Band-ied About - The sequel to "Heroes..."

 

 

 

By Lew. [I don't really have to bother with the last name, do I? It's not like I'm normal or anything.]

 

Beat me, bite me, whip me, mail me at lewww@ivillage.com or lew@looksmart.com.au (It should be working now.)

 

This is for Mandii (I hope you actually read this one.), Desanera (Yah, yah, yah, I'll finish it, someday...), Yui Daoren, about the only author out there who dared to act the shipper with Daria and Jane... (Yui, we salute you! "Oh yeah, she's gonna pop!") To Wouter Jaegers (Frigging sick man, loved it! But Quinn & Stacy..? Nahh...) Canadibrit (A coffee-fuelled Kamikaze? Is that what you think of me? Banzai!) and once again to Kerryn, a mad, bad woman of questionable taste in friends. (She really shouldn't have given me her phone number if she didn't mean for me to use it...)

 

Disclaimer: Ok, Daria is not my creation, blah, blah, blah - MTV owns it, her, whatever. This fount of cynicism should be attributed to Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis, because they did create her, blah, blah, blah. This is a fan-fiction story, blah, blah, blah, I have nothing, blah, blah, blah, suing me would be an exercise in futility, blah, blah, blah...

Let's face it folks, my life is "blah, blah, blah".

Usual endnote method applies [parenthesis]. If there is a conversation, it means I'd like to elaborate a little, or that I've been typing for too long and need to get out into the fresh air. [You think I'm joking?]

This is a sequel to "Heroes..." (My first published attempt at fanfiction.) If you read the stories in order, it may make more sense, hmm? For those pedantic detail freaks out there, this begins on a Monday night, the same day that Jane and Daria have been "outed". [Gee, like maybe you should go back and read "Heroes" now? Slowly...]

 

Here we go...

 

 

 

 

(Begin the typical "Daria" introduction, Splendora wailing away to the trials and tribulations of Daria Morgandoffer. As the last chords fade with the trailing "Laa-la, Laaa-laa..." Daria script: Band-ied About)

 

 

 

(Music: "Dragula" - Rob Zombie. Trent Lane sleeping on his bed, his room strangely clean, apart from a duffle-bag in the corner and his guitars propped against his brown sock drawer. Cue the funky ripple-dissolve effect for a dream sequence.)

(Cut to Trent opening his eyes to a nightmare of darkness, flames and wispy clouds. Dressed as he usually is (Washed-out shirt, holey pants, sneakers.), he gets up from the arid rock he was lying on and dusts himself off. We now see from his viewpoint; pan view, there appears to be no sun, no moon, no stars. He looks down and we see the ground has now changed into a dark metal, covered in black paint that has blistered. While "Dragula" scours along, he looks again at the horizon; it appears to have shifted much closer in the short time he was looking at his feet. He squints against the light cast by the flames, and is surprised by a scream rapidly approaching from behind. Something whips over his head and flies at great speed towards the shadowy area of the horizon, a place of such darkness that it hurts to look at it. His eyes fasten on the disappearing shape and is amazed to recognise Curtis Stalato, a guy he went to school with, chained to a flaming tollbooth.)

Trent: (Shocked.) Man! What is this place?

Jane: (OS, monotone.) An extension of your subconscious.

(Trent whirls about, to find his sister, Jane Lane, standing behind him. She is wearing her dark sunglasses and is wearing the same outfit that Daria does. (Green jacket, black Docs, black skirt, mustard shirt.) Considering the fact that he's just seen a guy in a flaming tollbooth, this change in her usual apparel does not seem too strange.)

(Everything seems to freeze and takes on an ethereal quality. Given the red tinge that is cast by the assorted flames and hellish props, the resultant light casts some strange shadows.)

Trent: Uhh, okay. (Pauses as something comes to him.) Er, is "this place", this place, because I finished off the salmon I found in the fridge?

Jane: (Using the same mannerisms as Daria does (ie: none.) and her "Daria" voice.) No, this is simply your mind's interpretation of the (Finger quotes.) "Issues" that you are trying to resolve, thrown up by your unconscious self and using easily understood visual cues.

Trent: (Blankly.) Huh?

Jane: (Normal Jane voice.) You're dreaming, Trent.

Trent: Oh. (Beat, puzzled.) Then how come I'm interacting with (Waves a hand around.) this? Usually I just, um, watch old Saturday cartoons in black and white? (To himself.) I didn't think I dreamt in colour...

Jane: (Fleeting glimpse of her usual smirk.) That's the salmon.

Trent: Ok... Then what the hell are you?

Jane: I'm the guide and mentor that your mind seems to insist it must have. (Rubs temples.) I must also play an important part of your life to be such a highly regarded personage "here". (Waves a hand at the cracked and burnt nightmare world.)

Trent: Uh, why is that? (Shifts his feet.)

Jane: This is your mind, remember? (Dry.) Given your pathological distrust of authority figures, who would you rather, that teacher who made you wet yourself in grade two, or me? (Her form starts to shift and run, blurring into a shortish man who looks around 80 pounds overweight for his BMI.)

Trent: (Looking worried.) Uhh, no, Janey, you're fine! (Jane stops with the blurring and snaps back into her pervious shape.)

Jane: Well, that's the ground rules covered, questions?

(Trent looks around and is not too surprised at the fact that he is now standing on the "Tank", pointed towards the horizon.)

Trent: Uhh, yeah, what is that? (Points to the shadowy area.)

Jane: (Slightly exasperated.) Trent, this is your mind. Think a little on the imagery, hmm?

(Trent rubs his chin and wanders over to the edge of the Tank roof. He looks over the edge at an ocean of molten rock now beneath him.)

Trent: (Looking towards the darkness again. Subdued.) That's failure, isn't it? To crash and to burn...

Jane: (Sadly.) Yes Trent. That's your impression of what failure looks like. (They stand and stare for a little at the area on the horizon that seems to swallow everything, including shadows. Dry.) I must say, you certainly have a gift for expressing your concepts in a way where no duality exists.

Trent: (Whips his head around.) Huh?

Jane: (Gives him a look.) What you see is what you get.

Trent: Oh. (Waves at what Jane is wearing.) So, what's with the threads?

Jane: (Very Jane.) Once again, o narcoleptic one, this is your head we're in. (Wry.) I don't have a choice in what I'm wearing. (At Trent's confused expression.) But it's probably a carryover from your previous "Authority figure/Guide"...

Trent: (Gets that "Whoa" expression on his face.) DARIA was my "authority figure"?!

Jane: (Exasperated.) No Trent, Courtney Love always wears an outfit similar to this one. (Looks more than slightly annoyed.)

Trent: (Stunned.) Why!?

Jane: (Ticks points off on her fingers.) Her I.Q. is astronomical, she can always be relied upon for excellent advice and you'd trust her with your life. (Jane shrugs.) She also makes great coffee, not that you'd know.

Trent: Wow. (Puzzled, once again.) So, why do you have the job, now?

Jane: I'm kind of like her "second-chair". (Shrugs.) She's gone on to greater things...

Trent: What?

(Jane looks at him, more than a little sadly.)

Jane: Are you sure you want to see?

Trent: (After a bare second.) Uhh, not if it's painful or degrading for her?

Jane: (Quiet.) No Trent, it's not. (She presses the palms of her hands together, and brings them apart. Trent falls to his butt as there is a dizzying wrench that whirls the Tank around like a frog in a blender. He holds on for dear life, but almost slides off when his "merry-go-round from hell" stops.)

Jane: (Unaffected.) Sorry about the trip, but you needed a change in perspective...

(Trent staggers up from the roof, and looks over. He goes white at the sight; the Tank looks to be around twenty miles above the hellish plain he woke up on. Trent falls to his knees and grabs hold of the Tank's side coaming seam, unmindful of the paint flakes driven under his fingernails.)

Trent: Whew. (After a few deep breaths.) Ok, where is she?

Jane: Daria's pretty obvious, just change your point of view. (With that, she jumps backwards off of the Tank and disappears. Not "simply falling away" disappears, like "vanishes into thin air" disappears...)

Trent: Okaaay... (Looking blankly where Jane was for a moment.) Yeah and riiight...

(Gathering his courage, he stands and is relieved to find the "Tank" as steady as it was when he started. He looks around, a full 360-degree turn and cannot see Daria anywhere. Confused, he sits slumped on the roof of the Tank and looks at the shadowy area. He can't help it, his "interpretation of failure" draws the eye like a bloody car-wreck. After a while, sitting cross-legged, he suddenly gasps and scrambles backward.)

Jane: (O/S) You can see it now, can't you?

(Trent barely spares a glance at Jane, who is riding sidesaddle on an enormous paintbrush. Her jacket has changed from Daria's dull green into the eye-catching red she prefers. It remains the same style as before, though.)

(We see from Trent's perspective, the dark spot on the horizon. It recedes back, and we see what upset Trent so much. The spot is actually a tiny black dot in the pupil of an enormous eye. Recede back more, and the eye gradually comes into view, as does the edge of a lens frame... Daria's face now makes up the entire sky, her gaze as blank and as pitiless as the sun.)

Jane: (Alongside the Tank, in a holding position.) Do you understand?

Trent: (Shocked/worried.) Failure is in her eyes? (He looks over to Jane.)

(Jane levers off a boot and throws it at Trent, who barely dodges in time. The boot proceeds past the Tank and flashes into nothingness with a bright flame.)

Jane: (Removing her other boot to throw.) No you idiot! (Waves boot.)

Trent: (Scrambling for an answer.) Uhh, she will be the cause of my failure?

(Jane launches her boot and it smacks him right between the eyes, knocking him backward off the Tank. Flailing for anything to grab hold of as he begins to freefall through infinity, he hears Jane's voice screaming at him through the slipstream.)

Jane: (O/S) You're afraid of failing in her eyes!

(Trent cannot acknowledge this, his attention focused on becoming a greasy black mark on the rapidly approaching landscape. His speed of descent is such that his eyes force themselves shut, tearing from the windspeed. Not about to go quietly, he opens them and goes to scream...)

 

Daria: (O/S, worried.) What was that thump?

 

(Cut to Daria and Jane, in Jane's room. They've both got open books in front of them and have obviously been reading, but something's disturbed them. Daria still has the dark green/black hair with white streaks from "Heroes", but apart from that, the two look about as normal as they can be.)

Jane: (Uncertain.) It sounded like Trent fell out of bed, again...but it was pretty loud, much louder than normal.

(They share a look of concern, get up and walk out.)

 

(Cut to Trent's room again, usual shot angle for the room (Like a corner-mounted security camera.) applies. Daria and Jane walk in to find Trent lying on his face in bed.)

Jane: (Immediately reassured.) He's ok.

Daria: (Walking over to examine him closer, she looks back at Jane.) How can you be so certain?

Jane: He's still in bed. (Smiling slightly.) And he's not awake.

Trent: Yarrrrargh!!

(Trent explodes off from the bed with an anguished scream, causing Daria and Jane to yell and jump backyard in response to his outburst.)

Daria: (Recoiling.) Yahh!

Jane: (Same.) Yeep!

(Trent stands, back against the wall, eyes crazy. He's looking at the two like they're about to eat his brains with a spoon, then wakes up a little more. He squints at Jane, then at Daria. He rubs his face, relieved.)

Trent: Whoa, baaad dream. (He slumps down against the wall.)

Jane: (Annoyed.) Jeez, you're telling us? Next time, no way are you feasting on what's left over from the weekend's party. (Pause.) Right Daria?

Daria: (Shoots a lightning-fast "I will kill you look" to Jane.) Uh, maybe "finishing off" the smoked salmon wasn't such a good idea, Trent? Especially from your fridge? [1]

Trent: (Staring at his hands.) Oh, yeah, I can hear that...

(Jane leaves the room. Daria looks at Trent, then comes over to sit on the edge of his bed.)

Daria: (Softly.) Are you sure you're all right, Trent?

Trent: (Looking up from his hands.) Yeah, kind of. (Shakes his head. His hair doesn't move.) Usually I don't remember dreams, and I don't dream in colour either, but that one...(Scrubs his head.)

Daria: (V/O: Oh god, what do I say now?) Uhh, would you like to talk about it?

(Trent smiles wanly at her. Unnoticed, Jane sticks her head back into the room, wondering what happened to delay Daria...)

Trent: Nahh, it's kinda personal. (Pause.) And I'd like to jot down a few things that I can remember...

Daria: (Embarrassed.) Oh. (Blushes.) Sorry.

Trent: It's ok Daria. (Catches sight of Jane.) Hey Jane, want something? (Daria straightens up in shock.)

Jane: (Her voice light and carefully level.) Oh, no, just wondering if Daria would like to place her pizza order. (To Daria.) Staying for the soon-to-be-delivered bounty?

Daria: (Turns. Gritted teeth.) No, it's ok, Jane. (More normally.) Anyway, my parents go into this "Good mother/Good father" overdrive if I eat more than four days a week away from home.

Trent: (Concerned.) You'll be ok?

Daria: (Quite surprised.) Ah, yes Trent. They are my family, after all. (Pause.) I have lived with them before. (Beat.) For extended periods. (Beat.) Without too much psychological damage. [2]

Jane: (She shrugs, philosophical.) That which does not kill us will make the therapist richer. (Innocently.) Daria, could I have a word?

(Daria looks at Trent, who smiles and gets up. No escape in that direction, she follows Jane out of the room.)

 

(Inside Jane's studio. Music: "Bodicea" - Enya [And why in hell not?] Jane is grinning fit to burst as she sweeps the door shut with her heel. Sadly, her gesture of confidentiality is thwarted by a mound of clothes which blocks the doorway. Jane frowns, kicks that along and closes the door.)

Jane: [Imagine the tone.] Well?

Daria: (Avoiding the question. Acid.) It's truly astounding the amount of arch curiosity you can put into a single word, Jane.

Jane: (Making coaxing motions with her hands.) C'mon!

Daria: (Looks Jane straight in the eye.) Nothing happened. (Pause.) Nothing.

Jane: (Throttled impatience.) Not his lack of response, I want to know what brought on your little fit of concern for my brother's well-being?

Daria: (Looking for avenues of escape.) The shared worry we feel when a fellow human being is in distress?

(Cut to Jane's face.)

Jane: (Her expression: "From you?") Right.

Daria: (Hurriedly changing the subject.) So have you told him yet?

Jane: (Her expression: "None of your trick questions young man...") What? [3]

Daria: (Very dry.) Am I going to have to refresh your memory?

Jane: (Looking perplexed.) What the hell are you- Ohhhhh. (Winces at her density.)

Daria: (Faux distress, think of an upset Stacy.) I, I can't believe it. (Hiccups.) After our moment, you, you forget!? [4]

Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) Ok, ok, I get what you're meaning. (Pause.) But what's with the "drama queen" thing? (Dry.) I thought I'd have to resort to electrodes for you to show emotion.

Daria: (Normal voice, normal expression.) That was a portrayal of an emotion, not my emotion.

Jane: (Exasperated.) You're impossible, you know that?

Daria: (Ignoring the backhanded compliment.) Well, did you?

Jane: (Retorts.) Did you?

(Daria blushes.)

Jane: I didn't think so.

Daria: (Defending herself.) Well, it's not like "Hey Trent, I had a really nice day today, oh, and hey, I kissed your sister in the middle of the cafeteria to show our true feeling towards each other?!"

Jane: (Blushes slightly also.) Yeah, when you put it that way...

(Daria looks exasperated over to Jane.)

Jane: Ok, ok..

Daria: (Remembering.) And hey! Didn't you promise something..?

Jane: (Looking around, trying to back-pedal.) I may have.

Daria: (Very annoyed.) 4 months? [5]

Jane: (Shamed.) Uh, yes, sorry. (Avoids Daria's look of reproach.)

Daria: (Hurt.) That's pretty loath, Jane. [6]

Jane: (Flushes.) Ok, I'm sorry!

Daria: (Deciding to let Jane off the hook, rubs eyes.) So, we tell him together?

Jane: (Surprised at Daria's benevolence.) Well, he'd have to hear it sooner or later. But not tonight, right? I'm whacked out.

Daria: Ok, tomorrow then? (Gathers up her books.)

Jane: (Toes hers shut, kicks it along the carpet to her desk.) Ok.

 

(Cut to outside Jane's door, in the hallway.)

Daria: (O/S) And we'll tell him together, right?

Jane: (O/S, but you know the eyebrows are working overtime. Wicked.) Afraid that I'll deliver all sorts of juicy details?

(Pan camera angle a bit further to the left, and we see Trent, hand still raised to knock on Jane's door. Whatever your mental image was of Jane looking in at Trent and Daria earlier, it is nothing compared to the look on Trent's face now. It's obvious he's been there for a while...and heard everything.)

Daria: (O/S and very flat.) Yes.

(Fade with the look of total astonishment on Trent's face.)

 

(Music: "Mindfields" - The Prodigy. Daria is coming through the front door of her home, the red brick monstrosity with the big picture window at 1111 Glen Oaks Lane. At the moment, it contains an ego even larger than the mortgage it once had...)

Quinn: (O/S, shouting from upstairs.) Daa-aaad! Do you know were my blue strappy sandals are?!

[Say hello to the ego.]

(As Daria proceeds through the living room and into the kitchen, her father answers in the same fashion.)

Jake: (O/S, shouting from kitchen.) No idea honey!

(Daria enters the kitchen, to find her father, Jake Morgandoffer doing something cruel and unusual to some defenceless vegetables.) [7]

Jake: (Still yelling.) You could ask your mothe- (He looks up from maiming a carrot to the entry of his eldest daughter. He spasms in surprise, and the Ginsu-clone takes wing, out of his hand and into the drywall opposite.)

(Daria and Jake look for a moment at the still-vibrating knife, embedded in the wall, then turn to face each other.)

Daria: (Somewhat aghast, but trying to hide it.) I thought Mom had you on a "no-caffeine" diet?

Jake: (In a shocked monotone, surprisingly similar to the one Daria normally converses in.) I am. It's just that you surprised me and... (Jake shakes his head and reverts back to his normal self.) Oh hey, I'm sorry if I scared you kid-. (He saves himself (just in time) when he sees Daria's eyes narrow.) [8]

Daria: (Slowly and carefully.) I'm going to get the knife now, Dad. (She wrenches it out of the wall, and gives the handle to Jake, who takes it with care.) I'm not going to have to call 911 again, am I?

(Jake shakes his head and starts to chop again, slowly and carefully.)

(Helen Morgandoffer, Daria's mother, bursts into the room, waving her mobile and carrying her briefcase. She look like she usually does with those items, harried and irritated.)

Helen: (Looking at mobile.) ...Jake! Have you seen Quinn's damn sandals? If we can't find them soon, she'll want to screw more money out of us for...(She sees Daria, and stops abruptly. She absently thumbs off the squealing mobile, removes the battery and places both items into her briefcase. Helen places that at the kitchen table, eyes having never left Daria.)

Daria: (Typical monotone.) Hi Mom.

Helen: (A bit vague.) Hi sweetie. (She puts the briefcase neatly beside her.)

(Daria goes to the fridge, gets a soda, pops the top and drinks. Helen is still staring at Daria. Daria notices.)

Daria: (A bit uncomfortable at the scrutiny.) Is my lobotomy scar showing?

(Helen shakes her head a little, then blinks. Her eyes slide over to Jake, who's oblivious to the "Stop what you're doing and sit next to me" vibe that Helen is producing.)

(Daria isn't.)

Helen: Oh, no, nothing's wrong. (Pauses.) Is there anything you want to tell us sweetie, about today?

Daria: (Shrugs.) The same-old meaningless low-intensity psychological torture that school always seems to be. (Takes a sip while she waits for the "Please don't be so negative" variation from Helen.)

Helen: (Looks down.) Hmm, ok dear. (Fiddles with something in her pocket.)

(Daria chokes on the soda she's drinking.)

Jake: (As usual, clueless apart from parental concern.) Daria! Are you alright?! [9]

Daria: (Wiping her streaming eyes and face.) Yes Dad, I'm fine. (Beat.) Say Dad, you didn't take Mom into the woods somewhere for another meal of those berries? [10]

Helen: (Normal head tilt.) What?

Jake: (Depressingly normal look of incomprehension.) Huh?

Daria (Somewhat reassured.) Nothing Dad. (Pause as she gives Helen's pupils a quick once-over.) I just thought Mom might be, distracted, by something, that's all...

