Freedom Lane: The Innocence of Snowman Youth

Paulie let himself into the still unfinished Paulie’s Pizza and walked toward the back, using the stairs to walk up to Tony’s apartment. It was just finished the week before, and Tony was back, living above the pizzeria as he had for almost thirty years.
 
“You here, Tony?!” Paulie shouted. He was answered only by a beeping, coming from the kitchen. He went to investigate and found the microwave had finished cooking. Paulie opened it up, finding a soggy piece of steaming pizza on a paper plate.
 
“Oh, Tony,” Paulie said. “You don’t microwave pizza.”
 
Paulie heard the shower running. He picked up the pizza, paper plate and all, and walked toward Tony’s bathroom. “Hey!” he shouted.
 
“Paulie?!” Tony called. “Is that you?”
 
“Yeah, it’s me,” Paulie replied. “I came by to see if you wanted to get an early start on our trip to Pennsylvania. It’s a long drive. We can stop and get breakfast.”
 
“I got a little something cooking,” Tony said, “but we can stop.”
 
“You mean this?!” Paulie said, tossing the piece of pizza into the shower with Tony.
 
“What the hell?!” Tony shouted. “That’s friggin’ hot!”
 
“It’s a sin to microwave pizza!” Paulie snapped. “It’s a shitty breakfast too. I’ll be waiting downstairs, you animal.”
 
“Thanks boss,” Tony muttered, “but you’re screwed if you think this is gonna stop me from eating it.”
 
 
***
 
Freedom Lane 
 
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
 
Season 10, Episode 3: The Innocence of Snowman Youth
 
***
 
Helen watched from the window as Da’Quarius built a snowman with his friend, Esmerelda Perez de la Hoya. They rolled their snowballs on the ground, creating the perfect body, piled them up, staking them three high. Then they decorated with sticks and rocks and a carrot they had taken from the fridge.
 
“Why are you watching them?” Rose asked, coming into the den.
 
“I can’t help it,” Helen said. “Look at them, building their snowman. There’s nothing more pure than this: a boy and a girl working together to build a man of snow. It’s the innocence of snowman youth, Rose. I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t stop to observe such a lovely happening.”
 
Rose welled up with emotions. “You really amaze me sometimes,” she said.
 
“It’s nice to hear that in a good way for a change,” Helen said. 
 
Rose smiled. “How about we make some homemade hot chocolate for when the kids are done with their snowman?” she asked.
 
“Sounds great,” Helen said. The two went to the kitchen to make the hot beverages as Da’Quarius and Esmerelda were taking pictures of their work with their cellphones.
 
***
 
Paulie drove, passing into Pennsylvania. Tony sat next to him, yawning. “We almost there?” he asked.
 
“Almost,” Paulie said. “Thanks for coming. I know it’s a long trip.”
 
“Don’t mention it,” Tony said. “I’ll be cooking from this magic oven after all. I should have a say in you buying it.”
 
“It’s not a magic oven,” Paulie said. “It’s an amish pizza oven. These mooks build quality stuff out here away from civilization. I’ve always wanted a brick oven, and I can finally afford one thanks to Helen.”
 
Paulie drove down the dirt roads of Buchananshire, following his GPS to an old pizzeria, just outside the farms and fields of amish country. He pulled into the cobbled parking lot, got out of the car, and stretched. 
 
“It’s still cold here,” Tony said, shivering.
 
“We only drove for five hours,” Paulie said. “We didn’t end up anywhere warmer.”
 
“How close are we to Florida?” Tony asked.
 
Paulie shook his head and entered Buchananshire Brick Oven Pizza. The bells rang above him. He was greeted at the counter by a short old man with round glasses. “Welcome, friends,” he said. “What can I get you today?”
 
“We talked on the phone,” Paulie said. “I’m Paulie Ventriglio.”
 
“Oh yeah,” the old man said, coming from behind the counter and shaking Paulie’s hand. “I’m Giovanni. Let me show you the oven. It’s out back.”
 
“Sit tight, Tony,” Paulie said. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
 
Tony nodded and looked around the small pizzeria. “Not so impressive,” he said with a shrug. He turned to see a large, muscular man in the kitchen, wearing a hairnet over his jet-black hair and a white tee-shirt under his apron. He nodded at Tony once and went back to work.
 
