CHURCH, The Television Show
‘You didn’t even come over for my birthday!’ Noodle expressed dismay.
‘I’m sorry Noodle. You know I was sending you good thoughts telepathically.’
‘I’m grateful for your telepathy. I have your voice inside my head all of the time. But I need to hold you in my arms!’
‘What are you doing tomorrow night?’
‘Waiting around for you.’
‘Okay J. I’ll call you when I leave my house.’ His friend said to finish their text conversation and Noodle felt happy again.
The next day Noodle woke up early to clean his apartment. He’d clean it every day just to see BeFly once a year. He even washed windows and mopped his floor.
A month earlier Noodle had received a great batch of marijuana and he made sure to saved a little bit; he kept a gram in his kitchen cabinet to share with her.
Noodle remembered exactly where he’d left that weed. But he hadn’t been able to find it for weeks. It was earmarked and he knew he didn’t smoke it.
As he cleaned, he tore his house apart in search of the treasure by removing every bowl, plate, and glass from his kitchen cabinets. He checked drawers, closets, and opened his refrigerator door. But it was pointless; he’d remembered the exact place he put it.
It had disappeared. But that would be crazy! So he concluded that it had been lost.
“Are you two rolling?” The Journalist asked of Noodle and BeFly while they played scrabble.
“Journalist, of course we’re not. Why are you always asking me that?”
“Because of your eyes, both your eyes are glazed over and you seem like you’re floating high above the clouds.”
“It’s Love, Journalist. You have no idea how good it feels to be within five feet of this girl.”
BeFly smiled at Noodle. She loved him too.
“I’ve been waiting to see you for a while,” Noodle confessed after the journalist had left.
“Why’s that?” BeFly asked.
“Because you know me well, and I want to ask what I should do. I made a list of like ten things I could do with my life next. Would you look it over and help me choose?”
“Okay Noodle, go get your list.”
- Be a firefighter again
- Get the final recommendation to join the Army as a helicopter pilot
- Manage more real-estate
- Paint for an interior design company
- Be a manager at Majesty
- Volunteer more at MetroNorth Main Streets
- Rewrite book
“Do you really want to be a Manager at Majesty?”
“I don’t know that I could. But I’m there already and I really like it. I get to work hard. I get to be creative. There are beautiful people around me all day and there’s music! It never feels like work.”
“I don’t like nightclubs.”
“I know what you mean. I don’t drink, so it’s easy to avoid the downward spiral side of The Club.”
“Don’t keep working there. It’s going to put you in a bad place.”
“You’re probably right about that – so, what should I do?”
“Do you get paid at MetroNorth Main Streets?”
“No. But it’s good for the neighborhood.”
“Noodle, you need to earn a living.”
“Do you like painting or renting out apartments?”
“No. But I have a lot of experience with both those things and I know how to make money with them.”
“Noodle, money is one thing but you have to do something that you love.”
“I love flying. I told my recruiter that I want them to send a bus to my house so I can ship out as soon as possible; and I really mean that. I’ve had this incredible feeling that I need to learn how to fight and I have no idea where it’s coming from.”
“Noodle. I know you’re a good pilot, but do you really want to go to The Army?”
“I really like the people there.”
“But what about the killing? What about the commitment? You wouldn’t be able to keep a family.”
“That’s all I’ve ever been searching for, is family.”
“Do you really want to join The Army?”
Noodle stared into her eyes. They were soft. They were wide. They were wet. He saw his answer. He wanted that.
“You should be a firefighter. Girls like that,” she said.
“I know,” he smiled. “But I did that and they say you only live once. Those guys get old and they get bored. I want to live a hundred lives.”
“Noodle, you’re crazy.”
“Write then. I’d love to read what you wrote.”
“Come upstairs to my bedroom,” he smiled. “I’ll tell you all about it.”
BeFly relaxed her shoulders. She lowered her head and raised her eyes. She fell back slightly against the wall.
Noodle knew that look. He went over. He caught her. He kissed her.
The next morning he walked her out to her car.
“I love you Noodle Church.”
“I love you too BeFly. Stay safe in California, won’t you?”
“Get a boyfriend. I don’t want you running around Cali all alone.”
That girl inspired Noodle like no other. He went upstairs, started writing, and made new plans.
Noodle felt like he had the inspiration of God inside of him while he edited his work with record ease. At this pace, he could re-write the entire novel in just three months.
And if he stayed focused enough to keep at it six days a week, he’d have just enough savings to finish before hunger would have him selling out for gold.
