakfast bar. He sits on his stool. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s stool. Vinnie takes a bite of the burrito, “Mmmm, this is so good. It’s almost as good as your hummus, Mom.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Dexter and thinks, I wish you could talk like Rupert, Dexter.

“What’s so funny, Mom?” asks Vinnie.

“Nothing. I thought of something, that’s all. Now, before you take another bite, tell me what happened or I will read the email.”

“Okay, Mom.” Vinnie takes a gulp of apple juice, swirls it in his mouth, swallows it, and clears his throat. He gets off his stool and steps back a pace. “It went like this, Mom. Mrs. Navis said, ‘Okay, Vincent, it’s your turn. I’m listening.’ I said, ‘Thank you, Mrs. Mavis.’ I stood up and asked Mrs. Mavis if Joey could stand near me because he is my campaign manager. Mrs. Navis said, ‘I suppose so, but no funny stuff.’ I walked to the front of the class. Joey stood next to me. I touched Joey on the shoulder and he said, “Put your hands together for Vinnie.” The class started clapping, then I said, ‘Who you gonna vote for?’ the whole class except for Tommy and Megan and Mrs. Mavis said, ‘Vinnie.’ Mrs. Mavis said, ‘That’s enough class. Joseph sit down. Vincent, give your speech why you should be elected student President of the 4th grade.’ I turned toward Mrs. Mavis and smiled and made a slight bow. The kids started laughing. I turned back toward the class and started my speech, Mom. That was about it. Can I finish my burrito and go to Joey’s house?”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Do you think I was born last weekend? I want to hear all of it.”

Vinnie says, “Do you want Rupert to rub your temples first?”

“I can rub my own temples, Vinnie. Now, start talking.”

“Okay. I began my speech this way, “You all know my name so I don’t have to introduce myself like the two teacher pets.”

“Oh, dear. What did Mrs. Mavis do?”

“I heard her take a deep breath but I talked before she could stop me. I said, if you elect me president I’m going to ask Doctor Cashman to make sure we get a good teacher in 4th grade.’ Mrs. Mavis said, ‘Vincent, that’s enough, sit down.’ Then she said to the class. Be responsible when you vote tomorrow. Choose someone who is not always in trouble and who will work with her teacher.’ I said, “That’s not fair Mrs. Mavis, you’re favoring Megan. Mrs. Mavis said, “Time out, Vincent.” I went to the timeout desk and had to stay there until 3rd grade lunch.”

“Is that all?” says Vinnie’s mom knowing there has to be more.

“Un, uh.”

“Let’s hear it, Vinnie.”

“When the 3rd grade class went to lunch. I waited until almost everybody was done eating and sitting at their tables until the end of lunch bell rang. All the teachers were sitting at their table at the back of the lunch room. Mrs. Neary, the teacher’s aide was with us in the cafeteria. She is very cool. When Mrs. Neary was at the far end of the lunch room, I climbed on my table and hollered, “I’m Vinnie and I want to be 4th Grade president. I’ll be the best president ever. I’ll ask Doctor Cashman to put ice cream on the lunch menu. I’ll ask her to make recess ten minutes longer.’ That’s all I got to say before Mrs. Mavis got to our table. I got off the table before she asked me because I know she was going to ask me to get off the table. That’s pretty smart, right, Mom?”

“What did Mrs. Mavis do?”

“Before she said anything, I said, “I’m on my way to the office, Mrs. Mavis.” I got up from my seat and started walking to the office and the whole 3rd grade started saying, Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie.” I think they would have kept on going, but Mrs. Mavis very meanly said, “Stop this instant. I mean stop.” I don’t know what else she said because I met Pete the custodian in the hallway and asked him if he needed help. He let me help him empty the trash cans in the boy’s restroom. I didn’t want to go straight to the office. Besides, Mrs. Mavis didn’t tell me to go straight to the office.”

Vinnie’s mom wonders where she should begin. There are so many starting places. She starts laughing. Vinnie says, “What are you laughing at, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom knows she is laughing at her desire to ask Rupert where to begin. She says, “I’m picturing the scene. If it was on television, I think it might be funny. But it’s real, Vinnie. You can’t act like this, you’ll always get in trouble.”

