Freedom Lane: Mrs. Pauliefire
Tony sat across from Paulie at their table at Anthony Conegliano’s on State ST near downtown New Haven. The lights were low and candles were lit at all of the tables. Tony was in a suit and tie, furnished by Paulie for the occasion, feeling uncomfortable. Paulie was wearing one of his older sister’s dresses, a wig, and enough make up to make him look like a retired hooker, furnished by his nephew, Da’Quarius.
“Why don’t we serve anything like they got here?” Tony asked, looking over the menu. “We can do seafood and pasta. The shrimp fra diavolo looks good.”
“We did,” the cross-dressed Paulie said. “You don’t know how to store it properly, and you poisoned the Benedetto family, you mook.”
“You’re supposed to talk like an old lady,” Tony said.
“Sorry,” Paulie said, putting a higher pitch in his voice.
“This shit is expensive,” Tony said. “Thirty-two bucks for a steak!”
“Get what you want,” Paulie said. “I don’t plan on paying.”
“Why not?” Tony asked, looking up from his menu.
“Did you bring money?” Paulie asked.
“No,” Tony replied.
“Me neither,” Paulie said. “We get what we came for and get out before the check even hits the table. That lousy Luca DiGennovese thinks he can steal from me? He’ll learn himself some manners tonight.”
“This has got to be the dumbest plan ever,” Tony said, looking back at his menu so he wouldn’t laugh at Paulie (who looked remarkably like his older sister, Helen). “I can’t believe you let the kid talk you into this.”
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
Season 4, Episode 3: Mrs. Pauliefire
*Two days earlier*
It was Friday night during the dinner rush at Paulie’s Pizza on State ST near the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven. Paulie and Tony (as well as the small kitchen staff) were jamming trying to fill orders while their delivery boy, Pimple Puss, drove back and forth delivering pizzas, grinders, and various appetizers.
“Hey!” Luca DiGennovese shouted as he waited in line. The customers around him parted ways to make room for his huge stomach, and the florescent lights shone off the top of his head. What little hair was left was dyed black. “Whose pepperoni do I gotta rub to get a pie in this shit-hole?!”
“Get the hell outta here!” Paulie shouted past the line of customers. “I don’t have the time to kick your ass right now!”
“Oh!” Luca exclaimed, pushing forward through the line of worried-looking customers. “I just came here to see if any of your customers wanted to come down the street to my place, Anthony Conegliano’s. It’s right down State ST right next to downtown…”
“Stop poaching my customers!” Paulie said. “You’re shitty food is overpriced and there’s no parking unless you bring a bag of quarters for the meters!”
“The atmosphere is much nicer and quieter,” Luca said. “Better than being rushed out by a screaming, old stunad.”
“The atmosphere was fine until you brought that ugly mug of yours in here,” Paulie said. “Tony, take over the register while I take out the garbage.”
“Whoa!” Luca said, backing up with his palms out towards Paulie. “I’m just bustin’ your chops. I actually wanted to see if we could have a sit down.”
“You come into my place on a Friday night, mouth off me in front of my customers, then ask for a sit-down? Get the hell outta my face!”
“Fine,” Luca said, turning away for Paulie. “It was a golden opportunity!”
“That’s what you told your wife,” Paulie said. “Now she has herpes and two fat, ugly kids!”
“You better watch your back,” Luca said, leaving.
“I’m shaking,” Paulie said. He turned back to the next customer in line, who was visibly shaken by the exchange the just witnessed. “What can I get for you tonight?”
Rose had waited all of Saturday morning for Da’Quarius to leave for Paulie’s Pizza. She had an idea after seeing him playing with the Garcia’s dogs across the street. Da’Quarius was a good boy, and every good boy needed a dog. Besides, having a dog to look after would teach him responsibility. That was Rose’s thinking, anyway.
“This thing just shit all over the floor!” Helen screamed from the living room. Rose was busy getting the brown pitbull terrier puppy a bowl of food and water. She figured when Da’Quarius came home in a few hours he can help Rose housebreak him.
“It’s OK,” Rose called back. “I’m coming in to clean it up!”
“I’m going to lock this little monster in the closet!” Helen snapped.
“You can’t!” Rose said. “It could make the dog nasty!”
“It’s a pitbull,” Helen said. “It was born nasty! I don’t even remember agreeing to this!”