But Noodle knew, from his last leap into the abyss, that life works better if you stay connected to things. He had new priorities, but he didn’t want to walk away from Majesty.
So he texted The Manager.
‘Manager, I can only work Saturdays in January,’ he wrote after the new schedule had been sent via email asking if there were any concerns or constraints.
‘Okay,’ The Manager wrote back.
So Noodle spent all week locked away in his office printing, deleting, writing, and retyping his fictional piece about a disabled firefighter. Then he went to work on Saturday night and after a few weeks, the arrangement really felt like it was really working out.
“How come you can only come in one day a week?” The Supervisor asked one day in The Manager’s office.
“I have the hook in my arm,” Noodle replied upon reflection of the length of time it takes to independently produce a novel. After a decade of squeezing writing in-between jobs, it certainly compared to a heroin addiction.
“What have you been working on?”
“An art project!” Noodle exclaimed.
“What kind of art?”
Noodle wouldn’t say. He wanted to keep it private.
“I can’t say. But it’s some real trippy shit.”
The Manager and The Supervisor turned to look at each other. They smiled like they knew exactly what it was that he had been working on.
But how? Noodle had never told anyone at The Club about his writing. He didn’t even tell his roommate!
“What are you depressed?” The Roommate asked Noodle when he emerged from his office.
“No. I’m as happy as ever! What would make you think that I was depressed?” Noodle wondered.
“No reason,” The Roommate lied. She had read ‘depression’ as the diagnosis for Noodle’s dark urine on a carbon copy of his medical records that he stored inside the file-cabinets in his bedroom that were always locked; up until the day his keys were stolen.
“Then what are you working on up there?” The Boyfriend asked. “Is it school work?”
“Yeah, I’m in school,” Noodle lied to keep his art isolated until it was fully shaped.
“Where are you going to school?” The Boyfriend pushed.
“Well…I’m kind of teaching myself the subjects,” Noodle explained.
“What is it, online college?” The Boyfriend suspected.
“Yes, that’s what it is;” Noodle excused.
Noodle found it counterproductive to conduct daily routines while he was deep inside a fictional work. Consistency is the enemy of art. Day to day business was a distraction, so he also reached out to the Director of his non-profit gig.
“Sorry I haven’t been able to put any effort into the restaurant owner networking group this month,” he explained, “I’ve been really busy with other projects.”
“But I made a commitment to organize this group of individuals; so, next month I plan on coming back to work exclusively in the real world.”
“But we’ll have to get the group rolling and meeting autonomously as quickly as possible because I don’t have much time before I’m gone.”
“Where are you going?”
Noodle didn’t know how to explain that his body wasn’t going anywhere but that his mind would be a world away. So he told her that he was going into the woods. It was a metaphor.
“What’s Seamus McCafferty say?” DJ asked The Manager.
“He says Noodle’s going to be okay.”
“Do you think it was the tats?”
“It’s funny how fate works – saving that kid’s jacket may have saved Noodle’s life!”
“And he has no clue. I’ll tell you – those Polish are some oblivious bastards.”
“But he’s going to want to see Noodle one more time – with his own eyes. He’s still worried about interfering with someone out to kill a rat.”
“Noodle’s not a rat. He doesn’t talk to anybody…about anything at all.”
“I know, but you have to consider how it’ll play on the street. Image is sometimes our only protection.”
“How does he earn, if he can’t even go outside?”
“Small arms trade.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Fuck image! Being a G-Man is all the protection you need!”
“What happens if Noodle recognizes him?”
“Who in their right mind is going to ever believe they ran into Seamus McCafferty’s in the street? In The City!”
“How are we going to get Noodle back to work full-time?”
“I’ll tell The Supervisor to offer him that raise. The Barracuda will be pissed.”
“But why does he run?”
“We don’t pay Noodle his raise; and I have it on good information that he’ll complain until he quits. If they think he’s complaining they’ll track him down like a freed slave in order to find out what he’s saying about them.”
“What if they let him go?”
“Then we’ll say he quit because he saw something, The Roommate will back us up, and he’ll look like a Rat.”
“What if they kill him?”
“Then we’ll be even for saving his life.”
“He’s a beautiful mind, you know.”
“Ah, but he doesn’t talk to anyone. What good is beauty if he doesn’t share it?”
“Let’s play Doughboy and VirginBoy one more time to see if they take the cake before we risk Noodle.”
“I like that. Then we have three chances to get this right.”
“Practice makes perfect DJ!”