tick, tick…RENT!

These stories are based on two musicals by Jonathon Larson. The main ideas/plots are taken from Tick, tick…BOOM! and the characters are taken from RENT. I don't own either of these lyrics are taken from tick, tick…BOOM! and are in no part owned by me. The book Tommy's Tale is written by Alan Cumming and is not owned by me.

Recommended Listening: tick, tick…BOOM!

Track 1:30/90 or Tommy's Tale of Birthdays

Collins tried to focus on correcting the forty-two term papers in front of him, but in the background he couldn't help hearing the ticks of the clock.

Tick…tick...tick…

In exactly three minutes, he would be thirty. His parents had made a tradition of wishing him happy birthday at the exact minute of his birth ever since he was a little boy. He'd sort of hoped they would grow out of it, but they never had.

"8:36 and 30 seconds, 8:36 and 31 seconds…" Collins had given up his pretence and began the countdown, wishing that there was a way to stop the clock.

At precisely 8:39, his phone rang.

"Oh Tommy! Thirty!" his mother's voice rang through the phone. "How do you feel?"

Like I want to lay down and die, Collins thought darkly. "Great mom," he lied.

"Hello Thomas," his father said in his deep baritone. "How's my son doing?"

Not running naked through the Parthenon or seducing college boys…at this exact moment anyway, so you'd be proud dad.

When his parents finally let him go, Collins walked the two steps that brought him into the kitchen and found a bottle of Stoli. Sighing, he opened it and took a deep drink.

What was it about turning thirty that made him want to cringe? Turning twenty had been fun! Why couldn't he have just stayed 29?

Back before Collins exclusively dated college boys who majored in Philosophy, he'd dated a kid who majored in Psychology. The kid…his name was James? Jamie? Jonny? Whatever his name was, he drove Collins nuts, constantly psychoanalyzing everyone he came into contact with. After they'd broken up, he'd diagnosed Collins of having a 'Peter Pan' complex and had even smashed a Tinkerbell figurine through one of his windows. Four years and a discreet restraining order later, Collins was ashamed to admit that his observation might've been correct.

But what was wrong with not wanting to grow up?

Collins laughed a little as he took another drink. Dying, he wasn't afraid of. In all honesty, he should be ecstatic that he'd made it to thirty. Others with HIV hadn't been so lucky.

But he didn't want to be old. He wanted to be young forever, never betraying his age.

Damn his conflicting feelings.

And what exactly did being thirty mean? That he should finally start to do grown up things like stop smoking marijuana or quit pretending that vodka could solve everything?

Or maybe he could put all that off until forty.

Yes, Tommy decided, relief rolling off of him in waves. If he made it to forty then he would start being a grown up. Until then, he was fine.

Next track: Green Green Dress, the first meeting of Mark and Maureen.