CHURCH, The Television Show
Comments posted below The Ballerina’s picture read of grief, sympathy, and support. But no one, not even her closest friends, knew what really happened. She couldn’t tell anybody the truth.
‘Oh my God! What the hell happened?’
‘I am so sorry to see you like this, are you sure you’re okay?’
‘God girl, you look like death. Get well soon!’
Noodle looked again at the picture of The Ballerina lying in a hospital bed with black eyes, bruised face, and cotton bandages wrapped around her head.
‘I had an accident; that’s all, so I left town to stay with my mother. I hope I’ll be up again soon and back to work before you know it.’
‘You tell that bartender to get Officer Dick wasted,’ The Barracuda texted.
“Where’s Dick?” The Host whispered to The Bartender when no one was looking.
“Blue shirt,” The Bartender directed while nodding his head.
The Host went over, pulled a chair, and shot his elbows upon the bar without saying a word.
“What are you drinking?” The Bartender asked The Host as if they’d just met. He placed a glass under the tap, and then spun around with an empty shot glass. “Officer Dick,” he said in his loudest voice, “Another whiskey?”
“Maybe in a minute, I have to slow down if I’m going to keep my eyes open through the rest of this game.”
“Forget about it…this one’s on me!” The Bartender said and swung around to shut off the beer tap. He reached to the top shelf for a bottle of Running Black, which had really been re-filled with Running Red. “I know you’re friends with The Owner, we have to take care of our friends, we have to stick together,” The Bartender said as he tipped the bottle over to fill Dick’s four once glass to the brim.
The Host handed The Bartender a five dollar bill to pay for his beer, which was tightly wound around a hundred, then he turned his shoulders toward the T.V.
“Fuck,” he shouted as the player missed his three point shot, “I have fifty bucks on this game! For the amount they just re-signed that player’s contract, I want some kind of return on my money,” He said toward Officer Dick.
“A hundred years ago he would have had nothing, and now he’s throwing basketballs around for then million dollars a year,” Officer Dick muttered.
“Meanwhile, us suckers are left behind,” The Host commiserated. “At this rate, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to retire.”
“The Government has no idea what they’re doing.”
“Tell me about it; there’s no money so they’re going to raise our taxes to fund national healthcare and pensions for the public servants. What’s that, Socialism? I should have become a cop!” The Host pretended.
“Trust me; it’s not as glamorous as you might think.”
“Sounds like you know the job.”
“Twenty years…” Officer Dick groaned.
“Sometimes I just wanna pick up a badge and do the job for free – I’d love to lock away all those immigrants who come to live off our welfare system while they pop out babies and sling dope.”
“I’m a cop in Powersville. There’s nothing we can do about those people, it’s all political now.”
“I grew up in Powersville,” The Host lied, “Went to school with Bobby Thompson. Know him?”
“Nah, I think I might be a couple of years older than you.”
“Well, do you know The Simpsons?”
“Oh sure, Willy’s the Fire Chief.”
“Last Christmas I was coming down suicide hill, you know that hill?”
“Oh yeah, I know it.”
“I was coming down the hill and there was just ice everywhere. So I’m taking my time down the slope when this immigrant flies over the crest and slams right into me, which caused me to slide into a parked car. And the guy who hit me took off. Merry Christmas…right?”
“Right,” Officer Dick said with eyes in his glass.
“Well, the airbags went off and I needed a tow,” The host continued. “I dialed nine-one-one and the dispatcher who answered was a sweetheart! She sent The Fire Chief and they put a blanket over my little girl and I find out from the tow truck driver that the dispatcher was that chief’s little girl.”
“What did you say you do again?”
“I’m Host at The Comrade, you know it?”
“Yeah, that’s up in Foundry Town.”
“You should come out for dinner.”
“Nah…The Comrade’s too expensive for me.”
“Take my card; I’ll make sure my staff takes care of you. It’s on me, so order a steak! But there’s a catch,” The Host smiled. “You mind giving this gift certificate to The Dispatcher? I want to thank her for saving my little girl’s Christmas.”
“I can do that for you,” Officer Dick agreed.
The Manager called The Spook. “It’s starting,” he relayed.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“What are they saying? He’s not showing up for work?”
“More. The think you set up The Artist to take those bullets for him because he’s a government agent. They’ll try to knock him off balance by hurting something he loves.”
“That’s great,” The Spook congratulated. “But don’t worry, The Navy and The Fire Departments are looking out for all the girls he hangs out with.”
“I really hope you know what you’re doing.”
“I just saved the kid’s life!”
“And now you’re going to ruin it. Let’s hope you get what you want.”
While Noodle stood at the top of the stage The Mermaid walked on and Noodle didn’t stop her.
She stood a tight dress, which hugged her ass and stopped a ways before the mid of her thigh, standing around. He ran down to meet her.
“I’m Noodle,” he introduced himself.
She stared at him with lush green eyes that peered out from a covering of thick black hair without saying a word.
“A couple of weeks ago I let your friends on the stage, but I was really doing it for you. I like you,” Noodle confessed. “I thought I’d never see you again.”
