CHURCH, The Television Show
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This isn’t about you; it’s about Aliens, all they have done for US, and all we have done to ruin it. Trust this isn’t about you; any likeness is intended purely for fictional purposes, and not a living soul on earth knows who you really are. This isn’t about you; this isn’t war, this is new religion. War is why we are all so poor in the first place- let’s all share in the riches of Peace, and learn to coexist with each other and the animals, the air and water and trees. Anger will only make you look guilty so remember that this isn’t about you, it’s about THEM, and all they have done for us. So stay happy, stay calm, and please enjoy the show.
Dedicated to Ethan Collins, who taught me that nothing we believe is true. Truth is only what most of us believe.
Dedicated to N.A., who gave all he had before YOU killed him.
When it gets dark enough, look to see the stars.
“Art is writing about reality in such a way that you don’t piss anyone off!”
“The essential guide for anyone joining the Army, or Organized Crime for that matter.”
- The Journalist
“When you die, you’re going to wish that you were more promiscuous!”
- The Manager
Church, The Television Show
“Let’s get out of here,” Noodle pleaded. “I don’t want to talk around the house.”
Noodle pulled into a public park where The County’s very first flag had been raised; but the nation was in debt, and the park was neglected.
He opened the car-door, removed his coat, and placed it on the trunk while an SUV pulled in and parked behind him. Two people stayed in that car, staring at him and Mehca.
“Noodle, what’s going on?” Mehca asked.
“Mehca I’ve known you for a long time, right?”
“Mehca, it’s been a decade.”
“God, don’t say that.”
“It’s a good thing that we’ve stuck together.”
“It’s always come around?”
“I don’t know…you like your people.”
“I love my people.”
“I know bun. But why couldn’t you have told me that at your house?”
“You have to swear that you will not repeat any of this.”
“I’ve caught people following me!”
“Noodle, why would people be following you? They’re too busy working!”
“Half the world’s out of work right now!”
“I don’t know why, or how. One day I thought I found a tracking beacon stitched into the lining of my coat and I asked a coworker about it and he didn’t seem surprised at all.”
“Why would they be tracking you?”
“I don’t know why. But one day I got the feeling that I was being set up for something and I caught a guy watching me out his window.”
“He could have just been looking out his window.”
“He could have, but he stood staring at me for more than fifteen minutes.”
“I don’t know why. But that car behind us, what are they doing?”
“The same thing we are.”
“Maybe. But it’s not the first time I’ve thought people were following me. When I’m on the train people look at me. They stare at me as if they know me. And they say strange things behind my back – things that sound like they’re about my life.”
“Do not repeat this to anybody; I’m only telling you this because I need help and I don’t know who else I can trust or where I should turn. Mehca, I work for The Gang.”
“Really, do you?”
“They said it themselves when I first started working there.”
“What gang? Does it have a name?”
“It does– it’s the one where you’re never supposed to say the name – it’s the one you’re never supposed to admit exists – it’s The Gang!”
“Noodle The Gang doesn’t exist anymore, that’s a thing of the past, from our parents and grandparents generations.”
“Then why would they tell me that?”
“They’re just kids and they want to look tough and feel cool. They’re all talk”
“Mehca, it’s not just kids, it’s grown men. It’s grandfathers.”
“I feel like you would hear about that in the news.”
“It’s not nineteen twenty and guys aren’t running around with Tommy guns. It’s different now.”
“It’s different how?”
“It’s a network. There’s no hierarchy. It’s like Matrix Management at the Technology School; a matrix of people who have no problem disregarding the law.”
“It’s like PeopleFace?” Mehca joked.
“Sure, if you want to think of it that way. But these peoples’ limits aren’t like yours or mine.”
“What do you mean?”
“What’s the worst thing you’ve done to someone before you felt guilty or remorseful and stopped?”
“I don’t want to think about that.”
“Because the pain you caused hurts you.”
“I guess. It doesn’t make me feel good.”
“These people get off on that. It makes them happy to watch other people suffer.”
“A lot of people are like that.”
“But what are most people’s limits? How many people do you know out there who would rape or murder?”
“These people don’t have limits. They don’t stop. If they get caught, they just change tactics.”
“Why would they kill people?”
“To control stuff.”
“Noodle, you’re like Charlie Sheen!”
“Wasn’t he just on television saying that he worked for a guy who controlled everything?”
“Mehca, that’s not what I’m saying. They don’t control everything. They control what they control, their people and businesses. The problem is that they have no limits. They’ll stop at nothing. At nothing Mehca!”
“That’s scary. What are you going to do?”
“I was only working there to pay my bills before I shipped out with The Army.”
“Yeah, what happened with that?”
“I tried really hard to complete everything– The Recruiter said I’m good except my flight instructor still hasn’t sent my recommendation.”
