CHURCH, The Television Show
“When you were in Law School, did they teach you about confidentiality and stuff?”
“Do I have to exchange money for attorney client privilege?”
“Do you have something you need to keep a secret?”
“Not really. It’s nothing specific, I just don’t want you to tell anybody what I say.”
“I won’t tell anybody.”
“I’m sure that no one is even going to ask.”
“And there’s no possibility of a wire in your car?”
“No. There’s no possibility of a wire in my car. Why, did you kill somebody?”
“I think I work for The Gang. I try not to contemplate it, but something doesn’t feel right.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” The Judge consoled. “The Gang doesn’t exist anymore.”
“Recently somebody looked at me in a restaurant and said: Noodle’s in The Gang!”
“The people you’re working with are probably all talk. They’re young. The Gang doesn’t exist anymore.”
“I’ve caught people following me around.”
“Why would someone follow you?”
“Something’s not right at that place. I look the other way, but when they follow me, I think it’s to find out if I know whose selling drugs.”
“That’s normal, it is a nightclub.”
“Of course, but there were Marines in uniform at The Club that night too.”
“I don’t think The Marines are in The Gang.”
“I don’t think they are either. But drug dealers are standing right next to the military at a cancer benefit and people are occasionally following me. I feel strongly that someone’s stalking me to find out what I know.”
“What do you know that they would be so interested in?”
“I could be friends with a guy who nearly killed someone.”
“Were you with him when he did it?”
“No. But management told us to lie to The Police and then my friend went into hiding.”
“You weren’t in a basement helping saw off anyone’s feet, were you?”
“Then I wouldn’t worry about it. You don’t know anything. Nobody’s following you.”
“And the military?”
“It’s just a coincidence.”
“Thanks Judge, I feel much better now!” Noodle smiled.
The next morning Noodle texted The Manager.
‘Hey! It’s Noodle; can I please take advantage of your open door policy and meet with you…to find out if you want to keep me or if I should move on?’
‘Sure, I’ll be here tomorrow from 10AM on…’
“It’s almost Winter!” Noodle said to open their meeting.
“Do you snowboard?” The Manager asked. “Snowboarding’s chill because you go a quarter ways down the mountain, then sit and hang out with your friends. It fits you Noodle.”
“I would, but I don’t have any money! I bring up winter because the last thing I remember you saying was: ‘Make it through fall and we will be brothers.’ I still don’t feel like we’re family.”
“We’ll get you more money.”
“I believe you Manager, I’m with you, I’d work for you for free, but you’ve been talking around a raise for six months.”
The Manager sighed.
“Who doesn’t like me?” Noodle asked.
The Manager hesitated. His mind pushed out an answer, but his pursed lips held it in; he swallowed those words into his stomach.
He replaced them with: “Noodle, you’re good with The Company.”
“Are you sure?” Noodle asked. “Because sometimes I feel like we work for two different companies. There’s you and DJ, and then there’s The Roxbury.”
“It’s just…” The Manager started, and then swallowed again. It looked as if he were about to regurgitate the words he’d condemned to his stomach all over his desk.
“Where’s this coming from?” Noodle pressed.
“It’s nothing. I can assure you, you’re good with The Company.”
“Then why am I still in the lobby? Every time you tell me the future, all I see is the past!”
“It’s hard to find good people, Noodle. I’ll talk to The Supervisor.”
“Why don’t you ever ask who’s stealing from The Company?”
The Manager flashed Big Eyes, stood up from his chair, and left the room. Noodle assumed the answer: Thievery fell under a different department head.
When Noodle got home he received a text from The Supervisor.
‘What do you want?’
‘I want to work The Stage.’
‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’
‘I’m not kidding. I’ve heard from the guys that you can get tipped in that spot.’
‘I have the brothers on the stage; I need you in the lobby.’
‘Then you gotta pay me to be in the lobby!’
‘Noodle, fine. You get the stage. Happy?’
“Noodle, the stage is only for people with tables up here,” DJ instructed his first night on the job. “The stage is VIP and the customers will be walked on by The Hostess, The Manager, or me. Got it?”
“Got it DJ.”
Soon after, a kid tried to get past Noodle.
“Sorry buddy, I can’t let you down unless you have a table.”
“I have a table.”
“Really? I don’t think you do. You’d have a wristband on.”
“I’m with that guy,” the kid said and pointed indiscriminately across the room.
When Noodle turned his back, this kid ran onto the stage. Noodle chased after him.
“Come on guy. I told you, you can’t be down here,” Noodle said and led him away.
Halfway up the stairs this kid turned and swung at Noodle.
He missed, and Noodle wrestled him to the ground. A promoter lazily reached out with one arm while protecting his beverage with the other. Noodle expended all his energy just to keep him from squirming around.
“Noodle, what are you doing over here?” Doughboy asked.
“Acting tired. I’m out of breath. Would you pick this kid up and take him outside for me?”
“A cocktail waitress said two guys were lying on the floor behind a couch,” Doughboy recounted. “I thought you two were fucking.”
“Doughboy, that’s what you were wishing.”
“The kid swung at me on the stairs and he wanted to keep going so I took him to the ground. Pick him up, I’m tired!”
The Doughboy took the customer out.
The promoter turned to Noodle and said, “See Noodle, I have your back.”
