Freedom Lane: The Spectacular Helena
The gymnasium was packed with fans. Usually, this New Haven high school would need to have a basketball or volleyball game in order to fill the seats, but not tonight. It was Friday night, it was nearly ten o’clock, and the New Haven Wrestling Federation had rented it out to put on a night of action that nobody in attendance would soon forget.
The fans of the NHWF knew her as The Spectacular Helena. She wore a full-body outfit of black and sequence with a black and white mask that covered her face and head. She wore a white boa, completing the ensemble. The fans were chanting, rabid for more action. It was time for the main event. Helena never backed down from a challenge, and she wrestled the men with ease. Sometimes they were even able to hold their own against her.
The fans of the NHWF all knew Helena’s story from the shoot interviews she did before fighting. She had done hard time, barely surviving day to day on the inside of the corrupt prison system, forced to fight for her meals and eventually her freedom. She wore the mask so those who had falsely imprisoned her wouldn’t find her and take her back.
Not that she’d let them take her alive.
The Spectacular Helena took a deep breath and walked out of the locker room, the fans cheering loudly. She held her arms up as she walked toward the ring, climbing through the ropes. They chanted her name, urging her adrenaline, making the hairs on her arms stand up straight. She was a heel, but they loved her nonetheless.
In the middle of that ring in a New Haven school gymnasium, The Spectacular Helena was damn near immortal.
Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow
Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness
Season 12, Episode 4: The Spectacular Helena
Helen sat in her home on Freedom Lane on a Saturday afternoon. Nothing was out of he ordinary that day, and she was enjoying the quiet while she did the TV Guide crossword puzzle and her wife and life partner, Rose, read a book on the couch. She was about to suggest some lunch when the door opened, and her adopted son, Da’Quarius, came in, carrying a stack of mail.
“Down, boy!” Da’Quarius napped at his dog, Dutchie, who was dancing around his master. “Here.” He forced his way past his dog to hand Rose the mail. “Lemme take this guy outside before he pees on da’ floor.”
“Good idea,” Helen muttered. “It was such a nice day, too.”
“Helen,” Rose said, giving her a sideways glance. “It’s extra nice to have Da’Quarius home.”
Helen grunted, looking over her crossword puzzle again. “Who’s the guy from Three’s Company?” she asked. “You know… the dead one.”
“Tim Allen?” Rose asked.
“Doesn’t fit,” Helen said, counting the squares.
“I’ll be back,” Da’Quarius said, hooking the leash to Dutchie’s collar and going back outside.
Rose flipped through the mail, and found a letter for Helen. “Here’s one for you,” she said.
“Don’t open it,” Helen said. “Just toss it.”
“It’s from the NHWF,” Rose said. “What’s that?”
Helen got up, quicker than she normally moved, and snatched the letter from Rose, tearing it open. “Hot damn,” she said, taking the letter out of the envelope. “I haven’t heard from them in years.”
“Who are they?” Rose asked.
Helen ignored Rose, reading the letter, her eyes going back and forth, a smile spreading across her face.
Da’Quarius came back in with Dutchie, sitting on the couch next to Rose. “What’s Helen readin’?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Rose said, sounding a little worried. “Helen, what’s in that letter?”
“It’s from the NHWF,” Helen replied, her eyes still on the piece of paper in her hands.
“I know that,” Rose said. “Who are they, and what do they want?”
“It’s the New Haven Wrestling Federation,” Helen said. “They’re doing a classics show, and they want to bring me back.”
“No shit?” Da’Quarius asked, awed. “You were a wrestler?!”
“Oh yeah,” Helen said. “The Spectacular Helena will enter the squared circle once again!”
“Why da’ fuck don’t I know ‘bout dis?!” Da’Quarius asked.
“Oh hell,” Rose muttered.
