Freedom Lane: Helen’s Dirty, Filthy Box
“Today’s random question was sent to us by Helen Masters of New Haven,” BJ said.
“Holy shit!” Helen shouted. “Rose! Da’Quarius! Get your asses in here!”
“What is it?” Da’Quarius asked, walking into the kitchen with his backpack slung across one shoulder. “Umma miss da bus in a minute.”
“You can stay home if you do,” Helen said.
“Sweet,” Da’Quarius replied.
“No he can’t,” Rose said, coming in next. “What’s going on?”
“They’re about to read my question on the radio!” Helen exclaimed. “Listen.”
“Are you there, caller?” Chico asked.
“I’m here,” the caller said. “My name is Joan, and I’m from West Haven!”
“Here are the rules, Joan,” Chico said. “Helen sent us a question. If you can answer it; you win today’s mystery prize. If you don’t get the answer right; Helen will get your prize instead. Are you ready?”
“I’m ready!” Joan shouted.
“OK,” BJ said. “How many cigarettes can you get for selling a twenty-three year old red-head in Havenville Women’s Penitentiary if you can get her before she’s been defiled?”
“Oh Helen,” Rose moaned.
“What kind of question is that?” Joan asked. “That’s ridiculous. How would anyone know that?”
“I did the research, and Helen knows her stuff,” BJ said. “I just don’t know why the receptionist at Havenville would know this too. What is your answer?”
“I don’t know,” Joan said. “Two cartons?”
There was a loud buzzer, and Helen nearly leapt out of her chair. “Sorry!” Chico shouted. “What was the answer, BJ?”
“You can get a twenty-three year old redhead in Havenville Women’s Penitentiary for exactly fifteen packs of cigarettes,” BJ said. “I think that’s a bargain! I’d pay twenty packs!”
“Dammit!” Joan spat. “You guys suck. What a stupid question. You dirty mother fu…”
“Looks like we lost Joan,” Chico said as the line went dead. “What does Helen win for stumping our caller?”
“She wins maid service for an entire month!” BJ shouted.
“A maid for a whole month!” Helen exclaimed. “Hot damn! Get ready, Da’Quarius. I’m about to bring slavery back!”
“Helen!” Rose said, her hands going over her mouth.
“I’m going to school,” Da’Quarius said, turning around with no hint of a smile. “Damn racist-ass biddy, bringin’ slavery back an’ shit.”
“Oh come on!” Helen called. “I’m only kidding. Tell him I’m kidding, Rose. He knows I’m not really like that!”
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Season 6, Episode 4: Helen’s Dirty, Filthy Box
“It’s only autumn!” Paulie said as Tony walked passed him. “What’s with the turtlenecks three times a friggin week now?”
“What do you care what he wears?” Da’Quarius asked, mopping the floor. He was working his early Saturday afternoon shift at Paulie’s Pizza on State Street, learning the business that Paulie had promised to him when he retired.
“It drives me nuts!” Paulie said. “It’s either those white teeshirts or a turtleneck. There’s no in-between for that mook.”
“Don’t be mad because you don’t have any fashion sense,” Tony called from the kitchen.
“Fashion sense,” Paulie mocked. “Listen to this guy go on about fashion sense. The turtlenecks are just a way for him to show his feminine side. He might be a little woo-hoo.” He made a limp-wristed motion with both of his hands.
“No,” Paulie said quickly. “My own sister is gay, you stunad. I’d never use that in a negative way.”
“Seriously,” Da’Quarius said, looking into the kitchen to see if Tony could hear. “I’ve thought that for a while. I bet’chu anything Tony is secretly gay. It would explain the Taylor Swift obsession an’ a whole lotta ‘a other shit too.”
“He’s had plenty of girls,” Paulie said. “I don’t know how he does it. He has to beat them back sometimes.”
“He’s had some to show off in front of you,” Da’Quarius said. “How many of dese girls last more den a week?”
Paulie thought for a moment. “You know, kid, most of what I know about him and women is from his mouth to my ear,” he said. “I’ve only seen a few in person. They certainly don’t stop in to say hi anyway.”
