Like a Couple of Lonely Satsumas

The events of ‘Party,’ as narrated by Vince, but this time, he has something to say about how it ends


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Length: words

Notes: This is written in the first person from Vince’s perspective, so jumping about on tangents and general incoherence is to be expected, I’m afraid

Like a Couple of Lonely Satsumas by Culumacilinte

Right. So. I’m Vince Noir, yeah? Rock and Roll star, Electro Poof, all the rest of it; you know who I am—‘course you do! Everyone knows who Vince Noir is. Anyway, yesterday was me best mate Howard’s birthday. He says he’s thirty-two, but I don’t believe him. Now, Howard’s a jazzy freak, you know? He’s one of those sorts of taciturn Northern types who reckons himself some kind of great intellectual. Not that he’s not smart, ‘cos he is; lot smarter than me at any rate, but then that don’t take much doing. Howard is Britain’s leading cream poet, which is more than I can claim.

Point is, he doesn’t like parties. Imagine that! Not liking parties… All he wanted to do was sit inside all night with his mate Lester Cornflake, or Corn-summat, anyway, and listen to old jazz records. Now, I’m a little mod child, I’m allergic to jazz; makes me swell up and go all wonky, but if Howard wants to listen to it, I can respect that, you know? But not on the man’s birthday. That’d just be sad, sitting in a dark room all night with an old blind man when you could be partying it up.

So what I did-get this-I got this girl to come into the shop, like, and pretend that she was all into jazz and shit so’s I could persuade Howard to have a party, and it worked! It was genius. Anyway, we had this massive bash with all the Camden elite and a load of Naboo’s shaman pals. ‘Course, ‘cos it’s Naboo’s shop, all the nibblies were full of weed and the drinkables were spiked with… something, I dunno; everyone was off their tits, it was brilliant! Until, that is, I got shoved into a closet (and I’ll thank you not to read too deep into that, yeah? Vince Noir is happily out of his closet, at least as far as the people who are concerned with that sort of stuff are concerned) by this really gorgeous bird. She had all spiked up blonde hair; looked like an Eastern princess. Turned out, though, she was the Head Shaman’s wife! Imagine that. I had to leg it out of there and escape onto the roof to avoid his shamanistic wrath.

Anyway, it’s a bit of a saga, but Howard was up there as well, on account of his shame at being a virgin. So, we chatted for a bit, and it was nice, y’know? Like, Howard and I, we don’t just talk a lot, yeah? We talk about stuff, but never just ‘cos we’ve nothing else to do. At least not so much now. We did back when we were both back at the Zooniverse, but that’s another story entirely.

Eventually, though, the Head Shaman found out where I was and burst through the trapdoor to the roof like an enraged bull on crack. Now, I was in no hurry to get my pretty head separated from the rest of me body, especially after all the time I’d spent on my hair-and it was looking pretty fab, if I say so meself-so I had to do some pretty lightning-quick thinking. I told him, then, that I wasn’t interested in his wife at all, on account of the fact that I was already in love with someone else. Bastard didn’t believe me, though, so I told him that it was Howard I was in love with-Howard being right there and all and able to back me up, like. Now, I wasn’t sure if he was gonna, ‘cos he’d just finished telling me how he’d never even held hands with someone, but he did! And then, as the finishing touch, to really shove it in that bald-headed bumberclarke’s face, I kissed Howard. Yeah! Imagine that. Just… lunged at him and gave him a right old snog.

Now, I’ve gotta be honest about this; it was a rubbish kiss. Not on my part, you understand! Nah-I’ve got ‘round enough that I’ve perfected my technique. But Howard… I almost felt sorry for the guy. His first kiss and all, and he weren’t expecting it either, so he just sort of sat there, all shocked like, while I bloody went at it like my life depended on it. ‘Course, my life did depend on it, but that just helps things along.

The Head Shaman shoved off right quick after that, and I was feeling pretty good about myself until Howard turned on me with this same expression he’d had when he’d been put into a trance by a load of Yetis; like he were a hippy at Glastonbury during Summer Solstice. Sort of all wide-eyed, like; or he would have been if Howard had normal sized eyes, and like he’d discovered the most fantastic thing in the world. Well, fuck it if I didn’t know that look bloody well. I get that look all the time, just ‘cos-I’m Vince Noir! People fall in love with me all the time; it’s like they can’t help it.


I tried to get him to snap out of it, but there was nothing doing. Started going on about molten sexual tension and some such other rubbish; sounded like something out of those really crap romance novels you can buy at the checkout in Tescos. I wouldn’t have any of it, though, and so he scrambled to his feet, stupid nutter-and I told him he was gonna fall and all-and started shouting for bloody all of Dalston to hear:

“A whole new kingdom of gaydom! I’m a gay! I’m a massive gheyist!”

I was just sat on the roof next to him this whole time, not quite believing what I was hearing-just ‘cos it’s Howard, right? And Howard is, like, the least gay man I have ever met. And what was that about being a ‘gheyist’? I dunno much, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a word. But then his arms were on my shoulders and he was leaning in with this sort of wolfish expression on his face, like he wanted to tie me down and ravish me or summat. Now, I’m not really a bottom as such; I switch around a lot, but Howard looking at me like that made me think that maybe having him be in love with me weren’t such a bad thing after all.

