Chapter One ~*~*~*~*~

The sun was setting as delicate snow flurries danced around in the air.  The few that had escaped in through a skylight or window melted around the wood-burning stove.  This room's two occupants shivered in the chill.  One of the young men has his old guitar propped up on the plaid-panted knee; the strings as he strummed were horribly out of tune.  The other male had a camera pressed to his square glasses, narrating the scene before our eyes.  "Smile!"  He teased.  The other glanced up, and took his eyes back to his guitar, his disposition just screamed cynical.

"Close on Roger, tuning the Fender guitar he hasn't played in a year."  He continued to report.

Roger (as we have discovered his name) ignored his comments.  "This won't tune."  He complained.

"So we hear."  Mark laughed.  "He's just coming back from half a year of withdrawal."

"Are you talking to me?"  Roger blue eyes looked up, and turned the camera lens to ice. 

Mark replied sarcastically.  "Not at all!"  He went back to his film, keeping it centered on Roger.  "Are you ready?  Hold that focus steady!  Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger!" 

His eyes fell to the floor; sadness seemed to overcome him with memories past.  "I'm writing one great song-" A ring interrupted; Roger made a little "saved!" remark to himself. 

"We screen, zoom in on the answering machine."  Mark directed his focus to the old machine as the visible tape began to spin. 

"Speak!"  The recording exclaimed, followed by a beep.  A chipper voice of a woman, who probably believed herself to be twenty years younger than in reality, came on. 

"That was a very loud beep."  She nagged.  "Mark, are you there?  Are you screening your calls?  It's Mom!  We wanted to call and say 'we love you and we'll miss you tomorrow.'  Cindy and the kids are here, send their love.  Oh!  Hope you like the hot plate!  Just don't leave it on dear, when you leave the house.  Oh, and Mark!  We're sorry to hear that Maureen dumped you!  I say 'c'est la vie.'  So let her be a lesbian, there are other fishes in the sea.  Love, Mom!" 

Completely brushing off his mother, Mark returned.  "Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger."

Softer, more angst this time around.  "I'm writing one great song-" Déja vu, an interruption.

"The phone rings!"  Mark gave a loud sigh of annoyed defeat, while Roger gave another of "yes!"  "We screen."  He turned back to the machine.  

A deep, warm, familiar voice sung: "Chestnuts roasting-"

In a frantic rush, Mark picked up the phone.  "Collins!"  They both exclaimed.

"I'm downstairs." 

"Hey!"  The duo greeted cheerily.

"Roger picked up the phone?"

"No, it's *me*."

"I should've known.  Roger still hasn't left the house?"  Collins joked.

"I was waiting for you, don't you know."  He mocked, temporarily taking the phone from Mark.  "Still at MIT?"

"They expelled me for my theory of Actual Reality, which I'll soon pass on to the couch potatoes at New York University.  Time is running out, I'll be up in a bit."

"A wild night is now preordained."  Mark began to scheme.  He pushed aside his chaotic thoughts of wine, beer, and other illegal plots.  He wrapped his blue scarf around his neck.  "I'm going to meet Collins, would you like to come along?"

"I'm not much company, you know." Roger sneered.

"But you'll still be at the protest or the Live Café afterwards?"

"Zoom in on my empty wallet." 

"Cranky. Take your AZT." He brought the camera back up and hit record. "Close on Roger.  His girlfriend, April, left a note saying 'We've Got AIDS' before slitting her wrists in the bathroom." 

The chord on Roger's guitar went sour. 

"Bye."  Mark left, quietly closing the door behind him.

Roger began to strum again.  He sang Mark's last directive.

"She left a note

With only three words on it.

Just three words.

Up took the kitchen knife

Closed the bathroom door

And slit her wrists. 

'We've Got AIDS.'

Just three words."

He bit his bottom lip.  Every idea was worth trying.  One day he will find his song. "'We've got AIDS' . . . slit her wrists. . . Not such a bad idea right now." He spoke to himself.  He bit his lip again.  "I need to find my song.  Then there'll be no need to endure anymore." 


Author's Notes: Bear with me as I quote lyrics in the beginning. It's just more... believable that way, no?  So, here's chapter one.  Chapter two is coming along nicely, expect it soon!  More of the plot and differences will be visible with that one.  Enjoy and have a lovely day!