Inside her dressing room, Boo Boo Larue sat in front of a mirror, putting her face on. She looked amazing even without makeup but with it, she dazzled. She did her best to focus, but Boogiedown Barry, who was sitting on an old leather couch, was distracting her with his constant, non-stop prattling about his latest obsession – one Mr. Disco Werewolf.
“Did you see the way he moved last night?”
“It was quite special.”
“Special?” Barry asked. “That guy was solid. Totally solid. Solid as a rock. He was all up in a stone-cold groove, getting his freak on like freaks were about to go out of style. I’m telling you Boo Boo baby, this cat is all kinds of happening. He’s the got it all. He’s got the razzle. He’s got the dazzle and dare I say it?”
“Panache?” Boo Boo asked.
Barry pointed at the songstress as she applied some eyeliner. “Panache! That’s it, baby. The guy’s got panache. Some dancers have got panache. Some don’t. Some try to make up for a lack of panache but there’s no way to fix your panache if it’s broken. You just have to have a natural level of panache and this cat’s got it in spades, baby.”
“I’m ust happy to see you happy, dear.”
Barry stood up and moved behind the luscious lady. He knelt down and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Boo Boo would have looked at Barry’s reflection, but he didn’t cast one.
“This is it,” Barry said.
“You think so?” Boo Boo asked.
“I know so,” Barry answered. “Why? You don’t?”
Boo Boo applied some red lipstick, then pressed her lips together. “I don’t know. He’s quite extraordinary, I’ll give you that but…”
“Past dancing sensations have failed me before,” Barry said. “I know.”
“I just don’t want to see you get your hopes up only for them to be dashed again, darling,” Boo Boo said.
“Did you see him?” Barry asked. “I mean, I know you saw him, baby, but did you truly study him? I did. The dog matched my feet move for move and no one’s ever been able to do that before. Plus he can do tricks that no human can do and I know baby, I’m not going to count my chickens before they’re hatched but…”
Boo Boo sighed. “…you want him.”
“I’ve gotta have him, baby,” Barry said. “Not just for me but…for us.”
An interruption. One of the Starlight Crew’s lowly roadies stepped in, holding a champagne glass filled with pink candies. “Good evening Miss Larue. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”
“You are,” Boo Boo said as she concentrated on her face in the mirror. “But go on. Out with it, peasant.
Barry stood and stepped back. The roadie set the glass down on Boo Boo’s table. “Here you are, Miss Larue. A champagne glass filled with exactly 98 pink chocolate candies. Just as you asked.
“Thank you, Jeffrey, you are an angle but…oh my.”
“What?” Jeffrey asked. “Is something wrong?”
Boo Boo pointed to the top of the glass, where one errant yellow candy sat on top a sea of pink.
“Oh no,” Jeffrey said as he picked up the glass. “Miss Larue, I’m so terribly sorry.”
Boo Boo shook her head. “A road crew’s job is to take care of all the little details so that the performers can concentrate on their performance, Jeffrey.”
“You’re absolutely right, ma’am,” Jeffrey said.
Barry interrupted. “Honestly, kid, if it had been me and the hottest babe on the disco scene had asked me to bring her a champagne glass filled with 98 pink candies, I would have gone through that glass with a fine tooth comb, making damn well sure there weren’t any yellow candies, or blue candies or green or red or purple or…”
“You’re absolutely right, sir,” Jeffrey said. “Here, I’ll just…” Jeffrey used his thumb and pointer finger to pluck the one yellow candy out of the glass. “There we go. Problem solved.”
Barry and Boo Boo each made a face as though they were staring at a most horrid abomination.
“Ugh!” Boo Boo said.
“You’re disgusting,” Barry added. “Do you have any idea who this woman is, kid? This is Music Beat’s Singer of the Year, three years running. She’s put out two albums and they both went platinum. Where do you get off, putting your…”
Boo Boo cut Barry off. She swiveled around in her chair and looked up at the roadie. “Jeffrey, darling, you must replace the entire glass immediately.”