Vinnie, innocently, says, “Didn’t you tell Dad during the last election, ‘Sometimes you got to cause trouble to make things change. I think I’m going to get elected tomorrow, Mom.”

“Oh, dear.”33


Vinnie Asks His Mom If She Really Wants to Know What Happened ~ LOL

31

Vinnie’s mom closes her laptop. She does not want the temptation to check her emails. While she’s folding the laptop, Vinnie sticks his finger into the hummus and pulls out a large gob. He drops his right hand down by his side. The ever alert Dexter understands what Vinnie is doing. This scene often plays out each time Vinnie doesn’t like his food. Dexter, Vinnie’s accomplice, is all over Vinnie’s finger like flies over food at a family picnic. Within seconds Vinnie’s finger is cleaner than at any time during the day.

Vinnie’s mom turns her attention back to Vinnie. She notices the gob of missing hummus. “I am so happy you tried the hummus, Vinnie. It’s so good for you.”

Vinnie smiles at his mom. He says, “You’re a good cook, Mom. You always make healthy things to eat.”

“Thank you, Vinnie. Now tell about the rest of the day.”

“If I told you everything, you might be bored. I’ll tell you about the important parts. During the announcements, Doctor Cashman said school elections for next year are going to be tomorrow. Duh. Everybody knows that. When she was finished, I raised my hand. Mrs. Mavis, didn’t call on me. I thought she didn’t see me. So, I said, ‘Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.'”

“How many times did you really say her name, Vinnie?”

“About a hundred before she finally called on me.”

“What did she say?”

“She said, “Vincent, go to time out. I know what you are going to ask. I am not telling you when we are having speeches, you’ll have to wait.”

“Did you ask, why?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Yah, Mom. How did you know? You didn’t read her email, did you?” asks an alarmed Vinnie. Vinnie adds, “I asked politely. I said, ‘Why, Mrs. Mavis? Why do I have to go to time out? Why won’t you tell us when we are going to give our speeches?”

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

“She said, “Vincent, go to the office.”

“Well, what happened next?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“On the way to the office, I stopped and helped Pete the custodian empty the trashcan in the boy’s room. Then Pete and I walked to the office. He was giving me some advice.”

“What advice was Pete giving you?”

“Pete told me school is only a couple of weeks to go and I can do it standing on my head.”

“That’s good advice, Vinnie. What happened in the office?” 

“When I went in the office I saw Mrs. Nokowski, she said, ‘Hi Vinnie. Want a tootsie pop?’ I said yes, and I said, ‘Do I have to see Doctor Cashman?’ Mrs. Nokowski said, ‘You’re lucky, Vinnie. Doctor Cashman is at the superintendent’s office.’ I said, “Is Doctor Cashman in trouble. I bet she’s going to get fired.” Mrs. Nokowski laughed and said, “I don’t think so.’ She reached in her desk and pulled out a pass for me to go back to class. She already has a stack ready for me. It saves her time.”

“Vincent, how often are you sent to the office? Why hasn’t anyone told me about this?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Nothing to worry about, Mom. Mrs. Nokowski says she thinks I should be paid because I spend so much time in the office. Honest, I really don’t do anything bad. I don’t hit anybody. I don’t throw things at anybody except on the bus when Joey and Larry and me sometimes have paper fights.”

Vinnie’s mom is trying to think of something to say. Before she can string three words together Vinnie says, “I went back to class and Mrs. Mavis was beginning the speeches. She looked at me and I smiled and gave her the pass from Mrs. Nokowski. She said, ‘Very well, Vincent. Sit down and be quiet. You’ll have your turn after Tommy and Megan. I went to my seat and Megan started hollering.”

“Why was Megan hollering?”

“She said I was mouthing the words, ‘Vote for me.'”

“Were you?”

“Yes. I sat down and Mrs. Mavis gave me one of her crow looks.”

