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Karaoke King

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--2.00 pm--

“So Crowley, what’re we singing tonight?”

Crowley grunted irritably as Dean nudged him in the ribs far harder than he thought was necessary.

“WE’RE not singing anything Squirrel,” he snorted; “you can expunge that bloody idea from your demonic noggin as soon as you like.”

“I mean it’s open mic duet night tonight,” Dean continued as if Crowley hadn’t said a word; “and the prize is free drinks all night. I’ve been through most of the solo choices, so I reckon this is a good opportunity for a duet with my buddy.”

“It’s open mic night every night at this rancid sinkhole,” Crowley replied wearily, gesturing up at the faded ‘Black Spur’ sign over the bar; “and you’ve not only been through and murdered their whole list of solo choices, I’m pretty sure you’ve made a couple up as well.”

“Don’t know what you mean,” Dean muttered around the bottle neck as he gulped down the remainder of his beer.

Crowley turned to Dean, “What about Rock me Mama?”

“What about it?” Dean responded with a flippant shrug.

“What about it?” Crowley rounded incredulously; “the word is ROCK me, Mama. I know you’re partial to the more experienced woman, and never turn down the opportunity for a bit of MILF action, but seriously, what you were singing was wrong on so many levels. I mean, Oedipus-level wrong.”

“Slip of the tongue…” Dean replied airily.

“Squirrel, I’ve been a demon far longer than you and even I was embarrassed!”

Unrepentant, Dean examined his empty beer bottle and shrugged. “So, about tonight?” He continued; “what d’you fancy then?”

“I fancy being left alone, that’s what I fancy,” Crowley snapped; “I’ve got business to do – these souls won’t sell themselves you know.”

Dean nudged Crowley again, knocking the paper umbrella out of his drink into his lap. “But c’mon Crowley, good singing and great harmonies, that’s what your lot are known for, ain’t it?”

“My lot?”

“Yeah, you know,” Dean grinned; “you Scottish dudes.”

“Really?” Crowley snapped, his eyes bugging in disbelief; “that’s Welsh people. From Wales, you bloody pillock. I’m guessing you didn’t major in Geography.”

“Well, it’s close enough,” Dean muttered flatly; “same island.”

“No,” Crowley mused; “my ‘lot’ are better known for the skirl of the pipes, the swirl of the kilt…you know, that sort of thing.”

“Heh, I can’t believe you used to wear a skirt,” Dean smirked.

“It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt,” Crowley corrected him; “and … well, I told you about my muscular calves.”

“Hmmmph, yeah well, as awesome as my legs are, I ain’t wearing a skirt for no-one,” Dean grinned.

Crowley drained his pina colada and gazed wistfully at the empty glass as he placed it down on the beer-caked bar in front of him.

“So, c’mon, what are we singing tonight?” Dean persisted.

“We’re not,” Crowley sighed; “I don’t sing. Ever.”

“There must be something,” Dean wheedled; “some song that you like singing.”

“No. Sorry Squirrel,” Crowley replied economically; “my demonic soul is devoid of music. Find some other sap to sing with.”

“I don’t wanna sing with some other sap,” Dean snorted; “I wanna sing with you, you’re my buddy.”

“What about that red-headed waitress?” Crowley suggested hopefully.

“Yeah, well,” Dean smirked; “I wanna do something with her – but it don’t involve singing!”

“Spare me the details,” Crowley groaned.

“C’mon Crowley, I’ll buy you another drink,” Dean grinned, slapping his ‘buddy’ on the shoulder.

“No.”

“Something colourful and girly.”

“No.”

“In a fancy glass.”

“No.”

“With salt and fruit and shit.”

“No.”

“And the teeniest, tiniest umbrella I can find.”

“Aaaaand, that’s still a no.”

“C’mon Crowley,” Dean coaxed; “you said we were gonna howl at the moon!”

“Exactly; ‘howl’, I said,” Crowley rounded triumphantly. “Did you hear me mention anything about singing?”

“You didn’t mention anything about triplets either, but … well, that happened.” Dean waggled his eyebrows suggestively; “I had no idea you were so athletic!”

“Muscular calves, remember,” Crowley replied proudly.

“Yeah, I’d rather not, thanks Crowley.”

xxxxx

--3.00pm--

“Hey Crowley.”

“Squirrel?”

“What the hell are those shots you’re drinking?”

“Slippery nipples.”

“Damn. We’re back to the triplets again…”

“Where’ve you been?” Crowley turned to Dean and tried not to notice the Stetson on his head.

He failed.

“I’ve been over there giving a masterclass on how to bamboozle these douchenuts at the pool table,” Dean grinned. “I’m now the proud owner of two hundred bucks, a fake Breitling and a denim jacket.”