“But…um,” Jeffrey said. “It’s fine now. See? All fixed.”
“It’s not fixed, Jeffrey!” Boo Boo snapped. “I don’t have any idea where your putrid fingers have been, what orifices you’ve scratched them with, how long they have spent in recent hours extended into your nasal passages or betwixt your buttocks and for all I know, your hands could be crawling with untold amounts of germs.”
Barry grabbed the roady by the shirt collar. “She gets sick and she’s out for a week, schmucko. She has to cancel appearances. She has to give back her dough and her fans get disappointed. All because of your incompetence.”
Sweat beads formed on Jeffrey’s brow. “I’m sorry, sir.”
“You should be,” Barry said as he released the twerp.
Boo Boo took a different tact. Her tone became gentle and loving. “Jeffrey, darling, this isn’t that difficult a task. Just run along and fix it.”
“Must I spell it out for you?” Boo Boo asked. “Ugh! I am surrounded by imbeciles, just disgusting, babbling shaved baboons, the lot of you! Fine, I’ll do it myself!”
“See that, punk?” Barry said. “You’ve upset her.”
“No,” Jeffrey said. “I’m sorry, Miss Larue. How can I make this better?”
“Go out,” Boo Boo said. “Buy another bag of candies. Separate out 98 pink ones and this time, Jeffrey darling, make absolutely sure that there are exactly 98 pink candies inside a different champagne glass. Ninety-eight pink, no more, no less.”
“And God help you if there’s one of any other color,” Barry said.
Jeffrey’s eyes welled up as though he were about to cry.
“Oh, poop,” Boo Boo said, sweetly. “What is it?”
“I’m sorry,” Jeffrey said as he fought back the tears. “I don’t want to say no to you but it’s just that the teamster boss told me to be back in five minutes to help him set up the lights and…”
Barry pointed to Boo Boo. “She’s your boss, numbskull. When it comes to bosses, they don’t get any higher.”
Jeffrey was openly crying now. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Boo Boo glared at Barry. “That was too much, brute.”
Barry threw up his hands and sat down on the couch. “Hey, you’re the belle of the ball and it’s your call, doll.”
The singer stood up, wrapped her arms around Jeffrey and pulled him in close. She ran her dainty hand up and down the back of his head. The smell of her perfume calmed him.
“Shh,” Boo Boo said. “Hush now, child.”
“OK,” Jeffrey said.
“Sheesh,” Barry said. “They don’t make men like they used to.”
“Hush now, Barry,” Boo Boo said before turning her attention back to Jeffrey. “Tell me, what is it that bothers you so?”
“It’s just…” Boo Boo released Jeffrey. The roadie sniffed and wiped his eyes. “…you know. My old man told me I was an idiot for moving to New York and trying to make a go of it in music and every time I screw up I hear him telling me how stupid I am. Maybe he was right. Maybe I should have just become a landscaper like my brother, Doug.”
“Oh my,” Boo Boo said. “That sounds like a dreadful job, darling. Why, it sounds to me as though your brother, Douglas, has not one sliver of imagination in his entire body. You, however, have it in droves, I can tell. I think your decision to work in music was inspired.”
“You think so?” Jeffrey asked.
Boo Boo reached out and rested her palm on the back of Jeffrey’s head. “I know so, love. In fact, the next time you see your father, you’ll be able to tell him that Boo Boo Larue gave you a personal, live performance right in her dressing room.”
Jeffrey’s eyes grew wide. “I will?”
Boo Boo took a deep breath, exhaled, then locked eyes with the roady and sang:
Lover! I never thought I’d love again.
‘Till I met you, my friend.
You’re the best lover that I ever knew.
Jeffrey became lost in Boo Boo’s eyes. He descended in a deep, all-consuming trance, as if he and Boo Boo were the only two people left in the world and nothing around him mattered.
And when, the cold winds blow in from the sea,
I know just where you’ll be,
Standing right next to me.
