As Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Disco Power Hour waned towards a conclusion, the Emcee of Funk himself took to the floor, microphone in hand. He was in his favorite place now – directly in front of a camera.
“Hello again, my babies. I hope you enjoyed those commercial messages and Mom, don’t forget to get on down to the grocery store and buy yourself a big old box of Shine-O brand dishwasher powder. It leaves your dishes so clean that…well, you could eat dinner off of them. And we all know how much dear old Daddio loves a clean dish. Ladies, you’ll get your old man’s smooch of approval as long as you wash your greasy plates with Shine-O.”
Sweet Johnny looked into another camera. All the revelers were standing on the sidelines, listening to the Duke’s every word. “Now my babies, has your old pal, Sweet Johnny Sugarshine, ever got some news for you. As you know, this program already beats out all the other programs on local cable access. Just like the Feisty Chef food processor, another one of our proud sponsors, it slices and dices Count Freddy’s Super Spooky Friday Night Creature Double Feature, and it juliennes Civic Discourse with Edna Delvecchio. We’ve always been the top show to watch for disco fans in New York City and the surrounding communities. But now, I’m proud to say that viewers have been tuning in with such great gusto that we’ve been picked up by a national network. That’s right babies. Starting next month, you’ll be able to switch on your boob tube and watch Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Disco Power Hour from sea to shining sea. You can watch it in Boston while you’re spooning up some clam chowder all the way to California, where you can watch it after a nice day spent frolicking in the surf. Get comfortable America, and get funky, because the Duke of Disco is comin’ at ya.’”
Thunderous applause. Sweet Johnny waved at Disco Werewolf, bidding the dog man to join the Duke on camera.
“By the way, babies, I just want to thank Disco Werewolf, because without this fella, my show would have never gotten this far. DW, take a bow, baby.”
Disco Werewolf did what he did best. “Ahhhwooo!”
The crowd loved it.
“Aww, you’re a sex machine on white wall tires, Disco Werewolf and the worst part is you know it baby,” Sweet Johnny said. “I know you had your choice of discotheques and I am honored that you chose mine to call your own. And to all you at home, I know you turn your dial to this channel to see Sweet Johnny, but I also know you stick around to watch this big palooka shake his groove thing.”
“Now, we’ve seen some great dance offs tonight in our never-ending series of disco competitions. We oooed as Misty Folderol trounced Debbie Dakota and we ahhed as Hustle Charlie Russel gave it his all against Big Red Stedman. But now, ladies and gents, I have a question.”
A hushed silence came over the crowd.
“That’s right,” Sweet Johnny said. “The King of the Swing, the Sultan of Soul, the Emcee of Funk and the Duke of Disco, yours truly, Sweet Johnny Sugarshine, has a question. Is anyone in here man enough, or dare I even say, woman enough, to take on the one, the only, the criminally stylish and mesmerizingly alluring Disco Werewolf on the dance floor?”
No one raised a hand.
“Come on,” Sweet Johnny said. “Don’t leave a brother hanging. Surely, someone, somewhere, has the guts to go toe to toe with this bad ass mofo?”
“Huh,” Sweet Johnny said. “Isn’t it ironic then, that the coolest cat in all of Manhattan just so happens to be a dog?”
Disco Werewolf enjoyed that line, so much so that he howled again. “Ahhwooo!”
“You know what, babies?” Sweet Johnny asked. “As it turns out, I know someone.”
Sweet Johnny paced the floor, looking to different cameras as he spoke. “Yes, I know someone who has been down in the dumps lately. Face down in the muck of his own personal, existential crisis, trying to figure out who he is in a world he feels just won’t let him be his own damn self anymore.”
The crowd began to murmur.
“I know a man who loved to dance and his fancy footwork once gave him purpose,” Sweet Johnny said. “I know a man who once ate, slept and breathed disco but now, he looks at it as though it were his long lost, estranged child. He loves it, but he isn’t sure what to say to it anymore.”
Sweet Johnny looked at the bar. “Boogiedown Barry, I’m talking about you, baby.”
Barry looked up from his sixth drink of the evening. “Huh?”
“Come on, Barry,” Sweet Johnny said. “Get on over here.”
A spotlight hit Barry in the face. “What? Nah.”
“Boogiedown Barry needs your encouragement, gang,” Sweet Johnny said. He started a chant. “Boogiedown. Boogiedown. Boogiedown.”
The crowd followed the host. “Boogiedown. Boogiedown. Boogiedown.”
Barry guzzled the drink and pounded the glass on the bar. “Ahh, what the hell?”
“You will fail,” Ferdinand said. “You are no match for Disco Werewolf, Boogiedown Fairy.”
“Suck my short hairs,” Barry said as he strutted to the dance floor.