(Quinn Morgandoffer, Daria's younger and impressively-shallow sister bursts into the kitchen, waving a nice pair of blue strappy sandals. She's dressed in her usual garb, smiley top and hip-hugging jeans.)

Quinn: (As usual, oblivious to all apart from her.) ...I found them! But could I have some money for this matching outfit I saw at Cashmans? (Assumes habitual consent.) Thanks! I think I'll make it if I phone Joey for a... (Trails off as she sees Daria, makes a funny "oh" noise and faints.)

(FX: <Thump!>)

(And for Daria, the penny drops.)

Daria: (Close up, total dismay.) Oh, god.

 

(Cut to the Morgandoffer Livingroom. Music: "It's Cool" - The Electric Hippies. Daria is seated on the single, Helen (once again) uncomfortably perched on the coffee table and Jake is fanning Quinn, who is lying on her back on the floor with her head elevated by pillows. Daria's expression of long-suffering martyrdom is at odds with the one of sincere goodwill exhibited by Helen. Daria looks over from a still smiling Helen to Jake and Quinn.)

Daria: (With a "Why do I bother?" expression.) Dad, you elevate her feet, not her head.

Jake: (Stops his fanning.) Oh. (Removes the pillows from under Quinn's head, a bit too hurriedly. It makes a dull thud when it drops onto the carpet. The 'rents wince, but Jake manages to elevate Quinn's feet without further damage.) How's that Ki-Daria?

Daria: (Very dry.) Fine Dad.

(She fixes Helen with a gimlet glare.)

Daria: Right. (Deep breath.) For the first and last time, Jane and I are not lesbians, nor are we lovers, in a relationship or thinking of eloping to Hawaii. [11]

(Helen wears the face of people doing good deeds. On her, it's scary.)

Daria: (No reply from Helen yet, she knows this is not a good sign.) Anything that Quinn or any other person, apart from Jane, may have told you is simply false and untrue. (Beat.) You may start to agree with me... (Pause, waiting for response.) Now.

Helen: (Still with that irritating look of goodwill.) Honey, with today's lifestyle choices... (Daria grinds her teeth. Helen notices and hurries along.) ...What I'm saying is that it doesn't matter what your...preferences are, they're your choice and we'll back you, 100%. (Turns.) Right Jake?

Jake: (Still fanning.) Damn straight! [12]

(We see Daria's exasperated forehead smack. It's hard to do with glasses, but not impossible.)

Daria: (Eyes to the ceiling.) What do I have to do..? (Turns to Helen, trying very hard to get the message across.) Mom, because we went to the Ball together, Jane and I are the victims of popular gossip. (Pause.) Since there is no way in hell we could possibly correct this rumour, we decided it would be best to play along, and be protected under the school's blanket anti-harassment policy. (She looks at her parents with much pleading in her eyes.) Do you understand?

Helen: (With a much more natural smile.) Yes Daria, I understand. (She leans over and squeezes Daria's hand reassuringly.) I realise that having to be secretive of the "real" you for so long means that you aren't likely to separate yourself from this defensive persona, at least for a while yet... (Close up on Daria's face, her horror showing.)

Helen: (O/S) ...But be assured, we'll be here for you, if and when you need us.

Jake: (O/S) Sure Honey! Power to the Rainbow and all that!

(Fade scene with Daria's look of dismay.)

 

(Music: "Need You Tonight" - INXS. [...You're one of my kind...] Open to Daria and Jane, walking somewhere in the morning, presumably to school. Jane is laughing so hard she can barely stand upright.)

Jane: (Crying with laughter.) So you mean to tell me...(Takes a breath, trying to calm down.)...That they think that (Almost serious voice.) your "Standoffish Persona" is a result of you trying to adjust to a...live in a...straight... (Can't complete the sentence, and has to lean against a tree for support.)

(Daria waits, depressed by the situation and not at all amused by Jane's hilarity.)

Daria: (Gritted teeth, trying very hard not to kill her best friend.) It's. Not. That. Funny.

(Daria looks over to Jane, who has slumped against the tree and is holding her stomach.)

Jane: (Wiping tears away, while holding her stomach.) Maybe not for you, but I haven't laughed this hard since, oh, since Axl stapled his...(Jane shuts up and tries not to laugh.) Whoa, my stomach hurts.

Daria: (Coldly.) And if you don't stop soon, I'll be forced to add to your pain.

(Jane holds up her hands in surrender and tries to stop laughing. After a little, she succeeds and hoists herself upright with the aid of Daria and the tree.)

Jane: (Almost back to normal. Evil smirk.) Well, you've got to give them big points on the "parenting care factor" side for being so understanding. (At Daria's flat stare.) If you were, I mean.

Daria: (Flat.) And a gigantic negative for ignoring what I was trying to tell them.

Jane: (Rubs chin.) Thatís true. (Truly wicked.) So, am I coming over for dinner tomorrow?

(Daria doesn't even bother to reply, simply using her "Get me my flesh-eating insects" look.)

Jane: (Receives the message.) Ok, I'll let my infusion of microwaved lasagne slide, this week at least... (Conversationally.) Any silver linings in your sky of despair?

Daria: Hmm. (Thinking.) Quinn fainted when she saw me in the kitchen. (Truthfully.) That was okay.

Jane: (Encouraging.) See, it can't be all that bad. (Interested, referring to Quinn.) Any chance of making it an permanent occurrence?

Daria: Like Kevin? (Thinks for a few seconds.) No, I'd need a subject that was unaware and trusting of what I was doing...

Jane: (Connecting the dots.) So Kevin fit the bill perfectly, but the...

Daria: ...Years of constant bickering have left Quinn wary of me, to some extent.

Jane: (Looking down.) Damn.

Daria: (Same, kicks a rock.) Yeah, that.

Jane: (Starting a happier topic, looks up.) Anyway, Trent hit the mixing studio this morning. (Pause.) He looked a bit distracted, I'm not sure if it was from the hour of his awakening, or the fact that I made him some of my coffee. (Rubs hands in remembered glee.)

Daria: (A bit worried.) Is this the same stuff that we had to hire a contractor to clean out of the sink?

Jane: Well, yes, kind of. (Daria looks very worried.) But I made it drinkable for mortals.

Daria: (Not reassured.) I'm just surprised the EPA hasn't caught up with you yet for brewing that stuff.

Jane: (Waves that one away.) At any rate, the rest of the band should have dried out enough to help the cutting, mixing and whatever from the "Pre-Monthly Millennium Ball" material.

Daria: (Winces.) Every time I hear that title, it gets more irritating. Couldn't the organisers though of something that flowed?

Jane: (Grins.) Via Cloaca?

Daria: (Who knows enough Latin to get the joke.) Ha. [13]

Jane: (Musingly.) I just wonder how well the Spiral will survive the "Booth of Doom". Trying to work with Max and Nicholas in a small space could get a bit annoying...

 

(Music: "The Wretched" - NIN. Cut to an anonymous recording booth, a wide-eyed Trent and the unflappable Jesse hunched over a monster mixing board, video screens everywhere and assorted recording media piled on any flat surface. Trent rubs his face, looking tired but unable to shut his eyes.)

Trent: (More to himself than anyone else.) Man, what did Jane put in that coffee?

Jesse: Hmm? (Looks over from what he was doing.)

Trent: Nothing man. (Pause.) But if you ever want a coffee, don't drink anything Jane gives to you.

Jesse: (Shrugs.) Cool.

Trent: How are Max and Nick?

(They look over to the soundproofed booth through the triple-paned glass, where Nicholas and Max are doing horrible things to one another and CPU-controlled players on the N64 game, "Smash Brothers." Their silenced screams of rage and sick delight are echoed by their actions shown by the monster TV they're playing on. At the moment, they're batting around Mario like he's a tetherball.)

Jesse: (Shrugs.) So far, pretty cool.

Trent: (Watching as they smash Mario into a lake of lava, then team up to molest Link with a magic wand and a laser-pistol. Distant.) You know, we're kind of lucky that there's no "blood option" on that game...

Jesse: Yeah. ("Something" happens and they both wince.)

(From the vague rattling of the soundproofed booth, it appears that Max and Nick reached an outcome beyond of the ordinary scheme of things...)

Trent: (Looking on.) And remind me to ween the guys off that "Wired Geek" cola crap onto something less, ah, twitchy...[14]

Jesse: Uh? (Looks up again. Observes. Agrees.) Oh, yeah...

(We look through the window again and see Max jumping around, attempting to tear the head off one of those plush "Mario" dolls with his teeth, ala Ozzy Osborne. Nicholas has an aluminium bat and is smashing a similar "Link" doll into the sound padding against the wall, collecting it on the rebound for another whack. Jesse and Trent exchange glances, then dim the lights slightly and close the curtains separating the two rooms.)

(Trent focuses back onto the task at hand, and twirls a video-edit dial. A few footage scenes play from the "Pre-Monthly Millennium Ball", where Mystic Spiral performed to a fantastic crowd response. The tiring months they'd played on the road had sharpened their "sound" and provided a fertile ground for Trent's song-writing skills, actually sprouting decent lyric imagery and some pretty good new songs. Since they're trying to put together an album, it would be foolish for the band to waste the footage and raw feed gathered from the night, but Trent can't seem to concentrate. Jesse notices this, which is a pretty good indication of how scattered Trent is.)

Jesse: (Glancing over.) You all right, man?

Trent: (Looks at the dial he's still holding.) Uhh, no. Not really.

Jesse: (In the way he usually does.) Uhh, it's just that it looks like you're sleeping, but you're wide awake. (Pause.) I've never seen you do that before. (Beat.) The other way 'round, sure, sometimes when driving...

Trent: (Rubs his face.) Ahh, it's just that a few things have kind of "popped up" suddenly.

Jesse: (Usual expression.) Like?

Trent: (Looking uncomfortable.) Well, I had a really weird dream yesterday...

Jesse: (Smiles a bit.) Hey, that's no trouble, didn't we tell you to go easy on that pink fish stuff after Daria said that "it shouldn't be that pink"?

Trent: (Shrugs.) Yeah, so everyone keeps telling me. (Pauses.) But that's not really what's distracting.

Jesse: Hmm?

Trent: ("Here goes" expression.) Ok, what do you think of Jane?

Jesse: (Who wasn't expecting this. Eyes widen.) Uhh, in what way?

Trent: As a person, Jesse. (Flat.) Not as a possible "best friend & my sister's virtue" interrogation.

Jesse: (Relieved.) Uh, okay. (Trent waits.) Smart. (Trent nods.) Fit. (Trent nods.) Angular. (Trent nods.) And pretty? (Trent shrugs.)

Trent: Right. Now, what do you think of Daria?

Jesse: (Surprised.) Daria? (Trent nods.) Okay. Very smart. (Trent nods.) Quiet. (Trent nods.) And I would have said kind of mousy, but after the concert, and the show she put on...(He trails off as they both remember bits of the night.) ...Pretty, in a "don't want to draw attention" kind of way. (Jesse turns, slots in a video, and twirls the suite knob.)

(The tape flashes to where Daria is standing in front of the band in her "Angel of Death" costume, belting out the chorus to "Devil Inside." [An old INXS song.] Jesse hits "play"...)

Daria: (On the video, her green hair and dress streaming back as someone starts a wind machine, singing in a "Scary-girl" hiss.) ...Every single one of us has the devil inside. Devil inside, the devil inside. Every single one of us has the devil inside... (Jesse hits the pause button, and they stare at what's before them.)

Jesse: Yeah.

Trent: (Shakes his head slightly.) Right.

Jesse: She was really impressive, wasn't she? (Trent gives him a look.) I mean she can sing, too.

Trent: Yeah. (Turns to face him.) So, do you think there's more to her than those glasses and those huge books she reads?

Jesse: (A bit lost.) Uh, yeah, I always did.

(Trent looks very surprised.)

Jesse: (Continuing.) I mean, from what you've met, and what Jane has told us; if her family is half as bad as I can make out, she either hides most of her true self, or would be a basket case. [15]

Trent: ("Hmm" expression.) Good point. (Rubs chin.) Would you say the same about Jane?

Jesse: (Expression: "God, MORE Jane questions?") Uh, yeah. She's too creative for her own good sometimes, so she kinds of passes off anything that might hurt her with a laugh, then spends the rest of the day stabbing a canvas.

Trent: (Very surprised.) You do know her well, don't you?

Jesse: (Shrugs.) It's there if you look.

Trent: (A bit uncomfortable at this.) Uh, yeah.

Jesse: So what's hassling you?

(Trent kicks a wheeled stool over to Jesse, who automatically sits. Scene fades/pans away.)

Trent: Ok, I didn't believe it when I first heard it...

 

(Music: "Mortal Kombat" - The Immortals. Cut to Max and Nicholas, who are beating the snot out of that stupid "Star Fox". The volume of their game is up pretty high, but you can hear some vague shouts from the mixing room.)

Max: (Not taking his eyes from the screen.) What do you think is up with them?

Nicholas: (Same posture.) "Creative differences" maybe?

Max: Dunno, but it's distracting my form. (Reaches out and toes the volume up higher.)

(A few seconds later, they succeed in smashing "Star Fox" out into the lava, again.)

Max & Nicholas: Yesss!

Max: "Test your might, FIGHT!"

Nicholas: "Flawless Victory!"

(They do their "Kill! Kill! Kill!" chorus/chant and wait for the CPU player to respawn.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane walking along the hallowed corridors of Lawndale High. Music: "Feet Touch The Ground" - Jebediah. Jane still looks happy. As they arrive at Daria's battered locker, Jodie comes up from behind.)

Jodie: Hey guys.

Daria: Morning.

Jane: (Turns while putting something into her backpack.) All hail the master of voluntary activities!

(Daria and Jane do a kind of salute with their hands over their hearts, then bow slightly and click their heels together.)

Jodie: (Raised eyebrow.) Right. (To Daria.) So, is there any chance that I could borrow your dress for Friday? (Rolls her eyes long-sufferingly) Dad has got a business function to attend at the country club, and it's going to be "Formal", with a capital "Pole-up-the-ass". I think your dress would be perfect.

Jane: (To Daria.) Is "Pole-up-the-ass" the 22nd or 23rd letter of our alphabet?

Daria: (Ignoring Jane, for the moment.) Of course you can borrow it, but (As she eyes Jodie doubtfully.) I'm not sure how it could fit.

Jane: (Also running a practiced eye over Jodie.) Nahh, she'll be fine. (To Daria.) If you remember, I left it long so that you'd have the option of a train. (To Jodie.) Time constraints prevented it. (Rubs chin.) Hmm. The main problem will be the upper chest plate.

Jodie: (Polite.) Pardon?

Daria: (Sighs.) The top? It's not a bodice, or a corset, it's more along the lines of a modified, fitted tabard.

(Although Jodie is definitely in the 99th percentile, she still looks lost.)

Jane: (Translating.) We're not sure if someone with your figure could wear it and be comfortable. (Makes a rounded chest motion with her hands.)

Jodie: Oh. (Looks disappointed.) Could we try anyway?

Jane: Why not, it's not like we're going to be doing anything. (Looks over Jodie.) And that isn't indication of "open season" for roping us into extracurricular activities.

(Jodie loses the vague expression of hope.)

 

(Cut to Quinn looking distracted as she walks with the Fashion Club, or what's left of it after Daria (figuratively) disembowelled Sandi on stage before a crowd of (approximately) a thousand people. Music: "Private Investigations" - Dire Straits. Stacy Rowe is looking more uptight than usual but Tiffany remains as effusive as ever.) [16]

Tiffany: ...And then Todd said that... (Breaks off to look at Quinn.) Quinn, is something the mat-ter? You've barely said a word all day? [17]

Quinn: (Looks up from her thoughts, be they weighty ones.) Uhh, just thinking, Tiffany. I've been listening though. So Todd said he'd...

Stacy: (Erupts.) I can't take it anymore! (Grabs Quinn and Tiffany by their shoulders, eyes and manner wild.) What is going to happen? What are we going to do?!

(In practiced motions, Tiffany and Quinn slip out for Stacy's manic grip, take her by the shoulders and "encourage" her into the nearest female toilets. There they lean her against a wall and get out some bottled water. As Tiffany tries to encourage Stacy to drink it, Quinn pats her hand.)

Quinn: (Absently, like she's done this so many times before it's automatic.) Stacy, I know things may be hard at the moment, but I'm sure that if we pull together, as a club is supposed to, that we'll all make it through this patch.

Stacy: (Wailing.) But what about Sandi?

Quinn: (Catching the glance that Tiffany gives her.) Uhh, I'm sure she can resume her duties when she returns to school, or even gets in contact with us...

Stacy: (Still wailing.) That's just it! She won't return my calls, and she won't see meeeee! (Bursts out into fresh tears. Through the gulps.) And if she doesn't resume official contact with the club, she can be impeached for neglect of duties!

Quinn: (Imagine her expression, or lack of.) Oh.

Tiffany: (Looking over to Stacy, and so didn't catch Quinn's change in posture.) I'm sure everything will be all right, Stacy. Don't worry so much...

(Fade scene with Stacy's fresh sobs running out of steam and Quinn's look of fiendish calculation.)

 

(Open to the recording booth, Jesse and Trent present. Music: "Just Like You Imagined" - NIN. Jesse has a look of shock on his usually bucolic features.)

Jesse: (Hollowly.) You're not joking, are you?

Trent: (Looking disgusted at the suggestion.) No.

Jesse: (Still not convinced.) So, that's exactly as you heard it?

Trent: "I kissed your sister in the middle of the cafeteria to show our true feeling towards each other?" There isn't much else you could get out of that sentence, Jess.

Jesse: Oh. (Looking down.) Yeah.

Trent: So, what now? (Trent rubs his eyes.)

Jesse: I dunno. Do we like, you know, ignore it, or what?

Trent: Could you?

Jesse: Uh, no. I suppose not.

Trent: Well, since I don't want them to think that I was eavesdropping, or anything like that, I think we'd better let them tell us in their own way and own time.

Jesse: (Relieved.) Good plan.

(Trent looks at the mountain of work in front of them and turns to Jesse.)

Trent: Well, there is no way I'm going to get anything done for the rest of today...

Jesse: (Obviously feeling the same way.) Yeah. (They share a look.)

Trent: The pub opens at 11? (Jesse nods his agreement.)

(Trent turns and hunts down a circuit-box, opens it and reads a few labels. Looking up to get his bearings, he looks back into the box and trips a few circuit breakers.)

(The vague noises coming from the soundproof room next door abruptly stop. The previous muted sounds are eclipsed by the anguished screams torn from two different throats. Max and Nicholas burst into the control booth, Nicholas bringing along his bat.)

Max: Who cut the power?? (Does a massive, caffeine-derived, twitch.)

Trent: (Tired.) I did. You guys organise the rest of the tapes and whatnot, Jesse and I are taking a break.

Max: You're taking a break? Do you know how close we were? (Twitches again.)

(Trent fixes him with a glare that intrudes through the hyped and psyched blockers of Max's brain.)

Trent: (Coldly.) Max, I really don't have the time. (He and Jesse leave.)

Max: (Taken aback.) Jeez, what bug crawled up his ass? (Looks around at the booth, then longingly at the other room.)

Nicholas: (Putting down the bat.) C'mon, we'll start over here.

(Max sighs, long-sufferingly, then follows Nicholas.)

 

(Open to the school cafeteria. Music: "The Kids Aren't Alright" - The Offspring. Jane and Daria are seated with the usual representatives of the four food groups but are looking a bit unsettled. Mack comes over carrying a tray.) [18]

Mack: May I? (Nods towards the empty places.)

Daria: If you can deal with the social stigma?

(Mack has a "huh?" expression.)

Jane: Remember who you're sitting with? (Realisation dawns on his face.)

Mack: Oh. (Looks over, inquiringly.) Do you want me to move? (Dry.) I wouldn't want to blow your cover.

(Jane smiles slightly at an example of his wit.)

Daria: Please, don't bother to get up, maybe you'll keep some of the flies away. (Goes back to eating.)

Mack: (Picks up his milk.) Pardon?

Jane: (Acid.) Mack, what "the love of my life" is referring to is the number of prepositions we've received today.

Daria: (Explanatory.) Almost every sleaze, lecher and bottom-feeding slug in this school has "hit" on Jane. I haven't received so many, ah, "proposals". (She shrugs.) I assume it may have something to do with my appearance.