The roady’s eyes changed. His pupils disappeared and his eyes went completely white and blank, devoid of any color.
“I’ll do anything for you, Boo Boo,” Jeffrey said in a dazed monotone. “Please, tell me what to do.”
“Right then,” Boo Boo said. “Be a lamb and repent for your mistake by killing yourself, will you, Jeffrey dear?”
Like a brainless zombie, Jeffrey marched over to the table and picked up the champagne glass. “Of course, Boo Boo. Anything for you.”
Jeffrey smashed the glass down on the table, sending broken shards and pieces of candy flying everywhere. He then took the jagged end of the glass and without so much as uttering the slightest cry or showing even a bit of pain, rammed it deep into his neck, sending a spray of crimson blood throughout the room.
The roady’s lifeless corpse fell to the floor with a thump.
Barry winced as he looked at the red blood and red pieces of glass and candy that had been scattered all over his once clean shirt. “Boo Boo baby.”
“Yes, love?” Boo Boo asked, her once white dress now splattered with red drops.
“Just for future reference,” Barry said. “You’ve got to be detailed with these mooks. Tell them to kill themselves outside, or at least on top of an old tarp or something.”
“Quite right,” Boo Boo said as she looked at her ruined dress. “Oh, all this red will never come out of white. Looks like this outfit’s a goner.”
Another plucky young roadie entered the room. “Miss Larue, I’m sorry to disturb you, but you’re wanted on set for a sound check and…OH MY GOD!”
The new roadie leaned over the dead body. “Jeffrey! Are you ok? It’s me, Sam! Speak to me!”
“He’s gone, Sam.”
“No!” Sam said. “What happened? Did anyone see who did it?”
Boo Boo laid her hand on Sam. “Everything’s fine, Sam. Just relax.”
“Fine?” Sam asked. “We’ve got to call the cops. The killer’s getting away!”
Boo Boo grew impatient. She grabbed Sam around the back of the head and locked eyes with him but this time, simply sung complete gibberish to the tune of Another Lover:
La la la, hmm hmm hmm.
Doo dee doo dee doo my friend.
Something something, something else.
Sam’s eyes went blank. Boo Boo kept singing:
Lover, blah blah blah blah, so on and so forth.
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,
La la la, la la, la la.
The new roady was in a trance. “I’ll do anything for you, Boo Boo. Please, tell me what to do.”
“Clean this room up,” Boo Boo said.
“Be specific,” Barry noted.
“In its entirety,” Boo Boo said. “Clean every inch, from top to bottom, and do not leave a single scrap of evidence of Jeffrey’s most untimely demise behind.”
“I’ll get right on that, Boo Boo,” Sam said as he dropped to his knees and began picking bloody candies out of the carpet.
“And?” Barry said.
“And don’t leave this room until it is back to normal,” Boo Boo said.
“It will be done, Boo Boo,” Sam said.
“Dispose of the body,” Boo Boo said. “Throw it in the river.”
“Yes, Boo Boo,” Sam said. “I will.”
“And?” Barry said.
“What ‘and?’” Boo Boo asked.
“Loose ends,” Barry said.
“Oh, right,” Boo Boo said. “And then return to your apartment, write a note indicating that you and Jeffrey had been gay lovers for several months but when you learned he had eyes for another, you couldn’t take it and in a wild rage you killed him. In a panic, you dumped the body but now you are so riddled with remorse that you must end your own life. Sign the note and then, oh, I don’t know, hang yourself I suppose.”
“It will be done, Boo Boo,” Sam said.
Boo Boo took a seat on the couch next to Barry. He wrapped his arm around her. She cuddled up to his chest. They spoke openly about their evil ambitions, uncaring of the dutiful slave in the room, regarding him as one might a brainless pet.
“Now then,” Boo Boo said. “Where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?”
“The werewolf,” Barry said. “We need him.”
“You mean you need him,” Boo Boo said. “Once you have your queen you’ll have no more use for me.”
Barry kissed the top of Boo Boo’s head. “Who are you kidding? I’ll always have another use for you, baby.”
