The Mighty Shakespeare

A re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, but with Howard and Vince as the star crossed lovers.

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Notes: All of the dialouge is from the play, so I clearly didn’t write any of it… but thats why its all Shakespear-y sounding. Cause it’s Shakespeare. Theres quite a bit cut out of the play, of course, and its probably got more in common with the Baz Lurhman movie than anything else.
This is my first fic, and I’m not sure if it’s any good…. any and all feedback is welcome!! disclaimer: i dont own shit. not the boosh, not shakespeare, nothin. noel fielding and julian barratt own the boosh, and i guess shakespeare owns romeo and juliet, although hes dead, so im not sure how that works. tis all for fun, im not making any monies.

The Mighty Shakespeare by bluebeard

Chapter Notes: Act One! The rest to follow at some point (probably after my final papers are in and I’m done with graduate school…)
Any feed back at all would be appreciated, especially so I know if it’s good enough to write the rest of it.

Act One
Our story opens with the night sky, which is filled with stars and a few clouds, and a full moon that hangs pregnant and portentous in the middle of blackness. With a soft whirring sound, a smiling face appears in the moon.
“When you are the moon, you can see all the little people on the earth. Hello little people. I watched the um, I watched some little people. I’m going to tell you about it, cause Jupiter, he never listens.
Two musicians, both alike in dignity,
In the fair Zooniverse, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”With that, the face fades away, and the sky slowly lightens with the coming morn. The brightening sky reveals a large open square below, where two electro loving men of the house of Capulet are walking together chatting about their mortal enemies, the jazzy Montagues. Graham and Joey Moose stride easily through the streets, wearing stylish drainpipes, brightly coloured t-shirts, back combed hair and Chelsea boots.

The early morning dew still wets the grass they tread through, restlessly looking for a fight.

Graham fingers the hilt of his sword. “I strike quickly, being moved”, he boasts. Joey Moose rolls his eyes in response. “But thou art not quickly moved to strike” he complains, one hand on the hilt of his own sword, the other poking irritatingly at Graham. Graham pulls away from Joey’s finger and strikes a mocking jazzy pose. “A dog of the house of Montague moves me”, he cries, unsheathing his sword with a flourish. Joey laughs at his friends false bravado, replying “To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand: therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn’st away.” In a brawl, Joey was always the braver of the two, standing to fight valiantly where Graham was known to flee at the first sign of conflict. Graham scowls and put his sword away, keeping pace beside Joey as they cross the square.

In the distance, two of the house of Montague can be seen. Lester Corncrake, the epitome of a jazz lover in muffin coloured slacks and a beige corduroy jacket despite the midday heat, walks slightly ahead of eccentric Old Gregg, who bops along to the beat of a song that only he could hear.

Joey perks up at the sight of the Montagues; here is the chance for the fight he has been itching for all morning. To spur on Graham, who needs to be prodded into fighting despite his blustery talk, Joey spins in front of him and takes him by the shoulders. “The quarrel is between our masters and us their men”, he says seriously, before turning and pointing to Lester and Old Gregg dramatically. “Draw thy tool! here comes
two of the house of the Montague”.

Graham again unsheathes his sword, gesturing toward the two approaching men. “My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee”! Despite Graham’s drawn sword, Joey is hesitant to rely on Graham to back him up: “How! turn thy back and run?” “Fear me not”, replies Graham, who is trembling but determined not to back down. To avoid the wrath of Fossil, the law keeper in the land, he says “Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin”, hoping that forcing the Montague’s to begin the quarrel would absolve the Capulet’s of guilt as instigators of the fight. Joey’s eyes light up at this suggestion. Graham continues on: “I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it, because their cousin and kinsman has such a ridiculously oversized thumb”. He swallows nervously as Lester and Old Gregg approach, but he is determined to act on the boast he made to Joey.

Lester and Old Gregg see the two Capulets ahead as they continue to walk across the square. Lester eyes them nervously, but is determined to ignore them and move past. Gregg however, stops and turns back. He locks eyes with Graham. “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” he asks, pleasantly enough but with a hint of a threat in his voice.

Joey smiles sweetly back at Gregg. “I do bite my thumb, sir” he replies.

