CHURCH, The Television Show
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This isn’t about you; it’s about Aliens, all they have done for US, and all we have done to ruin it. Trust this isn’t about you; any likeness is intended purely for fictional purposes, and not a living soul on earth knows who you really are. This isn’t about you; this isn’t war, this is new religion. War is why we are all so poor in the first place- let’s all share in the riches of Peace, and learn to coexist with each other and the animals, the air and water and trees. Anger will only make you look guilty so remember that this isn’t about you, it’s about THEM, and all they have done for us. So stay happy, stay calm, and please enjoy the show.
Dedicated to Ethan Collins, who taught me that nothing we believe is true. Truth is only what most of us believe.
Dedicated to N.A., who gave all he had before YOU killed him.
When it gets dark enough, look to see the stars.
“Art is writing about reality in such a way that you don’t piss anyone off!”
“The essential guide for anyone joining the Army, or Organized Crime for that matter.”
- The Journalist
“When you die, you’re going to wish that you were more promiscuous!”
- The Manager
Church, The Television Show
“Manager, it’s almost a new year!” DJ jubilated. “Are you excited for a fresh start?”
“To tell you the truth, it doesn’t feel very fresh.”
“That’s because you’ve never taken a vacation.”
“I spent a week in Apple State visiting my parents for the holidays.”
“That doesn’t count; I know what you do up there. You need a real vacation”
“I don’t think that’s what it is.”
“Well then, tell me what’s up chap!”
“Bad dreams, you know what I mean?” The Manager confessed. “All of our people are freaking out and it’s not helping us get what we want. Meanwhile, The Gang is happier and more profitable than ever.”
“We still have Noodle. He doesn’t quit…he’s our ace in the rabbit hole.”
“Sure, if he doesn’t get shot before we open his gate.”
“How’s your fundraising going?”
“Not great. The staff doesn’t hate Noodle; but he doesn’t talk to anybody. They don’t know him like I do.”
“Tell him to get a PeopleFace.”
“I’ll plant the seed, but we’ll still need the Seamus McCafferty machine to scare them off, regardless of funding.”
“Invite his assassins to our New Year’s Eve party.”
“You realize, if Seamus helps, he’s going to take Noodle all the way.”
“What’s the alternative, to turn our backs on the shit coming up from Southern City?”
“No. But The Spook’s not going to give Noodle the same chance to quit like the others.”
“Good, I want to see what this kid’s got in him because I really don’t understand what he does.”
“DJ, Noodle’s a good person, and he’s fucking crazy. If he figures out what we’ve done he might burn our whole house down.”
“You’re soft for pawns. Remember soldier, good guys die too.”
“While we’re in it!” The Manager cried.
“What makes you say that?”
“I skimmed his book.”
“You lucky bugger! How’d you get your hands on that?”
“By baiting The Boyfriend…To tell you the truth, I’m surprised he bit; it was a plastic worm.”
“That’s bloody great! We need to get inside his head so we can freak him out. I’ve tried treating him like shit, and he comes back for more!”
“The Boyfriend found a pink slip in his medical folder that said he was diagnosed with depression.”
“It sure doesn’t seem like that’s his problem; he’s happy as a stooge. How can we use it?”
“There was a personal note on it from an ER doctor listing her cell number.”
“Have The Gang find out what she knows. The Italian’s heavily invested in health care.”
“We also got his financials; account numbers, passwords…the works.”
“Don’t touch it; the F.B.I.’s all over that sort of shit.”
“We pulled some great stuff from his hard-drives.”
“What?” DJ salivated.
“Pictures with girls…in bed.”
“Great! We can post those on the internet.”
“We can’t. This has to look like it never happened, remember?”
“What else was there?”
“Audio tapes from when he was in elementary school talking about girls he wanted to date. And there was a video shot after his doctor sent him to the hospital for depression.”
“She sent him to the hospital! What’s that about?”
