Freedom Lane – Da’Quarius Has Three Mommies
Da’Quarius walked into the living room of his home on Freedom Lane in east New Haven, CT to a surprise.
“SURPRISE!” was shouted in unison by uncle Paulie and his two elderly adoptive mothers, Helen and Rose. The entire room was decorated with balloons and streamers of all colors. There was a large, misshapen cake on the coffee table.
Da’Quarius went into a defensive stance. He held his fists in front him. “Da’ fuck you doin’?!” he exclaimed.
“Happy birthday!” Rose said, throwing her arms around Da’Quarius. “Thirteen years old! How’s it feel to be a teenager?”
“Don’t you eva sneak up on a black man,” Da’Quarius said. “Y’all lucky I ain’t carryin’.”
“Shaddup and say thank you,” Paulie said. He was wearing a bright colored hat with streamers coming from the top that hung down his dyed black hair with white stripes on either side. He handed Da’Quarius a brightly wrapped box. “Happy birthday, ya little mook.”
“Thanks, Unca Paulie,” Da’Quarius said, taking the box.
“Open it with the others later,” Rose said. “You got a card in the mail too.”
“Who’s it from?” Da’Quaruis asked.
“The goddamn mailman,” Helen answered. “Open the goddamn card so we can have some goddamn cake!”
“OK,” Da’Quarius said. “Keep yo’ diaper on, biddy.” Da’Quarius opened the card and read. When he was done, he let his hands drop to his sides.
“Well, who’s it from?” Rose asked.
“My mom,” Da’Quarius said.6 “She said she comin’ to visit.”
“Oh shit,” Helen said. “We’re never getting to that cake.”
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
Season 2 Finale: Da’Quarius Has Three Mommies
Helen stared out the window toward the street. “She’ll be here soon,” she said. “I can almost smell her coming.”
“Get away from that window!” Rose said. “Don’t let Da’Quarius see you trying to spy on his mother!”
“She’s coming up the walkway now!” Helen shouted, coming down from the chair. “Call the police!”
“I am not calling the police,” Rose said. “That’s Da’Quarius’s mother!.
“Oh yeah,” Helen said. “I forgot.” There was a loud knock on the door. “What are you waiting for, Rose? Let her in!”
Rose opened the door, and a tall, black woman entered their home. Her hair was in an afro, and she sucked air through a large gap in her front teeth. She looked around the entirety of the living room without speaking. “Where Daq at?” she asked.
“Hello to you too,” Helen said.
“Da’Quarius is in his room,” Rose answered. “We wanted to talk to you first.”
“So talk,” Da’Quarius’ mother said, sitting down on the couch and putting her feet on the cocktail table.
“I’m Rose and this is my wife, Helen,” Rose said.
“You a couple of old lezzies?” Da’Quarius’ mother asked.
“Better an old lezzie than a discount street rat,” Helen said, under her breath.
“Da’ fuck you just say to me?” Da’Quarius’s mother asked.
“Helen wanted to know your name,” Rose replied before Helen could repeat her statement.
“I’m Lotasha,” said Lotasha. “Lotasha Venison Sherman.”
“Hello, Lotasha,” Rose said. “Helen and I just wanted to ask you a few questions before we call -”
“DA’QUARIUS!” Helen shouted. “GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE AND SEE YOUR MOTHER!”
“Helen!” Rose exclaimed.
“What?” Helen asked. “The kid needs to know why his mother abandoned him to an orphanage and suddenly shows up at our house uninvited. I know I’d like to know.”
Rose sighed. She kept her annoyance at bay. She knew that Helen didn’t have a normal upbringing, and this was her way of dealing with awkward situations. It was either that or the senility. Da’Quarius came running down the stairs.
“Hi, Daq,” Lotasha said. “Look how big you got. How have you been?”
“Good,” Da’Quarius said, sitting across the room from his mother.
“Ask your questions, Rose,” Helen said, crossing her arms.
“I’d like to know how you found us, first of all,” Rose said. “It was my understanding that an adoptees records were kept private unless we were contacted.”
“Jolene Jolie,” Lotasha said. “She’s the one that brought Da’Quarius here. She my cousin.”
“See, Rose!” Helen exclaimed. “I told you they’re all related!”
“Don’t say something like that,” Rose said. “They aren’t all related.”
