Disclaimer: I don't own The Mighty Boosh, and if I did, I would set it free like a beautiful wild animal to roam in the forest.
Howard Moon was going mad. He had been stuck on a desert island for forty-four days now, and hadn't eaten anything in three weeks. He was starving, he was sweaty, he was sunburned, and his attempts to write his frustration out of his system were hampered by the fact he was carving into wood with a pair of tweezers, and was having a lot of trouble with the Os. He'd only written two words
But he knew what his novel was going to be about. About being adrift on an ocean of Time, with Time slowly eroding his sanity. And how he was haunted by the faces of all the women he'd left behind and would never see again. He didn't know who these women were, he couldn't really remember any particular woman, and the fact that he couldn't picture one woman he'd been with, even superficially, was immensely annoying.
He could only picture one face of any importance in his life, and instead of being romantically far away over Time-ridden oceans, it was right in front of him.
Vince's face. Vince was stuck on the island with him, but the thing that really jellied Howard's eel was that by rights Vince should have been just as starved, sunburned, and sanity-eroded as he was, but instead Vince sat there in front of him looking perfectly content and perfectly groomed
It wasn't fair, Howard internally raged. Weeks and weeks on a desert island, and Vince looked exactly the same as the first day they had been unceremoniously dumped there by an irate ship's captain. His stylish summer clothes looked freshly ironed, his goth-pale complexion flawlessly smooth and untouched by the sun's rays, and every blue-black hair on his head perfectly in place.
It just wasn't fair, Howard fretted. Here he was, looking like an old beach bum with clothes falling to pieces, a nose like a strawberry, and eyes tiny and worried from permanently squinting at the horizon in harsh sunlight. And there was Vince, looking like he just stepped off the cover of a really cool fashion magazine, the type so exclusive you couldn't buy it in shops, but had it delivered to you by silent ninjas.
That was it, Vince was just so bloody ... perfect, Howard fumed. Sitting there with his big dreamy blue eyes swept with long silky eyelashes, striking features, creamy skin, raven hair falling softly to his shoulders, a permanent sunny smile on his generous lips. Vince was the most stunning person Howard had ever seen, and even after all these years his heart still leapt in his chest every time he looked at him.
It was just his typically horrible bad luck, Howard decided gloomily. Stuck on a desert island with the most beautiful person in the world, and no way to escape from him, no way out. Maybe that was what his novel should be called – No Exit. Hm, now that had a ring to it ...
Vince Noir was enjoying life. The sun had warmed him all through so that he felt completely relaxed; it was warmer than being under the blankets of his bed, warmer than a mug of cocoa or a bath filled with orchid-scented bubbles. He was surrounded by golden sand, and in the distance the glittering turquoise sea stretched to the horizon. It was just like a tourist brochure, Vince thought happily. I mean, if I saw this in a picture, I'd think it was well good, he reasoned.
He checked his reflection in his Kings of Leon CD, and gently touched up his make-up. He wondered idly if a perm might suit him – a loose one obviously, but with a cheeky little fringe. Maybe some subtle highlights?
Vince sighed gently as he looked over at his best friend. He could tell Howard was getting himself all wound up: he had that same look on his face when he couldn't get a line of poetry right, or when his jazz scatting didn't sound spontaneous enough. Here they were on a sunny, sandy island surrounded by turquoise sea, and Howard was going to have one of his moods.
Still, island life really suited Howard, Vince mused. Howard was looking strong and lean and suntanned, and his hair had grown into a mane of long, untamed, sun-kissed, honey-coloured ringlets. He looks just like hunky Kris Kristofferson, thought Vince, admiring the view of Howard's chest, laid bare by his unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt.
"That was the thing about Howard though, Vince said to himself, quite without envy. He's a natural beauty. He doesn't have to do anything to look good, he's one of those people who can slop out of the flat wearing any old thing, a pair of running shorts with a tweed jacket, whatever, and still look great. He never has to brush his hair, or make any effort at all. He looks fantastic without even trying.
Vince knew he wasn't like Howard. Early in life he'd realised that he had to work hard to present a pleasing facade to the world. He had to wear make up, endlessly style his hair, choose exactly the right clothes to flatter his thin physique. If he couldn't be a beauty, at least he could look cool, and that meant he got asked to attend nightclub openings, and appear on the cover of Cheekbone magazine (and on one embarrassing occasion, The Face – utter nightmare, he giggled to himself).
