Freedom Lane: Home of the Dee-Quizzy
“OK, kid,” Tony said. “Boss said to give you lunch while he’s out at the bank. You want I should make you a slice?”
“Shit, Tony,” Da’Quarius said, putting down his broom after sweeping the floors of Paulie’s Pizza. “You talk worse than me.”
“You want a slice or not, you little mook?” Tiny asked.
“Naw,” Da’Quarius said. “Let me get back dere. I got an idea.”
Paulie came in from the spring rain of New Haven. “It’s cats and dogs out there,” he said. He looked over to see Da’Quarius making food. “Whoa! You’re not supposed to be back there during business hours.”
“Chill, Unca Paulie,” Da’Quarius said. “I’m just teaching Tony how to make a Dee-Quizzy sandwich.”
“What the hell is that?” Paulie asked.
“I’ll show you,” Da’Quarius said. He began grabbing ingredients and instructing Tony and Paulie while making his sandwich. “First, you take a chicken cutlet, wrap that bitch in raw bacon, and drop it in da’ fryer. Then, you take yo’ bread, and you put pepperoni, mozzarella, and sauce on the top side. Take the bacon-wrapped fried chicken cutlet out of the fryer and put it on the bottom bun. Put it in da’ oven for a minute, take it out, close da’ bread, an’ den, mo’ fucka, y’all got’cho self da Dee-Quizzy!”
“I can’t believe you just wasted all that food, kid,” Paulie said. “That sandwich is ridiculous!”
Da’Quarius cut the sandwich into thirds. He gave Paulie and Tony a piece each. “Try it,” he said.
Paulie took a reluctant bite of the sandwich. “Hey,” he said. “That is good.”
“I told you!” Da’Quarius said.
“What’s that smell?” a woman ask, as she entered the pizzeria. “We smelled it walking by.”
“Is it those sandwiches?” the man with her asked. “What is that?”
“That’s the Dee-Quizzy,” Da’Quarius said. “Paulie’s is da’ only place in New Haven an’ da world to get one!”
“We’ll take two,” the man said taking a booth.
“You heard ’em, Tony,” Paulie said. “Two more Dee-Quizzies!”
“Comin’ right up, boss,” Tony said.
“Kid,” Paulie said, taking another bite. “You really got something here.”
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
Episode 5: Home of the Dee-Quizzy
Helen blinked and rubbed her eyes while watching her soap opera
“What’s wrong?” Rose asked. “Is it your glaucoma again?”
“These drugs the doctor gave me don’t work for shit,” Helen said. “That quack will throw anything at me just to bill our insurance. They’re all a bunch of crooks and jews!”
“Your optometrist is Asian,” Rose said, “not Jewish.”
“How would I know?” snapped Helen. “I can’t see him with these damn eyes!”
“I’ll make you another appointment,” Rose said, leaving to go make the call from the kitchen. “How about you turn the TV off and rest your eyes for a bit.”
“But my stories are on!” Helen yelled as Rose went into the kitchen. “I can still hear it!”
Da’Quarius walked in the front door. “What you yellin’ about, biddy?” he asked. “You lose yo’ hearin’ aid again?”
“Don’t you sass me,” Helen said. “Go do your homework. You’re supposed to be the next Obama or something.”
“You got me confused with one of Will Smith’s kids,” Da’Quarius said. “Besides, it Saturday. I just came from Paulie’s.”
“But my stories aren’t on Saturday!” Helen said.
“You watchin’ da’ Ninja Turtles,” Da’Quarius said.
“Goddam glaucoma!” Helen yelled shaking her fist to the air. “Goddam hearing aid!”
“You takin’ anything for that glaucoma?” Da’Quarius asked putting two fingers near his mouth and pretending to take a drag.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Helen asked.
“Weed,” Da’Quarius whispered. “I hear it’s good for dat.”
“We don’t do that in this house!” Helen said. “Not since Rose gave it up back in ninety-six! She’s a retired police dispatcher you know.”
“I’m just tellin’ ya, biddy,” Da’Quarius said. “I heard it’s good for dat.” Da’Quarius left the room, and Helen thought about what he had said.
“Two more Dee-Quizzies!” Paulie shouted to Tony, who was furiously cooking. It was Saturday night, and the dinner rush was more crowded than usual. Word had spread about Da’Quarius’s sandwich. Paulie was at full staff, and they were jamming.
“This is a great sandwich,” someone said, forcing his way though the waiting customers to the register. “Where did you come up with this?”
“Family recipe,” Paulie said, not wanting to reveal that his twelve year old nephew had been working at the time.
“I write for The Advocate,” the man said, handing Paulie a card. “I’d love to review your sandwich. Mind if I take a couple to go?”
Paulie smiled. He knew he was really using his pull for a free sandwiches. The unspoken threat was that he would trash Paulie’s in print if he didn’t give in. Assholes from the Advocate or the Register pulled this with him twice a month.
“Sure,” Paulie said, smiling. “Two Dee-Quizzies. On the house.”
“Kid,” Helen said. “Wake up!”
“Wha..?” a groggy Da’Quarius said. He had no idea why Helen was in his room so late. “What time is it?”