“Told you!” Da’Quarius said. “Now all we need is proof.”
“I’m not spying on my best friend to see what he prefers,” Paulie said.
“Fine,” Da’Quarius said. “I guess you’re OK not knowing.”
“What are you two plotting over there?!” Tony called.
“NOTHING!” Paulie and Da’Quarius shouted in unison.
“I don’t think I can do this,” Helen’s temporary maid, Rosalie, said on Monday of her first week working for the Masters family. She had light brown skin and short black hair. “I usually work on the inside of homes. Dusting and vacuuming and bathrooms. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
“You can do all of that other stuff later,” Helen said, waving a hand. “But I always wanted an in-ground swimming pool. Grab that shovel and start digging, chica.”
“I don’t think I can do this,” Rosalie repeated.
“Do you want me to call immigration?” Helen asked.
“I’m a citizen,” Rosalie replied.
“That wasn’t a yes or no,” Helen said.
Rosalie sighed and took the shovel. She started digging in the square that Helen had spray-painted white. She tossed the dirt to the side as Helen sat in her lawn chair, watching and pouring a drink from a pitcher of lemonade.
“She can’t dig there!” Rose said, coming outside dressed to garden.
“Why not?” Helen asked. “You don’t have any flowers or plants there.”
“We’re not zoned for a pool,” Rose said quickly. “We need permits and a licensed contractor.”
“Since when are you an expert at permits and all that junk?” Helen asked.
Rose didn’t speak. Rosalie hit something with her shovel that made a clunk sound. “There’s something buried here,” she said. “Some kind of trunk.”
“In my backyard?” Helen asked. “Better dig it up. Might be worth something.”
Rosalie began to dig around the box while Helen poured another glass of lemonade with Rose looking on nervously.
Rose sat in the kitchen, glancing out the window at Helen’s maid digging up the box that was buried in the backyard. She knew it was only a matter of time before the box and its contents were unearthed.
“Rose?” Da’Quarius asked, nearly making Rose jump from her seat. “Are you OK?”
“Just thinking,” Rose replied. “Shouldn’t you be in school?”
“I got out,” Da’Quarius said.
“Oh,” Rose said, glancing at the clock. “Time got past me today, I guess.”
“Can I ask you somethin’?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Sure,” Rose said, giving her adopted son her full attention.
“How do you know if someone is gay?” Da’Quarius asked.
Rose was a little startled by the question. She wondered why he would even ask her that, but then she figured it out. “Da’Quarius,” Rose began. “I know you’re at a time in your life where everything is a little bit confusing, but your sexuality shouldn’t be. I know it seems like the world is against homosexuals, but things are slowly getting better. Things aren’t as bad as they were when I was growing up. You should feel comfortable to come out of the closet any time you feel comfortable, especially to Helen and me. We won’t judge you.”
“Wait,” Da’Quarius said, giving Rose a small version of Helen’s stink-eye. “You think I’m talkin’ ’bout me?”
“Hell no!” Da’Quarius said. “No offense. I was talkin’ about Tony.”
“The Tony that works with Paulie?” Rose said. “He’s not gay.”
“Paulie and I are starting to think he is,” Da’Quarius said.
“Nope,” Rose said, shaking her head. “He’s gotten drunk and hit on me more times than I can count. Don’t tell Helen.”
As if summoned by her name, Helen came into the kitchen with Rosalie behind her, hauling the old trunk that was buried. “Put it right there on the table,” she said.
“You’re getting dirt everywhere,” Rose said, getting up from the table as Rosalie dropped the box, sending dirt and pebbles from the tabletop to the floor.
“We have a maid for that shit,” Helen said, digging through a drawer and coming out with a flathead screwdriver. “Now let’s see what’s in this box.”
“Sweet,” Da’Quarius said. “Pirate treasure in our backyard.”
Helen wrenched at the clasp with the screwdriver, but she couldn’t open it. “You try, kid,” Helen said, handing Da’Quarius the screwdriver. “My muscles are slowly turning to mush in my arms.”