The crowd was deafening. The Spectacular Helena walked toward the ring, soaking in the admiration. Ahead of her was the ring, where a a hairy, bulky mass of a man known as Bountiful Brian Bonner stood, his arms crossed, staring daggers at Helena. The two had a history, and this crowd knew about it. So many had written the NHWF to ask for this that the managers couldn’t deny one more grudge match between the two.
“Give me a mic,” Helena said to the announcers desk. She was handed a microphone, letting the wire fall to the floor. She stared back at Bonner, their eyes meeting.
“I’m going to give you this one chance to walk away with your tail between your balls,” Helena said. “Get out of my ring and head back home to hide under your husband’s dress.”
The crowd went crazy as Bonner rushed toward the end of the ring, hanging onto the ropes, shouting a stream of unintelligible obscenities at Helena.
“Fine,” Helena said. “Don’t think I’ll go easy on you just because I don’t have dead slug in my undies like you.”
Helena rushed to the ring as Bonner backed up to greet her. She slid under the bottom rope, and she was met by the huge boot of Bonner, slamming her into the ground four times before he backed off, screaming at her to get up and fight.
“This is gonna be fun,” Helena growled, smiling as she stood.
“Welcome to the New Haven Wrestling Federation,” Helen said, walking through a school gymnasium, carrying a small gym bag with her wrestling gear, which had been confined to the basement until earlier that day. There was a wrestling ring being assembled in the center.
“Dis looks like a high school,” Da’Quarius said.
“What?” Helen asked. “Did you think I’d be wrestling at New Haven Coliseum? I never made it to the big leagues, kid. This is a harsh business.”
“How come I never knew you were a wrestler?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Do I need to list every one of my former hobbies?” Helen asked.
“Yes,” Da’Quarius replied.
“Well I’m not,” Helen said. “Rose, how about you fill the kid in on all this while I look for my old pals.”
Rose sighed as Helen shuffled over to a group of old men, all talking around a folding table. “Helen never really had a steady job after she got out of prison,” she explained. “I made decent money, but you know Helen. She’s not one to sit around the house and let someone else pay her way. So she worked a lot of odd jobs to make money. For a short time, she was a professional wrestler, even though I use the term ‘professional’ loosely. She apparently wrestled before she met me for a while, and they welcomed her back after she moved in with me and decided that she wasn’t going to let her woman be the only one bringing money into the home.”
“Damn,” Da’Quarius said. “Helen is hardcore.”
“Yeah,” Rose said, watching Helen talk to the other “classic” wrestlers. “She is, I guess.”
“An’ her mortal enemy in da’ ring was da’ same as outside it,” Da’Quarius said, “Harold Fuchs.”
“Harold had nothing to do with Helen’s wrestling,” Rose said, “surprisingly enough.”
“Really?” Da’Quarius asked. “I thought for sure he would’ve been her manager or owned da’ federation or somethin’.”
“Not even Harold Fuchs can keep up with everything Helen has done in her life,” Rose said.
“Dat’s a little disappointin’,” Da’Quarius said.
“Trust me,” Rose said. “We can all use a break from Harold Fuchs interfering in our lives.”
“Holy shit!” someone shouted from the other side of the gym. It was Manny Garcia, and he was standing with his brother, Antonio. “It’s Rose and Daq!”
“Well,” Rose sighed, watching the Garcia brothers approach. “At least it’s not Harold and Lee Fuchs.”
The Spectacular Helena brawled with Bountiful Brian Bonner outside of the ring, trading blows. A fist connected with Bonner’s face, and he fell backward. Helena tackled him, dragging him to the ground and pummeling him without stopping. The referee was next to her now, making the ten count, threatening a disqualification if she didn’t get back into the ring. He was up to five when she finally relented. She dragged Bonner up by the sides of his head and dragged him back toward the ring, shoving him unceremoniously under the bottom rope.
Helena climbed in next as the referee reached eight. He climbed in behind her in time to see her kick Bonner in the ribs. He turned over, grasping his midsection in pain. The referee scolded her for her use of brute force, and she shouted back at him. Bonner took advantage, throwing his own body into Helena from behind, shoving her into the referee. They both fell to the ground in a heap.