Rose rolled her eyes. Rose hadn’t told Helen that she went to the pound and taken in the puppy that was about to be put down. She told Helen that they talked about it weeks ago, and she had forgotten the conversation. The end result was the same no matter what she did, so she didn’t feel guilty about the fib.
“The dog won’t get nasty if he’s shown love and a good home,” Rose said, cleaning up the dog poop before scratching the puppy’s ear. “I’ve had a lot of dogs, including two pitbulls. They’re just lovely. Aren’t you. boy? Who’s a lovely boy?”
“Dammit,” Helen muttered. “I went and married one of those dog-loving lesbians!”
“Where is it?!” Pauile exclaimed, throwing stuff around his office.
“Calm down!” Da’Quarius said, running in. “What the hell are you doin’?!”
“It’s my recipe book!” Paulie said. “It’s gone!”
“What?!” Tony said, coming into Paulie’s office as well. “You sure you didn’t leave that on the shitter?”
“I never take that in there!” Paulie said. “I treat that book like it’s the bible!”
“Well who would’ve taken it?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Oh!” Paulie said, stopping his stomping and tossing. “Who said someone took it? You got something to tell me?”
“Just ‘cuz I’m black I took yo shit?!” Da’Quarius asked.
“Don’t start with that,” Paulie said.
“What about Luca?” Tony suggested. “Wasn’t he in here last night, talking about some kind of opportunity?”
“Luca?” Da’Quarius asked. “That bald, fat guy who smells like garlic an’ bad cologne?”
“That’s what he wanted!” Paulie said. “He wanted to make me a deal for my recipes, so he could serve them in that friggin’ restaurant of his. He must have taken it when he was starting all that trouble here last night!”
“Could he have gotten in your office?” Da’Quarius asked.
“We were busy as hell,” Paulie said. “He could have snuck in before he started shouting. It makes perfect sense. He knew I’d be suspicious if I saw him leaving without making a stink, so he made a big one.”
“But what would he want your recipes for?” Tony asked.
“To make the food at his crappy little restaurant of his better,” Paulie said. “He probably wants to start making pizza and subs now.”
“I got an idea,” Da’Quarius said. “But umma have to get some stuff from home without Helen an’ Rose knowin’. Also, umma have to stay at yo place tonight.”
“You got it, kid,” Paulie said. “What do you need?”
“That was Da’Quarius,” Rose said, coming out of the kitchen and back into the living room where Helen was enjoying her nightly TV regimen. “He’s going to spend the night with Paulie. He said he’s doing a project for school on business owners.”
“I guess we’re stuck watching this hyperactive dog of his!” Helen snapped. The puppy napped quietly near her feet.
“I haven’t told him about the dog yet,” Rose said. “I want it to be a surprise when he comes home.”
“Well I hope you’re ready to clean up his piss and shit, since you don’t want to housebreak him without the kid,” Helen said.
“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get started,” Rose said. “The yard is ready for him. Come on, boy. Wanna go outside? Wanna go make a wee-wee or a poo-poo? There’s a good boy! Come on! Outside!” Rose left through the back door in the kitchen with the dog.
“Good luck cleaning up the piles that fucker’ll be leaving you, honey,” Helen said, drifting off to sleep.
“Alright,” Da’Quarius said on Sunday morning at Paulie’s house. Tony was eating a sandwich in Paulie’s small kitchen. “I was able to sneak in last night and get everythin’ we need from Helen’s room.”
“And nobody noticed you were there?” Pauile asked.
“You know dem biddies,” Da’Quarius replied. “Helen was passed out on da couch with the TV blastin’, an’ Rose was in the backyard. I was able to pack my backpack and leave right out da window without either one of them knowin’ I was dere.”
“I still don’t know about this, kid,” Paulie said. “I don’t have to wear women’s clothes to do this.”
“No,” Tony said. “You wouldn’t want Luca to recognize you.”
“You just want to see me in the dress!” Paulie said, waving a hand at Tony.
“Oh!” Tony said. “I don’t swing that way!”
“I meant you’d think it’s funny!” Paulie yelled back.
“It will be,” Tony said, laughing.
“That’s it!” Paulie shouted, getting up from his chair. “I’m out. I ain’t dressin’ in my sister’s clothes and wearing that friggin’ wig!”
