Categories > Theatre > Rent > Cutting Room Floor

The Jewish Cure

by Camera_Doesnt_Lie 1 review

After one high school Halloween, Mark comes face to face with Joey's roots and his own.

Category: Rent - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama, Horror - Characters: Mark, Roger - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2005-08-25 - Updated: 2005-08-25 - 1309 words

Disclaimer: You know the drill. Everything belongs to the Larson family in lieu of Jonathan being alive. Nonphysical violence and graphic images.

To Joey's credit, it had been a brilliant prank, dousing the entire Halloween dance with orange and green water. If only Cindy hadn't been there-he'd never be able to go home now!

"My house," Roger called to the two following him. "We can wait there for everyone to cool down."

"Great idea, Roger," Mark gasped, falling into step and fumbling to put his glasses back on. "Except Cindy'll look there!"


The three of them ducked into the corner mart to catch their breath.

Joey clutched a stitch in his side and leaned against the wall. "We'll go to my place, then," he said. "Your sister doesn't know where it is."

Even before Roger nodded, Mark felt queasy. Joey Lennon's house was the literal last place he ever wanted to set foot in. But Roger'd be with him.

Nothing could possibly happen. Nothing at all.

That decided, the trio made a beeline for the corner of Spruce and Pine, where the Lennon house stood. Mark hesitated and swallowed hard on the threshhold.

"Don't tell me you're afraid of the dark, cameraman?" Joey said, reaching around him to turn on the living room light.

It did look ordinary enough. Couch, table, bookshelf, TV. Totally harmless.

Mark took a deep breath and stepped inside, trying to convince himself that everything was under control. Despite his own reassurances, though, he was positive he was a perfect sour apple green.

Leading the way to the stairs, Joey dropped his voice. "Don't want to wake my gramps," he said. "We'll hide out in my room."

A death sentence couldn't have taken the color out of Mark's face faster.

Roger noticed this much at least and patted him on the back. "You alright, Spielberg? You don't look so good."

Flicking his eyes momentarily to Joey, Mark nodded shallowly and muttered, "Just ate something funny."

"If you're sure." Roger shrugged and followed Joey upstairs.

What it was that made Mark climb that staircase, he never knew. All he knew was that he ended up in Joey's bedroom. As with the living room, it looked normal. Bed, dresser, closet, rock posters.

Mark let himself breathe for a moment-this wasn't so bad... That was when he caught the conversation.

"I've gotta run home for a second," Roger said. "There's no way I'm going to school tomorrow dressed like this!"

Joey said something, but Mark didn't catch it. He wasn't listening-he was too busy panicking.

Here. Alone. With Joey. Roger, stay!

"Maybe I should go with you," Mark put in. "Y'know, keep you company?"

His friend considered this, looking Mark up and down. "No, you still look sick. You stay here and relax-I'll be right back."

Mark opened his mouth to protest, but Roger was already gone. Out the door, down the stairs and out of sight. The front door closed and Mark's heart skipped a beat.

"Well, well, cameraman. Just you and me."

Joey closed the bedroom door and Mark backed his way into the far corner, his hands raised.

"No trouble, Joey," he said tightly, feeling the wall press against his back. "I don't want to be here any more than you want me here."

"You don't understand." He had that smirk. The one he always got when he had something planned. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not going to lay a single hand on you."

The grin widened.

"I just want to show you some of the stuff my grandpa passed down to me."

Here, he reached under the bed and Mark tensed, squeezed his eyes shut.

There was a long scratch, like something being dragged, a pause, and then the steady thumps of footsteps. Mark pressed farther into the wall, jaw clenched, every muscle in him screaming to be relaxed.

Something cold and sharp pressed into the side of his throat. His lungs seized up and his eyes popped open.

There was Joey, grinning, a shining blade held to Mark's throat. After a lifetime of seconds, he removed it and held it up for Mark to see.

"German stiletto," he bragged, "World War II. My grandpa carried it when he worked at Dachau."

He moved away and put the knife down. Only then, and when his lungs started burning, did Mark realize he hadn't breathed since the blade's introduction.

Deep, slow breaths. Concentrate on that, Mark coached himself. He had to keep it running through his head as long as the stiletto was in view or he'd forget again-he was sure of it.

One by one, more items came out of the wooden box. A uniform, restraints, a stick of some sort-Mark gulped-a gun. Each of them was shown off, demonstrated, almost, before being reverently set aside.

Finally, he lifted a small book, bound in red leather.

"Grandpa's journal." Joey grinned and opened the little book to a marked page. "He taught me German, just so I could read it. D'you want to know what it says, cameraman?"

Mark shook his head feebly, unnoticed.

"'January 14th, 1940,'" he recited, reading slowly, relishing every word. "'Today, a new train arrived. By the lists, 122 were aboard when it left Nuremberg. Only 58 arrived-64 will never pay for their sins.

"'The rest, looking like the parasites they are, were branded and reminded of their place. Now the repentance can begin for them and they can make amends for the evils they've brought upon the world-'

"What do you think so far?" Joey lowered the book and looked Mark straight in the eyes. "Isn't it great to know that someone was doing something for the good of everyone else?"

Shrugging at Mark's silence, he picked it up again. "I know, I know. On with the story. Where was I?

"'I put them to work soon after. Some complained of no food; others that they didn't have the strength or the right tools. One tried to touch me-Vogel shot it in the leg and sent it to work.

"'It came to Geist soon after and said that its wound would not let it work. Geist was kinder than he should have been, and sent it to the Krematorium to be relieved from its penance. 65 have escaped without paying their dues!

"'That doesn't matter now. The others will do enough work to pay for their sins and more. I will ensure it.'"

Mark's stomach churned violently and his skin crawled.

"That's enough reading," Joey said, putting the book back in the chest, then the other items. When he got to the gun, he paused, turning it over in his hands.

"Y'know something else my grandpa told me, cameraman? He said to me, diseased limbs can be amputated, cancer can go into remission." The gun came up, he aimed, Mark froze. "But the only cure for being a kike is a bullet to the head. Bang."

He put it back in the box, pushed it under the bed, and Mark, unable to hold himself upright anymore, slid down the wall.

A few moments later, the bedroom door creaked open and Roger's face appeared around the corner. "I'm back," he said simply, tossing a grocery bag of clothes on the floor. Then he spotted Mark; pale, shaking and sweaty in the corner.

"Mark..? Joey, what's wrong with him?"

"I dunno. He just started looking green and sat down in the corner."

Roger crossed the room and lifted Mark's face gently. "You don't look so good."

Over Roger's shoulder, Mark saw Joey. That grin was back. "I could see if my grandpa has anything to make him feel better." He put a finger to his head, thumb cocked like a trigger.

Mark shook his head almost violently, pressed his face into Roger's chest.

"No, Joey-I think he just needs to go home."
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