CHURCH, The Television Show
“Holy shit, that’s crazy!”
“Did anyone get hurt?”
“The Artist is dead!”
“What’s everyone so excited about?” Noodle asked The Creep as he passed through the front door of Majesty.
“There was a second shooting last night.”
“In the garage again?” Noodle asked.
“Right outside our front door!” The Creep cried out.
“We’re lucky we were closed…that we didn’t have a thousand people lined up down the sidewalk,” Noodle surmised.
“You have no idea,” The Creep whispered.
For the rest of the night that’s all anyone at Majesty could talk about; the tragedy dominated every conversation at work. The shadow was so thick it was tangible, yet no matter how much everyone touched it, the events of the preceding night would never change; someone was dead and they were never coming back.
In the morning The Uncle ran into The Iron Shield at The Indian Community School.
“Here’s a copy of today’s newspaper,” Iron Shield seeded. He didn’t say anything more, but the pages were turned and re-folded.
Noodle slept in; he awoke to text alert from The Journalist.
‘Someone was shot at Majesty! Are you okay?’ He wrote.
‘I’m fine, we were closed,’ Noodle replied.
‘It’s all over the news! I’ll email you a link.’
Noodle rose from bed, pressed a carafe of coffee, and brought it upstairs to read The Journalist’s email.
‘A local man, born and raised in The City’s poor neighborhood, was fatally shot Tuesday night at one thousand eighteen Bolton street around two in the morning, The at large suspects fled on foot. There were no witnesses to the crime.’
And then Noodle read the article after that.
‘A twenty-two year old man was murdered last night outside the front door of Majesty, he was a local icon, a leader in his community, an up and coming Rap Artist who had a record contract and a very promising career in the music industry. There were no witnesses. The victim died from two gunshot wounds fired by an assailant at close range. He was still alive when his best friend carried him several blocks to the emergency room of The Hospital where he was rushed to surgery but died on the operating table. The victim wasn’t a stranger to the violence. Sadly, in 2001, his brother was fatally shot while waiting for a bus in Southern City. The Artist witnessed his brother’s murder, and provided The Police with enough details to catch his killers.
Police don’t have any information available about this murder at this time.’
Fans of The Artist showed overwhelming support on his PeopleFace page; he had just signed a three album deal with Thumper Records. Noodle watched his latest music video on MyTV.
In the video The Artist sat on a street bike with The City’s brick row houses behind him. He was surrounded by his his crew, and in a wider circle by his supporters and community: ‘I roll deep/ Got The hoes/ Don’t fuck with me/ Got a whole crew of bros/ You say you’re A-game, you say you’re mean. Well I got AK’s, and I got green/ Suck on that,’ He sang.
His lyrics were gangster, but it was evident through his sparkling eyes and professional appearance that he aspired to a life beyond the social norms of the environment he was born into; his heart was genuine, he was good.
That afternoon Noodle’s phone rang; after checking the ID he realized that it was his Uncle calling. Noodle hesitated picking it up. He couldn’t think of any reason for the call unless his Uncle needed help. Noodle remembered the article reporting that The Artist supported his entire family; and Noodle wanted to be good like that too. So he answered his telephone.
“I’m so glad you picked up!”
“Why, what’s wrong?” Noodle asked.
“Nothing’s wrong, if you picked up it must mean that you’re still alive!”
“Just like yesterday, and the day before that. Why are you calling?”
“I thought you got shot!”
“Um…,” Noodle thought aloud, “Why would I have been shot?”
“Someone was shot at Majesty. I thought it was you.”
“We were closed. No one from The Club was there when it happened.”
“I was reading that…”
“If you’ve read the article, then you’d know it wasn’t me.”
“But it happened at your club!” The Uncle exclaimed. “That’s a really dangerous job.”
“I’m fine, thanks for your call,” Noodle said then took a shower before getting dressed in his black suit for work.
When Noodle got to the Club it was raining and Doughboy was standing at the front door.
“What a joke that is,” The Doughboy diminished.
“What’s joke?” Noodle asked while The Doughboy pointed five yards past the front door to the small, makeshift memorial laid on the wet sidewalk of a busy downtown street.
“Doughboy,” Noodle sighed, “It’s sad!”
When Noodle went to hang his coat three women in the coatroom, former employees of The Roxbury, were talking.
“I don’t see how that has anything to do with US. We were closed,” The Aunt said loud and clear. “The Horse says that there was a fight inside Corsica, and that security broke it up and pushed those guys out the front door. It has nothing to do with US; we can’t control what happens on the street! And The Police have the nerve to come to his club asking what happened. The Horse told them, we don’t know anything! Noodle,” she turned, “We were closed, why would that have anything to do with us?”
“It wouldn’t,” Noodle answered. “Like you said, we were closed. But it sounds like there might be some history there…something about Southern City makes it sound like there’s a connection.”
“How would you know that?” The Aunt gasped.
Noodle was baffled by her question. “I read it in the newspaper!” He explained, “It said that The Artist witnessed his brother’s murder in Southern City and that the unknown assailants were from Southern City… like it was revenge or something.”
The Aunt stared at Noodle for a long time. So Noodle smiled, turned, and left the coatroom
“Do you think he knows?” The Aunt asked The Waitress.
“Knows what?” The Lawyer asked.
“I think Noodle’s just a nice guy,” The Waitress dismissed.
The Journalist kept Noodle’s attention on the events of the world; he was always up to date with the news.
“Did you hear they caught the guys who killed The Artist?” The Journalist asked Noodle when he got to The Diplomat’s house.
“No, I hadn’t heard anything. I don’t talk to anybody.”
“They caught one of the guys, but he wasn’t the shooter. He says that he didn’t have anything to do with it…that he ran up after the shots were fired and his friend handed him the gun before running away – so he ran too.”
“Do you believe his story?”
“Yeah, but that’s still accessory to murder after the fact. If he were smart he would have ditched the gun in the river,” The Journalist theorized.
“There you go, you have your answer.”
“But come on, what are you going to do if your friend hands you a gun and then runs away?”
“Um…don’t hang out with friends who carry guns,” Noodle answered.
“But he didn’t know that he had a gun!” The Journalist argued. “He thinks his friend ran back to the car to get it after the fight inside Corsica.”
“Well, did he say who the shooter was?”
“No. He’s not talking to The Police so he’s probably going to have to do time. I sympathize with the guy. I mean, what can you do in that situation?” The Journalist asked.
“If you get caught with someone else’s murder weapon which you say isn’t yours, you have a choice to either give the guy up, or serve his time.”
“That’s awful,” The Journalist sighed.
“Yeah, for the guy who was murdered!” Noodle exclaimed.