Freedom Lane: Constitutional Boulevard

Harold Fuchs read the financial section of the New Haven Herald from his easy chair of his house on Constitutional Boulevard in the East Rock section of New Haven. He sipped his Earl Grey Tea with his pinky held pridefully in the air. He grinned under his neatly trimming gray mustache when he saw how well his stocks were doing. His grin faded a bit when his life partner and husband, Lee, came flittering into their home with their prospect for adoption, thirteen year old Esmerelda Perez de la Hoya.

“Calm down,” Harold said in a nasally voice. “You’ll give yourself a stroke chasing that little chimichanga around like that.”

“I’m Puerto Rican,” Esmeralda corrected.

“And not a very smart Puerto Rican if you didn’t understand my reference,” Harold quipped, giggling to himself. “Chimichanga isn’t an ethnicity.” He looked over his paper to see Lee standing in front of him like a dog about to wet itself. Bedding Lee had been exciting when Harold was in his late forties and Lee was in his early thirties; but now that Harold was nearly eighty and Lee was merely in his mid-seventies, it didn’t seem all that big of a rush.

“Are you going to tell me what got you so wound up?” Harold asked, finally putting his folded paper down on the cocktail table. “I might die of excitement if you don’t.” Harold rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air in mock excitement.

“I got a postcard from the New Haven Gardening Society,” Lee said, in an excited lisp. He had just dyed his gray hair black, but his roots showed through already. “They want my begonias entered in this years Potted Plant Showcase!”

“That’s wonderful!” Harold said, getting up. “You hear that, Esmerelda. Lee’s green thumb is getting him some notoriety. What have you accomplished today, hmm?”

“Can I go up to my room?” Esmerelda asked.

“Very well,” Harold said. “Run along now. We shall call you if need be.”

Esmerelda ran off to her room while Lee read the details on the post card. “Oh,” he said, his smile leaving his face. “It looks like they let Rose Masters enter her venus fly trap this year!”

“That’s a shame,” Harold said with a huff.

“You think she could beat me?” Lee said, looking up with a look of betrayal on his face.

“No,” Harold said, smiling widely. “A shame if they don’t cart her off in ambulance because of the shock of her loss.”

Harold started laughing, and Lee joined in. It was a lovely morning on Constitutional Boulevard. Then again, it usually is.

*

Freedom Lane

Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness

Season 2, Episode 3: Constitutional Boulevard

*

It was Saturday, and Da’Quarius was running late for his short shift at Paulie’s Pizza. It was only a few hours, and he didn’t technically work there, but he didn’t want to get a lecture from Paulie for showing up late. In his haste, he ran into the bathroom without knocking.

“GOOD GOD!” came she shout from Helen, who was getting dressed. Da’Quarius turned and left quickly, but couldn’t unsee what he saw. “YOU BETTER RUN, YOU PERVERTED LITTLE BASTARD!”

“What’s Helen shouting about?” Rose said, walking through the living room with her venus fly trap and a post card.

“Nuttin'” Da’Quaruis said, barely tying his shoes. He only stopped long enough to toss on his VSTL Vestments hat and turn it backwards. “She must have seen a spider or sumtin’.”

“I got some great news!” Rose said. “My venus fly trap -”

“I gotta run,” Da’Quarius said. “Umma be late!”

Da’Quarius ran out of the door, leaving a bewildered Rose staring after him.

***

Harold was fussing over Lee’s bow tie. “Don’t strangle me!” Lee said. “The presentation of my precious begonias isn’t until tonight!”

“I know,” Harold said, nasally. “But I need my little pumpkin looking his best if he’s going to beat that Rose. Now change into the slacks I left out for you. I have to go make sure Esmerelda is ready.”

“Why?” Lee asked.

“Because she’s much more polite than that mini thug-in-training that Rose and Helen are raising,” Harold said. “We’ll introduce our little girl to the judges and she’ll melt their hearts. We’ll have a better chance than Rose.”

“But my begonias-”

“Oh Esmerelda,” Harold crooned as he exited the bedroom. “Where are you my dear?”