“Shit,” Tony muttered. “Guy looks like he could wrestle for the WWE.”
 
***
 
Helen walked toward the front window while Da’Quarius, Esmerelda, and Rose drank their hot cocoa. She wanted to take another look at the finished snowman. She pulled the curtain back, and what she saw shocked her. 
 
The snowman was now on the ground, and there was a man on top of it, thrusting himself against it. “You’re going to die,” Helen muttered. She pulled on her boots and took her crowbar from the umbrella stand by the door. She went outside, screaming.
 
“GET YOUR DICK OUT OF MY SON’S SNOWMAN, YOU PERVERT!” she shouted, holding the crowbar over her head. She slipped trying to get over the snow to the snowman rapist, giving him and his buddy the chance to run down the street.
 
“YOU BETTER RUN!” Helen screamed. “COME BACK HERE AND YOU’RE DEAD MEN! I’LL GO BACK TO PRISON, YOU FUCKS!”
 
Rose came outside, pulling her jacket over herself. “What is going on out here?” she asked. She saw the snowman, lying on the ground. “Oh, Helen. How could you knock it over.”
 
“You think I did this?!” Helen said. People were coming out of their houses to see what the commotion was about. “This snowman was being raped! I just chased off its assaulters with my crowbar.”
 
“Come inside,” Rose said. “I don’t want you to get frostbite.” She turned around and went inside the house. Helen could tell she didn’t believe the snowman had been raped.
 
“Shit,” Helen said. “I can’t believe she thinks I’d do something like this.”
 
***
 
Paulie and Giovanni cane back inside. “That oven is a beauty,” Paulie said. “I had no idea the Amish made pizza ovens until I came across your ad.”
 
“Some of the Amish are masons by family trade,” Giovanni said. “I gave them the specs, and they custom built it. Its going to be a shame to get rid of it, but my son wants to demolish this place when it becomes his, and I’d rather the oven live on.”
 
“I can see that,” Paulie said.
 
“Is it haunted?” Tony asked.
 
“What?” Giovanni asked.
 
“Is it haunted?” Tony replied. “The way you were talking about that oven makes me think those Amish put some ghosts in there.”
 
“Are you serious?” Giovanni asked. “What do you think the Amish are?”
 
“Witches?” Tony said with a shrug.
 
“Ignore him,” Paulie said.
 
“Hey,” Giovanni said. “Why don’t you have some lunch, on me of course.”
 
“Sure thing,” Paulie said. “I’m starving.”
 
“Salvatore!” Giovanni called.
 
Salvatore emerged from the kitchen, as big as life. “Yeah, boss?” he asked in a deep voice.
 
“How about you cook us up something nice for lunch?” Giovanni asked.
 
“Sure thing,” Salvatore replied, his expression not changing.
 
“What’s with Lurch?” Tony asked.
 
“Tony!” Paulie snapped.
 
Giovanni laughed. “He doesn’t have much of a personality, but he’s a pro in the kitchen. He grows his own peppers too, very spicy.”
 
Tony scoffed. “I bet they’re not that spicy,” he said. “There’s no pepper that’s a match for Tony Baloni!”
 
There was a slam on the table, and Salvatore was standing there, his large fist around a jar of peppers. “Why don’t you try one?” he asked, staring at Tony as if he were a potential victim.
 
“Yeah,” Tony said, returning the stare and taking the jar. “What are these things anyway?”
 
“It’s my own variation of the Amish-grown Devil’s Tongue pepper,” Salvatore said, a hint of pride in his voice. “They grow them yellow and red. Mind are purple.”
 
Tony opened the lid and smelled the brine. He reeled back.
 
“What’s the matter?” Giovanni asked. “Did your singe your nose hairs off?”
 
“Whoever heard of a purple pepper?” Tony asked.
 
“Just eat it,” Paulie said. “Grow a set and do something with that mouth instead of yap.”
 
“Fine,” Tony said. He reached into the jar and pulled out a pepper and popped it into his mouth. “This ain’t so bad.”
 
***
 
Helen stared out the window, waiting for the snow man rapists to return and finish the job. Da’Quarius’s snowman was still on the ground, vulnerable for a second assault.
 
