Axel: That's not a very good summary.
Mars: Well what else could I say about this story? Anyway, today is January 25th, exactly seventeen years ago Rent officially opened on Off-Broadway.
Link: How could you remember that? You don't even remember the day Ocarina of Time came out.
Mars: I remember it as well as my birthday.
Axel: Don't you think that's a new level of obsessive?
Mars: Not if today IS my birthday!
Axel: Wait, seriously?
Link: Oh yeah...
Mars: So I turned two the day Rent first opened back in 1996, imagine that huh?
Axel: So you just wrote this story for today?
Mars: No, when I got writer's block on Journey to Bohemia (which I'm still working on, Chapter 9 is almost done) I felt the need to write a humor fic. So I looked up the plot to La Boheme and I thought "Why not make an Abridged fic with the Rent cast?" And we have this, start the disclaimer!
Disclaimer: I don't own La Boheme, I don't own Rent, but yo tengo diez y nueve años! (Direct Translation: I have nineteen years) Happy birthday to me!
We open on a cold winter day in the loft where Mark, Roger, Collins and Angel live. Mark and Roger are currently the only ones in the loft. Mark is filming the street while Roger is tuning his guitar. "I don't even know how this got out of tune," he complains. The filmmaker simply shrugs in reply, not turning his attention away from the street. After a few minutes of silence, save for the strumming coming from the guitar, Roger speaks up again, "Could you close the window? It's cold in here."
"If it's cold, add more wood to the fire," Mark tells him, pointing to the illegal wood-burning stove that provided heat for the loft. Sighing, the rocker puts his guitar down and walks over to the closet, where they keep almost everything, clothes, books, firewood and more. However, there was no firewood inside.
"Mark, we're out of wood," Roger informs his roommate.
"Go out and buy some more."
"Me? Why should I do it?"
"You never leave the loft, or do anything around here to help."
"Hey, I cleaned up this morning."
Mark turns his attention away from the street to quickly look over the cleanliness of their loft, which was grimy and dusty. "Good job," he says sarcastically while returning to his filming. Peeved by his behavior, Roger chooses one of Mark's screenplays, a thick one, and throws it into the stove, causing the fire to burn a bit stronger.
"Hey Mark, I finally found a good use for your scripts," he gloats.
Confused, the filmmaker turns around and seeing his friend standing over the stove with a malevolent grin on his face, he draws a conclusion, "Did you burn one of my screenplays?"
"Yep," Roger says it like he was doing the world a favor.
"Why would you do that?" Mark asks, a bit hurt.
"Come on Mark, what were you gonna do with it anyway?"
The filmmaker is taken aback, "You have a point there." Then, an idea comes to him, causing a huge grin to appear on his face, "Burn all my screenplays."
"Burn them! Burn them all!" He shouts, starting to sound a bit insane.
"Mark are you feeling okay?" Roger wonders, a bit disturbed by this manic behavior.
"I don't need them anymore! My next movie doesn't need a script!"
"A movie without a script?"
"A documentary," Mark says, beginning to calm down a little, "We're living in New York City, the greatest city in the world, everyone knows the glamor side of it, but no one knows about the poverty, the homelessness and the AIDS epidemic this city is facing."
Roger nods, returning to his seat to continue tuning his guitar, "Yeah, that makes sense."
"In fact, I'll start filming right now," Mark turns his camera towards himself. For no reason at all, he starts singing, "December twenty-first, nine PM, eastern standard time. From here on in, I shoot without a script. See if anything comes of it, instead of my old shit." He turns the camera to the rocker, "First shot, Roger, tuning the Fender guitar…"
"Dude," Roger interrupted, "Why're you singing?"
The filmmaker stops filming as his eyes widen in realization, "I don't know." He shakes this off and resumes filming, "Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger."
"Tuning my guitar," he tells the camera, obviously annoyed.
"That's it? Don't you wanna tell the viewers what you've been trying to do ever since…you know?"
Roger gives him a blank look, "Mark, your camera doesn't record sound."
Mark turns the camera off as he remembers why his screenplays never have any dialog, "Oh yeah."