“I’m in my room, Mister Harold,” Esmerelda said. Harold rolled his eyes. It wasn’t actually her room. They hadn’t fully adopted her yet, but Harold knew someone high up in the Bridgeport Child Welfare Department. They had let them “test” the little Esmerelda to see if she’d be a good fit for adoption. Harold and Lee had been taking her to stay with them in New Haven every time they fancied the company.

Harold entered the guest room. “Is that what you’re wearing?” he asked.

Esmerelda turned to look at the judgmental stare of Harold. She was wearing a pink and yellow sundress There was a big flower on her lower back and a matching ribbon that went around her waist. “What’s wrong with my dress?” she asked.

“You look like a damn Cinco De Mayo parade float,” Harold said. “Do you have any other dresses?”

“No,” Esmerelda said. “The orphanage only buys us basic clothes from thrift shops. Mister Lee bought me this for tonight.”

“Well I hope you didn’t take the tags off,” Harold said. “I’ll have to buy you something else. Come on. We’re going downtown to find something presentable for you to wear.”

***

“You’re late,” Paulie said as Da’Quarius entered Paulie’s Pizza on State Street. “What gives?”

“Helen an’ Rose made me late,” Da’Quarius said. “Wha’chu want me workin’ on today?”

“I have a special treat in store for you today,” Paulie said. “I know you’re probably getting sick of cleaning this joint up for a few hours every Saturday, so I’m going to show you how to work with the dough!”

“You mean it?!” Da’Quarius said. “Dat’s great! I been havin’ a fucked up day too. I thought you’d have me cleanin’ the shitters again!”

“Next week, kid,” Paulie said, smiling. “Get back here and I’ll show you how it’s done.”

Da’Quarius excitedly followed Paulie behind the counter. “OK, D,” Paulie said. “I set out two pieces of dough for you.”

Da’Quarius looked at the two balls of mishapen dough in front of him, but all he could picture were Helen’s wrinkled, sagging breasts.

“Now you want to knead the dough carefully,” Pauile said. “Carefully but forcefully. Don’t be afraid to really give it a good squeeze.”

Da’Quarius stood transfixed, staring at the dough. He was unable to get the image of Helen’s breasts away. He reached out to knead the dough, but he noticed that his hands were trembling.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” Paulie said. “It ain’t gonna bite you! Just imagine it’s a woman’s breasts. Squeeze it like you would a nice, juicy set of tits. Squeeze them. Turn them. Twist the -”

“I gotta go!” Da’Quarius said, removing his apron.

“Not feeling well?” Paulie asked.

“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “Umma go lie down.”

“Take the afternoon then,” Paulie said. “Feel better. I’ll catch you later, kid.”

Da’Quarius handed Paulie the apron and ran off into the streets of New Haven.

***

“Are you ready yet?” Harold asked, as he sat by the front door of his Constitutional Boulevard home. “I’m dying of boredom!”

“Just about,” Lee answered. He walked in the room with Esmerelda by his side. Her dress was much more conservative than the one she had wanted to wear.

“Doesn’t Esmerelda look dashing?” Harold said, smiling. He ignored the sour look on Lee’s face, who wanted her to wear the more colorful dress. She was now adorned form her neck to her ankles with a sea-green pantsuit ensemble. “I was afraid the neighborhood kids were going to mistake her for a piñata and start beating her with sticks. She looks much better in this outfit. Our little girl is going to turn heads!”

“I’m not your little girl,” Esmerelda said. “You guys keep sending me back to the orph-”

“The time grows late!” Harold declared, looking at his watch. “Are your begonias ready for their big debut.”

“They are!” Lee said, beaming.

“Then grab your begonias, and let’s get going!” Harold said. Harold and Lee dashed outside, closing the door on Esmerelda.

“Goddam maricones,” Esmerlda said, under her breath. She opened the door, and followed Harold and Lee to their Prius.

***

Helen raced through her house looking for a replacement for Rose’s venus fly trap. Rose had asked her to hold on to her venus fly trap (that she named Persephone), and Helen set it very carefully on the couch cushion. Helen ended up forgetting about it when she ran to the kitchen for a cup of iced tea. When she went back in the living room, she sat on it.