“Some of us are,” Da’Quarius said. Helen sat back with a smug look on her face.
“OK,” Rose said. “But why are you coming here now?”
“I miss my son,” Lotasha said. “I wanna get to know him a bit mo’.”
“Are you dying or something?” Helen blurted.
“Are you?!” Lotasha blurted in return.
“Touché,” Helen replied.
“Da’ biddies have a point,” Da’Quarius said. “Why you wanna come see me now? I been at da’ orphanage since I was four. Helen an’ Rose didn’t take me in ’til I was twelve. Dat’s seven years you coulda come an’ see me.”
“Looks like you learned some math up in dat orphanage,” Lotasha said. “Dat’s mo’ than I learned from da’ streets. I jus’ wanna see how you growin’ up an’ shit. Show me ’round yo’ new hood. Tell me ’bout’choself.”
Rose watched Lotasha with a sideways glance. “I think that’s really -”
“You wanna come wit me to Paulie’s today?” Da’Quarius asked.
“What’s dat?” Lotasha asked.
“My Unca’s pizza place,” Da’Quarius replied.
“Pizza?” Lotasha said. “Shit. Lead da’ way, little nigga.”
“It’s not too far of a walk,” Da’Quarius said. “It’ll give da’ biddies some time to set up da’ sofa-bed.”
“Sofa bed?” Lotasha asked. “I ain’t had it dat good since da’ bums ripped the paddin’ off da’ bus stop bench.”
Da’Quarius and Lotasha left, leaving Rose and Helen to themselves.
“Can we afford a new sofa?” Helen asked.
“I don’t know,” Rose answered. “Why?”
“Because I’m burning this one if that skank sleeps on it. I swear I saw a couple of crabs hop off her.”
Rose looked toward the window. She wouldn’t put it as crassly as Helen would, but she also had a bad feeling about Lotasha Venison Sherman.
“He’s back,” Tony said, walking in through the back door of Paulie’s Pizza on State Street.
“Who’s back?” Paulie asked, looking up from his newspaper at one of the booths.
“The blow job king,” Tony said, jerking a thumb towards the door he had just used. “Who do you think? He’s in the alley getting head from some crack-whore or something.”
“Madon,” Paulie moaned. They had chased the homeless guy out of their back alley three times in the last week while getting a blow job behind the dumpster at Paulie’s Pizza. The bum would be gone before the police showed up, so they couldn’t do anything about it.
“I had enough of this mook!” Paulie said. He got up from his booth and got an aluminum baseball bat form his office. “I got something for him right here!”
Paulie was ready to charge out of the back door when the bells on his main entrance dinged. Da’Quarius walked in with a tall, afro-headed woman he never saw before. She took his breath away. “Dis da place?” she asked, looking all around.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “Dat’s Unca Paulie ova dere wit the bat. Tony is the guy in the hairnet and apron.”
“What you doin’ wit dat bat?” Lotasha asked Paulie.
“You-know-who is out back again,” Tony said, rolling his eyes.
“Dat hobo dat’s always gettin’ his dick sucked?!” Da’Quarius exclaimed. “Dat guy knows how to pull dem bitches!”
“Story of my life,” Tony said. “Friggin’ homeless guy can get more action than I do!”
“Oh!” Paulie shouted, finally breaking his stunned silence. “Not in front of the lady!” Paulie put the bat down on the counter and walked over to Lotasha. He extended his hand. “Hi. I’m Paul. You must be Da’Quarius’ mother.”
“His muddah?!” Tony exclaimed. “The kid got a muddah?!”
“Of course he got a muddah, numb nuts!” Paulie shouted at Tony, turning and letting Lotasha’s hand drop without shaking it.
“Then why’s your sister raising the kid?” Tony asked. “He ain’t supposed to have no muddah!”
“You think he just sprouted from the ground like a freakin’ cabbage patch kid?!” Paulie exclaimed.
“More like a moulignon patch kid,” Tony said, smirking.
“Oh!” Paulie said, his hand flying in the air. “Go take care of that bum and his knob gobbler out back!”
“Yeah yeah,” Tony said, picking up the bat from the counter. “Maybe I can ask for some pointers.”
“Dese crackas always act like this? Lotasha asked.
“Sometimes dey make pizza,” Da’Quarius replied. “It’s really good.”
