Author: Girl Who Writes
Feedback: is beloved and treasured.
Pairing: implied Mimi/Roger and Maureen/Joanne.
Word Count: 1584
Summary: Impromptu spring cleaning in the loft unearths an interesting story about Roger.
Notes: I have no idea where this came from - other than the blatant Friends references. There's one oc used, just to move the fic along. And I apologise for the awful title. Speed Rent entry.
Spoilers: Movie and musical.
Disclaimer: Property of the Jonathan Larson estate.
Spring cleaning was never a fun task at the loft. In fact, cleaning in general was avoided with the sort of patented techniques the females of the group had to respect. When someone voiced up that the dishes should really be done sometime in the next fortnight – if there were, in fact, dishes underneath the ever-growing pile in the sink fondly known as 'cockroach mountain' – Roger, Mark and, surprisingly often, Collins would suddenly remember phone calls they had to make, promises they'd made and increasingly urgent errands they had to run.
But when Judy Cohen drove into the city, the family car loaded to the gills with boxes stuffed full of childhood memorabilia, the makeshift Bohemian family realized something had to be done about the state of living at the loft.
"Mark, sweetie," Judy kissed her wayward son on both cheeks. "Your father and I were cleaning out the basement – it floods every spring – and we have nowhere to keep these things. I couldn't want to throw them out, so many memories, so I thought you could store them here."
Mark blinked at his mother – neat, suburban Mom hair cut, sweater set and expectant look on her face – while his friends sniggered behind his back.
"Uh…" Mark managed, thinking of the current state of the loft that included last night's pizza, a dozen or so empty Stoli bottles from the last week or three, two weeks of laundry and four years of half written screenplays and songs, posters and newspapers that had managed to survive the ritual burning to generate heat in the industrial loft.
Judy turned to a grinning Roger, who was watching Mark lift one box from the car – crammed full of comic books from the looks of it – and kissed him on the cheek, leaving a smear of orange-pink lipstick on his cheek. Mimi buried her face in his leather jacket, trying to smother her laughter. "Roger, dear, your mother's redoing the old guesthouse and found a bunch of your things – she's been so busy getting Leslie ready for her SATs that she hasn't had time to go through any of it, but thought you could, seeing as how you haven't got a job at the moment."
"What?" Roger stopped trying to scrub the lipstick imprint off of his cheek and stared at her.
"I think there were six boxes for the each of you," Judy motioned to the boxes lined up that were very clearly labeled 'Roger Davis'. "I couldn't fit anymore in the car."
"Umph," was the only thing that came out of Roger's mouth, part groan of horror and realization that he would be lugging six boxes that appeared packed to the brim up to the loft.
"Now you boys unpack," Judy checked her watch. "I'm meeting Hannah Goldberg in half an hour for lunch – her fifty-fifth birthday already, oy vey, where does the time go?"
Somehow, Judy Cohen managed to have all of the boxes in the car stacked on the sidewalk – by Mark and Roger themselves, as Collins was too busy grinning evilly to assist – and pressed lipstick-y kisses to both of the boys cheeks before zooming off in the very direction she'd come."
"It's official," Maureen jumped up from her perch on the stairs. "Your mother has, in fact, got worse with age."
"Amen to that," Roger grumbled, kicking one of the boxes.
"She's not that bad," Mark said, sounding more tired than convincing. "She's just…"
"…married to my father," Mark finished with a shrug. Mimi tilted her head up. "She has her own set of rules. Exactly how are we going to get these upstairs?"
Half an hour, promises of dinner, and six very tired individuals were draped over various pieces of loft furniture. The boxes – of which there were sixteen – were dumped in a very ominous looking pile in front of the door.
"We need to clean up this place," Joanne said, looking around, and possibly the one exception to the 'very tired'.
"No we don't," Roger said, stroking Mimi's hair. "I like it like this."
"There are cockroaches who live in your guitar at night, Roger," Joanne said very patiently.
"I'll be back in an hour," Joanne said, with the look on her face that meant she had a mission. "Can you boys go through those boxes and work out what you want to keep?"
"Yeah," Mark said unenthusiastically as he wound his camera on and began to film Collins balancing some dirty coffee cups on top of one another.