Da’Quarius took the screwdriver and forced it between the lock and the trunk. “Y’all got a hammer?” he asked. “Or dat crowbar you always usin’ as a weapon?”
“Rosalie,” Helen said, snapping her fingers. “Look in that drawer for my hammer.”
Rosalie sighed and started digging through the drawer. She came out with an old wood and metal hammer. She handed it to Da’Quarius. “Stand back, biddies,” Da’Quarius said, bringing down the hammer on top of the screwdriver. The clasped popped open, sending more dirt to the kitchen table top and floor. The top of the trunk opened with a squeal as Helen, Da’Quarius, and Rosalie looked inside.
“Oh my God,” Helen said in awe.
“Madre di dios!” Rosalie said, making the sign of the cross.
“What is it?” Da’Quarius asked.
Helen reached her hand in and took out a cylindrical piece of dirty plastic. “I’ve been looking for these for a long time,” she said. “This, Da’Quarius, are the prototypes for the line of dildos I designed in prison.”
“What are your prison dildos doin’ buried in our backyard?” Da’Quarius asked.
“I don’t know,” Helen said, turning. “Do you know, Rose?”
Rose sighed. “I can explain.”
“Ready to close it up?” Paulie called to Tony. The last customer of the not-so-busy weeknight had led more than fifteen minutes before, and the phone had stopped ringing.
“Close it up, boss!” Tony called. “I’ll call Pimple Puss on his cell phone and tell him to head home after his delivery.
Paulie went to the door and locked it up. He then closed the blinds and walked back towards the register and pulled the drawer. He was counting and logging the money when Tony walked into his office. “Everything alright?” Paulie asked.
“A hot date,” Paulie mused, sitting back. “How can I say no to that. What’s the dame’s name?”
“Chris,” Tony replied.
“As in Christina?” Paulie asked.
“No,” Tony replied. “Just Chris.”
“Oh,” Paulie said. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
“Paulie,” Tony said, grabbing his from the coat tree by Paulie’s office door. “Everything I do is something you wouldn’t do. Later.” With that, Tony was off to get ready for his date.
“Madon,” Paulie said. “The kid was right. That gagootz really is a closet poof.”
It was Tuesday morning. Helen and Rose agreed to talk about why Helen’s dildos made their way into a hole in the backyard, but not until Da’Quarius was at school (to his immense annoyance). They sat at the dining room table while Rosalie stood in front of the kitchen sick, hand-washing the various dildo prototypes from the old trunk that sat on the counter next to her.
“The kid’s gone,” Helen said. “So tell me why the box of my dildo prototypes was buried in the backyard for a couple of decades or so.”
“I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away,” Rose said.
“Why would the thought of throwing them away even pop into your head?” Helen asked.
“You used to have them all over the house,” Rose said, shuddering. “It was like we lived in a penis museum. Most of them looked like torture devices. I don’t even want to know how someone would use that one with three heads. It creeped me out that those were used in prison.”
“THESE ARE USED?!” Roasilie exclaimed, dropping one on the floor.
“You’re paying for that if it broke!” Helen shouted back. “Keep scrubbing those fake dicks and keep your mouth closed!”
“I’ve only really seen one penis in my life,” Rose said. “I guess it freaked me out a bit to have them all over my home.”
“You could have told me,” Helen said. “I would have made a dildo-workshop in the garage or the basement. You know I wanted to patent a lot of those designs. It took a lot of letter writing and pleading to get Havenville to send all of those confiscated dildos to me once I got out of the slammer.”
“I’m sorry,” Rose said. “I felt terrible when you thought we were robbed and they were stolen by dildo bandits. I never knew how much they truly meant to you.”
“Well now you do,” Helen said. “They did mean a lot to me, anyway. Being a dildo magnate seems like a silly dream now. I just wanted our name on something good. I wanted us to have a legacy, and Masters’ Dildo Collection had such a lovely ring to it.”
“Our name is on something else now,” Rose said. “Our son.”
“That’s right,” Helen said. “If Da’Quarius flies right, our name will live on through that little stunad.”
“Oh, Helen,” Rose said, smiling.