“Some of dat pizza sound good ’bout now,” Lotasha said.
“Coming right up!” Paulie said. “Family eats free at Paulies. Since you’re the kid’s family it’s on the house.”
“Really?” Lotasha asked. “I’ll take large pizza with everything.”
“You got quite the appetite,” Paulie said, grinning like a goon. “One large pie with the works comin’ right up!” Paulie went into the kitchen to get Lotasha’s pizza ready.
“I don’t want you takin’ advantage of my unca,” Da’Quarius said.
“I ain’t taken’ advantage,” Lotasha said. “If he didn’t want to make me a pizza, he wouldn’t have axed.”
“OK,” Da’Quarius said. “So now that we’re alone do you wanna tell me why you came back?”
“I told you,” Lotasha said. “I wanna get to know you an’ shit.”
“Oh,” DaQuarius said.
Lotasha tapped her long, brightly colored fingernails on the table and sucked air through her tooth gap. She continued looking around Paulie’s, as if sizing it up. Every now and then Da’Quarius would breath heavy or cough to get his mother’s attention, but she just looked at him with a quick smile. Several minutes passed like this unto Paulie emerged with a large pizza boxed for Lotasha.
“Here you go, doll,” Paulie said. “Hot and fresh.”
“Thank you,” Lotasha replied.
“If you’re hungry again tomorrow I can take you out,” Paulie said. “I know a quiet little bistro called Canner’s. Say sevenish?”
Lotasha looked over Paulie and shrugged. “Shit,” she said. “It’s a free meal, right? Look, I gotta jet. I’ll see you back at yo house later, Daq?”
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius replied. “See ya there.”
“Nice meeting you,” Paulie said as Lotasha left Paulie’s with a jingling bell.
“She takin’ advantage of you,” Da’Quarius said.
“Oh!” Paulie said. “Show your muddah some respect!”
“Let me ask you sumtin,” Da’Quarius said. “You got a second chance with your mother when you found out it was Helen, but you still act like you brotha and sista. It was a bombshell, and I think you’d at least acknowledge it. Why don’t you do more father an’ mother stuff?”
“Kid,” Paulie said. “You don’t understand. Thinks were fine before we knew.”
“I dunno,” Da’Quarius said. “Just seems lazy is all.”
Tony came back through the front door of Paulie’s still clutching the aluminum bat. “I chased that bum away,” he said. “Guy didn’t want to leave until he finished.”
“He’ll be back,” Paulie said grimly.
Tony nodded in agreement. “You know that lady you gave the pizza to is selling it around the corner, right?” he said.
Da’Quarius came home after working for a few hours at Paulie’s. He was tired from cleaning dishes and chasing the bum from alley when he returned. He opted to do it since it sounded like Tony was ready to bring a gun outside to shoo him away.
“Did my mom come back?” he asked Rose.
“No,” Rose replied. “I thought she’d come home with you.”
“Umma go to my room,” Da’Quarius said. He didn’t say anything else to Rose or the silent Helen.
“We should call the police before she comes back,” Helen said when she was sure Da’Quarius was out of earshot. “Tell them she’s been threatening to rob us.”
“I don’t want her here any more than you do,” Rose said. “But she’s Da’Quaruis’ mother. What am I supposed to do?”
“Well I don’t want her moving into my house too,” Helen said. “We got the kid until he’s eighteen, and I don’t want his mother living with us for the next five years.”
Rose sighed. “I don’t know if she’ll come back,” she said. “But when she does we’ll have a talk with her and Da’Quarius.”
“Right,” Helen said. “And I’ll have the police waiting outside.”
“Just deal with her,” Rose said. “For Da’Quarius.”
“OK,” Helen said, patting Rose’s knee. “I’ll do it for the kid.”
Rose went back to her crossword puzzle while Helen watched The Gameshow Channel with the volume turned up to fight against her hearing aid. Upstairs, Da’Quarius slowly closed his door and let it click shut. He climbed into his bed and stared at the cracks in the ceiling.
Rose sat up suddenly and pulled the blindfold from her face. She thought she heard some banging. She turned to look at Helen, who was snoring away. She had her hearing aid (along with her teeth) on the nightstand for the night. Rose squinted at the clock, and saw that it was a little past three AM.
