Freedom Lane: P***y Phlegm

Da’Quarius walked home from Paulie’s Pizza on a Saturday afternoon. He took a longer way, avoiding what looked like a rear-ending on his normal route home. He passed a house with the garage door open despite the cold and listened to the loud rock music coming from within. He stopped and looked inside, and saw the band playing. There were three of them; one on guitar, one on bass, and one on the drums.

The lead guitarist, a teenager with blonde hair and a leather jacket started screeching into the microphone as the band played hard and fast. Da’Quarius couldn’t understand a word that was coming out of his mouth. “Gotdamn,” he said. “Mo’ fucker can’t even screech!”

The band finished their song, and the singer noticed Da’Quarius watching. “Hey, kid,” he said. “Like what you hear?”

“You’re alright, I guess,” Da’Quarius said. “Yo’ singin’ is weak as fuck, doe.”

“Dude!” the singer yelled. “You’re welcome to give it a try if you think you can do it better.”

Da’Quarius shrugged. “OK,” he said. “What do you call yourselves anyway?”

The singer cracked his neck and smiled. “We’re Pussy Phlegm.”

****

Freedom Lane

Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow

Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness

Season 14, Episode 3: Pussy Phlegm

****

“How could you say something like that?!” Rose questioned, scolding Helen, her wife and life partner.

“What?” Helen asked. “It’s just the dog. He doesn’t know any English.”

Dutchie, Da’Quarius’ Pitbull terrier sat, staring at Helen with his tail wagging.

“I don’t care if you said it to the dog,” Rose said. “Why would you call him a… that word?”

“Look,” Helen shrugged. “I have a really, really good reason for saying what I said. It’s really, really funny.”

“I don’t see anything funny about using that word, even to taunt a dog. Rose crossed her arms. “What if our son heard you say something like that?”

“They call each other that all the time!” Helen snapped. “Have you heard the music that kid listens to? It’s every other word, for God’s sake. Maybe we should look into him playing that ghetto shit in my house and how it drilled that word into my head to begin with. Have you thought of that?”

Rose sighed. “I don’t want to hear anything like that in this home again,” she said. “Not even to the dog. OK?”

“OK,” Helen groaned. “I won’t make any racial slurs to the dog if it’s such a big deal to you.”

“Thank you,” Rose smiled. She left through the kitchen.

Helen looked at Dutchie, who was still watching her with a happy look on his face. “I can’t believe you got me in trouble,” she said. “You little moulie.”

“Helen!” Rose exclaimed from the kitchen.

“What?” Helen asked. “I didn’t say the other word!”

***

Da’Quarius handed the microphone back to Gregg, the lead guitarist and leader of the band called ‘Pussy Phlegm’. “Dat’s how you scream,” he said.

“Oh my God,” Steve, the portly drummer said. “He’s amazing.”

“He’s just a kid!” Gregg yelled.

“But he can wail,” Tom, the lanky, long-haired bass player said. “No offense, Gregg, but you were only filling in until we found a decent singer, right?”

“Yeah, but…” Gregg pouted. “This kid…”

“Wait a second,” Da’Quarius said. “I don’t wanna join yo’ band. I was just walkin’ home.”

“You gotta,” Steve urged, coming from behind the drums. “We’re opening for Shih-Tzu Dynasty in a few days at Froggy’s House, and we need a singer.”

“Da’ fuck is Froggy’s House?” Da’Quarius asked.

“It’s the best spot for rock music in downtown New Haven,” Steve nodded. “Your singing was great, and those lyrics were awesome!”

“I just screamed a bunch of garbage,” Da’Quarius said. “You can’t tell me dats all der is to rock music.”

“It is in this sub-genre,” Steve shrugged.

“I don’t even like dis kinda music!” Da’Quarius said. “I gotta go home anyway.”

“It’s a paid gig,” Tom said. “We split the money four ways.”

“You get paid to do dis?!” Da’Quarius asked, a smile in his voice. “An’ here I thought you were playin’ in yo’ moms garage.”