And Howard doesn't even realise how beautiful he is, Vince thought fondly. That's part of his appeal. And he never notices how many people are attracted to him, it goes totally over his head. I mean, people fancy me alright, Vince allowed, but I don't inspire the kind of obsessive passion that Howard does. When people fall for Howard, they go a bit nuts.
Maybe that's why I've never let myself completely fall for him, Vince considered. I don't want to end up some mental case barking at the moon on top of a wild mountain while Howard remains totally oblivious to me. I'm not that desperate.
"I'm desperate, Vince", said Howard feverishly. His sun-boiled brain had finally snapped, and his usually mild brown eyes had a dangerous look in them.
"What are you on about, Howard?"
"The situation's getting desperate now. We have to play by a different set of rules, if you see what I'm saying." He leered suggestively at Vince.
"Are you trying to come onto me?" asked a bemused Vince.
"It's time", intoned Howard. "Time for you to offer yourself up to me".
"You sure you're not trying to come onto me?", asked Vince hopefully.
"It's just you and me, there's no other way", said Howard.
"Well this is a bit sudden Howard", said Vince, drawing back a little with a coquettish expression. "I mean, shouldn't you have built up to it with some flirtatious chit-chat or a bunch of flowers? I'm not used to this kind of brutish treatment".
""I want to eat you, Vince", panted Howard. "I'm hungry for you, I want to nibble on you and have you in my mouth and taste every yummy little bit of you".
"I never thought you'd be so upfront", Vince said. "But I suppose it would be okay ... I mean we are all alone". He began to unzip his skin-tight jeans, giving Howard an encouraging smile.
"What are you doing?", said a confused Howard, and as he stepped hesitantly towards Vince, he felt a dull pain in his head as something hit him with a thud. He fell to the ground, stunned.
"Oh Howard look, you've found coconuts!", shrieked Vince in delight. "Genius!". He immediately cracked a coconut open, and offered some to the dazed Howard.
"Food", said Howard, stuffing it into his mouth. "Food, blessed life-giving food. I'm so sorry I tried to eat you, Vince", he apologised. "I think I went mad from hunger; I could actually see eggs and sausages and things all over your face".
"Weird", said Vince, carefully keeping the disappointment out of his voice. "We'll call that bloke you saw Breakfast Bob, but he's gone now. Tuck in, Howard".
"These things are amazing", said Vince, gnawing at a coconut. "They taste exactly like Bounty bars". He sipped coconut milk from the shell, and lay back in the sand.
"Now that we've got some food into us", said Howard in his most determined man-of-action voice, "we've got to think of a way to get off this infernal island".
"Oh but why, Howard?", demanded Vince. "The weather's nice, we've got food now. It's all good. It's like a little beach holiday".
"We're completely isolated", said Howard. "I can't bear the terrible loneliness, Vince, it's sending me mad. I need to have people around me, I need jazz clubs, and avant-garde cinemas, and ... and ... places that sell stationery".
"You're not isolated Howard, you've got me", said Vince petulantly. "You're forever saying that you're all alone in the world, but you never are – I'm always here with you. And we're in a tropical paradise, and this is the first holiday we've ever been on where it's warm and sunny, and no monster or nutter is trying to kill us or rape us or kidnap us".
"I'm not sure you're really contributing to this discussion on how to escape from the island, Vince", said Howard in his most patronising tone. "I mean, what exactly are you bringing to the table?"
"Kings of Leon CD", said Vince, producing it triumphantly. "It's a blinding album, better than their first one. Plus it doubles as a mirror".
"Look, this isn't desert island dicks," said Howard, his words slurring. "I mean discs – desert island discs", he corrected himself hastily.
"Can you keep your obsession with dicks under control?", smirked Vince. "First you come onto me begging to eat me, then you see sausage all over my face, now you want to talk about dicks on a desert island. You've gone wrong, Howard".
"I said discs", said Howard feebly. "But I do feel strange. Ever since we started eating the coconut I've felt sort of woozy and as if everything is unreal".
"This island is unreal Howard", said Vince enthusiastically. "It's the best holiday you've ever taken me on".
"No I meant that ...". Howard's voice died away, as if he was simply too exhausted or confused to keep talking.
Vince looked at his friend sympathetically.
"I think you've had a touch of the sun, Howard. Never mind, it will go down soon and you'll feel better".