“I’m sorry I accused you of doing that,” Rose said, cautiously approaching, “but can you please leave the window?”
 
“They’ll be back,” Helen said. “I want to be ready when they do. What they did was unforgivable.”
 
“Why do you feel so strongly about snowmen?” Rose asked.
 
“It’s probably the most innocent of all creatures on the planet,” Helen said. “There’s no sin or bad thoughts in a snowman’s mind. They’re created by children to bring joy, and that’s what they do. Nobody is ever miserable building a snowman. What those filthy perverts did was despicable.” 
 
“Alright,” Rose said, putting a hand on Helen’s shoulder. “Just don’t spend all day and night there.”
 
Helen grunted, keeping vigil on on the snow-covered front yard.
 
“Helen,” Da’Quarius said, approaching with Esmerelda.
 
“Yeah, kid?”  Helen replied. “I’m sure you two want me to stop acting crazy too.”
 
“I know it ain’t gonna happen,” Da’Quarius said. “I just wanna let you know dat it’s okay.”
 
“Yeah,” Esmerelda said. “It’s just a snowman. We can always build another one.”
 
“That’s it,” Helen said, finally turning from the window.
 
“Shit,” Da’Quarius muttered.
 
“What I say?” Esmerelda asked.
 
“You’ll go build another one,” Helen said. “Those degenerates won’t return to fuck a used up snowman they’ve already defiled. If you build a fresh one, they’ll come back to deflower it.”
 
“Come on, Helen,” Da’Quarius said. “We spent all morning on dat, an’ we just warmed up.”
 
“Get your coats on and get back outside,” Helen said, a crazy look in her eyes. “Build a snowman, and make it sexy. I want it to be asking to be raped.”
 
***
 
Tony poured a pitcher of coke into his mouth, spilling it down his shirt and onto the floor.
 
“You’re mopping this place when you’re done,” Paulie said as Salvatore and Giovanni laughed. 
 
“The purple Devil’s Tongue is too much for you I think,” Salvatore said. “I’ll get lunch now. Maybe I’ll keep his unseasoned.”
 
“Holy shit,” Tony said. “I was not expecting that heat. My friggin ears are burning!”
 
“Sal’s a good worker,” Giovanni said. “It’s a shame that my son wants him out too.”
 
“You mentioned that before,” Paulie said. “What exactly does your son want this place for if not to serve pizza?”
 
Giovanni sighed. “I don’t know where I went wrong with this kid,” he said. “He’s actually not mine. His mother was six months pregnant when I met her, and the unborn kid needed a father. I did the right thing, but the kid still grew up to be a prick like his old man.”
 
“That’s rough,” Paulie said.
 
“It happens,” Giovanni said. “I still love his mother and him, but I wish he wanted to follow in my footsteps instead of turning my place into a strip club.”
 
Tony shot soda from mouth. “A strip club?!” he exclaimed.
 
“In Amish country no less,” Giovanni said. “Not the best of ideas, I know. But I promised him this place, and I’m a man of my word. But unless Sal becomes a bouncer, he won’t have work.”
 
Paulie looked toward the kitchen, where Salvatore was busying himself with their lunch. He was kneading the dough with his knuckles before trading off and tossing it in the air, never taking his eyes off it.
 
“He’s got a good technique,” Paulie said.
 
“So do I,” Tony muttered.
 
“Oh!” Paulie said, turning back toward the table. “Why aren’t you mopping?”
 
***
 
Da’Quarius and Esmerelda were hard at work, building their new snowman. “You call that sexy?” Helen asked, sitting in a lawn chair she dragged out of the basement.
 
“You can help,” Da’Quarius said. “Dis was yo’ idea anyway.”
 
“It’s like you’ve never seen a sexy snowman,” Helen muttered.
 
“I don’t think I have,” Esmerelda said, patting the snow on the base with her mittens. “Have D’jou, Daq?”
 
“Nah,” Da’Quarius said. “Dere ain’t nuttin’ sexy about snowmen. Just balls of white with coal an’ shit.”
 
“Well someone thinks they’re sexy,” Helen said. “The last one you made got raped, in case you’ve forgotten.”
 
“How could we forget?” Da’Quarius asked. “You’ve been babblin’ ‘bout it ever since you dragged us out here to rebuild it, just so it can be raped again.”
 