Then, the two hear the loud sound of the door to the loft being opened by Collins who was in an uncharacteristically bad mood. He closes the door behind him, steps out of his shoes and plops himself on the couch. Concerned, his two roommates stop what they are doing and sit on the couch to talk to him. "Rough day?" Mark inquires.
Collins nods, "The dean found out I was gay and fired me."
"That's it?" Roger asks, a bit surprised, "I would think you would've done something, like blow up their technology lab, like you did at MIT."
"No," he shakes his head, "They were actually pretty tolerant of my ideas, even though it was a religious school."
"The commute seemed like shit anyway," Mark reasons, "I mean, it's all the way up in the Bronx."
"Why do they call it 'Manhattan College' anyway?" Roger wonders.
"I dunno," Collins shrugs, "Now I'm out of a job."
"You could try for another job at NYU," Mark suggests.
"Positions don't open for another month," he informs him bitterly.
"At least it can't get any worse."
Then, the phone rings, prompting Roger to say, "Wanna bet?"
After four rings, the answering machine turns on with the monotone voices of Mark and Roger prompting the caller to talk. Much to everyone's chagrin, it was Benny, their former roommate and landlord, "Hey guys, I know at least one of you's there. Roger never leaves the house, Mark's always working on something and Angel's usually there or working the corner." A sharp inhale is heard, "That came out wrong. Collins, I didn't mean to imply your boy…girl…whatever he is today, was a prostitute. Yeah, you're probably gonna kick my ass for that."
"You're damn right!" The anarchist retorts.
"So Rent's due and I'm coming to collect it."
"Doesn't Muffy come to collect our Rent?" Roger inquires.
"Allison isn't coming because she's mourning the loss of our Akita." He then mumbles, "I always hated the bitch anyway." He then speaks up, "Be there in a few."
"Only Benny would find joy out of a dog dying," Mark points out in disgust.
At that moment, Angel enters the loft in an exceptionally cheerful mood, carrying his pickle tub by the handle. The brown knapsack he wears on his back appears to be filled, an oddity for him, considering he makes his living as a street drummer. "Christmas came early guys!" He announces as he sets down his pickle tub down and takes a bottle of Stoli-brand vodka out of it.
For the first time since he came home, Collins smiles, "Angel you are a life-saver." He gives his lover a peck on the lips before opening the bottle of vodka and drinking it.
"Save some for later," he chastises him.
"He just got fired," Roger informs the street drummer.
"Oh, you poor thing," he caresses Collins' cheek before taking the bottle back, "But that's no excuse for getting drunk this early."
"Wait a second Angel," Mark interrupts, "That's a fifty-dollar bottle of vodka, how could you afford that?"
"Did you shoplift from the liquor store again?" The professor inquires.
"No and you made me do that," Angel pouts for a moment before taking his knapsack off and placing it on the table in front of him. He opens it up, revealing about forty dollars' worth of food inside. The three of them gasp in surprise and delight at the sight, although it is not much.
"How could you afford this?" The filmmaker asks, helping his roommates empty the bag.
"If you must know, I was hired to kill a dog." The cheerful mood is killed once these words are uttered.
"You killed a dog?" Roger repeats, almost in disbelief.
"For how much?" Collins wondered.
"A thousand bucks," Angel proclaims proudly, "And a few hundred more for decorating the woman's Christmas tree."
"Angel, how could you kill a dog for money?" Mark inquires, disturbed by the act.
"If someone came up to you offering a thousand dollars, wouldn't you take it?"
"But you killed an animal that probably didn't do anything to anyone," Roger points out.
"It was keeping the neighbors up!"
"Wait, this one someone's pet?" The rocker becomes more disturbed at this revelation.
"Yeah, I felt bad about it afterwards," Angel reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a piece of paper, "Then I wrote a song about it."
"You wrote a song about killing a dog?" Mark asks, a bit bewildered.
"Angel you don't just do that," Roger tells him.
Now, Angel is starting to feel bad about what he has done, so Collins puts his arm around him in comfort, "Hey, at least you brought home some money baby. It's a lot more than these lazy jackasses brought home." Mark and Roger scoff at this and drop the subject.
