"It's 1 AM, January 1st 1997. I am Mark Cohen. Pan on my face," The light red haired man slowly turned his camera so that the camera was focused on his face. Then he slowly turned it so that it was showing his side of apartment. Mark slowly walked over to the window and pointed his camera down so that there was an image of the littered street below. There was paper, confetti, cups, whistles, noisemakers and even a few people in the street. "This is the sequel to Seasons of Love. I said I was never going to make another, especially after Angels' death, but here I am, documenting my life…again." Slowly, Mark moved around the room. He zoomed in on the sleeping forms of Mimi and Roger, smiles on their faces as they slept side by side. Zooming out, he panned the whole apartment and stopped on Maureen's latest protest poster. It was a shadow photo of her in the Hudson River, she was black and the background was blood red. Over her head was the name of her protest (S.F.) and the date (January 3rd, 1997). "None of us are even sure what her protest is," Roger had scrolled at the bottom of her protest poster.
"So why am I doing this? I can't sleep is why. I woke up…gasping like a damn fish and coughing. My asthma…Focus in on my lovely inhaler," Mark muttered as he zoomed in on the inhaler by the answering machine and then turning off his camera. He had run out of things to film in this place. He went and lay on his bed, but didn't sleep, so just five hours later, Mark dressed in his usual red sweater, jeans, scarf and coat, grabbed his camera and bike and headed out.
Once outside, he turned on his camera and hopped on his bike. As he sped through the streets, he filmed the homeless, the strip club, a mugging and a fistfight. By the time he had gotten to the Life Café, where they agreed to meet that morning, everything was up and running – including the cabs. One of which almost hit Mark, but they both swerved in time so neither of them was hit. Mark hopped off his bike and chained it up, filming the job as he went. He went into the Life Café and was about stopped when a familiar voice called out, "Marky!" The maitride frowned at Mark, but let him pass. "Pan on the surely waiter," Mark said with a laugh. He walked backwards as he filmed the man. As Mark slid into a seat, he turned the camera off.
Maureen smiled at him. "Oh, Marky, are you filming another documentary?" she asked.
Mark nodded eagerly. "Yeah, I started last night. I, uh, couldn't sleep," he stammered though Maureen did not notice, "Hey, Joanne. Joanne?" Mark felt this was a key moment in their lives and quickly turned his camera back on.
"We're back together," Joanne, said with a sly smile, "We had a long talk last night…"
"And everything's good." Maureen finished. The two women kissed and then both blew kisses to the camera with a hearty laugh.
Mark smiled and turned his camera off. "So ladies," Mark began but was cut off by a small hitch of breath and a cough.
"Are you OK," Joanne asked. Her deep chocolate eyes frowned in concern, "You look paler than usual."
"Oh, I didn't get much sleep last night. My asthma is acting up. It's nothing," Mark said as Joanne gave him a clinical look but did not say anything else as Mark turned the camera back on.
Mark video taped Joanne and Maureen's very lively conversation as he picked at his food – he wasn't feeling to good. When he was finished, he left his part of the pay on the table and hastily left. That was the last they saw of Mark for two days. Roger was busy with Mimi and Joanne and Maureen were getting Maureen's new protest S.F. ready. No one noticed he was gone, until the morning of the protest. "I can't believe I didn't notice he was gone for two days and I live with him!" Roger exclaimed as Mimi put a gentle hand on his arm. "I'm sure he's fine baby," Mimi said. Her voice was not convincing however. Roger shifted away from Mimi's hand. "If I don't see him here, I'm going to go look for him."
"Look for whom," someone called behind him. Roger turned and looked in shock at his friend. He looked horrible. He had lost weight and he was pale and sickly looking. His breathing was rough and ragged. In his hands, he held the camera that was rolling.
"I've been living on the streets. I wanted to get into the mind of the homeless," Mark said as Roger gave an irritated sigh.
"You look like crap," Roger said and Mark laughed hoarsely. "Well, gee that is a nice hello. Oh, Maureen's show is starting!" Mark hurried forward so he could film Maureen as she slowly rose out of the water, covering in seaweed and to get away from Roger before he could be questioned further. "How the two women got their equipment made safe to run under water, I will never know," Mark said as Maureen began her show. "I had a vision," she began, her microphone, "It was of…Mark?"
Mark began to cough. He could not sop coughing. It was horrible. He could not breathe, seriously. His pale face turned red. With camera in hand, he put his hands on his knees, which buckled, and he sank to the ground. Dimly, the filmmaker was aware of people gawking at him and Maureen screaming, "MARK! MARKY!" as Roger rushed forward along with Mimi close behind him.
"Mark, can you hear me," someone said to him. It was Roger. He sounded really worried.
"Can't breathe," Mark gasped to Roger, "Inhaler…" Roger nodded and felt in Mark's pockets for the inhaler. "It's not there."
"Damn," Mark whispered. He just remembered that he had given his inhaler to a 10-year-old homeless kid who had asthma yesterday. He was screwed for the moment. He felt his eyes wanting to close. "Hey…hey," Roger whispered tapping him on the cheeks and feeling the heat in them.
"Call 911," Roger said toMimi who nodded and quickly dialed, "Mark….can you hear me, Mark?"
The next thing Mark knew was that it was night.Joanne, Marueen, Mimiand Roger were sitting with him. He was in a cream-colored room, hooked up to an IV. His glasses were off and he had no idea where his camera was.
"Hey sleepy-head,"Joanne said, "We were really worried about you. What were you thinking? You coulda died from pneumonia!"
Mark blinked. He was confused. The filmmaker had been sure it had only been asthma.
"You're gonna be fine though. You'll be in here for a few days,"Joanne said and Mark nodded. He was tired. Too tired to say anything and both men understood that he was.
It was more then a week Mark was in there in was twenty-seven day. Mark was glad to get out and to go home. When he got home – Roger had drove – Mark took up his camera.
"January 31st,1997. I'm Mark Cohen. I just got out of the hospital because of pneumonia. I hate hospitals," he said and turning off his camera and readied it for February.