“We are,” Gregg said. “Look, I’m not a huge fan of change, but the guys are right. We need a singer, and you got the talent. So, if you want to practice with us and come to the gig, you’re more than welcome.”

Da’Quarius thought for a moment. “Sure,” he said. “I guess I can do one gig as long as I can bring my homie Tony to the show. He’ll have a blast.”

“Do we have to pay him?” Gregg asked.

“Shit no, ain’t gotta pay his ass,” Da’Quarius said. “Dis mo’ fucker somehow lives without da’ need fo’ shit like dat. It’s pretty amazin’.”

“Then he can come along,” Gregg said. “Welcome to the band, kid.”

“Shit,” Da’Quarius said. “If I’m gonna be in dis Pussy Phlegm band, y’all mo’ fuckers can call me ‘Snot Rocket’.”

***

“I can’t believe you keep making those slurs at the dog,” Rose said.

“Why is this an issue?” Helen asked. “The dog is brown.”

“That’s not the point!” Rose snapped. “The point is, those words are hurtful, especially to Da’Quarius.”

“But the dog won’t tell Da’Quarius that I called him a -”

“I don’t want to hear you say it again,” Rose interrupted.

“What are you gonna do?” Helen shrugged. “I’m an old lady, and we say mildly racist things sometimes. Political correctness has ruined our society.”

“I think you need a lesson in political correctness,” Rose said. “I’m going to find a group for us to attend. I’m sure it won’t hurt.”

“No!” Helen shouted. “Don’t make me sit with a bunch of pinko hippy jerk-offs who talk about how words hurt and other ridiculous notions!”

Rose went to the dining room table and opened her laptop, ignoring Helen. “I’m sure I can find something on Facebook,” she said. “I wish Da’Quarius was here to help me.”

“Where is that kid,” Helen asked. “Shouldn’t he have been home by now? I’m getting awfully worried. Maybe he’s hurt or worse…”

“Don’t try to distract me,” Rose said. “I’m sure whatever Da’Quarius is up to is nice and wholesome.”

***

“So, you’ll take payment in pussy den?” Da’Quarius asked, standing in Paulie’s Pizza on State Street, talking to Tony.

“You know I will,” Tony smiled.

“An’ you realize da’ band isn’t providin’ it for you, right?” Da’Quarius asked.

“I can get my own,” Tony said. “Free admission. A bunch of twenty-something year old girls at a rock show, and a bar? I think I’ll do fine. And you just need me to move some shit around for you guys?”

“Just set da’ band up and help us pack,” Da’Quarius said.

“Nice,” Tony said. “The roadies always get the best chicks at the end of the night. Did I ever tell you how I used to be a roadie for Madonna back in the eighties?”

“No,” Da’Quarius said. “Probably cuz it didn’t happen.”

“It did so!” Tony exclaimed.

“Whatever,” Da’Quarius chuckled. “If yo’ gonna be at da’ show, you best call me ‘Snot Rocket’ an’ shit.”

“Holy shit, kid,” Tony said. “That name is badass!”

“What are you two going on about out here?” Paulie asked, coming out of his office.

“The kid’s in a band,” Tony said. “He came by to get some sage-like advice from me.”

“You’ve never been in a band,” Paulie muttered. “What do you know about it?”

“I didn’t ask him for advice,” Da’Quarius said. “I just wanted him to help set up.”

Paulie laughed. “Did he tell you he used to be a roadie for Madonna?” he asked. “He’s always telling people that one. Never happened.”

“It did happen!” Tony said. “I even nailed her after one of the shows!”

“I remember when you said you were her roadie,” Paulie said. “You were on vacation with your cousin, Vinny the retard!”

“Oh,” Da’Quarius said. “Not cool, Unca Paulie.”

“That was his name!” Paulie said. “It was OK to call people stuff like that back then. You should have heard what Helen called our dog.”

“That’s just what I told you!” Tony argued. “I totally banged Madonna!”

“Shit,” Da’Quarius said. “I gotta get ready for da’ show. You guys can settle dis shit on your own.”