Vince pulled his friend's head into his lap, and began stroking his hair. It's so fine, Vince thought, like running my hands through a cloud of brown smoke. He absent-mindedly stroked Howard's cappuccino-stain of a moustache, tracing the outline of his mouth with his finger.
It's funny, Vince said to himself, but I feel a bit weird too. Everything became shimmery and shadowy, as if nothing was real, but at the same time, almost too real to bear.
He tried to tell Howard how everything felt different, but when he put his mouth to Howard's ear, he found himself whispering instead, "You can eat my dick if you want to, Howard".
"What?", Howard mumbled.
"I said you're so ... so bewful", Vince slurred indistinctly.
But Howard didn't answer. He was asleep.
Later that evening Vince and Howard were sitting on the beach together, by a fire that the resourceful Howard had built, enjoying a shell or two of refreshing coconut milk. They had watched the sunset turn the sea orange and red and gold, and then as it became darker, fireflies produced a soft light for them to see by. The sea was phosphorescent, with a fascinating green glow that moved beneath the gentle waves.
A group of fireflies fluttered through the air in front of them, briefly spelling out VINCE LOVES HOWARD before scattering into a random pattern of lights.
"That is biologically improbable", noted Howard, although whether he meant the fireflies spelling a message, or Vince loving him, was unclear.
"Biologically improbable things happen all the time", reflected Vince. "I mean, come on Howard, you've worked in a zoo. You know these things".
"What biologically improbable things happened at the Zooniverse?", queried Howard.
"Well there was your old mentor growing a cheese head in the jungle room, you discovered a secret dungeon of mutant freaks, and oh yeah - you bummed a fox".
"That was just a rumour, Vince", said Howard shiftily. "Nothing was ever proven".
"Well, you went to Monkey Hell for it, so I think you'll find it was actually proven", said Vince gleefully. "I mean it was legally proven in a court of Monkey Hell law".
"Monkeys are more primitive than us, Vince", said Howard. "Their legal system and eschatology aren't nearly as sophisticated. Besides", he added, "you seduced a panda".
"Yeah I did", admitted Vince, "but it was a complete waste of time. She got off with Mrs Gideon instead".
Howard remembered Mrs Gideon. He had had a crush on her at one time, until his atrocious behaviour had pushed her into the comforting arms of lesbian panda-ism. He felt pretty silly about it now. Funny how he kept going for completely the wrong people, he pondered. Somehow, that stirred a dim memory for Howard, and he turned to Vince and asked:/
"What was that thing you said to me, just before I dozed off for a bit?"
"I said you could eat my dick if you wanted to", giggled Vince. "That wasn't what I meant to say, but you still can do it if you want".
"No, the bit after that", insisted Howard. "Something about Bluetooth, or a sale on at Boots, maybe?"
"Oh that", recalled Vince. "I said you were so beautiful, Howard".
Howard looked staggered, almost offended.
"This is one of your jokes, isn't it?", he said grumpily. "You always insult me – my hair, my eyes, my clothes. Now you're being cruel".
"It's just my way", explained Vince. "I don't like getting soppy, so I tease you. But I do think you're beautiful Howard, and I've really given you a lot of hints about how I feel, if you ever paid attention to them".
"Like what?", asked Howard suspiciously.
"Well, I'm always trying to touch you, Howard".
"You just do that to annoy me"
"And I get jealous whenever you like someone, and I do everything I can to stop you getting off with them", admitted Vince.
"What? But that's horrible, Vince!", yelped Howard. This cast a sinister light on his complete lack of success with relationships.
"The first time I ever played electro music to you, it was 'Don't You Want Me?' by the Human League".
"And that was a hint, was it?", said Howard. He was still in a huff over the news that his chances of love and happiness had been constantly sabotaged by Vince.
"Yeah, a pretty big one actually. You were meant to listen to the lyrics".
"The lyrics were about meeting a waitress in a cocktail bar – how was that a hint?".
"And I trained a flock of fireflies to spell out VINCE LOVES HOWARD", said Vince. "That clear enough for you?".
Howard was silent. The tropical night hung above them expectantly. Some stars came out
"And", continued Vince, "remember when we went to the planet Xooberon, and that tribe of nutters said I was the Chosen One? And then I made you be my slave?".
"Yes, you went completely mad with power", said Howard sourly.
"Mm, I did a bit", said Vince with a chuckle. "But Howard, why do you think I wanted you as my slave? Why do you think I made you dress in a loincloth?".