Jane: (Sly.) Or the fact that you give the impression of being the "Dominant" one. (Wicked.) Continually "on top", as it were?

(Mack chokes on the milk.)

Daria: (Dry.) We're joking.

Jane: (Arch.) I wasn't.

Mack: (After clearing out the milk.) Sometimes I wonder...

Daria: (Starving off that topic.) Where's Jodie?

Mack: She said she'd see you guys later, she had to pick up some stuff for O'Neill, so that kind of wiped out her lunch. (Pauses for a bit.) Have you guys noticed something strange about Kevin?

Daria: (Hurriedly, to Jane.) Don't. It's too easy.

Jane: True. (Turns her attention to Mack.) In what way, all joking aside?

Mack: It's just that he seems to be listening...

Jane: (Very surprised.) In class?

Mack: No, to that football he's carrying around. (Daria smiles slightly, Jane more so. Mack continues.) I'm not being funny, he carries that thing around and talks to it like he's getting answers from it.

Jane: (Trying hard not to smile.) I'm sorry; this is just, so, expected. (Pause.) From Kevin, I mean.

Mack: Well, I can see the funny side of things, but having an "aware" Kevin is more than slightly disturbing...

Daria: (Dry.) Considering the positions of importance you may be tempted to put him into?

Mack: (Shrugs.) When you put it like that, I know it sounds silly, but it's got me worried.

Jane: (Airily.) Don't stress, you'll find he'll go back to normal after a few tackles...

Mack: (Pessimistic.) Or worse?

Daria: (Flat) Not possible.

Mack: (Thinks, then looks happier.) Good point.

Daria: (Changing subjects, to Jane.) Anyway, did you set up the appointment?

Jane: (Looks at her hand.) Ok, Iíve got good news and bad news.

Daria: (Looking wary.) Good news?

Jane: (Obviously reading what she's written on her hand.) We're hooked up for an interview with OíNeill and Barch at 2.

Mack: That's good?

Jane: (Smirk.) If "Mr. Sensitive" remains conscious throughout.

Daria: (Matter of fact.) Mrs. Barch will be able to ensure that, or of his flayed carcass being found nailed to the side of the gym.

(Mack winces.)

Jane: (Same tone.) Right.

Daria: (Normal voice.) And the bad news?

Jane: (Toneless.) Mrs. Manson, school shrink ineffective, will be "waiting in the wings".

Daria: (Dry.) Oh, rapture.

Jane: (Slightly surprised.) No joy?

Daria: Exactly.

Jane: (Sideways glance.) Did anyone tell you that puns like that are a punishable offence?

(Daria doesnít bother to reply. Before Jane has time to frame a suitably devastating sally, Kevin walks by, obviously thinking about something. We all know this because heís staring at the football in the style of "Alas poor Yorrick... I knew him, Horatio." The students at the table watch him as he passes.) [19]

Kevin: (Distracted.) Hi Daria, hi Jane, hi Mack. (Goes on, staring at his ball.)

(They exchange glances.)

Mack: You see?

Jane: (Stopped mid-meal.) Uh, when did Kevin start to even look like thinking?

Daria: (Same.) Iím pretty sure it was when he went to sleep, and after the pod beneath his bed swallowed him... [20]

Jane: (Looking after his retreating back.) Iíd find that funnier if it wasnít so damn logical...

Jodie: (O/S.) Kevin and logic used in the same sentence?

Daria: (Turns, smiling slightly.) Only to exemplify the dichotomy.

Jane: (In greeting.) Yo!

(Jodie Landon, representing all that is pure and good at Lawndale High, strides up from behind. She is clutching her ever-present folder and adjusts her hair clip. Mack smiles in greeting.)

(She also has a...small...rainbow...ribbon...pinned to her chest.)

(Dariaís expression barely budges from its usual countenance of rampant wonder [Iím being sarcastic, if you hadnít guessed.] but it takes Jane a few more seconds to notice the small change. She gives Jodie "the look". Obviously, Jane has been taking lessons from Daria.)

Jodie: (Defensive.) Look, I was given it when I picked up the literature... (Trails off with an expression of pain on her face. If she could do so, it looks like sheíd smack her forehead.)

Daria: (Sounding even, calm and normal.) Literature?

Jane: (Deciding to play it the same way as Daria.) So, are we talking brochures, handouts, and items of similar nature? (Taps a foot.)

Daria: (Mildly.) Bumper stickers, T-shirts..?

Jodie: (Flushed and looking down. Small voice.) Sorry guys, I thought it would be a good idea, and I was kind of dragooned into it...

Daria & Jane: (Chorus.) OíNeill? (Jodie nods.)

(Daria and Jane ignore Jodie for a brief conference. Mack moves his stuff so that Jodie can put down her burden.)

Jane: (Expressionless.) He dies.

Daria: (Same.) I concur.

(They turn to Jodie again, Jane warming a smile from somewhere.)

Jane: So, got anything for me?

(Daria rolls her eyes, but Jodie passes over a few sheets of paper and some glossy brochures.)

Jane: (Reading out a title.) "So, Your Daughter's A Dyke". (Looks over the table.) Not exactly showing much in the way of subtlety, is it?

Daria: That might be the "advanced" course. Is there on that is something along the lines of "Ever Wonder Why Sally Never Brings Home Any Boys?"

Mack: I really hope not.

(Jane smirks.)

Daria: (While Jane tucks her bounty away.) So, Iím assuming that youíll be taking a trip to the Nurseís office for a delivery?

Jodie: Uh, yeah. (Suspicious.) How did you know?

Daria: (Not batting an eyelid.) Private research. [21]

(Jane falls of the seat, laughing.)

 

(Open to the typical bar scene, the clichť thought up at roughly the same time fire was discovered. Assume it's the McGrundies Brew Pub, the only watering hole described in the Daria Diaries. Music: "The Nips Are Getting Bigger" - Mental As Anything. Trent and Jesse have a few emptied steins of beer in front of them, Jesse is feasting on the bar peanuts while Trent engages in some bar art.) [22]

Jesse: (Spying the peanuts on the other side of Trent.) Uh Trent?

(Trent passes over the nuts without looking. Jesse cracks and eats a few, then looks over again.)

Jesse: You sure you're all right? (Looks pointedly at the last stein of beer that Trent has before him, it's almost untouched.)[23]

Trent: (Takes hold of the mug handle and stares into the bar mirror.) Yeah, I think so Jess. (Goes to drink it, then stops, sighs and puts it down again.)

Jesse: It's just that the last time you were like this... (He breaks off to drain his drink to the last, replacing the mug on the bar.) You finally worked out that Monique was not "the one". (Shrugs, then lets out a huge burp.)

(The Barman looks inquiringly at him, but Jesse waves him away.)

Jesse: So, what's up?

Trent: It's just the "thing" with Daria and Janey... (Breaks off.) Hey, I actually said it aloud. ("Whoa" expression.) Man, it's just so weird. (Jesse looks on.) I think I'm having trouble adjusting to things.

Jesse: That your sister and her best friend... are more than "best friends"?

Trent: Yeah. I'm just worried...

Jesse: About?

Trent: (Looks at his glass.) Well, I know that even though I'm kind of ok with it, I'm worried that I'll freak.

(Jesse just looks at Trent "the unreactive".)

Trent: (Catching the look.) Uhh, do don't think so?

Jesse: Not really. Look, it's been, what? A day since you heard the news? And you haven't freaked, or gone whacko, or thrown Jane out or whatever.

Trent: (Looks up at the bar mirror again.) Mmm, you're right...

Jesse: So I'm thinking that soon you'll be wondering how you could have thought otherwise.

Trent: (Obviously thinking deeply.) Hmmm.

Jesse: Trent?

Trent: Mmm? (Perks slightly.) Sorry, miles away.

Jesse: Right. You ok?

Trent: (Makes a so-so motion with his hand.) More thinking. (Pause.) Man, it must have been so hard for Jane, too, well, you know...

Jesse: Keep herself to herself? (Stares at the mirror as well.) Yeah...

Trent: (Realises something, turns to Jesse.) Man! How are you taking it? I mean, you were kind of...

Jesse: (Looking slightly sad.) Yeah. (Shrugs.) I mean she was hanging off me during the concert, but I think now that was more like a big-brother thing...

Trent: (Remembering how Jane was hanging off Jesse, and how she shook her head in negative when he beckoned her to come up to centre stage, when Daria was next to him...) Hmm. Yeah.

(The both look morose, then motion to the Barman for fresh drinks.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane outside the office of Mrs Manson, the school psychologist. Music: "Mum Changed The Locks" - Frenzal Rhomb.) [24]

Daria: Ready?

Jane: (Taking a deep breath.) Let's go.

(Daria opens the door, and waves Jane inside. Jane fixes her friend with a "I'll get you for that" look then enters and surveys the room.)

(Mrs Barch is waiting patiently, seated on a comfortable chair. Mrs Manson is behind her desk and Mr O'Neill is lathered in sweat. He starts when the door opens, but calms again when he sees who it is. He gets up, too suddenly and overturns his chair. As he blushes and fumbles trying to get it upright again, Mrs Barch rolls her eyes while Mrs Manson looks on, interested. The psychologist jots down a few notes.)

Jane: (Awkward.) Er, hello.

Mr O'Neill: (Straightening up.) Oh, hello, Jane, Daria. Er, you know everyone here..?

Daria: (Comes in and closes the door. Flat.) Yes.

(Daria and Jane sit. Mr O'Neill does the same, then leans forward to convey a more intimate manner. The girls lean back.)

Mr O'Neill: Ulm. (Hurt, he resumes normal posture.) You both know why you're here?

Daria: No. I thought this was to discuss certain harassment problems that we're having. (Fixes Mrs Manson with a calculating look.) I wasn't aware that the services of the school psychologist would be needed. (Glares at O'Neill.) They certainly aren't wanted...

(There is an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds, while Jane smirks on.)

O'Neill: (A bit helplessly.) It's just that I thought that you might have some, ah, questions, or issues to discuss...

(He trails off at the cold glare of Daria and carefully blank gaze of Jane.)

Daria: (Letting each word slot into place.) I do not have anything to ask or to discuss with Mrs Manson. (Cue Gigawatt death glare.) I find her presence here, in a very private and personal discussion, upsetting and disturbing. (Flat.) She goes, or we go. Now.

(Fade scene with O'Neill looking ready to cry.)

 

(Cut to McGrundies again. Music: "The Music Sounds Better With You" - Stardust. Trent and Jesse are sprawled across the bar, half-conscious. By the number of glasses surrounding them, it looks like their liquid lunch has been a thorough one. Trent suddenly bolts upright, causing Jesse to crack open an eye.)

Trent: Yes!

(He drags Jesse out of the bar, pausing only to throw a few bills on the wet surface.)

(Outside, Jesse is sitting on the bonnet of Trent's car while Trent digs through the compost heap that serves as his glove compartment. Trent exclaims loudly, then waves a reasonably flat object in Jesse's face. Jesse tries to bat it away, but Trent tosses it onto the roof and digs out a pencil. As Jesse looks on, blearily, Trent hurriedly scribbles down something while the muse is still with him.)

Jesse: (As Trent stares at what he's written.) What is..? (Focuses further.) Oh, another song.

Trent: What do you think? (He's now got a few sheets of music paper in front of him, and is humming a refrain as he jots it down roughly.)

Jesse: Whoa! (Holding the songbook in front of him.) Hmm. It's pretty tight. (Reads on.) How does it go? (Trent passes over a few of the loose sheets of music. Jesse scans them while Trent continues.) This is pretty good, as is. (Looks over in admiration.)

Trent: (Finishing on the music sheets.) Yeah, I'd like to find out how it sounds though...

(They both stare at Trent's car, considering driving back to the studio, then shake their heads.)

Trent: You go call a cab while I lock up this thing?

Jesse: (Nods.) Cool.

(The shot closes in on the title of the song.)

(It's "Out in Lawndale".)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane walking home from school. Music: "Dirty Deeds" - AC/DC.)

Daria: (Looking annoyed.) How about next time you warn a person? Before you go into a hissy-fit?

Jane: (Sheepish.) Sorry. But I couldn't warn you, I had...

Daria: The chance, and you took it, I know. (Slight smile, shakes her head.) I wish I had a camera though...

Jane: (Hopeful.) How was I? (Wry.) The faked tears made it hard to see...

Daria: (Head slightly tilted, considering.) Pretty good. (Continues.) I especially liked the way you accused O'Neill of being an intolerant bigot, "who's prejudiced outlook made you nauseous".

Jane: (Surprised.) I said that? (Musing.) Whoa, must have been on a roll...

Daria: And I thought your take on Mrs Manson, "a warm-fuzzy-spouting pop-psychologist with delusions of grandeur", showed uncanny accuracy.

Jane: (Coming up to casa de Lane.) Well, I had been through her little hoops a few times before this. (Expressive.) I just felt the need to...

Daria: ...Vent?

Jane: (Her delivery a bit punctured.) Hmph, yes. (Pause.) Well, it worked, didn't it? We've got Manson off of our backs, for good if your threat of a lawsuit holds up, and O'Neill would give us his first-born if we so desire. (Pause.) I'd say that was an above-average conclusion to our harassment interview. (Grins.) I liked your suggestion to Mrs Barch about "certain boys with one thing on their minds". You do realise how many of the sleazes that propositioned us will have to undergo therapy after Barch has finished with them?

(Daria nods, slightly.)

(Jane smiles in agreement and opens the front door, swinging it wide with various flourishes and salaams.)

Jane: ("Welcome Sahib" voice.) Please, pretty mistress, will you not grace my humble abode?

Daria: (With a sideways glance.) You've really got to stop eating in the Art Room. [25]

(Before Jane has the opportunity to defend her dining habits, a blue Jaguar pulls up in front of the house and Jodie gets out. The two girls look on.)

Jodie: (To the unseen driver of the car.) Thanks for picking me up, Dad. I'll make my own way home, don't worry. (Straightens up and shoulders a book-laden bag. The Jag pulls smoothly away and Jodie walks up the path to the others.)

Jane: (Still in her annoying "Welcome Sahib" character.) Ahh, Memsahib! (Bows, wrings her hands in greeting.) You've come to visit us, good, good!

Daria: (As Jodie stops in amazement.) Don't worry, I think it's due to the constant exposure of mind-destroying chemicals. (Shrugs.) That or TV.

(As Jane unkinks herself out of the servile posture she assumed, Jodie walks over.)

Jane: (Normal.) So, what worthy undertaking draws you to this den of depravity?

Jodie: (Raised eyebrow to Jane.) Remember, "the dress"?

(Jane smacks her forehead.)

Daria: (Bland.) I think that means, "no".

Jane: (Apologetic.) I meant to tell Daria earlier, sorry, forgot. (Looks to Daria.) We'll have to go over to your place to pick it up.

Daria: (Her expression doesn't change.) Oh, goody.

Jane: (Still apologetic.) Sorry.

Jodie: (Looking on, confused a little.) Am I missing something here? Again?

Jane: (As she throws her books inside the house, and shuts the door.) We'll tell you on the way over.

 

(Cut to the three girls, approaching 1111 Glen Oaks Lane. Jodie is trying hard not to laugh as Jane explains things.)

Jane: ...And after ignoring her protests to the contrary, they then pledged undying support for Daria's lifestyle choices, (Wicked eyebrow motion.) whatever "they" may be.

Jodie: (Looking over to the expressionless Daria.) So, what do you expect? (Nods at the house.) Once we're inside?

Daria: (Sounding less enthused than normal.) Some very funny looks, possible interrogation on my day. (Looks over to Jodie.) You're the one that should be worried. (They start up the front path.)

Jane: And why is that, O light of my life? (Flutters eyelashes at Daria.)

Daria: (Flat, level stare at Jane.) Well, apart from bringing my girlfriend home, (Jane smirks.) it'll look like I'm "corrupting" the minds of others. (Looks to Jodie.) You're not worried that word will get back to your parents? (They reach the front door.)

Jodie: (Trying to put Daria at ease.) Although they're a bit too "goal-orientated" sometimes, I don't think mine will flip out.

Daria: (Opening the front door.) Don't say I didn't warn you. (Takes a deep breath and sighs. Mostly to herself.) Please God, no surprises.

(They go in.)

 

(Inside the Morgandoffer residence. Music: "Man Of Colours" - Icehouse. Everything looks normal but Daria tries to chivvy her friends upstairs before anyone notices their entrance.)

Jake: (O/S) Daria? It that you? (He comes out of the kitchen, spoon in hand.)

Daria: Oh. (Quietly.) Damn.

Jake: (Looking at spoon, so that he won't drop anything on the carpet.) I'm trying a new recipe, wanna taste-test for me? (Looks up.)

Jane: (Volunteers with a wicked grin.) Sure Mr Morgandoffer! (Takes the spoon, dips a finger and tries some.) Hmm, Shrimp Szechuen with (Winces.) tomato and mint chutney? (Works mouth, trying to get enough saliva to swallow.) Interesting... [26]

Jake: Thanks Jane! (Offers spoon to the other girls.) Want to try too?

Daria: (Quickly.) Sorry Dad, but we've really got to get something done. (She and Jane drag Jodie away from the spoon, and upstairs.)

(Jake shrugs, smiles and waves at them. As he turns back, he tilts his head as if trying to work out something, but dismisses it with a shake.)

 

(Upstairs, Daria's room. Music: still "Man Of Colours" - Icehouse.)

Jane: (Shutting the door to Daria's room and leaning against it.) Narrow escape, Jodie. (Wipes mouth with the sleeve of her shirt.) Narrow, narrow escape...

Daria: (Depositing her books on her bed while Jodie wanders around, looking at the walls in disbelief.) I thought that you'd have had enough experience with my Dad's cooking to know better by now?

Jane: (Shrugs, walks over to the closet.) What can I say, I'm a slow learner?

Daria: (Under her breath.) Who'd have thought it?

(Daria follows her books onto the bed.)

Jodie: (A bit freaked by the room, pats a wall.) Were these here before you moved in?

Daria: (Lying on her back on the bed, working out kinks.) Yes. The previous owners had a mother who was a schizophrenic shut-in. (Waves a hand idly.) Some strange cosmic twist of fate assigned me her room.

Jane: (With her trademark wicked grin.) Or that's what she wants you to believe... (Looks at the door to Daria's closet.) Well, it looks as if something's changed. (She gently removes a picture that is tacked to the door. It is of Daria, looking flushed and surprisingly happy. Those who have read "Heroes" will recognise it as a facial portrait that Jane did for Daria after our familiar Stoic posed as a life-study.)

Jodie: (Coming over to see.) Wow. (Looks at Jane.) One of yours? (Jane nods, replaces the picture.)

(Jane opens the closet door and removes the plastic-wrapped "Angel of Death" dress, giving it to Jodie. She then looks around for something to hang it on, then grins at the plastic skeleton Daria has finally assembled. Jodie closes the closet door.)

Daria: (Casting an eye on the proceedings, propped on her elbows.) Necessity; the mother of invention?

Jane: (Walking over to the skeleton, followed by Jodie.) For the moment, at least.

(Jane relieves Jodie of the dress, removes the protective plastic and manages to dress the skeleton without too much difficulty. Finished, they stand slightly apart from it.)

Jane: (Rubs chin, considering.) Hmmm!

Jodie: (Looking at the dressed skeleton.) And it looks so right, there, it's scary.

Daria: (Coming up from behind. Lightly.) Another sketching opportunity, Jane?

Jane: (Without art supplies.) Not at the moment. (Takes out a tape-measure.) Daria, make like a dummy, would you?

Daria: (Arms up so that Jane can take a chest measurement. Monotone.) I'm the Q.B. Cheerleading is fun. An oxymoron is a coldsore cream.

Jane: (Getting what she needed.) Enough stupidity, thanks. (Jots down some numbers on her hand. Looks to Jodie.)

Jodie: (Gets in the same position as Daria. Dry.) I think I'll leave out any remarks. I'm certain Kevin and Brittany would do so much better then I could.

Jane: (Taking Jodie's measurements.) There's a given... (Does the information jotting on the unmarked hand, exercising her ambidextrous tendencies. Jodie raises an eyebrow in surprise. Daria is blasť, having seen it before.)