“Don’t you sass me, kid,” Helen said. “You’ll see. I’m going to kick the piss out of the guys who did this. We just need to lure them back here, so keep working.”
 
Da’Quarius and Esmerelda looked at each other before starting on the torso.
 
Helen scoffed. “I told you to make it sexy!”
 
***
 
“So I guess we have a deal then,” Giovanni said after the pizza was gone.
 
“Sure,” Paulie said. “I didn’t drive down here just to look at the damn thing.”
 
“Cash then?” Giovanni asked.
 
“Cash is king,” Paulie replied. He pulled a small envelope from his pocket and passed it to Giovanni, who pocketed it without counting. “Shipping’s included, right?”
 
“Of course,” Giovanni said. “Sal!”
 
Sal came from the kitchen, drying his hands. “Yeah, boss?”
 
“You’re going to drive that oven up to New Haven tomorrow,” Giovanni said. “Get it set and and everything for Paulie.”
 
“Sure thing, boss,” Sal said, returning to the kitchen.
 
“Now I have to excuse myself,” Giovanni said. “I’ll be back in a bit. Feel free to check out our little town. It’s actually quite nice.”
 
“Sure,” Paulie said as Giovanni left.
 
“Come on,” Tony said. “Let’s go home.”
 
“No way,” Paulie said. “I’m going to check out some of these Amish shops. Maybe we can get a hand carved peel.”
 
“Excuse me,” Salvatore said, coming back from the kitchen. “Can I have a word.”
 
“What’s up, chief?” Paulie asked.
 
“Giovanni doesn’t like talking about it,” Sal said, “but he’s sick. That’s why his son is getting this place. He can’t keep up running it.”
 
“How sick?” Paulie asked.
 
“Two years maybe,” Sal replied. “I love Giovanni like an older brother, but I can’t stand his son. There’s nothing for me here without Giovanni’s place. Can I move to New Haven and work for you?”
 
Paulie watched Sal, studying his face for sincerity. “You’d just up and leave?” he asked.
 
“You said you’re expanding,” Sal replied. “You’ll probably need another skilled set of hands in the kitchen.”
 
“He’s got plenty of hands,” Tony said, stepping up behind Paulie.
 
“I’ll think about it,” Paulie said. Sal nodded and went back to the kitchen. Paulie left to sightsee in Buchananshire with Tony behind him, looking toward the hulking Sal as he left.
 
***
 
Da’Quarius and Esmerelda finished their snowman. “We done,” Da’Quarius said. “Happy now?”
 
Helen looked over the snowman. “Sure, it’s sexy enough,” she said, “but will it lure those perverts back?”
 
“We ain’t buildin’ you another one,” Da’Quarius said, “so don’t ask. We’ve been out here all day, and my prosthetic is killing me under dis soggy-ass mitten.”
 
“Fine,” Helen muttered. “I guess you don’t want rapists caught and brought to justice.”
 
“It’s just a snowman,” Da’Quarius said, walking toward the house. “Come on, Ez. We can warm up for a bit before I walk you home.”
 
Esmerelda followed Da’Quarius, giving Helen a sad look as she passed.
 
“‘Just a snowman’?” Helen said to the cold afternoon. She looked down. “Shit. I ruined the innocence of snowman youth for those two.”
 
***
 
Paulie and Tony returned to Buchananshire Brick Oven Pizza. “I can’t wait to get those new peels,” Paulie said. “They’re gonna go great with our brick oven. These Amish mooks know how to craft.”
 
“Look at that,” Tony said, motioning toward the front of the pizzeria. Salvatore was outside arguing with a guy less than half his size. “What do you think Lurch is fighting Frodo over?”
 
“Only one way to find out,” Paulie said. He walked up to the pair. “There a problem here?” he asked.
 
“This the guy?” the short man asked.
 
“Yeah,” Sal said, looking away.
 
“You’re not taking the oven or Sal,” the short man said. “Get the fuck outta here!”
 
“You must be Giovanni’s son,” Paulie said.
 
“Joe,” he said. “Now get the fuck outta here!”
 
“Oh!” Paulie snapped. “I’m here to do business with your pop! That’s no way to talk to an associate.”
 
“You want me to rough him up?” Tony asked.
 
