“Popular culture,” said the screenwriter to the three immaculately attired TV executives, “is a black hole.” He delivered the statement emphatically, a bit of spit flying from his mouth on the “B” of “black hole.”
In front of him – at the opposite end of a stylishly elliptical mahogany table, nestled into a window-lined boardroom overlooking the sprawling white-and-green-flecked taupe of the valley – the TV executives appeared confused.
The screenwriter – dressed in a suit that fit him not at all – held up a nervous finger, indicating for them to wait, and clicked to the next slide of his presentation.
“Fringe culture is odd,” said the screenwriter. “And it used to start wayyyyy outside, far away from the black hole of popular culture. Nobody knows about it, at first!” The Screenwriter nervously jabbed his finger in the air. “But, as more and more people become aware of this fringe idea, it gets closer to the center of popular culture: the black hole.”
The screenwriter stopped and stared, eyes wide, at the assembled TV executives. One, an old man with cheeks that hung below his chin, leaned back in his chair. The other two – a young man with neatly gelled hair and a middle-aged woman who had had enough work done to look as if she’d had no work done – looked confused and skeptical.
“I’ll continue,” said the screenwriter, obviously shaken by their silence. “Over time the fringe has gotten sucked toward the center…” Another nervous jab. “Meaning, the distance between fringe culture and pop culture has decreased!”
The older executive cleared his throat and put his hand on the table. “So what’s the idea? You want a space show? Something about popular space?”
“Not exactly,” said the screenwriter. “It’s a reality show.” Silence. “A reality mash-up.” All three executives ahhhhed and recline back in their chairs. “I had the idea over a plate of buffalo wings. They were butter-poached, breaded, salted, doused in ranch sauce and then topped with pretzel bits.” The executives raised their eyebrows at this aside. The meeting, as far as the screenwriter was concerned, was going incredibly poorly.
Image C/O Portland Press Herald
“Anyway, I just mean to say that because the combination was a bit much and that kind of ties in nicely to my show and– .”
“Go on, but get to the point,” said the young, male executive. “Yeah, I have a meeting in five,” said the female executive, poking at her phone.
“You see, in the future,” said the screenwriter, “what used to be fringe will be pop culture proper. They will merge. But here’s the hook: my idea is from an even further out fringe.”
The older executive sighed and shifted his seat so that the sun wouldn’t hit him directly in the face. The sun then hit the female executive in the face but she pretended not to notice.
“So it’s a fringe-focused, space reality mashup?” offered the older executive, boredom liberally coating his words.
“No,” said the screenwriter. With a click, his presentation star-wiped to the next slide. On the screen was a live feed of the very conference room in which they sat. The female executive cocked her head, the young executive released a clipped “ahh.”
“It’s about this.” Smiling with only his mouth – nerves etched on his brow – the screenwriter reached beneath the table and produced a handgun.
Tension flooded the room.
“That’s not a real gun,” said the young executive.
“Of course it’s not,” said the female executive.
“So, what’s this?” said the older executive.
“It’s a gun,” said the screenwriter. “And this is my show.”
Raising the gun, the screenwriter recited, “This is a Glock 26 Gen4 – a concealed carry staple since 1994.” He then aimed at a floor-to-ceiling window and shot.
Glass exploded outward, raining onto the bustling street below. The female executive screamed, and the two male executives dove for the ground. The screenwriter crouched, tut-tutting. “Sit up, slide slide your phones to me, or else I will simply shoot you all.”
The executives complied.
Bacon dusted fries. Yes. This is yes.
Image C/O FoodSpotting
“This is the idea,” said the screenwriter, actually smiling now. Again, from beneath the table he produced a thick bike lock, which he ran through the handles of the boardroom door. “I call it “Death Panel.” And this, lady and gentlemen, is the pilot episode.”
The screenwriter appeared more relaxed than before. It was the calm of a man with a single purpose and goal. There was no tomorrow for him, no this afternoon or even an hour from now. It was only now, and right now he had a gun pointed at three extremely wealthy white people.
