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 Gets A Special Message From His Mom

11

“When are we leaving, Mom? Mom? Mom? Are you still mad at Rupert for breaking the angel? He didn’t mean it,” says Vinnie watching his mom make the bed.

Vinnie’s mom straightens up, turns around, and sits on the edge of the bed. She looks at Vinnie holding Rupert standing in the doorway to the bedroom. Dexter is sitting on floor behind Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie come here.”

Vinnie doesn’t move, “Are you mad at Rupert, Mom?”

“No, I’m not mad. I only want to hug you,” says Vinnie’s mom holding her arms outstretched.

Vinnie runs over and crashes into his mom almost knocking her back on the bed. Vinnie’s mom wraps her arms around Vinnie, then tussles his short dark hair with her hand. She moves Vinnie to arm’s length away keeping on hand on both his shoulders. She says, “You know how much the angel meant to me?”

“Yes, Mom. It was your favorite Christmas ornament.”

“I want you to tell me the truth, did Rupert break the angel?”

“Mom? Are you talking to Rupert or to me?” asks Vinnie.

“You, Vinnie. I’m talking to you.”

“Awe, Mom. Rupert told me he’d take the blame for me so you wouldn’t be mad at me. It was an accident, honest. When the sausages started exploding I was opening the macaroni and cheese box I was making you for breakfast and I jumped and threw the box and the box hit the angel and the angel started to tumble and I tried to catch it and I just missed it as it rolled off the table. That’s how it happened, Mom. Honest.”

Vinnie’s mom smiles, “Was that so bad to tell me the truth?”

“Are you mad at me, Mom?”

“No. It was an accident.”

“Why did I get sent to my room?”

“I needed time to get over my disappointment.”

“Are you over it, Mom?”

“The angel is only a thing. You’re more precious than a thousand Christmas angels.”

“I think Santa is going to be really good to you this year, Mom. I love you,” says Vinnie breaking loose from his mom’s grip and giving her a hug.

“When are we leaving for the mall, Mom. There’s going to be a big line for Santa.”

“I promise you’ll see Santa today. We may have to stand in line for a while, but we won’t leave until you see him.”

“Can Rupert come with me? Rupert loves Santa. Maybe Santa will bring Rupert a present this year. Santa forgot to bring him a present last year. I don’t want Santa to forget Dexter, either.”

Dexter hears his name and saunters into the bedroom expecting a treat for answering to his name. When he realizes there is no treat, he saunters back out and heads toward the kitchen, the source of happiness for him.

Vinnie Returns Tomorrow

8 Year Old Vinnie Tries to Snare Santa in His Plan ~ Come by tomorrow to see if Vinnie’s successful.

Vinnie Claims it Was Rupert’s Fault

10

Vinnie opens the freezer door. He sees a frozen pizza, frozen cauliflower, a Tupperware bowl of leftover macaroni and cheese, a box of tofu sausages, a box of turkey burgers, a large package of ten real Italian meatballs, and two boxes of real meat sausages. He squeezes Rupert and says, “Change of plans, Rupert. I’m going to have a microwave pizza. Dexter will have the two boxes of sausages Dad loves. I’ll microwave the mac and cheese for mom and the meatballs for dad. They’ll love it.” 

Vinnie took everything out and put it on the table. Dexter sat on his haunches next to Vinnie acting as if her were an apprentice chef. Rupert sat on the table, his back braced against a Christmas angel centerpiece. The centerpiece was special to his mom ever since she was a little girl. Her grandmother gave it to her the first Christmas she and Vinnie’s dad were married.

Vinnie’s mom calls out from the bedroom, “Vinnie, is everything okay?”

“I got this, Mom. It’s going to be the best breakfast ever.”

“You know Dad and I like coffee. Used the Keurig coffee maker. Fill it with water. Give dad the French roast and I’ll have the Christmas roast,” says his mom.

“Not to worry, Mom. Dexter’s on it,” says Vinnie.

Dexter barks.

“Don’t let Dexter near the food. You know he’s only supposed to eat dog food. The vet said Dexter was seven pounds overweight. I don’t understand since the only snacks he gets is if you have a little something left over from school.”

Vinnie hears his dad’s voice, “Vinnie will be okay. This is good for him. Let’s get another forty minutes sleep.”

Vinnie walks over to his Mom’s iPad. He opens it using her passcode. He looks for the music app. He finds her Christmas playlist. He taps shuffle and turns the volume up high. Bruce Springsteen belts out Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.

Vinnie hollers loud enough for the neighbors to hear, “Mom and Dad you hear what Bruce Springsteen said? He said ‘You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Can we go to see Santa right after breakfast? I want to be first in line because I have long list.”

“Vincent, it’s five fifteen. Santa is still sleeping. The store doesn’t open until 10. We’re not going until this afternoon,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie hollers back, “Can we talk about this?”

Vinnie’s dad hollers, “No.”

Vinnie speaks to Rupert and Dexter loud enough for his parents to hear him, “Adults get away with lots of stuff kids can’t do. I wish Mom and Dad were a lot more like you Rupert. You too, Dexter.”

From the bedroom, “Dear, please take the pillow off your head. You might suffocate.”

