Freedom Lane: Hands only

Rose and Helen walked through the supermarket with their son, Da’Quarius, filling their carriage with groceries. “Get two cans of tomato soup,” Helen said. “Aisle eleven.”

“On it,” Da’Quarius said, running off.

“What else do we need?” Rose said, looking at her list.

“I don’t know why you write all that stuff down,” Helen said. “We just get what we see anyway.”

“It’s good to be organized,” Rose said.

“I’d rather live in the moment,” Helen said. “That’s what I say. Live until you…”

“OH MY GOD!” a woman shouted.

“That man just fell over,” Rose said, looking over. She quickly moved over to him.

“Oh God,” Helen moaned. “There goes Florence Nightingale.”

“Are you OK?” Rose said, kneeling next to the overweight black man on the ground. He just groaned. “Call nine-one-one!”

Rose knelt over the man on the ground, laced her fingers together, and started counting as she began chest compressions. “What’s Rose doin’?” Da’Quarius asked, coming back to Helen and dropping two cans of tomato soup in the cart.

“She’s saving a life, kid,” Helen said as the ambulance pulled up. “It’ll be a long time before we hear the end of it too.”


Freedom Lane

Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow

Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness

Season 8, Episode 4: Hands Only


Paulie drove south on route fifteen with Tony in his passenger seat. “Just admit you’re lost,” Tony said.

“I am not lost,” Paulie said, looking at the signs. “I don’t usually come down to Fairfield. I don’t want to miss the exit.”

“You wouldn’t have to come down here at all if it weren’t for that fiancé of yours,” Tony said with a chuckle. “I can’t believe you have to drive all the way to Fairfield to meet her parents.”

“That’s what you do when you’re in a relationship,” Paulie said. “You do things for each other. You’d know that if you could stick with a girl for more than a week.”

“I’ve stuck with plenty of girls,” Tony said. “They just didn’t stick with me.”

“So they didn’t know you followed them around after they dump you?” Paulie asked.

“That’s not what I meant,” Tony said.

“Well enlighten me, then,” Paulie said. “We got time. It’s a long drive to -“

Paulie was interrupted when a doe ran into the road. He hit the brakes, but his car still hit the front of the deer, bending its neck. It fell to the ground, rolled over once, and ran back into the woods.

“PUTTANA!” Paulie exclaimed, stopping the car and pulling it off the road. He put it into park and got out. Tony followed.

“Car looks alright,” Tony said, looking at the damage done to the front, passenger side. “Just some cosmetic damage. My cousin can fix this right up for you.”

“Look at the blood,” Paulie said, looking at the grill. “I can’t believe it ran off after this.”

“Don’t worry,” Tony said, looking into the trees off the parkway. “It’ll die from its internal injuries.”

“Oh no it won’t,” Paulie said, pulling his nine-millimeter from his back, “not if Lucy and I have something to say about it.”

“Lucy?” Tony asked. “What happened to Nancy?”

“This is Nancy’s twin sister,” Paulie said, turning the safety off. “Now let’s go put that deer out of its misery.”


“You just start compressing to the beat of the disco song ‘Stayin’ Alive’,” Rose said, retelling the story of how she saved the man’s life at the supermarket the day before. “Just do that until trained responders show up.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Helen said. “Tell Da’Quarius about your refresher course.”

“I take a refresher course on CPR and first aid every year,” Rose said, smiling. “You need to keep up with the changes in first aid if you want to effectively save lives.”

“Dat’s great,” Da’Quarius said, texting on his phone.

“Oh shit!” Helen exclaimed, putting the remote down. “The guy you saved is on TV!”

“No,” Rose said, coming around to sit next to Helen. “You think they all look… Oh my. That is him!”

“Turn up the volume, biddy,” Da’Quarius said, putting his phone down and sitting down next to Rose.

“The woman saw me collapse, and she came running over,” the man said, facing the camera.

“He’s talking about how I saved his life!” Rose said, beaming.

“But then she refused to give me mouth-to-mouth,” the man said. “Because I’m a black man, she refused to give me the full CPR. She couldn’t put her white lips against my black ones! I could’ve died!”