"To humiliate me?", suggested Howard.
"No, because you look sexy in a loincloth", insisted Vince. "With your chest all bare, and your sleek, willowy legs on display. Didn't you notice how I gazed at you, and flirted behind my peacock feather? And why did I make you do all my bodily tasks, including washing my balls?".
"I thought we agreed never to discuss that again", said Howard furtively.
"We can if there's nobody else to hear, you berk", retorted Vince. "And why do you think I made you wash my balls so often, and why I did always, always get hard when you did it, and why did that lead to ..."
"More mess for me to clean up", said Howard drily. "Not that I minded", he added. "Probably one of the perks of the job, really".
""Howard", said Vince coaxingly. "Howard, would you strip now so I can see your body properly? Just like on Xooberon?".
Howard blushed, and hesitated. But he was wearing so little that it seemed simple to pull his unbuttoned shirt off, and take off his ragged shorts, until he stood in front of Vince in just his underpants. And after forty-four days on a desert island, they didn't cover nearly as much as the loincloth had.
"Would you like me to ... um, be your slave again?", asked Howard awkwardly.
Vince considered it for a moment. It was a tempting idea in many ways. Comforting, familiar. But he slowly shook his head.
"No Howard", he said softly. "It's time for me to take care of your bodily needs for a change".
When Vince tried to remember this part later, he knew that Howard had been sitting by the fire, completely naked, while Vince held his erection in his surprisingly strong hands. He could remember the cries of stifled pleasure Howard made when Vince took him in his mouth, and how quickly Howard had come; it was almost immediate.
Vince started to laugh, and Howard said, sounding agonised, "I – I didn't mean that to happen so fast. It was ... it's been a while, and ... I'm sorry Vince, but please, please don't laugh at me".
"No, I don't mind that, it's quite flattering really", Vince reassured him. "It's just that ... Howard, you've eaten so much coconut that your jizz tastes exactly like coconut milk!".
Vince started laughing again, almost uncontrollably this time, and, gasped out, "I'm going to call you Bounty Bar from now on", before going off again into another howling paroxysm of laughter.
Howard smiled. "Quite flattering really"
Vince remembered this conversation, and the embers of the fire glowing, and the almost incessant hum and pulse of the tropical night, as if the island itself was a live thing. He remembered the steady light of the stars above them, and the smell of white tropical flowers, whose sweet, heavy perfume is only released at night.
And he remembered how the befuddled fireflies had gone on trying to make other words, and none of them quite worked. At one point they spelled HOWINCE, which was right daft, he remembered thinking at the time. It didn't even make sense.
Vince remembered how in his fantasies, it was always Howard who took him – sometimes gently, sometimes with force. But when the time came, it was he who was on top of Howard. Howard's arse cheeks were quite hairy, but Vince liked that, and being inside him felt cooler than he had imagined, and he could feel sand on his skin from living on a desert island so long.
Oh but it felt good though, and as he pounded harder and harder he found himself crying out, "I'm inside you, Howard! I'm wearing you like a glove! Your sweet arse is mine!", which in retrospect was ludicrous, but he was so carried away now that he felt he could do anything, no matter how mad, singing in Elvish or painting rabbits blue and releasing them back into the wild or wearing a top hat that had been set on fire.
And at the peak of his pleasure, Vince knew at last the insane obsessive passion of someone who had foolishly let their guard down and completely fallen for Howard Moon, and he knew with a fierce joy he was going to be, not just one of those nutters who lusted after Howard, but the very worst, the maddest, the wrongest of them all, and he could feel his voice rise in his throat, ready to bay at the night sky in one long, loud, crazy, wordless note that could be heard from here to Dalston.
Howard opened his eyes. He was lying on his stomach in the sand, and he ached all over, but pleasurably. It was late now, the night would have been almost completely dark, except the moon had risen, looking like a white cream pie. It spun in the sky, gibbering nonsense to itself, but too far away for Howard to hear.
There was a rustle in the bushes, and Howard could see something green approaching him in a sinuous, agile way; a weird light flashed out from it. It suddenly came into his mind that it was Old Gregg, that mad cross-dressing man-fish who had kept him captive in Black Lake for its own twisted reasons, and ever after haunted his deepest, darkest nightmares.
He put his arms over his head, and cried out in terror, "Go away! Leave me alone! Don't hurt me!".
