Sequel to: Love Potion Number Zed (makes sense to read that first)
Rated: PG, T — Some mildly scary stuff.
Fandom: The Mighty Boosh
Categories: Angst, Adventure, Fantasy, Humor, Parody, Friendship/Bromance
Homage to: Ray Bradbury’s “The Jar”
Disclaimer: Just fan fic. Don’t own ’em. Just borrow ’em to toy with them a bit. Also, I re-iterate: JUST FAN FIC. No one is claiming this is Pulitzer Prize material.
Revenge with Yorkshire Pudding
With taunts still ringing in his ears, Howard fled the Nabootique and hastily set off to nowhere. The night gripped the city streets, making the world appear colorless, foreboding. The full Moon was taking a nap behind the clouds, oblivious to the doings of lost humans such as Howard.
Howard adhered to back alleyways and twisted side streets, seeking surroundings that matched his sense of desolation. He could still see Vince laughing at him, ridiculing him for his foolishness. He had made a horrible mistake, he would admit that much. In a twisted sort of way, it was good fortune that he had failed. If he had really concocted a working Love Potion, it would have cost them both dearly. The thought kept him going as he plodded on into the spitting rain.
He walked for hours, losing his bearings, abandoning his sense of direction. He had no destination planned. He felt he no longer belonged anywhere.
He dug into his pocket, felt the money and a crumpled list that Naboo had given to him in what seemed liked years ago. Howard thought back to their conversation over the list of supplies.
“Listen Howard, this is important. You must to go to K’hoohoo’s Place, ask for Hieronymus,” Naboo ordered.
“I can do that,” Howard claimed.
“I want you to get everything on this list. Follow this list to the letter. Do not get anything else. Understood?”
“There is enough money for what is on the list. No more. No less. “
“Do not even look at anything else.”
“Got it. You can count on me, Naboo.”
“Harold will mess up,” Bollo growled.
“Now see here! Howard TJ Moon can accomplish any task or tasks given him and he will do so in an efficient and timely manner sir!”
Bollo rumbled a low disgusted sound.
Howard ignored the ape, but he was extremely tired of the perennial disrespect he faced from his so-called friends.
Howard came back to the present and checked his personal balance sheet. This was not only about this most recent affront, something he would admit he brought down upon his own head. This was about Howard’s life in general.
His best mate abused him at every turn. Naboo treated him as if he were a low grade moron and Bollo, when he was not ignoring him completely, showed nearly vitriolic disdain for his very existence.
It was a sorry state of affairs, and one which did not fit with Howard’s aspirations and self-image.
He would show them all someday. His ship would come in. The cows would come home. The swallows would return to Capistrano. Howard TJ Moon would be a big man someday and then everyone would have to respect him.
“Revenge,” Howard thought, “is a dish best served with a side of Yorkshire pudding and a pint of stout!”
Down the Darkened Alley
As bitter as Howard was, he knew eventually he would have to return to what he now jokingly thought of as “home”. He had pledged to get the items for Naboo, and if he at least carry out that task as he had promised, it would be one less fault they could find with him, one less opportunity to berate him.
Howard realized he should not have waited this long to go on Naboo’s errand, but this is how it turned out to be. K’hoohoo’s shop was open 24 hours, so he pressed on.
The streets of London never seemed as dark as they were now. It felt as if the buildings were closing in on him. He hastened his step. He thought he was nearing K’hoohoo’s Place, which drew him deeper and deeper into a very dodgy area of town. He thought he heard whispers from the crevices. He sensed he was being watched, as if eyeballs were boring into him, cataloguing his every move and informing their malevolent owners of his complete vulnerability.
The thought of Naboo’s disapproval catapulted him forward into the unknown.
He realized that under normal circumstances, Vince would be with him. Going through life without Vince would be horrific at best, but what he could he do? Howard feared that his ties with Vince were close to being severed forever.
Howard thought he recognized some familiar places and hastened his step. The street lamps flickered out suddenly, and Howard collided with a large drape of heavy canvas. It felt like hitting a cinderblock edifice. The canvas buffeted him for a small eternity, and when light was visible again Howard found himself standing in front of Bob Fossil, who was gadding about dressed as PT Barnum.
“I thought I smelled the rutting stink of a plantation worm!” Fossil exclaimed. “Who let you out of your blueberry cage, Moon? Is it turkey season in duck town?”
“Get away from me!” Howard retorted. “You’re an idiot!”
“Oooo! Must have been a bad day at the baloney factory,” Fossil taunted. “Listen Moon! I’m watching you!”
“Are you?” Howard said with defiance.
