Vinnie’s Mom Needs Caffeine

15

Vinnie’s mom returns after a fifteen minute absence. She’s carrying Starbucks’s largest coffee drink. Vinnie’s dad says, “You didn’t say you were going to Starbucks. I could go for a coffee.”

Vinnie’s mom doesn’t answer. She sits down at the table, places the coffee in front of her, wraps two hands around it and says, “Is the game over?”

Before Vinnie can answer, Vinnie’s dad says, “Can I have a sip, please?”

Vinnie’s mom carefully slides the to go cup to Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad says, “Are you okay?”

Vinnie’s mom nods. She says almost trancelike, “I’m ready to continue.”

Vinnie’s dad takes a sip, “OMG. This is strong. Did you add a shot of espresso in here.”

“It has four shots of espresso, Dear. Now pass it back. I need all the caffeine I can get to help me through this game.”

“Mom, can I have a sip?” asks Vinnie.

“No, you may not.”

“Why not, Mom? You don’t have to answer because I want to get to the next question. When you and dad die where will Rupert and Dexter and me live?”

Vinnie’s mom takes a long sip of her coffee. Vinnie’s dad taps his iPhone and says, “Hey, Siri, whats the life expectancy of a healthy thirty-five year old male?”

“No fair using your iPhone, Dad. You just lost some points,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Dad and I are going to live a long time and you’ll be on your own by the time we die. You’ll have your own family.”

Vinnie says, “But, Mom. You and Dad are my family. I don’t want to live with your mom and dad because their house always stinks of garlic. I don’t want to live with Dad’s mom and dad because they’re always watching CNN. Can Rupert and Dexter and me live with Joey and his mom? She lets Joey do anything he wants. Why can’t I do anything I want? This is part two.”

Vinnie’s mom takes another sip of her drink, “Dear, why don’t you take part two. I took part one.”

Vinnie’s dad gives Vinnie a bewildered look, “I’m not sure I understand the question, Vinnie. I heard two questions. Did you want to know if you could live with Joey’s mom if we died? Or, did you want to know why you can’t do anything you want?”

Vinnie turns to the side and whispers in Rupert’s ear. He pulls Rupert’s mouth close to his ear. Vinnie nods his head three times. Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s forearm and whispers, “What is Rupert saying?” Vinnie’s dad breaks into hysterical laughter. Vinnie’s mom starts laughing, tears streak down her cheeks.

Vinnie finishes his conversation with Rupert. He looks at his mom. He says, “Is this an adult joke kids don’t understand?”

Vinnie’s mom shakes her head yes, wipes tears out of her eyes, and takes a Kleenex to blow her nose. She takes another long sip of coffee. She says, “I’m ready.”

Vinnie says, “Rupert says it’s your choice. He’s hoping you choose the first one because he gave me a follow up question. If I were you, Dad I’d take the second question it’s the easiest one. Which one you taking, Dad, the first one or the second one?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “I think you”re trying to trick me. I’ll take the first question.”

“You sure, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

“I’m sure. I’m ready with a great answer.”

“Okay, Dad. Why can’t I do anything I want?”

“Wait a minute, Vinnie, that’s the second question, not the first.”

“Rupert told me to switch them around so the second question was the first question and the first question was the second question.”

Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm. “Are you beginning to see what’s it like to be home alone with Vinnie? Maybe you’ll understand my need for the spa.”

VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY WITH AN EMBARRASSING QUESTION

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Vinnie’s Game – Vinnie’s Mom Feels A Migrane Coming On

2

The family sits at the dinning room table. Vinnie’s mom fills a bowl with low salt popcorn. Vinnie’s dad goes to the pantry and brings a bag of Mexican chips to the table. Vinnie stands in front of an open refrigerator door before deciding to fetch a jar of salsa and two raw hot dogs. He carries them to the kitchen counter, opens a cabinet door and takes a small plate for the hot dogs and a small bowl for Fruit Loops, his go to high sugary cereal he eats in place of candy. Vinnie breaks the hot dogs into small pieces and places the pieces on a plate. He sets the dish with the hot dogs on the floor. Dexter correctly assumes it’s snack time and consumes the two dogs in fifteen point one seconds a new PR. Vinnie picks Dexter’s plate off the floor, examines it. Feels its clean and puts it back in the cabinet. He says, “Dexter, you’re better than the dishwasher.”

