April 14th, 2008
|09:22 am - BOOSHFIC: Howard Moon, Former Male Prostitute (1/3) (R)|
Damn. I wrote fanfic. Because nobody evaaar writes about this, although it is clearly referred to in the Boosh, and I dearly want someone to write it.
Title: Howard Moon, Former Male Prostitute, part 1/3
By: grrrr, me
Pairing: Howard and a lot of men
Rating: R, for themes
Disclaimer: Not only is Howard Moon not mine, I don't have much idea what I'm talking about. Feel free to point out factual inaccuracies - google can only take me so far in this kind of territory.
Warnings: Oh, so many. Not much comedy, far too many original characters and no beta.
Summary: Howard, and how he became a former male prostitute. Because it's canon. Set before the time of The Boosh. How Howard Moon ended up as a male prostitute, how Bob Fossil found out about it, and where Vince comes into the equation. (Although Fossil doesn't appear until part two, and neither does Vince.)
If only his first client hadn’t cried, then Howard might not have ended up working as a male prostitute.
He was terrified as he went up in the hotel lift. How cramped everything was here in London, how grubby. Not like he’d imagined it would be back in Leeds. And then when they reached the hotel room, it was tiny and dilapidated, with a curling carpet and a strange, sour smell. Howard was used to part-time after-school wages and Yorkshire prices. This room alone had already cost a staggering amount, paid for in advance in crumpled tenners counted one by one onto the reception desk by the client. Howard couldn’t see how anything he did up here could possibly be worth all that money, not when he was such a complete novice at it. He hoped that things wouldn’t turn nasty.
Then the client shut the door on them, and Howard’s fear rose like a bubble of vomit. Any moment now, he’d have to admit he didn’t have a clue.
But the client just collapsed onto the bed, with a thump, sitting on the end. The shoulder pads in his suit jacket seemed to collapse, the bed gave an ominous creak, and with a croak he started to cry. It was his first time, he said, he’d never done anything like this before. He loved them so much – his wife and three children back home. He didn’t know what he was doing here, what they would think if they could see him now. Before Howard could stop him, he’d produced pictures from his wallet, two tiny dog-eared snapshots. There was one of a blonde smiling woman and there was one of the children neatly sitting in their school uniform. The eldest girl looked only a few years younger than Howard was now.
The client sobbed on, how he would never hurt his family. That this had all been a terrible mistake. Terrible. But he’d seen Howard standing there, at the bus station, and he’d looked so good. So amazing.
Howard knew he was fit, that he swam a lot - but he also had a history of failed chat up lines. He didn’t have much of experience with being told he was attractive, not right out like that. Certainly no one had ever called him amazing. He’d have been scared stupid if this client had been like the others would turn out to be, the ones who would hire a convenient set of parts and nothing else. But this one was so nice about it all, so pathetic, had even been driven by his guilt into paying for this overpriced hotel room rather than demanding the business be done fast in a dark, semi-public place. So Howard found himself holding the client. Pretending to be the strong one, and feeling his t-shirt slowly dampen as a face was pressed against it.
In the end, after an hour and a half of hand-holding, many cups of tea from the tiny plug-in kettle in the corner which turned the water nasty and plasticky, some out-of-date biscuits and yet more sobbed confessions, all that Howard ended up supplying was a solitary hand job. And he knew how to do one of those, so that was fine. Although the angle was a bit different when you were doing it to another person. Made it disorienting.
During the act, Howard marvelled at how easy it was, this performing for money. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t invasive, he didn’t even have to get undressed. But after he’d finished, when the client indulged in another dissolving bout of tears, Howard was having the strong urge to have a good long cry himself.
The client had kissed him on the forehead as he left. It was disturbingly affectionate. “Do yourself a favour, son, and go home. Your mother loves you. You’re too good for this kind of thing. I can tell.” Another kiss, just between the eyebrows, and lingering. Yet more tears. “You’re too beautiful.”
