'Til our dreams come true, we live on Avenue Q - It Sucks to be Me
It all started with Brian and Christmas.
Even after moving, Brian and Christmas came back every weekend and holiday. To everyone, it was as if they had never moved at all. Sure, their apartment was empty, and you couldn't walk over to either of them and burst into song all the time, but everyone saw them often enough. They didn't pay it much mind.
So it was quite a blow when, one Easter holiday, Brian and Christmas announced that they would be moving out of the state for a while to film a series in Zion, Illinois. Brian had signed up to be an important extra in a film, and the showbiz apparently appreciated him so much, they contracted him. Christmas would, of course, be going with him.
Everyone had been silent. And then Gary said that he had a friend over there that could take care of Brian and Christmas while they were there. It was then that everyone decided that Gary should escort them over to Zion ("Well, sure. It's been a while since I got to go home to Zion, anyway," Gary had said).
That summer the three had sent a postcard back, which, on the back said: "We're coming back at Christmas! Get a party ready for us."
When they came back, everyone had a jolly good time, and at the end of the holiday, the three packed everything, and flew back to Zion. Everyone was pretty sure they were gone for good, but no confirmation came from them until November, nearly a year later. It was Christmas who phoned Rod's cell.
"I am so happy, Rod!" she had gushed. "I have prenty of crients here in Zion! You can't imagine how ronery cerebrities is! And we are going to open up a Korean Deri here soon -they said I could work at it! And they rearry rike Brian, you see, so now his dream is coming true, and he's going to be a comedian. And Gary got a job as plumber too. We stay here in Zion now. But we stirl come back horidays, okay? Oh, and Gary say that he wrote to the government, and you are to be superintendent now, Rod."
Rod had then told everyone, and they all told Christmas how happy they were for her and Brian and Gary. But the moment Rod turned the phone off, Kate burst into tears.
"They're never coming back! Like hell they'll remember to come back on holidays!"
Princeton and Nicky had tried comforting her, and Trekkie monster even came out of his apartment to laugh and reassure her, but nothing moved Kate's belief. And as time passed, they realized that she was right. Holiday after holiday passed, but there was not a whisper of the trio.
About the same time that Christmas gave Rod that fateful phone call, Princeton figured out what to do with his previously useless BA in English. Taking inspiration from Kate, he decided to become an English teacher. Months later, he landed a job as a Teacher-On-Call for a (rather far away) school district. Thrilled with his success, Princeton suddenly propsed to Kate.
They had a June wedding and a baby soon after. They named the baby boy Immanuel, but Nicky accidentally called him Manny once, and after much hesitation from Kate, the nickname stuck.
A year or so into Princeton's teaching career, he was hired as an English teacher at an extremely rich and high paying private school in the district he had been working in. He instantly accepted, and announced the good news by hanging upside down by the window sill and yelling it to the street.
After everyone got him down from the sill, they all celebrated by uncorking mountains of champagne and getting utterly wasted. To this day, Nicky still has a video of Rod salsa dancing with a mannequin on a table -something he constantly reminds Rod of when Rod refuses to lend him money.
Approximately four months later, Princeton came home from work, sullen, tired, and crabbier than Mrs. Thistletwat. When Kate asked him what was wrong, he scowled and told her to mind her own business, wolfed down his dinner, and sat in the living room watching television until 10:00. Then he dragged Kate to bed.
Later, 3:00 in the morning found Nicky and Rod in their living room, their arms around a sobbing Kate.When the two men bumped into Princeton an hour later before Princeton left for the school to chastise him, it was Princeton's turn to break down and cry.
"It's too early!" he had screamed after angrily socking Rod-extremely hard- in the stomache. "I have to wake up at 4 in the morning every single day so I won't be late for the fucking bus and ferry and skytrain and seabus and the bus AFTER the seabus! I go to bed at 12 because I have to stay up marking papers! And on top of that, I can't even get a decent hour's worth of sleep in between because of that stupid baby! And whenever I fall asleep, I get nightmares! How's a guy supposed to deal with all that! And guess what happens at school? Some idiot in the cafeteria starts a food fight, and I'm blamed for it because I was in the fucking cafeteria! How is that fair? Would you be all smiles and happiness when you get home, AND KNOW THAT ALL THAT'S AHEAD OF YOU IS A PILE OF WORK AND BABY SHIT?!"
Rod had been too occupied to respond, what with being winded and doubled over in pain. Nicky was at a loss for words. Seeing this, Princeton stalked off to the bus stop, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. Inside Kate and Princeton's apartment, baby Manny started to cry.
A month later, while Nicky was out with some of his friends, Trekkie was out grocery shopping, and Rod was still at work, Princeton dragged a screaming and thrashing Kate out the door and into the moving van. It looked like the ideal kidnapping. There was no one around; if only Princeton had painted the van black, it would've looked like a scene out of a Hollywood horror film.
