[identity profile] atableofgreen.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] booshslashhaven
Title: Christmas Special of Glitter - Chapter 4
Author: atableofgreen (desmondsprettyface)
Summary: Vince and Howard's struggles to function in their new corporealities are further complicated by the arrival of an uninvited guest.
Rating: PG
WC: 1,894
Notes: My sincerest apologies for the simply heinous delay. I hope it was at least worth the wait...



Vince tugged uncomfortably at the aggressive muffin-toned sweater vest wrapped around his too-big torso.

“Hey, careful little man! Don’t stretch out the weave!” Howard’s voice began sternly, but wavered as Vince’s shrill tone emerged unexpected from his larynx. He shuddered. “This is too weird. We need to fix this immediately. I can’t believe Naboo just left us to our own devices!” Howard tried to stand up defiantly, but struggled to get his footing in Vince’s heels.

“He said ‘accomplish the goal of the amulet.’ What do you think that means?” Howard’s muttered response was directed uselessly at the ground as he attempted to get Vince’s boots off. “What?” Vince reiterated in a tone he was beginning to learn was far more suited to scolding than his own. Startled by the sound of his own irritated tone directed at himself, Howard finally looked up to find Vince was wasting no time in accessorizing his new corporeality.

“What the hell are you doing?” Howard exclaimed with more of a shriek than he had intended. Vince looked up into his own shocked face and shrugged.

“I keep telling you you need to learn to accessorize!” Vince didn’t look up as he applied another coat of black varnish to Howard’s nails. Howard swatted at him to no avail, still unable to gauge Vince’s limb radius. “Calm down, you jack a’ clubs!- you’re gonna break my nails!”

“Quit trying to turn me into Obsidian Blackberry McBovril, you hooligan!” Howard’s indignant huff had an amplified air of immaturity when delivered through Vince’s boyish face. Vince couldn’t help grinning mischievously at the sight of his turgid companion trapped inside the majestic form of a Camden leisure pirate. He was just beginning the turquoise glitter layer on his Howard trimmings when the phone rang.

“Naboo!” he shouted into the phone, smashing it against his face with the back of his wrist in an attempt to let Howard’s nails dry.

“Nah, it’s Bobby Bob Bob! Listen, is Vince there? I gotta problem and I needs him worse than a harlequin magician needs a pound of goat’s cheese.”

“Fossil, it’s me, Vince!” There was a pause on the other end of the line.

“Vincey? What did you do? Swallow a bassoon? Don’t answer that. There’s no time, you gotta get to The Velvet Onion right now. Sammy and The Black Tubes were supposed to headline tonight, but that little red clamp hands man- you know, with the flat helmet head! The sideways walking clamp hands man!” Although he couldn’t see him, Vince had no trouble imagining the miming hand gestures Fossil was surely making as he spoke. “Well, he got arrested for scuttling under the influence and I’m stuck without a lead act! The head of Pieface Records is here, ma’ Vincey! So get yourself to my office now, cause this crowd wants some music and I ain’t callin’ those damn coconuts again. And bring that jazz freak. And for the love a Yahweh, have a damn lozenge!”

Before Vince could open Howard’s mouth to explain their predicament, the familiar click of the handset hitting Fossil’s desk precipitated the unseen dance routine undoubtedly playing out in the simpleton’s office. As Billy Squier’s driving electric guitar riff drifted through the phone, Vince raised an exasperated eyebrow to Howard who sighed in solidarity. After a full minute of dramatic 80s rock intro accompanied by the heavy rhythmic breathing of Fossil’s emotions in motion, the impassioned dancer abruptly took up the phone, shouted “And that’s why everybody wants you!” and promptly hung up.

….

“Why are we doing this?” Howard asked, begrudgingly padding along down the corridor. Vince held the dressing room door open for him.

“Look, I told you what Fossil said. This might be our one last shot at the Pie Face Showcase! We can’t pass this up!” Vince rummaged through the clothes rack and held out his Electroboy suit to Howard.

“No way. No way am I wearing that.”

“I promise it fits!” Vince smirked. “Come on, Howard. It’s all about the look anyway, and now you’ve got mine! We’ll be fine. Just get out there and pull some shapes. I’ll bang about on the keyboards and I’m sure we’ll be back to normal by the time Pie Face calls for the Showcase.”

“But you don’t play any instruments, Vince.” Howard reluctantly took the suit and ominously eyed the Polo-encrusted codpiece with growing trepidation.

“It’s just this right?” Vince bounced Howard’s tensed fingers up and down like a nervous velociraptor. “How hard could it be?”

The two men stood uncomfortably before the wide dressing room mirror and stared back at the wrong reflection. After a lifetime of budgie-level mirror gazing, Vince couldn’t help looking over at his own familiar image. Howard offered a weak smile and a shrug in response. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut short by Fossil’s crackling voice blaring through the intercom.

“VINCE! MOON! YOU’RE UP!”

“You ready for this?” Vince asked with the nervous excitement of a puppy unsure where the car is going but reveling in the wind whipping past his face anyway.

“No.” Howard gestured Vince through the door with as much stoicism as he could muster with the cheekbones of a sweet nubile princess. Vince laughed and frolicked down the corridor on his willowy northern pins.