***

Rose walked into the teen center, followed by Helen. “Don’t cause any trouble this time,” she said. “Every time we come in here we end up getting kicked out.”

“I told you we’ve been banned for life,” Helen said. “Just last week Harold was in here looking for twinks, and they’re not going to forget that you and I were with him.”

“They’ll forgive us as long as they see we’re here for a good reason,” Rose said.

“What are you two doing here?” a woman asked, approaching them. It was the same one who had called the police on Harold and Helen the week before. “If you don’t leave I’m calling the police.”

“Told you,” Helen said. “We’ll get going.”

“We’re not here to cause trouble,” Rose said. “My wife needs to learn why it’s wrong to use racial slurs in today’s society.”

Helen rolled her eyes. “And visiting a bunch of gay teens is the best way to do that.”

“I’ve asked around about you two,” the woman said. “You’ve been in here in the past. Didn’t one of our counselors live with you? From what they tell me it didn’t end well.”

“She was a bad egg,” Rose said. “I won’t even repeat what she did to our son.”

“Are we banned for life?” Helen asked.

“I’d say so, yes,” the woman replied.

“Too bad.” Helen turned toward the door. “Come on, Rose. They don’t like our kind here. Our country is in a sad state when two old women can’t even hang out with a bunch of gay teens.”

Rose sighed and left with Helen. “That was surprising,” she said. “I don’t know what to do with you now.”

“Don’t worry about it, dear,” Helen said. “I don’t know what to do with myself half the time either.”

***

Da’Quarius came down from his room, dressed in a torn black tee-shirt and an old pair of jeans that he wore to do housework. He’d painted his face white with some paint Gregg had given him. Dutchie took one look at him and went running toward the kitchen. “Good deal,” he said, nodding. “I must look good.”

The door opened, and Helen and Rose came inside. “I just don’t see why you need to do anything,” Helen said. “All I did was call the dog a… WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?!”

“It’s just me, biddy,” Da’Quarius said. “Don’t have a heart attack.”

“Why are you like that?” Rose asked.

“Yeah,” Helen said. “Is this a new trend: white-face? Because I find it offensive.”

“This is what you find offensive?” Rose asked, turning toward Helen. “Calling the dog those names isn’t offensive to you, but this is?”
“What did you call my dog?” Da’Quarius asked.

“Don’t change the subject,” Helen said. “Why are you painted like a mime rapist?”

“I’m not painted like a mime rapist,” Da’Quarius said. “I’m in a rock band, and we got a show tonight at Froggy’s House.”

“I don’t know this Froggy character, and I don’t want you going to his house dressed like that,” Helen said.

“Froggy’s House is da’ venue,” Da’Quarius said. “It’s an all-ages club downtown.”

“Are any adults going to this show?” Rose asked.

“Tony is taking me,” Da’Quarius said. “He’s close enough to an adult, right?” A horn blared from outside. “That’s him now. I gotta jet, ‘less you guys gotta problem.”

“I suppose it’s OK,” Rose said. “As long as Tony’s there.”

“Thanks,” Da’Quarius said. “I’ll be home by ten.”

“Good night,” Helen said. “Remember that mimes aren’t allowed to scream if you drag them into any alleys.”

“Helen!” Rose exclaimed.

“What?” Helen asked. “Now I can’t insult mimes?”

Rose closed the door, watching Da’Quarius get into Tony’s car from the window. “You know, that show of his might be fun,” she said. “We should go to support our son, and it might be good for you to see a band of mixed races on stage.”

“I think you’re getting a little loopy,” Helen said.

“Come on,” Rose said, grabbing her coat. “Let’s head over to Froggy’s House and see our son on stage.” She opened the door and went outside.

Dutchie came in and went to his bed to lie down. “This is still your fault,” she muttered to the dog. “You little spook bastard.”

“Helen!” Rose snapped. “I’m standing right here!”

***

Tony put the last amp on the stage. “All set,” he said. “When do the women get here?”

“The doors open at seven,” Gregg said. “I don’t expect much of a crowd though. We don’t normally draw one.”