She continued to stare without saying a word, she was standing so close to Noodle that he wanted to reach out, pull her closer, and hold on tight. “I thought I’d never see you again,” he repeated.
“I’m The Mermaid,” she smiled.
“You have an accent! Where on earth are you from?”
“I’m Scottish; I’m friends with Tim Connor and Stryker.”
“Come home with me, “Noodle invited.
She giggled and dashed away. “Pray, I’ll see you again,” he whispered after her.
Noodle glanced up at a man standing above him on the next flight of stairs. Who, when he saw Noodle catch him watching, turned away. The man, dressed in uniform, continued to hover above Noodle for another half-hour.
Noodle watched him through the corner of his eye; wondering who on earth he could be.
And then he remembered all of The Barracuda’s men who stood at the top of those stairs watching him.
But this man was wearing a dark blue, fully pressed, military uniform. He appeared to be distinguished, but only one, solid bar of insignia ran across his breast.
There were no other patches, logos, or badges attached to him. Noodle had never seen anything like it. Maybe he wasn’t US military. Maybe he was a soldier from somewhere else.
So Noodle left his post to ask. “Are you a soldier? I was looking at your uniform, but I couldn’t place it – what branch of the service are you in?”
“I’m in the Navy,” the man confessed.
The Soldier with a single bar of insignia shook Noodle’s hand and walked away.
“Noodle…Noodle,” a bar-back screamed when the lights came on. “Ms. Skip Step needs you at her bar – there’s a customer making trouble.”
Noodle’s felt especially engaged to protect Ms. Skip Step, and ran to her bar to find two girls and two guys standing at her register, calmly finishing their drinks. To their right was a monster standing seven feet tall built to the specifications of Special Forces soldier
“I’m going to fuck you guys up!” He yelled in outrage with fists clenched.
Noodle jumped in the middle of the confrontation
“You mother’s a whore!” One of the guys yelled at the soldier while the others smirked. They were relaxed; they were instigators.
“Do not say another word!” Noodle commanded.
“I’m going to fucking kill you!” The Special Forces soldier threatened.
Noodle spun around and grabbed his wrist; it felt more like an ankle; he had to tilt his head up all the way to the ceiling just to make eye contact with this giant.
“It’s over, let it go!” Noodle ordered.
“Those kids are talking shit.”
.”The lights are on. The club is closed. I’m here now. It’s over.”
“Those kids started this!”
“Listen to me,” Noodle calmed, “It’s over.”
The guy was massive, he was drunk, his eyes were full of rage, and he was big enough to take on The Club’s entire security staff. Noodle could tell that those kids had wound the soldier’s chain; but he was working to solve problems, not serve justice. He pushed the giant back, and lowered his voice to a whisper.
“It’s over now. I know they started this shit but look, it appears that they’re with the bartender and you’re in uniform. You cannot get into any trouble dressed like this!”
The soldier lowered his eyes to Noodle’s level, relaxed his steel arm, and broke his clenched jaw.
“Come on, let’s get out of this place,” Noodle suggested. “Thank you for your service, soldier,” Noodle whispered once they were away, “Come back anytime.”
“Where the hell have you been?” The Intelligence officer asked his bodyguard outside.
“Closing my tab…Getting in fights with bands of hoods.”
“You kick their asses?”
“No! Noodle Church came out of nowhere and jumped all over me.”
“That kid is smart,” the Intelligence Officer with the single bar of insignia said.
“That kid is brave,” The Seal sighed.
The next day, The Cops came to The Club to exert a little pressure. But The Club was prepared, it was an arranged meeting.
“Admit you have no idea what’s going on in here,” The Officer grilled.
“We have our shit together,” The Supervisor laughed.
“An ambulance was called here on March 12th, but the police were not called, what was that about?”
The Supervisor turned to The Manager and gave him big eyes.
“We keep our incident log locked in the safe, so we don’t lose it, you know what I mean? The Underboss is not in yet and he’s the only one with a key. Is it possible that you leave us the events that you’d like more information on and we’ll mail you the reports?”
“It’s not ideal, but it’ll have to do,” The Officer said and left the room.
“How are we going to do that?” The Supervisor worried. “I can’t remember what happens here every night.”
“What are the dates you don’t recall?”
“I don’t remember any of them!”
“Let me see that,” The Manager said and reached out for the list to compare against the event schedule. “I remember this night, the candy smoke set off the fire alarms and we cleared it out before the fire department arrived up but got a written warning for not shutting down the music and evacuating the club. It was stupid, there was no emergency. This other night was a Mexican wrestling event but I wasn’t here. They claim an ambulance was called. Did one of the wrestlers get hurt or something?”
“I don’t know! I don’t remember anything,” The Supervisor repeated.
“Text someone who was working and ask them; text Noodle,” The Manager advised.
‘Noodle, do you remember the Mexican wrestling event? Was there a fight or something?’
‘I don’t remember a fight,’ Noodle replied, ‘But some kid had a bad seizure and hit the floor pretty hard.’
‘That’s it! Thanks Noodle!’
Donate then continue reading with Season Eight Episode Three!