Howard stared at the thirty pounds left on the bedside table, and thought, “If I’m really that beautiful, and older men really do fancy me, then this trick will work again. It’s really easy. Thirty quid – that’ll last me weeks! Especially if I get them to pay the hotel bills too. I won’t have to go back to Leeds and tell them all how I lost my job and how my landlady gave my room to somebody else. I can do this instead, and they’ll never need to know. Just for a while, just until I sort myself out.”
But first he had to go out onto the streets of London, back to King’s Cross Station where he’d first met the client. His rucksack was still in the lockers there waiting to be picked up. Before he’d been waylaid, Howard had been about to use the last of his money to buy a bus ticket north. But now he had a plan. Wolfing down the very last complimentary dusty Bourbon Cream, Howard crinkled aside the cellophane wrapper. Then he picked up his duffel coat, and headed out towards the night.
The second time Howard Moon had sex for money, it was a lot more difficult.
For a start, he went back to King’s Cross. There, he wondered how he should attract attention. After a while he took off his duffel coat, and then his cardigan, draping both over his arm idly, and stood about at the entrance, flaunting his flesh. But for all his cold arms, nothing was happening. Perhaps he wasn’t ‘beautiful’ after all – or at least not in a way that attracted the kind of men who pay for sex. That guy last night might have been mistaken, or blind, or desperate. Perhaps he had been Howard’s one go at easy money. £7.75 had already gone on a full English breakfast at the hotel. It had been a complete rip-off, but Howard had been hungry, and horribly reluctant to leave the protection of the hotel, seeing as what he had planned for the rest of his day.
By lunchtime, the warming effect of the eggs, sausages, and bacon had completely disappeared and Howard was starving right down to his toes. He was cold, too. That sun was deceptive – bright, but with a cold edge. As he put his cardigan and coat back on, he consoled himself with the thought that this was traditionally a business of the night, anyway. Perhaps he wasn’t repulsive, he was just timing it badly. He should go somewhere free and warm, find some hot, cheap food, and wait it out until nightfall.
After a tip-off from three gentlemen of the Special Brew, he gratefully accompanied them to a free soup kitchen at a cathedral in Trafalgar Square. From there he made his own way onto the Natural History Museum in Kensington. His feet were pretty sore, so he found himself a seat and sat and stared at the reconstruction of a giant sloth.
The model was nine feet tall, with vacant eyes and ridiculously pendulous claws. Howard thought it looked incredibly dim. He wondered how something so large and stupid could ever have existed. Eventually, the bell went for throwing out-time. As Howard stood up, his back gave a twinge. A penalty of being so tall, he supposed - his father had been moaning about it for years. As he thought of his father, Howard felt his stomach twist. Dad definitely wouldn’t approve of what he was about to attempt to do tonight. But better this than trailing home and admitting defeat. He’d be something some day, he knew he would. He just needed a little time to get there.
King’s Cross was a lot more frightening at night than during the day. As well the screech and fumes of huge double-deckers pulling in and out, there were now dark, empty silences in between mysterious yells. The people hanging around also had changed markedly.
Howard had always been a little afraid of women. For instance, for years he’d had that huge crush on Claire Caldicot. He’d spent hours staring at the back of her school blazer in class, trying to preserve her image for his later, intimate moments. He’d even written a quantity of poetry on the subject of his longing, poetry he was both extremely proud of and yet terrified of anybody else ever finding. It still existed, in his old bedroom at his parents’ house, in an exercise book hidden underneath a pile of X-Men comics. Yet he’d never managed to even talk to her, never mind ask her out.
His fear of Claire Caldicot was as nothing compared to his terror of the woman who was approaching him at that moment. She had massive blonde hair, pointed white high heels, a tiny skirt, and was wearing nothing much else. She also looked about fifty.
“What the bleedin’ fuck you doin’ here, you fuck?” she shouted. “Fuck off! This ain’t your patch! You lot scare off the real punters!”
Howard cowed under her power. “Sorry… I’m so sorry, miss. I didn’t know. Sorry.”
The woman steadied herself on one hip and regarded Howard with a coolness. “You new?”
He nodded quickly. “Yes, thank you. Miss.”
