Vinnie’s Got a Great Idea


Vinnie’s mom sits at the breakfast bar holding her coffee cup with both hands. Vinnie’s dad sits next to her, his right hand on his coffee mug, a small plate with a a half eaten bagel sits on the plate in front of him. 

Vinnie’s mom says, “I have to admit, Mike did a great job. He was able to get a backhoe in, dig up the pipe, take out the broken section, and replace it. He even brought in landscapers to fix the Johnson’s lawn. It actually looks better than it did before. How much do we owe him?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Nothing. Mike refused to take any money.”

“That’s not right, Al. It cost him lots of money to make the repairs,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mike told me he’ll call in favors when . . .”

“Don’t say another word. I don’t want to know. We won’t go to jail will we?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Before Vinnie’s dad can answer, Vinnie comes running down the hall from his bedroom into the kitchen. Dexter is chasing him. Vinnie says, “I’ve got a great idea. It’s even better than my last idea.”

“Dear God, help us,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie comes to a sliding stop in his stocking feet next to his mom. Vinnie’s mom puts her arm around Vinnie’s shoulder and says, “Good morning, Vinnie. You slept an extra hour.”

“No I didn’t, Mom. I was awake at four. Rupert and Dexter and me had a snack, we were starving. I always think better when I’m not starving. It helps Dexter too. You should have heard us talking about what we wanted to do this summer.”

“I didn’t hear you get up and go into the kitchen. What did you eat?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad decides to jump in, “Hey, do I get a hug and a good morning?”

Vinnie looks at his dad, “Sure, Dad. As soon as I have breakfast.”

Vinnie’s dad has a hurt look on his face that suddenly changes to a beautiful sunrise when Vinnie jumps up and grabs hold of his dad around the neck. “Good Morning, Dad. You’re going to love my idea. I might even hire you.”

Vinnie’s dad glances over at the coffee he spilled on the breakfast bar from Vinnie’s jarring hug. Vinnie’s mom takes a photo of Vinnie dangling from his dad’s neck with her iPhone.

Vinnie lets go of his dad’s neck and drops to the floor. He says, “I got to talk to Joey and Larry first. I might even ask Sara Johnson to join us.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Sara? Sara Johnson? I thought you didn’t like her.”

Vinnie’s standing at the refrigerator holding the door open with his right hand. He turns his head toward his mom, “Sara’s really good at soccer, which makes her okay. Since Mrs. Mavis is not my teacher anymore, if Sara’s in my class, she’ll probably be normal. Mom, there’s nothing good to eat in here. I’m starving.”

“You ate at four o’clock. What did you eat?”

“A frozen pizza and two ice cream sandwiches,” says Vinnie as if eating frozen pizza is as normal as brushing his teeth. He continues, “Dexter ate three frozen turkey burgers. Rupert drank an apple juice but he couldn’t finish it so I helped him.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Dexter ate my frozen turkey burgers?”

Vinnie’s Asks His Dad If He is Defending a Mob Guy LOL


Vinnie pinches his nose, and sticks a fork holding tofu and broccoli on it in his mouth. He squeezes his eyes shut tight. He uses the thumb and forefinger of his left hand to pinch his nose. He chews and swallows. He sets the fork on the plate and puts his right hand around his throat. He gyrates his head up and down.

“What are you doing?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“I’m trying to make the food go down faster, Mom,” answers Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Cute, Vinnie. You don’t see Dad making silly faces, do you?” Vinnie’s mom turns sharply to look at Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad has his lines down perfect. He says, “I love this meal. It tastes good and its going to help me win my case in court tomorrow.”

Vinnie, now stirring the food in his plate with his fork, looks up at his dad, “What mob guy you defending tomorrow, Dad? What did he do? Did he kill somebody? Did he get caught running numbers?”

Vinnie’s mom almost chokes on her shiitake mushroom. She says, “Where are you getting this nonsense? Dad does not defend anyone in the mob, do you dear?”

Vinnie’s mom and Vinnie and Rupert all look at Vinnie’s dad. “No, I do not. It is a simple case of mistaken identity.”

Vinnie goes, “Un huh.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “We need to talk about your career.”

Vinnie’s dad tries to change the subject. He says, “Vinnie, tell us your idea about how you are going to get us rich.”

Vinnie’s mom holds up her had as if she is directing traffic. She says, “One minute. I want to know where you are getting this stuff about the mob. I know you watched the Bogart movies for background for the story you didn’t write.”

Vinnie sticks four pieces of tofu on his fork and lets his hand with the fork in it hang loosely by his side. Dexter knows the drill. He’s up on all fours, one swift sweep of his beagle tongue and the tofu disappears. 

Vinnie says, “Remember when Joey and me did the sleep over at Larry’s house the day school got out?”

Vinnie’s mom and dad nod. 

Vinnie says, “Larry is lucky he has such great parents. They let him have a TV in his room and we could watch all the movies on Netflix and Amazon.”

Vinnie’s mom interrupts, “Surely, you were only allowed to watch age appropriate movies, right?”

“Does that mean cartoons and Disney movies, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom nods her head, “Mostly.”

“Oh. No one told us to watch only cartoons and Disney movies. Dad, are we related to any of the families in the Godfather?”

“You didn’t watch the Godfather!” shrieks Vinnie’s mom.

“We fell asleep right after . . .”

“I don’t want to hear it. I am going to call Larry’s mom as soon as we finish eating.”

“Please don’t, Mom. Larry will get in trouble because he knows his parent’s password. Next time I do a sleepover I’ll tell him it’s Disney or the animal channel or some other kids movie.”

Vinnie’s dad speaks up, “Tell us how you plan to get rich this summer.”

Vinnie sticks a piece of broccoli, a piece of shiitake mushroom, and a green pea pod on his fork. He holds the fork in his left hand, he moves Rupert closer to him with his right hand. He cleverly drops his left arm down by his side and lets his hand holding the fork dangle. The eager beagle Dexter is alert and discovers the taste of new type of beagle cuisine,

Vinnie smiles and says, “This time tomorrow we can celebrate and go out to dinner because we can afford it. Can we go out for pizza?”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s plate, “I am so proud of you. I knew you’d like your meal. It’s almost all gone. For a treat you can have an ice cream bar.”

Vinnie says, “Thanks, Mom. Excuse me, Rupert and Dexter and me still got some planning to do. I’m going to split the riches with Joey and Larry since they’re going to help me.”

Vinnie slides off his chair and heads toward the kitchen.

Vinnie’s mom says, “He’s up to something. I can’t quite figure it out.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “What could go wrong? Can I have an ice cream bar?