“I read in the Evening Scum that you and Vince are on the outsies!” Fossil said, producing a tattered rag of a red titled gossip magazine.
“You what?” Howard asked in disbelief. “How in the name of Weather Report did they decide to print that drivel?”
“That’s goodie goodie time for me, because now I can be Vince’s best friend, not you!”
“Good for you, Fossil,” Howard said forcefully. “Get out of my way.” Howard shocked himself a bit with that.
“Here in the Blunder Blite it says that Vince is having hanky panky with Na’an Bread but I know that’s not true, because he’s in love with me!” Fossil said to himself.
“Well, you’re a stinky stink stank!” as he ran off, skipping like the fool that he was and completely forgetting about Howard. “Toucan Sam wants to spank you so hard!” he shouted to no one.
Howard looked up to see a large red and yellow sign that proclaimed: “Bob Fossil’s Sideshow A-Rama”. Why was Bob Fossil ever put in charge of anything at all? Even something as shambolic as a sideshow seemed above his meager abilities.
Howard immediately sought an escape, but the tent seemed to grip at him again as if he were caught in a web.
When Howard managed to move freely once more, he happened upon a neon lit section which drew his attention. It was the brightest thing he had seen in the wilderness of this night and he headed toward it as a moth toward a blue lamp. It seemed to be the stall for an occult shop. Maybe he could find Naboo’s items at this place.
In front of the tented stall was a rickety little side-show stage replete with a variety of peculiar objects. The bizarre tableau overflowed with occult supplies and offerings: tarot decks, wands, astrological charts, cauldrons, books, candles, ingredients and herbs.
An intensely creepy full body monkey mummy sat near the center of it all. The monkey’s glaring glass eyes seemed to focus on him, targeting him, at once repulsing and drawing him in toward the lurid thing.
But what held people’s attention was not the grotesque dead animal. Several people stood staring intently at the marvelous object in the middle of the exhibit, each of them mesmerized by its mysterious appeal.
This peculiar item stood at the center of the collection, nestled right next to the hideous monkey mummy. Howard’s brain had trouble assembling the image of it, as if it were materializing in front of him. After a few moments the object seemed to form into a rather large Snow Globe.
While its form had finally registered as solid, its contents remained out of focus. Again Howard’s mind struggled to make sense of what he was seeing.
Bits inside it seemed to float around, suspended in the clear liquid. In the dark, under the neon, the colors seemed to shift as well. Was that an eye, a bone, some hair? Did it move? Did it heave, as if breathing? Was it a scene? How deep did it go? It seemed to be only a few inches inside, and at the same time it seemed stretch into the infinite.
Howard began to have visions of Jazz, as if the music were taking tangible form. He saw himself as the center of attention, with beautiful women hanging on his arms. He saw himself as a star at a Jazz club, buying drinks with a wallet filled with an endless fountain of cash. Many people begged for his autograph. Jazz greats pleaded for his advice. It was all too perfect.
A woman emerged from the curtains. Howard was floored by her gypsy beauty, and felt as if he had just fallen, the wind knocked out of him.
Despite the distraction of the swarthy beauty, Howard could not look away from the Snow Globe and the visions it put before him. He stood mesmerized by the thing, this object he could not comprehend.
The lovely woman reached in among the display and took the Globe to her ample bosom. She shook it gently and returned it to its pedestal. It must have contained at least two liters of water, maybe more. The movements within the Globe elicited gasps, “ooohs” and “aaaahs” from the group. Howard’s gaze was transfixed to it with the same rapt attention as the others around him.
Howard became aware of the regard the other onlookers gave to the Snow Globe. Each of them gaped at it and murmured in awe of what they each thought they saw in it. Whispers hissed from each one, reminding Howard of the eerie sounds he had heard on his journey here.
After some time, the gypsy covered the Globe, causing an outcry from the people who were held transfixed.
“I must close now,” she told them. “Go, and think about what you have witnessed here. Tell everyone you meet.”
They pleaded with her to permit them stay, but she told them she could not allow it. They could come back when she opened the next night. Finally the group dissipated leaving Howard, the gypsy and the Globe alone.
She slyly regarded Howard with special interest and in the absence of the glass Globe, he found himself staring at her and dumbfounded. She approached him quickly and grabbed his hand, running a talon-like long-nailed finger down his palm. His head swam with female attention.
“You have a destiny,” she informed him. “Is this not true?”
“No. I mean, yes,” he stuttered, not sure of the negatives. “I believe that I, Howard TJ Moon do have a marvelous destiny.”
“I see a loved one in your life, one who has betrayed you,” she informed him levelly. “For this transgression, you are very bitter.”
