Categories > Theatre > Rent > Cutting Room Floor

Stuff It!

by Camera_Doesnt_Lie 1 review

High school isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when your bullies are your best friend's friends.

Category: Rent - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters:  Mark, Roger - Published: 2005-05-06 - Updated: 2005-05-06 - 1368 words

Author's Notes: I don't own emotion-nor do I own RENT. Everything you'll read here is technically property of Jonathan Larson, may he rest in peace.

Next, this isn't your typical work of fan-fiction. Cutting Room Floor is meant to be read as a series of vignettes from the time before RENT, through that fateful year, and after it. As I update, the scenes will come in chronological order. Bear in mind, then, that what was Chapter Five last time you read it may now be Chapter Seven.

On the whole, the chapters shouldn't contain material above PG-13. I'll note in the chapter title if it goes above that.

Thanks in advance for reading!

The school nurse had done a great job of patching up the cuts on his ankles and wrists, but there was nothing that could be done for his pride.

"Let go'a me!" he'd screamed earlier that day as Joey Lennon and Micah dragged him, arms and legs held, out of the AV room. He wriggled for everything he was worth, but they just held tighter. "You're gonna get in huge trouble!"

But it was lunchtime. Every available staff member was in the cafeteria, all the way on the other side of school. Then there was the fact that the AV room was in the little-used 200 hallway and there were no classes held down there. So, his threat was quite unfounded, really, and he knew it.

"Not if you don't tell anyone," Joey said as Micah dropped Mark's feet. He kept Mark's hands held down tight and sat on his chest--he couldn't breathe. He then took off his prey's glasses and sent them skidding across the floor. "And you're not going to tell anyone. Are you, cameraman?"

Now's not the time to be stupid! Mark's mind screamed, even as his mouth said, "Stuff it, Lennon!"

And so he had.

The first thing he'd stuffed was a wad of paper the size of a golf ball into Mark's mouth.

Kicking as hard as he could and trying to yell around the paper, Mark squirmed and fought to avoid anything that might be coming next. If he had to be gagged, it couldn't be pleasant.

Micah finally managed to pin his legs, but Mark continued to thrash about to the best of his ability. Not that it did him any good. Within minutes, Mark's shoes had been untied and their laces wrapped tightly around his ankles, digging into the skin, limiting circulation.

Mark felt himself being rolled over, pulled to his feet. They were going numb, couldn't support him much longer; he was sure of it. He tried to hop away, for all the good it did him.

Someone behind him jerked on the hood of his jacket, pulling it off his shoulders, then shoved and Mark went down hard. With another jerk and a couple twists, the windbreaker was as tight around his wrists as the shoelaces were around his legs.

Now mute and almost completely immobile, there was little Mark could do outside of squirming as someone carried him farther down the deserted 200 hall. He heard a locker door bang open and, oh, no.

Not in there! Not down here-nobody'd ever find him!

Mark gave one almighty jerk and fell to the floor, but succeeded only in knocking the wind out of himself. A second later, he was rolled over again. A blurred hand yanked him up, shoved him backwards into the steel closet. With a crash and a metallic click, Mark's world was silence and darkness.

Nothing to do but wait. Wait and hope that someone missed him enough to come looking.

He didn't hold his breath.

Somewhere in the main hall, a bell announced the end of lunch. Just then, his stomach growled and he thought of the sandwich that lay unwrapped but untouched on the AV room floor. Minutes later, the same distant chiming signaled the start of fifth hour.

Roger'd notice he was gone. He had to notice. Nobody else would...

The silence, the absolute quiet save the pounding of his heart, was driving him insane. His ankles were on fire and his feet were numb, but he couldn't so much as twitch them. His hands were no better, secured behind his back and slick with sweat?-blood? In his mouth, the paper had gotten soft, almost pliable.

Maybe if he worked with it, he could get it out?

He tried. For what felt like forever, he tried. But, like peanut butter, it stayed stubbornly lodged exactly where he didn't want it.

Another bell and the shuffle of a hundred feet. Sixth period would be starting soon and he was no closer to being discovered.

He leaned against the locker door and tried to take the weight off of his throbbing feet. It didn't do much good, but the sting faded a bit.

Then there were voices at the far end of the 200 hall. Someone was coming! Now, how to get their attention...

The genius of his bindings became apparent as he tried to find some way to signal the people down the corridor. Couldn't yell, couldn't kick the door, couldn't pound on it...

Well, there were no two ways about it. He leaned on the door again and then beat his head against it. The resulting clang carried down the hall and whoever it was stopped talking.

He did it again, cringing at the ringing in his skull.

Footsteps! Yes! With just a few more minutes, he'd be out of this hellish box!

"Mark..?" That was Roger's voice-he knew Roger wouldn't let him down!

He dropped his forehead against the door again, softer this time. Keys jangled, he heard the lock open and then light flooded back in.

"Jesus, Mark," Roger said as Mark fell out of the locker. "What the hell happened?"

Someone sat him upright and removed the paper from his mouth as someone else untied his hands and another, his feet. A few seconds later, shapes became more defined as his glasses settled on the bridge of his nose. Then he paled.

Inches to either side of him stood his tormentors, both of them with grim, threatening faces. Roger didn't seem to notice.

"I, uh," Mark started, rubbing his bruised and bleeding wrists. "Someone shoved me in there."

"Did you see who it was?" That voice belonged to Mrs. O'Hare, his fifth hour teacher.

"I-" Mark lowered his head. "They took my glasses, ma'am. I didn't see them..."

Mrs. O'Hare nodded and went to fetch the nurse. Roger, meanwhile, was pacing and wringing his hands. "Nobody messes with my friend," he said in a dangerous whisper that Mark barely caught. "And when I find out who did, they'll have me to answer to..."

Biting his lip, Mark didn't respond. He didn't trust himself to open his mouth; not while Joey and Micah still lingered.

"Are you sure you didn't see them?" Roger demanded, just as the nurse arrived and started working on his injuries.

Mark looked up, startled by the directness of the question. The two older boys drew his gaze for a moment, then he went back to watching the nurse bandage his wrists. Nodding noncommittally, he muttered, "'M sure."

Mark didn't follow the rest of the conversation-he was too busy worrying about what would happen the next time he was caught alone. It would be worse. It was always worse.

"I can handle everything from here." Roger helped Mark to his feet and jarred him from his thoughts. Joey and Micah, grinning at each other behind Roger's back, went off to their sixth period in the 500 hall.

As soon as they were gone, Mark thanked Roger, but his friend didn't hear it.

"Mark, you're a gutless jellyfish," Roger said as he turned to him. "I know you know. Tell me."

Backing away, Mark tried the old method of calming Roger down. "Look, can't we just forget the whole thing..?"

In response, Mark was grabbed by the shoulders and put up against the lockers. "Tell me."

Then again, the old way never worked before, either...
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