There they were. Three of the biggest names in disco, right on camera. Sweet Johnny Sugarshine smiled at the camera. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages, put your hands together and sit yourself on the edge of your seat, because tonight, you’re in for a real treat. Coming at you from Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge and available for your viewing pleasure on televisions located throughout the greater city area, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut, it’s the long-awaited showdown we’ve all been waiting for.
Sweet Johnny pointed at Barry. “In this corner, we have the club’s former disco dance champion. He reigned supreme for nearly a decade until he was done in by our favorite furball, give it up for Boogiedown Barry.”
This time, the crowd did not comply. Various and sundry unkind words were shouted, the least cruel of which included, “Boooo!” and “You suck!” and “Kill yourself, Barry!”
Barry enjoyed his new role as a heel. He raised his fist and made a thumbs down gesture at the crowd, then pointed at Disco Werewolf. “You’re going down, you glorified poodle!”
Sweet Johnny pointed at Disco Werewolf. “Does this cat even need an introduction?”
Nope. “Wooo!” the crowded shouted. “Disco Werewolf! We love you!”
The host pointed to the stage. “Babies, I’m pleased to announce that Miss Boo Boo Larue was so inspired when she heard about the antics of our resident dance hound a few months ago, wrote a new song that’s guaranteed to be all over your radio soon, but lucky you, you get to hear it her first. Here’s Boo Boo Larue and the Starlight Crew, performing for the first time ever, Disco Werewolf.”
The house lights dimmed. The disco ball twinkled. The squares on the floor lit up and blinked away through different colors. A drum beat was pounded. The hi-hat guitar was strummed. The keyboard’s ivories were tickled.
Barry pointed at Disco Werewolf. The fuzzy one folded his arms and watched as Barry swayed his hips to the groove. Next, Barry stepped forward, then back. Forward, then back. He clapped his hands, then forward, then back. Soon enough, he was slipping to one side, then the other. He repeated this pattern as Boo Boo took to the mic:
Midnight is coming!
And so is the moon!
When it gets full,
My heart’s going to swoon.
Yeah, he’s a frisky ladies’ man,
Out to get all the girls he can.
When oh when will it be,
When he takes a bite out of me?
Barry dropped to the floor, catching himself on his hands, which were now behind his back. He kicked his left foot, then his right. Left, then right. He let go of the floor, then spinned around and around on his backside, before coming to a full stop in a lounge pose, with his fist balled up under his chin as though he were lost in thought.
Boo Boo carried on with her refrain:
Disco Werewolf! Whoa, uh oh oh! Disco Werewolf! Werewolf!
The backup chorus singers howled in unison:
Now it was Disco Werewolf’s turn. He performed all the moves Barry had done, then added a few more. First, he rolled his paws around and around, then folded them, and squatted up and down on his legs, jumping about like a frog. Next, he pointed to the crowd and thrusted his pelvis from one side to the next. He wrapped it all up with a belly flop in which he fell to the floor and squirm about like a fish out of water.
Boo Boo kept singing:
I searched every graveyard!
All the spooky mansions too.
On the hunt for Disco Werewolf.
It’s what a girl’s gotta do.
Disco Werewolf baby,
Won’t you ever see?
I’m the one for you,
‘Cuz there ain’t no fleas on me!”
Boogiedown Barry had now seen Disco Werewolf’s moves up close and personal. It dawned on the ex-champ that he wasn’t dealing with just some lowly, rank amateur with a cool gimmick. No. DW was the real thing, and Barry would have to bring his best and then some.
Barry performed all previous movies, then wowed the crowed when he back flipped onto the floor, landed on his hands, and walked around on his palms for a bit before flipping over to his feet. He then licked his finger and made a “Psshhhht” sound as he touched his own ass. He twirled like a top for ten spins, then stopped on a dime. He did one more back flip and this time, he landed on one and only one hand, supporting his entire body weight with it for twenty seconds before returning to his feet.
Though the crowd preferred Disco Werewolf to Barry, they didn’t hold out on credit where it was due. They gave Barry an assortment of “aoohs” and “ahhs.” His ego adored it.
Boo Boo sang her refrain:
Disco Werewolf! Whoa, uh oh oh! Disco Werewolf! Werewolf!
And the chorus girls howled:
Disco Werewolf hocked a loogie into his paws and greased them up. He then performed all previous moves, plus a mid-air kung-fu style kick. Some cartwheels, followed by some one-legged hops, a slide to the left, a slide to the right. He finished his turn off by jumping into the air only to land on his head with so much force that it would break the neck of a normal man. It didn’t phase Disco Werewolf though, for he spun around and around on his cranium much to the crowd’s delight.
Barry appeared displeased by that move. He stuck a finger into his shirt collar and let it out, as though he were releasing trapped hot air.
