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?”