“It’s great…I’ll play it for you later when no one’s around. You’re going to love it: They’re telling him that he’s seeing stuff and he’s like ‘yeah, I saw the second hand on the clock move three times, the lights flickered once while you were talking, and the heat just came on.’ He was stoned at the doctor’s and he’s stoned on the tape. They made him sit at the hospital for six hours and he didn’t eat all day and he went home and recorded an hour long video ranting like Charlie Sheen.”
“Brilliant! Let’s post all of this stuff and allude to it until he discovers it on the internet. He’ll definitely freak out!”
“When has that stopped you in the past?”
“If he finds out it was us, he won’t run – he’ll come at us.”
“I’ll take that chance,” DJ answered confidently. “He’ll never get past security.”
“Mehca, you’re late!” Noodle scolded when she arrived at his door to drive him to their Alma Mata.
“I’m sorry, when’s you’re meeting with The Professor?”
“It’s not until afternoon. He has things to do. He’s going to text me when he’s done.”
“Good because we have to go all the way back to Mill Town to pick up Richard.”
“We have to go back up to Mill Town? Why didn’t you bring him with you?”
“He was asleep.”
“You could have woken him up.”
“I did. I gave him fifteen minutes to get out of bed and he never came down; so I left without him.”
“You’re going back?”
“No. Let’s leave without him. He had his chance, right?”
“We should go back for him,” Noodle answered.
They picked up Richard and drove to University Town, a place the State’s middle income children morphed from youth to adults.
For thousands of years this land belonged to Native people. A Town sprouted when Government Men took the land through biological warfare; and it became University Town two hundred years later when The State granted its fertile land to an agricultural school.
Perhaps an opposite force equal to their ancestors’ evil caused them to be the best people on earth, because today, University Town is blessed with a social heart that literally defines the word Community.
Noodle was exited to meet with The Professor; a man who’d given his time and knowledge freely, without ever asking for anything in return.
That community sacrifice instilled in Noodle an eagerness to pass on those good deeds to the next person, so that the whole world would perpetually turn on giving.
“I’ve rewritten the first chapter of that old book you read for me. Would you read this draft and tell me if it’s more on track with what people say is the correct way to write?”
“What do you do now?” The Professor’s wife asked.
“I work at a nightclub,” Noodle confessed.
“He used to work at The Technology School,” The Professor added.
“That’s a great school, what happened?”
“Politics,” Noodle laughed. “Unfortunately, they couldn’t separate my work from my image – even though I was inside, chained to a desk all day. When I began, there were two other people in my department, a supervisor and a department head. A month later, it was just me, and I had little inside training. Not only did I step up to the plate and do all three of our jobs until the bureaucracy could make a decision about what to do next, but I increased revenue by a half million dollars and, to the best of my knowledge, never had a single customer complaint.”
“Those sound like good things.”
“I didn’t do it alone; they got me help within a couple of months. But they relocated me from an office to a cubicle, and my former boss returned nine months later to resume supervising me, and after twelve months they offered me a raise of about half the Federal inflation benchmark.”
“What do you want to do next?”
“I’ve been trying to join The Army as a helicopter pilot.”
“Why hasn’t it happened?”
“My flight instructor never wrote his recommendation. His religious beliefs don’t exactly mesh with War. So, I’m thinking about writing again.”
“You don’t like working at The Club?”
“I love it!” Noodle smiled. “Apart from the pay, it’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
“You should try and get a promotion.”
“I’ve been working hard enough for one. They tell me I’m doing a great job.”
“Stick it out.”
“It’s not just that. I don’t think it’s good for my health.”
“I’ve been getting sick more than usual and my ears have been ringing since October.”
When Noodle revealed his ringing, The Professor got Big Eyes, which he flashed toward his wife.
“What is it dear?”
“Timmy Song’s ears were ringing too!”
“Whose he?” Noodle asked while The Wife seemed to regret what her husband had revealed.
“He’s a very successful, famous musician,” The professor explained.
“Well that makes sense, he would have been around loud music too,” Noodle reasoned.
“Yes, it’s called Tinnitus,” The Wife lead.
But, as if he knew some other reasons that people’s ears rang, The Professor was unable to relax his Big Eyes.