If Helen awoke, she would call the cops immediately before seeing what the problem was. Rose was more optimistic than Helen, so she decided to go see if it was Da’Quarius or a mouse making the noise. She crept to the top of the stairs and watched downstairs. She saw the light of the kitchen go off as a figure walked into her living room.
By the light from the small lamp on the end table, Rose could see that it was Lotasha. She had somehow gotten in the house in the middle of the night, and was now taking a large snack back to the couch. She swayed while she walked and finally plopped down hard. She giggled to herself as she helped herself to Rose’s cold pot roast and potatoes. She sucked on her fingers as she ate a slice of blueberry pie from the same plate.
Rose crept up back to her bed, agreeing with Helen that Lotasha needed to go sooner rather than later. She’s also have to ask Paulie to come over to figure out how she got into the house and put in some new locks.
Paulie sat across from Lotasha on their early Sunday night date. “So, you from around here?” Paulie asked, trying to get his date to open up.
“I live where I want!” Lotasha exclaimed, somehow offended by Paulie’s innocent question. “If I gotta live on da bus stop and suck dick for drug money, den dat’s what dis bitch gonna do!”
“Whoa!” Paulie said, conscious of the looks he was getting by the other patrons of the restaurant. “I’m just asking if you’ve always been a New Haven local.”
“New Haven is OK,” Lotasha said, looking over the menu. “Da food here looks like shit.”
“May I take your order?” the waiter asked, in an annoyed tone.
“Y’all got fried chicken?” Lotasha asked.
“I can ask the chef,” the waiter replied.
“No need,” Paulie said. “We’ll split a linguine with white clam sauce and garlic bread with mozzarella. Serve it family style and with two glasses of white wine.”
“Very good,” the waiter said, jotting down the order and trotting off.
“Da fuck you just order?” Lotasha asked.
“Pasta with clams and garlic bread,” Paulie replied.
“Shit,” Lotasha said with a gap-toothed grin. “Rich people food.”
“Your son’s been working with me a little bit,” Paulie said, eager to talk about anything that wouldn’t get him unwanted looks. “He’s a good egg.”
“So you showin’ him the ropes?” Lotasha asked. “Tryin’ to step in an’ be daddy?”
“I wouldn’t take it that far,” Paulie said. “The kid just needs some structure in his life. He spent so long without it.”
“You sayin’ umma shitty mother?” Lotasha asked, raising her voice.
“No,” Paulie said suddenly. “I’m not saying that at all.”
“I’m just fuckin’ wit’chu,” Lotasha said, cackling to herself. “Yeah, I dumped him in dat orphanage, but what was I ‘spose to do? Little mo’ fucka just wanted to eat an’ shit all the time. I couldn’t go out or do nuttin’. Dey don’t tell you dat when you git pregnant.”
Paulie looked at Lotasha questioningly. He had no response to her statement.
“Why don’t we get dis food to go,” Lotasha said. “We can eat at yo’ house.”
Rose got up early to find that Lotasha had found her way back into their house in the middle of the night. She was fast asleep and snoring on the couch. She reeked of booze and had her mouth wide open. A cigarette butt was stuck between the gap in her top, front teeth. Rose thought it would be best to go into the kitchen quietly to make her tea and toast.
“Is that hoodrat still on our couch?!” Helen exclaimed, coming down the stairs quicker than normally. “That bitch smells like a damn winery. WAS SHE SMOKING IN HERE?!”
“Da fuck you yellin’ ’bout?” Lotasha said, stretching herself awake. “Cain’t my black ass get some sleep? Damn.”
“That’s it,” Rose said. “We need to talk. Now.”
“Yeah,” Helen said. “I’ll get my gun.”
“No,” Rose said. “We just want to talk about your relationship with Da’Quarius.”
“He a good boy,” Lotasha said. “Umma do sumtin’ nice for him.”
“You don’t have to do anything,” Da’Quarius said, coming down the stairs. “I just wanna spend some time wit’chu.”
“Cool,” Lotasha said. “What’chu wanna do today?”
“Da’Quarius has school,” Rose said.
“He ain’t need no school,” Lotasha said. “I only went ’til fourth grade, an’ I turn out good an’ shit.”
“He’s going to school,” Rose said. “You can see him afterwards.”
“Fine,” Lotasha said. “I’ll meet’chu at that pizza guy’s place on State Street after school.”