“How can you know these things about me?” he asked. “So specific. So accurate.”
“I have broadband,” she told him, pointing at her crystal ball.
She led him into her lair and he passed behind the curtain almost without noticing.
“That is quite a…” Howard stumbled for a word. “Quite a thing you have there.”
“Yes. Yes it is,” she said quietly.
“A man who owned one of those…” he began.
“Well, he would be well thought of,” he concluded.
“A man who owned the Globe could have any dream he desired,” she agreed.
He thought of how each person stared toward the object as sunflowers riveted toward the sun. That was power. That was admiration.
“But for me, the Globe and I are to part ways,” she informed him. “It has become a burden to bear. I’m not sure what to do with it.”
Howard thought for a moment. “Well, I could maybe,” he began slowly, “look after it awhile.”
“Oh, I could not ask such a thing of you, a great man. Surely it would be a problem for you.”
“I think I could fit it into my schedule,” he volunteered magnanimously.
He lost time.
When he became aware again, he was sitting on a rough-hewn wooden bench in front of the stall holding the cumbersome Globe on his lap. It had been hastily wrapped in a dirty piece of canvas. Naboo’s list was crumpled in his hand, but he knew he had given the gypsy all the money he has possessed—all of Naboo’s money. He no longer cared.
Quietly, a slight, stylish man approached gingerly and sat next to him. Vince softly greeted Howard with a tentative “Alwight.”
“Vince!” Howard exclaimed happily and then remembered to be angry.
“I’ve been looking for you all night Howard,” Vince said. “I was worried about you.”
“Why did you bother?” Howard retorted. “It seems I’m nothing more than a joke to you. Did you need another laugh?”
“It’s not like that at all, Howard.”
The dawn illuminated the remains of the tenting. The sideshow it seemed had been swept away by the morning light. There was a clear path to the street and Howard wondered why he did not see it before.
“What you got there?” Vince inquired, smiled and made a move to pull back the canvas covering.
“Never mind that,” Howard said brusquely and lugged the heavy object away as much as possible. “It’s not for you to see.”
“Oh come on. What is it?” Vince persisted.
“I’m not speaking to you,” Howard told Vince.
“What? What is it you’re doing now?”
“I’m informing you of my new policy.”
“What policy? You have a policy?” Vince said skeptically.
“Yes, I do.”
“The policy is that I do not speak to you,” Howard said with finality.
“Ahhh!” Vince teased, pointing his fingers playfully at Howard. “You’re speaking to me!”
“Look! That’s enough! I’m not speaking to you and that is final.”
The two sat quietly for a moment.
“This is the very last time!”
“Do you remember when we used to talk? About stuff?”
Howard’s eyes narrowed. He knew what was coming next. It was how Vince always got to him.
Big Man in Town
Little Man Unknown
Howard knew that he could always be manipulated by the little chanting game that he and Vince often played.
So Vince began.
“Gotta lotta stuff,” Vince prompted.
“Gotta lotta stuff,” he continued, but Howard found himself falling right into it despite his inner protests.
“Stored up in my brainpan
“Gotta write it down
“When the voices talk to me
“Write it down
“Let it out
“Write it down
“Let it fly
“Hoo Hoo Silly chatter
“Hoo Hoo Nonsense patter
“It won’t work this time!” Howard insisted, pulling himself away from the bonding force of the crimp.
Howard rose from the bench, his prize in his arms then stomped off toward home. Vince hopped up and followed, matching Howard’s brusque march toward the Nabootique as best he could as he followed at Howard’s heels.
Big Man in Town
To Howard’s relief, Naboo had been called away on an emergency Shaman affair. He would not have to explain his purchase to Naboo, and perhaps he could still fulfill the errand he was given.
Howard set the Snow Globe on the counter and the electric reaction was immediate. Each person who walked by the Nabootique was instantly drawn into the store as if they were a puppet being jerked in by a string.
Soon there was a gathering like at the gypsy’s stall, and Howard had to bring chairs from everywhere he could to accommodate the crowd.
In this viewing area, customers could (and would) sit for hours and muse about what they were seeing.
Howard was vigilant about withholding his find from Vince. He kept one of Vince’s fanciful capes on hand and whenever Vince sauntered near, Howard would hastily drape it over the display. His action would cause groans and complaints from Howard’s following and aggravate Vince to no end. It gave Howard his much-craved sense of power.
A mousey little woman in a frumpy dress got up from being a fixture in a chair and waddled toward the Globe.
“I think it’s my washing from last Tuesday,” she ventured. The others turned to her without taking their eyes from the Globe.