“I don’t see why you don’t with a name like Pussy Phlegm,” Tony muttered. “I’m gonna go to the adult area and get a drink.”

“Stick with the top-shelf stuff,” Steve the drummer said. “They got busted with fruit flies in the cheap stuff a while back.”

“Noted,” Tony said. “Later, Pussy Junk.”

“Phlegm!” Gregg shouted after him. “What’s up with this guy?”

“He works for free,” Da’Quarius said. “Don’t knock him.”

“Did you hear him going on about doing this for Madonna?” Tom asked. “There’s no way that’s true, right?”

“He might have some mental issues,” Gregg said. “The guy’s pathological or something.”

“He’s just Tony,” Da’Quarius said. “Give it a rest and get ready for the show.”

Tony walked up to the bar and nodded to the waitress. “Gimme a beer,” he said. “Bottled.”

The waitress came over and put the bottle on the counter in front of him. “That’s four bucks,” she said.

Tony put a five on the counter. “Keep it,” he said.

“Thank you, big spender,” the waitress said, taking the five dollars. “It’s sweet, you helping those kids. Is one of them your kid?”

“You think I’m old enough to have a teenager?” Tony asked.

The waitress shrugged. “You could have started young.”

Tony laughed. “I don’t have any of my own,” he said. “The white kid is my buddy’s nephew.”

“Three of them are white,” the waitress said.

“I mean the one who’s painted white,” Tony said. “The black one.”

“Oh,” the waitress said. “You should have just said so.”

“I could have,” Tony said. “But I don’t want to sound racist.”

***

Rose and Helen entered Froggy’s House, just in time to see Pussy Phlegm, with their adopted son as the new front man, getting ready to start the show. “I wish he had told me the name of the band he was in,” Rose said, reading the flyer she had gotten by the door. “This puts an image in my mind that didn’t need to be there.”

“And yet this is supposed to give me a lesson in racism,” Helen said. “Three white kids in a band and one black kid painted white. How’s this supposed to help me?”

Rose looked around. “You might be right,” she said. “Da’Quarius might actually be the only person of color here.”

“Ha!” Helen said. “You just called him colored! I win!”

People turned to stare at Helen, but she ignored them.

“I did not say ‘colored’,” Rose said. “I said ‘person of color’. It’s a politically correct term. And we’re not winning or losing here. I just want you to stop being insensitive toward our son’s race.”

“Fine,” Helen said, throwing her hands up. “If it stops you from taking me to places like this, I’ll stop calling the dog the n-word. If you’ll excuse me, I have to take a shit before the concert starts.”

The same people turned to watch Helen make her way to the restroom. “Sorry about her,” Rose said. “She doesn’t get out of the house much.”

***

“Ready, guys?” Gregg asked.

“I’m ready,” Da’Quarius said. The crowd that had gathered was small, and it was expected to grow as people came to see Shih-Tzu Dynasty, the band they were opening for. “Let’s get dis party started.”

“Wait,” Steve said. “Did you learn all the lyrics?”

“Mo’ fucker,” Da’Quarius said, “you know I’m just makin’ it all up, right?”

“Alright,” Gregg said. “We’ll play and you sing.”

“I know da’ deal,” Da’Quarius said. He walked up to the mic and took it in both his hands. “Good night e’ryone!”

The small crowd cheered.

“I’m Da’Quarius Masters, and dis is PUSSY PHLEGM!”

The band played, and Da’Quarius started screaming. He stopped the screaming and started shouting lyrics into the mic.

“Why’d I bon ya? Yo’ pussy leakin’ like it got pneumonia!

“Now my dick smell like it’s squirtin’ ammonia!”

“Oh dear,” Rose said from the back of Froggy’s House with Helen. “Those are some raunchy lyrics.”

“I can’t understand him,” Helen said. “Did he use the n-word?”

Holy shit!” Da’Quarius continued, wailing away. “What the fuck did I do to my dick?!”

“It’s down there lookin’ pretty sick!”