"What are you on about, Howard?", asked Vince, emerging from the undergrowth on all fours.
"I thought ... I thought you were someone else".
"There's only us here, you great northern pillock".
"Why are you all green?", demanded Howard crossly.
"I've had to invent island fashion", explained Vince, as he stood up. "Palm frond ponchos are the latest look. And I've made my own bamboo drainpipes, perfect for the new wave castaway".
"Why were you on all fours?".
"Dropped my Kings of Leon CD", said Vince, waving it at him. The light from the CD flashed weirdly. "Who did you think I was, anyway?".
"Well, if you must know ... it came into my mind for a moment that you might be Old Gregg", confessed Howard.
Vince stiffened. "What... why did you think I was him? Do we look alike?".
"No, it was the palm fronds you were wearing, and the CD you were flashing at me. Just a trick of the moonlight".
"You seemed terrified", said Vince, sitting beside Howard. "Are you really that afraid of him? The poor creature just wanted to love you".
"I have nightmares about him all the time", said Howard wretchedly. "He dragged me to his underwater lair. That feeling of never being able to get away ...". He shuddered.
"Howard", Vince said miserably, "there was never any Old Gregg. It was just me. I know it was stupid, but I left you in the boat and dressed up in green make-up, then took you to a cave under the lake. I made up the whole Old Gregg legend and pretended later that I'd heard about it down the pub".
"But he knocked me out with his mangina!"
"I had a torch under my tutu", explained Vince. "I shone it in your eyes, and while you were dazzled by the light, I hit you on the head with it".
"My God Vince, that is the most despicable thing I ever heard!", exclaimed Howard in a rage. "Why would you do something so utterly insane?".
"That's what you do to people Howard, you send them a bit nuts. It's that whole obsessive passion thing – you fall for Howard Moon, and next thing you know you're pretending to be some green-faced underwater loon with a Baileys fixation".
"Right, just pretending to be a loon", snorted Howard.
"I know it was wrong Howard", said Vince contritely. "I didn't know how to tell you how I felt. I thought maybe a different environment and some role play would help, and it all got out of control".
"Hey hey, my little man", Howard said, and pulled Vince down into his strong arms to comfort him. "That's ... actually sort of flattering in a weird way. A weird scary way", he added quickly. "But you would have had a lot more success if you just came to me as yourself".
"Vince snuggled into Howard's bare chest. "Really, Howard?", he whispered.
"Of course", said Howard, softly kissing Vince in the corner of his mouth. "You're beautiful, Vince, I couldn't have resisted you for a second".
"Nobody's ever said that to me before", said Vince wonderingly. "That I'm beautiful".
"I find that hard to believe".
"No, really", insisted Vince. "People say I'm cool and amazing and pretty and lovely and gorgeous and cute and hot and sexy and well fit, but they never say beautiful. Not once".
"Well, you are", said Howard, smiling at all the compliments Vince had stored up about himself. "You are purely, poetically, perfectly beautiful in every way".
"Steady on", said Vince, rolling his eyes.
"You have a great unearthly beauty; you look like a comet down to earth in the shape of a unicorn, painted as a Renaissance princess by one of the pre-Raphaelites under the influence of opium".
"You're mental", grinned Vince. "I'm going to have to snog you just to stop you talking bollocks". He pressed his lips against Howard's and did so, with an unexpected intensity.
Howard came up for air and said quietly, "You're so beautiful it hurts my chest whenever I see you, and I try not to look at you in case I have a heart attack".
"That ... that actually explains a lot", said Vince thoughtfully. "Is that why you close your eyes when you kiss me?".
Howard nodded sheepishly, then asked, "So are you ever actually going to say it?".
"Say what?", said Vince, acting dim, which didn't exactly require a ten-week course with Lee Strasberg for him to pull off successfully.
"Say how you feel. You know, without assaulting me, abducting me, or putting on a tutu".
Vince squirmed uncomfortably (Howard found this sensation very pleasant).
"Come on Howard, you know how I feel" (more pleasurable squirming).
Howard didn't say anything, but held Vince's hands tight and put little kisses on his neck.
"Oh alright, alright", Vince sulked. "I love you", he muttered into Howard's chin.
"I'm sorry Vince, I'm not sure I heard you correctly", Howard said with a look of mock-confusion, putting his hand to his ear. "Was that something about olive stew?".