“So you’re just gonna walk into Luca’s restaurant as yourself an’ pillage his office?” Da’Quarius asked. “You need the disguise, an’ you know it!”
“Fine!” Paulie said, sitting back down. “Go over this plan of yours one more time, kid.”
“It’s simple,” Da’Quarius said. “You dress up as an old lady, Tony takes you out to dinner to Luca’s place, we distract Luca, an’ you go to his office to find your recipe book.”
“Sounds simple,” Tony said.
“That’s the problem,” Paulie said. “It sounds simple now, but we’ll see how simple it is once I’m dressed like an old lady, sippin’ iced tea.”
Da’Quarius smirked. “Your code name will be Mrs. Pauliefire.”
“Come on, Rose,” Helen moaned. She was napping in her easy chair and was awoken by a sensation on her loins. “At least take my underwear off before you start.”
Helen adjusted herself in her chair and moved her gown to help Rose get under there. Her tongue felt warm and flat.
“Warm and flat?!” Helen said, her eyes opening suddenly. She looked down and saw a brown tail wagging on the back end of Da’Quarius’ dog.
“You perverted little mutt!” Helen shouted. She rolled up the newspaper on the end table next to her and started whacking the dog with it. He thought she was playing, and took it from her hand and started shaking it while hopping around, happily. “That’s it!”
Helen got up and made her way to the front door as the puppy jumped around, barking. She opened the door and started motioning for the dog to leave. “Come on, boy,” she said. “Wanna go outside? Wanna go shit on someone else’s lawn. Go on… Get the fuck out!” The excited puppy ran out the door and into the sunlight. Helen slammed the door behind it. “Good fucking riddance,” she breathed. She picked up the remnants of her newspaper and sat back in her chair.
“Helen?” Rose said, coming down stairs. Helen woke up. She had no idea how long she had been asleep. “Have you seen the puppy? It’s time for him to go out.”
“I already put him out,” Helen said. “He’s in the backyard.”
Rose went out the back door and came back in less than a minute. “He’s not out there,” she said. “Are you sure you let him out the back door?”
“Positive,” Helen replied.
“How long ago did you let him out?” Rose asked.
“I don’t know,” Helen said, feigning thought. “I must have dozed off. What happened?”
“He’s gone!” Rose exclaimed. Tears started to drip down her cheeks. “He somehow got out of the yard and ran off!”
“Oh no!” Helen said. “That’s awful!”
“I’m going out to look for him,” Rose said, pulling her coat on. “I hope he’s OK!” She left the house, slamming the door behind her.
“Aw shit,” Helen sighed.
“Can I talk to you?” Tony whispered to the waiter. He was wearing one of Paulie’s suits and Paulie stood by the door dressed in Helen’s clothes and a wig. Da’Quarius waited outside by the window with a walkie talkie that fed into both Tony and Paulie’s ear pieces. They both had microphones that would feed into his own. He refused to answer as to where he got them.
“Sure,” the waiter said.
“My ma there is going through a tough time,” Tony said. “She has a… weak bladder. She’ll probably be up to piss about seven or eight times throughout the meal.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” the waiter said. “Is there anything I can do to help.”
“Yeah,” Tony said. “Can we have a seat near your toilets? This way she can be up and down as much as she pleases, and not too many people will notice if I have to help her on and off the seat.”
“It’s not a problem,” the waiter said. “I’ll make sure you get a table over there.”
“Thank you,” Tony said as the waiter left.
“We OK?” Paulie whispered as Tony came back.
“We’re OK,” Tony said. “We got a seat next to the crappers, and the crappers are next to Luca’s office.”
“Will you shut the hell up?!” Da’Quarius voice rang in both of their ears. “Don’t go repeatin’ da plan for everyone to hear. You know da plan. Just stick to it. I’ll let you know when it’s cool to get in his office.”
“Roger that,” Tony said.
“And cut dat ‘roger dat’ shit out too,” Da’Quarius said. “Mo’ fuckin’ amateur bullshit.”
Tony and Paulie took their table near the bathroom, waiting to hear from Da’Quarius that is was OK to sneak into Luca’s office to search for Paulie’s missing recipe book. “Dammit,” Da’Quarius said over their ear pieces. “Dat fat bitch, Luca, ain’t leaving the area near his office. Umma cause a distraction.”
