Da’Quarius sat in his homeroom, waiting for the day to start. Mr. Hessman was sitting at his desk, reading the paper after he took a quick attendance consisting of him asking if anyone was out that day. The door opened, and Hessman quickly stashed his newspaper as Principal Johnston appeared with a new student.
“Sorry to interrupt your morning ritual,” Johnston said. Hessman gave everyone a look that told them to shut the hell up about what he was actually doing.
“I’ve got a new student for your home group,” Principal Johnston continued, smiling. “I want you all to welcome Daquan Brown.”
The boy came in. He was tall, wore thick glasses, and was black. His eyes seemed drawn to Da’Quarius who had been the only black kid in his group, and one of the few in the school, up until a few seconds ago.
“Aw shit,” Da’Quarius said. “Dere goes da’ fuckin’ neighborhood.”
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
Season 10, Episode 4: Double Daq Attack
“I want that thing out of my house!” Helen snapped, following Rose from the kitchen to the den.
“You’re overreacting,” Rose said, carrying a small cage with a green parakeet inside. “Besides, I recall you trying to keep an alligator as a pet.”
“And you never shut up about it,” Helen said.
“There’s a huge difference,” Rose said. “This parakeet won’t kill and eat Da’Quarius’s dog.”
“You don’t know that,” Helen said.
Rose sighed. “This was my cousin’s pet bird,” she said. “She left it to me in her will, and I’ll take care of it per her wish.”
“I didn’t even know you had a dead cousin with a friggin’ flying booger,” Helen said.
“I haven’t heard from her in years,” Rose said, “but for some reason she left me Ronald in her will.”
“Ronald is a stupid name,” Helen said. “Let’s name him Ass-face.”
“We are not renaming him,” Rose said. “He already answers to Ronald.”
“ASS-FACE!” Helen shouted. Ronald leapt, flapping his wings. Feathers fell to the floor from between the bars.
“Looks like he answers to that too now,” Helen said.
The doorbell rang, and Rose went to the door, still carrying the bird cage. She opened it to find Manny and Antonio Garcia, their neighbors from across the street, standing on their porch. “Hey, guys,” Rose said. “What’s up?”
“We’re here to see Helen,” Anotonio said. “We have a copy of the movie with the snowman and the-”
“Whoa,” Manny interrupted. “Nice parakeet.”
“You like him?” Rose said, holding the the cage. “This little guy is named Ronald. He’s a happy little bird.”
Helen scoffed from her spot on the couch.
“We’ve had a few of them,” Manny said, poking his finger through the cage bars, watching Ronald shuffle away along his perch.
“Yeah,” Antonio added. “We’ve never had one that wasn’t addicted to pot.”
The Garcia brothers tittered as Helen sighed loudly, rolling her eyes. “Even their pets are potheads.”
“Our last bird gained like five pounds,” Manny said. “He had the munchies all the time.”
“That’s impossible,” Rose said.
Manny shrugged. “He liked his sweets,” he said. “Little bastard had no self control.”
Helen stood up. “Well, I’d love to stay and chat about your fat, drug-addict birds,” she said, “but I need to take a shit.” She left toward the downstairs bathroom.
“Bye Helen!” Manny called, waving.
“Hope everything comes out alright,” Antonio added.
The Garcia brothers turned back to Rose. “Does your parakeet know any tricks?” Manny asked.
Da’Quarius sat at lunch, the new kid, Daquan, was getting in the line, trying to decide what to get. “Dis some bullshit,” he said.
“What?” Flounder asked. “Are you talking about the new kid?”
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “Mo’ fucker thinks he can come up in here and start shit.”
“Are you upset they got another black kid in class?” Flounder asked.
“No!” Da’Quarius said. “Dat’s racist. I’m mad cuz da’ only black kid dey can find wears glasses like me an’ his name sounds kinda like mine. Just imagine if another Korean came here, an’ his name was Cuttlefish.”
“But you guys are loads different,” Flounder said.
“You’ll see,” Da’Quarius said, scowling. “Shit ain’t gone down yet.”
Next period, Da’Quarius sat in Ms. Kotter’s math class. Daquan entered, showing her his schedule and explaining that he was new. “Oh,” Ms. Kotter, a woman who looked almost as old as Helen, said. “I’ll sit you right next to your twin brother.”
Da’Quarius slammed his book shut. “Da’ fuck?!” he exlcaimed. “Dis some racist-ass bullshit!”
Helen sat in her favorite chair, flipping through the TV Guide. The top of her head was itching, so she scratched it, returning her hand to turn the page a moment later. Seconds later, she felt the itch again. She returned her hand to her head to scratch, and it bumped into something.