"I love you Howard", Vince said a little louder, his eyes down. Then more forcefully and looking straight in Howard's eyes, "I love you Howard Moon, you jazz maverick idiot".
"More than Cheekbone magazine?", Howard enquired.
"Yeah of course, that went out of style three hours after we left home".
"More than Kings of Leon?".
"They're dead to me", Vince reassured him. "I'm so bored with their CD now".
"More than Gary Numan?", teased Howard.
"You're bang out of order now, Howard", said Vince solemnly.
Howard held Vince in his arms, and kissed him (he still had to close his eyes in case he had a heart attack), and told Vince that he loved him too.
Vince demanded so many proofs and reassurances of this that I cannot write all their conversation without my fingers falling off, but it took ages, needed many kisses, required Howard to get his library card out of his shorts as proof of ID, and at one point, Vince had to have the whole concept of love explained to him, as it turned out he wasn't sure what it really was, and thought it might be an especially unusual shade of purple that was possibly contributing to global warming.
But eventually they got that all sorted out, and Vince said:
"Howard, when I was pretending to be Old Gregg, you agreed to marry me".
"I did that under a certain amount of duress", Howard reminded him.
"Yeah but, if you said you'd marry me when I was a mutant man-fish, surely it's even better if I'm just me? I mean, I've still got the ring and everything". He produced the ring with the blue stone in it, which no longer made Howard want to run away screaming.
"Do you really want to get married, Vince?", Howard asked carefully (he wasn't sure if Vince really understood what that meant). "Legally married?".
"Well I don't know about that, Howard. I'd just like ... something ... so I knew you were mine".
"I am yours, completely and always", Howard told him.
"Then will you wear my ring?".
"I do", said Howard. "Er, I mean, I will". And Vince put the ring on his finger. It felt right.
"And what do I give you so that I know you are mine?", Howard asked.
"Oh I can't belong to anyone", said Vince, looking aghast. "I'm a free spirit, I come and go as I please. I'm like a wild animal, Howard; you can't hold me in a cage or I'll wither and die".
"What if I gave you a really big box of crayons?", Howard suggested.
"Yeah that would do it", agreed Vince. "Stuff all that free spirit nonsense. Don't know what I was thinking there, Howard".
Howard held him tenderly, with a dreamy expression on his face.
"What are you thinking, Howard?", asked Vince.
"My true love has my heart, and I have his", quoted Howard sleepily.
"Oh you're so soppy, Howard", Vince said in tones of the greatest satisfaction.
"It was beginning to get light, the pale silvery-grey light that comes just before daybreak. As he fell asleep cuddled up to Vince, Howard wished that they could stay on the island forever. He never wanted to leave this place.
Vince Noir slowly and painfully returned to consciousness. The tropical midday sun beat down on his head. He felt as if he'd gone to an all-night mod rave where someone had spiked his dexies with Rohypnol before a gang of rockers had beaten him to a pulp and thrown his semi-lifeless body behind a skip.
Vince slowly and painfully opened his eyes. He was lying face down on the beach, with his jeans below his knees, two coconut shells between his thighs, and his groin pressed into the sand. Another coconut shell, half-filled with milk, was next to him.
He instinctively looked for Howard, and saw that he was lying a few feet away. Howard was on his side, completely naked, and almost entirely covered in palm fronds and bamboo. From the whimpering noises he was making, he felt even worse than Vince. He was sunburnt, and when he looked over at Vince with a shamed expression, his eyes looked tiny and red. If Vince had thought about it, he would have realised that Howard had been weeping.
Howard Moon was the first to realise there was another person with them, his face suddenly looming over Howard out of the fiercely bright sunlight, his voice seeming unbearably loud to the blisteringly hung-over naked man. A sea captain in a striped shirt, making a scheduled stop, and ready to take them home.
The captain had been rather kind, Howard remembered later. He told Howard not to worry about being in the nude, it was only natural in such a hot climate. And when he saw what a state they were both in, he roared with laughter and said that they had got extremely drunk on coconut milk.
"The milk ferments in the shell", the captain explained. "You drink it, and you go coco-loco. It is worse if you also eat the coconut from such shells; it creates strange dreams in the head".
He went on to say that he himself had many, many times gone coco-loco the same way. He believed quite a few people enjoyed the experience. Howard thought those people must be barking mad.
"Come with me", said the sea captain, gesturing to Howard to get up so he could throw a blanket over him. "You and your pretty wife will be safe on the ship. Perhaps you have been on your honeymoon, yes?". And he made a twinkling, knowing face.