"I know you appreciate me Collins," Angel gives his lover a short, sweet kiss on the lips.
Then, the door to the loft opens once again, this time to Benny saying, "Rent's due bitches!"
"Only I can say that," the anarchist grumbled as he gets up and punches Benny in the face.
As Benny falls to the floor, Angel rushes over to Collins, "Collins, that's nothing to punch him in the face over."
"He called you a prostitute."
This made the street drummer angry, "Oh hell no." He kicks the landlord while he's down on the floor.
"And he made fun of the fact that you're a drag queen," Mark adds, earning Benny another kick to the stomach.
"And he insulted your mother," Roger lies with a smile on his face.
"No I didn't!" Benny tries to tell him, but Angel still kicks him.
"Actually he didn't, I just wanted you to kick him again," the rocker confesses.
"Roger, why would you do that?" Angel wonders, feeling guilty. "Here, let me help you Benny," he helps Benny off the floor.
"I should've seen that coming," he admits, "So anyway rent."
"Rent," Angel repeats, trying to appear as if he had no idea what Benny was talking about.
"Yes, rent, the cost of living here, or did you forget English again?"
"¿De qué está hablando? No hablo Inglés."
"Sure," he walks past the street drummer to talk to his former roommates, "Rent is due."
"Look Benny," Roger begins, "We don't have it."
"Yeah, Collins just got fired and we don't have the money for rent," Mark explains while Benny is eyeing the food and vodka that Angel brought home.
"Then how did you afford all this?" He asks, very suspicious of them.
"Angel bought it," Collins covers up, "He's been saving his tips for a while and he bought all this before he found out I lost my job." Benny looks back at Angel who is quickly nodding his head. "In fact, here," the professor takes a paper cup that was lying around, pours some vodka in it and hands it to Benny, "Have a drink."
"I can't, I need to drive home," the landlord tries to deny the cup, but Collins insists.
"Take a cab, it's not like someone's gonna take that piece of shit range rover," he shoves the cup in his face.
Finally Benny gives in, "Fine, a sip couldn't hurt." He takes a sip at first, but then Collins tips the cup so that he drinks it all. He gags at first but then swallows the foul liquid, "What was that for?"
"It's rude to accept a drink from someone and waste it," Mark informs him with a glint in his eye.
"Yeah," Roger agrees, "Especially since the people offering can't actually afford to share with you."
"It's an insult," Collins adds.
Benny, now slightly tipsy, looks down to the floor, "I didn't mean to insult you guys, I just need to drive all the way back to Westport."
"Don't worry old friend," Roger walks over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder, "All is forgiven."
"Yes, in fact," Collins pours more vodka into the cup, "Have another drink."
"Maybe one more couldn't hurt," Benny gulps down the entire contents of the cup. It only takes one more cup for him to be completely drunk. "I have…have to go now…" he slurs, turning around to leave. Before he does so he remembers what he came to the loft for, "Rent, I still need it."
"Oh yeah, we have it," Roger says, nodding to Mark.
"Yeah," Collins plays along, "I may have been fired, but Mark has the check ready."
"I do," Mark pulls out an expired coupon out of his pants pocket, "I just need to endorse it." He turns around, pretends to write something on the check then gives it to Benny.
"Thanks, I need to go now," the yuppie puts the coupon away and stumbles out of the apartment.
"I hope he doesn't drive," Angel murmurs in concern.
"Aw, who cares?" Roger rolls his eyes, "We got him out of our hair and we didn't even get to pay rent this month!"
"He'll be back once he realizes what we did," Mark informs them.
"We'll worry about that later," Collins brushes it off as he walks over to the table, "I'm starving."
"Wait a second Collins," Angel rushes over to the table to prevent his lover from eating the food, "We should save this food for when we're out of money."
"Then what do we do for dinner tonight?" The filmmaker inquires, crossing his arms.
"We just got out of paying rent. I think we afford to eat out tonight."
"Sounds like a plan to me," the professor shrugs, walking over to his shoes to put them back on.
"Let's go to the Life Café," Mark agrees, going into his room to get his coat and beloved scarf.
