CHURCH, The Television Show
“Did you bring me my money?” The Italian asked The Barracuda.
“You said thirty days!”
“I know what I said; I just want to make sure that you heard. Give me everything you’ve collected so far.”
“It’s not like I have a pocket dedicated to Noodle Church.”
“Open up your wallet. Give me what’s inside.”
“I need to eat!”
“You did this, and now you have to pay for your mistake.”
“Noodle did this! He’s a Rat, and you’re bending over backwards to save his life. He doesn’t move product, he hasn’t done anything for US.”
“I told you, it comes from above.”
“Noodle doesn’t even drink. I’m sure he’s working for the Feds, and I think he’s stealing from us.”
“Can you prove it?”
“Give me a week,” The Barracuda said and ran downstairs. “Why does everyone want to save Noodle Church?” He asked The Prince. “Tell me you’re not drinking from the same well as everyone else.”
“I’m just following orders.”
“Help me dig up all the shit in the world on this kid so everyone can see the fraud for what he really is.”
“I have Noodle’s keys! We’re going to find what he’s keeping locked away in there.”
Meanwhile, The Manager was upstairs meeting with DJ. “How are you doing on the staff collections?” DJ asked.
“I’ve got something, but not enough. Not even close to it all.”
They stopped talking when The Barracuda came into their office. “What’s going on in here?” He mocked.
“Work. You know anything about that?” DJ struck.
“Work,” The Barracuda scoffed. “Let me tell you something. You two fill this place with rats and thieves and I have to run around chasing them.”
Then The Underboss came in. “Who’s stealing from US?” He asked.
“No one’s stealing.” The Manager answered.
“Noodle Church is stealing!” The Barracuda accused.
Then Noodle walked in the office to collect the radios to handout to the security staff.
“If Noodle’s stealing then we’re all in trouble!” The Manager said loudly for everyone to overhear.
The Barracuda left the office and went outside to make a phone call. “What did you find in Noodle’s apartment?”
“I gave the keys to The Tenant and told him the hours Noodle and The Roommate were working, like you told me.”
“What did you get?”
“Nothing, he brought the keys back to me and said that they didn’t work.”
“How is that possible?”
“He must have changed his locks.”
“That little fucker!”
“Did you hear that The Barracuda’s pissed off because he stole Noodle’s keys to prove that he was either a Fed or a thief, but that the locks were changed?”
“Both of those would be pretty hard to prove,” DJ laughed.
“DJ wants to see if you can get into Noodle’s file cabinets to find out what his novel says,” The Roommate told The Boyfriend while lying in bed at his house.
“Tell him no.”
“Why? It could be good for us.”
“Remember when my friends and I wanted to book the club to play dub step? Well, he said no to us.”
“Maybe it will make him change his mind.”
“He won’t, I heard from another disc jockey that DJ is a self centered, egotistical prick.”
“That sounds about right.”
“Has The Manager made you a bartender yet like he said he would?”
“No. He gave me one shift at a bar that no one even ordered from.”
“See what I mean? Those guys never hold up their end of the bargain.”
“Okay…I’ll tell them no,” The Roommate answered.
“Noodle, are you going to the Christmas party tonight?” The Roommate asked when she got home.
“I don’t know, it’s at a bar and I don’t drink so I’m not sure what I’d do there.”
“The Boyfriend and I decided to go; but I don’t think we’ll stay long.”
“Maybe it’ll be good for my company image to show up and be a team player.”
“Noodle, I thought you don’t drink!” The Roommate smiled when she saw him there.
“I figure, once a year, it might be a good idea if I fit in,” he answered and then went around wishing everyone a happy holiday season.
“Manager,” Noodle greeted when he caught him hiding in a dark corner. The Manager was probably the only one there that really didn’t drink.
“What’s up Noodle? I’m glad you decided to come!”
“I wanted you to know…I think you know but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t say this aloud…”
“Spit it out Noodle.”
“Manager, I’m with you. I’ve always been with you. You’re the reason I started working at Majesty and you’re the reason I’m still here. I have something for you, for Christmas.” Noodle reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a photograph of a beautifully tattooed model.
“It’s the girl you liked from that calendar – I found her in a magazine,” Noodle said. “Sorry I couldn’t get you the real thing, this picture is the best I could do.”
The Manager smiled.
“It’s way past fall, you said we’d be brothers by now! And you seemed genuine about a raise. I thought you were looking out for me.”
“Just tell me that you don’t want me, and I’d be happy to move on to the next gig. If I never started here, I’d be in Army Helicopter School by now. Why are you keeping me if you don’t like me?”
“My own selfish reasons…you know what I mean?”
Anytime The Manager said that, Noodle never knew what he meant. So he went outside to smoke a cigarette.
“What’s up Assistant?”
“Heyyyy,” she trailed.
“This place really emptied out. Where’d everybody go?”
“I think most people went home, but the rest of us are going over to the Fake Irish Bar if you want to come.”
