The three men sat at a table, holding scripts. All wore stylish proto-types of their costumes, save Simon, who was head-to-toe in bunny suit.
'Am I even getting paid for this?' asked Simon, tetchily.
'More than half the crew put together, mate!' Russell assured him, beaming disarmingly.
'Well, Macabre de Coiffure, is it? And what exactly is your establishment concerned with, sir?' asked Simon, in a slightly nasal voice.
'The search for the mythical unicorn!' yelled Noel, irrepressibly jumping up, despite Russ hurling his riding crop in his direction.
'I see, quite amusing, Mr. Skeleton,' Simon's dignity was slightly reduced by his fluffy ears.
'The only way we're doing that is with some big,' Russ' hands hovered at chest-height, 'some knock-out bird riding it about and that, who I get off with at the denouement.'
'Alright! We all understand, you're very heterosexual! You needn't go on about it constantly!' said Simon.
'Russell is about as straight as a kilt.'
'Well it's not completely gay!' Noel protested, 'it's just not definitively one way or the other, is it?'
'I'll have you know that I am a virile, raging heterosexual -,'
'Matt told me,' Noel said in an aside to Simon, watching Russell.
'He just said that cause he fancies me, Russ replied, in a fruity voice.
'Picking out curtains,'
'We bought a kitten together,' said Russ, rolling with the joke, 'we're going to name it...Felcher.'
Simon spluttered. 'This is the rehearsal is it?'
'Yeah!' said Noel, his idiot smile spreading into a self-aware grin.
'I'm having this costume,' said Noel, toying with his mass of black curls and Captain Hook 'tache.
'I know what you mean, mate. This'd cause a right fuckin' stir in Hackney,' Russell grinned invitingly.
Simon took in every detail of the costume, in quiet envy.
Brand was clad entirely in black. He wore a towering tophat that sat precariously on his own towering hair. A perfect fetish of buttons ran down his forearm, ending in a spray of dark lace at the sleeve. He wore riding boots to mid-calf, with a smart heel, with a riding crop at his hip to match. His pants were of silk, and winked in the light, which he used to his best advantage, making a leg to his comedy partner in moments of triumphant wit.
Noel was more interested with the swishy sound his cape made when he imitated Bela Lugosi.
'Undead, undead, undead,' he sang in a cheery nursery melody as he twirled around the office, like a bat.
'What about you, Si?' Noel paused to look at him with too-innocent eyes.
'Taking the costume home to pay tribute to its namesake?' asked Russell, catching Noel's meaning quickly.
Noel paused, his lips twitching. 'Bit of bunny bumming on the cards?'
Russ cackled to see Noel ran as fast as his squat legs would carry him, as Simon flailed after.
'I'm being chased by a rabbit! I'm being chased by a GIANT rabbit! He's going to bum meee!' Noel shouted, diving into a strategic position on the other side of the table.
Simon panted, sweating with the heat of the suit.
'I'm beginning to have doubts on that point, Noel,' said Russell, observing the stand-off impartially. 'I'm not sure at all that this is a rabbit of unusual size.'
Noel's brow creased. 'You're not...dressed as a rabbit?' he said, disbelievingly.
'Yes! I know I'm dressed as a rabbit!' hissed Simon, crossly.
'But you're not an actual rabbit.'
Simon shook his head vehemently.
Russell gingerly touched an ear. 'Forgive me colleague's credulity, but we were under the impression -,'
'Aagghh!' yelled Simon, jumping with bottled anger.
'He's hopping!' cried Noel, pointing triumphantly.
'You can't deny that you were hopping in a distinctly rabbity fashion. And what's more, your ears were nothing if not flopsy.'
'It's a trick!' said Noel, trying to find the left over julienned carrot sticks from his salad.
Russell eyed Simon warily.
'It's a costume; it's a bloody costume!' he whispered, trying not to make any sudden, rabbit-like gestures.
It was the aeroplane noises as Noel launched the carrot from a safe distance that made him snap, thought Simon, on later reflection.
He snatched off the bunny head.
Upon seeing the rabbit behead itself, Noel promptly fainted.
'Where are me smelling salts? Come 'elp me Bugsy,' Russell leaned on Simon's shoulder. 'If that's even your real name!' he added dramatically, his sense of propriety outraged.
Once more seated, albeit with Russell's feet on the table, and Noel's buckled pirate boots following suit, they continued.
'Bob, my esteemed, if slightly simple, colleague, we have a case.'
Noel beamed. 'Will we be getting paid in licorice all-sorts again?'
Russell smiled patronisingly.
'Our present client,' he began, impressively, 'is a rabbit.'
Noel took a moment to react.
'This isn't like the other time is it?' he asked, uncharacteristically suspicious.
'When you thought the client was a giant bird, because she was wearing, like, a sort of feather boa,'
'No! It isn't like the other time, it's not in the least little bit like the other time!' he flailed. 'I was high! It were the Victorian times, eh? We were all keeping rent boys in Opium dens!'
Noel rested his head on Russell's shoulder, adoringly. 'No, mate,' he said, slowly, 'you just thought it was in the past, 'cause you were off your chops,'
'Oh right!' he winked at Simon, 'Drugs are bad: now I'm clean as a whistle, sharp as a thistle.'
Simon's bunny suit shook a little.
Noel couldn't decide if it was with laughter or frustration.
'Anyways. We're taking the client out for some nosh tonight.'
'Tonight?' Noel echoed. 'What are you on about? I can't make tonight!'
'You know why.' he raised an eyebrow. 'I've got an appointment with Mrs. Winklebottom, haven't I?' he said with a resigned voice.
Russell looked at him expectantly.
'You know, that genius nan down at the goth tuck shop?'
'That saucy old minx that does your hair?'
'I've gotta please my fanbase,'
Russell closed his eyes, thinking.
'Octagarian women with a dubious moral code?' he asked, talking into Noel's hair.
'I'm big in the bingo halls,' he said, dryly.
Simon grimaced, as Russell mimed lewd and wrinkly sexual acts, involving bingo balls.
'Don't you start...Council does your hair,' he ducked in anticipation of something heavy being thrown, but Simon rose magestically above the insult.
'Winklebottom?' he asked, calmly.
Noel smiled, on the defensive.
Pleased, Simon egged him on: 'I feel I've got the best hair of anyone here, to be honest.'
'How dare you!' Russell shouted, kicking a chair over in mock fury.
'Do you have any idea the backcombing that goes into this magnificent sculpture? And Noel 'ere was working the hot curlers before you were even awake!'
He clutched at Simon's paws, pathetically. 'He burneded his little hand!'
'We've suffered for our art,' he finished, booming.
'I did and all,' said Noel, holding up his hand.
'Nevermind,' continued Russell, on a roll, 'how tight these silky trews are.'
'I'm never having kids,' said Noel, adjusting his balls.
''Ear that? He's given up the noblesse oblige of cockney progeny for you, Amstell!'
'I wouldn't really have been bothered, you know,' said Noel.
The other two looked at him questioningly.
'By a giant bunny bumming.'
Simon bristled again, and grabbed the nearest object at hand. He belted after them with Russell's whip. The three of them raced around and over and under the table like an S and M Benny Hill.
'Looks like we're into the R-rated version of the Goth Detectives, lads!' Russell yelped, missing a hit by an inch, one hand on his top-hat.