Come with us now on a journey through time and space... to the world of the Mighty Boosh…
Once upon a time in the Zooniverse, best friends Vince and Howard were beginning to grow tired of the day-in, day-out drudgery of working at the zoo. They'd been working there for years uncounted, so long that they were getting sick of the sight of each other for the first time since they'd met in primary school. Performing the same mundane tasks over and over would be enough to drive even sunshine people like Vince insane, and it was even further intensified by the fact that their boss was a grade A moron. Bob Fossil frequently called the Boosh into his office for ridiculous assignments such as organizing his newt cabinet or polishing his light bulbs. In Howard's typical, broody fashion, he wondered miserably if such a life was all he'd ever amount to.
Vince's response to being bored at work was the same as in any situation: he announced it loudly and waited for Howard to do something about it.
Howard glanced at Vince dully. "Bored again?" He swirled the leafy remains of his tea in its cup and set it down on the table. They were taking lunch in their hut, waiting out the drizzle of rain falling in patches over the zoo. "Why don't you comb your hair or something?" He asked half-sarcastically.
Vince snorted indignantly. "What, and walk around looking like split-end central? No, thank you." Vince got up and walked to the window, resting his elbows on the sill and sighing. "Can't we go to the shops or something? I'm going mental in here…"
"The shops? We're at work."
"Let's go and see Naboo, then. He's a laugh."
Howard opened his mouth to protest, then closed it. "That's not a bad idea, actually. Let's go."
They headed to Naboo's hut on the other side of the zoo. Vince put his collar up and his head down, complaining loudly whenever a stray raindrop found its way onto his moppy hair as he ran from shelter to shelter. Howard wondered how he'd ever been shackled to such a shallow best mate. He means well, though, he thought as they walked. Vain as he is, Vince is actually one of the most generous people I know. Besides, who wouldn't be vain, looking like he does. Howard watched Vince run up ahead and duck into Naboo's shop. He was startled to find himself admiring the way Vince's svelte, athletic legs filled out his jeans. I really need to take a holiday or something, he thought. Next I'll be checking out Mr. Fossil's belly rolls.
"A'right, Naboo?" Vince smiled broadly at the smoky silhouette of their local Shaman sitting on a low couch across the room.
"A'right, Vince? You two skipping out on second shift again?" Naboo waved lazily at some large cushions on the floor and the Boosh sat down cross-legged.
"Naw, just needed a little brakey. What are you up to, shut in here like Alice's caterpillar?" Vince gestured at the hookah Naboo was puffing on.
Naboo shrugged. "Just meditating and shit. You know, Shaman stuff."
Vince and Howard nodded knowingly. "Got any news for us, Naboo?" Howard asked. "Any premonitions or… recipes…" He trailed off as Naboo began swatting the air in front of him as if grasping at invisible bugs.
"I'm getting something now, actually," said Naboo. He continued to move his hands aimlessly, staring intently into space. "It's about you lot."
"About me and Vince?"
"Something's coming. Something big."
Vince sat forward excitedly on his cushion. "What kind of something? Is Gary Numan going on tour?"
"Sale at Topshop?"
Howard motioned at Vince to shut up. "What is it, Naboo? Trouble at the zoo?"
Naboo's hands began to still. "It's fading, now. Didn't get a good look."
Howard thought Naboo's face looked a little pink. There was a moment's silence as he took another long drag on the hookah without looking at them. "Something about you lot," he repeated. "Going on a journey or somethin'."
"A journey…" Howard called up grand visions of heroic quests and noble pilgrimages.
"That or you're getting a new set of potholders," Naboo added.
Howard stared at him in disbelief. "Potholders? You said it was something big!"
Naboo held up his hands in defense. "Potholders can be a big deal. What would you do without them, pull your hash cakes out the oven with socks on your mits? Something new is coming for you, that's all I've got." Naboo avoided Howard's eyes and stared with great apparent interest at a seam coming loose in one of the cushions.
Vince looked disappointed, but less bored, which was all that really mattered. He got to his feet to leave. "Cheers, Naboo," he said. "We'll keep that in mind. Let us know if the vision comes back, yeah? I'm bursting for a bit of action 'round here."
Naboo colored again at the word "action" and Howard narrowed his eyes. He knows more than he's letting on, he thought. Maybe he'll tell me if I get him on his own…
Before Howard could think of a reason to send Vince away, Bob Fossil's voice crackled over the zoo's rusty speakers. "Howard Moon and Vince Noir!" he roared in his nondescript American accent, "Come to my office immediately! That means now! Have a nice day."