“Course, though, you can’t snog properly on a rooftop, and soon as Howard went for it, we both just tumbled off like a couple of lonely satsumas down a hill. Lucky for us, though, I’d bought Howard a bouncy castle for his birthday, and we fell right onto it! It was perfect, ‘cos Howard gave me this brilliant, glowing smile like he hadn’t thought I’d get him a pressie at all, and here it was-the best thing he could have even asked for.

Now, you know I flit around a bit, yeah, and by this time, I’d sort of squared myself to the idea of being Howard’s boyfriend. Or, y’know, whatever. Fact of it, I was dead chuffed. We bounced about for a moment ‘til we got our bearings, and then Howard gave me this sort of look like he gives me all the time, really, but with all sorts of layers that I couldn’t ever normally see. He was all smiley and warm, his little shrew-eyes all wrinkled up at the corners, and even though I normally have an instinctive sort of terror of crow’s feet (I had a bad experience as a child), I kinda wanted to trace them with the tips of my fingers, feel what Howard felt like smiling, you know?

I was about to just go for it when all of sudden, like, this sort of sweet, tinkling voice like what you hear out of the stories when the princess turns up at the end or whatever came from behind us, from the door to the shop. It was that bird I’d got to get Howard into the idea of having a party, and she was looking at him all soft and pleased, wishing him a happy birthday, and he was looking back at her!

Normally, you know, I’m the one who can’t stay with one person for more than a day; I drift about on the winds, as Howard reminds me all the time. Howard, on the other hand, gets fixated on one person and stays with them for-bloody-ever. You remember Mrs. Gideon back at the Zooniverse? Never once showed him an ounce of affection, and yet he mooned over her every day for years. I couldn’t see the logic of it, but then it was Howard, so I’d kind of learned to expect it. But, having just declared his undying gay love for me, I thought it a bit rich for him to be looking so pleased to see this girl. He’d gone over all flustered, tugging at his shirt and adjusting the hideous straw thing he was wearing as a hat, and the girl was smiling at him in this sort of shy way that I just knew was fake.

I looked at Howard accusingly. ‘Yeah, sorry, what’s this about?”

“She came back!’ He looked absolutely delighted. Now, I ain’t a violent person by nature, but I wanted nothing more than to twat that girl ‘round the head and bung her in a corner somewhere so I could get about my business.

“Yeah, did she?”


“Great. I thought you loved me!”

Howard looked down then, and I could see a bit of a blush colouring his cheeks, and I knew that I still had a chance here; that I just had to play it off right. I cut through Howard’s fumbling excuses and poked him hard in the chest. ‘Listen, Fiddler on the Roof, we kissed up there!”

Another flush, and I grinned to meself. Howard was so mine. ‘Keep it under your hat, yeah?’ He was saying, all desperate like to make sure that this bird ‘d still go with him. ‘What goes on the roof stays on the roof.”

Hah! That kind of saying only works for a place like Las Vegas, and our roof is about as bloody far from Vegas as it’s possible to get.

The girl looked well awkward now, and she shifted about on her glittery heels (which were wicked, by the way-I’m gonna have to get myself a pair of them), looking like she regretted ever getting mixed up with Howard.

“Um… maybe I should leave you two alone.”

Howard was about to protest, but I cut him off, right, leaping on my chance. I turned to the girl. ‘Yeah, you’re getting it; we’re having a few relationship problems, maybe you could nick off and get some Twiglets!”

Why Twiglets, I dunno. I was distressed, and it was the first thing that came to mind. Anyway, she sort of drifted away, and I turned on Howard, who was looking after her with an absolutely pathetic expression on his face. I gave him a little slap, like I’d do if I was getting him out a jazz trance. He started.

“Vince, I—”

I cut him off. ‘You said you were in love with me!’ And maybe I’d protested about it at first, yeah, and granted Howard tends to fall for anybody who shows him even the slightest bit of affection, much less giving him as good a snog as I’d done, but still, it hurt to be chucked so easily.

“Yes, well,’ he tugged at his shirt, and I glanced away-the combination of mustard yellow and jazz prints hurt my brain pretty bad, so I couldn’t look at Howard direct all the time. ‘I made a mistake, didn’t I?”

Stumbling a little on the floor of the bouncy castle, I got a bit nearer to Howard, accidentally hitting him again as my arms windmilled to try and keep me upright. Immediately, he reached out to steady me, his hands on my arms, and I gave him one of my best charming grins, looking up at him through me lashes. ‘But I was your first kiss, Howard. Said yourself that you don’t do that sort of thing lightly, din’t you?”

Almost had to feel sorry for Howard, really, ‘cos if anyone knows anything about flirting, it’s Vince Noir. I was leaning in just a little bit, head cocked to one side so’s me hair fell across my forehead a bit, my eyes all wide and alluring, one hand just sort of resting against Howard’s stomach. I have it down to an art form, y’see. Howard blushed madly, and I grinned a bit when I saw his lower lip all tugged up between his teeth, him gnawing on it like he were a beaver with a guilty conscience.

