Freedom Lane

Freedom Lane – Rub n’ Tug

Helen grunted as she shifted in her favorite recliner. “Where the hell is that kid?!”

Rose, Helen’s wife and life partner, sighed, folding the page of her book and closing it. “He’ll be back soon. Don’t worry.”

Helen was ready to continue her rant when the door opened. Da’Quarius entered to the jubilation of his dog. He carried a bag of sandwiches. “Gotdamn, dat deli you sent me to was in da’ middle of da’ ghetto!”

“It wasn’t always,” Rose said, taking the sandwich Da’Quarius handed her.

“Yeah,” Helen added, taking her own sandwich. “That was such a nice neighborhood before it got taken over by -”

Rose cleared her throat, and Helen stopped talking.

Da’Quarius sat next to Rose and took his sandwich out of the bag. “You know what? I got chased by a dog, three people asked me for money, some dude tried to sell me drugs, and the cops stopped me twice to ask me what I was doin’. So I hope y’all enjoy da’ sandwiches, biddies.”

Rose looked at her sandwich. “Oh.”

“What?” Helen asked.

“Nothing.”

“Tell me.”

Rose sighed. “It’s just… They forgot my tomatoes and lettuce.”

“Kid, you fucked up,” Helen scolded.

“I ain’t fuck up nuttin’!” Da’Quarius exclaimed. “I ordered da’ sandwiches just how you asked for ‘em!”

“Do you want your sandwich made right?” Helen asked Rose.

Rose nodded, a guilty look on her face.

“Then the kid has no problem going back for you.”

Da’Quarius nearly choked on his sandwich. “Yeah I do! Didn’t you hear my story ‘bout gettin’ here?!”

Helen took Rose’s sandwich and tossed it haphazardly back into the bag. “Be a good boy and have them remake Rose’s sandwich the way she asked for it.”

Da’Quarius snatched the bag and muttered as he went back out the door. “Fuckin’ biddy, makin’ me walk all da’ way to da’ ghetto-ass deli.”

****

Freedom Lane

Created, written, & directed by Budgerigar Orville Bigelow

Co-created by executive producer BluntSharpness

Season 15, Episode 1: Rub n’ Tug

****

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It was a sunny Tuesday morning on State Street in New Haven. The weather was still warm in early September, and a pizzeria called Paulie’s Pizza was waiting to open its doors to the public. The pizzeria’s owner, a sixty-four-year-old man who shared his name with the sign outside his restaurant, was talking on the phone with one of his long-time vendors.

“VA FA NAPPOLI! YOU CAN TAKE YOUR CHEESE AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR FAT ASS IF YOU CAN’T GET IT HERE BY TWO!”

Paulie listened to the voice on the other end shout back at him.

“THEN SHOVE THAT CHEESE UP YOUR SISTER’S ASS!”

There was one more shout on the other end of the phone, followed by the dial tone. “Ah fongool!” Paulie yelled, slamming his phone against the wall, shattering it.

Tony came from the back and snorted a laugh. “Now I see why you don’t use your cellphone for business.”

“Don’t you start with me either!” Paulie snapped, turning toward Tony. “I’m running a friggin’ business here, and these mooks can’t get a friggin’ delivery to me in time!”

“Sorry, boss, but you need to relax. You’re getting all wound up over cheese, and that’s not good for your health. Why don’t you go to that place I was telling you about: Angel’s Kiss Massage Parlor.”

“That rub n’ tug place?” Paulie asked. “I’m not going to pay to have some Asian woman jerk me off when I can do it for free at home.” He paced near the front door, looking out the window with his hands on his hips.

“Come on,” Tony came from around the counter, joining Paulie near the front of the pizzeria. “It’s really relaxing. You stand in this shower, being washed with hot water. The girl comes in with you, massaging you. If you give them a little extra, she’ll reach around and give you a happy ending while her boobs press against your back. You don’t even have to look at her. It’s great!”

Paulie sighed. “Not my thing, Tony.”

“Whatever. It’s been a while since you’ve had a woman. Maybe you’d smash less phones after a little rub n’ tug. Know what I mean, boss?”

“I know what you mean, and it makes me sick.” Paulie sighed. “I guess I better go to the meat market and pick up a few bags of mozzarella.”

Tony walked back toward the kitchen, waving a hand in the air. “Don’t forget a new phone too!”