"Good. Mimi, Maureen, can you rally the troops?" Joanne was a woman with a mission – to never see another tennis ball sized cockroach come crawling from under one of the boys' discarded pairs of boxer shorts again.
"Done," Mimi hurled herself to her feet.
"Maureen can't. Maureen's sleeping," Maureen mumbled from her position in a chair.
"Maureen won't get laid for the rest of the week," Joanne warned as she grabbed her purse and left the loft, without waiting to see Maureen's response, which was a wide eyed look of horror that made Roger snicker behind his hands.
So, the boxes were attacked. For the first few, there was nothing interesting – Mark had a box entirely devoted to old school books and essays, most of them marked 100 or with smiley faces from the teachers.
"The only thing I ever got from my English teacher was a death threat," Roger stared at the glowing letter of recommendation Mark had unearthed. "And this guy practically proposes to you here?"
"Death threat?" Collins looked up from a box of dusty books.
"I was bored, so I stood up in one class and said all feminists were lesbians," Roger shrugged and added to the garbage pile a broken vinyl record.
"They suspended me for a full day because the principal was worried someone would attack me." Roger smiled nostalgically and resumed rummaging in his box.
"Hey Roger." Maureen had a look much akin to the cat that got the cream as she pulled something from the box.
Maureen held up at item that made Mark grin and bury his nose back into his first ever screenplay and Collins snort with laughter. Mimi just gave the object a strange look before turning to Roger.
"It's…" Roger looked flustered and then angry. "Give it here, Maureen!"
"Say please. And tell Mimi who it is," Maureen was on her feet, cradling it in his arms with a look of glee.
"It's…" Roger mumbled to his girlfriend, and Mark got up to get his camera.
"Who?" Mimi just looked bewildered, and for a moment Mark actually felt sorry for Mimi, Joanne and Angel – the ones who had not shared some part of the Scarsdale childhood; even Collins had been there for senior year.
"It's my bedtime penguin pal!" Roger jumped up to retrieve him from Maureen who was cackling to herself behind the couch.
"I'm not sure whether to be confused, amused or disturbed," Mimi shook her head.
"Maureen and Roger thought it would be a good idea to set off Roger's toy rocket," Mark explained, filming Maureen tormenting Roger by keeping the offending toy just out of Roger's grip. "But they needed a passenger. The first thing that was there was Roger's beloved stuffed bear, Ralph – who was fairly small, for the record."
"And, tragically, the rocket was doomed," Mark said solemnly. "Flew straight next door into a barbeque Mr. Miller was having. Ralph didn't stand a chance, and Roger sulked for weeks, so Maureen went to the aquarium and won the penguin, fondly known as Tux, Roger's bedtime penguin pal, from the claw game."
"That's sweet," Mimi looked up at her boyfriend, who had a look of murder in his eyes.
"Oh it was, when we were eleven. But then, Maureen, Collins and I come over the night of high school graduation because Roger's mom was having a party for us all, and who was tucked into Roger's bed?" Mark was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
"If you say April, this is a really bad story," Mimi crossed her arms.
"No, but that would be a good plot twist. Tux, the penguin was tucked up in Roger's bed, waiting for that moment that Roger needed a good cuddle."
"MAUREEN, I SWEAR I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" Roger lunged at the drama queen and Maureen squeaked, releasing the offending, and rather faded penguin. Roger clutched it in one hand before dropping it into the garbage pile.
"What are you doing?" Mimi said. "I thought…?"
"I was just a kid," Roger said down next to her. "Besides, I've got better things to do in bed…"
"That doesn't sound like cleaning talk, Roger," Joanne appeared in the doorway, armed with cleaning projects and what appeared to be a bribe of food and alcohol.
In the scuffle that ensured on the sight of actual food, a figure rifled through the garbage box and unearthed Tux. In the following days, it took several attempts to get the dust and dirt off of the nylon penguin, and to sneak into Roger's room.
But a week after the Great Cleaning Debacle, as it was fondly known as, Roger stumbled into bed – Mimi was working late – and found a familiar sight. Tux, his bedtime penguin pal, was propped up on his pillow, in his much cleaner glory and a post-it stuck on his chest.
'R – for when Mimi works late. – M.'