Out the corner of my eye, I saw someone come out the back entrance to the shop, and with my free hand, I flipped ‘em the bird, quick as you like. Whoever it was stopped and, after giving me a two-finger salute of their own, turned back, leaving me and Howard by ourselves. I’d have nothing interrupting this, after all. Howard blinked at me.

“What was that?”

“Nothin’. Don’t matter anyway, does it, Howard? I thought we were discussing summat.”

My other hand had snuck down to join its mate on Howard’s waist, and it was doing a neat job of distracting him, fingers fiddling with the waistband of his trousers and rubbing little circles on his back. Howard stumbled over his answer, his little cockerel eyes flicking all about here and there with obvious nerves.

“Er. Yeah, yeah Vince. A discussion, that is indeed what we were having.”

I grinned, flicking my tongue a little over the points of my teeth. A tease, of course, but they don’t call me the Shoreditch Vampire for nothin’, after all. ‘You alright, Howard? You’re lookin’ a bit green ‘round the gills.”

“Green?’ Howard scoffed. ‘No, sir! I’m Howard Moon, Vince. I’m a man of action; men of action do not get sick.”

I almost laughed, but I kept me wits about me, and instead leaned in so’s me nose bumped against Howard’s, and he went all cross-eyed looking at me. ‘I’m gonna kiss you now, Howard.’ I informed him, cool as a well-dressed Camden cucumber, and he gulped. I could see his Adam’s apple bob under his stubble.

“Are you?”


Now-and this is the weird bit-there was a bit of a pause. Sort of a hesitation. On Howard’s part, of course, but that ain’t surprising. What were weird is that I stumbled a bit, din’t just leap into it like I normally do. I’m sure there was some sort of weird psychobabble reason for it, but I don’t like to think too deep about that kind of thing. To make up for it, I just sort of chucked meself at Howard. I was gonna give him a killer of a snog, but we were on a bouncy castle, after all, and if you chuck yourself anywhere on one of them, you’re gonna fall over; it’s like a law of nature or summat.

Howard let out a girly kind of shriek and I laughed madly as we tumbled to the rubbery floor. After Howard realised what was going on, his shriek turned into laughter as well, and he lay on his back, his arms sort of flung out all ‘round him, laughing up to the shaving-foam moon. I took the advantage to bounce on top of him, straddling his hips like we were somewhere much more private than out back a shop in Dalston in a massive bouncy castle. I couldn’t care less, though, and nor, I think, could Howard, ‘cos it was then that I leaned down and just… kissed him.

Now that Howard was expecting it, he responded proper-like right away, opening his mouth and doing a bit of this-and-that with his tongue. And while it sure wasn’t the best kiss I’d ever had, it was Howard, and he had his hands all up on my back, sort of sitting there all awkward like he din’t really know what to do with them and I laughed into the kiss. I’m the Sunshine Kid, y’know? I’m full of the Happiness, all the time, but right then I thought I might just explode from all the mad happiness bubbling away inside me.

The mocha-moustache tickled a bit at my lips, but Howard had finally got an idea of what to do with his hands, and one was down on my arse, real light-not really touching at all, and certainly not groping or fondling or any of the other things that ought to happen when there’s hands on arses. I did a bit of a wiggle with my hips to encourage Howard, and he let out kind of a choked-off moan, and bugger me sideways if that didn’t send thousands of little pitter-pattering feet of energy stampeding down my spine and the blood rushing to me cock. Not to be crude about it or anything, but that’s how it is.

That went on for a bit (and no, we didn’t actually do anything, you lot of pervy freakshows. I may have very little in the way of shame, but I’ll not be bummed by my best mate out the back where anyone can watch. At least not without discussing it beforehand) until we rolled apart, grinning up at the sky each of us. I flopped my head over and looked at Howard; he’d lost that monstrosity of a hat and his hair was all mussed up from me running my hands through it; it had gained a bit of volume as a result as well, which is always a good thing. Can never have enough volume. Now, it could have just been me, but he looked about as good as he’s ever done just then.

I smiled. ‘Oi, Howard?”

“Yeah, little man?’ He turned to face me so that we were nose to nose again, grinning a grin that made me think he might actually be thirty two, instead of fifty-summat.

“Happy Birthday, Howard.”

And at that, Howard actually leant forward and gave me a little peck on the lips, pulling away real hastily, like he was shy. Adorable.

“Thanks, Vince.”

So that’s that! Of all the things I expected to happen at Howard’s birthday party, that was most definitely not one of ‘em. In fact, I don’t think I would have expected it to happen, like… ever. But now it’s done, and I’m pretty bloody happy about it. And so’s Howard, at that! Usually I’m the cheery, sunshiney one, and Howard’s all gloom and doom; it’s the way the double act works innit? It’s our trademark dynamic. But between the two of us now, the Nabootique practically glows. I know it’s dead naff, but that’s the way of it.

I’ve gotta go now, though; Howard’s got back. And before you ask, yeah he’s still a virgin, but the way I see it, he’s got a lot of time to make up for, and being the kind and considerate best mate I am, I’m gonna do everything I can to help.

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