“You could’ve died because of all those triple cheeseburgers,” Helen muttered. “Fat bastard.”

“That was the story from earlier today,” the news anchor said, standing outside the supermarket for her live shot. “Leo Parsons says he eagerly awaits to hear from the racist woman who refused to give him mouth-to-mouth.”

“Thank you, Jean,” the anchor at the news desk said, shuffling papers. “A New Haven school teacher is behind bars today for reportedly threatening a waitress with a knife….”

“How could he?!” Rose exclaimed, tears forming in her eyes. “That was hands-only CPR! You’re not supposed to give rescue breaths if they had just collapsed. Whoever did that report should have researched that!”

“Dey more interested in makin’ race issues,” Da’Quarius said. “Da’ media makes me sick!”

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Helen said. “It’s best to just let it go.”

“No,” Rose said, getting up. “He wants to meet and talk, then let’s meet and talk. I bet that news crew is still there. We can catch them if we leave right now.”

“We better go too, kid,” Helen said, getting up with a grunt.

“Why?” Da’Quarius asked.

“I need to defend my woman,” Helen said, “and we need you there to prove Rose isn’t racist.”

“One adopted black son,” Da’Quarius said, putting on his black Vagabond Saints hat, “comin’ right up.”


Paulie and Tony walked through the woods. “How do you know that deer even came this way?” Tony asked.

“It did,” Paulie said, looking around, holding his gun with the barrel pointed toward the sky. “I see the tracks, and there are specks of blood. It came this way.”

Tony looked around. “This isn’t a good idea,” he said. “There’s probably tons of wild animals out here. Bears and mountain lions and possums.”

“You’ll be fine, you big baby,” Paulie said. “It’s the middle of the day, and we aren’t too far from people’s homes. We’ll find the deer, put it out of its misery, and get back to the car.”

“How are you go it to do it?” Tony asked, stepping over a fallen tree.

“With grace and respect,” Paulie replied. “I’m going to shoot it in the face a bunch of times.”

“And you can find your way back to the parkway once we do this?” Tony asked.

“Sure,” Paulie said. “I can get us back. No problem.”

A chipmunk ran across their path. Tony screamed and jumped back.

“Shut up with the screaming!” Paulie said. “You’ll scare the deer deeper into the woods.”

“Sure, boss,” Tony said, his voice quivering. “We wouldn’t want it to get away and die on its own now.”

“I should’ve left you in the car,” Paulie said, rolling his eyes.


Rose pulled into the parking lot of the supermarket, and she was glad to see the news van still parked in the back. She got out of her Toyota followed by Helen and Da’Quarius and approached the cameraman, who was rolling up wire. “Hey,” Rose said. “What happened to the guy?”

“What guy?” the cameraman said, turning. He was bald and muscular.

“The guy from the story,” Rose said. “He was on the news less than a half hour ago.”

“Not ringing any bells,” the cameraman said.

“The black guy,” Helen said.

“Helen!” Rose said.

“Oh,” the cameraman said. “You mean the victim.”

“He was not a victim,” Rose said. “Have you ever heard of hands-only CPR?”

The cameraman just looked at her.

“Look,” Helen said, stepping forward. “This so-called victim owes my wife an apology. She saved his life, and all he can do is spew racist nonsense. Get in your little news van, call your supervisor, and get that black asshole back here.”

“Will you stop calling him black?!” Rose said.

“He is black,” Helen said. She turned to Da’Quarius. “Did I say something wrong?”

“I dunno,” Da’Quarius said with a shrug. “He looked black to me.”

The cameraman put his camera and wire in the back. “I don’t get paid enough for this shit,” he said, climbing into the van.

“You think he’ll call?” Da’Quarius asked.

“Oh, he’ll call,” Helen said. “They’ll bust a nut trying to get this confrontation on the evening news.”

“I’m beginning to think I should’ve just let this go,” Rose said.

“It’s too late now,” Helen said. “You poked the bear.”

Rose sighed.

“The black bear,” Helen added.

“Helen!” Rose snapped.

“What?” Helen asked. “Bears can be black. Watch the Discovery Channel.”


Pauile crept through some bushes with Tony right behind him. “Stop,” he whispered. “I see it.”