"I'll go get dressed," the street drummer whips off his coat and he skips into the room he shares with Collins to get dressed.
"You coming Roger?" Collins asks once Mark is ready.
"Yeah, I'll come down when I finishing tuning my guitar," Roger says as he goes back to his guitar to tune it.
"Alright, don't take too long," he tells the rocker as he leaves with Mark, who has his camera in hand.
Roger tunes his guitar is solitude until he hears knocking at the door, "Who could that be?"
He opens the door to see a rather attractive young Latina woman, looking no older than twenty at the door, and holding out a candle, "Got a light?"
"Do I know you?" Roger wonders as he tries to remember where he knows her from. He noticed that she is shaking a bit violently, "You're shivering."
"It's nothing, my dick of a landlord turned off my heat," she explains as he ushers her in and puts his leather jacket around her shoulder, "And I'm feeling a little woozy." She holds out her candle to him, "Do you mind?"
"Oh, right," he goes into his back pocket for a book of matches and uses one to light the candle.
She catches him staring at her, "What're you staring at?"
"Nothing, nothing," Roger denies, avoiding her gaze, "You just look familiar." When he looks back at her, he sees that she almost loses her balance. He holds his arms out to catch her, "Can you make it?"
"Yeah, yeah," she says, brushing it off, "I just didn't really have much to eat today." She paces around the loft, "At least the room isn't spinning anymore." She looks over at him and catches him staring again, "What?"
"Nothing," he tells her again.
"It's not 'nothing' if you keep staring," she laughs.
"You're smile reminded me of someone."
"Oh," she sounds a bit disappointed, "I always remind people of someone…" She turns her back to him with a sly grin on her face, "So who is she?"
"My girlfriend April, she died."
"I'm sorry to hear that," the girl quickly blows out the candle and turns back to him, "It's out again."
"Must be because the window's open," Roger muses as he goes over to her and lights her candle. They take this time to gaze into each other's eyes.
"Are you in love yet?" The two of them turn in surprise to see Angel, dressed in full drag standing by the door.
"How long have you been standing there?" The rocker asks.
"Long enough to see that you two are in love," she winks.
"In love? I don't know her name."
"I'm Mimi and I live right under you," she informs him.
"And she's my best friend," Angel adds.
"Really?" Roger raises an eyebrow, "How come I don't see you more?"
"You never leave the loft!" The drag queen points out, "People are convinced you don't even exist, they think you're Mark's imaginary friend!"
"Really?" He laughs.
"It's not funny," Mimi tells him, "It's kinda sad, and I'm hoping I'm the one who can bring you outside."
Yeah, since you're in love with her," Angel gleefully says to him.
"We just met!" The rocker exclaims, "You can't say we're in love!"
"Romeo and Juliet fell in love at first sight."
"That's just a story, remember what happens at the end of it."
Angel was taken aback, "Okay, then take me and Collins, we pretty much fell in love at first sight."
"Actually, that was pretty much nightingale's syndrome and the fact that you actually found a gay guy who won't treat you like shit," Roger corrects him nonchalantly.
It should be explained that Collins came back to New York after being fired from MIT on Christmas Eve and was mugged. Angel found him and helped him to the loft where he treated his wounds and got to know him. Afterwards, he, Mark and Roger invited the street drummer to live with them upon learning that he did not have a place to stay. Soon afterwards Angel and Collins decided to become lovers and the rest is history. Roger is currently being an ignorant jackass so he deserves what is about to happen to him.
Angel delivers a swift kick to the rocker's groin, causing him to double over in pain, "You're coming out whether you like it or not!" Just then, Mark and Collins come back into the loft and see their roommate on the floor in fetal position.
"Baby did you just kick Roger in the balls?" The professor inquired.
"He was being a jackass," she grabbed one of his arms, "Grab a limb we're taking him outside." Not wanting to feel Angel's wrath, they all grabbed a limb and carried Roger out of the loft.
Axel: The ending kinda sucked.
Mars: I know, I hope you guys enjoyed the rest of it though! And Roger fans, please don't attack me, at least he won't kick Mimi out of the loft!
Link: Don't they still break up in the original La Boheme?
Mars: But they get back together!