“What the hell?” Helen said. She moved her hand around her head, and she knocked whatever was there off. It flew off, circling her.
“YOU GODDAMN BIRD!” Helen shouted, swatting at Ronald with her TV Guide. “I’LL KILL YOU!”
“What’s going on in here?!” Rose exclaimed, coming in from the kitchen, finding Helen swinging her arm at Ronald as he flew about the den, wings beating to keep himself away form Helen, chirping frantically. Dutchie started barking and jumping around in excitement.
“Eat that fucking’ bird, dog!” Helen shouted at Dutchie.
“Don’t tell him that!” Rose shouted, trying to catch the elusive parakeet.
“He ate my damn canary that time!” Helen retorted. “This dog loves eating birds!”
“Eating birds isn’t good for his stomach!” Rose shouted.
“HE’S A KILLING MACHINE!” Helen screamed. “LET HIM KILL!”
Rose huffed, going into the kitchen. She returned with a dish towel, tossing it in the air at Ronald. She hit her mark, and Ronald fell onto the couch under its weight. Rose rushed over and picked him up before Helen could swat him or Dutchie eat him.
“Your leave that flying rat in its cage,” Helen said, panting.
“I don’t even know how he got out,” Rose said. “You leave him alone. He was just scared.” She left to put Ronald back.
“He better be scared,” Helen muttered. Dutchie whined next to her. “Don’t worry. We’ll get him.”
“Can you tell me why Miss Kotter has ejected you from her class?” Principal Johnston asked.
“She sent a referral,” Da’Quarius said. “You know why she sent me.”
“I’ve told you before that outburst and profanity are not permitted in my school,” Principal Johnston said, folding his hands.
“Yo’ teacher bein’ racist is okay, doe?” Da’Quarius asked.
“That is a very heavy accusation,” Principal Johnston said. “Can you tell me exactly why you’d think that?”
“She insisted dat I’m twins with dat new kid,” Da’Quarius said.
“Which one?” Principal Johnston asked.
“You know damn well which one,” Da’Quarius said.
“Miss Kotter is very old,” Pricilla Johnston said. “She gets confused easily. She’s from a different time.”
“Can I go now?” Da’Quarius asked. “You’re a second away from tellin’ me her bein’ racist is cool cuz she old an’ white.”
Principal Johnston sighed. “Go,” he said, waving his hand toward the door. “Just try not to shout and swear like that again.”
“Maybe I’ll calm down after you euthanize Miss Kotter,” Da’Quarius mumbled.
Da’Quarius left, making his way up toward Mr. Hessman’s class. He was early for Social Studies, but waiting for Johnston to reprimand him had taken up most of Miss Kotter’s class. He opened the door, expecting Hessman to be alone. Instead, he found that Daquan was already there.
“I know it’s tough to be new,” Hessman said. “You don’t fit in with the others in the honors program, but I bet you’ll give them a run for their money if you apply yourself. Oh, hi Da’Quarius.”
Daquan turned around, noticing that Da’Quarius had entered. He didn’t offer a greeting.
“Look,” Mr. Hessman said. “Daquan was telling me about what had happened in Miss Kotter’s class earlier. I know you’re not twins or brothers or even related, but I think you two can be friends.”
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius scoffed. “You’d like dat I bet. Two black kids doin’ yo’ biddin’ instead of one.”
“There’s no need for this jealously,” Hessman said. “I’m giving the class a black history month paper to do. I want you two to work together.”
“But it’s March,” Daquan said. “Black history month was last month.”
“Sure,” Hessman said, “if you believe what our white government wants us to believe.”
Daquan gave Hessman an odd look and then turned to Da’Quarius.
“Don’t look at me,”. Da’Quarius said. “Hess does shit like dis all da’ time. I bet he just forgot to give us da’ report to do.”
“Regardless,” Hessman said, “consider the two of you paired up, and I’ll be looking forward to see how you work together.”
“Should we study at your house or mine?” Daquan asked.
“Shit” DaQuarius said. “Better be yo’ house unless you want to see an’ lady stranglin’ a little green bird?”
Rose sat at the kitchen table, holding Ronald in her left hand. She held a tiny pair of nail clippers in her right. A book she got from the library called “Caring for Your Budgie” stood open in front of her.
“Sorry about this,” Rose said, “but it looks like your previous owner didn’t do this much. Also, I don’t want Helen screaming how you’re ripping the skin from the top of her head if you land on her again.”
Ronald chirped, showing his disdain for the whole situation. Rose took one more look into the budgie book and clipped.
Ronald screeched, the tip of his toe dangling. “Oh no!” Rose said. “I’m so sorry.”
