CHURCH, The Television Show
Noodle found PeopleFace addicting. When he woke up he logged on, updated his education and work history, and added his University studies: Economics and psychology. And then he texted The Manager. ‘Are you available to talk? You’ve been telling me about a raise for six months. I’m running out of time!’ He wrote and left his house to meet Mehca for lunch.
“There’s a new Donnie Deck movie coming out next week,” Mehca said. “He’s so dreamy!”
“I know!” Noodle exclaimed. “It’s called The Tourist. You watch him and I’ll watch Julie Angel, she’s perfect.”
But girls are a jealous animal. Mehca shot him a look of disapproval and said, “Yeah, I don’t want to see it anymore.”
“Come on Mehca! They’re just like you and I.”
“Now I really don’t want to see it,” she said and remained upset for the rest of the day.
“Look at this!” The Frenchman exclaimed when he saw Noodle’s profile updates on PeopleFace.
“What?” The High-Class Hooker asked.
“Her Majesty’s Noodle is a spy!”
“What?” She asked and looked up from her cigarette and coffee.
“There’s this guy who works at The Club who studied psychology! I knew it, I knew it all along; he’s tricking US!”
After lunch, Noodle met Tomcat to pick up a gram of marijuana.
“Walk this way,” Tomcat said and dragged Noodle toward Berry Bush Street.
Tomcat, walking swiftly, reached back with the tiny gram bag and Noodle reached forward, so that both their arms were outstretched and it was clear that they were passing something. The Policeman was hiding, taking photographs.
Click. Click. Click. Click. His camera rapidly shuttered.
And then Tomcat was gone. “MetroNorth comes first!” Noodle shouted after him.
In the morning Noodle got out of bed and logged onto PeopleFace. It was becoming ritual. Noodle clicked on a friend’s picture of two tickets to YellingDog, and he opened a MeTube video to watch a their performance in Casino Town:
‘Trailer park’s on fire, Billy’s been cooking up something…/get it from a pro, get it for the love, get you some blow, get it for nose, get for the show, get it for the hoes! Billy’s on the corner with the crystal meth. Yeah, and he ain’t slowin’ down, slowin’ down. Billy’s on the corner with the crystal meth. Go Billy….crystal meth.’
Noodle reposted the video on his PeopleFace page with the following message: ‘Thanks 206; I love what you send me!’ And he signed it with an X as a sort of virtual hug. ‘Deliver it to me in person sometime.’
The Barracuda was also logged onto PeopleFace, from his Wi-Phone.
“Will you look at this? I told you, Noodle’s selling ecstasy from the stage, and he’s not passing any profit up to US! He’s going to Rat and take off with a hundred grand!”
“Noodle’s not selling ecstasy,” The Manager denied.
“He is! Listen to this song; it’s like a call to arms. He’s mocking us…’Billy’s on the corner selling crystal meth/ and he’s not slowing down!'”
“So now you think he’s selling meth?”
“No, he’s selling Ecstasy. Let me read this to you: ‘Thanks 206, I love what you send to me. X!'”
“Trust me. Noodle is not selling Ecstasy. Leave him alone.”
“Yeah, like I’m going to trust you!” The Barracuda laughed and posted a message of his own. ‘You can only throw stones at a chained dog for so long until he breaks off his chain and bites your fucking neck!’
“Mr. Bar Back, I want you to sit up on the balcony and watch Noodle tonight,” The Barracuda ordered.
“But I have to keep the bars stocked with beer and alcohol.”
“You will do what I say,” The Barracuda commanded.
“What am I watching for?”
“Noodle selling ecstasy. I want you to text me everyone he touches so we can follow them around The Club and find out how he’s doing it.”
“I think you’re wrong, I’ll just sit up there and hang out all night like you say.”
“Sit and watch.”
“Right…Watch Noodle,” The Bar Back snickered.
When The Club opened The Bar Back walk up the stairs and sat at the corner of the balcony, oriented toward Noodle. Noodle thought he was taking a break, but The Bar Back kept looking up from his phone to look at Noodle. He put his legs up and sat there for half the night.
It felt uncomfortable, being watched, but Noodle wasn’t doing anything wrong. He shook hands with a few regulars, and then walked up to say hello to The Bar Back.
“Playing video games tonight?” Noodle asked.
“Yeah,” he answered and returned to the kitchen.
“What’s down there? VIP?” A customer asked Noodle.
“Can we go down?” Her friend asked.
“No, it’s reserved for the people who booked tables,” Noodle responded without making eye contact with either of the two girls in front of him. His eyes were fixed on their friend, The Mermaid; her clothes fit tight as a swim suit. She had a dolls face, and wide innocent eyes. She never spoke.
“Come on, we can go down there, can’t we?” The first girl asked again.
Noodle’s head never turned.
“The Mermaid can go,” Noodle allowed.
“What did he say?” The first girl asked the second.
“He said we can go,” she replied and all three of the girls walked onto the stage.
When the lights came on, Noodle made an effort to find The Mermaid.
“I let your friends go on the stage tonight because of you,” he confessed, “I like you.”
She stared back at him without saying a thing. He liked that. He liked people who were quiet to speak and light on their feet; but Noodle worried that he would never see her again.
When Noodle woke up, the first thing he did was log-on to PeopleFace. There, he saw The Barracuda’s post, ‘You can only throw stones at a chained dog for so long before he rips off his chain and bites your fucking neck.’ There were half a dozen comments below, all cheering him on.