“Impressive,” Crowley observed with genuine admiration.

“Oh yeah,” Dean pointed to his head; “and, of course, this cool hat.”

Remaining stubbornly silent, lest Dean might think he agreed with his assessment of the absurd hat, Crowley had a sinking feeling in his stomach; he had a horrible feeling he knew what was coming next.

Dean smartly produced another Stetson from behind his back. “I got one for you too.”

Sometimes Crowley hated being right all the time.

“Seriously, Dean?”

“Yup, very seriously,” Dean agreed, “placing the hat on Crowley’s head without waiting for permission.

“So,” Crowley sighed from under the brim of the hat; “what part of my ‘howling at the moon’ plan involves me looking like a prize tit in this hat?”

“The part where we both sing in the karaoke tonight, win the prize and get totally fucking shitfaced.”

“Hmmm… Squirrel, darling,” Crowley replied; “I hate to break it to you, but with your singing voice, you’ve got as much hope of winning that karaoke contest as I have of winning the Nobel Peace Prize.”

“I know,” Dean agreed; “that’s why you’re gonna join me, and we’re gonna smash it up there on stage. In our hats.”

“Dean,” Crowley groaned; “why is it I can tell every other sodding prole in the universe to go forth and multiply, but I can’t seem to say no to you?”

Dean grinned broadly. “Because I’m freaking adorable, and you know it!”

Crowley had nothing to say to that; however, Dean would have been prepared to swear that he blushed just a tiny little bit.

“Cool, so that’s settled,” Dean gushed enthusiastically; “you. Me. Karaoke. Tonight!”

“Kill me now,” Crowley muttered inwardly to himself.

“Anyway, see you later Crowley,” Dean announced, snapping Crowley out of his silent musings. “The karaoke’s starting up for the afternoon session, and I’ve got my name down to sing ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’.”

“Oh, if only,” sighed Crowley.

xxxxx

--8.00 pm--

‘…AND WHAT AN EVENING IT’S BEEN FOR OUR KARAOKE DUET COMPETITION! NOW LET’S HAVE A BIG HAND FOR OUR FINAL COMPETITORS…’’

“C’mon Crowley,” Dean snapped, leaping to his feet; “let’s go and wow the crowd.”

“Dean, what part of ‘no’ don’t you sodding understand?”

“All of it; c’mon; up, and bring your hat!”

“Oh … bloody, bollocking, cocking hell.” Crowley snorted in the frustrated voice of the utterly defeated.

‘SO WHO DO WE HAVE HERE?’

“Yeah, so I’m Dean,” Dean exclaimed, grabbing the mic enthusiastically; “and this is my great buddy Fergus.”

“Looking like a pair of Prats in Hats,” Crowley added morosely.

“Heh, he’s short and British,” Dean announced; “but I still love him. Y’know, kinda.”

“Just so you know, Dean,” Crowley whispered; “the feeling’s not mutual.”

“Says you,” Dean replied smugly.

‘SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE SINGING TONIGHT?’

Dean faced the crowd without shame. “So tonight,” he announced; “because Fergus is Dolly to my Kenny, we’re gonna be singing ‘Islands in the Stream’.”

“Bugger you sideways with a two-man bobsled, Squirrel,” Crowley growled indignantly.

“Later, dude,” Dean smirked; “first we sing.”

“AND LET’S HAVE A BIG HAND FOR THE PRATS IN HATS, WITH ‘ISLANDS IN THE STREAM’.

“Just so you know, I will hate you for all eternity, Squirrel.”

“Can it, Dolly; we’re on.”

The lights dimmed, and Crowley lifted the mic to his face…

‘Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown
I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
I was soft inside
There was something going on…’

The crowd stilled, and Dean’s eyes widened as Crowley’s smooth baritone drifted over the room.

Shocked into rare silence, Dean completely missed his cue, losing his power of coherent speech in the process...

‘You, uh, something to – um - me that I … uh
Hold me closer and I … um
Every, uh, feet of my fart
We got some - um - going on…’

Crowley grinned as Dean struggled to regain his composure.

The crowd stood, clapping as whistling as Crowley crooned the words of the song flawlessly; smooth as silk and sweet as treacle, oozing all the confidence and charm of a man born to be on stage.

For once Dean wasn’t the one being swooned over, but he didn’t care – Crowley’s hidden talent was the most awesome surprise ever.

Plus he had blackmail material for the rest of eternity.

‘…Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lo-uh-buddy to another, ah ha…’

Dean and Crowley finished the song in sync and the crowd drunkenly roared their approval.