“A little after midnight,” Helen said. “We’re going out.”
“What about Rose?” Da’Quarius asked.
“I gave her a couple of Vicodins with her cranberry tea,” Helen replied. “She’ll be out cold until ten tomorrow. I can’t stand this glaucoma. You need to come out with me to buy some Marijuana.”
“You a cop?” Da’Quarius asked, sitting upright.
“Shut your mouth and get out of bed,” Helen said.
Helen led Da’Quarius outside to Rose’s car. She handed Da’Quarius the keys.
“I can’t drive!” Da’Quarius said. “I’m only twelve.”
“I have glaucoma!” Helen said. “I can’t see at night.”
“I don’t have a license,” Da’Quarius said.
“It’s easy,” Helen said. “Push the pedal. Steer with the wheel. Don’t run over any kids. Got it?”
“I guess,” Da’Quarius said.
Helen got into the passenger seat, and Da’Quarius started the car. He put it into gear and drove out of the driveway.
“You’ve done this before,” Helen said. “You sneaky little brat.”
“You askin’ a twelve year old to drive you to da’ ghetto after midnight to buy weed, an’ I’m da’ sneaky one?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Just drive,” Helen said. “You better know where you’re going.”
“I know,” Da’Quarius said. “Mexican dude named Lil’ Queef sells right outside da’ park by da’ orphanage on Dwight. If we lucky, he’ll still recognize me an’ sell to me.”
“Recognize you?” Helen asked. “You’ve done this before?”
“The teachers at da’ orphanage need weed too,” Da’Quarius said with a smirk. He pulled the car to the side of the road. “Dat’s my boy Lil’ Queef over dere leanin’ on da fence. Gimme da’ money an’ wait here.”
“Here’s a five,” Helen said.
“Five bucks?!” Da’Quarius said.
“And I expect change!” Helen remarked. “Now go.”
“I know when you bought your weed off of da’ slaves at’cho plantation it might’ve been five bucks,” Da’Quarius said, “but times change. You’re gonna have to give me at least a twenty on top of dis five.”
“What will five get me?” Helen asked.
“Here,” Helen said with a cranky sigh. She held the bill close to her face to be sure it was a twenty. “Keep the change for yourself. You can buy an ice cream or some baseball cards.”
“Gee,” Da’Quarius said. “Thanks a lot. Wait here.”
Da’Quarius ran off to meet Lil’ Queef. Helen glared, but she couldn’t see in the dark. Her teeth nearly flew from her mouth when someone knocked on the window. “What?” she asked. “Who’s there?”
“What’s an old white lady doin’ out dis late?” a voice asked.
“Da’Quarius?” Helen asked. “Is that you?”
“Who da’ fuck is dat?” another voice asked. Helen squinted and saw two boys standing at her window.
“Shoo,” Helen said. “The both of you. I don’t have any change. Go find another window to wash.”
“What da’ fuck you just say to me?” the first voice asked.
“I have a gun,” Helen said. “Get lost or I’ll use it.”
“Shit,” the second voice said, laughing. “Old bag came strapped. I’d pay to see that.”
“Pay up, fuckers,” Helen said pulling a revolver out of her purse and pointing it toward the window. “My night vision isn’t what it used to be, but you two idiots are close enough for me to make Swiss cheese out of your ass.”
“Fuck!” the first voice yelled. “Bitch got a piece! Let’s get outta here!”
“That’s what I thought,” Helen said as they two boys left. She put the gun back in her purse. “Friggin’ hoodlums.”
Da’Quarius got back in the car a few minutes later and started it up. “All set,” he said. “Any trouble while I was away?”
“Nope,” Helen said. “None at all.”
Da’Quarius drove them home. He had to park and shut the car off when a cop drove close by them, but he got them back with no incident. “I’m going to bed,” Da’Quarius said. “You have fun wit dis.” He handed Helen a baggie full of green buds.
“Thank you, Da’Quarius,” Helen said. “Let’s keep this our little secret.”
“Don’t worry,” Da’Quarius said. “I ain’t no snitch.”
“Good boy,” Helen said as Da’Quarius walked up to his room. “Snitches get shivved.”
“Paulie!” Tony shouted coming in the restaurant on a sunny Tuesday morning. “You made the paper!”
“What?” Paulie said. “Get the fuck outta here.” Paulie snatched the paper from Tony and opened it to the dining section. He read aloud. “Paulie’s Pizza: Home of the Dee-Quizzy. Shit. That mook from the paper was serious.”
“Hello?” a woman said, walking into Paulie’s.
“I’m sorry,” Paulie said. “Were not open yet.”
“That’s quite alright,” the woman said. “My name is Sophie DeMarcus. We’re filming some local restaurants in the New Haven area this week, and you’re creating quite a buzz. I was wondering if you’d be interested in appearing on our show.”
“Your show?” Paulie asked. “What show?”
Da’Quarius came bustling downstairs, ready to go work for a few hours at Paulie’s on a bright Saturday morning.
“Da’Quarius!” Helen called from the kitchen. “Get in here.”
Da’Quarius sighed and went into the ktichen. He found Helen sitting there with the baggie of weed and rolling papers in front of her.