The only thing that later alerted Rod and Nicky of their absence were the ear-splitting cries that wouldn't stop emitting from Princeton and Kate's old apartment. When Nicky went to check things out, he discovered that, in the mess and confusion of moving out, Princeton had accidentally left poor Manny beside the open doorway sand had forgotten all about him.
Nicky and Rod tried for weeks to contact the parents of the screaming child. But phones were not answered, e-mails not replied to, and phonebooks proved useless in their search for the two. They had all but given up, until Kate showed up on their doorstep, carrying bags of baby care products and wearing a sad, quivery, little smile.
She told them that Princeton had moved them to a place closer to his school, and she had got a job at Princeton's school, becoming a teacher for a monster class. As soon as they got used to the neighbourhood, Kate intended on opening a monster school there. Princeton has calmed down and apologized, don't worry, we're fine, we'll come visit whenever we have days off, and... Princeton's not ready for a child so could you take care of little Manny please?
The two men instantly accepted Kate's request, and after tea, cooing over the baby, some tears, and many hugs, Kate left.
As they watched Kate walk away to the bus stop, Nicky bit back some tears and laughed.
"Instead of Manny, we should start calling the baby Moses now," he choked. "Cause Manny's short for Immanuel, Immanuel's another name for Jesus, and Jesus is from the Bible, but this Immanuel got sent on by his parents, so he should really be Moses, who was sent on by his parents in the Bible ... see?"
Rod scowled, rolling his eyes and hitting Nicky hard upside the head, muttering about illogical reasoning and the stupidity of the nation.
But despite that, they've both called Manny, Moses ever since.
And as for Princeton and Kate, Rod and Nicky never heard from them again.
Last of all to go was Trekkie.
No resident of Avenue Q, past or present, could really say that they fully appreciated Trekkie. He was just "that moster that lived over there in that apartment and looked at porn all day and gives us good porn sites every first Wednesday". So when he first went away, a few days after Moses' birthday, neither Nicky nor Rod could really say they noticed it. No one could rightly say that they knew why Trekkie left either.
One day, however, Rod sat down on the computer, and, having finished checking his portfolio and the stocks, opened up his e-mail, and suddenly felt that something was missing. He spent an hour scrolling up and down his list of e-mails, his brow furrowed, trying to figure it out.
He still couldn't lay his finger on the problem when Nicky started bitching about how it was his turn to go on the computer and that Rod had better play with Moses now because his arm was getting tired.
By dinnertime, Rod was getting pissed off at himself for not knowing the answer to his own question of "what's missing". He had even let dinner burn, Nicky was complaining again, and Moses was flinging his peas at Nicky and laughing. Rod had gotten extremely ticked off, and booted Nicky out of the dining room without dinner.
He made Moses eat a bit of dinner (he couldn't bring himself to mistreat or starve the boy) and then carried him to his bed and tucked him in with no TV. Even then, Moses gaped, appalled, and demanded the television. Rod closed and locked the room door and went out to the living room to berate Nicky for spoiling Moses.
It was only until Rod was lying in bed at 2 in the morning, staring up at the ceiling with a nagging feeling in his chest, that he realized what it was. He sprang up and went over to Nicky's bed and began shaking him.
"Wha...?" Nicky said sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "Rod... what's wrong...? Is it a fire...?"
"I miss Trekkie!" Rod blurted.
There was complete silence for a while, and then-
"Gosh... Rod... I know you're gay... but... Trekkie?" Nicky said, a bemused expression replacing his sleepy one.
Rod groaned, pulled Nicky's pillow from under his head, and whacked it on Nicky's face. Then he sat cross-legged on Nicky's stomache, hugging the pillow to his chest and ignoring the sputtering and whining from the other man.
"No, I don't like Trekkie," said Rod. "I meant that I miss him. I miss... I miss him being around and I miss his porn sites. And I miss being dragged to his apartment by you and Kate and Princeton and Brian and Gary and Christmas to give him presents and sing Happy Birthday, even if it wasn't his birthday." Without realizing it, Rod began crying. "I miss his sex jokes, I miss having him chase me around, waving printouts of naked girls in my face, saying that I should try girls, and then send me gay porn sites anyway. And I miss... I miss..."
Nicky lay still, with his eyes closed, listening to his friend trail off and have sobs replace the voice.
"I know," he whispered after a while. "It's hard for me, too, Rod. I miss everyone too. But they're gone, and there's nothing we can do about it. Don't you get that?"
"Of course I do," said Rod, still crying and burying his face into Nicky's pillow, so that his voice came out muffled and choked. "Of course I know that they're never coming back. But still. I miss them. I wish they would come back."
Nicky forced himself up, sending Rod onto the floor with a yelp. Rod immediately stopped crying.