Tony looked into a small clearing, and he saw the deer. It was walking about, trying to eat the grass, but its neck was twisted. “Poor girl,” he said. “She does look like she’s in pain.”

“Don’t call it a ‘she’,’ Paulie said. “Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“OK,” Tony said. “By the way, I named her ‘Brownie’.”

“Tony,” Paulie groaned. “You’re such a stunad.”

“Don’t scare her off,” Tony said. “Get in there and blow Brownie’s adorable face off.”

“Why are you doing this?” Paulie asked.

“I’m sorry,” Tony said. “I can’t help myself. It’s really, really funny.”

Paulie sighed and walked out of the bushes. The doe looked at him, frozen in fear. “It’s OK, girl,” he said, lowering the gun toward it. “You’ll be in deer heaven soon, jumping in front of the cars of angels.”

Paulie was ready to shoot the doe in the face when Tony jumped on him from behind. The gun went off, and a bullet hit the doe in the stomach. It bleated as it ran off, deeper into the woods.

“What the hell did you do that for?!” Paulie exclaimed, turning to Tony.

“A chipmunk tried to run up my leg!” Tony shouted. “The little fuckers will nibble your nuts right off!”

“You friggin’ mook!” Paulie said. “Now we have to go after it again.”

“No way,” Tony said. “You shot it. It’s really gonna die now.”

“It’ll be a slow death!” Paulie said. “We were trying to put it out of its misery. That was the whole reason we came in here. Now its in even more pain!”

“Poor Brownie,” Tony said, looking into the woods.

Paulie sighed. “Come on, Tony,” he said. “Let’s go after it again.”


“Look who it is,” Leo Parsons said, walking into the parking lot of the supermarket. “It’s the little old racist lady who can’t give a black man mouth-to-mouth.”

“I wasn’t supposed to give you mouth-to-mouth,” Rose said. “When someone collapses in front of you, you go right into hands-only CPR. I take a first aid class once a…”

“So you sayin’ I’m dumb?!” Leo exclaimed as the cameraman shot the footage. “You sayin’ I can’t take a class too?!”

“I was going to suggest you take it,” Rose said. “It never hurts to learn…”

“You sayin’ a black man can’t learn now?!” Leo snapped. “I don’t believe it!”

“Come on,” Helen said, putting a hand on Rose’s shoulder. “You just can’t reason with an idiot like this. Not when the media puts every black man that screams about someone being racist against him on a friggin’ pedestal.”

“What dat white bitch just say?” Leo asked.

“Shut up!” Da’Quarius said. “You don’t talk to my moms like dat!”

“Calm down, Da’Quarius,” Rose said. “I didn’t want to start a fight. I just wanted to tell him he was wrong.”

“Oh no!” Leo exclaimed, grasping his chest. “It’s my heart again!” He gently fell to the ground, staring up at the sky.

“Well this just took a turn,” Helen said.


Paulie and Tony continued walking through the woods, following what Paulie said was the path the injured doe took. “We’re going to die out here,” Tony said. “We’re going to die because of a deer.”

“We are not going to die,” Paulie said. “We’ll shoot the doe, get back to the car, and head back to New Haven.”

“New Haven?” Tony asked. “What happened to meeting Angie’s folks in Fairfield?”

Paulie sighed. “I’ll be late, I’m covered in dirt, and I’ll soon be covered in deer blood too,” he said.

“Can I make an observation?” Tony asked.

“When do you not?” Paulie asked. “Go ahead, Freud.”

“I love Angie,” Tony said. “You know I do, but it seems like you’re going awfully far out of your way to avoid meeting her parents. You’re in the middle of the woods when you’re supposed to be sitting down to a nice dinner. I don’t even get why you asked me to come along. I’m not marrying the broad, and I certainly don’t want to meet her folks.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to meet them,” Paulie said, “it’s that I’m older than Angie’s father. It’s only by two years, but still. They can’t be happy that their daughter is marrying an old man.”

“Then they’re a couple of assholes,” Tony said. “They should want to see their daughter happy, regardless of how old the cadaver who climbs on top of her is.”

“Watch it,” Paulie grunted. “You were doing good up until that last part.”