“You should call him.”
“I have! But I feel badly to harass him about it. He told me once when we were flying that he doesn’t believe in dropping bombs on people, and the last time I called he was in mourning. He’s really religious; and not the fake kind of spirituality where you go to church once a week to wash your hands. Mormons have strong feelings behind their church’s teachings.”
“Well fuck him, he’s holding you back.”
“No Mehca, I wish you wouldn’t say that. Even your limits are beyond mine.”
“But he’s holding you back.”
“He’s not doing anything to me. He’s simply living the life that he believes in. I wouldn’t want him to do it any other way.”
“But I need to find a way into the Army. It’s something I really want to do. I have this overwhelming feeling that I need to learn how to fight because I don’t think The Club is going to let me just leave.”
“Of course they’ll let you leave, it’s a free country.”
“You know RadioFace?”
“Holy Roman Em-pi-er!” Noodle sang and left the car to grab his coat from the trunk before pulling out of the parking space.
The car Noodle thought followed them from his house pulled out behind them.
Noodle didn’t like that. Noodle didn’t like being followed so he drove to the shoulder of the road until they passed and then started following them.
“I don’t think you should do that.”
“Because you don’t know who they are.”
“I thought you said that they weren’t watching us anyway.”
The car sped up but Noodle didn’t give chase. He let them get away. Someone once taught Noodle to take pleasure in being the center attention.
Meanwhile, The Underboss was meeting with The Italian.
“We have a big problem.”
“I don’t like small problems. Deal with it.”
“It’s better if you don’t know about it, but one of our people sold a hit on Noodle.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I know you don’t. But it’s comes from above; they want whomever arranged it to return the money to call off the hit.”
“I don’t know.”
“God, these people think they can control everything!”
The Italian never touched anything that wasn’t one hundred percent above bored. He didn’t even like hearing about it. So he went to the only person he knew he could absolutely trust, The Prince.
“You know this guy Noodle Church?”
“I don’t know him, but I know who he is. He works for The Manager.”
“Can you tell me why we’re planning to host guests from Southern City?”
“What do you want me to do, Rat on the guy?”
“It’s not ratting if I ask. It comes from above,” The Italian said, clasping his hands as if he were praying to god.
“The Barracuda sold him out.”
“Go to The Barracuda and tell him that he has to return the money. No questions. I never want to hear about this again.”
“I don’t think he’s taken the money yet.”
“Good. Then all he has to do is call it off. Tell him to pick up the god-damn phone.”
The Prince took his father’s orders seriously. He wasted no time calling The Barracuda.
“Meet me at the boat. We’re taking a trip.”
“I don’t want to go on the boat, haven’t you looked outside today? Plus, I have a club to run in four hours.”
“Don’t be stupid. You have thirty minutes,” The Prince said and hung up the phone.
The motor was running. Anger estranged his eyes from The Barracuda. He didn’t say a single word until they were a mile beyond The Harbor.
“You’ve been begging me to get you made, right?”
“Jesus Prince,” The Barracuda smiled like a four year old child on Christmas day. “You really had me going there. I thought you were going to take me below deck and whack me. How’d you fake those eyes?”
“I might, if you don’t do exactly what I say.”
“Tell me, I’ll do anything to get made. I’ll kill for you Prince, you know that.”
“Pick up the phone and call the dogs off Noodle.”
“Really, that’s all I have to do?”
“Really, do it now and you’re set for life.”
“Just like that?”
“Propose to your girlfriend and we’ll make it official at your wedding. But do it now or I really am going to kill you, and no one will ever find your body.”
“Jesus Prince, you must really have a hard on for Noodle Church!”
“Do it,” The Prince said and pushed a satellite phone into The Barracuda’s chest.
The Barracuda took the phone and called his contact down in Southern City.
“This is The Barracuda, can I speak with Chicken?”
“Yo, what can I do you for? Got us some mo’ deals comin’?”
“Deals off. Noodle Church is with US.”
“A deal’s a deal.”
“I didn’t take any money from you.”
“Don’t matta, we had a deal mothafucka. No one, I say no one bitches out on Chicken Little!”
“Look Chicken, you can still come up and get the X.”
“No shit. How bout I take Noodle Church out why I’m up there.”
“You’re going to say no to ME! Come up here, see what happens to you. You’ve been warned.”
“You’ve been warned! Just for that Imma string yo’ whole crew up cause that’s just how I roll.”
“The Prince grabbed the phone. “Listen, you monkey motherfucker – it’s not US, it comes from above.”
“I don’ta care if it comes from God himself. Noodle Church is ours now. A deal is a mother fuckin’ deal! I ain’t even gonna pay you bitches!”
“Well,” The Barracuda shrugged, “We tried.”