Noble X - Episode 10: Captains
“Come in,” John shouts, seated at his table, immersed in a brainstorm. Colin, Anthony, and Paul arrive.
Colin is technically a newer friend but the kind of guy John feels like he’s known his whole life. He lives with Paul, so they have been seeing a fair amount of each other lately. John has known Anthony longer than both of them. Bree and Anthony had met and started dating way back in college, seemingly another life ago. They had reconnected a few years ago when Bree and Anthony moved to Chicago. The kind of friends that are family.
Paul is particularly important to this story. On the night John had broken up with Sylvia, he visited to Paul, playing his regular gig, singing songs at a barbecue restaurant nearby.
After returning to his car, his semi-sound-proof solitary capsule, where he could scream and lash out at the dash, the steering wheel, himself, spraying anguish in fiery demon wails, John headed straight to the bar to assume the role of a cliche. Down. Blue. Crying into an emptying pint glass, folded over a bar slab like a lonely leftover from the great depression. Slumped with guilt, trying to forget, trying to forge a new tomorrow, John sat so viciously stuck, as the few late-dinner patrons blissfully licked barbecue sauce from their fingers.
Taking a break, Paul pulls up a stool next to John. “You look like shit, man,” quickly realizing his friend is a mess. “It’s over,” John said, “Me and Sylvia…I broke her heart.”
Paul is a darker soul than John and having grown accustomed to feeling broken often, he feels John’s pain radiating off of him. Paul loves John like a brother so he tries his best to console him and then, seeing that it is of little use, urges John to play something, handing over his guitar and letting him let it out, even just a little. Two particularly soul-crushing, personally cathartic songs of John’s fill the air, for Paul and the remaining staff on that waning Thursday evening. Paul’s a kind soul, an incredible artist, and a pretty good friend to boot. Paul is there for John, to try to pick him up, to help him find a way if not through, around the pain for a little while.
John hasn’t had anyone over since the breakup. Colin, Anthony, and Paul are the first. They ask about the writing on the mirror. "Art I guess,” John responds dismissively as he tears his focus aware from his list of mind games to greet his friends. John’s a hugger and he embraces them all as they enter his home. Then his brother, Thomas walks in, who he hasn’t seen since their New Month’s Eve concert. John’s tendency to hug comes from their family and has rubbed off on their friend group, as they all rotate to exchange embraces of welcome like some silly waltz. John swells with joy seeing his friends. The last few days feel like they have stretched on for weeks, so he feels like he hasn’t seen anyone in ages. He feels great love and admiration for these guys. In his mind, he has decided that they are his Captains to help with his mission. That together they will accomplish incredible things.
John pulls up an extra chair and they all sit around the table. John packs up a large glass-blown apparatus he calls his peace pipe offering greens to Paul, who accepts, sending it around the circle. Thomas brought a twelve-pack and they pass that around too sitting around John’s big table talking, catching up, goofing around. But John wants to talk about one thing. The house party. The Noble Experiment. So he steers the conversation, asking Paul to tell everyone his vision.
“I have this vision to do a house concert me and John have been talking about for a while. This Thursday, right?” Paul stops, looking at John. “Oh fuck yeah,” John calmly replies. They crack up. John nods for Paul to continue.
“So this is a performance where there is only one rule intended to set this show apart from others. Simple. Zero talking during performances. A listening party. A place where songs can truly be tasted, rolled around on the palette, internalized, critiqued. The Noble Experiment. A brain jam. I’ve done them before and it’s fucking magical. And it’s extra cool this time because, ya know, he’s John Noble. And the space is perfect,” Paul gestures around him.
John is so on board. His apartment has the potential for being a tiny concert hall for such a performance. They are all on board. John grabs his phone and hits record on a voice memo, fueling the discussion, planning, getting excited, winding up, and capturing it all. He delegates Thomas Captain Light and Colin Captain Video.
“Wait, what the fuck are you talking about, John?” Paul cuts off John’s rant as it’s gaining steam. John explains, “Since it’s a performance, let’s make it a badass, professional experience. Since Thomas has access to lights, let’s make plans to make that happen. Hence Captain Light. Colin does all that incredible projector artwork, so maybe, if he’s down, he can do a sweet art installation here. Captain Video. I’ve got lots of ideas to make this space awesome. Don’t worry, Paul. You’re the Captain.” This seems to clear up any misunderstanding.
Simultaneously John thinks “I’m the Captain,” defiantly and selfishly.
Stay tuned for Episode 11.
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