CHURCH, The Television Show
“Noodle keeps knocking on the door to collect rent,” The Tenant’s girlfriend warned.
“Ha! He’ll be lucky to get the front rent, much less the back rent,” The Tenant replied, reaching for the liquor bottle.
“Remember that guy who says he knows the owner of Noodle’s club? He can get you a computer.”
“What do they want this time?”
“Find out what Noodle’s vices are.”
“He doesn’t drink. Pot’s probably the only thing they’ve got on him.”
“He said something about having the hook in his arm. Find out if he’s using steroids….or heroin.”
“I don’t think he’s using heroin.”
“You never know, and this could be good for us. Get the information and they’ll give you a couple of shifts as bartender at one of their restaurants. You could earn enough to cover the rent Noodle’s trying to collect.”
As Noodle came in the backdoor with his recycling bin, he bumped into The Tenant, who appeared to be waiting for him.
“Noodle I haven’t seen you for a while,” The Tenant smiled. His eyes glimmered with motive.
“I’ve been sick; I was laid up in bed for two weeks.”
“You look better now.”
“I went to Metro North Hospital. They were great. They gave me antibiotics and I healed in two days.”
“You look a lot bigger too. Did they give you steroids?”
“No, I lost ten pounds from the fever! I’m sure they didn’t prescribe me steroids – unless you think the pharmacist deceived me.”
“Have you been working at Majesty?” The Tenant continued to prod.
“This past month; the month before I was locked away, re-writing my book about a firefighter.”
“You know, you’ll have to let me read it sometime.”
“Sure, you can read it when it’s finished!”
“So you aren’t using needles or anything?”
“I’m quite sure that I’m not using steroids or needles,” Noodle answered and recalled Laos asking the same thing at The Club days earlier. “Do you have any of the rent you owe, even a partial payment to relieve The Uncle’s anxiety?”
“I have a couple of shifts coming through; I can put something together in a few days. You know…I just got out of the hospital. My liver is really going to shit, so they gave me Oxycotin…do you want a couple to help you relax?”
“No thanks!” Noodle said and went upstairs.
The following night Noodle met his cousins for dinner. One of his cousins talked so much that it made the wind blow; constantly moving lips to mask ineptitude.
Noodle sat with his back to the wall. MetroNorth’s Executive, who’d transformed The Country’s densest City into a model for the world, was eating at a table across the room.
“Sorry to interrupt…Noodle Church, district nine,” he said as The Executive got up to shake his hand. “Please don’t stand on my accord. I wanted to thank you for adding me as a friend on PeopleFace; it makes me feel safe there in cyberspace,” Noodle thanked on their way out of Southern Kitchen.
“Music Man you like working here, right?” Southie Suits set-up.
“I have a day-job. I wouldn’t come in if I didn’t like it!”
“You smoke weed, so I know you’re cool,” he buttered. “We have to stick together, you know what I mean?”
“You mean people who smoke weed need to stick together?” The Music Man clarified.
“I mean,” Southie Suits sighed. “If someone was caught dealing here, that would have nothing to do with The Club, right?”
“Of course not.”
“That’s why The Roxbury got shut down,” Southie Suits groaned. “And The City forced The Italian to reorganize, renovate, and bring DJ in as a consultant. But what does he do anyway?” Suits seeded.
“He’s a terrible manager. He’s never even here when we’re open.”
“Exactly! See, I knew you were with us; but do you think Noodle’s with us?”
“Noodle’s cool. He doesn’t talk any shit.”
“Do us a favor, the next time you’re hanging out with Noodle ask him what he thinks.”
As Noodle scrolled down his PeopleFace newsfeed he noticed a post by the self-proclaimed City President, who he’d met through a girl who’d grabbed his cock one night at the front door. The City President inspired Noodle kept his head up and body moving even after a bullet had confined him to a wheelchair.
‘This year, for the people who know, the smart money’s in drugs. It’s a seller’s market and money’s doubling every two weeks!’ The City President had posted.