“Oh shit,” Helen said, walking quickly around the house while Rose readied herself. “Oh shit. Oh shit.” There wasn’t enough time to dig a plant out of Rose’s garden, and Rose didn’t keep much in the house. “What the hell am I going to do?”

In a moment of desperation, Helen walked into Da’Quarius’ room. She hadn’t seen her adopted son since that morning. Something told her there was something amiss about his absence, but for some reason she couldn’t quite remember what had happened the last time she saw him. All she remember was that she was upset about it.

“Dammit kid,” Helen said. “Please have a stupid plant in here!”

Helen looked around desperately when her eyes finally landed on something in his closet, which was only opened a crack. She opened the closet slowly, and a huge smile spread across face.

“Da’Quarius,” she whispered. “You’re a life saver.”

Minutes later, Rose was finally ready to go. “Are you ready. Helen?” Rose asked. Her eyes fell on what Helen was holding. “What’s in the box? Is that my plant?”

“Sure is,” Helen said. “I’d sure hate for your competition to see it before the show.”

Rose eyed Helen. She was used to her mind making up situations. “Good idea,” Rose said. “Hang on to that tight.” Helen followed Rose out of the door, thanking God that she didn’t noticed the large dirt stain on the back of her pants.

***

“I’m so nervous!” Lee exclaimed as the judges looked at the contestants plants.

“I wonder what’s going on over there,” Harold said, watching Rose and Helen with interest. It would seem that Helen was trying her best to keep Rose from the judging are. Perhaps Rose was more nervous than Lee was.

“What kind of plant is that?” Lee said, squinting towards Rose’s entry.

“Vanity thy name is Lee,” Harold said. “You should have worn your spectacles.”

“They make me look like an old queen!” Lee exclaimed.

“You are an old queen!” Harold said.

“Don’t look now,” Lee said. “But your outburst got us some attention.

Harold turned back to see Helen approaching them. “Oh shit,” Harold said under his breath.

“Well well well,” Helen said. “Look who who it is. Neil and Bob.”

“Our names our Harold and Lee,” Lee corrected.

“I know what I said,” Helen said, smiling. “What did you enter, pansies?”

Harold glared at Helen.

“They aren’t pansies!” Lee said. “They’re my begonias.”

“You’re a couple of begonias,” Helen said. “And who’s this little empanada that’s hiding behind you?”

“You’ve met Esmerelda Perez de la Hoya,” Lee said.

“Our adoptive daughter,” added Harold.

“Not yet,” Esmeralda said. “Djou haven’t adop-”

“Isn’t she precious?” Harold asked.

“I see Rose is scared of losing to us,” Lee said. “What is that plant she entered?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Helen said. “Save your mouth for keeping the stains off your bedsheets.”

Harold and Lee watched in shock as Helen left to go keep Rose under control as the judges looked over her plant. “Wait here,” Harold said. “I’m going to try and hear what they are saying.”

Lee folded his hands over his mouth. “Ooo,” Lee said. “I can’t stand the wait!”

Harold snuck over to Rose’s entry where the judges were crowded around it. He couldn’t see the plant, but he listened to the judges debate over it. He wasn’t sure if this was good or bad for his lover.

“I thought she was going to enter her venus fly trap.”

“She’s an old woman. She may thing that’s what this is.”

“But we can’t let it stay in the contest. Can we?”

“It would be a shame to disqualify her. It’s such a beautiful plant.

“I read the rule book from front to back. There’s nothing saying she can’t enter the contest, but we have to confiscate it.”

“I, for one, am not giving this plant a high mark. It’s disgusting!”

“It is a beautiful specimen, though. I’ve never seen such a beautiful cannabis in my life!”

One of the judges turned to look at Harold. He pretended he was checking out a red fern and left as if he didn’t hear the debacle over Rose’s plant.

“What are they saying,” Lee said with his folded hands still over his mouth.

“Hard to say,” Harold said. “I couldn’t hear the name of the plant. If I had to bet, I would bet that Rose’s plant is going to be disqualified.”

“Disqualified?” Lee asked. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” Harold said. “Didn’t catch the whole thing.”

“We have made our decision!” one of the judges called out. “This years winner of the Potted Plant Showcase is none other than Rose Masters!”