The referee was out cold, lying on the mat, nearly in the fetal position. “Stay down, you pussy,” Helena muttered. “You’re not gonna like what comes next.”
“Hey, guys!” Manny said excitedly. He and Antonio were wearing matching tee-shirts featuring The Spectacular Helena. “How’d you get in here for the setup for today’s show?”
“We’re here with Helen,” Da’Quarius said. “Where’d you get those tee-shirts?”
“They’re going to be selling them tonight,” Antonio said. “Manny and I had them printed up. GarciaTube is sponsoring the show, bro!”
“So you guys like Helena?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Fuck yeah,” Manny said. “We saw her fight right here in this very gym when we were younger than you. It was amazing. We’ll never forget that night.”
“Helena fought this dick-stain called Bountiful Brian,” Antonio said. “It was her last match too. It was such bullshit too.”
“What happened?” Da’Quarius asked.
“You know that nagging hip problem Helen has?” Rose asked.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius replied. “Da’ one she had replaced an’ shit?”
“Well, she got it wrestling,” Rose continued. “She ended her match with a huge suplex, and she ended up hurting her hip. She was fifty years old after all.”
“Wait a second,” Antonio said. “Are you saying that Helen has a bad hip?”
“She’s sayin’ dat Helen’s Helena,” Da’Quarius said. “Sorry Rose, but we’d be here all day if we let ‘em try an’ figure it out on der own.”
“Helen is…” Antonio said, looking over at Helen, who was talking with the other retired wrestlers, holding up her black mask and marveling at it.
“Oh my God,” Manny said. “Helen is The Spectacular Helena! She’s lived across the street from us this whole time.”
“Da’Quarius,” Antonio said, looking down at him. “Your mother is… Where’s your Spectacular Helena shirt?!”
“I don’t got one,” Da’Quarius replied.
“I’m gonna buy you one,” Antonio said, rushing away. “Nothing is too good for the son of Helena!”
Manny followed him. “Wait, bro!” he shouted. “I’m gonna buy one for Rose!”
“Thanks,” Rose muttered. “Just what I always wanted.”
“Why do I get da’ impression dat you don’t like da’ idea of Helen wrestlin’ again?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Because I don’t,” Rose replied.
Rose sat in the stands, watching Helen wrestle. She wore a tee shirt featuring Helen’s masked face, her ring name, “The Spectacular Helena”, written under it in big white letters. She cheered Helen on, but she knew the match was rigged, the moves and ending already set in stone hours before the two even met in the ring. But she still cringed every time her lover hit the mat, and she felt a jolt of guilty jubilation whenever Helena hit or slammed the overly conceded Bountiful Brian around.
The referee was out cold, making the match more intense and violent. The crowd around her was excited at the prospect of the two in the ring not being officiated, but Rose knew better. The knocked-out ref was just one of the tropes of this genre of “theater” she had seen many times since had started attending Helen’s matches.
Bonner spit in Helena’s face, and Rose closed her eyes. She wondered why Helen would let a man spit on her like that, but she got her answer a moment later when Helen kicked Bonner in the crotch. The gym erupted in a frenzy. She had kicked him in the crotch the last time they met, resulting in her disqualification. But the ref was still “unconscious”, so she had gotten away with it this time. She followed up with a vertical suplex next, eliciting another round of cheers.
Helena hadn’t earned that silly nickname for nothing after all.
“The queen of the suplex!” Manny exclaimed as Helen came back to Rose and Da’Quarius, who were now wearing shirts that matched those of the Garcia Brothers. “I can’t believe it’s you.”
“Believe it, jumping beans,” Helen said. “Although you’re not supposed to see me without my mask.”
“It’s an honor,” Antonio said, shaking Helen’s hand. “We saw you when we were -”
“Let go of me!” Helen snapped, pulling her hand away. “What the hell has gotten into you two?”
