Author's Note: In case you all wonder what goes on over at my livejournal, this is a sample. There is more where this comes from. Mmm, you know you want it.
Also, the first person to tell me everyone's out of character is going to be beaten severely. I know they're out of character, thanks. It's on purpose. Have a sense of humor about it. Yeesh.
Disclaimer: Discworld belongs to Mr. Terry Pratchett, 'Tea Partay' belongs to Smirnoff.
Vetinari rather looked forward to Friday nights these days. He was nearing the end of his term in office and, as a result, had decided that every once and a while he deserved some time that he could spend out of the office, doing what he wanted. A lot of people would snicker at this, but what Vetinari chose to do was hardly snicker-worthy.
All that happened was Lord Downey and Lord Rust would come over for a few hours and they would . . . do stuff. It was Guy Time. No work, no employees, no students (in Downey's case), no nothing. Simply whatever they chose to do. Which was usually drink and play some game they'd made up.
Tonight, however, they were drinking and playing a game they had not had to invent: gin. It was Downey's favorite card game, and he'd insisted. The other two hadn't cared enough to object.
They were also talking. People who knew them and how they worked together knew that that could only end in trouble.
"You know what gets on my nerves?" Downey asked, flinging a card into the discard pile and grabbing a fresh one, scowling when he saw what it was. They had been discussing things they hated for the past hour, and it ranged from moldy cheese to two hundred page reports. "That new music that's out now. Rat, or something."
"Rap," Vetinari corrected, although Downey's mistake had been an easy one to make. The new form of music that was becoming more popular by the second had originated in the dwarf subculture, when the young dwarves had rebelled against music that only had the world "Gold" in it. "Yeah, that stuff's pretty vile."
Lord Rust was examining his cards, trying to make his move. "Is that that music where the young person stands up there and rhymes while someone beats a drum or something in the background?"
"Yes," Downey moaned. "All the students listen to it. I can hardly take it anymore. Pteppic said 'yo' the other day in conversation. It's awful."
"Don't hate," Vetinari deadpanned, but he started snickering when Downey shot him a glare. "I'm just kidding, Downey. Rust would you do something with your cards already?"
"I never did understand this game," Rust muttered. At last, he pulled Downey's discarded card off the pile and laid another down in its place. "I think that might have been a bad move."
"Too late now," Vetinari snickered, snatching Rust's card up and throwing one of his own down.
"I am on a mission to kill rap," Downey decided, taking a sip of his brandy and setting his glass down definitively. "You two get off easy, with never having to listen to it. But I have to hear it all the time. I can't take it anymore. I am going to inhume it."
"You can't inhume a form of music," Rust scoffed.
"Well, maybe not for money," Downey amended. "But I am going to stamp it out!" He threw a card down in disgust and drew another one from the pile.
Rust was chuckling. "Downey, your passion is admirable."
"That's what his wife said last night," Vetinari smirked.
"Oh come on, it was right there! How could I not go for that?"
"You have no sense of decency."
"Because I never got married." Vetinari watched Rust make his move and threw a card down, picking up a new one. "I don't have a she-devil chasing me around all day. Do this, remember that, don't put that in your mouth . . ."
"I really don't want to know about that last one," muttered Rust, while Vetinari grinned wickedly.
There was silence for a while and everyone looked at their cards. Vetinari was calculating his next move, and what cards he could sacrifice versus which he wanted to keep, Rust was wondering what the rule about calling gin was, and Downey was trying to invent a way of killing a form of music.
"I have to kill rap," Downey muttered. "It has to stop."
"Gosh you are just Mr. Vendetta tonight, aren't you?" Vetinari remarked. "Listen Downey, it's all kids that like this stuff. So what you do, as an adult, to kill something they love, is embrace it."
"Embrace rap. Maybe even try it yourself," Vetinari added with a shrug. "Once some old rich guy starts rapping it instantly becomes the most awful thing on the face of the planet. Your mere endorsement of the stuff will kill it dead."
Downey looked disgusted. "Are you saying that to put an end to the very thing I loathe, I have to pretend to like it?"
"That would have been the gist, yes."
Rust looked thoughtful. "But that might not work, you know. I mean, my kids anyway, when I feigned interest in the little fads and whatnot they obsessed over, they would just roll their eyes and pretend I didn't exist."