A little while later The Supervisor came to check up. “I heard you were hiding behind a couch, pressing on a dude.”
“Yeah Supervisor, that’s what I was doing. He swung at me on the stairs!”
“Really, he swung on you?” The Supervisor asked as if he’d put the kid up to it.
“Okay. Good work,” The Supervisor congratulated and walked away.
Noodle cleaned the balcony before opening the following night. The Innocent Girl approached him.
“I heard that you’re working the stage now?” She asked as her shoulders twirled about her ankles.
“I have some friends who come to The Club every weekend. Do you think you could let them on?”
“I don’t know…I’m not supposed to. Those are DJ’s orders and I think he’s some kind of war criminal – I really don’t want to get into any trouble with him.”
“The Manager knows them too, they’re no trouble – they won’t stand out at all.” The Innocent Girl looked to him with Baby Eyes.
“Okay. How do I know it’s them?”
“The guy is tall with dark hair…”
“It’s dark in The Club, that’s not going to work! Give them a code word to use.”
“I can’t think of one.”
“Sure you can,” Noodle said. “Think of something that reminds you of me.”
She looked Noodle up and down… “Madman!”
Noodle smiled. “Okay, Madman it is.”
The Manager trotted from his office. He took the elevator to the basement to answer The Spook’s call.
“You shouldn’t be calling me.”
“Noodle’s in trouble.”
“I’ve heard. What do you want me to do?”
“I can’t fix this. I just follow orders. You’re the fixer.”
“Yes. And I’m ordering you to fix it through your connection to The Gang. How bad could it be?”
“It’s beyond our control. You’re the one who can see and hear everything and always happen to be in the right places at the right times.”
“It’s a little more complex than that.”
“I need Noodle. We’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of the attack. When will you people realize that your manipulation just doesn’t work! All it does is stir the currents until someone gets swept out to sea!”
“You still have Doughboy, Virgin boy.”
“Noodle’s the only one insane enough to pull this off who’s not to kill US after you ruin his life.”
“We can’t take care of this on The Government’s payroll.”
“Even if we find the guy and take care of him, they paid. They’ll send someone else. It’ll be war.”
“Manager,” The Spook eased, “We’re going to take care of this. Start raising money; more than ever before.”
“Are you The Batman?” The Innocent Girl’s friend asked.
“Nope, I’m Noodle Church.”
“Can we come on the stage?’
“Sorry buddy. It’s for customers with tables only.”
“Come on, can’t you let us down for just a little while?”
“I can’t, I’m following orders.”
“But I was just talking to Innocent Girl and she said to come over and ask for Batman and we’d get on the stage.”
“Oh, you’re looking for Madman! Come down,” Noodle welcomed.
At the end of the night, after The Club had cleared, Noodle headed to the front door.
“Noodle, do not go outside,” The Manager warned. “The other guys will take care of that. Stay in here.”
“Okay,” Noodle smiled.
“How’s the stage?” The Roommate asked on their way home.
“It’s great. It’s like one hundred times easier than the lobby. But I’m not making any tips because DJ says that I can’t let anyone extra on. Remember when The Brothers were backstage counting all of that money? I need to ask them how they earned it.”
“They probably stole it.”
“They’re not like that, are they? Hey Roommate…”
“I saw The Prince come inside tonight. He was wearing a bullet proof vest!”
“Noodle, are you sure?”
“No, because it was under his shirt and jacket.”
“I bet he just gained weight!”
The Club held another Holiday event called The MeatBall, identical to the WiseMen’s extravaganza but differentiated by ethnicity. Even when Holiday wants amalgamated around white wishes, The City still fell along ethnic lines.
The event even worked the same way: Someone took the orders, another took the money, and a third guy delivered the product.
They moved a year’s worth of coke in one night. The annual event had a huge following.
A gentleman pushed past Noodle and ran onto the overcrowded stage.
He was so blasted that he didn’t see people; he couldn’t even see himself. He ran two full laps around the stage before falling to the ground, landing on his back, and kicking his legs into the air like a beetle.
Noodle Church stood at the top of the stage eating his orange.
“What the hell are you doing?” Southie Suits asked as he walked by.
“I don’t know. There’s nothing to do about that.”
“Noodle, you really just like the simple things in life!” Southie Suits smiled, pointed to peeled orange, and walked away.
“Merry Christmas Noodle!” The Marketer exclaimed in ecstasy. “Meet my wife, born and raised in Miami!”
Noodle reached out to shake her hand, but she kept walking right on by.
“Noodle!” The Manager said when he came up. “It’s Christmas and these women want to get laid!”
Noodle looked around, but all he could see were old women who drank while their cheating husbands stole to give them gold jewelry and fur coats.
“No thanks,” Noodle frowned.
“Noodle, trust me, when you die you’re going to wish that you were more promiscuous.”
“Manager, I’m saving myself!” Noodle exclaimed.
A smile burned through his frown as he recalled the girls who’d taken him to a utopia devoid of material possessions or chemical delusions: They’d resided with Noodle in a place called Love.
He could always remember the ones who’d shown him around God’s destination. And all his endeavors were merely a means to find Love again, because he knew from experience, true Love is Heaven.
Donate then continue reading with Season Five Episode One!