“They were fans of yours,” Rose said, not showing the slightest bit of joy. “What were you talking about over there? You’re not actually wrestling tonight, are you?”
“I’m back,” Helen said, smiling. “The Spectacular Helena is back!”
Rose looked down and shook her head.
“How’d you get dat name anyway?” Da’Quarius asked.
“I named myself after Helena Troy,” Helen replied. “You know, from Ancient Greece or whatever.”
“Isn’t it Helen of Troy?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Damned if I know,” Helen replied. “Rose, why do you look upset?”
“You know why!” Rose said, meeting Helen’s gaze. “I watch you injure yourself thirty years ago in that ring, and I’m not too keen on watching you do it tonight.”
“But I have a new angle,” Helen said. “I’m still The Spectacular Helena, but now I’m old. They have a walker for me and everything. It’s going to be so much fun, pretending to be an old lady.”
“So that’s all you’re doing?” Rose asked. “No suplexing or fighting?”
“Heavens no,” Helen replied. “I couldn’t suplex the dog, let alone these steroid-jacked mama boys. It’s just a little greeting. We’ll come out, wave to the crowd, and that’s all.”
“You best not suplex my dog,” Da’Quarius muttered.
“As long as that’s all,” Rose said. “I don’t have a problem with that.”
“Good,” Helen said. “Now why don’t you head home and come back tonight. I got shit to discuss with these guys.”
Bountiful Brian Bonner was dazed after he got up from the suplex, and the referee was regaining consciousness. Helena used the last of the ref’s momentary blackout to drive her knee into Bonner’s face. She followed up with another suplex, bringing Bonner upward and back to the mat. She covered him, waiting for the the ref to count.
The ref was still moving slowly, trying to get his bearings. Helena picked up her head and saw that he was just starting to get to his feet. Annoyed, she climbed off of Bonner, dragged the ref over to him, and pinned him again. The ref raised his head, saw what was happening, and slowly pounded his palm on the mat.
“ONE!” the crowd shouted. “TWO!”
Bonner raised his arm, breaking the pin as the ref collapsed. Helen sat up, a look of sunned annoyance on her face. The crowed booed, wanting to see her put Bonner away. “Alright,” Helena said. “No more mister nice broad.”
Rose and Da’Quarius sat in the stands along with the Garcia brothers, watching the night of wrestling presented by the NHWF. “When’s Helen comin’ out?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Probably not until the very end,” Antonio replied. “They’re saving her for the main event.”
“I can’t wait to see what she does,” Manny said.
“She’s just playing up the old lady act,” Rose said. “She said so herself.”
“I don’t know,” Manny said. “It’s wrestling. Anything could happen.”
“You guys all know this is fake, right?” Rose asked.
“You’re in the wrong place to say things like that,” Antonio sad. “Don’t let anyone hear you.”
“Now is the time you’ve all been waiting for!” the announcer boomed, standing in the middle o the ring with his microphone. “It’s time to meet your classic NHWF wrestlers!”
The crowed cheered as the golden oldies came out. Most of them were in their sixties, but one was older, almost eighty. This was The Spectacular Helena, and she came out last, shuffling along slowly with use of her walker, complete with four tennis balls on the bottom.
Someone rushed into the ring, shoving the announcer. He was huge, muscular but with a gut. He had a curly mullet that hung to his shoulders. He grabbed the mic and addressed the classic wrestlers. “Nobody wants to see these walking fossils do anything but get marched into the morgue.”
This was met by boos from the crowd. The older wrestlers all shouted back, cursing him.
“And look at Helena back there,” he said. “She can’t even get around without her walker.”
Helena picked up a mic from the announcers’ table. “That’s the Spectacular Helena to you, pal!”
The crowd erupted.
“Who the hell do you think you are anyway?” Helena asked.