“OK,” Da’Quarius said, putting on his backpack and VSTL hat. “I gotta catch my bus. I’ll see you at Paulie’s right after school.”
“Bye bye, honey,” Lotasha said.
“Bye mom,” Da’Quarius said.
“See,” Lotasha said after the door slammed shut. “He a good boy.”
“We never said he wasn’t,” Rose said. “I just don’t know what your intentions are.”
“My intentions?” Lotasha asked.
“You need to borrow a hearing aid?” Helen asked. “What the hell do you want with him?”
“I already told you, biddies,” Lotasha said. “I just wanna spend time wit my son. Is dat so much to ask?”
“Fine,” Rose said, throwing her hands up. “Don’t let me find out it’s anything other than that. I’m going to make some breakfast if anyone wants to join me.”
Helen let Rose go, giving Lotasha the stink eye.
“You got a starin’ problem?” Lotasha asked.
“I do,” Helen said. “You wanna try and fix it?”
“You really think you can fuck me up?” Lotasha asked.
“I tell you what,” Helen said. “If you end up breaking that kid’s heart; I will.”
The Bell rang at the end of last period, and Da’Quarius gathered his books into his backpack. “Read chapters thirteen and fourteen tonight!” Mr. Hessman shouted at his swiftly retreating class. “And be prepared to discuss Colonel Mustard’s treaty that was signed after the Civil War!”
Da’Quarius hung back. He waited for Mr. Hessman to finish gathering his own book and papers. Finally, he approached his desk. “Mr. Hessman?” he asked.
“Da’Quarius,” Mr. Hessman said. “It’s beautiful out. There’s better things to do than to hang out with a middle-aged teacher on such a lovely day.”
“I was wonderin’ if I can ask you some advice,” Da’Quarius said.
“Me?” Mr. Hessman asked. “You don’t usually come to me for advice. I thought you’d go to your uncle.”
“I would,” Da’Quarius said. “But he fuckin’ my mom.”
“Oh,” Mr. Hessman said. “One of those old ladies?”
“No!” Da’Quarius said with a shiver. “My real mom. She came back.”
“Wow,” Mr. Hessman said. “That is a big deal. And your uncle is sleeping with her?! Now I see why you need advice.”
“I don’t what Unca Paulie is doin’ to my mom,” Da’Quarius said. “I’m worried that she gonna burn him.”
“I see,” Mr. Hessman said, nodding with his hand on his chin. “She abandoned you as a small child, and now you’re worried that she’ll abandon your uncle too this time. Is that it?”
“No,” Da’Quarius said. “I’m worried she gonna give him herpes and steal his car.”
“Da’Quarius,” Mr. Hessman said. “It’s normal for you to be suspicious of a mother that left you in an orphanage without any reason as to why. It’s also normal for you to have these feelings of hostility towards her. Why not give her a chance? See what she’s really like if you give her the chance to be a mother instead of this villain that you made her out to be. I know you have it in you.”
“You really think so?” Da’Quarius asked. “She took a pizza from my unca and sold it to a bum for two bucks da other day.”
“I’m sure it’s better than it looked,” Mr. Hessman said. “Give her a chance. I’m sure it’ll work out.”
“Thanks,” Da’Quarius said. “I’ll give that a try.”
“Good,” Mr. Hessman said. “Now run along so I can do grownup stuff. Remember, my door is always open to my students unless there’s a tie on the doorknob. You don’t want to walk in on what goes on in here when there’s a tie on the doorknob. Trust me.”
Paulie swept the floor of Paulie’s Pizza whistling a tune. He was in a good mood after his date with Lotasha the night before. She was a hard egg to crack at first, but once he did she turned out to be as sweet as honey. Nothing could destroy his good mood.
Tony came in the front door. “Hey, Paulie,” he said. “The kid’s mom is outside collecting a buck each from all these homeless guys. What do you think that’s about?”
“Don’t be so suspicious all the time,” Paulie said, putting the broom in the closet. “I’m sure she’s just helping them out. She’s a good girl.”
“Oh my god!” Tony said. “You’re sticking it to the kid’s muddah!”
“Ah fongool!” Paulie said. “Don’t you talk like that. You need a smack upside your head!”
“You need to give your little head a smack!” Tony said. “I don’t know which one you’re thinking with lately!”