“Aw, love, you don’t want to be here! You won’t get any business. Only aggro. You want to try Piccadilly Circus. Although I dunno…” She shook her head. Each strand of her teased blonde hair stayed in place, like prickles on a cactus. “How old you, love?”
“I’m eighteen, miss. Eighteen last week.”
She made a sloppy clicking noise with one side of her mouth. “You look older than that. And those sort like them young, “ she said, bluntly, with no trace of irony, the make-up thick across the lines on her face.
So that was the night that Howard discovered that being eighteen meant you were already practically over the hill, especially if you were a lad who was tall and awkward and big boned with it. And his suspicions had been right. That man from last night had been deluded. Howard wasn’t ‘beautiful’, there were plenty of boys round here who were much more attractive, or at least the clients seemed to think so. He saw them being propositioned in the distance, their shadow-heads meeting in discussion. Cars pulled up along Shaftesbury Avenue, battling the traffic to reach the kerb and bear them in. A few cars scouted next to Howard, then took off running when as soon as he made tentative attempts towards them. He thought of going to one of the other boys, try to get himself some tips. But that would be as good as asking to poach their business. They’d probably want to hurt him, or at least scare him off.
Eventually, a silver Mercedes pulled up in a gap in the traffic beside him. A man wound down a window. He had sandy, thinning hair and a ruddy, freckled face. “I haven’t seen you round before,” he shouted across.
After a few seconds, Howard realised that he might have something in his favour after all.
“Your first time here?” the man yelled.
“Yes, sir.” He figured he might as well lay it on thick. “I’m new. This is my very first time. For everything.”
The man laughed. “Well, that’s a goddamn lie. But get in anyway.”
Howard opened the passenger door, insulted. He’d been as good as telling the truth. He really had.
Once he was seated, the sandy-haired man looked him up and down, and Howard must have passed primary inspection, because he was asked, “So how much for anal?”
Howard froze in horror. Anal. That meant arse, didn’t it? That was the kind of thing you joked about, the subject of graffiti. He hadn’t quite believed people did arse stuff during sex, not on a regular basis. Stupid, but he simply wasn’t prepared for it.
The man drummed his fingers across his steering wheel. “Come on, stop wasting my time.”
“God, I don’t know, I’m sorry,” he admitted, it coming out in a rush. “What you just said - I don’t know what it is. I mean, I know where it is, of course…. I just don’t know if you ‘re going to do it to me or I’m doing it to you, or how you do it, or how much to ask for….”
“Christ… is this some kind of act to get more money?”
“Okay.” The sandy-haired man set his Merc into first. It purred as it left the kerb. “Well, then. It’s twenty five quid, and I’m doing it to you.”
Howard hadn’t been cheated, as he was to find out later. But he was beginning to suspect that sex was a lot less fun than people had made it out to be. It wasn’t so much the act itself. That was uncomfortable, yes, and even painful, depending. But at least then you were concentrating on actually doing it, on getting it over and done with. That wasn’t the real problem. It was afterwards, when you kept getting flashbacks of it again and again, and you’d only been paid for the once. It hardly seemed fair.
But on that very same night, Howard Moon had paid sex for his third time. Then his fourth. He’d his fifth time, too, and stayed overnight with the client, which earned the most of all. It seemed that he was on a roll, and when he counted up was incredulous to find that he’d made a whole two hundred and five pounds, more money than he could have earned in a month at his old job.
It was on his third night as a male prostitute that Howard acquired a chicken. He was standing in front of a tourist-tat shop, not getting any interest at all, when he felt a tug on his sleeve and heard a bright, thin voice. “Hey, you! I seen you yesterday! What’s your name?”
“Howard,” said Howard, cautiously. He turned around. It was a young boy, looking barely old enough for secondary school, never mind to be on the streets. Later on, Howard found out he was actually fourteen – but still young enough to qualify as a chicken.
“How old’s you, then?”
Howard didn’t know if he should say, worried that his advanced age might get back to clients and business would turn even worse. But the boy was determined to find out and Howard wasn’t very good at lying.
“Eighteen? Brill-iant! That’s brill-iant, that is!” He had a distinct Welsh accent. His delicate face filled up with big, excited eyes.