“I forgot,” the wrestlers scoffed. “You’ve been retired so long, grandma, you don’t even known what’s going on. The name’s Bobby Bonner. You may know the name. It was my father that put you away for good.”
“He wishes,” Helena scoffed. “Where’s that greasy hairball now? Did they finally put him away for touching kids?”
“He’s dead, you old bitch!” Bonner snapped, rushing to the edge ring. “Don’t you dare speak ill of my father!”
“Then don’t lie about who put who away,” Helena said. “Your back-pimple of a father had nothing to do with my retirement. Besides, I can still beat chumps like you!”
“Oh lord,” Rose said, looking down and shaking her head. “She’s really gonna hurt herself.”
“Don’t worry,” Da’Quarius said. “Dis is all staged like you said. Helen’s gonna be OK.”
“Shut up with that shit,” Manny whispered. “This is real, dammit.”
“I’ll take you on, old lady,” Bonner said, the crowd hissing at him. “Step in this ring if you want to relive the glory days of lying on the mat.”
Helena hesitated, but the crowd wanted to see an old woman step into the ring against Bobby Bonner. She stared him in the eyes as he tossed the mic to the mat and continued trash-talking. Finally Helen cracked her neck and made her way toward the ring, using the walker to help herself along. two refs came out and pulled open the ropes. The announcer brought out a small step ladder, assisting her get into the ring.
“Wait a second!” a referee said, coming into the ring. “I’m not condoning this match!”
The crowed booed.
“What?!” Bonner said. “Ring that damn bell!”
The referee shook his head, crossing his arms across his chest. Bonner grabbed him by his shirt, shouting into his face. He was distracted, and he didn’t see Helena move, stepping away from her walker. She tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, and his crotch was met with Helena’s boot.
The crowd went crazy as Bonner bent in the pain of having his nuts crushed by a professional. Helena picked up her walker, slamming into you his back. Bonner fell to the ground, and Helena tossed her walker aside and pinned him.
The referee called for the bell to be rung. The “DING DING DING” of the match starting filled the gym. He fell to the ground, and counted to three quickly. He then helped the Spectacular Helena off her opponent and raised her arm in victory. The crowd erupted.
“See,” Da’Quarius said. “You had nuttin’ to worry ‘bout. Helen won da’ match, an’ she didn’t even have to wrestle.”
Rose shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose.”
“HE-LEN-A!” Manny shouted.
“HE-LEN-A!” Antonio exclaimed, joining in the chant with his brother.
“HE-LEN-A!” Da’Quarius chanted along with the Garcias. The chanting had taken over the entire gym.
“What the heck,” Rose said. “HE-LEN-A!”
The Spectacular Helena stood in the center of the ring, soaking in the admiration.
The Spectacular Helena bounced off the ropes, rebounding into her opponent, using her momentum to drive him to the mat with a clothesline. The crowd cheered as Bountiful Brian Bonner hit the mat with a ring-shaking thud. Helena rebounded off the ropes again, leaping into the air, and driving her elbow into Bonner’s ribcage.
Helena pinned Bonner, and the ref dove to the ground and pointed his palm on the mat as the crowd counted along. “ONE! TWO!”
Bonner raised his arm, breaking the pin as the crowed hissed and booed. Helen was back on her feet, but so was Bonner, but a little slower. He swung a heavy fist toward his opponent, but he missed when Helena ducked. She swung behind him, locking her hands around his abdomen. With a grunt, she rocked her body backward, taking Bonner over her front, slamming his neck and shoulders into the ground with a german suplex, her special move.
There was a pain in Helana’s hips that jolted through her body as Bonner hit the mat. She was able to hold on despite the pain, keeping her opponents shoulders pinned. She gritted her teeth and waited for the excruciatingly slow ref to start slamming his palm onto the mat to count. This time when the ref finally counted, she got the three-count.
With the crowd cheering and screaming, Helena climbed the to the top turnbuckle, ignoring the pain, and screamed in return.