“That’s not nice, Vincent. Be respectful.”

“I am, Mom. But when she looks over the edge of her glasses and pushes her head forward to stare at you she reminds me of an old crow. Rupert agrees with me.”

“Go on,” says Vinnie’s mom thinking the email must be really bad.

“Tommy said, “Elect me President of the 4th grade because I’m really, really smart and I will do smart things.” It was pathetic, Mom. Then Megan got up and said, “Elect me because I pay attention and never get in trouble like some other people in class. We don’t need a President who is always in the office.” I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop from getting in trouble.”

“Very good, Vinnie. What happened next.”

“You sure you want to hear it?”




Vinnie Puts a Spin on His School Day

30

Vinnie takes a long sip of apple juice. He says, “Mom, can Dexter have my hummus if I get to eat a bean burrito?” 

Dexter hears his name. He’s on auto pilot. He places himself in the ready position to receive a generous position. He’s sitting on his haunches, his head tilted toward the potential source of food, and his tongue is hanging out in case a few crumbs drop his way.

“Vinnie. We’ll talk about that later, now, tell me about your school day.”

“This is how it went, Mom. First, I’m going to get elected in a landslide because everybody loved my speech. Can I have my bean and cheese burrito, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom fears the worse. She knows Vinnie is beating around the bush, make it a whole forest, and he doesn’t want to tell her what really happened in school. She says, “No. You did not tell me what happened in school. Why don’t you start when you went into your classroom.”

“That’s good, Mom. You don’t want to know what happened in the hallway before I got to my classroom. Well as soon as I . . .”

“Hold on one second, Vinnie. What happened before you went in the classroom?”

“Can I get Rupert so he can tell you?”

“Rupert wasn’t there, he wouldn’t know. He was with me all day,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Rupert knows these things, Mom. He’s the smartest creature on Earth.”

“I know Rupert is very smart, but I want to hear it from you, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom silently congratulating herself on how she is handling Vinnie. She’s thinking Rupert is rubbing off on me.

“Darn. Okay, Mom. When I got off the bus I went inside school. Joey and Larry were with me. Joey’s mom bought a large bag of small candy bars and the three of us were giving them to everybody saying, ‘Vote for Vinnie.’ Mrs. Mavis saw us and started walking toward us. We ran outside and waited for the next bus to come. When Mrs. Mavis saw us, she started to come outside and we ran to school door way down by the office. We went inside and walked toward the classroom handing out the rest of the candy bars and we went inside the room. We were sitting in our seats when Mrs. Mavis came in the room.”

“What did Mrs. Mavis do?” asks Vinnie’s mom hoping Vinnie doesn’t notice her right eye twitching.

“Mrs. Mavis said, ‘What were your boys doing in the hallway and why did you run away from me?’ I jumped up to answer because I know Joey and Larry would spill their guts, so I said, ‘We weren’t running from you Mrs. Mavis. We didn’t even know you wanted us. We were doing a test.”

“What did Mrs. Mavis say to your nonsense?” asks Vinnie’s mom. 

“She said, ‘What kind of test.’ I said, ‘We wanted to see if it was quicker to get to the classroom by going in the office door or if it is quicker going in the door where the school bus stops. We love your classroom, Mrs. Mavis, that’s why we wanted to get to class early.”

“Did she believe you? You know you weren’t telling Mrs. Mavis the truth,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I know, Mom. I’ll tell Father Pete when I go to confession. So, it’s okay. Don’t tell Sister Janet. She’ll make a Federal case out of it.”

“Go on,” insists Vinnie’s mom.

“Mrs. Mavis said, ‘I know you boys were up to something, but I can’t put my finger on it. But, I will find out.”

“I sat down and didn’t say anything. I looked back at Larry and Joey and I thought they were going to crack up laughing. Good thing Mrs. Mavis didn’t see them.”

Vinnie’s mom turns her head to the email announcement chime on her laptop. She touches the keypad.

Vinnie’s says, “You promised not to read it until I finished. I still got a lot more to tell you.”

“Oh, dear,” says Vinnie’s mom.