“Do I have to keep cleaning these things?” Rosalie called from the kitchen.
Helen got up and walked towards the kitchen door. “SHUT YOUR TRAP AND CLEAN THOSE DAMN DILDOS, ROSALIE!”
Da’Quarius wiped down the tables of Paulie’s Pizza on his next Saturday shift. Paulie came out of his office, looked around for Tony, and sat in the booth that Da’Quarius was busy wiping. “Hey, kid,” Paulie said softly. “The evidence is really piling up here. I think Tony might actually be gay.”
“I told you!” Da’Quarius said. “How we gonna know for sure?”
“I don’t know,” Paulie said. “I’m not really up for following him around until he blows a guy.”
“Maybe we just ask him,” Da’Quarius said. “Rose said somethin’ about gay guys not needed to be in the closet like in the old days. Maybe we lay dat trip on him, and he’ll slip and tell us da truth.”
“I can do subtle,” Da’Quarius said. “Hey Tony! Get’cho ass in here!”
“What are you shouting for?” Tony said, walking from the kitchen. “I’m right here, ya little mook.”
“I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you admit to suckin’ a dick,” Da’Quarius said.
“Real subtle, kid,” Paulie said, rolling his eyes.
“Fine,” Tony said. “I’ve sucked a dick. Where’s my thousand dollars?”
“AHA!” Da’Quarius said. “So you are gay! I knew it!”
“Wait a second,” Paulie said. “When did you ever suck a dick?”
“I didn’t,” Tony said. “Never in my life.”
“Then why’d you just admit to it?” Da’Quarius asked.
“You said you’d give me a thousand bucks if I’d admit to doing it,” Tony replied. “You never said I actually had to suck one. For a thousand bucks I’d admit to sucking off my cousin under his mother’s dining room table during Thanksgiving dinner. Doesn’t mean I did it.”
“Dat’s really specific details’ doe,” Da’Quarius said.
“You owe me a thousand bucks, kid” Tony said. “Make with the dough already.”
“The kid doesn’t have a thousand dollars, Tony,” Paulie said. “Why don’t you make the three of us a pie with the works for lunch.”
“You still owe me,” Tony sad, pointing a finger at Da’Quarius before going back into the kitchen. “I won’t forget, kid.”
“Good job, kid,” Paulie said. “You blew it. Now we’ll probably never know for sure.”
“I don’t know,” Da’Quarius said. “I like the air of mystery around it. Is Tony straight? Gay? Bi? Will he get a sex change? Who knows… It’s Tony!”
“I can still hear you,” Tony said. “Come back here and say that shit, and I’ll show you a sex change.”
“Where’s Rosalie?” Rose asked, coming into the kitchen to find Helen alone. She knew Rosalie had shown up that morning, but she was nowhere to be found now.
“She quit,” Helen said. “It was too much for her to bathe me.”
“You asked her to bathe you?!” Rose asked.
“It was completely non-sexual,” Helen said. “But she took it the wrong way.”
“That’s too bad,” Rose said. “At least you had her het rid of those awful things in that box.”
“What?” Helen said, looking around the kitchen. “Where’d my dildo trunk go? It was right in here last night.”
“Don’t look at me,” Rose said. “I didn’t touch it this time.”
“So you’re willing to sell us all of these prototypes?” Henry Donner, president of research and development at Crazy Edward’s Sexporium said.
“Yes I am,” Rosalie said. Putting the many dildos back into the trunk she carried all the way on the long train ride to New York.
“And where did you say you came across these?” Henry asked.
“They were my grandmother’s design,” Rosalie said. “She spent all her free time making dildos.”
“Right,” Henry said, looking at Rosalie and trying to get a read on her. He slid a piece of paper across the table. “Do you find our offer fair?”
Rosalie read the paper with wide eyes. “Yes,” she said.
“And you’ll sign a contract, stating that these non-patented dildo designs are yours?” Henry asked.
“Yes,” Rosalie said after a slight pause.
“Then we have a deal,” Henry said, shaking Rosalie’s hand. “Welcome to the Crazy Edwards family.”