Dexter sits on his haunches, cocks his head slightly, believes he did something good but he doesn’t know what it was, and expects a reward. Dexter’s dog brain is still trying to understand the human mind.

Vinnie carries the Fruit Loops to the table, places the dish on the table and sits down. I’m ready. I’ll go first. He picks up his cards and says, “I get to exchange one card with Mom and two with Dad. Then you guys can exchange a card.”

“That’s not how you play, Vincent. And, you are not going to a whole bowl of Fruit Loops. You know how I feel about sugary cereal, anyway.”

“But Mom, Gramma bought them for me, so you can’t throw them away.”

“When they’re gone, they’re gone and don’t you go asking Gramma to buy you sugary cereals.”

“I didn’t, Mom. I was talking to Rupert and she overheard me saying I was hungry for Fruit Loops. And, why can’t we exchange cards? Why, Mom? Why?”

“Because we are going to play the way the game was designed to be played, Vincent. It will be good for you to play by the rules. It’s what adults have to do to be successful in life.”

“Can I pass out the cards, Mom?”

“Okay. First, I’ll slide out one card from the characters, one from the room, and another from the murder weapon and put them in the case. See, I didn’t look at them. Before I pass the cards out, can I guess?”

“Dear, I warned you how this would turn out. I’m afraid it’s going to be worse than I imagined. I feel a migrane coming on,” says Vinnie’s mom to his dad.

Vinnie’s dad smiles, “Vinnie, pass out the cards. You can’t possible know who is on the cards in the case. I shuffled the cards. Mom and I watched you. You didn’t peek. If we look, we’ll have to do it all over again.”

“I still know. I am so sure I know. Please don’t look at your cards. I want to guess the murderer and the room and the weapon. Then we can play the game I invented.”

Vinnie’s dad answers for Vinnie’s mom who is pressing the palms of her hands against her temples. “Vinnie, you can’t guess until you’re in a room. We haven’t started playing yet, so you’re not in a room.”

Vinnie moves the yellow piece representing Colonel Mustard to the library, “I’m in a room, can I guess now, Dad?”

“Vincent, either you play right or you can’t play,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“But I don’t want anybody to look at their cards until I guess. I want to show you how smart I am,” says Vinnie.

“You know you don’t know,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“If I can’t play you won’t have enough players to play unless you use Rupert. He’s very smart and will probably win,” answers Vinnie. 

“Dear, will you get this game started so we can get it finished. I’m already worn out and no one has rolled the dice,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad picks up Vinnie’s yellow piece and moves it back to the starting place. He says, “Mom will go first, you will go second, Vinnie, and I will go third. I will be Professor Plum, Mom will be Miss Scarlet, and Vinnie, you’ll be Colonel Mustard.”

“Dad. Dad. Dad,” says Vinnie waving his arm as if he is in school.

“What, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s dad with a hint of weariness in his voice.

“Mom can’t be Miss Scarlet. She has to be Mrs. Peacock because Miss Scarlett isn’t married and Mom is married,” says Vinnie.

“One can only wish,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s Game ~ Vinnie Makes Up His Own Rules

1

There is no such thing as global warming. There is no such thing as global warming. There is no such thing as global warming, Vinnie’s dad repeats over and over again. Vinnie’s dad stands staring out the window as the rain shows no signs of relenting. Five days straight and it pours and pours and pours. 

“You’re not going to make it stop raining, dear, by standing at the window and chanting,” hollers Vinnie’s mom from the study.

“It can’t hurt,” Vinnie’s dad calls back.