Howard didn't bother correcting the captain. He hardly ever corrected people when they made this common mistake, and sometimes he wondered dully if it was they who saw the truth, and he and Vince who remained oblivious. All he knew was every time they said it, it struck him in the heart, and now it hurt so much he nearly began crying again.
The sea captain escorted Vince to the ship, gallantly taking him by the arm, and saying it would be a pleasure to have such a lovely lady on board. And when Vince offered to cut his hair into a mullet, the captain had been delighted.
"Lovely and talented!", he cried happily. "Your husband is a lucky, lucky man, my dear". And he glanced back at Howard, who was walking slowly behind them, awkwardly pulling his blanket tighter around himself.
Vince didn't bother correcting the captain. He never corrected people when they made this common mistake, because he didn't think it was any of their business. It always made him feel good when they said it, and now he couldn't stop smiling.
Vince and Howard were in their cabin. It was very small, and their beds were only a few inches apart with a narrow strip of floor between them, but they were used to close quarters, and liked sleeping near each other.
Vince's jeans and blouse had been laundered for him by the crew, and they had given Howard some of their own clothes – a pair of white duck trousers and a striped blue and white jersey.
Vince had raised an eyebrow, and said, "Well hello sailor", when he saw Howard in this get-up, but had not mocked him otherwise. He privately thought it was the coolest outfit he had ever seen Howard wear, and made his bum look very sexy. It would be genius if we got matching sailor suits, thought Vince. We'd make the naval look come back in, but in a totally electro future sort of way ...
Howard lay prostrate, writing in a notebook. He had abandoned his bleak existential two-word novel No Exit, because it was going to be about being trapped on a hellish island for all eternity, never able to escape, but in the end they had only been there about six weeks, and were sailing home. He was working on something else now.
"Why do you keep lying on your stomach, Howard?", asked Vince.
"My arse hurts", said Howard shortly. "Ever since last night".
"It's because I bummed you, Howard", laughed Vince. "They call me the Midnight Bummer, and I was there in the night, bumming away".
"How dare you do that to me in the night when I'm oblivious", said Howard. He tried to sound angry, but failed, because the idea turned him on.
"I do my best bumming when you're oblivious", giggled Vince. "I lean you up against the pillow, and I go at you".
"That's perverted", said Howard primly, hiding his erection.
"So ... crazy, crazy night", said Vince offhandedly. "What did you do after we both went completely mental on coco-loco juice?".
"You first", said Howard cautiously.
"Well, I'm not sure, but I think I bummed a hole in the sand between two coconut arse cheeks".
""Are you quite sure it was a hole in the sand?", asked Howard suspiciously.
"I said I wasn't sure. And I drank coconut milk, thinking it was jizz. Unless I drank jizz and hallucinated that it tasted like coconut milk".
"I think I might have got engaged to a bunch of palm fronds", said Howard glumly.
"Classic Howard", said Vince with amusement. "What was that like?".
"Cathartic", said Howard thoughtfully. "What was bumming sand like?.
"Amazing", admitted Vince. "I think I was pretty out of it by then, I was basically ready to join a cult."
"I'm still not convinced it was sand", insisted Howard.
"The weirdest part was you believing Old Gregg never existed, and it was me all the time", said Vince in disgust. "That's so creepy, Howard".
"I think subconsciously I didn't want to be afraid any more, so I invented a plausible scenario to explain ...", began Howard, before stopping in shock. "How do you know about that?", he finished in a low voice.
"Dunno, you must have told me earlier", Vince replied lazily.
Howard lay in thought for a moment, then said, "How much of last night was real, and how much did we imagine?".
"I don't believe anything is imaginary", said Vince with sudden earnestness. "I mean, you all thought I imagined Charlie, but everything I said about him was true. I say, if we experienced it and we remember it, then it's real. I'll have my memories, and you'll have yours, and if they meet in the middle somewhere, then it's all good".
Howard nodded. Like many of Vince's totally bonkers theories, it made a strange kind of sense.
"Nobody can know what happened to us on the island last night, Vince", Howard warned. "They'll laugh at us ... and ... and ruin it for us."
He held up his notebook. "I've been working on a version that I think they'll buy. I've cobbled together bits of Albert Camus' The Outsider, and a Tom Hanks film I saw a few years ago. I'll throw in The Hitcher to confuse them further".