‘…AND THE CROWD ARE ON THEIR FEET AFTER THE PRATS IN HATS’ AWESOME PERFORMANCE. THANK YOU, FERGUS FOR SHARING YOUR WONDERFUL VOICE FROM THE VALLEYS WITH US.’

Crowley side-eyed the compere with undisguised contempt. “The ‘valleys’ are in Wales you bloody buffoon, I’m Scottish.”

‘SO CONGRATULATIONS DEAN AND FERGUS, YOU’RE OUR WORTHY WINNERS, AND YOU’VE WON FREE DRINKS FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT.’

xxxxx

--11.00 pm--

Strolling back from the bar, Dean placed two pint jars on the table between him and Crowley. “Okay, two beers, one for me and one for the Voice of the Valleys . L’Chaim!”

“Cheers,” Crowley clinked his glass against Dean’s; “and screw you very much.”

“Where did you learn to sing like that,” Dean asked, genuinely curious; “it was freaking awesome.”

“Squirrel, you should know by now that I’m good at everything I do,” Crowley smirked arrogantly. “You don’t get to be the King of Hell by being Mr Average.”

“Wasn’t that why you sold your soul in the first place?” Dean sniggered into his glass. “But why all the ‘refusing to sing’ crap?” He added.

Crowley shrugged; “I said I don’t sing; I didn’t say I couldn’t.”

“But why?” Dean persisted. “If I could sing like you, you wouldn’t get me off the Karaoke.”

Crowley’s alcohol-glazed eyes widened. “Dean, you sing like a rutting bull elk on helium, and we still can’t get you off the bleeding karaoke!”

“Well, you know what I mean,” Dean grinned; “why would you hide a gift like that?”

“Because I’m the sodding King of Hell,” Crowley snapped; “I have standards to uphold.”

“Crap,” spat Dean, hiccupping into his glass; “you’d moon the Queen of England if you thought there was something to gain from it, so c’mon, spill.”

Crowley pulled in a long sigh before taking a draft of his beer.

“It’s quite simple, Squirrel,” Crowley began. “When I was a boy, my delightful mother used to trot me out in front of all the townsfolk to juggle for a few scraps of food, or even a couple of groats if she knew a wealthy merchant was passing through.”

“Juggle?” Sniggered Dean; “You?”

“I’ll have you know, I’m a very gifted juggler,” Crowley retorted. “Anyway, it was degrading and humiliating, and especially so when one of the merchants offered my mother three pigs for me.”

“Three pigs? Was there a big bad wolf as well?”

“Shut up,” Crowley grumbled; “three pigs – it was a disgrace, especially when my bloody mother actually seriously considered it. I was worth five pigs, or a couple of cows and a goat, at least!”

“Oh, at least,” Dean nodded insincerely.

“Anyway,” Crowley continued; “since then, I swore that I would never tout myself around as a performing monkey again. I would never perform for money or prizes and I would bear my gifts privately and discreetly.”

“Bear your gifts discreetly?” Dean replied incredulously; “I’m not sure the triplets would agree.”

“Well, there can always be exceptions,” Crowley smirked; “of my choosing.”

“Like this, then,” Dean grinned; “free drinks all night’s enough to make an exception then?”

“Not necessarily,” Crowley mused; “maybe I didn’t do it for free drinks. Maybe I did it for, well… never mind.”

“What?” Dean probed.

Crowley shrugged. “Maybe I did it for my friend. Okay?”

Dean glanced over his shoulder. “Your friend? Who?”

“You, you berk,” Crowley snapped.

“Oh man,” Dean exclaimed; “now I KNOW you’re drunk.”

“Or maybe that confounded human blood you and Moose poisoned me with is still working it’s particularly shitty magic,” Crowley snapped.

“Whatever,” Dean clapped Crowley on the shoulder again. “I’m glad you did it man, it was great to hear you sing.”

Dean and Crowley paused their exchange, glancing up as the barkeep approached them.

“Excuse me guys, can I take a photo of you for our wall of fame?”

“Woah, yeah, we’ve gotta get a picture of the Karaoke King,” Dean replied gleefully, gesturing to Crowley. “C’mon, Cro…Fergus, Prats in Hats forever!”

“Cheers, Squirrel,” Crowley guffawed, clinking glasses; “and here’s to never hearing you sing again!”

xxxxx

--1.00 am--

“So Crowley, are you really good at everything you do?”

“The best, Squirrel, the very best.”

Dean grinned lop-sidedly.

“Good. Because there’s a mechanical bull-riding competition here tomorrow night. We could win free burgers for the rest of the week.”

Crowley’s head hit the table with a weary ‘thunk’.

“Oh, bollocks,” he groaned; “at least I’ve got a hat for it!”

xxxxx

end