Jane: (Holding both hands in front of her, comparing the figures.) Hmm. (Looks to Jodie.) Well, you could wear it, as is. But you'd probably want to breathe, so we'd better let out a few things.

Jodie: I don't want to put you to too much trouble. (Head on one side, checking out the dress.) How about I try it now? That way you can see if any alterations are needed?

Jane: (Shrugs.) I'm fine with it. Daria?

Daria: Sure, knock yourself out. (Walks to the door.) We'll be waiting in the hall, give us a yell when you're done?

(Jodie nods her assent. Daria and Jane let themselves out.)

 

(Cut to a few minutes later. Music: "Love Is The Drug" - Brian Ferry. Jane and Daria waiting in the hall.)

Jodie: (O/S) It's safe.

(Daria and Jane enter, closing the door behind them.)

(Inside, we see Jodie from behind, her hair merging quite nicely with the feathered back of the dress. Jane and Daria stop and look.)

Jodie: (A bit worried.) Well, have I got it on right?

Jane: (Arch.) There would be two schools of thought on that one...

Daria: Are you sure you can breathe?

(The camera comes around, so we see what the girls can see. On Jodie, the dress is almost skin-tight, especially in the chest region. Jane comes over, and removes the feathered epaulets. Revealed are narrow straps, which merge neatly into the once-rounded neck. On Jodie though, it's become more of a V-neck. The wide and lacy sleaves are attached by some arcane sewing skills and a lot of velvet ribbon. Jane gives Jodie the once-over.)

Jane: (On what she sees before her.) Well, if you want to run the thin line between risque and sex-vamp, you can wear it as is. (Shrugs.) But I must imagine that breathing may prove to be a problem later on...

Jodie: (Smiling gently.) Tell me about it (To Daria.) Do you have a mirror somewhere close by?

Daria: There's the bathroom down the hall, or you could brave Quinn's room...

Jodie: (Noting the negative gestures from Jane.) Bathroom it is, then.

(They troop out and make their way to the bathroom. Once there, Jodie looks with great interest at what the mirror shows her.)

Jodie: (Apologetic.) Jane, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to...

Jane: (Looking at Jodie's hair.) I know, don't worry about it. It's not like you wouldn't drop everything to help us. (Gets that calculating look again.) Hmm. (Looks around the bathroom, and sees a plain black scrunchie, one of Quinn's many discards. To Jodie.) Hold still, would you?

(Jane gathers Jodie's hair braids and ties them back with the aid of the scrunchie. Jodie now looks less approachable than before, distant and severe. Jodie's reflection smiles, instantly destroying the ice-goddess image that Jane created.)

Jodie: I'm not sure I want to scare small children, Jane.

Jane: Why not? (Doing her "Voice of temptation".) They're like putty in your hands, still impressionable...

Daria: (Chiming in.) The trauma will remain with them longer...

Jodie: (Turning slightly, it's all the motion she has.) It's unlikely any children would be there anyway. (Runs a hand down the dress.)

Jane: (Professionally.) How's it feel?

Jodie: Honestly? (Pause.) I'm scared. I feel like I need a whip and bondage mask to carry it off. (Jane looks thoughtful. Jodie and Daria catch this.) Which is not to say that I would. (Jane: disappointment. Jodie pats the sweeping skirts.) Is this silk?

Jane: Of course. (Shrugs.) Mom had a roll of the raw stuff hanging around in the basement, so I made do with what I could find.

Jodie: (Admiring the dress.) I still can't get over how light this is to wear. (Shakes head.) Jane, are you sure you're not going to do this for a living?

Daria: (Dry.) If you'd seen how many times Jane pricked her finger and swear never to do anything so stupid again, you wouldn't say that.

Jane: (Looking ruefully at her fingertips.) She has a point. (Turns to Jodie.) Now, let's get you out of that, before you sneeze and go topless.

(Fade scene with the girls heading towards Daria's room.)

 

(Open to Trent and the rest of the band, standing around with instruments. Music: "'52 Girls" - The B52's. Max is still twitching from his caffeine overdose, but Nicholas looks normal-ish. Jesse is rubbing his eyes, but Trent looks fired with enthusiasm and a lunch consisting mostly of beer. He starts to hand out copies of the song to the band, who stare at the title for a while, read it, then stare harder at Trent.) [27]

Nicholas: Hey, uh, Trent?

Trent: (Fiddling with his guitar.) Yeah? [28]

Max: (Sharing a look with Nicholas.) We're just kind of wondering if there's something you haven't told us? Yet?

(Trent just looks up from the guitar. Jesse appears as blank as ever, but there is a slight smile playing over his face.)

Nicholas: (Eyes running over the music.) It's just a bit, different, from the neo-grunge that seems to be your usual output...

Trent: (A bit shot down.) You're saying it's no good?

Nicholas: Uhh, no. It's quite good. (He and Max share another look.) Which is sort of a problem.

(They pause, uncertain how to proceed.)

Jesse: (Apropos of nothing.) Cool. [29]

(The band looks at Jesse, who is doing something complicated with a lead and a socket. They do a kind of mental shrug.)

Nicholas: (Putting things delicately.) It's just that we're wondering if...

Max: (Putting things delicately.) Trent, are you gay?

Trent: (A bit surprised at the question.) Uh, no. Why?

Max: (Brandishing the newest thing to surge from the mind of Trent.) "Out In Lawndale"? (Reads out some lyrics.) "I'm all right, I'm ok, do you think I care, that you know I'm gay?"

Trent: (Defensive.) Hey, it flowed that way; we can tighten up the lyrics later.

Nicholas: (Trying to put this nicely.) We would just like to know...

Max: (Trying to put this nicely.) Trent, what in hell were you on when you wrote this?

Trent: (Distracted again.) Well, I'd had some beers...

Max: Before or after the PCP?

Jesse: (Unexpectedly.) Tell 'em, Trent.

Trent: (Stuck between a rock and a hard place.) But, I'd rather that Jane... (Jesse keeps up the "puppy-dog" gaze.) Ahh, screw it. (Fixes the Band with a look.) Jane's gay.

(Total silence. Pan view of the band, Nicholas drops his guitar. It hits the floor just after Max's jaw.)

(Cue humorous/melodious <twang> noise that guitars make when dropped.) [30]

Trent: (Continues, looking wretched.) And Daria's her girlfriend.

(Max faints.)

 

(Open to Jane, Daria and Jodie back at the Lane residence, in Jane's room. Music is playing from her stereo: it's "Adia" by Sarah McLachlan. Jodie is trying out the "Something gnawing at your soul?" pose. Daria is unpicking a seam while Jane captures Jodie with a few quick lines and a fat lump of charcoal.)

Jodie: (Eyes towards the ceiling.) So you say that everyone does this?

Jane: (Shrugs.) It's kind of a tradition. (Looks at Jodie, throws a few more smudges down.)

Daria: (Finishing her seam.) Ok, this side's done too. (Looks to Jane.) Why did I get the job of picking it to pieces?

Jane: (Finishing up on Jodie.) Hey, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. [31]

Daria: (Dry.) Continuing that thread, someone's gonna die.

(Jane ignores her, finishing a detail or two. Jodie looks at Jane, who nods her consent to Jodie's unspoken plea to move. Jodie gets up, stretching a little. She does the usual neck stretch, and back arch. Jane does a hurried sketch of this as well.)

Jodie: (Smiling gently, as she always seems to when amused at Jane.) Don't you stop?

Daria: (Coming up.) That's what I always want to know. (Nods at the tabard/bodice neatly organised with threaded needles.) It's ready to sew. (Winces.) Why do I rhyme all of the time? (Cringes when she realises what she said, Jane raises an eyebrow, but says nothing further.)

(Jodie unconsciously checks her watch, a habitual gesture, nothing more. However, Jane and Daria know how very busy Jodie's life is, so they make an obvious decision.)

Jane: (Waving Jodie outside.) C'mon girl, time to go. You (Waves hand at Jodie.) are an essential component of other, greater things. Phone your Dad, make some ridiculous story about helping others and be whisked home in luxury while the Lane sweatshop burns on into the night. (Grandiose.) We (Waves, including Daria in the gesture.) can get this done fine on our own.

(Jodie looks stricken with guilt.)

Daria: (Dry.) Don't worry, I'll beat her with sticks if she doesn't finish it on time.

Jane: (Reassuringly to Jodie.) Don't sweat it kiddo. (Funny look from Daria.)

(Jodie smiles her thanks.)

Jodie: Guys, because of you, it's been surprisingly relaxing afternoon. Thank you.

Daria: (Getting up to go as well.) It's also time for me to go then, since it looks as if...

Jane: (Finishing Daria's sentence.) ...Trent's not going to make an appearance tonight? (Gives her sketch a fierce glance.) Big surprise there, Virgin's leased the local recording booths for them to use whenever they want, they're still probably playing with the reverb effect and trying to sing along with "Enya"...

(Jane takes her sketch of Jodie, grabs a can of fixative from under her bed and goes to spray. Jodie follows Daria's dive for the windows.) [32]

(Outside, clouds of fixative are seen rolling from the open windows.) [33]

Jane: (O/S, Loud.) What? Bunch of sissies! It does you good!

(Fade with the hacking coughs of Daria and Jodie.)

 

(Next morning, Jane stumbles into the kitchen for her life-giving infusion of coffee. Music: "Dead Eyes Opened" - Severed Heads. She looks at the full beaker already brewed by the auto-timer on the coffee machine, sniffs it, winces and pours the whole beaker back into the top compartment. She replaces the beaker, turns the machine back on, then looks in the fridge for something edible. She's wearing her long-shirt and sock combo, and her hair is the usual "Hit by a hurricane with treacle in it's fingers" wave. Jane comes out of the fridge with a soda can of some description, looks at it, then looks at the coffee machine. Cut to the coffee machine, it forcing out a drop of something black and evil. It falls into the replaced beaker. The remaining coffee droplets in the lower beaker skitter away from it like fat globules do when in hot water and detergent is added. The dark droplet sits there, lurking. Cut to Jane, who's popped the top of her can and drinks from it while she searches through the fridge. Another drop follows its predecessor. The "normal" coffee droplets look to be trying to escape.)

Jane: (Head in fridge.) Hmmm. (She drags out a salami, a stick of French-bread and a jar of olives.)

(While Jane bends over at the kitchen table, making breakfast, Trent walks in, looking wide-awake. He starts guiltily when he sees Jane, but relaxes when he notices what she's concentrating on.)

Trent: (Coming to the fridge.) Hey Jane. (Opens it.)

Jane: (Distant voice, concentrating.) Hey Trent. (Pause.) Busy rehearsing, or does the recording booth need to be rebuilt after Max and Nick destroyed it?

Trent: (In fridge, same as Jane was. Indistinct.) Eh? No, we were rehearsing and recording. (Pause.) Anyway, we've got a N64 in there for when Max and Nicholas need to, uh..?

Jane: (Straightening up.) ...Vent? (Holds up her creation, examining it. It looks like what someone would make if they were trying to model the Sydney-Harbour Bridge using salami, olives and a stick of bread. She takes a bite, then another swig from the can.)

Trent: (Straightening out of the fridge.) That sounds about right. (Goes over to the table with half a caramel tart, a can of "Dairy Whip" and a bottle of lime icecream topping. While Jane looks on with interest, Trent flattens the tart, squirts a heap of the "cream" on the pie, and then pours the lime topping over it all. He folds it together and starts to cram the gooey mess into his mouth. As he does so, he sees what Jane's eating.)

Jane & Trent: (Together, equal disgust.) And you can eat that?

 

(Cut to Daria knocking at the Lane front door, Jane opening it. Music: "Coma" - Max Sharam. Jane looks normal, which means that the caffeine has hit.)

Daria: Morning. (Sniffs.) What is that smell? Salami and...lime?

Jane: (Licks a wrist, sniffs it. Looks up, embarrassed.) Tell you on the way, but I've really got to brush again. (Calling out as she disappears upstairs.) Come on in, I'll only be a sec.

(Daria enters the foyer. Trent walks in, on his way upstairs for some rest. They both freeze when they see each other, but for once, Trent seems more awkward than Daria.) [34]

Trent: (V/O: Ohmigod, Daria's here. Did she stay over? Think of something witty.) Uh, Hey. (V/O: Ok, maybe all that beer yesterday wasn't such a good idea.)

Daria: (V/O: Brain, respond. Respond!) Uh, hi. (V/O: Okay. Next time I'm just going to let Jane's fixative kill me.)

Trent: Have fun last night? (V/O: Oh yeah, that was bad. I'll just shut up now.) Ok, good plan. (V/O: Uh, did I just say that aloud?)

Daria: (Looking puzzled.) Uh, what?

Trent: (Looking panicked.) Uh, nothing, nothing at all. (V/O: Inspiration, be my saviour!)

(Cue <Bing!> noise from the kitchen. Trent looks for it, and sees the coffee machine's finished its brew.)

Trent: (V/O: Coffeecoffeecoffee.) Daria, would you like a coffee? (V/O: Oh yeah, that was smooth, kill me now.)

Daria: Ahh...(V/O: Yes - I stay awake in class. No - I reject Trent's hospitality. Maybe I should just ask for some battery acid.) Sure, Trent.

(Trent and Daria make it into the kitchen without dying of further embarrassment, and Trent pours two cups of coffee, heaping about a tablespoon of sugar into one of them. As he goes to the fridge for milk, he looks over to Daria.)

Trent: Sugar? Milk?

Daria: 2 teaspoons of sugar, very white.

(Trent does the sugar and milk thing, stirs and hands it to Daria. They stare at each other for a few seconds, then drink the coffee because it's easier then trying to make conversation.)

Daria: (V/O: Mental note for next time: the acid with a Draino chaser.)

(Jane finds them like this coming downstairs after brushing her teeth.)

Jane: (Pointedly to Daria, rolling the "R".) Ready?

Daria: (Quickly finishing off her mug and placing it by the sink.) Yes. (Bare pause.) Trent, thanks for the coffee. (Pause.) Bye.

(Daria makes her escape, dragging Jane with her. Trent looks after them for a moment, then slumps when he hears the front door close. He looks at the mug in his hand and finishes it off, then washes up the one he used and Daria's. As he leaves the kitchen, he looks at the coffee machine in passing.)

(He stops, suddenly.)

(The coffee he poured was the toxic black muck that Jane passed through the grounds, again. It stains the glass sides of the beaker. It looks like a primitive form of life. It looks like it would dissolve primitive forms of life. And it looks like Trent's going to be awake for a few more hours than he anticipated.)

(Cue Trent's forehead smack.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane walking into Lawndale High. Music: "Du Hast" Ė Rammstein. Daria looks shocked as she walks through the main doors. Jane notices.) [35]

Jane: You ok?

Daria: (Shaking her head, then looking around very suspiciously.) Wow, that was weird. (Gives the corridors another careful look.) Uh, they didnít put up any large funhouse mirrors around the place, did they? (She shivers.)

Jane: Uhh, no. (Gives Daria a really close look, including pupils. Satisfied, she straightens up.)

Daria: (Annoyed at Janeís scrutiny.) I just had this really weird flashback, ok? (To Janeís inquiring eyebrow.) Of a nightmare. (Jane, same expression.) I was in a funhouse, ok? Hall of mirrors.

Jane: (Absent expression, it doesnít fool Daria for a second.) Hmm, thatís interesting, if you consider that mirrors in dreams are considered an example...

Daria: (Grim.) ...Donít say it.

Jane: (Continuing.) ...Of repressed anxieties about...

Daria: (Gritted teeth.) Iím warning you...

Jane: (Finishing quickly.) ...Matters of appearance. (Breaks off to duck Dariaís swipe. Continues using the same voice, out of range.) So, that ultra-cool, "Not bothered by anything" demeanour of yours could possibly be hiding just a tinsy bit of image anxiety? (Looks over, with a head tilt surprisingly similar to that of Helenís.) Hmm? [36]

Daria: (Normal voice.) I hate you.

Jane: (Lightly.) Change of topic needed? (Normal.) Did you notice that...? (Stops.) I can't say it.

Daria: (Looking over, chill.) What?

Jane: (Looking distinctly annoyed.) I was going to have an innocent discussion with you about one who is related to me, but can't.

Daria: (Looks over.) Innocent? You?

Jane: (Winces.) Honestly, yes. (Looks over to Daria.) Did "he" seem any weirder than usual to you?

Daria: (At random.) Trent was awake?

Jane: (Waving away that suggestion.) We know he does that, occasionally. I was picking up this vibe... (She shrugs, unable to explain.) Ahh, I'll just put him to the question, later on.

Daria: (Looking at one of her hands. Very calm.) Hey Jane?

Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) Mmm?

(Daria holds up a hand that is shaking visibly. Jane looks at it, then at Daria.)

Jane: Daria. (Carefully.) Did Trent use the coffee out of the coffee machine? Please try to remember, this is important.

Daria: (Closes her eyes, opens them.) Uhh, yes. He poured a cup, then offered me one. I drank it.

Jane: (Matter of fact.) Well, you'd better get as much water as you can before classes; it looks like you've drunk something that you shouldn't have.

Daria: (Anxious.) Is there anything I should be worried about?

Jane: (Makes a so-so gesture with her hands.) Well, if you don't get a lot of water, you're going to experience some monster headaches. It's everyone else that's going to have to worry.

Daria: (More anxiety.) Why?

Jane: (Sideways glance.) Let's just say that you'll hit your irritability quota pretty soon. (Thinks for a few seconds.) Hmm. I've gotta run for something, just remember what I told you about the water, eh?

(Jane trots off, leaving Daria looking forsaken.)

 

(Open to a Lawndale High scene montage. Music: "Fuel My Fire" - The Prodigy, emphasis with Keith Flint on vocals, and the chorus of "People like you just fuel my fiiiiire..."

Daria in art class, leafing through a book on ceramics. She looks over.

Pan to Jane, who's swiped a video camera from the audio-visual department, and is filming Daria. Jane grins behind the lens.

Daria in Mrs Bennett's class, showing irritation, rather than her normal apathy.

Jodie looks over to Jane, worried.

Daria walking down the school corridor, Jodie and Jane following at a prudent distance, Jane has obviously warned Jodie.

Mack walks by, waving a hand in greeting. Daria doesn't acknowledge it. When he stares after her in surprise, Jodie and Jane grab and drag him away, whispering furiously.

Daria in Mr DeMartino's room, smiling slightly as he reams out Kevin. She answers some questions obviously aimed at her level of intellect, and goes back to reading what's in front of her.

Andrea checks her with a sideways glance, and jots something in a small bound book. Close up, it's got some names and what look like odds next to them. Daria's previous figures (1-19) are scratched out, and new ones (6-7) replace them.

Move to the top of the page, it's titled "Lawndale High Stress: Possibilities for violence." DeMartino, Barch and O'Neill's names are there too, as is Jodie's. None are as "cert" as Daria's.

Daria walking to her locker, Kevin and Brittany ahead and doing what's natural for them.

Daria waits patiently for a few seconds, then bends over as if tying her shoelaces.

Closeup, she ties Kevin's together.

She straightens up, fishes out her whistle and blows it.

Kevin jumps and runs, taking Brittany with him when he collapses.

Daria walks up and opens her locker.

Jane is filming at the other end of the corridor, Jodie and Mack looking on, worried.

Daria at science, Barch doing her usual man hating rant.

Upchuck leers over at her, but Daria is not seen to react. There are Bunsen's active in front of them, it looks like they're going to be playing around with microbiology today.

While the rest of the class comes over to watch Mrs Barch preform a mounted sample wafer cross-section, Daria stays behind for a few seconds, organising something on her desk.

Later, while Mrs Barch is writing up something on the board, and Upchuck is producing his own slime-trail at Daria, his burner goes out.

As he looks puzzled, Daria does a flame-thrower with a squeeze-bottle of Methylated Alcohol and her Bunsen. [37]

A sheet of flame, approximately 5 feet long, licks out to re-ignite Upchuck's burner.

Closeup on Upchuck's face, looking shiny.

Move the shot upwards; we see his hand discover a lack of eyebrows.

Daria turns her head and smiles, slowly. It's not a pleasant smile. It's a meaningful smile.

Instant movement away from her. Student memories may be short, but student instincts tend to be well honed.

Mrs Barch writes on, ignorant.

Cut to Jane, looking worried behind the lens.

Cut to Andrea looking thoughtful and changing her odds.

