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?”