***

Da’Quarius walked into his house after basketball practice. His dog, a brown pit bull terrier named Dutchie, backed up and jumped on his master. “Get down, Dutchie! My back is sore as fuck!”

“What happened to you?” Helen asked from her usual spot on the recliner, looking up from her magazine. “Those white kids you’re always lording over rough you up for once?”

“Da’ fuck you talkin’ ‘bout, biddy?” Da’Quarius asked, sitting on the couch, rubbing a spot on his lower back. “Who am I s’posed to be lordin’ over an’ shit?”

“You and those friggin’ white kids you go to school with on that damn basketball team,” Helen replied. “Never mind. I’m seventy-nine years old, and I’m not explaining myself to a friggin’ kid. Just tell me what you did to your back.”

“I slipped doin’ a layup. The floor was wet, and I lost my footin’. Goddamn coach laid into me for it, but I wasn’t da’ one who got it wet!”

“Go get Rose, and she’ll put some ice or something on it.”

“Nah. I need to get it rubbed out, like Tony does.”

Helen groaned, turning the page of her magazine and turning away from Da’Quarius. “I do not want to hear how Tony rubs himself out, and you should be developing your own techniques anyway.”

“Not like dat! He’s been goin’ on ‘bout some massage place where they rub you up in a hot shower.”

Helen turned back to Da’Quarius, giving him her full attention. “Do they do happy endings at this place, a little rub n’ tug?”

Da’Quarius shrugged. “Why da’ hell else would Tony go?”

“Head upstairs and rest that back of yours, kid. I need to think about something here.”

Da’Quarius grunted as he got back up and headed toward his room, leaving Helen, who was stroking her chin as she thought.

***

Paulie walked back into his pizzeria carrying a case of mozzarella cheese and a bag from Star-Mart containing a phone to replace the one he had smashed a couple of hours earlier. Tony came out of the back. “You want me to get that cheese put away?”

“Yeah.” Paulie dropped the box of mozzarella on the counter and walked toward his office with his new phone. Tony came around and went after him.

“Oh! What’s wrong with you now?”

Paulie stopped short of his office and turned back to Tony. “There’s not one friggin’ considerate asshole left on this planet! I had to fight for a parking space at the meat market, the asshole who worked at Star-Mart flat out refused to help me pick out a new phone, and I almost got killed when some woman texting blew a stop sign right down the road!”

“That’s just the world we live in these days.” Tony gave Paulie a reassuring pat on the back. “You’re wound up tighter than a gay virgin’s pucker-hole. Come with me to get a massage. I guarantee you’ll be a joy to live with once you’re done.”

“Oh! So now I’m not a joy to live with?!”

“Is there an answer that doesn’t end with you swearing in Italian?”

Paulie sighed. “Fine. Tomorrow, though. Get that cheese put away before it goes bad.”

“Sure,” Tony muttered, heading back behind the counter. “Use me to put away your cheese and book your hand jobs.”

“That was your idea!” Paulie snapped, charging from his office.

“I’m kidding!” Tony shouted in return. “Holy shit. You gotta see what I’m talking about with your tightly-wound pucker-hole!”

Paulie huffed. “What’s up with you and saying ‘pucker-hole’ today?”

***

Rose put the last of the clean dishes away and closed the cabinet. The moment it was closed, she heard Helen hollering from the den.

“ROSE! HELP!”

Rose rushed into the den and found Helen lying on the floor next to her recliner. She knelt down next to her and held her hand. “Helen! What happened?!”

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”

Rose sighed. “Is this a joke?”

“No!” Helen replied. “I really fell!”

“How?”

“The kid’s damn dog drop-kicked me in the chest when I got up.”

Rose sighed again. “The dog drop-kicked you in the chest?”

“Yeah! You know that mutt has had a turf-war going on with me over my damn recliner.”

Rose looked over at Dutchie, who was lying in his bed, staring at Rose and Helen, a curious look on his face. “He looks innocent to me.”

“They always do to you, sweetheart,” Helen muttered.

“Well, you’re awfully talkative for a victim of a doggy drop-kick, Helen, so I’m going to help you into your chair and forget I found you on the floor, screaming for attention.”

“Goddamn, you’re jaded.”

“Alright,” Rose said, walking toward the kitchen. “I don’t know what you’re up to with this act, but I’m not falling for it. I’m going to get my book and read outside. You got yourself onto the floor. You can get yourself up.”

Helen waited for Rose to leave before grabbing the side of her chair and hoisting herself up with a groan. “Friggin’ Rose. I’d be really pissed if I had actually fallen. I’m gonna need a plan B.”