Boo Boo carried on:
Wrap me up in your furry paws!
And kiss me with your stinky breath!
When Disco Werewolf sniffs on my drawers,
I’ll never, ever fear death!
Disco Werewolf, I’ve been waiting my entire life,
For a love as sweet as you!
Come on over and end my strife.
What’s a girl who loves a Disco Werewolf to do?
Disco watched patiently, waiting to see if Barry would cop out. Surely, a mere mortal would not be able to recreate such a vicious head spin.
Barry looked nervous. He wiped beads of sweet from his brow, then performed all previous moves. When it was time for the head spin, he nailed it…flawlessly. He landed the entire weight of his body on his skull, then spun around and around.
The crowd erupted in a fit of applause, the levels of which had usually been reserved for Disco Werewolf. Barry hammed it up by strutting around the floor like a peacock, high fiving several fans on the sidelines. He then shook his hip to the left, and pointed to the right. Then he shook his hip to the right and pointed to the left. He did this for awhile before he landed on the floor in a perfect split, then with just as much as, leapt right back up to his feet with his arms stretched out as if to say, Ta da!
Boo Boo let out her refrain:
Disco Werewolf! Whoa, uh oh oh! Disco Werewolf! Werewolf!
And the chorus girls backed Boo Boo up once more:
This was it. No backing out now. The song was heading towards the big finish and it was up to Disco to bring it home. He walked out to the dance floor. He slid one hip to the left, then pointed a finger at Barry. He slid one hip to the right, then pointed a finger at the crowd. He slid his hips to the left, then the right, then pointed up to the disco ball. The crowd went berserk.
Disco Werewolf performed all previous moves. Next, he plunged down to his knees, and like a spring, ejected himself high above the floor, so high that he was able to slurp the disco ball with his pink tongue. He landed on his feet, then backflipped backwards three times. He backflipped forwards another three times and then finally, he performed a running jump into a slide then took him from one side of the floor to the other. When he reached the end, he let out his signature howl. “Ahhhwoo!”
The crowd joined. “Ahhwoo!”
Boo Boo finished the song:
Disco Werewolf, you may be the mutt,
But you’ve got me panting.
Thinking about your furry butt,
Has got me ranting!
You’re a sexy, furry creature that I need in my bed!
Kiss me once, kiss me twice, and love me so true.
Hold me tight and protect me from the undead!
Oh, Disco Werewolf baby, don’t you know I love you?
Disco Werewolf! Whoa, uh oh oh, Disco Werewolf! Werewolf!
One last howl from the chorus:
Applause. The dancers took to opposite sides of the floor while Sweet Johnny stepped out and addressed the camera. “Wow! How was that, babies? Was that not just ten tons of TNT with a lit fuse set to go kapowie?!”
“Woooo!” went the crowd.
“OK,” Sweet Johnny said. “We only have a few minutes left, so I’m going to let the crowd make the call. Ladies and gentlemen, if you think that Boogiedown Barry won this contest, make some noise.”
Barry put his hand up to his ear, taking in all the claps and cheers. There were even a few random shout outs. “Barry! You’re back!” and “You don’t suck as much as you used to, Barry! Yeah!”
When the applause died down, Sweet Johnny spoke into his mic. “Hmm. I think you’re back in the people’s good graces, Barry.”
“It’s a good place to be, Johnny,” Barry said.
“That it is,” Sweet Johnny said. “That it surely is. And now, judges, if you think Disco Werewolf won, show him some love, will you?”
The fans lost their minds. They clapped till their hands turned red. They cheered at the top of the lungs. One woman shouted out a demand that Disco Werewolf perform a very unsavory act in a very private part of her body. The comment was so lewd that Sweet Johnny knew he’d have to get a technician to cut it out of the show’s late night rebroadcast.
“I’m sorry Boogiedown Barry,” Sweet Johnny said. “You were good but…”
The Duke of Disco grabbed Disco Werewolf’s paw and raised it. “…this wolf was better. Disco Werewolf, ladies and gentlemen, the reigning disco champion!”
As the crowd cheered, Sweet Johnny looked at Boogiedown Barry with a sense of great wonder and puzzlement. The Duke of Disco expected Barry to frown but instead, he was being an incredible sport. Barry joined the crowd in giving DW a hand and then, a miracle happened.
Yes, Boogiedown Barry, who, for months, had been professing his intense hatred of all things Disco Werewolf to anyone who would listen, wrapped the champ up in his arms and gave him a warm embrace, even going so far as to bury his head on DW’s chest.
“You’re the best, Disco Werewolf,” Barry said. “Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”
Disco Werewolf looked to Sweet Johnny. Man and beast traded shocked glances. Disco Werewolf shrugged his shoulders, patted Barry’s perm, then cocked his head back into the air for one more howl. “Ahhwoo!”