Lester stops and moves to stand next to Gregg, his arms crossed on his chest and a frown creasing his features. He addresses Graham, who looks to Joey nervously. “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” Lester spits out at Graham, his tone making explicit the threat in his words.

Slightly panicked at the result of his actions, Graham turns to Joey and asks in a low voice “Is the law of our side, if I say ay?” “No” whispers Joey in reply. Graham swallows hard and turns back to Lester and Gregg. “No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir” he replies nervously.

Lester’s hand moves to the hilt of his sword, and Joey steps in front of Graham, arm crossed in front of his chest to grip his sword hilt as a threat. “Do you quarrel, sir?”

Gregg steps up to Lester, a cautionary hand on his shoulder. “Quarrel sir! no, sir”

Graham moves up to stand next to Joey, reaching for his hilt in the same threatening gesture as his kinsman. “If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you”.

Lester shrugs off Gregg’s hand, one eyebrow raised as he asks “No better?”

Graham nervously looks to Joey, unsure of how to answer this challenge. “Well, sir”, he says, refusing to answer. After staring off into the distance, Joey snaps back to the situation and nudges Graham in the arm, hand still on his sword. “Say ‘better:’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen”.

Graham grins wickedly at Lester and Gregg.

“Yes, better, sir.”

Gregg lunges forward with a cry. “You lie!”

Joey draws his sword in one fluid motion, and cries “Draw, if you be men”.

In tandem, Lester and Gregg pull out their swords, seconds before Graham can draw his. Gregg slashes wildly towards Graham, who defends against his offensive. Joey and Lester match each other blow for blow, the sounds of metal on metal ringing through the air as Rudi of the house of Montague runs towards the fray drawing his own sword.

“Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do” he shouts angrily, using the flat of his sword to attempt to part the fighting men.

The men circle warily around each other, concentrating so heavily on their opponents that they are all surprised by the low laugh behind them.

“What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Rudi, and look upon thy death”

The quarrelling men all turn to see a lithe green skinned man in a stylish long black coat and top hat, a white polo decorating his eye and sly smile working its way across his pointed features. Hitcher, the prince of cats, and nephew to Brian Ferry of the house of Capulet, has his long sword drawn and pointed at Rudi’s neck.

Rudi takes a step towards Hitcher, his hands raised in a gesture of supplication. “I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me” Rudi pleads in a low voice. He wishes to keep from turning this small altercation into a city wide brawl.

The Hitcher shakes his head at Rudi slowly, smiling menacingly. “What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward!” With that, Hitcher slashes his sword in a broad overhead strike, Rudi barely manages to bring his own sword up in time to stop the blow.

As Hitcher strikes, so do Joey and Graham, striking towards Lester and Gregg in tandem, their swords clashing. Hitcher and Rudi are evenly matched, meeting each other blow for blow as they move through the square. Hitcher strikes at Rudi’s undefended side, but the afro’d man blocks from behind his back, and then repeats the move as the Hitcher tries it again on his other side. Because of his twisting, Hitcher now has his back to Rudi. Rudi strikes from above, and Hitcher counters from between his legs. Rudi slashes low, attempting to cut out the Hitcher’s legs, but Hitcher jumps out of the way of the sword, and then runs away a few meters, Rudi and the other men in hot pursuit.

The noise of the brawl has brought the other citizens of the Zooniverse into the square, swords bared and ready to fight. Soon the original brawlers are lost at the center of the fight, hemmed in on all sides by sword blows and writhing bodies.

Brian Ferry-Capulet and Charlie Mingus-Montague, the heads of their respective houses and mortal enemies are drawn out by the sounds of the fight, and stand on opposite sides of the fighters, aghast at how large the skirmish has grown.

Bob Fossil, owner and Law in the Zooniverse, comes running over with attendants to break up the fray. He wedges his blue suited body in between some warring combatants, and furiously shouts

“Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,–
Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground”

Slowly, one by one, the combatants either drop their swords, or have them forcibly wrenched from their grip by Fossil. He makes his way through the crowd to the center, where Rudi and Hitcher stand, swords down, glaring at each other in undisguised hatred. Fossil dismisses the rest of the crowd, leaving Rudi, Hitcher, Brian Ferry-Capulet and Charlie Mingus-Montague to hear his sentence.

