The Zooniverse Series: One: Valentines

A/N: I won't even try to explain the absence

Disclaimer: I do not own the Mighty Boosh! It is Mighty Boosh every day with you!

Fics are now posted to one of my tumblrs, 'booshdom-fics'

The slim dusty pink envelopes littered the floor of the cosy keeper's hut. Howard Moon traipsed through them, scuffing them up over his slippers like autumn leaves as he shuffled his way to the kitchen area, mug in hand, dark blue robe trailing behind him.

His hair had curled into dark smoke-like wisps in the night, and a soft hiss came from the sleeping bag on the floor as Vince Noir eyed them warily.

Howard narrowed his eyes until they were thin dark lines of accusatory standards, running the water over the tiny sink until enough staggered out of the taps to rouse bubbles from the generous blob of green fairy liquid he had squirted onto last night's cups and plates.

"I don't know why you're making that sound, Little Man," Howard watched Vince rub the dreams out of his eyes and open them fully, "Look at your hair. It's like a mane. Look like you should be in the circus,"

"I'd quite like to be in the circus actually," Vince said, sitting up and drawing some of the envelopes towards him, voice already thick with a childlike daydream.

"What; like a little circus boy?"

"Mm. The swashbuckling circus boy."

"What; and his mane?"

"And his mane of knowledge." Vince's eager fingers slid under the flap of an envelope addressed to him.

Howard smiled, focusing on making the both of them breakfast, "We both know there's no knowledge in that thing. In there lies only candyfloss."

"Candyfloss, glitter, and a little bit of the meaning of life," Vince was too eager to pull the letter free, and the corner ripped.

"What, just a segment? Like a tangerine?"

"Like a puzzle piece. Just a little taster,"

"Nice,"

By the time Howard had reclaimed his own sleeping bag, Vince had shredded his way through six envelopes.

"Vince, what are all these?"

"Well it's Valentine's Day, en't it? People love me," Vince looked up at him with the cheekiness of a child been caught up to no good.

"What, more people than there are in the zoo?"

"Some of them are from the animals!"

"… The animals?"

"Yeah!" Vince grinned, tugging a card free. "Like this one!" He held it up in front of Howard's face who squinted at it over the steam of his coffee.

"I can't read that. What is that?" Howard meant the inside of the card; the front held a glossy image of a leopard with angel wings and a bow and arrow. Quite the ridiculous notion. However, inside there were simply scribbles and scratches.

"It's from Leona!"

"The leopard? …Where'd she get the pen?"

"From me! She's a budding artist, Howard, she needed to express herself!"

"What, in biro?"

"Yeah, in a little bit of biro!"

"Did a little bit of biro work, did she?"

"Yeah."

"What else, she got a few bics coming in there?"

"Yeah!"

"Little bit of sharpie, perhaps."

"She's genius!"

"She's very good."

Howard knew how many of the cards and love letters in the vast pile belonged to him: one. One buried somewhere amongst all the others for Vince bearing the same image of a googly-eyed chimp that it had for several years running. From Bob Fossil, Zoo owner who somehow still believed that Howard didn't know he only sent the card to 'keep him sweet, keep him workin' here.' It certainly wasn't the reason Howard still worked at the Zooniverse, and never had been. Vince also received cards from Bob Fossil, but he didn't like to touch them. The last one had had a stain.

"Can you help me, Howard, my fingers are getting stressed?"

"What, from opening all these letters from all these secret admirers? Life must be so hard for you, Vince,"

"It is."

Howard found and promptly disposed of his card from Bob Fossil.

They could only shell letters for so long. Soon, it was time to work. Not, however, before Howard found another card addressed to him. It was a miracle. He had to read the unfamiliar handwriting twice, three times, then again before he could believe it.

"Vince! Vince!"

"What!?"

"I've got one! I've got a card!" He tore into it eagerly, Vince continuing to shell through his own, uninterested.

There was no googly-eyed chimpanzee. Instead there was a beautiful angel, playing a trumpet. Howard liked trumpets. Out of the trumpet, came hearts.

Howard rose from his sleeping bag, cradling the card towards the ceiling, entire face beaming as though he was carrying the Holy Grail.

"It's so beautiful… Vince, someone loves me, Vince…"

"Sit down, Howard, what you doing!?"

"Vince, d'you think it's-"

"No, Howard, no I don't!" Vince knew who Howard was about to mention, and was quick to interrupt. Mrs Gideon was the object of Howard's desire, fantasies, and cream poetry, much to her dismay. If she remembered him.

"Oh, sweet Mrs Gideon-"

Vince carded a hand through his chocolate and gold mane before snapping, "Howard, it's not Mrs Gideon!" and tugging on the end of his robe.

Howard woke from his reverie. He sank down again, the sun in his expression that had brought rosiness to his cheeks clouding over.

"You're right. 'Course it's not."

Vince's eyes widened with sky coloured guilt, and he tugged the end of Howard's robe again, scrabbling to his knees, quick to add, "Well I just meant… You don't know it's Gideon. It might not even be a woman. It might be a man, or an animal,"

"An animal!?" Howard looked loathe to have his hopes trashed by a baboon, "It better not be, Vince! Who have you been talking to? And men don't sign cards with that many kisses! Not even on valentines!"

Vince held up his felt-tip stained hands as the bell sounded for their work to begin and the Zoo began to fill with sounds of life. "Howard, calm down. I don't tell the animals about you. They'd get bored-"

"Oh thanks. Thank you."

"And a man might sign with that many! What were there, four?"

"Four."

"That's not a lot!"

"That's a hot lot, sir! A mighty lot!"

"Well how many d'you sign with then!?"

"None. I don't write valentines cards!"

"Liar! I saw you stuff a load in Gideon's trumpet!"

"I didn't!" Howard slowly began to turn scarlet, moustache bristling.

Vince sighed, wriggling himself free of his sleeping bag, "Come on, let's get dressed. And don't lie; your Bovril smudge's doing that thing again…"