The Assistant was talking on the phone during the entire cab ride. Noodle could only hear one side of her conversation. “Supervisor I don’t tell him anything…He’s just my friend…No, he came up to me…Yeah…No he keeps asking me what nightclub I work at but I didn’t tell him…It’s not that…It’s not…So what if he’s a cop? He just thinks that I’m pretty!”
When the cab stopped outside The Fake Irish bar Noodle removed cash to pay the driver.
“Noodle, you don’t need to do that,” The Assistant said. “This is going on the company credit card.”
“You have cash,” the cab driver glared, “I saw you have cash.”
“Whatever,” The Assistant scoffed. “You have to take credit card, it’s the law!”
When they stepped inside, The Supervisor also glared. “I don’t like when my guys talk to the cops!” He scolded The Assistant.
“Jeez, Supervisor. Relax,” she defied.
Majesty held an entire corner of The Fake Irish Bar for them. Girls who made a living luring customers to the bar through their beauty danced with each other. The Supervisor stood away from them with his back to the kitchen, as if he was detailed for security duty.
Noodle wasn’t drinking at this bar, he didn’t like the way the alcohol incapacitated him. So he ordered waters with no ice from the bar and tipped well for them.
“Meat Packer, you said you were holding cocaine. Would you share the tiniest bit with me?”
“I know. It’s coming. I got you,” The Meat Packer said.
“Just don’t stand me up this time!” Noodle said and went outside to smoke a cigarette.
The Meat Packer came out to smoke too, and he started chatting up grey haired Marines who had cigars hanging from their mouths.
In between sentences The Meat Packer cleared the nasal drip from his throat.
Noodle pulled The Meat Packer away from The Marines. “Come on man. You said you’d share! I’ve been waiting all night!”
“Noodle, wait a little longer. It’s being delivered.”
“Well, do you really think it’s a good idea to be standing here, talking to Government men?”
“Why do you say that?”
“See that guy? He says he’s going home to smoke the fattest doobie on the day he retires.”
“It’s on you,” Noodle said and went back inside.
Finally, The Meat packer came in and invited Noodle to the bathroom. Majesty’s security had one guy posted outside the door turning customers away and another inside, watching everyone who came in. The rest of the crew was inside the bathroom stalls.
The Meat packer pulled Noodle into an empty stall and lined up a very small amount of coke. A small ration is all that Noodle was looking for.
“I didn’t think you were into this kind of stuff,” The Meat Packer said. “When I met you I thought you were no fun.”
“Meat Packer, I’m into everything. It’s a matter of responsibility.”
As Noodle bent his head, The Meat Packer stood up on the toilet seat to take a picture of him. Noodle didn’t like that.
He went back to the bar watching what was going with Southie Suits when a guy ran by without his shirt. Then a short man came up to Southie Suits to ask if he could buy cocaine. They set up a deal.
Noodle tugged on Southie Suit’s pants leg.
“Noodle, I’m busy, what is it?”
“What are you thinking?” Noodle warned. “That guy’s totally a Narc.”
“No he’s not,” Southie suits looked back over to his buyer. “He’s cool.”
“How would he know that you have cocaine?”
“Everybody knows, Noodle,” Southie Suits said and led the guy into the bathroom.
“What is it Noodle?”
“Go to the bathroom and check on Southie Suits. I’m worried that he’s being entrapped by a Narc!”
Noodle went and stood outside. The Marines were standing in the same position across from the front door that they had been holding the whole night. Noodle stood at a distance, also watching the front door; he felt connected to them, but he didn’t know why.
“We’re going to get out of here soon, we’re going back to the Supervisor’s house,” The Niece told Noodle when he finally got back inside.
The Russian Doll sat across from where he was standing. The Supervisor walked up, stood before her, and firmly squeezed his fingers around her thin upper thigh. Noodle felt like a young buck ready to fight for the mare, but when those two went into the bathroom Noodle again went outside and stood near the Marines. No one came out the front door.
And then a limo pulled around the corner and the Assistant walked out. “Where is everybody?” He asked her. She kept walking, so Noodle followed around the corner.
A dude got out of the limousine and started yelling at a group of girls. The Assistant walked faster, toward them.
“Assistant, do we know those people?” Noodle called, but she either didn’t hear or ignored him.
And then the dude from the limousine pushed a girl standing on the sidewalk. She stumbled backward, bounced off of a car, and fell forward; there was a deafening pop, like the sound of a pumpkin landing from a four story fall as her head had split open on the asphalt. Blood spilt down the street, and her friends started screaming.
Noodle didn’t recognize any of these people. He wanted to help, but he had no idea what was going on.
“Assistant, do we know these people?” He asked.
She didn’t answer, so he slowly backed away, and again stood watching the front door with the Marines.
The Prince came out with his wife and gave Noodle Big Eyes on his way by. Then Noodle heard sirens and saw the lights, blue and white.
Within seconds, half a dozen Police cars sealed off the block.
Noodle walked away, quietly, waiting to be stopped as City Police sped toward him and skidded to a halt.
No one called for him to stop and he passed right through their blockade. He got into the first cab he saw and sighed; Noodle couldn’t wait to be in the relative safety of his own home.