Boo Boo looked at her lover, aghast at his poor choice of words.
“You know what I mean,” Barry said.
“Something tells me that Lillith isn’t the type of girl that enjoys a good menage a trois,” Boo Boo said.
“Lilith isn’t exactly in a position to argue,” Barry said. “It’s going to be my way or the highway, this time. Me. I’m the one running the show and if dear old Dad doesn’t like it, he and the floozy he sent to keep tabs on me can hit the bricks.”
“But there will be certain expectations,” Boo Boo said.
Barry rested his hand under Boo Boo’s chin, lifting her head up so he could look into her eyes. “Aurelia. Baby. Come on. I’d no sooner marry that fire breathing bitch than I would a cold, dead fish, capiche? It’s you and me against the world, baby, forever and ever.”
“Mmm,” Boo Boo said as she laid her head back down on Barry’s chest. “Dearest, here’s a thought. Why don’t we just let things be as they are?”
“What?” Barry asked. “And give up ruling the world?”
“Is the ruling the world all that it’s cracked up to be?” Boo Boo asked. “Countless men throughout the ages have tried their best to run it or at least parts of it throughout the ages and as far as I can see, no one has been able to do anything good with any of it. It’s a thankless job.”
“It’s mine by right,” Barry said as he reached down to his chest. He flipped over his medallion to reveal the serpent that had been etched into it.
“We already have lovely jobs,” Boo Boo said. “I sing and make merry for lonely fools who like to pretend I love them. It’s so much easier to be a siren in this age, darling. You don’t have to lie in wait on the rocks all day, waiting for grimy old sailors to come your way. In fact, the people pay to come see you. And you, well, you do whatever you do. Enjoy your memories of your disco dancing glory before Disco Werewolf swept in and stole it all out from underneath you.”
“Boo Boo, darling. I much prefer it.”
“Fine,” Barry said. “You know I can’t let this go. I’ve been working on it for a thousand years.”
Boo Boo sighed. “I know. It’s just sometimes dreams can pan out to be failures for so long that one is left to wonder whether a new dream is in order. One that allows for the status quo to continue so I can sing in London, Paris and Milan. I won’t be able to sing if you burn down London, Paris and Milan, darling.”
“You’ll still sing, babe,” Barry said. “Just not in joints as classy, but you’ll still sing.”
“Pish, posh,” Boo Boo said as she pressed out her lips, offering a kiss. “You have a one track mind.”
Barry accepted the kiss. “And you love it.”
“I suppose,” Boo Boo said. “Still, I don’t know how I’m going to procure the services of your werewolf. My powers only work on those in human form.”
“I guess you’ll just have to fall back on being a breathtakingly gorgeous celebrity to seal the deal,” Barry said. “Poor you.”
“It will have to be sealed slowly,” Boo Boo said. “Supernaturals are aware of the evil that lurks all around them. He’ll be more skeptical than the average mark.”
“I know you’ve got it covered,” Barry said.
Boo Boo sat up. “Let me see you.”
“What?” Barry said. “You’re seeing me.”
Boo Boo ran her hand up and down Barry’s arm. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen the real you.”
“In front of the dingus?” Barry said as he pointed to Sam, who was still picking bloody bits off the floor.
“His brain is mush,” Boo Boo said. “He doesn’t have any idea what’s going on.”
Barry sighed. “Very well.”
The second most popular dancer in the club snapped his fingers. Soon, a fire that started at his feet was lit. The flames danced and flickered and grew and grew until they consumed his body, which grew taller and took the form of a fierce, loathsome looking demon, complete with long horns and sharp teeth. Somehow, despite all laws of physics, the flames didn’t burn the couch or anything around him.
“Here’s looking at you, Boo Boo,” the demon said in a deep, grumbly voice.
Boo Boo laughed giddily and clapped her hands. “Disco Baal! Disco Baal! Disco Baal!”
Baal rolled his red eyes. “Ugh. I hate that joke.”