Ronald escaped Rose’s grasp, flying erratically through the kitchen, dipping tiny droplets of blood. He flew through the door, making his way into the den.
“That damn bird is loose again!” Helen shouted. “It’s on the rag now, dripping blood all over!”
Rose sighed, picking up the dish towel and heading into the den.
Da’Quarius and Daquan were at Daquan’s house, starting their report. Da’Quarius had ben adamant about switching partners, but Hessman wasn’t willing to let him team up with Flounder as usual. “Who should we do this report on?” Daquan asked, clicking through a list of prominent figures from black history on his computer. “How’s Rosa Parks?”
“Nah,” Da’Quarius replied. “All da’ white kids always pick her.”
“Then who?” Daquan asked.
Da’Quarius thought for a moment. “How ‘bout Zachary Boddy?”
Daquan typed the name into Google and scrolled through results. “Oh my God,” he said, reading. “I’d do my report on Malcom X before I chose this guy.”
“You don’t know Hess like I do,” Da’Quarius said. “Dis is da’ shit dat gets his nut.”
“This guy got arrested for poisoning whites-only water fountains,” Daquan said. “He pleaded guilty and was killed in prison after stabbing a guard.”
“All fo’ da’ cause,” Da’Quarius said. “He burned down a church in a white neighborhood too, but dey never pinned it on him. Dat was right here in old New Haven. I bet my moms was around fo’ dat. Helen might’ve roasted a marshmallow in it.”
“Alright,” Daquan said, going through the information. “If you think this is the best guy to do the report on.”
“Trust me,” Da’Quarius said. “Just make him look like a hero. White America tried to vilify him an’ shit.”
Daquan started to cut and paste information when something caught Da’Quarius’s eye. He opened a yellow folder on Daquan’s desk, finding white papers covered in drawings. “Shit,” Da’Quarius said. “You draw all dis?”
Daquan move quickly, closing the folder and moving it away. “Don’t look at that,” he said.
“Dat was good doe,” Da’Quarius said. “You a comic book artist or something?”
Daquan beamed. “It’s just a hobby,” he said, fixing his glasses. “My parents say that I should give it up and focus on choosing a career.”
“Don’t give it up,” Da’Quarius said. “Fuck wha’cho parents say. Draw yo’ ass off. Bring some to school. I know some mo’ fuckers dat can help write some dialogue an’ shit if you want. You guys can put an issue or two online and see if anyone likes it.”
“Really?” Daquan said. “You’d do that?”
“Fuck yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “Now lets get dis report written.”
Daquan smiled, and the two got busy preparing their oral report on the life of Zachary Boddy.
Rose was cleaning out Ronald’s cage. He had lost his toe due to the accident with the clippers. She had called the Garcias, and they told her to seal the wound with superglue. It had worked, but she still felt horrible. Ronald kept lifting his leg off his wooden perch.
“I know you’re hurting,” Rose said, putting a fresh piece of gravel paper on the base of the cage. “It’ll heal, and you’ll be yourself in no time at all.”
Ronald turned away from Rose and jumped onto a lower perch.
“I guess I deserve that,” Rose said.
“Rose!” Helen shouted from the den. “Don’t forget to take the meat out of the freezer!”
“Oh,” Rose said. She had forgotten. Helen wanted to make a lazy lasagna for dinner, and she needed a pound of ground beef. Rose went to the freezer and took it out. Once it was in the sink to thaw, she closed the freezer. She turned toward the cage and noticed that Ronald had gotten out again.
Rose listened, waiting for Helen to start screaming about the bird flying around the house again. When no scream came, she walked into the den. “Did Ronald fly in here?” she asked.
“Who?” Helen asked, flipping channels.
“Ronald,” Rose said. She sighed. “The flying booger.”
“OH!’ Helen said, feigning surprise. “That little shit hasn’t come in here. Is he loose again?”
“He got out of the cage,” Rose said. “Did Dutchie get him?”
Helen looked over at Dutchie, who looked at them lazily from his bed. “Nope,” Helen said. “That lazy mutt hasn’t moved in a while. It’s mongrel nap time.”
“Where could he have gone?” Rose said, looking around.
Helen sighed and got up. “Let’s go find him before he shits all over my pillow.”
“…and that’s why we should all be more like Rosa Parks,” the red-headed and freckled Cecilia said, finishing her report along side Todd, who was smiling handsomely.
Mr. Hessman sighed. “Alright,” he said, making an animated checkmark in his book. “That’s three Rosa Parks reports now. Raise your hand if you also did Rosa Parks, so I can give you a C plus and write down that you did make your report.”
Hessman marked his notebook of who was raising their hands. He gave two other students C pluses. “Anyone else?” he asked.