“Dad’s right. In the book I’m reading, a wizard chanted and tossed a magic potion in the air and winter turned into summer,” yells Vinnie from his bedroom.

“Are you reading now, Vinnie?” asks his mom.

“No, mom. I’m drawing pictures of Mrs. Navis to give to my classmates on Monday.”

“Vincent, don’t you dare. Throw all those drawing away this instant,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Why, Mom? Under each picture I’m writing, teacher of the year. I think she’ll be happy. And, she’s smiling in each drawing. Remember, you told me you thought I could be an artist?”

“Yes, I remember what I said, but some people, especially teachers can be very sensitive. She may take it the wrong way,” hollers Vinnie’s Mom from the study. “Promise me you’ll toss them away.”

“Why, Mom? What if I cross out the word, worse from before teacher of the year on each picture?” asks Vinnie sincerely.

“OMG,” screams Vinnie’s mom.

“What if we all play a board game,” suggests Vinnie’s dad. 

“I’m in. What are we going to play? Can we play Battleship?” hollers Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom jumps in, “No. I can’t take the sound effects you make, Vincent.”

“I only make them when I sink your ship, Mom. Since Dad is going to play with us, I can make them when I sink his ships too.”

“No,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“No,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“How about Clue, Dad? I already know Colonel Mustard did it,” says Vinnie.

“How can you know Colonel Mustard did it when we have started playing?” says Vinnie’s mom with an edge to her voice.

“Dear, you’re getting upset over nothing,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom hollers from the study, “You know how family board games go. They always start out as a good idea, but they end up differently.”

“I love board games, Mom. We have lots of fun. Remember when we played Monopoly last week and I put six hotels on my property?” says Vinnie.

“That’s the whole point, you can’t put six hotels on your property. You’re only allowed to put one hotel on your property,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“But, Mom. That’s only right when you play by the rules. I like to make my own rules. Don’t you think my rules are better than the game rules? That’s what I told Mrs. Navis.”

“You didn’t!” shouted Vinnie’s mom.

“Vinnie has a point, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Rupert, when I told Mrs. Navis I wanted to play by different rules than classroom rules, she sent me to the counselor. Don’t tell Mom,” says Vinnie to his stuffed grizzly bear.

“You’re always taking his side,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Thanks, Dad. I’ll get the Clue game. 

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?”

Vinnie’s World Returns on Monday

Loveable 8 year old Vinnie sees the world much different from him parents viewpoint.

Vinnie Returns on Monday, November 26th.

Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie Can’t Help But Being Cool

11

My Gramps was telling Mom one time somethings stay with you all your life. I think this is one of those things. I knew it was all over as soon as Dr. Crossman sent Billy into the office. Billy was going to crack faster than an egg when my mom makes my dad his Sunday omelet. When Billy walked into the office, I thought I could hear him crying. The door closed behind Billy. Dr. Crossman stayed in the hallway staring at my beautiful drawing. I had to think fast. Since I am too smart for my own good, my mind traveled faster than the rocket roller coaster at the amusement park.

 I figured the office secretary probably put handcuffs on Billy and was threatening to call the police. Strangely, Dr. Crossman was still studying the drawing. She flips it over, probably looking for a clue as to who drew it. I wonder if she wants me to sign it. It might be famous one day. She can take it on the Antiques Road Show and have it appraised. It is a genuine Vinnie.

I decide it’s time to make my get away. I take a deep breath and walk past her. As I’m walking past her I I say, “I hope you had a nice day, Dr. Crossman. If no one told you, you look very nice.” Some day I’ll learn to keep quiet and not try to be so cool. 

Dr. Crossman glances up from the drawing. She says, “Vincent, you’re William’s best friend if I’m not mistaken.”

I answer, “Oh, he has lots of friends. I wouldn’t say I’m his best friend. I’m Rupert’s best friend. Rupert is home schooled.”

Dr. Crossman points a finger at me, “You know what I mean. In my office, Vincent.”