“Damn,” Da’Quarius said. “You ain’t smoke that yet? What about yo’ glaucoma an’ shit?”
“I’ve been trying to get rid of Rose all week!” Helen said. “She’ll be out back for hours digging in her garden. Come help me roll a joint.”
“Shit,” Da’Quarius said. “You can’t even roll your own joints?”
“I”m an old lady,” Helen said. “My fingers don’t move like they used to. Can you roll one for me? Then you can go.”
“I can try,” Da’Quarius said with a shrug. Da’Quarius sat at the table next to Helen and quickly rolled a joint with practiced dexterity. Before Helen could say anything about it, Da’Quarius had a perfectly rolled joint between his two fingers for Helen.
“Thanks, kid,” Helen said, trying to light it. Her glaucoma was so bad she was having trouble.
“Let me help,” Da’Quarius said. He held the lighter for Helen and he lit the joint. She breathed in deep and exhaled a long stream of smoke.
“Shit,” she said. “When my lungs were younger I could hold that in for a good two minutes. I know I give you shit, Da’Quarius, but you’re a good kid. I’m glad we took you in.”
“You just started dat joint, and you alredy gettin’ all lovey on me,” Da’Quarius said, laughing.
“I mean it,” Helen said. “You took care of me the other night even though it was wrong to do so. That makes you a good kid in my book.”
“You a regular after-school special,” Da’Quarius said. “You’re fun when you smoked up, but I gotta get to Paulie’s.”
“Wait, Kid,” Helen said. “You gotta hit this before you go.”
“What?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Just once,” Helen said. “Don’t tell Helen. Oh shit. That’s me! Heh heh.”
“Nah,” Da’Quarius said starting to feel light headed. “I got enough of a contact from hanging out in dis kitchen wit’chu. See you later.”
“I love you Da’Quarius,” Helen said taking another drag.
Da’Quarius stopped dead. He nearly turned back to Helen to say something, but he couldn’t for some reason. Instead, he left the kitchen to Helen’s giggling. He didn’t know if she was serious or messing with him becuause of the weed. He highly doubted it was the latter. It may have been all the smoke in the air, but Da’Quarius left the house on Freedom Lane with tears in his eyes.
“I’m Guy Fieri,” Guy Fieri said. “Welcome back to Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives! Today we’re in Paulie’s Pizza with owner Paulie Ventriglio. Paulie’s going to teach us how to make his signature sandwich, the Dee-Quizzy.”
Paulie stepped in front of the camera next to Guy Fieri. “Thank you, Guy,” he said. “This is a family recipe -”
“Sorry I’m late,” Da’Quarius said entering the kitchen. “What am I doin’ today?”
“Oh my God!” Guy Fieri exclaimed. “Does this kid work for you. How old is he? Ten?”
“I’ll be thirteen next month, bitch,” Da’Quarius replied.
“No,” Paulie said, scrambling to usher Da’Quarius out of the kitchen. “He’s my nephew. He just comes in to hang out sometimes.”
“Yeah,” Guy said. “You two look related.”
“He’s adopted, ya freakin’ stunad!” Paulie said.
“I think we’re done here,” Guy Fieri said to his cameraman.
“No,” Paulie said in a sudden panic. “I was about to show you how to make the Dee-Quizzy!”
“My sandwich?” Da’Quarius asked.
“You’re sandwich?” Guy Fieri replied. “You stole the Dee-Quizzy from the kid too?”
“No,” Paulie said. “It’s a family recipe. He’s family, you see. He’s my nephew that my older sister adopted.”
“You are a disgrace to the restaurant business,” Guy Fieri said, flipping his sunglasses from the back of his head to the front. “I’m getting out of here.”
“Come back!” Paulie said. “I can show you how to make the Paulie Burger! It has a slice of ham and pineapple on top! It doesn’t sell, but it’s really good!”
Guy Fieri stormed out with his cameraman close behind. He made a big scene in the restaurant as he left. “That guy’s an asshole!” he shouted. “Let’s get out of here! I don’t care. Let’s go to that burger place down the road instead. The one with the blue mustard!”
“I may still have a contact high from helping Helen,” Da’Quarius said, “but that gay cartoon bear looked pissed!”
Helen took the last drag of her joint before putting out the roach to save it for later. She made sure to be extra careful doing so. After the hour and half it took to get it out she hid it under the silverware drawer.
Helen looked at the walls. Her vision wasn’t only back, but it was better than ever! The red and white stripes on the wall danced and Helen laughed and laughed. She didn’t even notice when the door was kicked in.
Two firemen rushed inside. “Where’s the fire!” one of them shouted. Helen laughed as they scrambled through the kitchen.
Rose rushed in and got to Helen’s side. “Oh my God, Helen!” she shouted. “Thank God you’re all right! I saw the smoke and dialed 911 from the neighbor’s house.”
“I think everything is OK here,” the fireman said. “False alarm.”
Rose sniffed the air. “Oh, Helen,” She said. “You didn’t!”
“Heh heh,” Helen said looking at Rose. “We’re lesbians. Heh Heh Heh.”