"Well that's because that's you," Vetinari snorted. "You're their father. Kids don't treat their parents the same way they treat other adults. Downey's the head of the school. It'll mortify all of them."
"Maybe not," Downey said suddenly. "I mean, I've never done anything like this, but I know at the Alchemists' Guild school the headmaster did something similar but the students just ended up liking him and thinking it was . . . cute. I couldn't deal with that."
"Well then fine," Vetinari said. "You need other uncool adults to help you."
"Like me!" Rust said, with more enthusiasm than he should have. "My kids always told me I was the least cool person on the planet."
"Gosh what an honor," Vetinari snickered. "There you are, Downey. You and Rust make up a rap and perform it. That'll mortify everyone."
"Are you kidding?" Downey asked incredulously. "You might be close to retirement, Lucky, but some of us are looking at another ten, fifteen years. My reputation would be gone." He paused. "But if I did it, I would drag other people down with me."
"Rust even volunteered," Vetinari smirked, pouring himself a glass of premium Smaltzberg vodka, the tea-flavored kind.
"What about you?"
"Me?" Vetinari rolled his eyes. "Oh right. Because I am hell-bent on destroying a form of music."
"No!" Downey said, gesturing widely. "Because you are possibly the least cool person on the entire planet." Vetinari raised an eyebrow and Downey took a breather before plunging on. "Most kids at that age are against the Establishment and the Man, right? Well you are the Man, Lucky. And if you think something's cool, then it's instantly government propaganda and therefore not cool."
"I like the way you think, Downey," Vetinari said, throwing his cards down on the table and taking a gulp of vodka. "But it's not going to happen."
"Vetinari you have six months left!" cried Downey, slamming his fist onto the table. "How could this ever hurt you? Most people just kind of roll their eyes when they read about new gossip about you anyway."
"Yeah. You're a pretty boring person. After thirty years, even the stupidest citizens are going to pick up on the fact that the press makes mostly everything up," Rust pointed out.
Vetinari sighed. "But this would be undeniable, Downey," he pointed out. "We would have to perform this in public or . . . or . . ."
"We could make a short click-video," Rust said thoughtfully. Clicks were no longer very popular, as they were expensive to make mostly and people were wary about them. But, as they said in the business, the show must go on, and so after the Holy Wood business most clicks companies had either gone out of business or relocated. Some of them were in Ankh-Morpork, not doing particularly well but getting by. "Like a video . . . for the song."
"I've seen those," Downey grumbled. "You can get the strips shrunk down these days really small, and some of the newer DisOrganizer's will play them. The students call them music clicks."
"So we make one!" Rust said, finally laying his long-ignored cards down at last.
"I'm not participating in this," Vetinari said firmly, looking at Rust's cards. "How long have you had those?"
"The past four turns or so," Rust said. "Why?"
"You've had gin the entire time, Ron."
"Oh. I thought I might have."
Downey put his cards down and leaned in over the table. "Listen, Lucky, I am willing to utterly humiliate myself for this cause -"
"You need a better cause."
"Listen! Could you just help us out a little? It might even be fun."
Vetinari scowled. "This isn't very much my thing, Downey."
"Go on, Havelock, be a sport."
Vetinari sighed. It was the way they begged. It always got him in the end. They just seemed so . . . desperate. He was a very weak man.
But hey, there would probably be alcohol.
"Fine," he said at last. "I'll help. But only because both of you are horrible at rhyming."
It was four months later. They had taken their time with the project, and - surprisingly - had enjoyed it immensely. Vetinari had written the entire thing, and Downey and Rust had been forced to come up with some sort of music to go in the background. They had made the movie themselves, with only a little outside help (Downey and Rust's wives had been intensely amused by the whole thing and Rosie Palm was always more than happy to help out Vetinari. "After all," she'd said, "What's a rap video without a ho?")
The video was set to debut at the Odium that night, before a click called 'Epic Click' or something, and Vetinari was having doubts about the whole thing. Sure, he only had two months, twelve days and four hours left in his term of office, but regardless of whether or not he was still Patrician he would always be that guy that was in the bad rap video. Downey, however, assuaged his fears.
"You have family in Genua, right? You could always go lay low with them out there."
