CHURCH, The Television Show
On his way to work New Year’s Eve, Noodle stopped at The Diplomat’s house to cover his body with temporary tattoos.
When he emerged from the bathroom his neck was encircled, from his clavicle up to his chin.
Juxtaposed to his shirt, tie, and suit vest, Noodle was beginning to look a lot like The Perfect Gangster; dignified and crazy. It was going to be a great New Year!
“Oh my god Noodle, what did you do to yourself!” Ms. Should exclaimed.
“Do you like it?” Noodle asked. “They’re temporary.”
“Noodle, you look like that guy from American History X,” The Journalist added.
“Jesus Journalist, can’t you ever compare me to someone endearing?”
“Noodle, you should do it for real,” The Diplomat seeded.
“I’d like to. But I like clear skin too. I want it both ways,” Noodle realized.
He put on his blazer, leather pea coat, and finger-less gloves in preparation for a cold rush toward work.
“Have a happy New Year guys,” Noodle wished.
“I want you all to know that I love you. You’re like family.”
“Noodle, why the sudden change of heart?” The Journalist ribbed.
“Well Journalist, maybe I don’t love you! Otherwise, I really mean it; I love you people and my life wouldn’t be worth living without you in it. I want to make sure that you know that, in case I don’t get another chance to tell you.”
“Noodle,” The Journalist continued, “Are you rolling right now? Look at his eyes, he’s rolling!”
“Guys, I’m not on any drugs. I have a bad feeling and I want to make sure you know I love you before it’s too late.”
“Dude, you’re totally freaking me out!” The Diplomat worried.
“When you’re scared, hear my voice: I love you!” Noodle said before he rushed out the door.
“Noodle I love your tattoos! Are those real?” The Tattooed Girl complemented when he got to work.
“Yeah,” Noodle winked. But Noodle didn’t want to deceive; he didn’t want to lie. “They’re just temporary,” he confessed.
“You should get them for real. They look good on you!” The Tattooed Girl flirted.
“I wish! But I can’t because I shed my skin too often.”
“Noodle, you got your whole neck tattooed!” The Manager congratulated after they bumped into each other in the bathroom.
“They’re not real.”
“Well they look good on you.”
“Is that the anarchy symbol?” Noodle pointed to the A at the top of his spine.
“Actually, it’s the symbol for peace and love.”
“Cool, I like that message much better!”
When Noodle was in the lobby The Barracuda approached him to use his slimy charm.
“Noodle, you got some tattoos?”
“They’re not real ‘Cuda.”
“Well, you should get them for real. You should tat your whole neck exactly like that,” The Barracuda dared. His eyes glazed over in total recall of all the people he’d baited into places they weren’t headed on their own.
“Wouldn’t you fire me if I looked like this?” Noodle asked. No one in The Gang who wore a suit had any full cover tattoos of their own. But they were eager to endorse stuff they’d never touch themselves.
The Barracuda didn’t say a word. He stared at Noodle, and then he walked away.
“Seamus McCafferty’s guys are coming tonight. We can finally get a decision on Noodle Church,” DJ announced when he saw The Manager.
“Yeah – I heard they’re coming to look him over.”
“Did you tell Noodle to get those tattoos just for his showing? That’s great!”
“It wasn’t me. He did it on his own.”
“Well he must have ESP or something because McCafferty’s crew is going to love it.”
“Let’s hope,” The Manager said and walked away.
Noodle didn’t know, but Seamus McCafferty’s men arrived early and asked permission to stay in the VIP area he was protecting.
Five whole bodies were covered in black tattoos. Their leader was a walking work of art.
When an associate rolled up his long wool coat to stow behind the couches, Noodle left his post and dashed over.
“You shouldn’t leave your coat there.”
“I’m sorry, is this someone else’s table?” The Gangster politely apologized.
“That’s not it. It’s just that, here, things tend to disappear when no one is looking and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to your coat.”
“What should I do?”
“You can give it to me. I stand over there; I’ll stash it under the curtain and I’ll keep an eye on it for you tonight.”
“You don’t have to thank me, just remember to pick it up before you leave!”
Much later, a random Actor came to Noodle and started talking to him.
“What are you, Fa-Sue?”
“Are you F-S-U?”
Noodle gave The Actor The Perplexed Look.