Fossil paces angrily in front of the men, wringing his hands nervously and shouting at ear shattering decibel levels.

“Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of my streets,
If ever you disturb my streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”

With that deadly pronouncement hanging over the heads of the musicians, Fossil stalks off, taking Hitcher and Brian Ferry with him as he leaves.

Charlie Mingus-Montague turns to Rudi morosely, and asks after his son, who was missing throughout the events of the morning. “O, where is Howard? saw you him to-day? Right glad I am he was not at this fray”.

The two begin to move towards their large palatial home, walking slowly through the now deserted streets.
Rudi shrugs at Montague’s question.

“an hour before the worshipp’d sun
Peer’d forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city’s side,
So early walking did I see your son”

Montague sighs, and slumps his shoulders wearily, tired by the days events and his unhappy son.

“Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew.
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs;
Black and portentous must this humour prove,
Unless good counsel may the cause remove”

Rudi scratches his afro thoughtfully, then perks up as he spies the object of their conversation in the distance.

Howard Montague makes his way through the sycamore grove, slowly trudging between the trees, sighing frequently, heavy sounds of heart rending sorrow. His smoky brown hair stirs slightly with the breeze, and his small brown eyes squint into the sun. His broad, strong frame is covered by a white button up shirt with only half the buttons done up and a black jacket, hands stuffed into the pockets of his well fitting black pants. Rudi smiles at the sight of his cousin’s approach, and says to Montague “See, where he comes: so please you, step aside; I’ll know his grievance, or be much denied”. They clasp hands and hug, and Montague continues on his way as Rudi makes his way towards the jazz maverick, who has stopped walking and is leaning up against a tree, one foot up against the trunk and his head tilted back, eyes closed to the sun above.

“Good-morrow, cousin”, Rudi greets him as he approaches.

Howard sighs, and replies without opening his eyes. “Is the day so young?”

“But new struck nine”. Rudi comes over to the tree where his cousin reclines, and leans against the other side. “Ay me!” mutters Howard. “Sad hours seem long.” He takes his hands out of his pockets to run them through his brown hair and scratch at the rough stubble on his cheeks.

”What sadness lengthens Howard’s hours?”

“Not having that, which, having, makes them short.”

Rudi peers around the trunk of the tree to look at his cousin. “In love?”


“Of love?”

Howard pushes angrily against the tree and begins to walk away. “Out of her favour, where I am in love.”
Rudi scurries quickly after his cousin. “Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!”

Howard turns and smiles at his cousin, heartened by the effort Rudi is making to understand his sorrow. “Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine?” he cries, throwing an arm around Rudi’s shoulders. He pulls him towards the town square, and then stops short when he views the carnage of the brawl from earlier in the day. He pulls away from his cousin and gestures wildly to the square. “O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.” Howard storms away from Rudi, gesturing wildly while he rants. Rudi follows behind, looking embarrassed for his role in the fight.

“Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire,
sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?”

Rudi, who had chuckled uncomfortably at his cousin’s diatribe, shakes his head. “No, coz, I rather weep”. Howard’s face softens, and some of the tension and anger leaves his form. “Good heart, at what?” Howard sits on the curb of the street, motioning for Rudi to sit beside him. “At thy good heart’s oppression” Rudi replies, looking earnestly into his cousin’s face. Howard smiles sadly.

“Why, such is love’s transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own”

Rudi sighs along with Howard. “Tell me in sadness, who is that you love”

“In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.”

“I aim’d so near, when I supposed you loved” Rudi laughs. Howard grins in response. “A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love”.

“A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit” Rudi replies.

“Well, in that hit you miss: she’ll not be hit With Cupid’s arrow”

Rudi looks confused a moment, before saying “Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?”

Howard nods gravely, putting his palms against the street behind him and leaning back.

“She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead that live to tell it now.”

Rudi copies his cousins posture, and gestures to his huge afro as he speaks. “Be ruled by me, forget to think of her”.