Noodle closed his browser and left for work. A customer came on the stage asking for ‘The Packer from Beachton.’
“You mean The Meat Packer?” Noodle clarified.
“The Packer from Beachton, do you know The Packer from Beachton?!” This kid repeatedly shouted like he was on fire.
“Yeah, I know him,” Noodle answered.
“Will you call him? Call The Packer from Beachton on your radio.”
‘Meat Packer,’ Noodle repeated into his handset, ‘Can you come up to the stage? There’s a kid here asking for you.’
‘I’ll be right up,’ The Meat Packer answered, came, and escorted the kid to the back of the stage. Noodle suspected that The Meat Packer was helping him score, but Noodle never told. Noodle never told on anybody!
After work Noodle stood outside while the bussers sorted bottles. “Noodle what do you know about the Roxbury getting shut down for selling ecstasy?” The Music Man asked.
“Not much. I read a blurb in the newspaper. If that never happened, I wouldn’t have a job!”
“Yeah, but I mean, what do you think about the cops shutting them down?”
“I don’t know anything,” Noodle answered.
“But, if someone was dealing inside, that doesn’t have anything to do with The Club…right?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything about it.”
“Okay, cool,” The Music Man said.
Moments later The Innocent Boy got in the car and the trio drove away.
“Noodle, didn’t you say that you were reading the book Nineteen Eighty-four?” The Music Man asked when they were in-between The City’s two big parks.
“Yeah, I started reading that book in January, but I couldn’t finish. It was too dense.”
“Noodle, it’s like that now, you know…with The Government listening to everything we say.”
“I’m not doing anything wrong, so it doesn’t bother me. Whatever The Government is doing is keep us safe is okay by me.”
“But Noodle, finish reading that book – it’s just like that now! You know…with Victory Cigarettes and Victory gin! What is that, Socialism? It’s like that now!”
“Don’t fear socialism…fear totalitarianism,” Noodle responded, “Where the guy in front of you is telling you what to think, what to say, and who you can and cannot talk to…No one talks to The Police…you know what I mean?”
“Well, I think that’s just bad management,” The Music Man countered.
“Worse than guys who got shut down for trafficking ecstasy?”
“Shhh Noodle, it’s like that right now!” The Music Man said wide eyed and nodding toward The Innocent Boy.
After that, the car went silent until they dropped the Innocent Boy off and lit a couple of cigarettes. “You tired?” Noodle asked.
“Nah, wanna do something?”
“I know this Columbian who’s always talking about a hot tub in his condo with girls inside.”
“What’s up dude where you at? I want to take you up on that hot-tub offer.”
“I’m in Old Town.”
“Okay, maybe another time.”
“Wait Noodle, I’m coming. Wait Noodle, we’ll be there in just a second. Hold on Noodle we’ll come and go in the hot tub okay?”
“I have no idea what you just said,” Noodle laughed.
“Wait for me Noodle, come on, come on, wait, I’ll be home in ten minutes. My hot tub,” long snort, “I have a hot tub.”
“Yeah, but do you have any girls?”
‘Okay, okay, we’ll go now and we’ll get girls and we’ll bring them back. We’ll find girls. Hey Ladies,” The Columbian yelled across his handset so loud that Noodle had to pull it from his ear.
“Dude the bars have been closed for an hour – Don’t set us up with some skanks you’re chasing after!”
“Okay, wait fifteen minutes, we’ll find girls and we’ll bring them back to our house and we’ll meet you there. We’ll meet you there in fifteen minutes,” Snort.
“Another time,” Noodle said and hung up the phone.
“What’d he say?” The Music man asked.
“They’re out in Old Town, they have no girls, and they’re coke’d-up out of their minds.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Let’s get out of here!”
Church, The Television Show is not over. Of a lack of sponsors, Noodle Church’s television show has been cancelled. Only you can get his show back on the air! Visit Church Publishing to support author Cosmo Starlight by reading about Noodle Church’s imprisonment in Feedom Incorporated or his escape from wardens spying in Starlight’s latest title Freedom Afrika!