“How’s that Mrs. McGillicutty?” one finally prompted. The group had been together so much, they knew each other’s names.
“It’s my washing that I left in the tub. You know how it becomes all moldy and mildewy smelling if you leave it by mistake.”
That concept hung in the air awhile.
A scruffy looking body trudged to the Globe as a zombie.
“I think it’s me mate Ralph what drowned in the Thames,” said Dan Ermine, the professional weasel wrangler.
His comment elicited an audible gasp from the group.
“Well, he din’nt actually drown and it wa’n’t the Thames. He really just got his head stuck in a bucket what once held water, probably from the Thames.”
“Whatever happened to him?” Joe Talleyho asked.
“Dunno, but if it was ‘im, right, then ‘e’d look like that thing there in the Globe.”
“There’s nothing in the Globe!” said Dizzy Cauwe to the group.
Another audible gasp as the gang heard that suggestion.
“Hear me out!” she insisted. “It’s like a mirror, into your soul! What you see there is what is inside you. Sometimes it shows you want you want to see. Sometimes it shows you your worst fears. But, it always wins in the end!”
Her offering was quickly dismissed as nonsense.
Meanwhile, Vince was out of his mind with curiosity. He was very hurt that Howard would not let him see the Globe. He could not tolerate being excluded from Howard’s social group; to him, it was a fate worse than death.
One night, after the crowd was gone and Vince was certain that Howard had finally succumbed to exhaustion, Vince crept down to the shop for a little look-see. Nothing could be as wondrous as they all said. Anyway, it was something everyone was doing and he could not resist the allure of the siren draw of a trend.
Slowly he approached the thing, looking guiltily around for Howard. He tugged at his colorful cape that served as its cover. At first the cape would not move and give up its secret, but suddenly it rolled back and the Globe caught him instantly, like a mousetrap snapping on its unwitting quarry.
Fashionista Faux Pax
Vince was pulled in through a glittery vortex of light. An endless collection of toys swirled around his helpless form. A monkey doll clanged its symbols together and chattered its jagged teeth. A rag doll flopped feebly in an eddy of force. A toy truck, a plane, a train spun out of control. Doll houses and clothes. Plastic dinosaurs and board games. Each item danced around Vince barely missing him.
The toys looked very old, yellowed and many were broken. The dolls looked sad, their faces turning to Vince as if appealing for help. But, Vince could not help himself. He was being pulled along with all the other flotsam and jetsam that twirled in the frightening magical stream.
Vince finally came to a rest in an impressively large but hopelessly cluttered toy-maker’s workshop. An enormous carousel seahorse stared at him; its rhinestones glinted in the yellow illumination. A giant Jack-in-the-Box swayed back and forth, its white-gloved hands seemed to reach toward Vince. A beautiful gypsy tarot reader mannequin sat in an ornate booth, waiting for coins to be offered in exchange for her gifts of insight.
“He he he he he he!” an elderly man chipped. “What do we have here?” he exclaimed with glee, tapping his half fists together as a child would to signal “Goodie! Goodie!”
“Ah…where am I?” Vince managed to blurt as his breath came back to him. He ran his hand through his raven locks.
“Yes, yes! Just what I’ve been hoping for, one such as you! You are beautiful!”
“I am quite good looking,” Vince agreed. “But what am I doing here?”
“I can use you very nicely!” the Toy Maker ignored his question. “Such a pretty thing! You shall be a Harlequin!”
The man reached to touch Vince, who instinctively backed away, out of his reach. Vince had been the object of many unwanted advances; he was expert at fending them away.
“Who are you?” Vince asked warily, but not yet realizing he should fear this creature more than any he encountered before.
“Put this on,” the Toy Maker ordered, holding up a parti-colored outfit.
“Wha? That?” Vince scoffed. “That look is so five seconds ago! Haven’t you heard? Jacobean ruffs are definitely a fashion faux pas this week! Nehru jackets, now that’s all the rage. I’m also expecting Geek Chic to sweep the world.”
Vince’s objection was also ignored, and he somehow found himself in the very outfit that he found repulsive.
“I’m not ‘aving this!” Vince tried to remove the garments, but found they were fusing with his body and becoming part of him. He tore at them, only to find he was hurting himself.
“Ah! Get this off of me!” Vince yelled, now properly terrified.
“Perfect!” was the only response. “It’s taking to you good, just like I knew it would!”
“Hey, don’t quote the Stones! I’m not ‘avin’ you defiling Mick ‘n Keith too!” Vince insisted, anger rising in his voice.
Vince was finally afraid of the crazy old man, because anyone who would dress him this far against the fashion dictates was someone who could not be trusted.