Categories > Theatre > Rent

La Vida Loca

by sargent_snarky 0 reviews

A 'what if...' story. (slightly, therefore, AU) Mark has a problem for which there are no solutions. The most he can acquire is a temporary lessening of the burden.

Category: Rent - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Mark, Maureen, Roger - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006-08-30 - Updated: 2006-08-30 - 2140 words

Title: La Vida Loca
Rating: PG-13 due to language
Genre: Drama, Angst
Summary: A what if? kind of story. And this what if is: What if Mark were schizophrenic?
Word Count: 1780
Disclaimer: I do not own Rent or any of its characters, nor do I own New York City, where this takes place, nor do I own the phrass La Vida Loca, which means 'the crazy life' and was acquired from a song of the same title.

: This was originally written for a challenge, and the challenge is thus: It has to be Mark Centric and must at the least make reference to Roger. Theme: Mark has a secret, a deep secret, a secret he would do anything to keep from Roger.
Mm... This is kind of AU, and Mark's not exactly in character, but... I did that on purpose. I wasn't trying to make him be completely in character. Although, in a way, he is in character, if there were certain circumstances, which I shan't mention, as I don't want to spoil it for you!
I will be continuing this, though I am not sure how often I'll be posting updates, as I'm a bit swamped with school at present. However, I would appreciate feedback!
Anyway, enough of my blathering; please enjoy this.
The Story:
Mark sat on a stool, leaning back against the bar, surrounded by throngs of people and a haze of smoke. It was rather warm in here, in this club where a mixed crowd gathered to listen to the deafening music played live by the Well Hungarians, but Mark didn't mind the heat. Rather, he seemed to bask in it, soaking it up, for the apartment he shared with three others had rather intermittent heating that was as good as useless. And the wood burning stove they'd acquired only ever heated the middle of the apartment - it never reached the extremities, like where Mark slept. So, this overabundance of heat proved welcome to the scrawny young man.

Unlike most other patrons of the bar, Mark's eyes were closed, and his head was tilted back, as if he intended to fall asleep amid the commotion and press of bodies. If he actually succeeded, though, it would've been a marvel, for every few minutes, someone wandered up to the bar, invariably jostling Mark, simply because Mark happened to sit at the spot apparently most attractive to drink order-ers. But, Mark wasn't actually trying to sleep, so this was irrelevant.

After a little while, though, he seemed to grow weary of this position, so he swiveled around to face the bar and rested his chin in his hands. His eyes remained shut. And the bartender continued to ignore him, as Mark had already drunk the one and only drink he'd be getting this evening - one he'd won from the barkeep in a quick betting game that Mark had rigged... not that the bartender needed to know that.

Mark used to bring his camera to the clubs, and he used to film people, film the band, but he rarely did this, anymore. This wasn't because of a lack of motivation or desire for filming, but more because he was trying to conserve film due to a tight budget and also because he didn't want to worry about the poor old thing getting broken, again. So, with nothing to occupy his twitchy fingers, Mark had taken to fiddling with the scarf he frequently wore or with other articles of clothing. At the moment, however, he instead tapped his fingers in complex patterns upon his cheeks. And continued to just sit there... off in his own little world.

That is, until she showed up. A striking woman Mark was fairly certain he'd seen around this club before sidled up and plopped down on the barstool next to him. She sat there, studying him for several minutes before she reached over and poked him.

Mark lifted his eyelids to look sidelong at her. Or, at least at what he thought was her. As he was looking out of the sides of his eyes, he wasn't looking through his glasses and so had significantly hampered vision. Arching an eyebrow, he questioned, "What?"

"Hello!" she greeted cheerily.

Mark blinked once or twice. Since the woman garnered no other response, after an awkward pause, she continued, "Look, there's a question I've just been dying to ask you."

"...Yeah? What is it?"

"Ok. So... why do you come to this place all the time?" the woman asked, tilting her head to the side. "I mean, you're just not the type, no offense," she added with a laugh that Mark saw rather than heard - the music and the clamor of voices were both too loud for anything less than a shout.

Mark shrugged.

"Come /on/! There's gotta be a reason," cried the woman, lifting her eyebrows high in incredulity. "Tell me!"

"My best friend's the lead singer of this band, and we're roommates, so..." He shrugged again.

"But that's not why you come here!" She insisted. "Because you always come here, and you don't spend most of the time with your friend or with the band. You just spend it out here, at the bar, eyes closed - I've watched you, you know. 'Cause I come here a lot, too, so I've seen you a lot. And I really want an answer! So, tell me: Why?"

Mark sighed, but his lips twitched into an odd little half smile as he lifted an eyebrow her way. He turned his head to regard her straight on and sat up a little, dropping his hands and forearms neatly on top of each other upon the bar. "You really you want to know the truth?"

"Duh. Are you stupid? Why do you think I keep asking, kid?"

"Heh. It's because," he began, eyes sliding away from her to some point amid the bottles lining the back of the bar and faint amusement utterly vanishing. He paused for a moment, fully considering his answer. When he continued, his voice was softer, and she had to lean in close to catch his words. "... Because here is one of the few places I don't hear the voices. I still see things, but they blend in among the color and the press of bodies, and I don't notice them so much. But, here, among all the noise, they're drowned out. And the alcohol sometimes help to shut them up, too... But, I can't hold my liquor very well, and I tend to puke it up again within an hour or so if I have more than a glass of beer or two. So, mostly I come here just to be surrounded by the noise, so I don't have to listen to them... So that they become less real."