Cut to beneath the desk, and the small clamp on the gas-supply pipe that Daria tightens, again.

Closeup on Upchuck's burner. It flickers out once more.

Cut to outside the Biology Lab, later, Daria slowly walking out.

A few seconds pass and Jane exits as well, still filming. Andrea follows Jane, jotting down something in her book.

Some more time passes, and one of the extra's heads pokes out, showing fear.

He turns back and waves, the rest of the class disgorges in a big rush, headed in the opposite direction of Daria.)

 

(Music: "Seether" - Veruca Salt. Daria lining up at the lunch-counter. The line passes quickly for her, and she goes over to Jane, who has the camera beside her. Daria looks at it in disgust, but sits.)

Jane: (Reading over something she has in front of her.) Hey. (Looks up at the beverage Daria has.) I really hope that's caffeine-free.

Daria: (Dry.) Considering the size of the headache that I've been fending off with constant water, so do I. (She pops the top on some lemon-drink, winces and unwraps the food.) So, how is your great project?

Jane: (Looks back to what she has in her hands, then hands them to Daria.) This has been the script, so far. (Daria reads it while Jane slurps some yoghurt.)

Daria: (A slight lightening of her expression.) Jane, if you don't ever become the internationally-celebrated artist that seems your destined fate, you certainly have a talent for surveillance.

Jane: (Dismissive.) It's easier when your target doesn't mind you following them.

Daria: (Nods towards the camera.) So, what are you actually going to do with your ill-gotten gains?

Jane No idea yet, but I've got some great footage, so far. (Makes a "Daria setting fire to Upchuck" motion.)

 

(Cut to Quinn and the fashion remnants. Music: "We B Cool" - Real Blonds. They're huddled, pouring over a few pages of printed paper.) [38]

Tiffany: (Her usual cadence.) Oh. It says he-re that the Treasurer is allowed certain leeway when it comes to the annual bud-get. Mmm.

Stacy: (Obviously on one of her "Up" cycles.) And it says that the Secretary is in charge of the organisation and promotion of Fashion Club events, when an officer has not been chosen from the club to act as a specific role! I'm in PR! [39]

Quinn: (She's obviously got something else in mind for the other two to discover.) Yes, interesting how Sandi never got you to read the Fashion Club charter, isn't it?

(The Fashion Remnants read further on, Quinn sitting on her impatience.)

Stacy: Ohh! (Reads further.)

Tiffany: (Looking when Stacy is.) Er. (Looks to Quinn.) Is this right?

(Quinn says nothing, just sitting there with a slight smile on her face. She would probably be unhappy to hear it, but it looks a lot like the one Daria has whenever she's greatly amused. [Think of when Quinn got busted in "The Big House, and that rare smile.])

 

(Cut to Daria. She shivers.)

Jane: (Looking curious.) Muscle tremors begun already? Or did someone walk over your grave?

Daria: Brrrr. (Rubs arms.) I don't know what happened, but I've never felt that cold.

Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) Well, it's can't be the permanent kidney and liver damage, they tend to have a more, hmm, insidious range of symptoms. [40]

Daria: (Looking curiously at Jane.) Then why do you insist on making your coffee?

Jane: (Waves her hands.) Why do we listen to loud music? (Shrugs.) Why bother going to school?

Daria: (Dry.) Truancy laws.

Jane: Hmm. (Concedes the point.) Bad example.

(Daria shivers some more.)

 

(Cut back to Quinn, who is running a cute-coloured highlighter across some paragraphs of the Fashion Club Charter. The smile is still in place.)

 

(Cut back to Daria, fade with her shivering.)

 

(Open to Trent, staring at his ceiling in a vague attempt to sleep after Jane's coffee has done its awful work. Music: "Sleepwalking" - Ammonia. It obvious that the caffeine surging through his system won't let him sleep, a situation he's not used to. Irritated, both by the caffeine and at his insomnia, he staggers out of bed. Downstairs, he grabs an apple from the fridge and looks around the kitchen. His eyes fall on the coffee-machine, and at the brew within. Trent's eyes narrow. Music FX screech-cut: "Living Dead"- Discordia. A hand grabs the bottom jug and empties it over the sink. The "coffee" within falls out like jello out of its mould, all in one block. As Trent stares on in shock, it remains in its block form and starts to slowly extrude down the sink. He grabs a spatula from the draining board and tries to hurry it along. It moves reluctantly, but is gradually forced down, leaving a brown stain. He tries to scrub it off, but appears to be permanent. Trent frowns at it.)

Daria: (O/S, from behind Trent.) Hey, Trent, have you seen Jane?

(Trent, surprised, spins around.)

Trent: Uh, no. I thought she... (He trails off at what he sees before him. It's Daria, but not the Daria he knows from this morning. She tilts her head at him, looking at him through a pair of narrow oval frames, her feathery hair cut close to the scalp. She smiles, gently. Wearing a green t-shirt, she puts a hand to her capri-clad hips and scuffs a pair of cushy sport sneakers.)

Daria: (Her face lights up.) There you are! (She looks beyond Trent.)

Jane: (O/S, coming from behind.) Hey babe, miss me?

(Jane walks into the shot, and Trent chokes on his apple. Jane's shaved her head to a military buzz-cut, and has an eyebrow pierced. She walks past her brother, and takes Daria's hand. She's dressed like she usually is, but without leggings, just shorts. Close together, they stand side by side.)

Jane: (To Daria.) Sorry it took so long, Axl had a line, but the "Hair for Freaks" guys just zipped right over this. (Daria puts her arm around her friend and rubs Jane's scalp, sensuously. Jane looks ready to purr.)

Daria: Feels great. (Jane rolls her eyes when Daria stops, but smiles.)

Jane: Thanks babe. (She kisses Daria's cheek, then looks up at Trent, who's still gasping. Worried.) Trent, are you ok?

Daria: No. (Looks at his frantic motions.) He's choking!

(Daria gets behind Trent and preforms the Heimlich Manoeuvre. It takes a few attempts, but the chunk of apple lands on the floor, and rolls to stop against expensive leather boots. Trent collapses, and stares at the boots for a while. Then he notices the texture of the floor has changed, feeling gritty. Still blurry, he staggers, but gets up.)

(Music: "Black" - Sarah McLachlan, off her Solace album.)

Trent: (Husky.) Man, really got to vacuum here sometime. (Turning behind him.) Daria, thanks...

(Daria's not there, nor is the kitchen...he falls on his butt in the hellish desert of his psyche.)

 

(Footsteps crunch behind him, and a familiar figure comes into view.)

Monique: Hey Trent! (She gives him a hand up.) Welcome back.

Trent: (Looks blank for a few seconds, then realisation hits. Hard.) Oh, man, I'm dreaming again!?

(Monique waves a hand at the flames on the horizon.)

Monique: No Trent, someone just set fire to the sky for no reason.

Trent: Okaaay. (Looks to Monique, who is wearing a very familiar green jacket. However, her boots, examples of thigh-high leather, are as unlike Daria as you could get.) So, you're my guide, now?

Monique: Hey, the boy's got promise! (Looks disgusted at the jacket.) By the way Trent, green is not my colour. (Looks up again. Sing-song.) In summary; you're dreaming, you've got issues to deal with, your emotional landscape is still in turmoil... (Cue volcano exploding on the far horizon.) And I'm stuck in a jacket that only a hefty-bag could love. (Views him with a certain amount of asperity.) [41]

Trent: But why you? Where's Ja... (A thought strikes him. He looks up to the sky where Daria appeared last time that he was here. Instead of her face filling the heavens, there is nothing but a banquet of stars.) And where's Daria?

Monique: Walk it through, Trent. Daria was your "guide", god knows why, it's pretty bloody depressing in here. (Kicks a black rock, which goes sailing out beyond sight.) Then Jane took over...

Trent: But, now Daria and Jane are kind of, uh..?

Monique: (Dry.) Otherwise engaged?

Trent: Uh, yeah. (Frowns.) So that means you're here instead?

Monique: Hey, we were together for a while Trent, it makes a kind of sense. (Shrugs.) I know a lot about you, you know a lot about me, you still trust me, for reasons that I don't understand, so here I am.

Trent: So, what now? You gonna throw shoes at me?

Monique: Is that what the girls did to get your attention? Good idea. (Looks at her thigh-high riding boots.) Damn, too hard to get off. (Looks up. Hopeful.) How about rocks, there are plenty of rocks around, I could throw those?

(Trent shoots her a withering look.)

Monique: Hey, trying to help. (Grins.) Seriously, I'm your guide, where do you want to go?

(Trent stands, rubbing his chin.)

Monique: How about a hint here? First word, first syllable? (Cups an ear.) Sounds like? (Makes a "go on" motion.) [42]

Trent: (Blinks.) Ok... take me to where Daria and Jane are.

Monique: Easy, we're there already. (At Trent's glare. Exasperated.) Look up, you moron.

(Trent looks at the stars.)

(They're pretty. They twinkle. They're stars.)

(He looks back to Monique.)

Monique: (Leafing through a book.) Ok Trent, what does humanity use the stars for?

Trent: Huh? You want me to be an astronomer?

(Monique throws the book at him. He ducks, and it flies over his head, as in "flapping covers like a clumsy bird" flies.)

Monique: No wonder they threw stuff at you. (Grabs Trent's arm, and points it to the sky.) Ok, what's that?

Trent: (Genuinely puzzled.) Uh, a cluster of stars?

Monique: (Disgusted.) God, did you have a lobotomy after we broke up or something? LOOK at the sky, what do you see?

Trent: (Eyes finding something familiar.) Uh, that's Orion, isn't it?

Monique: And..? (Makes a go-on motion with her hands.)

Trent: (Turns back to Monique.) Am I supposed to be looking for star-signs? You know I don't go in for that astrology crap.

Monique: (Arms raised to the sky.) At last, progress! (Turns to Trent.) You might not out there in the real world, but in here, different rules apply. (She waves a hand at the sky, and some stars darken while others brighten.)

Trent: (Watching the sky.) Whoa...

(As Monique's actions alter the sky, he can see what she means. Daria and Jane are constellations of a million billion stars, shining down on him. They're dressed normally and are standing close, but aren't holding hands.)

Monique: (Watching Trent. Quietly.) It's really "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" stuff, isn't it?

Trent: Yeah. (Still looking up.) Damn, but that's pretty. (Looks to Monique.) So, they're there, but where am I?

Monique: (Dry.) Wandering around, unable to find your butt with two hands and a flashlight?

Trent: Funny. (Pause.) So what now?

Monique: This is your head, surely you've got some idea of what you want to happen? Anything recent, perhaps?

Trent: Uhh... (<Bing!>) Hey, what happened at the start of my dream?

Monique: Let's find out? (She turns Trent around and walks him into the Lane kitchen. He looks around behind him, and sees only the wall.)

Trent: (To Monique, who has him by the arm and drags him to the staircase.) Man this is so weird, don't you think?

Monique: (Patient.) Trent, you're holding a conversation with a figment of your imagination that's based on your memories on a girl you used to date and your knowledge of her reactions. (Beat.) I find that weird. (There is a noise from upstairs.) Now, shut up and watch.

(Trent stares in amazement as he stumbles downstairs, as he can remember doing only a short time past. Wordlessly, he and Monique follow this "earlier self" into the Kitchen. Trent watches as "he" takes an apple from the fridge, bites into it and looks at the coffee-machine. The earlier Trent dumps the coffee sludge into the sink, and stabs it to death, trying to make it go away.)

Monique: (Normal.) And Jane drinks that crap?

(While early-Trent scrubs the sink, Daria walks in, looking totally unlike her normal self. Late-Trent cringes as "he" gapes at Daria, and winces at how he choked on the apple when Jane came in. Trying to blot out the embarrassment of him choking, he concentrates on Jane and Daria, especially their faces. He sees nothing but honest affection (For Daria.) and sly amusement (For Jane.), instantly changing to concern for his safety when they realise that he's choking. Daria comes behind him and preforms the Heimlich.)

(Late-Trent cringes when he sees his collapse - it looks even more pathetic than he remembered - and watches the chunk of apple roll to early-Monique's feet. He goes to talk to "his" Monique, but discovers that everything's done another quick-change and he's out in the dessert again. Music: "Ripe" - NIN.)

Monique: (O/S, from behind.) Hey, over here.

(Trent looks around then wanders over to Monique.)

Monique: Well?

Trent: (Thinking aloud.) They care for each other, but ran over to help as soon as they saw I was in trouble.

Monique: Go for the gold star, Trenty!

Trent: (With a look of irritation.) Well, even though they may look different, they're the same underneath.

Monique: (Faux gushy, think of Sailor Moon.) Good boy!

(A car-sized gold star, made out of some metal, lands close by. The classic 5-pointed star shape landing on-edge and stabbing deep into the ground. The sharp edges glint nastily.)

Monique: (A bit off-put.) Okaaay, no more gold stars.

Trent: (More than a bit off-put.) Good plan. (Thinks for a bit more.) But that's not all. There was something else... (Thinks some more.) Hmmm.

Monique: (Picking off some nail polish.) Don't force it...

Trent: (Disgusted glance, then...) The apple! It wasn't all what it seemed, either!

(Monique claps, not sarcastically, just honest applause.)

Monique: (Sombre.) Well done Trent. (She moves her foot and picks up something underneath it. She gives him an inquiring look.)

(Trent comes over and sees that Monique has a sand-coated chunk of apple, the same chunk Trent choked on, and Daria managed to eject from his windpipe. Monique breaks it open, exposing pale crisp flesh, and gives the remains to Trent. Curious, he picks out a single seed, and almost drops it when it starts to move on his palm.)

Trent: What the hell?

Monique: (With a sigh.) Call it the seed of doubt, Trent. (Gestures wildly with her arms.) Or of envy, of disloyalty... (Looks Trent in the eye.) Of intolerance, and eventually, of hatred. (Beat. Quiet.) You almost swallowed it when you were staring out at Daria, but Jane, your sister, made you choke. (Trent looks at his hand.) Daria helped you get rid of it, get it out of your system, and now you have it in your hand. (Said hand clenched tightly.)

Trent: (Not looking happy.) So, what do I do with it?

Monique: (Softly.) That, my friend, is up to you. (She glances at his hand, then turns away.) I know it doesn't look like much, but as the song says, from little things, big things grow.

(Monique turns to face Trent, jerking her ill-fitting green jacket down. She looks and sounds very subdued.)

Monique: I am your guide, but the decisions you make are yours alone. (She fades away, eyes merging into the flames on the horizon.)

Monique: (O/S, ghostly.) Alone...

(Trent stares after where Monique exited with such theatre, then at the wriggling seed in his palm. He knows, somehow, that the longer he holds onto it, the stronger it will become, and the weaker his will.)

(It already feels far too heavy for it's size.)

(He stares at the surrounding desert, wondering if there are any clues waiting for him to find. Nothing is there, apart from old, weathered black rock and dull-red sands that remain burning hot under a star-filled sky. Trent wonders if he should just set the seed down in the desert and allow it to wither away, but dismisses that thought quickly, remembering how some things can exist in the desert for practically forever, just waiting for the right conditions to come along.)

(Staring down at the seed, he has no doubt that it would wait patiently here, for the right time.)

(He looks out to the flame-filled horizon again, then down at the seed. With a smile, he's made his decision, and throws the seed into the flames. It shouldn't have reached anywhere near the horizon, but different physics apply in this place. It shoots away, arching out and headed directly for the flames. As he watches its departure, he notices a small, brief flare of bright yellow in amongst the dull orange and crimson flames. He smiles at a job well done and squints at a bright flare...)

 

(To open his eyes in the last glare of the setting sun, a poorly secured curtain flapping in a freshening wind and bathing Trent's room in a golden haze before it flaps shut again. He opens his eyes further, and stares at the ceiling. The flapping curtain distracts him, so he goes over, and shuts the window, pulling the curtains closed. Mission accomplished, he falls back on bed, facing up.)

(On impulse he claps and turns his lights on for a few seconds, turns them off and stares at the ceiling again.)

(Constellations of stars, signs and other things celestial glow down on him.) [43]

 

(Cut to Daria in her room, sitting on her bed and talking on the new phone that Jake bought to replace her old red one. Music: "Elsewhere" - Sarah McLachlan. Seen over on one side of her wall is the base-station for the new walkabout, which also has a fax and answering-machine.)

Daria: Well, it's been ten hours so far, when do you think that I'll be able to sleep?

Jane: (O/S) Do you want the estimate in hours or days?

Daria: Not funny.

Jane: (O/S, sliding into the phone split-screen. Her fingers are crossed.) I'm not joking.

Daria: Uncross those fingers, Lane.

Jane: (Surprised, does so.) Hey, how did you know?

Daria: I didn't, but you just confirmed it.

Jane: (Fierce.) Damn!

(There is a phone pick-up noise and Quinn comes into the splitscreen.)

Quinn: (All false sweetness and light.) Dar-riiia, I know you and your, er, friend, are having a really nice conversation and everything, but there are others who wish to use the phone...

Jane: (Sly.) And what does this mean, exactly?

Daria: (Ignoring that fact that Quinn is on the line.) I don't really know. Shall we discuss these ramifications further?

Jane: (Grin.) Lets.

Quinn: (Not bothering to move away from the mouthpiece.) Moo-oom! Daria's hogging the pho-oone! (Daria and Jane cringe away from the volume produced, Jane rubbing her ear, Daria frowning.)

Helen: (O/S, faint.) NOT NOW Quinn! I've got a client!

Quinn: Ooohh! (Slams the receiver down. This time, Daria and Jane have kept their heads away from the phones, so they avoid the noise.)

Jane: (Into the ringing silence.) Well, it this earache I'm experiencing worth whatever frustration you've caused "Fashion-fiend Barbie"?

Daria: (Honest.) Yes, but I'm biased.

Jane: (Thinks.) Well, so am I, so I think we'll let it pass. ("How could I have forgot this??" tone.) Hey, I haven't told you, Trent's doing a mini-concert! [44]

Daria: (Thoughtful.) Hmmm.

Jane: (Annoyed.) What, I can't even mention his name to you about this? Give me a break, Daria.

Daria: (Matter-of-fact.) But if I let this pass, you will take other liberties, and so it simply cannot be.

Jane: (Still irritated.) And the Queen cried, "Off with their heads!"

Daria: (Suspicious.) Are your windows open?

Jane: (Much scorn.) Lewis Carroll? Alice?

Daria: (Dry.) "The time has come," the walrus said... (Move her neck to get rid of a crick.)

Jane: Anyway, this is the first semi-official invitation. They're hiring out McGrundies...

Daria: (Clarifying a point.) They're signed with a major company, and they're still playing Brew Pubs?

Jane: Hiring out, not playing. Trent and the band want to give a kind of thankyou/loyalty tribute to all the fans they've gathered over the years.

Daria: Fans?

Jane: Yeah, the drunk groping Lawndale couples that encouraged them to go "on the road". (Pause, truthful.) Occasionally with hurled bottles.

Daria: (Very dry.) You reaffirm my confidence in human nature.

Jane: ("On a happier note.") Anyway, as a friend of the family, you're at an advantage...

Daria: I'll be able to find blood and vomit in the women's bathrooms?

Jane: No. (Honestly.) They tend to be pretty good with things like that. Instead, you'll be given the run of the place, backstage passes, things like that.

Daria: How can I have a backstage pass when there's no backstage?

Jane: Hmmm. (Muses.) A point that I'll raise with Trent, as soon as he wakes up. Or arrives home. (Beat, voice carefully-neutral.) So, when are we going to tell "him"? You kind of ran out on us this morning...

Daria: (Flat, doesn't want to talk about it.) We will tell him when we are both there.

Jane: And while Trent is conscious.

Daria: (Thankful Jane didn't press further.) Yes. That would be a good idea.

Jane: (Thinking out loud.) No clue to where he is now though. (Pause.) He's been acting pretty funny this week, I think he may have been into my coffee.

Daria: Maybe you should check the hospitals then?

Jane: Ha, no, he'll probably be hanging around in some seedy pub somewhere...

Daria: It's Wednesday night, isn't that when all of the pseudo-intellectuals come out and play? [45]

Jane: He's my brother, remember...