The bell rang before Paulie could say something really disgusting, and Tony disappeared into the kitchen. Lotasha walked in with the bums from outside behind her. Paulie went in for a kiss hello, but Lotasha pushed him away. “Nuh-uh,” she said. “Not right now, honey.”
“I’m sorry,” Paulie said. “What can I do for you and your friends?”
“Dey all hongry,” Lotasha said. “Dey’ll take twelve pizzas with da works.”
Paulie looked around at the crowd of what looked like homeless people. “I don’t mind giving you something,” he said. “But that’s an awful lot of pies.”
“Paulie baby,” Lotasha said, putting her arms around Paulie’s neck. “You said family eats for free. You said I was family.”
“Yeah,” Paulie said. “But all these people…”
The bell on top of the door rang again, and Da’Quarius came in still carrying his backpack from school. “What’s all dese bums doin’ here?” he asked Paulie and his mother. “It smell like piss up in here.”
“They’re my friends,” Lotasha said, giving Da’Quarius a dirty look so Paulie wouldn’t see. “Paulie is going to make some pizza for all of us.”
“Can I talk to you, Paulie?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Sure, kid,” Paulie said, still looking at the gathering of bums.
Paulie and Da’Quarius moved to the other side of Paulie’s while Latosha gave the bums filling the pizzeria a thumbs up and a wink. “I think you need to cut dis off,” Da’Quarius said. “She definitely takin’ advantage of you.”
“You’re crazy,” Paulie said. “And I don’t want you disrespecting your mother like that.”
“Now you want to be my uncle, brother, AN’ father?” Da’Quarius said. “Shit. You got enough on yo plate. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Da’Quarius turned and went back to his mother, who was drumming her fake fingernails on the counter. “Yo, mom.”
“Wha’chu need, Daq?” she asked.
“You wanna go down to the park?” Da’Quarius asked. “We can play frisbee or toss some rocks in the pond?”
“Sorry, honey,” Lotasha said. “I gotta take care of some things right now. Why don’t you wait for me at’cho house. I’ll be dere later.”
“I’ll be dere later,” Lotasha repeated. “I have a surprise for you.”
“OK,” Da’Quarius said, defeated. “I’ll see you there.” Da’Quarius left with another ring from the bells above the door.
“You get started on those pizzas yet, Paulie?” Lotasha asked as Paulie came back.
“Listen,” Paulie said. “That’s an awful lot of pies. You’re taking advantage of my good nature. I don’t think this is going to work out.”
Lotasha put her hand over her eyes. “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “You’re right. I have a problem, Paulie.”
“What?” Paulie asked, concerned. “You can tell me anything.”
“Can we talk in private?” Lotasha asked. “I’m embarrassed.”
“OK,” Paulie said. “Come back to my office.” He led Lotasha to Paulie’s office in the back of his pizzeria.
“What ’bout…” Lotasha said, motioning towards the people still waiting for their pizza.
“Tony!” he shouted. Tony came out of the kitchen wiping his hands on his apron.
“What’s up, boss?” he asked.
“Make sure you make these people what they need,” Paulie said, following Lotasha into the office and closing the door.
Tony looked at the crowd of people crammed into Paulie’s. The homeless blow job king gave him salute from the booth in front. Tony turned to get started on the pizzas. “You stupid, horny son of a bitch, Paulie.”
Da’Quarius sat on the living room couch, waiting for his mother to come get him. He knew she’d been coming by at three in the morning by the way she tossed pebbles at his bedroom window to be let into the house, but he sat and waited anyway. He thought Rose had caught him on the first night when his mother ate nearly everything in the fridge after coming by drunk and possibly high, but he ducked behind Helen’s chair, and she didn’t even notice him.
Now, Da’Quarius wondered if he’d have to sneak her in again of if she’d come by after feeding all of the bums she brought to Paulie’s like she promised. Da’Quarius also wondered if having his mother around was worth all this trouble. On one hand, Lotasha Venison Sherman was a complete sociopath and a pariah. On the other hand, she was still his mother.
Da’Quarius sighed as Helen watched reruns of The Price is Right.
“They don’t make men like Bob Barker anymore,” she said. “May he rest in peace.”
“Bob Barker isn’t dead,” Rose said, not looking up from the book she was reading.