Vinnie empties two boxes of frozen sausages in the microwave. He glanced over his shoulder at Rupert, “How many minutes do you think I should do the sausages, Rupert?”

Rupert answers with Vinnie’s falsetto voice, “10 minutes. Dexter likes them well done.”

From the bedroom, Vinnie hears his mom’s voice, “Vinnie, who are you talking to?”

“Rupert, Mom. He’s learning how to cook by watching me,” says Vinnie. 

Vinnie’s mom shakes Vinnie’s dad’s shoulder, “Dear, we really need to get up. I’m worried.”

“What could go wrong? He’ll make cereal or toast. Please let me fall back to sleep,” groans Vinnie’s dad.

Five minutes later, a series of small explosions come from the kitchen. Vinnie’s mom grabs her rob and rushes out to the kitchen. His dad is not far behind. 

“Vincent, Vincent, are you. okay? What happened? What were those explosions?” asked his mom.

Vinnie peaked out from under the table. He was holding Rupert. “Watch out where you step, Mom. Rupert accidentally knocked over your favorite Christmas angel when the sausages I was microwaving for Dexter, I mean dad, exploded. I wanted to microwave them for 30 seconds but Rupert insisted ten minutes was better. Did you know sausages explode? Did I make a scientific discovery? Why are you looking at me that way? Mom, please don’t make me go back to my room. Santa is watching you.”

VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY – WHAT WILL HE SAY TO SANTA?

Vinnie Thinks His Dad Is Afraid of Sister Janet

8

“How did everything go at rehearsal, Vinnie?” asks his dad. “Well? You seem pretty quiet. What happened? You don’t look happy? Why the frown. Don’t tell me you are going to be the sheep again?” 

“Dad, I didn’t think it could get worse and it got worse,” says Vinnie shrugging his shoulders.

“What could be worse than being a sheep?” asks his dad.

“Dad?”

“What, Vinnie?”

“Can I say a word you might not want me to say? I don’t want to get in trouble with Santa and you, Dad.”

Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie, “Is it a curse word, Vinnie?”

“I don’t think so, but I think Mom might not like it if I went around saying it,” says Vinnie.

“You can tell me,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Promise not to tell Mom?” asks Vinnie.

“Promise,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I’m going to be a jackass,” says Vinnie and he starts laughing.

“A jackass? What do you mean, Vinnie?” asks his dad.

“Oh, Dad. I’m going to be the donkey. I have to lie on straw at the foot of the manger. How dumb is that?”

“That’s pretty dumb, Vinnie. I have to agree with you.”

“Will you tell Mom I don’t have to be in living nativity?” asks Vinnie

Vinnie’s dad pretends he’s concentrating on driving but he’s thinking about what he wants to say to Vinnie.

Vinnie interrupts his dad’s thoughts, “Dad you don’t have ask, Mom.”

“Thanks, Vinnie. Mom’s heart is set on you being in the Nativity. It’s only one night. I know it’s a lousy role, but suck it up. Santa will really appreciate it. I’ll email him and tell him you got stuck with a lousy role but you’re going to do it anyway.”

“Thanks, Dad. Dad?”

“What is it, Vinnie?”

“Will you also email Santa and tell him not to leave Sister Janet any presents. Put Mary Avery’s name on the list.”

“Why?”

“Because Sister Janet is mean. She’s meaner than the Murphy’s German Shepherd. And, Mary Avery stuck her tongue out at me. Besides, Sister Janet let Mary be Mary. If it were my choice, Mary would make a very good snake.”

“I don’t think there are snakes in a living nativity scene, Vinnie,” says his dad. 

“What about a cockroach?” suggests Vinnie.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cockroach in nativity scene,” says Vinnie’s dad wondering how long this will go on.

“I think I’ve seen a nightcrawler, Dad. I really think there was one at my feet when I was playing the sheep last year.”

“I remember that, Vinnie. Do you remember how that got you in trouble?” asks his Dad.

“Okay, so I dropped a gummy worm in front of Joanne.  She screamed. It was very funny.”

“Mary is not supposed to scream in the living nativity scene, Vinnie.”

“Oh.”

“Will you tell Sister Janet to change the roles? I want to play a wiseman because I am very smart.”

“No, I’m not going to tell Sister Janet anything,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Are you afraid of Sister Janet, Dad? I didn’t think you were afraid of anyone.”

“There’s Mom waiting for us?” says Vinnie’s dad trying to change the subject.

“Well, Dad?’

“Yes,” says his dad.

“Yes, what, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

“Yes, I’m afraid of Sister Janet.”

Vinnie’s dad pulls up to curb. His mom opens the passenger side door and slides in. She turns toward the backseat, “How did practice go today, Vinnie?”

Vinnie smiles, “It was great, Mom. I don’t have to be the sheep. I get to be the donkey and lie at the foot of the manager. I can’t wait for Wednesday night.”

“I am so proud of you, Vinnie,” says his Mom.

Vinnie’s dad looks in the rearview mirror and makes eye contact with Vinnie. He says, “Vinnie was so excited after practice. He told me he’s going to be the best donkey ever. Right, Vinnie?”

“I’m on it, Dad. I’m thinking how I can make my role come alive.”

Vinnie’s dad feels his stomach take a small backflip.