***

“Alright, boss,” Tony said, coming out of Paulie’s office. “We got appointments for tomorrow morning, bright and early like you wanted.”

“What?” Paulie asked, looking away from the grinder he was making. “You’re going with me?”

“I’m not getting in the friggin’ shower with you, but I’ll be there.”

“Madon,” Paulie groaned.

Tony looked confused. “What?”

“I just don’t want you there, knowing you’re in the same building with me, getting cranked off in the shower by some Asian broad.”

“It’s no different than doing it in the locker room in high school. We used to all pick a different row of lockers, jerk off, and see who finished last.”

Paulie stared at Tony, his mouth agape.

“What?” Tony asked. “You didn’t do that?”

“Look. Just don’t tell me what you’re doing, and I won’t tell you what I’m doing. This way neither one of us will know if the other is getting their rub n’ tug or not.”

“But I’m definitely getting one.”

Paulie threw his hands in the air and walked away. “You friggin’ stunad! Why do I even bother with you!?”

Tony shook his head as Paulie left, leaving the food he was preparing unfinished. “He needs the rub n’ tug more than I do.”

***

Da’Quarius came home from school. Dutchie made his usual lunge and jump for him, and he let out a scream once the paws were on his chest. “Dammit! My back!” He walked to the couch and sat down.

“What’s wrong with your back?” Rose asked, getting up, moving toward Da’Quarius, and sitting next to him. “Did you get hurt?”

“I pulled a muscle or somethin’ at basketball practice da’ other night. Didn’t Helen tell you?”

Rose turned toward Helen. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

Helen shrugged. “I figured the kid would have walked it off by now, the little sissy-ass.”

“I ain’t no sissy!” Da’Quarius stood up and went back down a second later. “Shit!”

“We need to take you to the doctor,” Rose said. “We have to do something.”

A sly smile crept onto Helen’s face, and it left just as quick as a look of feign pain replaced it. “Ow! My back!”

Rose looked at Helen. “What are you going on about? Da’Quarius is hurt!”

“But I hurt my back too!” Helen exclaimed.

“How?” Rose asked.

“When the dog drop-kicked me and knocked me over! Remember?!”

“How da’ fuck did Dutchie drop-kick yo’ ass?” Da’Quarius asked.

“I know how to help us both,” Helen replied. “There’s this massage place I know about. They get you in a hot shower, and they massage the hell out of you. I hear it works miracles for muscle strains like the kid and I have.”

“Wait,” Da’Quarius said. “I’m da’ one who told you ‘bout da’…”

Helen gave Da’Quarius the dirtiest of stink-eyes she could muster.

“…dat it’s a good idea to help heal our hurtin’ backs.”

Rose sighed. “Well, if you think it will help. What’s the name of it again?”

“It’s da’ Angel’s Kiss Massage Parlor,” Da’Quarius replied.

Rose stood and walked toward the kitchen. “I’ll look it up in the phone book. Maybe I can book them for tomorrow.” Helen watched her as she left. Once she was gone, she turned to Da’Quarius.

“Good acting with the back ache, kid.”

Da’Quarius stared at Helen for a moment. “You know I really hurt my back at basketball practice, right? I actually need a massage or somethin’.”

Helen waved a hand. “Sure, you big ham. Thanks for all that. I won’t forget what you’ve done for me, and I have a long memory.”

“Sure,” Da’Quarius muttered. “You got a long memory, biddy, but don’t remember last night when I told you ‘bout my back and Tony’s massage place.”

***

Paulie and Tony walked into Angel’s Kiss. Paulie looked around. There was relaxing music playing, setting the back drop of warm colors, bonsai trees painted on the walls, and the smell of burning incense. “This would be a nice place if it wasn’t a jerk off hut.”

“Cut that out!” Tony scolded. “Don’t get me kicked out of here!”

Paulie huffed. “It’s usually me saying that to you.”

Tony led Paulie to the counter, were an Asian woman with long, black hair was waiting, a smile on her face. “Welcome back, Mister Tony. I see you’ve brought a friend.”

“Oh yeah.” Tony gave her a wide smile. “Sign us up for a deluxe massage each, full service.”

“Excellent. And how will you be paying?”

Tony turned and looked at Paulie, who rolled his eyes and took his wallet out, handing the woman his credit card. “Just the regular massage for me, please.”