“May he rest in peace,” Helen repeated, sadly shaking her head.
Da’Quarius was waiting for a commercial in the show to ask Helen and Rose their advice on how to deal with his mother (even thought he knew they both wanted her gone), when the door opened and Lotasha walked in.
“Mom,” Da’Quarius said, getting up fro the couch. “What are you doin’?”
“I told you that I would come by when I was done at Paulie’s,” she said. “Didn’t I?”
“Yeah, but…” Da’Quarius didn’t know how to finish that sentence.
“I didn’t give you your birthday present yet,” Lotasha said. “I have dat surprise for you now if you want it.”
Rose put her book down, and Helen turned her hearing aid up. They were as shocked by the sudden turn in Lotasha as Da’Quarius was.
“What is it?” Da’Quarius asked. “I don’t see nuttin’.”
“Dat’s cuz we ain’t dere yet,” Lotasha said. “I know I haven’t been dere for you, Daq, but I want to start making up time. I got us tickets to Disney World!”
“Disney World?!” Da’Quarius exclamed.
“Ha!” Helen cackled. “Disney World is for babies and fruits.”
“I always wanted to go to Disney World!” Da’Quarius said, ignoring Helen. “You mean it mom? You really gonna take me?!”
“Cross my heart,” Lotasha said. “We all set to go. I even called yo school. If it’s ok with Helen and Rose, we can leave right now and I’ll have you home in two weeks.”
“Can I?!” Da’Quarius asked, turning towards Helen and Rose with his hands folded.
“I don’t know,” Rose said. “This seems awfully suspicious.”
“She’s going to leave you at another orphanage!” Helen added.
“Where did you suddenly get the money for this?” Rose asked.
“You giving two-for-one hand jobs behind the skating rink?” Helen asked.
“I got the money from Paulie,” Lotasha said. “I told him my situation and he said it was OK. He wants me to be closer to my son.”
“Madon!” Helen said, grasping her chest. “You hit my baby brother up for money! Modon a’ mia!”
“He offered it,” Lotasha corrected. “Your brother is very kind and generous. He did it more fo Daq than me.”
“I still don’t know,” Rose said.
“Please!” Da’Quarius pleaded.
“I’ll bring him home in one piece,” Lotasha said.
“Your middle name means deer meat!” Helen shouted.
“Come on,” Da’Quarius said. “Dis is the only time I may get to spend wit my real mother!”
This took Rose aback. She knew Da’Quarius meant no offense, but it was out there. How could Rose, his adoptive mother, stop Da’Quarius from spending the time with his real mother. “You called the school?” Rose asked.
“Yup,” Lotasha said. “They gave me a list of homework for him an’ e’rything.”
“And he’ll be back in two weeks?” Rose asked.
“Yup,” Lotasha said. “He’ll be fine.”
Rose sighed. “OK,” she said.
Da’Quarius jumped in Rose’s arms and gave her a huge hug. “Thank you,” he whispered in her ear. “I won’t ever forget this.” Rose’s eyes teared up as Da’Quarius let go to pack his bag in his room.
“Remember what I told you before,” Helen said to Lotasha.
Da’Quarius jumped in his mother’s car after she got into the driver’s side. He was excited to finally get to spend some time with his mother, and in Disney World no less. He tossed his bag into the backseat and looked at his mother. She smiled at him.
“Are we gonna go to the airport?” Da’Quarius said. “I ain’t never been on a plane before.”
“We ain’t goin’ to no Disney World,” Lotasha said. “I just needed to get you outta dat house.”
“What?” Da’Quarius asked. “Why?”
“You really wanna be raised by a couple a’ old lezzies?” Lotasha replied. “You finally old ‘nough to come back home with yo momma an’ take care a’ yoself. Let’s get outta here.”
“So Paulie didn’t give you money for Disney World?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Oh he gave me da money,” Lotasha said. “I gave him some sob story about needin’ to go to rehab to get off of smack so I can be a better moms. Mo’ fucka gave me a check for five grand. Dis pussy a’ mine can still make money.” Lotasha cackled.
Da’Quarius watched the CD spinning from the rearview mirror. There was a Puerto Rican flag on one side of it. “Where did you get this car?” he asked.
“Like it?” Lotasha asked. “I took it from some spic while he was cuttin’ some fool’s grass. Dumb fuck left his keys in the visor. We be long gone before da cops come lookin’ for some illegal immigrants car.”