“You get my point, though,” Tony said. “Show them you make Angie happy, and they’ll be happy.”

“Thanks,” Paulie said. “You’re not such a stunad sometimes.”

“I appreciate that,” Tony said.

“Oh shit,” Paulie said, lowing his voice. “There it is.”

“Brownie,” Tony whispered, looking at the doe, wandering around in a circle with its injured neck and bullet wound. “She’s not doing so good.”

“I know,” Paulie said, holding his gun. “Let’s finish this.”


“He’s faking,” Helen said. “You see how lightly he went down. Don’t you dare help him.”

“I have to,” Rose said, kneeling. The cameras were taping her, waiting to see what she’d do. “Someone call nine-one-one!”

“Give him mouth-to-mouth,” Da’Quarius said. “Prove him wrong. That’ll show him.”

“I can’t,” Rose said, moving over Leo. “I saw him collapse. You don’t give rescue breaths when you see them collapse. Only when you come across them unconscious.”

“He’s just gonna call you racist on TV again!” Da’Quarius said. “He’s a media ho!”

“He’s faking it!” Helen said. “I just saw him peek out of his left eye.”

Rose put her hands on Leo’s chest. “I’m not risking it,” she said.

“Oh hell,” Helen said, kneeling on the other side of Leo. “I’m ending this right now.” She leaned down, making a complete seal over Leo’s mouth, and blew into him, sending his chest upward.

“DA’ FUCK?!” Leo said, sitting up and coughing. “Did you just put your tongue in my mouth.”

“I told you!” Helen shouted. “He’s faking it!”

“What the hell you eatin’?!” Leo said, spitting on the ground, “ass and tuna?”

“I wish,” Helen said.

“So now you don’t want rescue breaths from an old, white lesbian?” Da’Quarius asked. “You hate it so much dat you came back to life? Which part do you hate more: Helen’s whiteness, he oldness, or her lesbianess?”

Leo looked at Da’Quarius. “That’s not…”

“So you a gay basher?” Da’Quarius said. “Why you refusing mouth-to-mouth from a gay person. Mo’ fuckin’ homophobe.”

“Whoa,” Helen said, putting her hands up to Da’Quarius. “Don’t you use that language to describe me, kid.”

“Come on,” Rose said, taking Helen and Da’Quarius’s hands. “Let’s go home. I think we proved our point here.”

“Wait!” Leo called. “Thank you for saving my life! I’m not a homophobe!”

“All’s well that ends well,” Helen said. “Now let’s get me some extra-strength mouthwash!”

“I wonder how Paulie is doin’ with Angie’s parents,” Da’Quarius said.


Dusk was coming on as Paulie walked slowly toward the doe as he did before. She looked at him, startled, but she didn’t move. “I’m back,” Paulie said. He leveled his gun at her innocent face. “I’m sorry about this. I really am.”

“You OK, boss?” Tony whispered, walking up next to Paulie. The doe looked toward him, but made no move to run off.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” Paulie said, a tear running down his cheek. “Look at her. Look at what I did to her.”

“Brownie will forgive you,” Tony said, putting a hand on Paulie’s shoulder. “Besides, she shouldn’t have run out onto the highway like a moron.”

“You’re not helping,” Paulie said. 

“Just do what you came here to do,” Tony said. “You know it’s the right thing. Besides, I’ll stand here while you do it.”

Paulie nodded once, and aimed his gun at the doe’s face. “Goodbye, sweet Brownie,” he said. He squeezed the trigger over and over, emptying the remainder of the clip into he doe’s face and head. Paulie and Tony were both sprayed with blood.

The doe fell over, lying on its side in the grass with most of its face blown off. “Rest in peace,” Paulie said.

Tony turned and vomited. “Shit,” he said, spitting. “Poor Brownie.”

“That’s why I told you not to name it!” Paulie said. “Madon. I swear, Tony. It was just a friggin’ -“

Lights went on around them. Paulie and Tony turned to see an entire family watching from their deck overlooking the forest. The parents and their three kids stared at the scene in horror. Paulie stashed his gun in his pants behind his back.

“Hey,” Tony said with a nod toward the family. “Can you tell us how to get back to the parkway?”

The End

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