“Why is it brilliant?” asked Howard, suspiciously.
“Cos you have to be eighteen, see!” The boy tugged Howard’s sleeve again. “It’s a right pain, it is! But now I’ve met you, so you can do it for me. Brilliant!”
This was Steve. He was from Aberystwyth, and he wanted Howard to rent a studio apartment for him in Clerkenwell. You had to be at least eighteen to sign the tenancy agreement. That was the law.
So far, Howard hadn’t felt he was doing anything wrong or immoral. And as for his clients – well, they gave him money, so he didn’t really want to think about their morality too hard either. Some of them had been openly appreciative. That was part of what drew Howard to it in those early days, although he wasn’t to realise it until later.
On the other hand, the men who picked up Steve - Howard knew exactly what he thought of them. Steve was still a child, very obviously so, and they were filthy paedophiles. However, Steve was also pulling in at least three times as much cash as Howard was. When Steve moved in, he had a mountain of stuff with him in black bin liners. Clothes from clients. Pairs of flashy trainers, also from clients. CDs he didn’t even have a stereo for, thick solid gold chains, even cologne. Howard picked it up a bottle and smelt it. It was rank. What sort of man buys aftershave for a boy who looks about eleven? The same kind who wants sex with him, he supposed.
The first time Howard slept with Steve, he was terrified. He put it off for two days first, sleeping on the floor beside him. Steve just looked over and called him an idiot. But there was only one bed in the studio flat, and while the floor was cold and hard, the bed was double. So eventually Howard crept in beside the little body and pulled the covers across. Steve immediately snuggled up, smelling of sleep and sex.
It wasn’t that Howard was worried he was gay. He knew he fancied men sometimes, or he had, that long week ago before this all started. Not that he’d ever dreamed he’d ever do anything about it back then. But now he’d stopped feeling even the slightest attraction to them. Or to women, come to think of it. Somehow it had all just disappeared. Only please God, let him not have become a paedophile instead. What other reason could there be for this? Why else was here, in bed with Steve? Why was he aching to be close to him, horribly grateful for every touch of his little body?
“You cry too much, you do.” Steve put a thin arm round Howard, who was hiccupping a sob. “You’ll never last.”
“Sor…ry…” bawled Howard.
“There’s a boy, you go on now,” said Steve, smoothing him on the back.
And Howard let his body have its way and pushed himself up close to Steve, and Steve felt warm and wonderful. Thank God - it was just loneliness, he realised. He’d been so incredibly lonely.
When they woke up it was late afternoon. The light was streaming through the window and they shared a plate of toast, Steve immediately striking up a spliff afterwards, and Howard found himself feeling a lot better than he’d done so for ages.
Wow! I haven't seen you online in a million years! Of course, I've been kind of absorbed in doing my job, but still. I missed you! My son collected up a bunch of snail mail things we made for you and told me I had to send them, but they are still in the corner of the dining room--I need to take them to work to get them out to you.
Let me comment on this fic. Even though this is not my fandom, I'm amazed that you can work with a character that is kind of clownish and make him feel real and tragic.
I haven't BEEN online in a million years. And then IJ went offline, which was fun.
I was away doing my original fic, and being very strict with myself. I had a whole writing treat system set up for myself and everything, as I do. Booshfic drew me back, damnit! As for this fic, I see I called it a three-parter here - ha ha! I've written 7 parts now and plan 3 more. Ah, fanfic. :)
How nice that you've got snail mail titbits for me! I read your LJ entry about Kid A being into the fate of bad cousin Jack in Cotillion, and that tickled me immensely. Then my LJ froze. It often does that when I try to reply, IJ too. I have so many replies emergency copied and pasted into Word that never make it onto the net! When I come back it usually seems too late.
It's going to take me a while, catching up on people's LJs and what they've been doing. I hope you'll pardon me. Really glad your work's interesting enough to be absorbing you! I thought it might.
I am so glad you saw that! I thought of you, since you were the person who got me to read the book the first time.
Hooray for thinking about each other though so far apart!
♥ and hugs
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