Tony and Paulie looked near the main door, and saw Da’Quarius rush in. “Yo, you old bitches!” he shouted. “The food here is full of cat shit! Dey put cat shit in the food!” He ran back out of the door while the host chased after.
“Goddam kid,” Paulie said.
“You on your own now,” Da’Quarius said, panting. “Dis mo’ fucka ’bout to chase me out ‘a range.”
Paulie and Tony tried not to look as Luca came out of his office to calm this customers down that Da’Quarius had spooked. He was assuring two older gentlemen that they did not put cat feces in their food when Paulie decided it was time to make his move. “I’m going in,” he said under his breath. Tony nodded once and turned to the ruckus going on in the main dining area, ready to signal Paulie is Luca came back to his office.
Paulie started looking through Luca’s office, not caring what he overturned or knocked to the floor. He opened drawers and found nothing but receipts and files on his employees. “Where the fuck is it?” Paulie asked himself. He then saw the note on Luca’s desk. It was an agenda to talk with Paulie about some kind of a partnership to start a food truck.
“Son of a bitch,” Paulie said. “I guess the obnoxious mook really was trying to shoot straight with me for once. I was wrong about him.” He picked up the agenda to see what Luca’s idea entailed and saw his recipe book under it. “You thieving rat bastard piece of shit.”
“Unca Paulile,” Da’Quarius said through his earpiece. “I’m back. What’s goin’ on?”
“Luca really wanted to talk business,” Paulie said. “But he also stole my book.”
“Dere’s only one thing to do,” Da’Quarius said. “You gotta change in da bathroom back into your clothes and then back again, playin’ Luca into a trap where he admits exactly what he’s up to.”
“You mean I have to be Paulie and Mrs. Pauliefire at the same time?” Paulie asked.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius replied.
“Fuck this,” Paulie said. He walked out of Luca’s office to be standing right in front of him.
“What the hell is going on?!” Luca exclaimed. Paulie decked him, knocking him out.
“Come on, Tony,” Paulie said. “I got the book. Let’s get outta here.”
“Comin’, boss,” Tony said, stuffing some steak into his mouth and taking a large sip from his martini. The two left quickly though the front door.
“Holy shit,” Harold Fuchs said form his booth with his husband, Lee. “Did you see that?”
“Yeah,” Lee replied. “Why did Helen just punch that guy out?”
“Da’Quarius will be home any minute,” Rose said, exhausted. “And we lost his puppy. He never even got to meet him.” Rose had looked around the neighborhood a dozen times, knocked on every door on the bock, called the animal shelter every hour, and had not stopped worrying about the dog that she thought got free from the backyard.
“It’s alright,” Helen said, feeling guilty for letting the dog out after it tongued her crotch. “I’m sure the little mongrel will find its way home. He wasn’t that bad of a dog.”
“Helen,” Rose said, looking in her wife’s face. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you miss the little guy.”
“No,” Helen said, turning away and reading her TV Guide. “I just don’t like to see you upset is all.”
Before Rose could say anything else, Da’Quarius came in with an unexpected guest. “Look what I found diggin’ in yo flowers, Rose,” he said. “I think this dog got lost. Maybe we should find its owner.”
“You did,” Rose said, beaming. “I thought he ran away! This is your dog, Da’Quarius.”
“My dog?” Da’Quarius said. “Helen let you get a dog!”
“Don’t tempt fate, kid,” Helen said. “You better take good care of him, or I’m dropping him off at the first Chinese food place I find.”
“Helen!” Rose snapped, but Da’Quarius was laughing. “What do you want to name him? We really should get him a tag in case he gets out again.”
Da’Quarius thought for a moment. “There was dis stray dog we used to feed garbage to behind the orphanage,” he said. “We called him Dutchie. I want to name him Dutchie too.”
“That’s a nice name,” Rose said.
“It short for Dr. Warren Waka Dutchie Figer-Fucking G,” Da’Quarius said. “But just Dutchie is cool too.”
“For Christ’s sake, kid,” Helen said, shaking her head in her hand.
“Come on,” Rose said, leading the dog towards the back door. “I’ll teach how to feed, housebreak, and take care of Dutchie.”
“Cool,” Da’Quarius said. “Thank you, Rose.”
Rose wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “You’re welcome.”
Helen watched as Rose and Da’Quarius took the dog to through the kitchen. “Look at those three,” she said. “Bunch of pansies.”