I’ll spare you the details. Billy cried and cried. It was pathetic. He didn’t even hold out for one minute. He said I drew the picture and showed it to him and asked him if wanted to drop it by the office door. I knew if I told Dr. Crossman the truth, she wouldn’t believe me. So I didn’t tell her Billy wanted to drop the drawing. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Dr. Crossman said, “I’m going to call your mother, Vincent.”

I said, “She’s having a conference with Mrs. Navis. You probably don’t want to bother her.”

Dr. Crossman left Billy and me in her office. She kept her door open and told the secretary Olga Patterson to check on us. Ms. Patterson looks like she could play football for the Patriots. Nobody messes with her. She really runs the school. Twenty minutes later, although it seemed like two hours, Dr. Crossman, Mrs. Navis, and Mom come into the principal’s office. Dr. Crossman tells Billy to go home. She tells him she is going to email his mother. Billy starts crying again. 

I don’t want to go into the gory details. How would you feel if you were eight years old and you had three old adults taking turns picking on you? Here’s a sample of what went on. Doctor Cross sits behind her desk. I sit in a chair in front of her desk. Mom sits in a chair to my right and Mrs. Navis sits in a chair to my left. I am surrounded with no chance for escape.

Dr. Crossman has my drawing on her desk. She is staring at it. I almost start laughing. I bite the inside of my cheeks to stop from laughing. Doctor Crossman looks at me and says, “Vincent, blah, blah, blah and blah.”

Mom and Mrs. Navis nod their heads. They agree with every blah, blah, and blah Dr. Crossman said.

Mrs. Navis takes her turn. She turns to Mom, “Vincent is too smart. He blah, blah and blahs and blahs.”

Mom agrees with Mrs. Navis and Dr. Crossman and blah blah and blahs back to them. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. I keep nodding my head, saying I’m sorry, and promising to try harder. I sit on my hands so they couldn’t see I was keeping my fingers crossed. I’m hoping by the time I get home, Mom will calm down enough to be reasonable. When everyone is finished working me over, Mom marches me out to the car. I get in the passenger side and buckle my seat belt. I didn’t want to take any chances she might be tempted to toss me out the door.

When Mom gets in the car, she buckles her seat belt and turns to me, “Not one word. Not one single word.”

I let her start the car and pull out of the school parking lot. Then she starts up, again. “Vincent. You failed your math test. You made fun of Dr. Crossman. When Dad comes home the three of us are going to have a very serious talk about school.”

I didn’t want to get ground up again. I say, “Mom, Dad works so hard every day. Don’t ruin his day. I’m sorry. I promise to study harder. I will get a hundred on the next math test.”

Mom says, “You’ll do better than that. There is no tablet, no Playstation, no playtime with Joey when you come home until I see lots of improvement. And, I want a promise, no more drawing of Doctor Crossman or any other teacher. Do I hear a promise and no fingers crossed. Don’t think I didn’t notice you sitting on your hands in Doctor Crossman’s office. I knew what you were doing.”

“I promise, Mom,” I said. I showed her my uncrossed fingers, but I crossed my toes at the same time. You might wonder what lessons I learned from all of this. I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s too bad parents don’t remember how boring school was when they went to school. I’m in third grade. I have nine more years of school. Then it’s four years of college. Mom and Dad are already talking about graduate schools for me. I can’t wrap my head around it. All I want to do is ride my skateboard, play football and basketball with my friends, and play Mind Craft on my tablet. 

As for Billy, he’s still my friend. I’m not mad at him. If Doctor Crossman hadn’t come out of the office right after Billy dropped my drawing, it would have worked. I’ll think of something else, but it will have to wait until everyone forgets about today. 

As for today, I’ll go home, do all my math homework and study my spelling words. I’ll try a lot harder. When you’re getting all A’s parents forget about the other stuff. I know Mom will be watching me and she’ll check every answer. She’s really a nice Mom. I’ll ask her if I can go to Joey’s after I finish. I think she’ll say yes. I’m lucky to have Mom and Dad.