Howard looks at him askance, with one eyebrow raised in query. “O, teach me how I should forget to think”

Rudi gives his cousin a wolfish grin. “By giving liberty unto thine eyes; Examine other beauties”

Howard rolls his eyes at this, convinced that no beauty could match his fair Gideon.

The two cousins spy Brian Ferry-Capulet walking down the street with Bainbridge, the powerful kinsman of Fossil and friend of the Capulets. Howard and Rudi exchange glances, then scurry behind trees so as to remain unnoticed, and listen in on the conversation.

“But Montague is bound as well as I, In penalty alike; and ’tis not hard, I think, For men so old as we to keep the peace” says Capulet, speaking about the brawl from earlier in the day. Bainbridge strokes his magnificent moustache and nods sagely.

“Of honourable reckoning are you both; And pity ’tis you lived at odds so long. But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?” Bainbridge smiled wickedly. He has been wooing Vince, the fair child of Brian Ferry-Capulet, and is hoping that his fair hand will be given in marriage. Capulet shrugs, and says to Bainbridge

“But saying o’er what I have said before: My child is yet a stranger in the world” Capulet is violently protective of his son, and wary of all suitors.

Bainbridge puts his hand on Capulet’s arm. “Younger than he are happy partners made”. Capulet nods, wisely, and places his hand over Bainbridge’s on his arm.

“And too soon marr’d are those so early made.
The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but he.
But woo him, gentle Bainbridge, get his heart,
My will to his consent is but a part;
An he agree, within his scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.”

Bainbridge smiles at this, thinking that wooing the fair Vince should be easy. Capulet continues, saying

“This night I hold an old accustom’d feast,
Whereto I have invited many a guest,
Such as I love; and you, among the store,
One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
At my poor house look to behold this night
Come, go with me”

The two men continue walking along the street, arm in arm, planning their sport at the party Capulet was throwing. Rudi and Howard peer around the trees they had concealed themselves behind, Rudi with a wicked look upon his face. “At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s Sups the fair Gideon, whom thou so lovest, With all the admired beauties of Verona: Go thither; and, with unattainted eye, Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.”

Howard laughs at his friends challenge, clapping him on the shoulder and saying “I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.” The two stroll through town together, back to their own houses to prepare for the feast, Howard already planning his splendid costume.


Meanwhile, at the house of Capulet, the preparations are madly underway for the splendid party to be held just hours hence. Lights are being hung, food is being run from kitchen to serving rooms, and huge decks are being set up in the corner for the fantastic electro show that will commence as the evenings main festivities. Brian Ferry-Capulet enters the house from his walk with Bainbridge, and looks approvingly at the work being done. His son’s nurse, a talking gorilla named Bollo, hearing Capulet arrive home, scurries over.

Capulet turns to Bollo. “Nurse, where’s my son? call him forth to me”.

Bollo wrung his hands together anxiously. “I bade him come”, he said gruffly, before turning to look for the errant electro poof. Vince had said something earlier about working on his costume for the party and had wandered off, and it had been hours since Bollo had laid eyes on him. Bollo began shouting throughout the house: “What, lamb! what, ladybird! God forbid! Where’s this boy? What, Vince!”

Bollo is surprised by a chuckle behind him, and turns to see Vince standing there, his liquid blue eyes lit up by the smile stretched across his pointy features. Already preparing for the party, he is wearing skin tight white drainpipes and a white shirt that is skin tight through the torso but has long flowing sleeves that Vince is currently swishing around. There is a sparkly halo perched on top of his stylish raven locks, and he is holding feathered wings in one hand. “How now! who calls?” asks Vince with a cheeky grin.

Bollo rolls his eyes at his errant charge. “Your father”, he replies, grabbing Vince by the hand and dragging him along to see Brian Ferry-Capulet, who had gone over to the sound system to ensure that all was set up properly.

“I am here. What is your will?” chirps Vince to his father, who turns around with a frown on his face. “This is the matter:– Bollo, give leave awhile, We must talk in secret — Bollo, come back again; I have remember’d me, thou’s hear our counsel. Thou know’st my son is of a pretty age”.

Vince grins at this last, and does a happy twirl swinging his sleeves around him. Bollo nods in agreement.

“Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed: An I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish”

Capulet reaches over to stop his sons twirling, trying to get him to listen to his words. “Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme I came to talk of. Tell me, Vince, How stands your disposition to be married?”

Vince stopped flitting about and seriously considered the question, his head cocked to one side. “It is an honour that I dream not of”, he said finally, looking up at his father.

Capulet smiled at this, looking relieved. “Well, think of marriage now; The valiant Bainbridge seeks you for his love”.

Bollo perked up at the name Bainbridge. “A man, fair Vince, such a man As all the world…”

Capulet interrupts the ape, pushing him aside and looking deep into his son’s eyes.

“What say you? can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
Read o’er the volume of young Bainbridge’s’ face,
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;
Examine every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content
And what obscured in this fair volume lies
Find written in the margent of his eyes.
Speak briefly, can you like of Bainbridge’s love?”

Vince had stood patiently silent while Capulet spoke, and he continued in his silence for a moment after his father had finished. In truth, Vince wasn’t sure that he could love Bainbridge. Although the man was powerful, and his moustache was handsome and unlike any Vince had laid eyes on before, he knew that Bainbridge was self involved and was often dismissive of the young Goths exuberance and wild stories. Vince was sure that Bainbridge could never make him happy, and he squirmed under his fathers eyes. Vince finally relented. “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move: But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly”.

Capulet looked like he was about to say more, when a servant entered the room. “Sir, the guests are come”, he said, ushering Capulet out before him. Vince watched his father leave unhappily; his shoulders slumped at the thought of marrying Bainbridge. Bollo noticed his wards sadness, and threw his arm comfortingly around the boys shoulders. He knew how excited Vince had been about this party, and was convinced that he would enjoy himself. He picked up the fluffy wings from where Vince had dropped them, and handed them back to the boy, saying “Go,Vince, seek happy nights to happy days”.

Vince smiled at his nurse and best friend, taking the wings and trying to regain his festive mood as the two followed Capulet towards the sounds of guests arriving.

Meanwhile, Howard and his friends were gathering in the street before the Capulet house, preparing for the revels within, all resplendent in elaborate costumes. Howard, dressed dashingly in sliver as a knight, was worried about the Montague’s gaining entrance to the revels at their rivals house. “What, shall this speech be spoke for our excuse? Or shall we on without apology?” Rudi waved the question away, gesturing to the masks the men were wearing.

“The date is out of such prolixity:
We’ll have no Cupid hoodwink’d with a scarf,
Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,
Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper;
Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke
After the prompter, for our entrance:
But let them measure us by what they will;
We’ll measure them a measure, and be gone”

Howard looked uncertain at this pronouncement, and began to feel uneasy about the night’s whole events. In truth, he hated electro music, and was not at all sure that he was willing to endure an entire night of it simply to see his Gideon. He was also well aware that it could mean is death if he was caught in the house of his enemy, and suddenly had cold feet. His mask, surely, could not hide his stature and voice. Surely one of the house of Capulet would recognize him and turn him out, or perhaps strike him dead. He shook his head, and made to leave his friends. “Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light”.

Howard’s best friend and mentor, Tommy, moved forward to stop Howard’s escape. “Nay, gentle Howard, we must have you dance”. In a festive mood, Tommy danced a few steps and grabbed Howard’s hands, trying to spin him about in merriment. Howard pulled his hands back sullenly and backed away.

“Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead So stakes me to the ground I cannot move”. This said, the jazz maverick leaned pouting against the wall, his arms crossed against his chest. Tommy’s good mood was not to be broken by his friend’s solemnity, however.

“You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings, And soar with them above a common bound” he cried, flapping his arms in Howard’s face in mockery of flight. Howard petulantly slapped his friend’s arms away from his face. “I am too sore enpierced with his shaft To soar with his light feathers, and so bound, I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe: Under love’s heavy burden do I sink”.

Tommy rolled his eyes at his friend’s melodramatic proclamation. “And, to sink in it, should you burden love; Too great oppression for a tender thing”.

Howard pushed angrily away from the wall, moving to confront his friend. “Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn”. He pushed Tommy to the side, attempting to move past his friends towards home. Tommy was having none of Howard’s mood, however, and pushed back. “If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down”.