"Oh, gee, thanks," he muttered. The three of them were standing in a small group in the back of the Odium. He pulled his hat further down so that the brim covered most of his face. Downey and Rust were also dressed inconspicuously. No one paid the three of them a second look.
"I heard there's a rap video before the movie," a young Assassin said to his friends. "Downey's supposed to be in?"
"Ew. Weird," one of the girls said.
"Patrician's supposed to be in it too," another one of the boys said.
"Oh, well he's okay," the second girl said.
"Yeah," the first chimed in. "He's kind of hot, in that old guy way." The two boys stared and the girls sighed. "You're not going to understand, no matter how hard you try. Oh! Look: seats!" And the four of them shuffled off down the aisle. Vetinari was staring.
"'Hot in that old guy way'?" he mumbled distantly. "Oh that's too weird for me."
"The Genuans get the babes," Rust muttered. "It always goes that way."
"I'm leaving," Vetinari muttered back. "As soon as this is over, I'm leaving. I need a bath. In bleach."
"Well here we go then," Downey said nervously as the lights dimmed. "I'm beginning to regret this decision."
"Oh now you're nervous."
The music started, and the picture came on the screen. It was a coach, being pulled at a fashionably slow pace behind two horses. Downey's voice became evident.
Downey: P-Unit forever (P-Unit)
Vetinari: P-Unit, what's up fellas?
Rust: Yo yo, where my nobles at?
Vetinari: AM, Ankh and Morpork, hollaback!
Downey: Tell Buffy to clacks me (sip sip)
People were snickering. "This is so awkward," Vetinari heard someone mutter.
"Lord Vetinari's such a player," someone else giggled. "And he's so hot in that old guy way."
"What is the old guy way?" Vetinari hissed to Downey, distressed. "Is this a good or a bad thing?"
"Shut up," Downey muttered back.
They were visible for the first time. Vetinari had to laugh a little. Oh they'd tried to for cool . . . sort of. Black was always cool, so Downey and Vetinari were in the clear with their regular clothes, though Vetinari had swapped the robe of office for a black blazer with a white shirt and black tie. Rust, however, had worn ridiculous pants with whales embroidered on them, and a pink collard shirt with a sweater thrown over his shoulder. It was about as uncool as it could get.
On screen, Downey began to rap. Student Assassins in the audience were giggling a little, but all Downey was surprised to notice that they were, for the most part, attentive. Maybe it was his wife on the screen. He always loved how nice she looked when she dressed casually classy. The lipstick had been a nice touch.
"Lord Downey's wife is hot," he heard a boy mutter. "In that older lady way."
Downey: Yo! Straight outta Old Ankh we're keeping it real
We're gonna have a party makes the ladies squeal
We're gonna turn it out with our famlies' riches
We'll serve Smaltzberg Raw Tea and finger sandwiches!
We keeps it real, by real we mean rich
From the Palace to my Guild, from the opera to Greenwich(1)
Cause no one's harder than an Ankh-Morpork gangster
We drink raw tea on the south wing veranda
Downey and Rust's wives came on screen, along with Rosie Palm. They were all dressed in the height of casual style for ladies of nobility these days, and they were dancing in a manner that was decidedly . . . not. Mrs. Palm wasn't much of a mystery, and Downey and Rust assumed she had taught their wives. And even if she hadn't, they weren't complaining.
Ladies: Let's have a tea partay
Downey: High tea in the parlor makes the ladies holler
Ladies: Let's have a tea partay
Downey: Smaltzberg Raw Tea lemon, peach and raspberry
Now it was Vetinari's turn. Wow, he thought with surprise, I don't look half bad.
"This is too great," a person in the audience muttered.
"Gods Vetinari is such a player," a girl laughed. "Never married and has his pick of the ladies. And he's so hot in that older guy way." Vetinari almost went down to ask her what that meant, but managed to restrain himself.
Vetinari: We sail yachts and we own coach horses
Every meal we eat comes in multiple courses
When it's time to party, we have a tea party
And we keeps it real, the old money way
Haters like to clown our old Guild educations
But they're just jealous cause we all run the nation
Yo where's the love at the tea partay
But if you're gonna show up send an RSVP our way
On screen he threw a tennis ball. It hit Drumknott in the face, and the poor man collapsed like a sack of potatoes. That hadn't been scripted or planned, but they'd kept it in because it was funny. Judging by the audience's reaction, they all agreed.