Rose jumped with her hands by her mouth. Helen gave her a big hug as the judges whisked her plant away. Rose ran after them, saying something. Helen walked over to Harold and Lee.

“Congratulations,” Harold said in a snotty tone.

“Thank you,” Helen said. “I’d tell you two to suck it, but we both know you will.” She cackled as she left the pair looking bewildered. Little Esmerelda stood behind them, not daring to say a word.

“I hope she falls down the stairs and breaks her neck,” Harold said.

“Harold!” Lee said, his hands back at his mouth.

“Shut up, you old queen,” Harold said, leaving the area in a huff. Lee hurried after him, unable to hear if he won second or third prize.

“Wait!” Lee said, catching up to his slow moving older husband in the parking lot. “Don’t be like this.”

“Why not?” Harold snapped. “Those two get everything handed to them, and they spit on it! Rose enters some kind of illegal plant into a contest and she wins?! No. I’m not just going to calmly leave. I’ll make a scene. I’m an old queen, too. It’s what I do, dammit!”

“What’s gotten into you?” Lee asked. “It’s just a dumb contest.”

Harold sighed. “I just want to see you happy,” Harold said. “I want to see you with the blue ribbon. Not that Rose with her gloating bull dagger wife. It just doesn’t seem fair.”

“My life is plenty fair,” Lee said, putting his hands on Harold’s shoulders. “I have a great place to live, a great husband, and all the love and support I could ask for.”

Harold looked into Lee’s eyes. “Look at me,” he said, laughing dryly. “You’re the one that lost, and I’m getting comforted.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Lee said, smiling. “It’s what a good husband is for. Helen gave us some good advice before she disappeared to go back to her hobbit hole. What was it? Oh yeah. ‘Suck it’.”

Harold laughed. “I don’t think she meant that literally,” he said. “But let’s go home and see what’s on TV Land tonight.”

“You know how frisky I get when Welcome Back Kotter comes on,” Lee said, getting into the passenger seat of the car. They drove off, not realizing that Esmerelda hadn’t gotten in the car yet.

“Goddam maricones,” Esmerlda said, starting her long walk back to Constitutional Boulevard.

***

Da’Quarius finally got home much later than he expected. He had walked all around the neighborhood trying to get the image of Helen’s tits out of his mind, but to no avail. Every time he saw a set of headlights on a car, he’d see Helen’s tits. Every time he saw a traffic signal, he’d see Helen’s tits. There was only one way to purge the image out of his mind, and Da’Quarius knew just what it was.

Da’Quarius was lucky when he came home and saw that Rose and Helen were still out for the evening. He went into his room, booted up his computer, hooked into the neighbor’s wifi, and loaded up his favorite porn site. Within a minute, he was watching the raunchiest porno he could find.

Helen and Rose entered their home after they had come home from the Potted Plant Showcase. Rose proudly carried her blue ribbon but no longer had the plant to hang it next to. “I don’t get it,” Rose said. “I never even knew that venus fly traps were illegal. I can’t believe they had it confiscated!”

“Isn’t that something,” Helen said. “You get ready for bed. I’ll check on Da’Quarius.”

“I hope he’s OK,” Rose said. “He seemed out of sorts earlier.”

“He’s fine,” Helen said, ascending the stairs. She actually wanted to let him know that she found his plant, scold him for having it in the house, and ask him if he could get another. Probably in that order. Helen entered his bedroom.

“Da fuck?!” Da’Quarius exclaimed. “What the fuck you doin’?!”

“OH GOD!” Helen screamed. “There’s a snake in your room!” Helen picked up a magazine from Da’Quarius’ desk, rolled it up, and began whacking the ‘snake’.

“GOTDAMMIT, BIDDY!” Da’Quarius shouted. “STOP DAT SHIT!”

“Why’s it attacking you?!” Helen shouted as she continued to beat it.

“DAT’S NOT A SNAKE!” Da’Quarius shouted. He was finally able to break free and get blanket around his waist. “GET DA FUCK OUTTA HERE!”

Helen left and walked down the hallway. “Goddam,” she said to herself. “That kid’s hung like a clydesdale!”

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