[identity profile] ideserveyou.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] booshslashhaven
Title: The Mighty Boosh Christmas Special of Glitter, Chapter 8
Summary: Vince goes to a jazz concert. Voluntarily. Yes, really
Rating: Gen
Warnings: none
Length: about 1600 words
Spoilers:  It’s not a real polar bear
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. I know them so well, but still I don’t own them and they’re not making me any money, they’re just making me happy. Don’t ask why they make me happy in this particular way. They just do.
Notes:  The cafe is a real cafe in Dalston; the band is a real band and their drummer’s hair is indeed a thing of wonder. It seemed to fit rather well here. This is the only thing remotely resembling RPF I have ever written. I have no shareable excuse as to why this chapter has taken me so long to write and post. I can only apologize to all you lovely and very patient people for letting you down. Next up is @yeahwehadatime and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes next!

Christmas Special of Glitter, Chapter 8

‘Polar bear.’

What? Where? Stay away from him, little man, he’s a dangerous predator. Quick, hide, I don’t want to die, I’ve got so much to give...

Howard’s panicky reaction is turning Vince’s knees weak and making his heart race. Instinctively he reaches out, before remembering that Howard is inside him and not standing next to him, or rather cowering and weeping next to him, which is what Howard would be doing if it was actually a real polar bear.

Calm down, Howard, it’s OK, an’ the polar bear an’ me, we just got on, remember? I didn’t say polar bear anyway. I said Polar Bear.

You did! You just said it again –

Polar Bear, Howard. It’s in capitals. The band. You know, the band, the jazz band?

Polar Bear?

Yeah. Vince heads for the door of the shop. I just saw their drummer walk past. Genius hair that bloke’s got, it’s like a hat! I wanna closer look.

But we have to phone Naboo...

We can do that in a minute. Vince peers down the festively lit street and glimpses a mightily bushy shadow whisking round the corner, underneath a set of Christmas lights shaped like an angel.

Ignoring Howard’s protests, he sets off in hot pursuit, but his knees are still a bit wobbly from the fright Howard had, so by the time they get to the corner there are no hat-like hairdos in sight, only a couple of nanas in woolly berets and a small boy in a baseball cap.

You imagined it. We need to go back to the shop and phone Naboo.

As if I’d imagine a hairstyle like that! Vince is indignant. Where could he have gone, though?

How about this? Howard turns Vince’s head to the left, where a poster has been taped to the wall.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
CAFE OTO FREE SESSION TONIGHT 8.30
SURPRISE GUESTS: POLAR BEAR

Great! That’s not far, it’s just round the next corner. Vince is trotting briskly in the direction of the cafe before Howard can even begin to try to stop him.


It’s dark in the venue, and packed to the rafters. Vince elbows his way through the crowd until the band is just about visible and the drummer’s hair definitely visible, rising above his drum kit like a bushy cloud, or the crown of a jungle tree.

There. What did I tell you? Utter genius.

Mmmm. Howard doesn’t sound convinced. How much more of it do you need to see, Vince? Because we really need to go back to the shop and phone –

Ssssh, they’re gonna start.

But shouldn’t we – And then Howard’s voice in Vince’s head stops dead, because both of them have seen who’s playing the second saxophone tonight.

It’s Howard. Or rather, it’s the Spirit of Jazz in Howard’s body. And Howard doesn’t look nearly as happy as he did the last time he played at a gig while possessed.

Which perhaps isn’t entirely a bad thing, although Vince does quite enjoy revisiting one memory from that night, the memory of Howard’s clothes flying off and Howard’s bits all wobbling about in that ridiculously tight excuse for a pair of underpants...

Do you mind? I’m not proud of that performance, no sir.

Sorry. Vince drags his mind back to the present, where some complicated and apparently random drum rhythms are weaving themselves through the air and Howard’s fingers are running over the saxophone keys as he raises it to his lips and prepares to blow.

Vince finds himself taking a deep breath at the same time. He’s relieved to find that he can still breathe freely, that his neck hasn’t immediately swollen up like it does sometimes in the presence of jazz. Perhaps having Howard occupying his mind is somehow making him immune. In fact, his fingers are twitching in time to something, although it’s something that doesn’t bear much relation to what the band are actually playing.

Hang on, Vince, are you enjoying this?

No. But Vince can sense Howard’s affectionate amusement. And this music is genius in its own weird way.

Until Howard’s body’s solo starts, and then it’s just weird. The rest of the band are frowning, apart from the drummer, whose face is still calm and expressionless as one by one the other musicians give up trying to keep even slightly in time with the squeaking, groaning noises that are coming from Howard’s instrument.

Finally the torture stops as Howard flings the sax away, narrowly missing the keyboard player.

‘This is bullshit, boy,’ he snarls. ‘I is givin’ up on you. The contract’s null and void. You has no jazz in your soul. I’m off to get inside someone who understands me.’