"He's probably really funny in real life," a student wizard chuckled. "I mean, seriously, he'd almost have to be." His fellows shushed him when the ladies came back on screen.
Ladies: Let's have a tea partay (hollaback)
Downey: High tea in the parlor makes the ladies holler
Ladies: Let's have a tea partay
Downey: Smaltzberg Raw Tea lemon, peach and raspberry
"Is it working?" Downey whispered to Vetinari. "Does anyone look horrified?"
Vetinari scanned the crowd. "It's not working," he muttered back. "I can see us becoming DisOrganizer video sensations as we speak."
Downey: We play croquet and we love money-making
Here's to homies on lock, for insider trading
Vetinari: It's a tea partay from Ankh all to Fourecks
We might be on loam but our homes are granite
"What were we thinking when we wrote that line?" Vetinari hissed.
"I don't know - it was late, we were drunk, and nothing rhymed."
"Oh it's me!" Rust muttered. In the end he'd only been able to say a little, because he had a painfully awful sense of rhythm. Throughout the rest of the video he'd just been standing in the back with a drink in hand, trying to look cool.
Rust: We're chilling from our heads and white tennis visors
Right down to our toes in a pair of top-siders
Downey: But now it's time to break
but please will you promote
Smaltzberg raw tea parties
and we'll send a thank you note
Vetinari: In cursive!
There were snickers at this. "That was awesome," Vetinari heard someone mutter.
"It was so bad and funny it was cool," someone else replied. "Who knew Vetinari and Downey could rap?"
The second person's female companion sighed. "I knew they could," she said distantly. "Gosh, Vetinari is so cute in that older guy way."
"What is that?" Vetinari hissed to her, but when she turned around he instantly pulled his favorite trick and vanished. She looked for a moment and then shrugged, turning her attention back to the screen.
Ladies: Tea Partay…
Let's have a tea partay.
Vetinari: Oh yeah, and drink responsibly. Playas.
A week later, the storm around the video had yet to die down. The little shops that sold DisOrganizer videos couldn't keep them in stock. Smaltzberg sales had gone through the roof. And the papers carried article after article about the whole sorry thing, some of which had quotes. Most of which had something about being cute in that "old guy way". Vetinari was still perplexed.
"I just wish I knew what that was," he said that Friday night, crinkling the paper nervously. "Is it cute like you might say a senile grandparent is cute or cute like . . . like . . ."
Sybil had joined them tonight, along with the other three women who had appeared in the video. "It's like what young ladies say when they think an older man is cute," she explained, "but want their friends to know that they're not weird about it."
"Gosh this really took off," Caro Rust giggled. "I mean, Smaltzberg clacksed me the other day asking for a contract. I didn't accept, of course," she added hurriedly when she saw the looks on the men's' faces.
"You know what the worst thing about this all is?" Downey moaned, nursing a glass of brandy while his wife patted his hand comfortingly. "I'm cool now. Nerdy cool."
"The best kind there is," Vetinari snickered.
"And we didn't get rid of that vile music!"
"I don't know," Mrs. Palm said. "It was fun, making that, wasn't it?"
"You were my favorite ho," Vetinari said loyally. Mrs. Palm hit him with a newspaper.
"I'm not your ho anymore, Havelock."
"Aw, don't be that way. We had something between us."
"Yeah, a contract," she snorted. "You whip out another one of those and we'll talk." Vetinari frowned and went back to reading his newspaper. "Honestly though, didn't you enjoy it?"
"Well, I suppose it was sort of fun," Rust grudgingly admitted. "I mean, when Havelock hit Drumknott with that tennis ball - that was priceless."
"There, see?" Caro said happily. "It wasn't all bad!"
"But the students still listen to that music!" Downey groaned. "And now they're calling me 'homes'! What does that even mean?"
"I kind of like P-Unit," Vetinari mused. "It's much better than Your Lordship. That was getting boring. Plus I've discovered that I'm cute in an old guy way."
"Havelock?" Downey said weakly.
"Don't ever mention that again."
"Don't be a player hater."
(1)An old home out on the plains that the nobility liked to rent out for the summer holidays. Also, it rhymed.
(Video that this is all based on: http:// youtube. com /watch ?v PTU2He2BIc0. Take out the spaces and you should be ready to roll. Player.)