Irritated, Rudi pushed in between his two friends. He was eager to get to the party and enjoy all that lay within the house of Capulet. “Come, knock and enter; and no sooner in, But every man betake him to his legs”.

Howard still had misgivings about going to the party. “And we mean well in going to this mask; But ’tis no wit to go”, he pleaded, hoping his friends would let him go home and sulk in his own bedchamber.

Tommy rolled his eyes again at his friend. “Why, may one ask?”

Howard, desperate for any excuse that might convince his friend, said “I dream’d a dream to-night”. He
hoped that this would work for his friend, Tommy spoke often of dreams.

“And so did I” replied Tommy.

“Well, what was yours?”

“That dreamers often lie” said Tommy with a grin.

“In bed asleep, while they do dream things true” retorted Howard quickly. The happy grin faded from
Tommy’s face, and he got a serious look on his features, the look he usually got before he lectured Howard.

“O, then, I see The Spirit of Jazz hath been with you.
He is the music’s father, and he comes
whenever the jazz takes a hold of you,
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
This is he–”

Howard and his friends had watched in stunned stupor as Tommy ranted, going on about the Spirit of Jazz, his arms flailing about wildly. Howard stepped up to his friend and put a hand against his cheek. “Peace, peace, Tommy, peace! Thou talk’st of nothing”, the man said, hoping to calm his frenzy.

Tommy stopped flailing to place his own hand on top of Howard’s. “True, I talk of dreams, Which are the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, Which is as thin of substance as the air And more inconstant than the wind”. The two men stood there in silence for a moment, their eyes locked and Tommy’s breathing heavy. Off to the side and almost forgotten by the other men, Rudi pipes up. “This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves; Supper is done, and we shall come too late”. Rudi gestures towards the house of Capulet, where the party has been in full swing for some time.

Howard lets go of Tommy and stares up at the sky, his feeling of uneasiness about the party almost overwhelming.

“I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night’s revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death”

Howard looks around to his friends, who are standing nearby, watching him with worry on their faces. He sighs, knowing that he can’t let them down. “But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen!” he cries with excitement, throwing an arm around Rudi and Tommy’s shoulders, and doing a little dance step that makes his friends laugh.

Howard pulls his silver mask over his face, his small brown eyes peering out at the splendour of the house of Capulet the sounds of electro pulsing out into the street. He and his friends make their way easily past the bouncers, using the invitations that had been given to Tommy. Howard is stunned by the opulence and debauchery going on around him at the party. There are people everywhere, drinking and smoking and doing every kind of mind bending drug known to man. The guests are jumping, dancing and screaming, grinding on top of tables, in cages hanging from the ceiling and swinging around on poles. The crowd swirls around Howard and his mates, and Tommy is quickly pulled away by some friends. Rudi spies an attractive girl and makes his way towards her, leaving Howard to wander around the noise and confusion on his own, gazing around vainly for his Gideon. He heads over to the decks, where a DJ is spinning a track and screaming “WHERE’S THE ICE CREAM”, as a pink tentacled head argues with a slender man in an enormous hat about Fleetwood Mac.

Howard shakes his head as he moves past, ambling up a fight of stairs to a balcony, where he can see the entire party taking place down below him. He spies Capulet talking to Bainbridge, and quickly ducks down to peer between the railings, before he realises that Capulet cannot see him. He cautiously stands back up, and notices the young man that Capulet is introducing to Bainbridge.

Howard’s heart stops. The raven haired man has his head tilted back in an exuberant laugh, exposing a long creamy white length of neck. Howard leans over the balcony, straining to pick out the features of the boy. Below, Vince is swishing his hips to the beat of the song, taking Bainbridge by the hand at his fathers urging and leading him onto the dance floor. Vince becomes a whirlwind, moving his arms and hips wildly to the song, twirling around Bainbridge and grinning up at him teasingly. He throws his arms around Bainbridge’s shoulders, the white cloth of his sleeves draping the two of them. Bainbridge places his hands on the goth’s gyrating hips, gazing lustfully down at the wriggling body in his arms.