"Whatever, just make sure there's a threesome in it somewhere", said Vince. "With coconuts – I think I've developed a fetish for them".
Howard lay prone, scribbling furiously, frowning, then crossing words out in writerly frustration. Vince turned over onto his stomach too, so they were side by side on opposite beds.
Vince was reading an English newspaper, hoping for some juicy fashion tit-bits or a world-changing music review. Mostly he was looking at the pictures.
Vince reached over for a chocolate bar, silently offering one to Howard, who impatiently gestured that he didn't want it. Howard was in the thick of a writing frenzy, and nothing must break his concentration.
Vince opened the white wrapper and giggled. "Look Howard, it's a Bounty bar". He waved it at Howard, who pointedly ignored him. Vince giggled some more, and began eating his chocolate bar suggestively at Howard, making impassioned noises deep in his throat while gazing longingly into Howard's eyes.
Howard blushed and squirmed in embarrassment. It's pathetically easy to tease Howard, Vince thought. Everything gets him into some sort of state or other, and he's going to wear out the mattress if he keeps pushing that hard-on into it.
Vince finished his Bounty, idly wondering how many he would need to eat before his jizz tasted like coconut milk. Then he stopped at something he saw in the paper.
"Hey Howard", he called out. "There's an ad here for a new shop opening right near our flat, called Nabootique. What do you think it'll be like?".
"Awful", said Howard firmly. "Filled with the sort of useless tat that's only bought by trendy idiots".
"Wow, that sounds great, Howard", said Vince happily.
Vince Noir sat cross-legged, looking at the sunset; this time of day always reminded him of growing up in the forest. His foster-father Bryan Ferry would warn him that he must be home by sundown so that he could be safely in their little house made of bus tickets before nightfall. "Never be out alone after dark in the forest, my child", Bryan would warn him. And when Bryan was away on tour, Vince would sleep with the animals in the trees, curled up among them just as the sun was setting.
It was the time of day when he most hated to be alone, and when he most needed physical comfort. Perhaps that's why he told Howard to shove over, and got onto the bed with him. Howard protested that the bed was too narrow, but Vince said that he took up no more room than a twig, so to shut up and stop moaning. Howard complied, because the light was too dim to write any more.
The two friends lay on their sides. Vince gently ran his fingers down Howard's chest and stomach; Howard flinched from habit, but gradually relaxed into letting Vince touch him. Howard kept his face turned slightly so he wasn't looking at Vince, but Vince felt he understood this now. He put one arm loosely around Howard, and rested his head against his shoulder.
"Howard", said Vince after a while, "do you remember when we went to the Arctic and the Black Frost tried to kill us?".
"It's not a thing I'm likely to forget, is it?", replied Howard, without rancour.
"When you thought we were going to die, you said you loved me", went on Vince, "but what did you mean when you said that?".
"I meant that I loved you mind, body, heart, and soul", replied Howard quietly. "I meant that I loved you to the heights, depths, and breadths of all possible worlds. I meant that I loved you as my best friend, my dearest companion, and my other self. I meant that I loved you completely and always".
Howard paused and cleared his throat before asking, "What did you mean when you said it back?".
"Oh yeah, same", agreed Vince. "Only, you know, less soppy".
There was a brief silence, then Howard asked, "Vince, why did you laugh when I told you I loved you?". He tried to keep the reproach out of his voice, and almost succeeded.
"Because it made me so happy", smiled Vince. "You always make me happy, Howard".
Howard pulled Vince into his arms. It was dark enough now that his face could be near Vince's without risking heart attack. As night fell, swiftly as it does in the tropics, the two friends lay side by side, holding each other in a close embrace. It grew darker and darker, until it was no longer possible to tell whether there were two people on the bed, or only one.
The ship sailed smoothly over tropical seas, carrying them on their mystical journey through time and space.
AN: I hope nobody minds that I've played around with this very clever episode , and used several lines/scenes from Boosh in a different context. The idea of Howard and Vince getting some serious alone time on a tropical island to resolve their raging UST was just too tempting, and the authors seem to give us so many clues through subtext that it feels as if every episode is telling (at least) two stories, not one. This is the story that I saw ... I do believe that something was resolved offscreen during this trip, as when we see Howard and Vince again in Season 3, the dynamics of their friendship have changed – they now seem far more relaxed and playful with each other, both physically and emotionally.