“Did I go to Florida State University?” Noodle sought to clarify. “No, I went to school in State.”
“No,” The Actor smiled. “Are you in the gang: F-S-U?”
“No! I’ve never even heard of that gang.”
“Oh, I was just asking because I had a boy I grew up with that was F-S-U and you – with all those tats- you look just like them.”
“Sorry dude, I don’t have any gang affiliations,” Noodle answered.
“That’s cool. But you look just like them. Are you sure that you’re not FSU?”
“I’m definitely sure.”
“But you look just like them.”
“Are you FSU?” Noodle transposed.
“No, I’m from the movies. I jump out of helicopters and stuff.”
“Damn! That’s way cooler than what I do. But I’m trying to leverage my fixed wing training into a job flying helicopters!”
“Maybe I could jump from yours someday.”
“Could you get me a job?”
“Does it pay well?”
“It does: Four hundred dollars for a half-day’s work.”
“Damn, that’s what I make in two weeks!”
At the end of the night when the lights came on Noodle found the long wool coat still in the corner under the curtain he stood next to, but the tattooed crew was nowhere to be found. Noodle hadn’t seen them for a while – they’d left The Club and their jacket behind.
So Noodle took it into the office, where management was counting money; piles upon piles of untraceable cash.
“Manager,” Noodle interrupted, “Those promoters who were working tonight left this coat behind.”
“The promoters covered in tattoos.”
The Manager stared at Noodle with Big Eyes.
“Oh man,” The Manager worried. “You’d better leave that here – hang it behind the door.”
“Okay,” Noodle said and left the office to text his friend – The Underage Girl.
‘Where were you tonight? I haven’t seen you since I moved-up from the lobby!’
‘Not at Majesty,’ She texted back.
‘I know, I went downstairs to look for you.’
‘Noodle, I haven’t worked there for like three months. The Hostess hates me…so she fired me!’
‘Want me to kick her ass for you?’
“Manager, can I have a word with you?” Noodle asked after everyone else had left the lobby.
“What’s up Noodle?”
“Why’d you fire The Underage Girl? She was a great worker.”
“Well, she was underage and she was hooking up with DJ Storm behind The Hostess’s back.”
“But a ton of girls working here are underage.”
“You’re right – it was less the age and more the hooking up with The Hostess’s boyfriend.”
“He still works here.”
“Blame it on DJ!” The Manager smiled.
On his way home Noodle sat in back of The Roommate’s car with The SquishHead so that The Boyfriend could sit up front.
“When I went into the kitchen today, I caught The Supervisor hooking up with The Hostess!” The SquishHead exposed.
“But I pretended not to see anything.”
“That’s messed up because The Underage Girl was fired for hooking up with The Hostess’s boyfriend.”
“Did you know that I can’t be fired,” The SquishHead bragged.
“Yeah, why is that?”
“I’m not tellin’.”
“You know, Mr. Made-in-Taiwan says that he can never be fired either.”
“Do you know why?”
“No. Maybe it’s because someone at The Club is his father.”
“Do you think he’s The Underboss’s illegitimate child?”‘
“SquishHead, I would not go around spreading that around unless you want to be killed!”
“What were you so upset about earlier?” The Roommate asked after letting The SquishHead off at his house.
“It’s nothing: DJ fired The Underage Girl because she was hooking up with The Hostess’s boyfriend. It upset me because she like the only honest person there.”
“DJ sucks!” The Roommate exclaimed. “No one likes him.”
“But The SquishHead said that he caught The Hostess hooking up with The Supervisor…after The Hostess got upset that her boyfriend was cheating on her!”
“Whatever. I heard that The Hostess has been fucking The Supervisor for three months now. DJ even held a meeting conspiring to cover-up the affair.”
“Roommate, it’s obviously a secret, so don’t tell anybody!”
“Whatever,” The Roommate scoffed. “The Supervisor sells drugs out of his apartment anyway.”
“Roommate, why did you just tell me that? You’re lucky I can keep a secret!”
But The Roommate couldn’t keep secrets and it wouldn’t be long before The Supervisor and Hostess’s affair in Majesty’s kitchen came back to Noodle.
It sure seemed like, for all their talk about silence, everyone at Majesty ran around spreading gossip and selling people out.
Sometimes Noodle felt like he was the only one who kept quiet. He was the only one who never told on anybody!