“Do you have Paulie’s money?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Cracka wrote me a check,” Lotasha said, patting her breast. “Got dat shit right here. He made it out to cash.” She cackled again. “We gonna hit da bank and head to our new home.”
“Give me da check and I won’t call the police,” Da’Quarius said. “Paulie’s a good guy, an’ you ain’t stealin’ from him.”
“Shit,” Lotasha said. “I didn’t think I’d eva live to see my own son turn snitch on me.”
“I ain’t your son,” Da’Quarius said. “You left me. Remember?”
“You ain’t no son a’ mine,” Lotasha said, sneering. “Fo sho.”
“You right,” Da’Quarius said. “You half the mother Rose an’ Helen are.”
“Dat’s ‘cuz dere two a’ dem,” Lotasha said.
“But dey half as quick ‘cuz dey three times as old as you,” Da’Quarius said.
“Dere you go again,” Lotasha said. “Lordin’ ova me wit dat math bullshit.”
“Gimme da check,” Da’Quarius said, holding his hand out.
“Fine,” Lotasha said, removing the check from her bra. She handed it to Da’Quarius with a sour look on her face. “Take it an’ get da fuck outta here, you little brat.”
“I want you to remember sumtin,” Da’Quarius said, looking at the check before ripping it up and putting it in his pocket. “Dis time, I’m leavin’ you.” Da’Quarius got out of the car and walked back down the street to his home.
Rose’s nerves were shot after the short exchange with Lotasha and Da’Quarius. She went into the kitchen to make some tea and find some baby aspirin. Helen sat on the couch watching the TV and not really paying attention to Bob Barker. Her mind was elsewhere as well.
The door opened, and Da’Quarius came back in. He sat on the couch across from Helen. “Da’Quarius!” she exclaimed. “You’re back! I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already. How was Disney World?”
“I left here five minutes ago,” Da’Quarius said.
“Thank God,” Helen said. “I thought I blanked out an entire two weeks this time.”
Rose rushed back into the living room at the sound of her adopted son’s voice. “Da’Quarius,” she said. “What are you doing back here so soon?”
“I realized sumtin’,” Da’Quarius said. “Havin’ a mother doesn’t mean anything if she gonna destroy everything you love ‘cuz of greed an’ shit.”
“What?” Rose asked.
“He said his mother’s a scumbag!” Helen said.
“Helen!” Rose exclaimed.
“No,” Da’Quarius said. “Helen’s right. She a scumbag.”
“Are you alright,” Rose asked.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “I think so. I’d be more worried about Paulie. I better call him and tell him he need to get tested.”
“For what?” Rose asked.
“Oh God,” Helen said, her hand to her mouth. “Please don’t tell me he went to bed with that street-walking scumqueen.”
“Helen!” Rose said again.
Da’Quarius laughed. “On second though,” he said. “I think you should call him, Helen. Dat shit gonna be classic as fuck.”
Da’Quarius was off to school, and Rose and Helen were enjoying a quiet day to themselves. Rose was reading a book while Helen did the TV Guide Crossword. “Star of Who’s The Boss,” Helen said. “Tony…”
“Bennet,” Rose said, turning the page in her book.
“No,” Helen said. “Doesn’t fit.”
“Hmmm,” Rose said, looking up. “Curtis?”
Helen counted the squares. “Nope,” she said. “Still doesn’t fit.”
“I’m glad we can finally relax,” Rose said. “I don’t want to have another crazy ordeal like the one with Da’Quarius’ mother.”
“I’m already forgetting it, dear,” Helen said. “One more pill and she’ll be a brown blur in my memory.”
The doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” Rose said.
“No,” Helen said getting up. “I have to stretch my legs anyway. I’ll get it.” Helen walked to the door while Rose went back to her book. She opened it and saw two asian woman. One was a tall, chubby woman, and the other was a young girl around six or seven years old.
“Herro,” the woman said. “I’m Senry Crawfed. I have amazing news! You and your wife put in paperwork to adopt a Korean child twenty -”
Helen slammed the door.
“Who was that?” Rose asked as Helen sat back in her recliner.
“Cindy Crawford,” Helen said.
“Oh,” Rose replied, turning another page. “I always wondered what happened to her.”