The Boosh looked at each other and rolled their eyes. They said goodbye to Naboo and headed to Fossil's office. Luckily, the rain had let up and little patches of sunlight dotted the pavement. Vince chatted absentmindedly about what the "big something" could be as they walked, speculating wildly about speedboats and record deals. Howard wondered if it might be something more abstract than that. Why did Naboo look so shifty after the vision? He'd almost looked embarrassed. What had he seen in their future...?
They arrived at Bob Fossil's office to find their boss scribbling furiously on a tiny pad of paper with the words "Zoo Bizness" printed at the top. He looked up as they came in.
"Good!" he said, "You're here!" He scribbled a few more lines and then thrust the pad at Howard. "You're in charge of the zoo now, I gotta see a man about a big-mouth fat lady."
Howard and Vince looked at each other, then at Fossil, blankly.
"You know," Fossil gestured impatiently. "The fat, wrinkled, big-mouth lady that swims?"
"...Hippo?" Howard guessed.
"No! Wait.. yes! I got this guy, he says he can get me one cheap, but I go gotta meet him pronto. It could take weeks, maybe even hours. You two are in charge, don't blow it!" With that explanation, he grabbed an umbrella and remote control, then rushed out the door. A second later he ran back in, dropped the remote, grabbed his wallet, and was gone. Howard looked at the notepad. Fossil's writing was mostly unintelligible, but what he could make out were things like "Feed the grey leg-face man," "Wash the hairy hand-foot boy," and "Do your fucking jobs!" He looked at Vince, who was in shock, but beginning to smile with a dawning realization.
"Did he say we're in charge?" Vinced grinned. "As in we're running the zoo and can do whatever we want?"
Howard caught on and grinned back. "That he did, my friend, that he did." He tossed the notepad onto Fossil's desk and rubbed his hands together excitedly. "This is our chance to finally run things properly! What should our first order of business be?"
"'First order of business?'" Vince echoed in disgust. "Who are you, The Man? Mr. All Work and No Play? This is brilliant! We're our own boss, we can do what we want!" Vince ran over to the microphone and switched it on. "Hello, this is Vince Noir with a staff announcement: there are no staff announcements! So take a nap, eat a biscuit, run around in your pants-"
Howard grabbed the mic from Vince and winced as it screeched with feedback. He put on his best professional voice. "Hello, Howard Moon here. Please disregard the previous announcement, as it was highly inaccurate. There is a staff announcement, and that announcement is that I, Howard Moon, am now in charge. Please carry on with your normal daily activities and report to me if you have any questions or concerns." He paused awkwardly. "Ta!" he blurted, and switched the microphone off.
Vince shook his head. "Unbelievable. Why are you so boring?!" He crossed his arms and pouted like a child who's been denied ice cream. Howard tried not to think about how cute Vince looked when he pouted. Cute? Get a hold of yourself, Moon.
"Simmer down," he said. "Fossil left us in charge, and we're not going to blow it like couple of kids. Don't you see, Vince? This is our chance! This is our big break, like Naboo was talking about. We play our cards right, and we're on our way, sir."
"On our way where?"
"Anywhere we want! With something like 'Zoo Management' on our resumes, we can take our pick of upper level positions at any number of institutions!"
Vince threw up his hands. "Howard, slow down! Listen to yourself. This isn't us, this isn't what we set out to do. What about the zoo just being a stop-gap? I thought we were going to seek our fortune, join a band and start an elite Jazz / electro-punk cafe that moves locations based on local fishing patterns." He took hold of Howard's arms. "I thought we were a team. We can't run this zoo, we undermine the people that run this zoo. Do you really want to give up on your dreams and become some sort of corporate sell-out?"
Howard stared into Vince's large, blue eyes. In all their years of friendship he'd never heard the Londoner give such an earnest speech. It gave him pause. "Maybe you're right…" he said slowly. Vince looked up at him hopefully, still lightly gripping Howard's arms. "This isn't who I wanted to be. Maybe what Naboo saw in that vision was a crossroads. Perhaps the Big Something isn't an opportunity to move up in this job, but to walk away from the zoo forever." He set his jaw and looked down at Vince. "It doesn't matter whether everyone listens to your announcement or mine. When Fossil gets back, you and I are out of here." He felt a rush of relief and a twinge anticipation as he said it. Vince flashed his toothiest smile.
"You mean it, Howard?"
Howard resisted the urge to wipe a stray lock of Vince's hair from his eyes. He felt such a strong wave of affection it startled him. Vince didn't seem to notice, but put his arms around Howard in a bear hug. They hadn't hugged like that since they were in short pants, but it felt natural. Actually, it felt amazing. Howard smiled despite himself and hugged the smaller man back. Vince broke away before long, keen on telling Naboo their decision and planning what kind of mischief they'd get into while Fossil was away. Howard reluctantly let him go, making a mental note to sort out what kind bizarre hormones must be causing all these new feelings he had toward his friend.