The woman frowned, blinking. That certainly was not the answer she'd expected. "You crazy or something?" she asked.

Mark laughed. "Got that right."

She blinked again, then snorted. "God, you meet /all types/, here! You know what? I like you, kid, even if you are crazy. What's your name?"

"Mark Cohen. Yours?"

"Maureen Johnson. So... are you really crazy, or did you just make up that story so you'd have something to tell me?"

"I really am crazy," he sighed. "Schizophrenic, I guess. At least that's what the doctors told me when I was twelve and have been telling me since."

She snorted again. "You've got to be joking, right? Since twelve? Don't they have, like, drugs or surgery or something to fix it?"

"There're several medications, but they don't always get rid of the symptoms so much as lessen them. And there're treatments and therapy stuff, but nothing cures it. Nothing fixes it. Hell, most of the things they tried didn't help me. I just... found my own ways of staying sane."

"Uh - huh." Maureen seemed at a loss for how to take Mark. She still didn't seem quite convinced by him, but she didn't quite disbelieve him, either. "So if I go ask your Well Hungarian friend about you, he'll tell me you're schizo?"

He smiled ruefully, nervously and shook his head. "Actually, no... he won't," said Mark, hesitating. "He'll admit to me being, quote 'fucking crazy', but he won't be referring to my... mental disorder, to put it in the 'polite' terms. He doesn't actually know..."

"Oh, so that's how it is?" Maureen obviously seemed to think that Mark was having her on, now. "Pff... Way to cover all the bases. Wait, didn't you say he's your roommate?"

"... Yeah."

"How can he be your roommate and not know if you're schizo? How can he really be your friend and not know something big like that?"

Mark's eyes went distant again, a sad look creeping across his features. "Because I'm good at keeping secrets," he explained. "Besides, I've found my own ways of living with my screwed up mind, so it doesn't show... most of the time, anyway."

"Oh? How's that?"

"I write. I film. I spend a lot of time alone, either hiding in a corner with a notebook, or out filming things. Trying to put together a documentary or a movie of some kind. Hallucinations don't show up on film, you see," Mark offered by way of explanation.

Maureen was silent for a moment. Then, she laughed a little, shaking her head. She reached over and clapped Mark on the back. "You are a very odd person, Mark," the woman informed him with a definitive nod. "I'll be seeing you around, I guess."

And with that, she was gone, back into the crowd. And Mark, well... he was alone, again. He closed his eyes and rested his forehead on his palms, with elbows propped, once more, upon the bar. He let the sounds envelop him, until his mind went blank.


Mark once again sat at the bar, loitering and soaking up the sound. At the moment, the band wasn't playing, though, for they were taking a break. An intermission, as it were. Mark frequently joined them in the back room, but not so today. Just didn't feel like getting up and moving.

And Maureen saw him. So, she approached, diving right into conversation the moment she sat down and poked him. "Hey, you come here every time they perform, right?"

He looked at her and nodded. "Usually... why?"

"And do you know all the people in the band?"

"...Yeah. Why?"

"What about the technicians? Y'know, whoever sets up the sound equipment?"


"Because I need someone to help me figure out all this sound equipment a cousin of mine donated. And I need someone who's savvy with sound equipment. The stuff here's always balanced right, so I know the person's gotta be good. So... Who is he? Or she?"

"Umm... Me, actually," said Mark.

Maureen burst out laughing. "You're joking! First your schizophrenic, and now you're a sound technician? Give me a break! Who is it /really/?"

"/Really/: it's me."

"My god, kid! Give it a rest, already! Just tell me who th - " She broke off as Roger, who had approached while she was speaking, interrupted.

"Hey, Mark, sorry to interrupt this intimate chat, but... Joe's having some feedback problems, and the one thingy-ma-bobber's come loose again... And we all know how it's supposed to go on, but you seem to be the only one who can do it without fucking it up. So... get your ass back stage, pronto." Roger turned his attention to Maureen at this point, giving her one of his cheeky grins (or, rather, leers). "Plenty of time for the hot chicks during the show. So sorry to deprive you of company now, though. I'll be happy to make it up to you after the show, if you'd like."

Mark sighed, rolling his eyes and hopping of his barstool to follow Roger back to deal with the sound equipment. He did pause long enough, however, to give Maureen a smug 'I-told-you-so' look.


A/N: And from there, it wasn't long before Maureen convinced Mark to come help her with her sound equipment problems.... Buaha.

Hehe... Well, um... so what did you think?

Mark's schizo. Buaha. This is, actually, an idea I've been toying around with for a long while, and I've only just recently figured out how to go about writing it. For reference, I have actually done research on schizophrenia as well as the medications used to treat it, both on wikipedia and through an online medical encyclopedia, as well as NIMH's information published on the web, all of which were rather useful. Be that as it may, if you feel I've gotten some detail of schizophrenia wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me!

Umm... I think I've blathered on long enough, now... so... Adieu! Please leave a review, even if you hated it!

Love, Snarky
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