“No,” Paulie said. “A man is only as good as his word, Joe. Your father sold me that oven, and I’ve already paid for it, cash. Salvatore here is going to bring it to me in New Haven, and he’ll be working for me when he gets there.”
 
Sal beamed.
 
“This place is going to be mine!” Joe shouted, stamping a foot. “MINE! I need Sal to cook for me when I turn it into a strip club. ME!”
 
“There will come a day when you’ll wish you weren’t such a little prick,” Paulie said. “When that day comes, you’ll be sorry you shat on your fathers memory by turning his beloved pizzeria into a titty bar. The place will tank, and you’ll wish you stood by your father instead of your horny ideas.”
 
Joe just started at Paulie, fire in his eyes.
 
“Hit me if you’re gonna hit me,” Paulie said. “Otherwise, wipe that stupid look off your face and walk away.”
 
Joe looked as if he was considering punching Paulie, but he ended up turning away to leave.
 
“Think he’ll listen?” Tony asked.
 
“Who knows,” Paulie replied. “Friggin’ kid’s got shit for brains.”
 
“Thank you,” Sal said.
 
“Hey,” Paulie said. “I’ll see you up in New Haven soon.”
 
“You sure about this, boss?” Tony asked.
 
“Sure I’m sure,” Paulie said. “We’re going to have a lot more pizzas to make. You’re telling me you’d rather work twice as hard?”
 
“No,” Tony said. “But I’d rather work half as much if possible.”
 
“That’s not gonna happen,” Paulie said. “Come on. Let’s finish up here and head on home.”
 
***
 
Helen came inside from the cold. Da’Quarius and Esmerelda were near the door. “I’m sorry,” she said before the kids could say anything. “Today, I destroyed the innocence of snowman youth, something I’d never thought I’d be capable of.”
 
“It’s alright,” Da’Quarius said. “In fairness, we were only buildin’ ’em fo’ -”
 
“For fun,” Esmerelda cut in. “We built them for fun.”
 
“Oh yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “We just buildin’ ‘em fo’ fun. I gotta walk Ez home now.”
 
“OK,” Helen said. “Run along.”
 
Da’Quarius and Esmerelda left, leaving Helen along in the living room. She started to take off her coat and hat when she saw some movement from the window. “What the…”
 
The snowman fell over, and someone in black coat pulled their pants down, climbed on top of, it and started having sex with it.
 
“You bastards,” Helen said, barging back outside. The snowman-fucker got up suddenly, snow falling off his crotch. He tried to plead with her, but Helen swung, punching him in the jaw. He fell into the snow, face first.
 
“You think you’re funny?!” Helen exclaimed, repeatedly slamming the snowman-fucker’s face in the snow over and over. “How dare you destroy the innocence of snowman youth!”
 
The snowman-fucker gasped for air every time Helen pulled his head up, only to slam it back into the bloody snow.
 
“Helen!” someone shouted. “You’re killing him!”
 
“I’m what?!” Helen said, turning to the others she hadn’t noticed. There was her neighbor from across the street, Antonio Garcia, and his brother, Manny. Between them was a cameraman. “What are you assholes doing here?”
 
“We’re filming snowman porn!” Manny said. “It’s for our site, GarciaTube.”
 
“It’s the middle of the day,” Helen said.
 
“The lighting is better right now,” Antonio said. “We don’t want to lug our lights out here to film this.”
 
“Da’Quarius built this for us,” Manny said. “We paid him and that girl a hundred bucks each.”
 
“Oh,” Helen said, standing up. “Why didn’t you do this on your own property?”
 
Manny and Antonio looked at each other, turned back to Helen, and simultaneously shrugged.
 
“Get your asshole snowman rapist off my lawn,” Helen said, kicking him in the stomach for good measure.
 
“Can you sign a release?” Antonio asked. “We’d love to have that ass-kicking on our site!”
 
“Sure,” Helen said. “Bring it by, and we’ll have some hot cocoa.”
 
“Fuck yeah,” Manny said, helping their injured actor off the ground. “Hot cocoa kicks ass.”
 
“Yeah it does,” Helen said, going back inside.
 
 

 

The End
 
****
 
This summer, take part in an adventure that will you bring you to the brink and back again.
 
Freedom Lane da’ Movie 2 in Space
Summer 2017
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