Flounder’s hand shot into the air. “Stop it!” his partner, a boy named Seamus, said. “We didn’t do Rosa Parks.”
“I know,” Flounder said. “I just hate talking in front of people.”
“You’re giving your report, Flounder,” Hessman said, “but I think we should hear from Da’Quarius and Daquan next.”
Da’Quarius got up and walked to the front of the class, followed by a nervous Daquan. They stood and faced the class.
“Who is your report on?” Hessman asked.
“We did Zachary Boddy,” Da’Quarius said proudly.
“Zachary Boddy?” Hessman asked.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said.
“The guy who poisoned the water fountains and set fire to the churches in the name of civil rights?” Hessman asked.
“Dat’s da’ only Zachary Boddy I know of,” Da’Quarius said.
“You know some view him as a sociopath and a serial killer, right?” Hessman asked.
“Daquan and I disagree with dat statement,” Da’Quarius said. “We say he’s a New Haven civil rights hero, vilified by white America.”
“Excellent,” Hessman said, straightening up and looking intrigued for the first time that day. “By all means: let’s hear your report.”
Da’Quarius cleared his throat and looked at the index card in his right hand. “Zachary Boddy was pivotal to da’ civil rights movement, right here in New Haven,” he said.
“Prior to his arrest,” Daquan continued, “Boddy was a key member in the New Haven Black Tigers, an organization he had started with a longtime friend, Richard ‘the red blade’ Freeman.”
“Boddy and Freeman led the Black Tigers through the streets of New Haven,” Da’Quarius said, “burnin’ an’ lootin’ in a time when it wasn’t part of every day life. Boddy was even said to have taken out -”
The door opened, distracting Da’Quarius and Daquan from giving their report. Principal Johnston stuck his head in. “I’m so sorry to interrupt,” he said. “I need to have Daquan.”
“He’s in the middle of giving a report on Zachary Boddy right now,” Hessman said. “It’s quite riveting too.”
“The lunatic?” Principal Johnston asked.
“Civil rights activist,” Hessman corrected. He scoffed. “You over-privileged whites will never understand what he did for his people.”
“Well I need Daquan nevertheless,” Johnston said. “Come with me, young man.”
“No,” Hessman interrupted. “I’m his assigned faculty advisor, and I demand to know what this is about.”
“Not in front of the others,” Principal Johnston said through his teeth.
A girl came in behind him. “That’s him!” she exclaimed, pointing at Daquan. “He’s the one who is drawing nude pictures of all the girls! He left his folder in the library.”
“Really, Daquan,” Hessman said, turning toward him. “Did you have to be that guy?”
“What happened to da’ comics?” Da’Quarius asked.
Daquan shrugged. “I like nudes better,” he said.
“Come along, Daquan,” Principal Johnston said. “Grab your bag and lets go. Your parents are waiting downstairs for you.”
“Not again,” Daquan said, grabbing his backpack and leaving. “This is how I got booted from my old school.”
“Damn,” Da’Quarius said as Daquan was escorted out of class. “I was startin’ to like dat guy.”
“What are you waiting for?” Hessman asked. “Let’s hear more about Zachary Boddy.”
“So your new friend was expelled?” Rose asked, sitting at the kitchen table during dinner.
“I don’t know if he was my new friend,” Da’Quarius said. “We just did da’ one report together. But yeah, he got kicked outta school.”
“Anything would be an improvement on that gook kid,” Helen said. “Did he get expelled from your school too?”
“No,” Da’Quarius replied.
“Damn,” Helen said, eating a piece of lazy lasagna, followed by a swallow of water.
“What happened to da’ parrot?” Da’Quarius asked.
”He was a parakeet,” Rose said. “I don’t know where he went. He may have somehow gotten out and flown away.”
“Good riddance,” Helen said. “That little shit was a handful and a half.”
“You barely did anything with him other than throw a fit,” Rose said.
“Can you get me some ice?” Helen said, handing Da’Quarius her glass.
“Sho’, biddy,” Da’Quarius said. He got up and opened the freezer. “Fuck!”
“What?” Rose asked, getting up.
Da’Quarius turned back toward the table and dropped an icy green chunk on it. “Yo’ bird was in da’ freezer, Rose.”
“He must have flown in when I was taking the meat out for dinner,” Rose said.
Helen poked it with her fork. “He’s dead alright.”
Rose shrugged. “At least he’s with his old master now,” she said.
“That’s the spirit,” Helen said, eating some ziti.
“You just poked da’ dead bird with dat fork, biddy,” Da’Quarius said.
Coming this summer:
Rose, Helen, Paulie, and Da’Quarius will take you to new heights in Freedom Lane da’ Movie 2: In Space.