Breathlessly, Howard watches Vince move across the dance floor, his head feeling light and fuzzy. The rest of the room fades away, and all he can see is the lithe movements that Vince makes below. Howard moans slightly as his crotch strains the fabric of his pants, captivated by the dancing man below. Howard turns quickly to a guest standing beside him on the balcony, pointing to Vince dancing below. “What man is that, which doth enrich the hand Of yonder Bainbridge?” The tall, robed, bald man followed Howard’s finger with his gaze, then shook his head. “I know not, sir”.

Howard sighs, leaning against the railing of the balcony and resuming his watch of the dance below.

“O, he doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems he hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder boy o’er his fellows shows”

The man standing next to Howard on the balcony raised an eyebrow at Howard’s speech, then wandered off muttering about rethinking basic principles, leaving Howard to his reverie. Unable to take his eyes off the splendour below him, he scratches idly at his stubble, slowly forming a plan to reach the object of his hearts desire below.

”The measure done, I’ll watch his place of stand,
And, touching his, make blessed my rude hand”

Howard gazes below him for a moment, sighing as he watches Vince twirl slowly on the dance floor below, arms up above his head, his raven hair swinging as he shakes his head, swishing in and out of his brilliant blue eyes, draping himself with his white flowing sleeves. Howard whispers softy to himself.

”Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night”

With that, Howard moves away from the balcony, heading towards the stairs and his love below, unaware of the eyes that followed his descent.

The green skinned Hitcher moved slowly out of the shadows, cracking his knuckles absently as he mused about the retreating man. “This, by his voice, should be a Montague”, he hisses slowly, enraged. He turns to one of his servants, one of the Piper twins cowered by his side. “Fetch me my rapier, boy.” The twin turned and quickly scurried away, as Hitcher turned to the other man by his side.

“What dares the slave
Come hither, cover’d with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin”.

The second twin returned with the Hitcher’s sword in hand, and the Hitcher moved down the stairs after Howard. He is interrupted on the landing by his Uncle, who puts a hand against his chest. “Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so?” asks Capulet, slightly tipsy and falling into Hitcher.

Irritated and trying to worm out of Capulet’s grip, Hitcher points angrily towards the party and Howard’s form working its way throughout the crowd. “Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe, A villain that is hither come in spite, To scorn at our solemnity this night. ‘Tis he, that villain Howard”

Capulet squints across the floor towards Howard, teetering drunkenly as the impatient Hitcher struggles to move past his uncle. Capulet puts his hands on Hitcher’s shoulders to stay him, holding up a supplicating hand.

“Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone;
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement:
Therefore be patient, take no note of him”.

Hitcher recoils from his uncles word’s, which pushes him back against the narrow railing on the stairs.

“when such a villain is a guest: I’ll not endure him”, he shouts, gesturing wildly at the dance floor below, then turning frantically when he discovers that he can no longer make out Howard among the crowd.

Capulet roughly spins Hitcher back around to face him, forcing the younger man look him in the eyes.

“He shall be endured:
What, goodman boy! I say, he shall: go to;
Am I the master here, or you? go to.
You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul!
You’ll make a mutiny among my guests!
You will set cock-a-hoop! you’ll be the man!”

With that, Capulet forcibly takes the Hitchers sword from his hand, giving it to the Piper twins and dismissing them, then moving away to schmooze with his guests, leaving Hitcher fuming silently on the stairs. “I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.” Hitcher moves back into the shadows, plotting his revenge on Howard.

Below, Howard watches Vince dance from behind a pole, and waits until the boy graciously removes himself from Bainbridge’s grip and sashays towards the opulent bathroom. Howard follows him in, and gently shuts the door behind him. Vince turns, surprised by the sight of another man in the bathroom. Vince opens his mouth to speak, but it remains agape as he takes in the man before him. Vince’s eyes travel from the brown of Howard’s hair to his deep eyes and full lips, across his broad shoulders and chest decked out in shining armour, down to his waist, sliding curiously over his crotch, and down the length of his strong, slender sexy legs.

Howard smiles shyly at Vince’s astonishment, closing the gap between them in the small room and taking Vince’s hand in his own. “If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss”. Howard brings the soft white hand up to his lips and gently kisses it, his eyes unwaveringly locked with Vince’s.