 

(Open to McGrundies again. Music: "Heaven Or Las Vegas" - Cocteau Twins. The band is sitting huddled around a table, various drinks in front of them. Trent and Jesse seem to be sticking to beer, Nicholas has an alcoholic soda of some description and Max has something in a huge balloon glass, with fruit, layered alcohol, streamers, 4 umbrellas and multiple straws. The rest of the band look at him for a moment, happily sucking three straws at once, then turn back to what they were discussing.) [46]

Trent: Well, ok. We've got McGrundies on Friday. (Pause.) But there's a problem.

Jesse: (Absently.) But it's not that bad.

Nicholas: They're being raided?

Jesse: Nah, we've done that before, raids are no problem. (Pause.)

Trent: (Fills in the spaces.) It's just that they kind of double booked the venue.

Max: (Looking up from his drink.) I really hope there's no hip-hop Trent. You know how I feel about...

Nicholas: (Waving him quiet.) Yeah, we all do Max. (Looks around.) Well, whoever it is, it can't be worse than this "Jewel-wannabe" convention. [47]

(They look around at the thin and despondent women wandering around, their carefully-ravaged features a compromise between consumptive pallor and gaunt restlessness. The few men around seem to have the same idea on how they should look, but have greater difficulties to overcome. The band looks, then toasts the few Goths in the room in an ironic salute. The colony are all sitting over one side of the bar, looking disgusted. A few wave back at the band, but the rest simply continue to glare at the rest of the bar population - Goths can't stand amateurs.) [48]

Max: Trent, you knew that Opal was singing tonight. Remember, her "Plaintive Longings?" (Shudders.)

Nicholas: (Disgusted.) Having to sit through off-key depressing "poetry" isn't exactly what we call fun.

Trent: Well, it was either this, or DJ Jazzy Jives - The Hip-hop Hellmiester. (We see looks of horror from the rest of the band.) The Zen is getting nuked for bugs again, remember?

Max: (Nods, looks happier.) Man, you should have said, earlier.

Nicholas: Oh.

Jesse: Yeah.

Trent: So, this Friday we'll be playing a grouped crowd, and we actually get a percentage of the admission fees if we get more than 50 people in here.

Nicholas: (Dry.) Wow, we've really hit the big time.

Trent: (Getting to the nitty-gritty.) Now, I want to play more of our new songs...

Max and Nicholas: Aww man!

Trent: Including "Out in Lawndale", got it? So we gotta practise some more.

Max: (Trying hard.) It's just that...

Trent: ("Yeah?" expression.) Hmmm?

Nicholas: We kind of, ahhh...

(Jesse looks with interest.)

Trent: You'd feel weird, playing that song, right? In public?

Max and Nicholas: (Relieved.) Yeah.

(Trent slides over a small poster.)

Trent: These are people that are booked Friday, with us.

(Max and Nicholas stare at the poster, mouths open.)

Trent: (Continuing.) And if you think that's weird, wait until you see what we're going to be wearing...

(Fade with Max and Nicholas just staring at the poster. It's pretty colourful.)

 

(Open to a dimly-lit but brightly-decorated bedroom. Music: "The Order Of Death" - Public Image Ltd. The camera pans further and we see a mirror with various photos stuck to it, with smiling faces of the Fashion Club interspersed with torn and burnt photocopies of Daria. Some remain almost intact, with various devil's horns, beards and blemishes drawn on. Pan a bit further and it's obvious that it's Sandi's room we're looking into.)

(A phone [Seen in "Gifted"] rings. After a while, an answering machine comes on.)

Sandi: (Recorded.) Uh, hi, or something. I'm not here at the moment, so leave a message after the beep, whatever. (Beat.) Er, is this thing fini...

(<Squeal-bleep.>)

Quinn: (O/S) Uh, hi Sandi. Look, we're really worried about you, and Stacy is getting weirder than usual, so could you please phone us back at some time? Th-anks. (She hangs up.)

(The room is still again, then the phone rings. As before, it rings out and the answering machine comes on.)

Tiffany: (O/S) Oh, hi Sandi. (Pause.) Er, could you please phone us back sometime? (Pause.) Thanks. (She hangs up.)

(The room resumes it's still silence, broken yet again by the phone and the answering machine.)

Stacy: (O/S, sounding fragile.) Sandi, if you're there, could you please get into contact with us? We're starting to worry, and the pre-season spring fashions are about to be released, please come back! (Gasps, hyperventilates. We can hear some groping around and crashing noises, and then the phone is replaced.)

(The room is quiet again. The camera pans over to the bed, and a mound of heaped blankets. It moves a little, then stops.)

(Fade to black on the mound, and with "The Order Of Death" still playing in the background.)

 

(Open to Daria looking around her room, and obviously not finding what she wants. With a frown, she shoves on the "Tank-Girl: Music from the Motion Picture" CD that she borrowed from Jane. Of course, "Army of Me" by Bjork comes on, even on random play. Cue various shouts from over the house.)

Quinn: (O/S, from next door) MOO-oom! Daa-aad! Daria's music is too loud!!! [49]

(Daria is already reaching for the volume control.)

Jake: (O/S) Daria, could you turn it down some!?

(With a sigh, Daria hits pause, and unwraps a present to herself, purchased by dipping into her suddenly-flush accounts. It seems as if Jake or Helen was sticking to the bargain Daria hammered out, monies equal to those of Quinn's clothing intake. While she unearths a box and some batteries, Daria amuses herself imaging the screams of pain that will be torn from Quinn when Jake and Helen finally limit her spending. Daria unwraps an expensive-looking infra-red headphone set, plugs it into her boom-box and organises the headphones. With a blissful sigh, she relaxes as the soothing strains of "Thief" (by Belly) wash over her.)

Daria: (To herself with some relief.) Magic time.

(Quinn's monster hair-drier starts up next door, overwhelming the music. Daria frowns, then turns the volume up higher. Quinn can no longer be heard and so Daria starts to re-organise her room, stacking books neatly and replacing CD's back in their correct containers. After a while, she begins to sing gently to herself, and louder when the music changes to "Roads" by Portishead.)

Daria: (Softly, but with growing confidence.) "...Regardless, of what they say. How can it feel, this wrong..? From this moment, how can it feel, this wrong..? [50]

(There is a tap at the door and, unseen, Helen walks in, followed closely by Jake. Daria has her back to her parents and is cleaning while she sings.)

Daria: "...I feel no more, can't say. From self, to myself. I've got nobody on my side, and surely that ain't right... Surely that ain't right."

(She murmurs to herself while cleaning out from underneath her bed, then straightens.)

Daria: "How can it feel, this wrong. From this moment, how can it feel, this wrong? (Pause.) Oh, can't anybody see?" (Pauses, humming along.) "We've got to walk to find me, never find-ing the way. Regardless of what they say..." (Turns and sees Helen & Jake.)

Daria: Yarrgh! (Jumps, blushes furiously.)

Helen: (Apologetic.) Hi sweetie, just wondering what you were up to?

(Daria rips off the headphones. Now "Brown Soda" by Hole can be heard coming from them, faintly.)

Daria: (Annoyed and embarrassed.) Just cleaning up. (Looks at the open door.) I assume you knocked?

(Jake goes to open his mouth, but is cut off by Helen.)

Helen: Yes, but you had those (Waves at the headphones.) on and probably couldn't hear us.

Jake: (Happy.) Anyway Daria, we were just going down to Cranberry Commons, just wondered if you needed anything?

(Daria looks closely at her father for a few seconds, idly swinging the 'phones. Her eyes narrow.)

Daria: (Suspicious.) Ok, what is it? (She stops swinging her headphones.) Mom, you never come up here unless there is something that you want done and I can't remember the last time that Dad managed to drag himself away from the sports channel to visit me.

Jake: (His face brightens.) Sports channel? (Turns to Helen.) Honey, since you've got all this in hand...

Helen: (Forceful.) FORGET IT Jake. (Cue instant sweetness and light, in an attempt to cover Jake's obvious disappointment.) It's nothing sweetie, but I was talking to my analyst recently... [51]

(Helen trails off as she sees the look of total disgust on Daria's face.)

Helen: (Tries for a save.) Not about you, silly. (Continues in the face of Daria's mounting scepticism.) But she did mention a how a new...

Daria: (Interrupting.) So, when did you book me in?

(Her parents show signs of guilt.)

Daria: (Flat.) It'll cost you $100 if it's in less than 2 days. (Pause.) I had plans. (Her expression dares them to say something.)

Jake: (Looking wretched.) I'm sorry kid... (Shuts up.)

Helen: (Getting down to business and running over Jake.) $50.

Daria: $80

Helen: $60.

Daria: $70.

Helen: Done.

Daria: (Tiredly.) Done. (Hold up a hand.) Let me guess, tomorrow, 4 o'clock? Cranberry Commons?

(Helen looks surprised. Jake doesn't.)

Jake: (Very subdued.) Yes.

Daria: (Thinking aloud.) I'll need to borrow a car...

Helen: (Quickly.) The Lexus will be here.

(By his expression, this is news to Jake.)

Daria: (Cool.) Then don't let me keep you, (Puts the headphones on again and nods towards the door.) but would you mind shutting it on the way out? Thank you.

(After her parents have made their way out, Daria slips off the 'phones again and rubs the bridge of her nose. With a sigh, she walks over and dial's Jane.)

Jane: (O/S, Happy.) Yo!

Daria: (Looking really fed up.) ...Your pamphlet was right. [52]

Jane: (O/S, gloating.) Ha! Sweetest $20 I've ever made.

Daria: I choose not to comment on that. (Beat.) It's at 4 tomorrow; do you feel in the mood to fake some moral support?

Jane: (O/S) If I had any morals, but why not? (Amused.) I can now treat you to cheese-laden goodness..?

Daria: (Dry.) It's a date then?

Jane: (O/S, but you can hear her dancing around.) She likes me, she likes me!

(Fade with Daria making her "Ack!" face.)

 

(Open to the Fashion Fascists in Stacy's room, specifically as seen in "Gifted". Music: "Walking On Acid" - Honeysmack. [The name says it all - I thought it suited.] Tiffany is still flicking through the photocopied documents that were last seen during lunch, while Stacy is coasting along on planet Valium. Quinn is quietly organising something on her laptop [Yes, the one seen in "The New Kid."] and when finished, looks up to Stacy.)

Quinn: (Brisk and businesslike.) Ok Stacy, could you please call to order the first emergency secession concerning the neglect of the elected President, Sandi Griffin.

(Stacy looks surprised. Eventually.)

Quinn: (With a "Lord, what fools these sycophants be!" expression.) Remember, since you're the Fashion Club secretary, it is your duty to inform the members of coming meetings, and organise them into some sort of rough order? [53]

Tiffany: (Looking up from her "reading".) But Quinn, since we're all here...

Quinn: (Rubbing the bridge of her nose, in a manner similar to that of Daria.) Yes, I know Tiffany, but I'm trying to get the club used to the proper protocols. (Looks to Stacy, takes pity.) Look, don't worry about it. (Stacy nods slowly, in time with Tiffany.)

Quinn: (After giving Tiffany and Stacy a long look.) Ok. This is my proposed plan of action...

(Fade scene with three empty heads clustered around some floral notepaper. The equally empty beats of Honeysmack fade along with the exit shot.)

 

(Morning, Morgandoffer household. As Daria walks in to an empty kitchen, cue "Where Do I Begin" by the Chemical Brothers. As Daria starts her day with some juice and popping in some toast, merge various scenes into a "morning" montage of Lawndale's inhabitants.)

(Jane, sleeping, just a mound of blankets. She has an easel close by the bed if she wakes up during the night with a painting idea. [After all, why bother trying to focus on a small notebook when the canvas lies before you?] [54]

Trent relaxing, something steaming in his hand. Move camera around to show...

The rest of the band, looking wasted. Max looks particularly haggard.

Cut to Quinn rolling over, "panda face" on pillow. [55]

Back to Daria sitting quietly, enjoying the morning serenity while she munches her breakfast. She's wearing that blue shirt, shorts and socks combo. Big morning hair obvious. [56]

Now we see Jodie sweating as she plays tennis. [57]

Then Kevin sneaking inside a house, his spiked football boots in hand. By his actions, we can assume that it's his house he's sneaking into, and that he is trying to prevent noise of his entry waking up his parents.

Blink to Helen, snuffling in her sleep. She's stolen all of the blankets. Move shot over to...

Jake, sleeping fitfully. He shivers until he's warm, then drops off again. He twitches a little.

Back to Jane, she still hasn't moved.

Trent driving the snoring band home in his car. They might be tired, or his exhaust may have been leaking again, it's impossible to call. [58]

Mack, slapping the buzzer of an alarm to snooze.

Daria preforming some warm-up exercises with the aid of the support bar in her room.

Jane rolls over on her other side.

Trent carrying Max over to a house similar to Daria's and Janes. He sets Max down on a porch-swing chair. A few seconds after Trent drives off, Max falls over and off, still sleeping.

Jodie swimming.

Stacy hurriedly gulping something, then going back to bed.

Daria stretching, pirouetting, extending. [59]

Red LED digits clocking over to 7:00 am.

We see Jane's palette knife still vibrating after she's thrown it at her clock radio. She missed, but she's getting better.

Trent coming in to turn off Jane's alarm. Does so. Exits.

Helen getting up for the busy morning.

Jake stealing back the blankets, blissful expression of his face.

Daria balancing, upside-down, on one hand.

Trent on his face, sleeping like he usually does.

Jane staggering out of bed.

We see Daria walking out of the shower, then Quinn quickly running in.

Helen clipping on her earrings, heading downstairs.

Jake looking for something in the master bedroom. He's dressed apart from a lack of pants. [60]

Jodie at the primary school crossing. No children are there yet.

Jake holding up his shoes with an expression of pride.

Kevin running out of the house he sneaked into and diving over the fence to the home next door. Sheepishly, he let's himself into the right house. A few seconds after he's inside, his thrown shoe embeds itself into the post next to the door, the other one following it. Kevin comes back, collects his shoes and waves his thanks with that idiotic grin he has.

Jane, staggering out of her room, dropping blankets, pillows, etc on the way.

Daria dressed, handing the paper to her father as he passes her in the hallway.

Someone, with legs like Mr Anderson of Beavis & Butthead fame, hammering in a sign on his lawn. It is in the shape of a large arrow, and it's pointing towards Kevin's house. It says "Thompson House."

Daria meeting Jane on the Lane doorstep.

Mack walking Jodie to her homeroom.

Brittany waiting in the school car park, foot tapping.

Fade with Kevin sleeping, head on the wheel of his 4-wheel drive.)

 

(Cut to Trent, sleeping, again. Music: "The Private Psychedelic Deal" - The Chemical Brothers. The camera POV shifts gently about the room, always centred on Trent but getting closer to the ceiling. With the electronica "whoosh!" [About 2 minutes in.], the camera POV goes vertical into an instant close up, so close that the view goes dark.)

(It view lightens again. We see Trent floating gently with a stock-standard retro-60's kaleidoscopic background, the same shifting camera view as before when he was lying in his bed. Closeup on his face, his eyelids flutter.)

Trent: (Sleepy.) Whaa?

(The music cuts off instantly, and everything goes black, apart from Trent.)

Trent: (Waking up quickly.) Whaa?

(Trent stops the dreamy floating action and drops like a stone. Even though there is no discernible background, there is the impression of speed.)

Trent: (Not really sleepy anymore.) Whoa...

(Trent's eyes really open.)

Trent: Wha...aaaaaah!

(Trent impacts into the familiar burning black desert, humorous cartoon disaster style.)

(A few seconds pass.)

Trent: (O/S, about 6 feet under.) Ow.

(He clambers out, and collapses on the dark sands. He shades his eyes from the sun, then realises that there is no sun. He squints up at the stars. Jane and Daria still pinwheel across the great sky arch. Footsteps crunch over to him and he opens his eyes to see what his unconscious mind has thrown up at him this time.

Trent 2: (Smiling through the lipstick.) Hey.

 

(Cut to Daria and Jane in DeMartino's Class. On the board is the topic title: "Disasters of the Twentieth Century." Jane is smirking at a list before her. Music: "Some Kind Of Love Song" - Friendly. ) [61]

Jane: (Quietly to Daria.) I knew there was a reason why I continued this abusive relationship.

Daria: (Slightly louder.) Enjoying the list I set out for you?

Jane: (Fully turns to face Daria.) For once I can hold my own... (Stops when she sees DeMartino turn from the board and examine the class.)

Mr DeMartino: HmMM. (Looks at the empty space where Kevin should be.) Brittany! I ASSUME my fervent prayers have NOT been answered and KEVIN has not yet been SOLD for medical EXPERIMENTS?! [62]

Jane: (Looking over to Daria, her head tilted.) He's kind of left us without anything to work with, hasn't he?

(Daria nods.)

Brittany: (Was vacantly twirling her hair when our heroes were talking. Looks annoyed.) I'm sorry Mr D, but I don't KNOW where that jerk is! He promised that he'd meet me here at school before class, and he didn't!

Mr DeMartino: (Realising that he'd better take back control of the conversation before "Bimbo Cheerleader Barbie" started on how "her Kevvie" was such a idiot.) THANKYOU Brittany... (Trails off in honest surprise when he sees Jane with her hand up.) MISS Lane?

Jane: (Realising what she's doing.) Oh, sorry. (Beat.) Kinda got carried away there, didn't I?

(Daria's head on her desk. She bangs it there a few times.)

Mr DeMartino: Well Ms Lane, to WHAT do I owe this TOTALLY UN-expected class participation?

Daria: (Sotto.) Medication cannot be ruled out.

Jane: (Slight wince.) Ulmm, long-felt desire to be a valued contributor to the overall level of education present in this class?

(Said class stares at Jane. Jodie looks on with sympathy. Tony DeMartino looks blank for a few seconds, but recovers.)

Mr DeMartino: As GRATIFYING as I find your new FOUND desire to be a HELPFUL member of this CLASS, my wizened teachers SOUL finds this IMPROBABLE, to SAY the LEAST!

Jane: (Rubs her eyes.) Look, I just put my hand up. (Wry.) It won't happen again, I promise.

Mr DeMartino: THEN I'd better make the MOST of this NEVER to BE (Eye bulge.) REPEATED offer.

Jane: (Using Daria's tone of voice.) Oh, god.

Mr DeMartino: Ms LANE! Can you accurately and concisely GIVE me three examples of when FAITH in transport technology is misplaced, LEADING to permanent CHANGES in which we, THE POPULATION, now take FOR GRANTED? [63]

Jane: Erk?

Mr DeMartino: (To the class, on a roll, eye about to dangle.) AND IF ANYONE MENTIONS A CERTAIN OCEAN LINER THAT SUNK IN 1912... (Softly.) Well, let's just say that it would be a good idea not to.

(Kevin staggers in through the door, and crashes to his desk.)

Mr DeMartino: KEVIN! What unbelievable excuse will you use to pardon your tardy ARRIVAL!?

Kevin: (Looking genuinely contrite.) I'm sorry I'm late Mr D, I fell asleep because I studied too much last night. (Looks over to Brittany.) I'm sorry too, Babe! I knew that I had to meet you...

(While Brittany sniffs and looks away, DeMartino looks astonished at the total disregard Kevin has for the learning process, ie: Tony DeMartino. Our favourite example of work-related stress goes white, then shades to red, then goes eerily calm. We see Andrea hurriedly rubbing out something in her book, then pull out a can of mace, her actions shielded by the desk. Daria is upright again, and looking worried. Jane is trying hard not to make any move that could be considered a threat. Kevin looks around at the class for a few seconds, then slaps on his grin and faces forward.)

Andrea: (Very quiet, under her breath.) Oh, bad day to leave the 'vest at home. [64]

Mr DeMartino: (Quiet.) Jane, before I kill Kevin, could you please answer my question?

Jane: Okay. (Deep breath.) The Andrea Dora sinks in 1956 due to collision with the Stockholm. This was due to untrained crew attempting to use radar and poor judgement. 56 people died. The results of this were mandatory rules of use for radar and legal ratification of sea law stating that a "transmitted or broadcast course is" er, well, the one you stick to, and that you have to alert any vessels within range about any changes in that course.

(The class is silent.)

Jane: (Continuing.) The BOAC Comet, an airliner new in 1954. Two explode in midair, killing all on board. Extensive testing eventually showed how the cycles of pressurisation and depressurization created metal fatigue, most notable in the corners of the square windows. This lead to advances in metallurgy, aerospace engineering and jet safety. Modern aircraft design also incorporate the most lingering design correction, rounded window corners.