The set started out surprisingly well, considering the circumstances. Howard had apparently spent enough time observing Vince’s front man façade that, combined with the great boon of the man’s own face, he was able to pull off a few of the mannerisms with only a shadow of the clumsy supply teacher in his heart. Vince, however, faced a bit more trouble as he came to terms with the fact that his velociraptor technique on the keyboards essentially resulted in the horrifying single-chord tune The Hitcher so graciously serenaded the shop with in the night. However, before the crowd could rustle up any of Satan’s black wangers to chuck at the stage, Vince’s cacophony came to an abrupt halt. At first, Howard carried on up front, somewhat relieved at the reprieve from Vince’s distracting contributions. It wasn’t until the crowd descended into shocked silence and the piercing trumpet trills began that the reality of the situation dawned on Howard.

“Vince!” he shouted, dropping the mic. He whirled around in a panic to witness, for the first time as an outside observer, the abject horror of a man possessed by The Spirit of Jazz. Howard’s whole body was contorted into a forced jazz stance, his head thrown back and trumpet held high. But Vince’s physical aversion to the creature now vying for control of the form they both inhabited was evidenced, not only by his shaking limbs, but by the petrified plea for help screaming from his tiny eyes. Sweat poured down his brow and his knees began to buckle. Howard tried to reach out for him, but got tripped up in Vince’s platform boots and crashed into the curtains, taking the mic stand with him. The discordant tones which emanated from Howard’s wracked frame constituted neither jazz nor punk despite their distinct lack of rhythmic structure and harsh, jarring key changes. In any other scenario, Howard would likely have found himself drawn to the raw musicality of it all, but his thoughts were overwhelmed with concern for his tormented best mate.

“You get out of there!” He screamed at the ghostly menace, but to no avail. “It’s not me, you demon! He’s got nothing to do with this!” Howard reached across the floor and hurled the mic into his own face. The blow knocked the possessed pair out of their jazz trance, but did little to alieve Vince of the battle raging inside Howard’s mind. His eyes shot toward Howard, but the window to the terrified Vince had gone blood-red. Black pupils dilated with supernatural speed as a malicious grin crept across the contorted face. Not only was Vince far from view in the depths of Howard’s possessed body, Howard no longer recognized his own face.

Although the Spirit of Jazz had turned Howard’s head away from the trumpet still held on high, its screeching, howling cries continued to fill the theatre. The crowd quickly descended from their shocked and offended silence into a horrified panic, some flocking to the exits and as many frozen in awe of the scene playing out on stage. Mods and rockers set their differences aside to embrace in fear. But Howard was blind to the chaos descending around him, so focused was he on seeking out any sign of Vince trapped within his possessed form. He tried in vain to keep from thinking back on the disastrous results of Vince’s prior run-ins with jazz. He shuddered to think Vince was likely face to face with the rogue creature Howard had fought, on his behalf, within the veins his own identity now inhabited.

As Howard scrambled to his feet, a distant thrum reached his ears under the screeching jazz. He turned to the wings to find the source of the humming relief cutting through the Spirit’s wails and was greeted by a pair of determined eyes, a shimmering blue turban, and one hell of a Hoover.

“Naboo! Oh thank God you’re here!” With his trademark calm, Naboo pointed the nozzle at the jazz catastrophe across the stage.

“Heyyyyyy, li’l piece’a chicken…” The harsh, rasping voice which emanated from the possessed body came from deep within Howard’s tormented bones. “I’m all curled up inside this body like a warm kitten. Found some other geezer in here, but I’ll soon take care of that. Howard and I had a deal. What makes you think you can get me out of here?” Naboo’s response was level-headed and gentle as ever. He stared back at the creature behind Howard’s eyes.

“Because you’ve made the mistake of messing with our precious flower.” Bolo’s growl was audible before his big, looming face emerged from the darknesss behind the tiny shaman. “And because I’m Naboo, that’s who.” With that, Naboo flipped the switch on the machine and held on for dear life as the jagged notes swirled and clashed toward the nozzle, whipping up a gale in their wake. The hoover clunked and hissed as Howard’s body writhed. A white wispy shadow appeared around the edges of Howard’s frame and seemed to resist the powerful hoover’s supernatural suction.

“Get him, Naboo!” Howard shouted, unable to quite make out what was happening through the curtains of Vince’s majestic fringe whipping about his face in the wind.

“I think- ” Naboo responded haltingly through gritted teeth. “I think- I’ve- got him!” The hoover bag bulged with its new occupant and Naboo switched the machine off triumphantly. Howard wasted no time kneeling beside his own body to awaken Vince in the aftermath. For a moment, he was nonresponsive.

“Vince,” Howard began fearfully. “Vince, are you there?” He held his own head in his arms and brushed a wisp of brown smoke from his eyes as they slowly blinked open. “Vince,” he breathed with a sigh of relief.

“Mmmmm, not quite, li’l piece’a chicken! Ow! Chicka-chicka!” Howard instantly dropped the body against the floor and scrambled backwards. He looked to Naboo in desperation who, in turn, looked back at the full hoover bag. From within the machine, a confused and muffled little voice replied,

“Howard?”
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