“It’s not solely the health risks that have been bothering me,” Noodle continued. “I’m sure people have been following me. I catch guys, who work for a different supervisor than mine, watching me at The Club.”
“Why would they be doing that?”
“I don’t know, maybe they want to see if I’m taking money, or dealing drugs.”
“Why would they let people, who do those things, work there?”
“Well,” Noodle looked around the room to make sure no one was listening, “There are a whole lot of them who are thieves and dealers, but they do it in conjunction with their supervisor. I think they’re just trying to make sure it’s guys who are passing up the profits.”
“But you’re not doing any of that, so why would you worry if people are watching you?”
“If it happened once or if they admitted they were observing me that would be fine. Otherwise it feels like people are stalking me. And I think people are doing it outside of work too, because sometimes people walk up to me and whisper what I’ve been doing with my free time or what my financial situation looks like.”
“That can’t be happening!”
“Sure it could. The Gang has people in every city, in every state, maybe in even every county.”
“The Gang doesn’t exist anymore.”
“You just don’t know because they are less violent and more legitimate. They steal and kill just enough to subsidize their failing businesses. If you saw a man stop to let an old woman cross the street you’d see him as good guy. You wouldn’t think that he’s trying to avoid being pulled over because he has a kilo of cocaine, because you can’t see inside the trunk of his car!”
“If that were the situation, I guess you’d be right.”
“I’ve never told anybody, but the television show Spartacus is like The Club. Men are for muscle and women for sex. Plus, I get the impression that The Italian would love keeping slaves and servants if he could.”
“Unfortunately, some people still harbor that mentality.”
“The reasons I came back to University Town was to buy a new sweatshirt because the one Mehca gave me for graduation was stolen and I was told security put it on a drunken girl they ushered out the back door. But, what if she’d was roofied and raped and woke up wearing the sweatshirt with my DNA all over it! So, if people have the power to follow me I just hope they’re finding out what they need to know.”
“That you’re not doing anything wrong?”
“I guess. I wish they could find out everything I’m thinking and doing, rather than the small bits and pieces they’re able see. I want to be judged on the complete picture.”
“So, what are you going to do?” The Professor asked.
“I want to join The Army. If I keep working at The Club I think I’ll have to write a story about this character Stan Murdowicz. I’d rather be flying helicopters around the desert, feeling like I was doing my small part to save the world. I have the rest of my life to write.”
“I think you should do that; I think you should join The Army”
“I still need that recommendation from my former flight instructor. Please read the first Chapter again, because, if The Army doesn’t work out I think I’m stuck as a starving writer!”
When Noodle next arrived at Majesty The Creep was waiting at the front door.
“Noodle! What have you been up to?”
“Workin’, chillin’, livin’ life.”
“Oh yeah? I heard that you’re painting again,” The Creep smiled
Noodle stared at him with The Perplexed Look.
“Are you doing improvements to your apartment?”
“I’ve been refinishing a piece of furniture, but how would you know about that?”
“I had lunch with The Good-Looking Guy, did you hear it from him? I don’t recall telling him that.”
“I don’t know…,” The Creep smiled.
“Because The Good Looking guy was saying all this weird stuff: He knew how many cigarettes I smoked and he asked for a copy of my resume. I’m dying to find out who he’s working for.”
“It wasn’t him.” The Creep continued to smile. “The Roommate told me that.”
“And on Black Hercules’s first day, I felt like he was testing me; I’m dying to figure out who he’s working for too! Creep, where are you getting your Intel from and why are you always prying into my life?”
“Noodle, do yourself a favor and don’t look too deeply into things!” The Creep advised then walked away.
After Noodle had taken his position on the stage, The SquishHead came and stood next to him.
“Noodle, can you really see molecules?”
“Of course not, why are you asking?”
“Didn’t you say that to me once?”
“I might have said that I see the connections between things; but I don’t recall saying it to you.”
“What’s that like?”
“Working at Majesty? It can be a bit overwhelming at times!”
“Noodle, you’re just tripping.”
“Sure brother, I’m tripping on reality!”