"But they're not coming back!" Nicky said angrily, snatching back his pillow from Rod's grip. "They left and they're never coming back, so deal with it already!"
Rod blinked and wiped his eyes with a Kleenex from a box on the bedside table. "You're more upset than I am, Nicky."
Nicky growled and swung his pillow around so that it boxed Rod on the side of his head, making Rod's forehead collide with the bedside table and earning him another yelp from Rod. "So what? So what if I hate the fact that everyone's gone away and I'm the one that's the most upset? Crying and wishing won't fix anything, Rod. I refuse to wallow!"
Gritting his teeth, Nicky flopped back onto his bed and lay on his side, his back to Rod.
"What you're doing is worse than wallowing, Nicky," Rod retorted, massaging the lump on his forehead.
Nicky didn't talk to Rod for weeks after that.
Two years later, during the summer, Trekkie surprised Nicky and Rod by coming back for a visit. They asked him why he left, and he simply said that he had "moved on from sitting at home" and left it at that. He revisited his old apartment, staying there for about a week. Then, he left again early in the morning.
Nicky and Rod waited for him to spring another surprise visit, but Trekkie never did visit again.
Avenue Q became exceptionally quiet. The only residents left were Rod, whose dream would probably never come true; Nicky, who had no dreams whatsoever; and Moses, who was still 6-years-old. Ms. Thistletwat died a while ago, and although Lucy came to visit once in a while (but she moved to Las Vegas the year Moses turned 8, and she never came back after that), everything dulled and quieted.
Music stopped bursting out every other hour. There simply weren't enough people to build a good mood, or to actually spur the need for a song. And Nicky, who usually started all the songs between him and Rod, grew more and more sullen as the years went by, until Rod could hardly recognize him as the bubbly, happy-go-lucky slacker Nicky once was.
To say that Avenue Q was dying wouldn't be an overstatement.
Rod often wondered if Nicky would ever realize that he wanted their relationship to be more intimate than "best buddies". And whether, Rod often thought, rather bitterly, whether Nicky would want that too, even if he did know it. But Rod couldn't bring himself to accept a substitute for Nicky, and so he went on fantasizing about Nicky.
Nicky oftened wondered if the others would ever come back. He thought wistfully of song, music, and the life an Avenue Q resident used to enjoy. He wondered bitterly whether or not it could ever be the same again. Whenever he came to this point in his thoughts, Nicky would feel extremely depressed. But he was getting rather used to it.
As for the others, whenever they picked up a map, they were confused as to why it went Avenue A, B, C ... P, and then Avenue R. They wondered why there wasn't an Avenue Q, and Brian went as far as calling the map maker and telling them that they had made a mistake.
The map maker had laughed and taken the now-famous Brian in a helicopter and flew over where Brian had said Avenue Q was. Brian had been shocked that he couldn't find Avenue Q anywhere. Everyone panicked, and they all tried to go back to Avenue Q, but somehow, it never seemed to work.
Princeton and Kate got a car, and they tried driving back, but they ended up lost every single time. Brian, Christmas, and Gary tried again and again by private helicopter, but they never could find out where Avenue Q was. Trekkie tried walking back, but that didn't work either. He would always wound up in a porn shop instead. Lucy, no matter how hard she tried, couldn't get tickets for a plane to New York. Whenever they tried to phone Rod or Nicky to ask for directions, the call never went through, and e-mails/letters failed to be delivered to Rod or Nicky's addresses.
Eventually, everyone just gave up and stopped trying.to get back to Avenue Q. Soon, with their dream lives engulfing them, Avenue Q's song was swept away to the back of their minds, where cobwebs and dust settled over it, until they decided to just forget about it once and for all. And forget they did, while whirlwinds of activity and new memories poured in to make up for the lost song. The melodious and bouncy rhythm of middle-class fun was readily replaced by the brisk and sophisticated beat of bustling high-class life.
As for Nicky, Rod, and Moses, they carried on living. Nicky had part-time jobs sometimes, Rod was still an investment banker, and Moses went to school.
Nicky and Rod often wondered when their friends would come back and visit, and Moses often listened to their (mostly Rod's) wondering-out-loud sessions, his mind reeling and imagining, picturing his parents and their friends. Imagining, fantasizing, making up, but never really knowing. Never really 100 percent sure. Always entranced and mesmerized by what he thought each of them were like, but too afraid to ask Rod or Nicky for confirmation, for fear that his carefully constructed ideas would crumble and prove wrong.
The three yearned for the others to come back, while not truly understanding why they couldn't come back even if they wanted to. And they didn't want to - didn't need to.
Their dreams had come true.
What would be the point?
First Avenue Q fic! What did you guys think?? I spent hours on this thing. I kept getting distracted and listening to "If You Were Gay" :P