Vince could scarcely breathe. He gulped, and pulled his hand back gently from Howard’s lips.

“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” He holds his hand out, palm up, and places the palm of Howard’s hand against his own, shivering at the touch.

Howard smiled gently at Vince, keeping his hand where it was, but leaning in toward Vince’s face. “Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?”

Vince smiled in response, holding his other hand up and waiting for Howard to place his palm against it.

“Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.”

Howard’s smile widened to a grin. “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.”

Vince shuddered with delight at the way Howard stared at him, feeling as though the man could see right to the very core of his soul. “Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake” he whispered, keeping his eyes locked on Howard’s.

Howard leaned forward and moved his hands from Vince’s to grip the boy’s face, stroking his sharp cheekbones. “Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take”. Howard tilted his head down and gently brushed his soft lips against Vince’s, breathing deep the scent of the other man. Howard pulled back, keeping his hands on Vince’s face and smiling. “Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged”.

Vince grinned cheekily at the other man, arching an eyebrow suggestively. “Then have my lips the sin that they have took”?

Howard grinned back. “Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again”.

Howard moved his lips back to Vince’s, kissing with urgency this time. Vince put his arms around Howard’s waist, pulling him closer and mashing their bodies together. Howard let out a low moan as Vince licked his lips, parting them so the smaller man’s tongue could enter his mouth. Howard moved one hand to Vince’s hair, entangling it in the soft locks, and one hand slowly traveled down Vince’s back, pushing the goth’s body closer to his own. Howard could feel his cock hardening, and could tell that Vince was likewise excited as he ground his hips against Howard’s. He bit gently at Vince’s lip, and was rewarded by a sharp gasp from the other man. Vince’s breathing was haggard, and he pulled his face back from Howard’s to look into his eyes, before peppering the taller man’s face with tiny kisses, moving from his strong stubbed jaw line down his neck, the kisses turning to tiny bites. Howard’s hands roamed around Vince’s body, exploring the slender torso and pert ass as Vince’s lips returned to his own, the two men moaning into each other’s mouths.

Vince moved his hands up to Howard’s shoulders and whispered “You kiss by the book”.

Howard moved his head back to study Vince’s face, and the two were gazing at each other when the door flew open and Bollo stormed into the room.

Bollo raised an eyebrow as Vince struggled to disentangle himself from Howard’s grip. “Vince, your father craves a word with you”. Bollo reached out and pulled Vince out of the door, sending a disapproving look at Howard. Vince shot his new lover a suggestive smile as he was dragged out of the room, and Howard followed, bemused, until Bollo shoved Vince into the waiting arms of Brian Ferry-Capulet.

Howard stumbled as though he had been hit in the gut, staring in disbelief as Capulet chatted happily to his son. “Is he a Capulet? O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt” he whispered to himself.

Rudi came up behind his friend, clapping him on the shoulder and ready to lead his friend away. “Away, begone; the sport is at the best”. He grabbed Howard by the hand and began to lead him towards the door, the party was winding down and he was eager to leave. Howard walked backwards alongside his friend, unwilling to look away from Vince. “Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest”. With one final glance behind him, Howard turned and allowed himself to be led by his friend.

Finishing with his father, Vince turned, expecting Howard to be where he left him. He was surprised to spy the broad back retreating through the crowd, and ran upstairs to a window to watch his new lover leave. He wildly gestured Bollo over. “Come hither, Bollo. What is yond gentleman?” He pressed his face and palms against the glass, squishing his nose in an attempt to get closer to Howard. Bollo shifted uncomfortably, he knew his words would not be well met.

“His name is Howard, and a Montague; The only son of your great enemy”

Vince laughed, thinking Bollo was in jest and turned towards his nurse. When Bollo simply stood there, Vince’s jaw dropped open, and his body sagged against the window as he turned his head to watch Howard’s retreating back.

“My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.”

Vince sank to his knees, feeling lost and empty without the jazz maverick’s arms around him, and he felt his heart break as he realised that the man he could not live without was the one man he would never be allowed to live with.

End Notes: Act Two: The balcony scene. Yummy.

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