(DeMartino seems stunned by Jane's smooth recital.)

Jane: (Finishing.) And the infamous Ford Pinto's, 1971-1976. At least 59 people were fatally burned when the model in question burst into flames during rear end collisions. The Ford Motor Company was pressured into recalling the defective cars and submit to Government safety regulations. This was due mainly to leaked Ford memos that stated that "It would be cheaper to pay off litigants or their surviving family than to recall and repair the cars." This area of transport technology is now heavily regulated and designed to force car manufacturers to make safer cars.

Jane: (Into the silence.) That's right, isn't it? [65]

(Fade with Andrea starting to clap.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane walking along some generic mall, generic background made up of generic shops. Music: "Rendezvous" - Basement Jaxxs. Jane is trying to encourage Daria to do something.)

Jane: ...I mean, you've got the car, you can just say that it was an accident and that you didn't see Upchuck while reversing?

Daria: (Toneless.) I think I would find it hard to explain away the bloodstains on the front of the car, when I would have supposedly reversed over him.

Jane: (clenched fist pose, shaking her hand at the roof.) Dammed logic.

Daria: (Very flat.) We're here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Music: "Know Who You Are At Every Age" - Cocteau Twins. Kerryn comes up to the bar, waving her empty Stolichnaya "Lemon Ruski" (Colloquially termed a "Stolly."). As the Barman replaces the lolly-water, the CD starts to skip and basically "self-destructs" in a big way. The barkeep leaps for the machine, then drags out the offending disc. He stares at the scratches that go almost through the plastic, then throws it over his shoulder. Kerryn looks on with interest.)

Kerryn: Yo! You wouldn't have anything Australian back there?

(The Barman looks at her, then reaches into the low chiller behind him and holds up a few "Fosters". Kerryn winces.)

Kerryn: I was thinking along the lines of music?

(The Barman reaches under the bar again and comes up with the soundtrack from "The Man From Snowy River." Kerryn stares at it in vague horror, then shakes her head.)

Kerryn: God, are you sure you don't have anything else?

(A wrapped packet flies across the room and lands to slide along the bar to where the Barman and Kerryn are standing. As a tall, silver-haired guy makes his way out of the crowded doorway he yells out...)

Lew: You owe me girl! (He edges his way through and disappears outside.)

(Kerryn gives him the finger, then waves goodbye. She eagerly unwraps the packet but her face falls when she sees the CD's title. She looks out after where the author escaped.)

Kerryn: You could at least got me "This Mortal Coil" you bastard! (Sighs, then gives the CD to the Barman.) Stick this on, would you? Track 6?

(The Barman shrugs, slots the CD in and gets it to where she wants it. The strains of "Too Many Times" by Mental As Anything fills the air. Kerryn grins, grabs her fresh Stolly and runs off again.)

Kerryn's Friend 1: (As Kerryn reaches the table.) Who was that? (Nods to the doorway.)

Kerryn: Hmm? (She swigs the Stolly, then glances over at someone else's Pernot.)

Kerryn's Friend 2: Hey! (Moves it out of reach.)

Kerryn: (Thwarted, she continues the conversation.) Him? Just Lew. (Shrugs.) Probably had to go back to writing or something.

Kerryn's Friend 3: (Referring to the music.) What is this crap? (Looks towards the bar speakers.)

Kerryn: (With a glance of distain.) Mental As Anything.

Kerryn's Friend 2: (To Kerryn's Friend 1.) How ironic.

(The music changes to "Mr Natural" - Mental As Anything. Kerryn finishes off the rest of her Stolly and drags her group to the dance floor. The song's rhythm is infectious, and soon everyone is dancing, or at least trying to dance.)

 

(A tall, well-built and strikingly alternate woman comes up to where Daria and Jane are sitting. Music: finishing up "Mr Natural" - Mental As Anything, then it changes into light filler.)

(She is at least 6'2 feet in height, has a shaved peroxide hairstyle and a large bunch of silver earrings. She stands, gives Daria a severe eyeball, and rubs her chin, considering something. Daria is more than a little put off by this. Jane raises a quizzical eyebrow.)

Peroxide Job: (Apologetic.) Look, this is going to sound really bad, but do I know you?

Daria: (Normal tone.) Yes, it does sound very bad, and no, I don't know you.

Jane: (Elbows Daria.) Daria! Has there been someone you've been hiding from me? (Slitted eyes.) You promised me that I was the only...

Daria: (Hotly.) Shut it Jane.

(A smaller woman trots up to hang off of Peroxide Job's arm. Smaller, happier (Judging by the sunny grin.) and waving something alcoholic, she salutes the two high schoolers, then looks up.)

Smaller Woman: Lydia, You're a respectable woman now, remember?

(Peroxide-blond Lydia looks pained and rolls her eyes.)

Lydia: (With just a hint of asperity.) Xanthia, I'm not in the habit of trolling bars for straight highschoolers.

Jane: (Indignant.) Hey!

(Everyone looks at Jane, even Daria. Jane shrugs.)

Jane: Well, I might not be, that's all I'm saying. (The stares continue.) What?

(The elder two roll their eyes, Daria smiles, very slightly.)

Lydia: (To Daria.) Ok, this isn't a bad pickup line, or a joke we play, but are you sure we've never met?

Daria: (With great certainty.) Positive.

(The shorter woman, Xanthia, gives Daria a more lengthy examination, and straightens.)

Xanthia: God yes, you do remind me of someone...

Lydia: See? (Belated courtesy.) Sorry. (Offers hand.) I'm Lydia, this is Xanthia. (They shake.)

Xanthia: (Can see something.) You don't have any older siblings or cousins that look a lot, and I mean a lot, like you? You know, ones who would be into the GLQ scene? Because I would swear I know your face, and those glasses from somewhere like this. (Waves a hand at the rainbow decorated McGrundies.)

Daria: (Somewhat amused, imagining Quinn in a gay bar.) No, I'm the eldest, and there's not really a family resemblance...

Jane: (Puzzled.) GLQ?

Xanthia: Gay, Lesbian & Queer. [a]

Jane: (Smiles.) Sorry, I belong to SANA.

Xanthia: What?

Daria: The Society Against Needless Acronyms.

(Everyone smirks a little at this.)

(Kerryn stalks by with a pool cue and a few jugs of something potent.)

Kerryn: (Mostly to Lydia.) God girl, (Indicating Jane.) couldn't you wait a few years, at least? (Gives Lydia a reproachful look, spoiled by an evil grin.)

Lydia: (Terrible "Salty Seadog" voice.) My ye swivel on that (Indicates the cue.) 'til friction burns consume ye!

Kerryn: (Continues on. O/S. ) Ahhh, bite me, wench!

Lydia: (Calling after.) Go lick a dog's ass until it bleeds! [b]

Xanthia: (Nods, indicating Kerryn and Lydia. Dryly, to the girls.) Old friends. (Swigs drink.)

Jane: (Aside to Daria.) And why can't we have a supportive relationship like that?

(Daria doesn't bother to answer.)

Lydia: (Turning back, mostly said to herself.) Hmm, she'd have to be taller... (Looks up, snaps a finger.) Middleton U! She was a guest speaker. (Shake head.) The resemblance... Do you know an Amy, Barker? I think. (Daria looks surprised.)

Xanthia: (Distracted.) Hmm, yeah. That sounds right...

Jane: (Looking over to Daria, who seems to forgotten how to breathe.) Uh, Daria? You ok?

Daria: Amy, Amy Barksdale?!? [c]

Lydia: That it! Good speaker, mostly on possible changes to "partner" laws, and how far we've actually come, in a legal and social sense. It was a damn good night... Er, (Looks at Daria, worried.) are you all right?

Daria: (To Jane, distant monotone.) I'm sitting down, aren't I?

Jane: (Worried.) Yes.

Daria: (Stunned.) Then no, I'm not all right. (More to Jane than anyone else.) Amy Barksdale is my aunt.

(Jane's mouth makes a little "O" of surprise.)

(Lydia and Xanthia wince.)

Xanthia: Oh, merde. [d]

Lydia: ("I hear you" voice.) Ooh yeah, indiscrete social blunder... (Crouches down so that Daria can look but not have to crane her neck.) Ahh, look, Daria? I might be mistaken, ok? Don't worry about it too much?

Daria: (Absently.) Put it this way, it makes an awful lot of sense. (Releases her breath.) Whoo, I have got to make a phone call when I get home.

Xanthia: (Sitting on the bench opposite, Lydia leaning against the table, avoiding the wet patches left from previous drinks.) Daria, right? (Jane nods.) Look, she might not be Gay, or Bi, or whatever, she might have been someone that was invited to speak, or something. We do do that, you know.

(Lydia "borrows" Xanthia's drink.)

Daria: Then why doesn't my family talk all that much about her, and why does she never seem to have a boyfriend?

Xanthia: (Shrugs.) Maybe she's a private person, I am. (Lydia chokes on the drink.)

Daria: (Dry.) You don't know my family. (We see Lydia spluttering in the background.)

Xanthia: (Reasonable.) But I know mine, and if I could be any more distant from them, I'd try.

Jane: (While regarding Daria, dry.) She has a point. (Jane looks around, then holds up a clean napkin for Lydia.)

Daria: Fine. (Raises hands.) She might not be gay. (Beat.) But she might.

Lydia: (Recovered.) So, what would you say to her, "Hi Aunt Suzy or whatever, are you a lesbian?"

Daria: (With scorn.) No. I would say... (Pauses.) Ahh...

Xanthia: (Kindly.) Hard, isn't it? (Lydia returns the drink.)

(Daria tries to respond to this, but after a few false starts, stops. She has a funny expression on her face, like she's trying to work something out. The rest of them look on, curious. Kerryn walks by in the background, carrying some empty jugs. She gives Lydia the finger. Without looking, Lydia returns it.)

Daria: (A bit subdued.) Ok, suggestions?

Lydia: (Shrugs.) Before making the phone call and beating around the bush for half an hour, figure out why you called. Is it out of curiosity, interest, or are you hurt, because she didn't tell you..? (She trails off. Daria doesn't react, something she's really good at.) Anyway, she's a person with feelings too, and her own reasons for doing things. (Shrugs, flips out a little card.) If you want to talk or anything, my mail address is there. (Gives it to Daria, who accepts it automatically. She scans it.)

Daria: (Incredulous.) "Lydia Rolanda Val deDemoanst..." (There's more to go, but Lydia cuts her off.)

Lydia: (Tired, she's gone through this too many times to mention.) Yes, I know already. My parents... (Stops herself.) Nahh, don't worry, it's too long. (Smiles slightly.) Like my name. (Continues.) But if you can't post it, "E" me. (Pats her on the shoulder.) Good luck, Daria... (Looks across to Jane.)

Jane: Hola. (Smiling, hand out.) Jane Lane, nice meeting you both, Lydia, Xanthia.

Lydia: (Smiling too.) Honestly, for once I can say the same. (Turns to Xanthia.) Right, gimme. (Grabs Xanthia's drink and wets a long and slender middle finger.) Someone's in for an atomic "Wet Willy". (Waves and heads towards the bar. Xanthia waves a little, then follows to watch the carnage unfold.)

Jane: (Turns back to Daria.) So, you going to be ok?

Daria: (Still looking at a name that needs three lines to fit on a business card.) Yes, kind of. I wonder if she is...

(Jane shrugs.)

Jane: Find out if you want to, or don't. It's up to you. (Takes the card and starts to read it. Eyebrows rise.) And I thought "Morgandoffer" was odd...

(There is a commotion from the bar. They turn and see the slight figure of Kerryn trying to escape an "atomic wet willy", by the much taller Lydia, and not succeeding. Maria, Kerryn's current squeeze, is laughing so hard she can't stand upright. Xanthia is in a similar state.)

Daria: (Dry.) If the shoe fits...

(Fade with Lydia not relinquishing the "wet willy" position, even as Kerryn retaliates with an attempted "wedgie". There is a cheer.)

Jane: (O/S, laughing.) Go fer gold!

 

[a] Don't look at me like that, I didn't make up such a dodgy acronym. It takes many hardworking government employees to do so.

[b] Ok, I stole this one from William Gibson's "Count Zero". It's got to be the best "go to hell" phrase I've ever come across. Full marks for descriptive imagery. And if you don't know who William Gibson is, there is no hope for you.

[c] I can hear the canon-fetishists dropping like flies over this one... but the idea isn't even mine! Kara Wild, stand and be counted! You have achieved canon notoriety, purely by accident! In "Erin The Head", in what were some trailing footnotes, Kara jokingly mentioned (in passing) the possibility of a lesbian Aunt Amy. Cue bolt from the blue. Wow. For this, I promise, no more jokes about "happy-sappy" Kara endings, for she too has achieved the "sideways glance" of weirdness! (Cue cheer.)

[d] From "The Birdcage", Robin Williams version. (The original French version is much funnier.)

 

 

 

(Open to McGrundies, rainbow bunting throughout the place, with assorted Mystic Spiral posters. Quiet background music: "Catch The Wind" - Donovan. [Jeez, go ask your parents.] Three familiar forms are huddled around a small table, drinks in front of them. There are a few other chairs free. All women, they look tired, irritated and happy, respectively.)

Canadibrit: Will someone remind me why we let Crazy Nutso drive? (Stirs moodily at her drink.)

Kemical Reaxion: (Wiping hair our of her face.) He knew how to get the bus cheap. (Grim.) Let's leave it at that, otherwise I'll do something that I'll regret. [a]

Hello Kitty: (Sparkly.) Hey, don't let a slight delay get you down! We're having fun aren't we?

(The two others look pointedly at the diet soda Kitty has, then drain their own "hard" drinks. A dark and mysterious "someone" sweeps over to where they're sitting, bringing along something uncertain in a steaming glass. She sits and settles herself, arranging full skirts and peasant blouse so that none of them will drape in the moisture left on the table, or in various floor spillages. Canadibrit and Kemical wave a weary greeting while Kitty remains annoyingly upbeat.) [b]

Desanera: (Reduces a sopping brim.) So, any news yet? (Hooded eyes glance to the bar, where an indistinct (yet strange) figure is attempting to use the bar-phone. Crazy-Nutso isn't having much luck, trying to page through a phonebook while ducking served drinks, bummed cigarettes and the occasional couple.)

Kemical Reaxion: (Easing a crick in her neck.) So far our glorious leader has come up a blank.

Hello Kitty: (Trying out the sound.) A blank Crazy Nutso?

Desanera: (Lightly.) Blank, as in unmarked...

Canadibrit: (On the same wavelength.) "Unmarked", it need only be joined with "shallow". (Pause.) And grave.

(They share a look, then shake slightly.)

Kemical Reaxion: (Wry.) That's the last time we let Diane and Jon lead a brainstorming session. We're starting to get ideas...[c]

Hello Kitty: Oh, yes. I think their concept of "Reservoir Droogs" was far too violent and a misrepresentative example of what fan fiction is, and what we authors really think. (Beams.)

Kemical Reaxion: (Looking up from Desanera cleaning her nails with a knife.) Hey, don't blame me, I'm here for the colour commentary, remember?

Desanera: (Dry.) But the next time you want an aspiring author to join you on a national fan-fiction expedition by bus, remind me to fly?

(There is a bare pause, as most of the table choke back comments along the lines of: "Sure, do you want to borrow a broom?")

(It wouldn't be nice.)

(Or wise.)

Hello Kitty: Oh, yes. (Looking deep into Desanera's eyes.) Don't they hurt?

Desanera: (Regretting, for the fiftieth time, wearing her cat's eye contact lenses with someone called "Hello Kitty".) No.

Kemical Reaxion: (Low aside to Canadibrit.) Only her purse.

Canadibrit: (Wicked.) So, any luck yet? (Waves a hand at the bar.)

Desanera: (With a delicately arched eyebrow.) All the good ones are taken. (Waves an arm at a few specimens of tanned and toned manhood.) Not to mention being gay... (Breaks off as she watches Daria go by with Jane. Turns back to Canadibrit with an expression of disbelief.) Hey, do you have a sister here?

Canadibrit: (Didn't see Daria, being factious.) Yes, we were separated at birth, but she was by far the luckier, being raised by wolves until...

Desanera: (Flat.) I'm not joking.

Canadibrit: (Flow interrupted.) Oh? (Beat.) No.

Desanera: Ok. (Looking after where she saw the figures disappear into the crowd. Sniffs drink. Philosophical.) I wonder what they've been cutting this with? (Shrugs and guzzles.)

 

(Cut to Daria and Jane, waiting for Trent outside McGrundies. The Bouncer gives them a familiar nod. Music: "When I Grow Up" - Garbage.)

Jane: (Tapping her foot.) Remind me to graft on some kind of watch to Trent. (Chill.) I'm thinking with some sort of medical cement. Or epoxy resin.

Daria: (Trying to distract Jane.) At least they're playing to a packed crowd.

Jane: (Dry.) Who will undoubtably request "Y.M.C.A.", if not "In the Navy" and "Muscle Man"?

Daria: Hmm. (Curious.) Does Trent know any Village People music?

Jane: (Flat.) Neo-grunge boy?

Daria: (Quiet.) So, requests are probably out then?

Jane: (Very flat.) Unless it's "Lithium", or "Heart-Shaped Box", yes. [d]

Daria: Er. (Uncertain.) Did you ever see the movie "Stonewall?" [e]

Jane: (Looking past Daria to a bus parked down the street.) Is it the one about East and West Germany before reunification? Or is it the one with the marching hammers? [f]

Daria: Uh, no. (Deciding discretion is called for, changes the subject.) What are you looking at?

Jane: Oh? (Turns back to Daria, then waves a hand at the bus.) That tour thing with a tree hanging out the side of it.

(They go look and sure enough, there is a good-sized tree apparently rammed into the side of the bus.)

Daria: (Reading the brightly coloured and vivid blurb on the side of the bus.) "The Wonderful Crazy Nutso Mystical Hysterical Fantastically Univocal Nation-Wide D... (Frowns.) Fan-Fiction Tour.

Jane: (Looking at the part where the tree is embedded in the side of the bus, obscuring a portion of the title.) Fan-Fiction? D? What do you think they write about?

Daria: (Dry.) Desperado?

Jane: Dragnet?

Daria: (Looking at the length of the mangled title.) Too long.

Jane: (Working it out.) Ok, 5 or six letters... Dr Quinn? The Medicine Woman?

Daria: Hmm. (Looking at the visible D, R and the I.) You're probably right. But it would take a special kind of person to write Dr Quinn Fan-Fiction.

Jane: (Wicked.) Not as "special" as one writing "Quinn" fiction.

Daria: "Oh greasy fry, you do not lie..."

Jane: (Humour restored.) "Kill me now, or at least try."

(They hear a familiar chord scream out from the Pub. They turn.)

Trent: (O/S, with the usual horrible guitar strum.) Hey, little sister, little sister...

Jesse: (O/S, a little off mike.) Jeez, don't say that we missed her?

(Daria and Jane run towards the pub.)

Max: (O/S, very off mike and about as sarcastic as he can get.) Oh yeah, this was a good idea...

(Daria and Jane fight their way through the entrance.)

Nicolas: (O/S, with a humorous <Sprang!> noise.) Ow! Goddamn sunvua.... Trent! This is not a good idea.

(Daria and Jane try to avoid the worst of the crowd, ducking and weaving.)

Trent: (O/S, in a "not gonna put up with any more crap" voice.) Guys, we play. Here. Now.

(Cut to:)

Trent: (On stage, into the microphone.) Hey everyone, and a big hello to the Lawndale Chapter of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, who have booked the bar tonight along with us. We're Mystik Spiral, and this is...

(Daria and Jane manage to elbow their way through to the makeshift stage. They stop just in front of the band, mouths hanging open.)

Max & Nicholas: (Sotto, background.) Oh, shit.

Trent: (Over Max & Nicholas.) "Out in Lawndale!"

(Mystik Spiral hum into a "Dandy Warhol-esque" song, similar to "Every Day Should Be A Holiday". It's low, steady and almost hypnotic, a big change from "Behind My Eyelids." This is pretty unusual, but not as strange as the band's appearance. Trent is wearing the funky "streetwalker" ensemble so beloved by Daria fans [Black strappy dress, stockings, high heels and a red feather boa.] Nicholas looks disturbing in a floral print dress, platform pumps, and a Sunday-best hat. He also has a blue rinse happening, not to mention the 80's style of make-up application. Jesse is wearing what he always does [Leather pants, leather vest.] but his exposed skin is covered in gold make-up, gold glitter scattered through his hair. Max simply looks like a destitute Shinaid O'Connor, wearing a brown robe with the hood thrown back. Much blue eyeshadow can be seen, on everyone.)