The three executives were grimacing and pale. Their faces appeared, to the screenwriter, to have transformed into white masks covering deflated balloons. Their previous superiority and confidence had been erased.
“Why are you doing this?” said the young executive. The other two looked at him with white-wild eyes. Wind moaned through the hole in the glass.
“Ha ha!” said the screenwriter. “Thank you, my good man.” An aristocratic, creepy joviality crept into his voice. “The same reason anyone does something this drastic: to prove a point!”
“What possible point could come from this?” said the elder executive. “Don’t throw away your life. If you just put that gun away, we can all just leave this situation. No press. No hubbub. Just drop the gun and we can call it even.”
The elder executive’s appeal to reason met with deadly silence. “That’s bullshit and you know it,” said the screenwriter, pointing, one by one, to the security cameras that adorned the boardroom. The elder executive kept his deflated poker face.
A knock on the door. The handles rattled and a large male voice said, “Sir, please open the doors.”
“Nope!” the screenwriter shouted. “You force in these doors, everyone dies.”
“Just be calm sir,” said the large male voice. Another subtle rattle on the doors.
“Stop trying to get in!” The screenwriter said. He swept the gun over and shot two bullets low through the rich, oak particleboard doors. “Holy shit,” said the large male voice, outside. Hurried, leaden footsteps echoed away down the marble hallway.
Turning back to the three executives, the screenwriter smiled, his mustache forming a perfectly flat line above his mouth. “In the comments beside this live video feed, all the viewers are being asked “Who will live and who will die?” The young executive uttered a croaking no. “It’s a crowd-sourced, reality execution show! Get it?”
The board room had begun to darken slightly, shadows stretched across the table and sliced dark lines across the shaking executive’s bodies. They stayed silent.
“Anyway,” said the screenwriter. “On this phone, I will have the final tally. And from the comments,” The screenwriter scanned his phone, his gun still leveled at the executives. “From the comments.” He looked up and hove the black nose of his gun to the young executive. “Looks like you’re the strong favorite.”
The young executive began to cry. Small, peeping sobs that oddly matched the pitch of the wailing, bullet-holed window.
“What’s the point,” said the female executive. The screenwriter raised his eyebrow and shifted the gun’s nose to her. “What’s the point?” he asked.
Image C/O Foodspotting
“Yes,” said the middle-aged woman, now shrinking into a shirt that had, minutes ago, been far too tight for her artificially engorged bosom. “You said there was a point behind all this.”
Her tone was slow and deliberate, obviously stalling for time. “You’re obviously stalling for time,” said the screenwriter. She, like the elder executive, kept her poker face.
“But that’s just fine,” said the screenwriter. “There is absolutely a point. And this is the part where the ‘evil villain’ gets to air out his grievances. But of course nobody ever listens, and he never gets time to fully explain. But the point…”
Unfortunately, before he could continue, the doors to the boardroom snapped in half with a screaming crunch.
The screenwriter dove behind the table, narrowly avoiding the peppering of bullets that blew out the remaining glass in the formerly whistling window.
“No!” screamed the writer, scrambling around the table and securing an arm around the elderly executive’s neck. “I was getting to the point!”
At least thirteen riot police emptied into the boardroom. Though only the elderly executive was physically restrained, the two remaining executives stayed riveted to their seats, stunned by the noise and commotion, into inaction.
“Release the hostage,” yelled an officer with a thick, Chicago accent. Saying it like: “release da hostich.” That accent.
“Move and they’re dead.” The riot police stopped their slow march forward.
The Screenwriter composed himself and began to speak.
“The point is that you people are ruining America.” He looked angrily at the backs of the executives’ heads. “I have done the research. The three of you have greenlit shows like: My Dad: My Boyfriend, Meth University, I <3 Dead People, Is It Sh*t?, My 300 Pound Toddler…”
“Sir,” yelled the Chicago policeman again. “Release the hostages!”