The lights go out and all that can be seen is a pair of tiny eyes glowing red. Then those too disappear.

The drumbeats stop.

Someone in the audience screams, and people start shoving and pushing, trying to get outside.

‘Hey, where do you think you’re all going? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet, no, baby. I’se in charge now.’

The lights flicker back on and the music re-starts, more complex than before, with a driving, pulsing drumbeat behind it that’s hard to resist.

Everyone turns back towards the band.

It’s the drummer’s eyes that are now glowing red.

We have to help Howard. Vince struggles through the crowd, towards where he thinks Howard might be. He’s all on his own now.

I can’t even –

It’s OK, Howard. Vince fights down his own rising panic. Look, there you are.

A solitary figure is standing in the front row, the only person who hasn’t started dancing to the new beat. His arms hang limply by his side and he’s staring vaguely at nothing.

Vince worms his way through the last few sweaty bodies and stands close behind; reaches for Howard’s hand, wondering how this empty version of Howard will react.

Howard’s hand is surprisingly warm, and it clasps Vince’s just like it always did, like there’s nothing wrong, even though when he turns his head to look at Vince there is no recognition in his eyes.

‘C’m’on, Howard.’ Vince swallows hard against the lump in his throat, a lump that’s tears and not jazz allergy. ‘Come with me.’

Gently, he tugs at Howard’s hand and leads him away from the band, hugely relieved that nobody is taking the slightest notice of them as they work their way through the audience and out of the cafe door.

What do we do now? Howard’s voice in Vince’s head sounds all wobbly and uncertain. Must be a shock for him, being right beside himself but with no way to get back in there and take charge. An empty vessel, that’s what the Hitcher said. Vince squeezes Howard’s hand a little tighter, and Howard’s hand squeezes back.

A clock across the road strikes the hour.

Eleven? How is that even possible, we were only in there five minutes.

Ah, but jazz is a mysterious thing, little man. It might have felt like five minutes to us, but in reality it’s been... how long has it been?

Too long. Vince’s heart sinks. Bet Naboo’s not even answerin’  his phone no more, he’ll have given up on us, an’ the Shaman Board will too. Sorry Howard, I screwed up.

We did get my body back.

S’pose we did, yeah.

And we’re still wearing – I mean, you’re still wearing the amulet, right?

Vince checks with his free hand. Yeah. Yeah, it’s still there.

Well, then, we need to get to that party. It’s our only chance. What about that taxi over there?

Over where?

Heading straight for us. Watch out –

The driver screeches to a halt just short of mounting the pavement, and rolls down the window. ‘Evenin’ squire.’ His Cockney accent sounds vaguely familiar. ‘I’m ‘ere to pick up yer friend.’

‘We didn’t order a taxi,’ Vince says, bemused.

‘Yer didn’t need to. It’s an automated service, innit.’

Vince’s horrified gaze takes in the driver’s black hooded cloak, the bony hand on the wheel, the scythe propped up on the back seat.

Howard begins to whimper. Vince takes a deep breath.

‘But he’s not – I mean, he’s –’

‘On ‘is way to Limbo, that’s what ‘e is. ‘Elp ‘im on board, would ya? These empty vessels, they’re a bit ‘opeless at takin’ care of themselves.’

No, Howard moans, don’t take me, I’ve got so much to give.

‘You can’t take him.’ Vince’s voice comes out as a pathetic squeak.

The Reaper is unmoved. ‘I’ve gotta take ‘im, it’s the rules.’

‘Listen,’ Vince says, with all the courage he can muster, which isn’t much in the face of Howard’s complete panic taking over his mind. ‘We were on our way to a party, could you drop me off there?’

‘An’ why would I do that?’

‘Because it’s an occultist party. I’m a friend of the Hitcher’s.’

‘Are yer, now.’

‘Yeah.’ Vince cockneyfies his accent and attitude as much as he can.

What are you doing, Vince? We can’t count on getting through the mirror world a second time...

It’s OK, Howard, I’ve got a plan. Vince leans conspiratorially towards the cab window. ‘Listen, I can get you in there too, if you want. Surely a couple of hours won’t hurt your schedule? Tell them you took the long way round or went to monkey hell by mistake or something.’

‘I dunno...’

‘Elsie’s gonna be there. You could dance with her. An’ there’ll be loads of other fares you could pick up. Surely even Reapers need a bit extra at Crimbo, don’t they?’

‘Good point. Pauline’s been on at me fer weeks, them Christmas spirits don’t come cheap... Whereabouts is this party of yours, then?’

‘Bethnal Green cemetery.’

‘Sounds right up my street.’ The Reaper laughs hollowly. ‘D’yer see wot I did there? I’ll ‘ave to remember to tell Colin that one... OK, it’s a bit irregular, but it is Christmas after all. ‘Op in, both of yer. An’ fasten yer seat belts. This is gonna be the ride of your life.’


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