Trent & Jesse:

I'm all right, I'm ok. I don't need drugs to get through this day.

I'm right, I'm all ok, I'm all right now. I'm out in Lawndale.

 

(Cut back to Daria and Jane, still staring with mouths open.)

 

Out in Lawndale, out in Lawndale.

I'm out, I'm free

I'm out in Lawndale, don't you see?

 

I'm all right, I'm ok. Do you think I care, that you know I'm gay?

I'm all right, I'm all ok, I'm all right now. I'm out in Lawndale!

 

Out in Lawndale, out in Lawndale!

I'm out, I'm free!

I'm out in Lawndale, don't you see?

 

Out in Lawndale, out in Lawndale!

I'm out, I'm free!

I'm out in Lawndale, don't you see?

 

Trent: I'm out in Lawndale, but I'm still me!

 

(There is a lot of applause by the bar, some of the least-flamboyantly-dressed cheering the band on. In the corner, the Fan-fiction table is seen to be happy with the music. On the right corner of the shot, Kerryn can be seen sculling something green, thumb up.) [g]

Daria: (To Jane, still standing there with her mouth open.) Okaaay. This was unexpected.

 

[a] Stolen from "The Magical Mystik Spiral Tour" written by good ol' Crazy Nutso...still bouncing off those walls.

[b] WOW, Kemical Wave! What a great name for a band...

[c] Heh, heh. "The Last Stupor" anyone? By a certain warped Diane Long and deviate Jon Kilner. Who else could imagine the fashion club in a spoof of "Reservoir Dogs"? (Well, apart from me.) Mr Pink, Mr Eggshell, Mr Nocturne, Mr generic fashion shade...Oh yeah: "I know that somethin' ain't right..." Someone please write it!

[d] Nirvana. If anyone didn't know this, I don't know what I'd do to you. Something pretty unpleasant, I'm sure.

[e] The Stonewall riots. Don't worry, it's a pretty obscure reference. Good movie though.

[f] Both are called "The Wall". The Pink Floyd one is better, just don't watch it ripped - you'll never look at hammers the same way again. The same tip for that freaky British version of "Alice in Wonderland". Trust me.

[g] To scull: to drink without pause, often out of boots, yard-glasses or from a bottle. Oz slang.

 

Kerryn: That's your brother?

Jane: It's a long story.

Kerryn: Ok then, who's the leather-clad toyboy?

Jane: That's Jesse, my brother's best friend for ages.

Kerryn: And he's not gay?

Daria: (Not a trace of wicked glee.) Jane hopes not.

(Jane blushes fit to match her shirt.)

Kerryn: (With a typical head quirk.) Riiight. Ok, the maiden aunt gone wrong is..?

Jane: (Glad to be on another topic.) Nicholas Campbell, base guitarist. (Pause.) The blue rinse was his idea.

Kerryn: Hmm, Ok. Then who's the drummer, she looks kinda butch - in a Sinead O'Connor sort of way.

(Jane falls off of her seat.)

Daria: (Dry.) That's Max. He'll be glad to hear it. (Cue Kerryn's big double-take.) About the butch look.

Kerryn: (Rubs eyes.) He? (Shudders.) Time to visit the optometrist.

(Jane is still laughing.)

 

(It's late now and Jane has the mike while Jodie is behind the keyboard. Max gently caresses the snares and cymbals while Nicholas strums a deep melody in the background. Trent is seated with Daria near the makeshift stage. They're not hugging or anything, but they have a comfortable closeness about them, like they are at ease with each other.)

Jane: Ok people, most of you probably know this one better than I do, so sing along if you want...

(At the first tentative notes from the piano, Kemical Reaxion immediately perks up from the glass she was nursing and wanders over.)

Jane: Your love is better than icecream, better than anything else I've tired. And your love is better than icecream...everyone here knows how to fight...

(Kemical mouths along with the words, drink forgotten. The mostly female audience grins and waves at Jane, more than a few humming softly along.)

Jane: And it's a long way down, (Smiles over to Jodie.) it's a long way down...

Kemical Reaxion: (Quite clearly over the audience.) It's a long way,

Jane, Kemical Reaxion & most of the Audience: ...Down to the place we started from!

(Many whoops, laughter, cheers.)

Audience: Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmmm, mm, mm, mmm.

Jane & Kemical Reaxion: Your love is better than chocolate, better than anything else that I've tried. Oh love is better than chocolate, everyone here knows how to cry...

Jane: C'mon people, you know the words!

Audience & Kemical Reaxion: And it's a long way down, it's a long way down, it's a long way down to the place where we started from!

(Jane shuts up completely, letting the audience fill in the spaces.)

Audience: Doo do, Dah, do doo da dum...

(The bar sing while Nick, Max and Jodie finish their interpretation of Sarah McLachlan's "Icecream". When they trail off and finish, there is a warm patter of applause, some of the people coming over to congratulate Kemical.)

Jane: (Over the happy crowd.) Hey, that was... (Looks out.) Well, you know what it was. Let's here it for Jodie (She waves.), Max (Beams.) and Nicholas! (Adjusting girdle, looks up, embarrassed.)

Jane: Ok then, who else want's to go? We've got an open mike people!

 

 

 

Music: "No Brakes" - The Offspring.

Music: "Some Kind Of Love Song" - Friendly.

Music: "Sexual (Li Da Di)" - Amber

Music: "Roof Is On Fire" - Beat-Boy.

Music: "She's Got Issues" - The Offspring

 

Kerryn Wood:

Drink: Stollies, Pernot.

Music: Massive attack. Cocteau Twins: Aikea-Guinea. Ella Megalast Burl Forever. Cherry-coloured Funk. Bluebell Knoll. Treasure Hiding...

This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren.

 

Music: "There She Goes" - Sixpence None The Richer.

 

 

Remember "Lawndale Lions Pride!" As in another form of pride...

 

[...If I seem bleak, well you'd be correct. And if I don't speak, it's 'cause I can't disconnect. But I won't be burned by the reflection of the fire in your eyes as you're staring at the sun...]

 

Monique and Axl screwing play that (Music: "Laid" - James.)

 

 

 

[1] Rumour and conjecture [And a big hello to all those lurking around the Outpost Lawndale Bulletin Board!] hold that the Lane refrigerator, whenever not totally bare (Ie: "Lane Miserables") makes the Food-Microbiological Forced-Sampling (30 0C.) incubator I worked with seem an excellent place to store unprotected food. I'm inclined to agree. And if you're wondering what in hell I'm talking about, the incubator was where "we" [I'm a Food Technologist / Scientist.] forced food to go bad quickly so we could determine its shelf life. Put it this way; eating out of Beavis & Butthead's "Burger World" greasetrap would be safer, syringes included. I'm not joking... things exploded on a regular basis.

[2] I should really read over my fav fan-fics more often. "Daria: I'll be ok, I've lived with my parents for extended periods before." Written by Melissa, author of "Halloween in Lawndale"! I can sympathise with the concept though. Oh yeah, Christmas wasn't good. Don't ask...

[3] Vague reference from "Pierced", and the weird conversations that Jane has with her siblings. My brother just grunts. I don't even bother talking with him anymore. I should have started years ago...

[4] Read "Heroes..." I'm not going to have a play-by-play before every story that I write. That's what the endnotes are for.

[5] Another "Heroes..." reference. Jane promised Daria she wouldn't mention Trent for the time indicated. Because of that, Jane got to see Daria with her ankles behind her neck...and that came out more than slightly wrong.

[6] Loath: unwilling or reluctant. The meaning in this context derives from the original Old English: lath, "hateful". I think loath is such a great way to describe. Ie: "Man, that was really loath". Rhymes with "oath", duh.

[7] How else could I describe Jake's cooking technique? He shouldn't be allowed into a kitchen. I speak from experience.

[8] "Heroes..." again. Daria gets <annoyed> and, well...read the bloody story!

[9] Three cheers for Yui Daoren's "Identity Crisis"! In the first few paragraphs, Daria muses to herself that Jake is singularly clueless in almost everything, bar being kind and supportive to his offspring... When he remembers that he's had children.

[10] Another Daria/Buffyism. Willow in "Doppelgangers" said: "Hey, you all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did you?" Classic line.

 

[YES Desanera, I'm still trying to finish my Daria/Buffy X-over. It's frigging HUGE, almost twice the size of "Heroes..." and getting longer. After all, I have to beat that "Stranger than Fiction" X-Files/Daria crossover (By John Takis) in word count, at least!]

 

[11] From "Pinchsitter". Jane: "And the dish ran away with the spoon. But Hawaii was the only state that would recognise the marriage as legal". With lines like this, why did Sienfeld ever bother?

[12] If people didn't get this pun, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth...

[13] Via Cloaca: Lit. "Way of the Sewer", usually meaning the main one. (Main Trunk? Main Cistern? I never remembered anything I read about civil engineering.) Latin is a really easy language to get the hang of if you've been speaking English for a while; it's the tenses and plurals that are deadly.

[14] Someone mentioned, in one of the first Fan-fics I ever read, a soda/cola called "Wired Geek." Had to use it (the reference) although I have personally done things with caffeine that I really shouldn't have...

[15] Remember "Gifted" anyone? Trent met "Daria's Sister" when Quinn stayed overnight at the Lanes.

[16] I know, "Stacy" more uptight? I know, it's hard to imagine, you'll have to stretch.

[17] Oh, what irony. Tiffany worried about someone not talking much?

[18] The sugary bits, the burnt & crunchy bits, the flaccid globules of oil and stolid reassurance from indigestible starch molecules. Duh? The 4 Food Groups? And this is from someone who's forgotten more about nutrition than you are ever likely to want to know...

[19] Yes, Iím well aware that the rest of the conversation goes something along the lines of "Many were the times he bore me upon his back..." It was unintentional, ok?

[20] Duh! "Invasion of the Body-Snatchers?" The SFX were dodgy, the acting terrible but it still has one of the creepiest plots of any horror movie. The original is, unsurprisingly, better than the recent remake, mainly because you get some plot and dialogue between the effects.

[21] Sly reference to "Self Satisfaction", the first fan fiction to make me ROTFL. I haven't got the author's name, but they struck a mighty chord with me. Good story.

[22] I forgot you can't drink 'till you're 21 over in Yankee-land. Explanation: "Bar Art" is the ancient pastime of doodling on the bar with spilled fluids, condensation, bits of old drink coasters and the occasional glass. Personally, I haven't been asked for ID since I turned 14. Yes, the legal age for drinking is 18 in Oz, but I still haven't been asked. Talk about being mature for my age... Which is something that my friends and acquaintances would deny to their last breath.

[23] Well, as pointedly as Jesse can.

[24] They're a kick-ass band! And their songs just keep getting better! From "I've Never Had So Much Fun" :- "Smoked a pack cigarettes before midday, coughed up a lung around one. I can't see a thing through my eyes that sting, I can't remember having so much fun."

[25] ANY art instruction book will tell you, repeatedly, not to eat, drink or smoke around art supplies, and to wear safety gear, like facemasks. Things like Maganese Dioxide can really screw up your health later on in life. (MnO2 forms a brown/black pigment in an oxidation firing. Also can "cause" a disease whose symptoms are very similar to early-onset Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis. Not fun way to die.) And let's just say eating around powdered Uranium Oxide (UO2 or "Yellowcake".) would be a very stupid thing to do. What? Oh, uranium oxide produces a lovely yellow when fired. Used mainly as a glaze ingredient for decorative pieces, but only a Kevin would put it on dinnerware.

[26] Prawn (Shrimp, duh.) Szechuen - Battered spiced prawns with a hot sauce of ginger, tomato, garlic and chillies; served piping hot. Tomato & Mint Chutney - 4 firm tomatoes, scalded and diced, mixed with 4 tablespoons of chopped mint, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and Tobasco to taste. Served chilled. Both are real recipes, but can anyone see a slight problem here? Warm mint, brrrrrr...

[27] Ok, so the B52's first album was released the same year I was born, and they may have all the style and taste as a reject from the "Go-Go Boot Appreciation Society", but Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson on vocals kick major ass. Hey Canadibrit, they're not that bad... And to all those who have no idea what I'm talking about, go back to your M2M and Human Nature, it's all you can hope to aspire to...

[28] All I know about guitars I learnt from the "Wayne's World" movies. And Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Oh, and Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall novels! ***(That's Dragonsong, Dragonsinger & Dragondrums, I think. Menolly rules OK! "The Fire-Lizard Song!" "The Queen's Song!")*** Although capable in many other fields of endeavour (and the arts), I am totally inept with instruments and can't even read music. Which is strangely amusing, considering I used to sing soprano in a choir before puberty hit with such, hmm, distinction.

[29] Had to put it in, sorry!

[30] Try it for yourself! It's quite pleasant. Don't do a "Who" on the instrument (Unless it's an oboe, or a banjo, or an accordion, or a recorder, then it's just natural selection at work.), just drop it from about a foot to the floor. (DUH! "The Who" were a 60's band. They popularised the "Nuke the stage" thing waaaay before anyone thought of doing something so destructive.)

[31] Xanderism, as in a Xander quote from "Buffy". I remember him alluding to Buffy being a vampire-slayer, and Angel being a vampire. Inter-teen rivalry really gets interesting when the object of your affections routinely shoves sharp bits of wood through people.

[32] Trust me, that's where they migrate. I don't know why, the cans just end up there. I don't use fixative, I prefer hair-spray. It smells nicer, although it tends to be more flammable...

[33] I'm not exaggerating too much here. I walked around for days wondering why things were sticking to me after Mum had finished up some pastel-work. It turned out that she used spray adhesive rather than fixative. <Sigh.> Are anyone else's parents like mine? I'll be taking votes on this.

[34] Anyone want to hazard a guess why? Just making sure you're awake.

[35] Ok, so I loved the funhouse dream-sequence in "Through a Lens, Darkly." It's Rammstein people!

[36] To be honest, I don't remember what mirrors are supposed to signify in dreams. Personally, I don't remember my dreams; like Daria, my reality tends to be strange enough.

[37] It's easy to do; you just have to remember to light the Metho AFTER it's left the bottle. AFTER, otherwise the Methylated spirits will back-burn and the bottle will explode in your hand, covering you and the surrounding class in molten plastic and ignited metho. Important safety-tip: Heh, heh, fire is cool! Heh, hehhuh, heheh, huh.

[38] Funny, when you consider that none of the Fashion Club are blond. And if you've never heard of the group, fall to your knees, burn an acre of incense and sacrifice a goat in thanks. I'm not exaggerating the aural torture they represent; people who have listened to "We B Cool" have sworn to hunt down and kill the 3 "Real Blonds" members in suitably messy and very painful ways. We're talking about nice, normal people (eg: who listen to Phil Collins.) suddenly turning into ravaging demons who's life purpose is to preform Cannibal Copse's entire song title range on them, starting with "Meathook Sodomy" and a bowl of Tobasco. Real Blonds are worse than M2M, Human Nature, Westlife, Steps, Britney Spears, the best of Aaron Carter or anything else you've ever heard. Southern Christian evangelical hymns are better. Christian rap is better. White reggae is better...It's that bad.

[39] People who suffer from depression tend to cycle from mental state to mental state. I'd say that Stacy, apart from Jake, is the most likely candidate of mental illness I've seen in Lawndale. Sandi doesn't count, she's not paranoid/delusional, everyone is out to get her.

[40] All true.

[41] The hefty-bag reference is taken from "Daria!" and the colour of Quinn's raincoat. I don't really know the brand names of the strong green garbage bags in America (I'm Australian.) so I'll use this and be dammed.

[42] Charades - no one ever remembers the rules.

[43] We found out that Jane painted Trent's ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stuff in "Heroes...": - apparently for something to look at if he ever had trouble sleeping. This is probably the first time Trent's ever stayed awake long enough to see them.

[44] Jane's antipathy stems from Quinn's "visit" in "Gifted". Personally, I would have had Quinn in a shallow grave before 10 o'clock.

[45] Taken from my experiences at University. Wednesday was party-time, the weekend was "Escape Time" and Monday was "Day of the living dead", if we managed to turn up. I think our college was the first to first to insist on mandatory breathalyser tests before any machinery was started during "Tractor Driving & Associated Skills." Don't look at me like that, I did a science course.

[46] Big-time in-joke. Mail me if you get the "lifestyle" reference!

[47] "Opal" came from the Daria Diaries, playing Wednesday nights. McGrundies Pub, Live and Recorded music 7 nights a week. "Try our shovel full of onion rings!"

[48] Well, most Goths I know can't - it may be a sort of built in arrogance, or plain irritation shining through. (Look, how often do you wear black velvet in an Australian summer, hmm?) You show them a consumptive Bronte Sister wannabe, and they'll show you... well, you get the idea.

[49] This is my life. Also tends to happen whenever I play NIN, Rob Zombie, Sarah McLachlan or Frenzal Rhomb. Don't even ask about the Chemical Brothers or Paula Cole. Or my ever-present Garbage.

[50] Yes, in my world Daria can sing. And Dance. And put her ankles behind her neck. Talented girl.

[51] Helen's analyst was mentioned in "Gayblade" - the first intelligent Daria fan-fic to deal with homosexuality in the Daria Universe, and various character reactions. Well, the first that I read.

[52] Basically, some parents will try and book you in as soon as possible. More than a few "dealing with your sexuality" pamphlets mention this. And yes, there was one called "So, Your Daughter's A Dyke." It's been a few years now, but it was a pretty funny one that was printed privately (ie: without the blessing of the Health Department.) and had a lot of things NOT to do, for parents and daughters.

[53] Actually, the phrase is "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" I think it was Puck, from "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

[54] This seemed to be a reasonable approximation of Jane's thought process.

[55] Ok guys, "Panda face", or "Panda Eyes" is what happens if you don't clean off your makeup before going to bed, leaving a mascara trail on your pillow and making you look like "Ko-koi the Panda." Wear makeup and call me a liar.

[56] Seen in "Monster", "Though a Lens, Darkly" and when trying to avoid waking up in "Daria!"

[57] As mentioned in "No Picnic", (written by C.E. Forman) Jodie is assumed to lead a busy life.

[58] Heh. This came from my childhood memories of car trips with my parents. Apparently the exhaust was leaky, so every 20 minutes or so they'd stop to wake us up and see if we were still alive. Notice I'm not even mentioning the brain-damage that low levels of oxygen can do to growing children. Later, when my brother and I were killing each other with the usual mindless sibling torments, they'd purposely take us for long drives, knowing at the end of the "trip" we'd simply like to have a nice long sleep and tend to remain calm and biddable. I'm not making this up. I don't have to.

[59] Daria spent a whole summer at a dance school, as the sole student. Still, it was better than sticking around for her parent's "spice up your marriage" strategy and scheduled spanking secessions. Durrrrr. <Shiver.>

[60] Yes, that line from "Daria!" Helen: "Put on your Pants! We're seeing more than should be se-en."

[61] Australian. The title is the opposite of the song. Basically, it sounds like a strung-out Alanis on an acid and nitrous binge with NIN and Bjork handling the background soundscape. "Your insensitivity is your, personality trait least favoured ha ha funny you think you're so funny...But you, hurt my feelings -we had some good dealings - what have I done recently to make you so mean to me?" - It's sung like it's written.

[62] Stolen from the Monty Python movie "The Meaning of Life" - Birth. Bonus points if you can recite 2 verses of the song that was sung by the Catholic family who's father was forced to sell them to the medical centre for experiments.

[63] I was the one who got questions like this. It didn't help that I was always right, either.

[64] Referring to a bulletproof vest.

[65] All true. Notice I didn't mention Apollo 1 (Catches fire while undergoing launchpad tests. Monster revision of NASA safety standards in all aspects.), the Challenger disaster (Another revised safety program for NASA, pity they didn't do it sooner.) or the Chevrolet Corvairs? (Rear suspension flawed, leading to carbon-copy accidents and some fatalities. This brought the American car industry under federal regulation.) What's the use of senseless tragedy if we can't learn from it?