“Yeah!” Tony shouted, slamming his beer bottle to the ground. “Let’s fuckin’ mosh, you little shits!”

Da’Quarius continued his singing. “It’s not getting’ any better, an’ I cain’t believe her again!

“But I’m in love with all dat pussy phlegm!”

“Alright,” Rose said. “I think it’s time to go. I’ve seen enough.”

“I can’t use slurs,” Helen said, “but it’s OK for the kid to keep spouting that filth on stage?”

“Yes,” Rose said. “No. I don’t know. Let’s just go and forget this whole day.”

“Good idea,” Helen said, walking with Rose to the exit. “This one is taking forever to friggin’ end.”

“BREAK YOURSELF!” Tony shouted, running into the small crowd. He swung his arms, hitting everyone around him. “What’s the matter?! You pansies never been in a mosh pit?!”

“Tony!” Da’Quarius shouted as the band faltered and stopped. “Cut dat shit out!”

“PUSSY PHLEGM!” Tony shouted as he pushed a girl into her friends and ran off to cause more damage.

***

“That’s a new one on me,” Gregg said as the Froggy’s House security and management came out to subdue Tony and talk to the crowd. “I’ve never been part of a show that was shut down due to some nut in the audience.”

“Dat’s Tony,” Da’Quarius said. “He got a little carried away, but he’ll be cool next time.”

“Next time?!” Steve shouted, walking from behind his drums. “There’s not going to be a next time.”

“What’s dat s’posed to mean?” Da’Quarius asked.

“It means Tony is out,” Gregg said. “We can lug our own stuff if he’s going to pull that shit. Froggy’s has a no moshing policy, and we’ll get banned if we bring him back.”

“You can’t just kick him out for dat,” Da’Quarius said. “He didn’t know dis club has pussy-ass rules like dat.”

“It’s all-ages,” Gregg said. “A grown-ass man can’t be in here pushing kids around. He’s out.”

“If he’s out, den I’m out,” Da’Quarius said.

“He’s just the roadie,” Tom said. “And he’s creepy.”

“And those stories!” Steve added.

“Fuck it,” Da’Quarius said. “You guys are a bunch of assholes anyway.”

“Daq!” Gregg called. “Snot Rocket!”

“Fuck you,” Da’Quarius said, flipping off the band as he walked to the exit. “Good luck with yo’ weak-ass shrieking, bitch.”

Gregg watched Da’Quarius leave. “Fuck off then!” he shouted. “We don’t need you! We never did! We’re Pussy Phlegm, dammit! I’m the singer! ME! Fuck the fuck off!!”

“Dude,” Steve said. “You suck.”

“Yeah,” Tom agreed. “You’re too controlling too.”

“Fuck this band,” Steve said. “I quit.”

“Me too,” Tom said. “I’m out.”

“Fuck,” Gregg said. “I’m just gonna off myself.”

“Do it,” Steve said.

“Yeah,” Tom added. “You’re all talk, no action.”

***

Helen and Rose settled in after coming home from Froggy’s House. Da’Quarius came in moments after. “You’re home early,” Rose said. “I didn’t expect you until ten.”

“I quit,” Da’Quarius said. “Those guys are a bunch of assholes.”

“I’m glad you’re home,” Rose said. “And I’m kind of glad you won’t be going out in that make-up or yelling those words again.”

“Me too,” Da’Quarius said. “I think I scared a lot of white folks with dat shit.”

“We’re getting ready for bed,” Rose said. “Why don’t you take Dutchie out and we’ll all get ready.”

“OK,” Da’Quarius said as Rose went into the kitchen. He hooked Dutchie’s leash to his collar. “Come on, Dutchie. Let’s go for a walk, lil’ nigga.”

“OH!” Helen said, standing up. “Rose! Tell me you heard that!”

“Calm down, Helen!” Rose called from the kitchen. “I’ll bring you your tea!”

Helen sat back down with her arms crossed. “I guess it’s OK when he says it. Friggin’ kid and his friggin’ dog.”

The End

***

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Freedom Lane tee by Budgie Bigelow

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