“These shows make people feel good,” continued the screenwriter, redoubling his grip around the elderly TV executive’s neck. The pitter-pat of a helicopter snuck in the blown-out window. Nobody gave up any ground.
“Sir,” yelled the Chicagoan again.
“Listen!” the screenwriter screamed. “People watch and feel excited that they’re not as shitty and backwards and terrible as all the stuff they’re seeing on TV. It’s what they want! But it is not what they need. It doesn’t make them try to be better. It gives them license to be worse. You’re pushing American society to new lows with every show.“
A shot shrieked through the glass and nestled into the wall right behind the screenwriter’s head. The screenwriter emitted an inarticulate burp of rage, cocked the hammer of his Glock and buried the nose deeper into the senior executive’s head-folds. The Chicagoan raised his arm for his men to stay still.
The screenwriter continued his monologue, unfazed. His face was a glowing orb of red determination. His eyes bulged and shot red-hot lasers of accusation onto everything they touched. The sound of the helicopter rose outside and police lights bathed the room with a manic, strobing glow.
“We live in an age of ‘should’ not ‘could’. Our system is regulated by our basest desires, nothing higher, nothing grander. This show! My show is a shock to the system! It is a look into the inevitable future of our society. It’s a gut-check for America. Do we want this? Do we want to murder people on live television? If we don’t, then we must act! We must not continue to accept the next, ridiculous low. We must strive to be better!”
Should you ever need your bacon deep fried and then sauced, this is where you go.
Image ℅ Food Spotting
The screenwriter stopped speaking and his phone dinged. The entourage of riot police’s guns clicked into active readiness. “That’s the end of voting,” he said.
“Sir,” yelled the Chicagoan. “We have a sniper trained on you from that helicopter outside. Release the hostage now, or we will authorize him to shoot… again.”
The screenwriter held up a finger from behind the executive’s exhausted, shriveled head. “One second,” he yelled. “Just one single more second. Read this for me.” He raised his phone to the elderly executive’s eye-level. “Read who should have died.”
The elderly executive, wide-eyed, read the phone’s screen. “Who does it say?” screamed the screenwriter.
“Release the hostage!” said the Chicagoan. The riot police crept forward and now rimmed the edge of the table like eager reporters.
“You,” said the elderly executive.
“What?” said the screenwriter.
“It’s just you.” Exhaustion edged out fear in the elder executive's voice. “There’s a note below the voting. It reads ‘One of you executives needs to pick up this fucking show!’”
The screenwriter let out a chuckle. The chuckle turned into a sickening laugh. Society had chosen, what more was there for him to do?
The screenwriter stood up with his gun to his temple, still laughing. And as the executives scurried away from where they had just been trapped, the shooting began.
In some items, it just nails it (like their salt & vinegar fries). In others, it is a pile of gluttonous foolery (their wings). Each dish tastes great on the first bite. But by the third you will be questioning why you are doing this to yourself. The “Smothered Meatload” sandwich boasts: all-natural ground beef, cheddar cheese, sweet grilled onions, ketchup on white bread and the whole rest doused in gravy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty. But eating this gravy-smothered, meat and cheese bomb in one sitting is basically an act of self-loathing.
Sandwiches run ~$12 and don’t come with fries. However, the fries being a tasty! strong suit of Nosh’s, it’s highly recommended you get them. You’ll walk out of there paying a bit more than you would like.
The tables and bar are situated in a railroad style. You’ll be sitting close to your neighbors. And you will most-likely have neighbors at this heavily-frequented joint.
A bit harried at times because of the rush when I’ve been there. But good people who get you in and out with a couple beers (or wines) to keep you lubricated.
EAT OR SKIP:
Nosh is a place I could only really recommend that you go once. Go to try the ridiculously flavor-packed sandwiches and fries and everything else. But I can almost guarantee that once the glow of “wow what wild flavors!” wears off (plus with all the other high-quality options in Portland *cough* Duckfat *cough*) you’ll find Nosh to be a bit superfluous. It’s not a bad place by any means. They’re just a little too focused on what they can serve, rather than what they should be serving.