The woman took the card and swiped it in the slot next to her computer. “OK. You can ask for the upgrade to the deluxe package any time you like.”

“Madon,” Paulie groaned. “I don’t need an upgrade.”

Tony moved close to Paulie’s ear and whispered. “You know the deluxe package is the one with the rub n’ tug, right, boss?”

“Get away from my friggin’ ear with that!” Paulie snapped, putting his hand up to slap Tony. The woman turned and looked at him, and he put his hand back down. “OK. Which way to the showers then?”

***

Moments later, Angel’s Kiss had two more customers. “Look at this place,” Helen said, observing the ambiance and aesthetics of the main area. “It looks like a buddha farted a bunch of paint on some canvas and had his wife queef out some perfume.”

Da’Quarius walked through with her. “C’mon, biddy. Let’s just get our massages already. My back is killin’ me!”

Helen walked up to the counter, and the woman looked back at her. “How may I help you?”

“I want two massages, both with happy endings,” Helen replied.

“Biddy,” Da’Quarius groaned. “I just need a regular massage to help my back.”

Helen sighed, looking down at him. “Look, kid. You helped me out, tricking Rose to drive me here and letting me have her credit card to pay. We have an hour until she picks us up. I told you I wouldn’t forget what you did for me.”

“But my back is really… Fuck it. Get me whatever.”

Helen smiled and turned back to the woman at the counter, slapping Rose’s credit card down. “You heard him. We want two shower massages with happy endings. Thank you.”

The woman looked over Helen, a look of distaste on her face. “I don’t know…”

“Is my money not good enough here for my son and I? Is my age a problem? Because if it is, I can always make a few phone calls to the Better Business Bureau and let them know you refused to finger my gash and jerk my son off like you have for so many others.”

Da’Quarius looked down and shook his head. “Dammit, biddy.”

The woman sighed. “Fine. I have two free showers. Right this way.”

Helen huffed. “That’s how you do it, kid.”

Da’Quarius walked toward his shower room. “OK, but I don’t wanna talk ‘bout it now or ever again.”

***

Paulie came back into the Angel’s Kiss waiting area after his massage. He sighed, sitting in one of the chairs, waiting for Tony. He was in a state of relaxation he hadn’t felt in a while. It would be a good, long time before he screamed at any cheese delivery guys again.

“You look good,” Tony said, leaving into the waiting area. “That rub n’ tug got you nice and relaxed.”

“I didn’t get the deluxe package. I didn’t need it. Besides, just the shower massage was enough for me.”

“Sure.” Tony winked at Paulie.

“Cut that out! I didn’t get the happy ending!”

“Paulie?” Rose asked, coming into the waiting area from outside. “What are you doing here?”

“I was getting a massage.” Paulie looked toward Tony, who was smiling like a goon, then back to Rose. “And just a massage, no matter what numb-nuts here tells you. What are you doing here?”

“Da’Quarius hurt himself at basketball, so he’s getting his back massaged. Helen wanted a massage too; but she was too embarrassed to tell me, so she faked an injury.”

“Helen wanted a massage?” Paulie asked. “From this place in particular?”

Tony chuckled.

Rose nodded and smiled. “She thinks I’m so gullible, but I know her too well. She thinks she’s a sissy or something for wanting a massage, so I let her think that I believed the dog actually drop-kicked her.”

Helen emerged from the shower area next. “That girl has the fingers of an angel.”

Da’Quarius came out next, a huge smile on his face. When he saw everyone there, the smile died, and he looked away.

“Wait a second,” Rose said. She lowered her voice. “Is this one of those happy ending places?”

Everyone looked away from Rose as she looked from each of their faces in turn. She finally just shrugged and walked to the counter. “If everyone else gets one, I should too, right?”

Rose signed up for her deluxe massage and followed the woman to the back. Helen sighed and sat down, putting her feet up on the table. “Looks like I’ll be hanging out here for a bit.”

“Oh,” Paulie said. “You’re just going to let her go in there and get a rub n’ tug from some Asian broad?”

“You just did,” Tony muttered.

“I did not!” Paulie snapped.

Helen put her hands behind her head. “Don’t be a stunad. This gets me off the hook for getting one, you know.”

“Y’all are fucked up,” Da’Quarius said. “Can I get a ride home, Unca Paulie? Dis shit is getting’ too weird.”

The End

****

Edited by Mel Westcott

****

Pick up your very own Freedom Lane tee-shirt!

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