By Galen Hardesty

December ’03

Quinn Morgendorffer sat on the Guptys’ sofa wearing her best surprised and impressed look. "Your folks really got you all these cool toys?" she asked. "I was kind of expecting your presents to be, well, kinda geeky."

"Yeah, they would’ve been if it hadn’t been for Daria!" Tricia Gupty exclaimed, combing her Babsie doll’s hair.

"Yeah! Daria’s cool!" Tad Gupty agreed as he hooked up a new Playstation to the TV.

Quinn was babysitting the Gupty kids on the evening of Christmas day. It was only for three hours or so while Mr. and Mrs. Gupty went caroling, but Quinn had asked for double time pay, and had gotten it. And it looked like the gig was going to be a cinch. She could probably just sit here and smile and let Tad and Tricia show off their loot for three hours. But their comments about Daria practically demanded a follow-up question.

"What did Daria do?" she asked

"She taught us the magic words!"

"Hmmm… knowing Daria, I’m guessing that these magic words aren’t ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’"

Tad and Tricia giggled and shook their heads.

"Okay, I give up. What are the ‘magic words’ Daria taught you?"

"Well, they weren’t really magic words," Tad said. "She said we should remind Mother and Father that we have to live in the same world as everybody else."

"And it would be hard for us to make friends and get along with other kids if they turned us into total geeks," Tricia continued.

"And if that didn’t do it, she gave us one other thing to say," said Tad.

Quinn observed the mischievous smiles on their sweet little faces. It was clear they wanted her to ask again. With a resigned smile, she gave in. "Okay, what was the one other thing?"

They glanced at each other and some signal that Quinn couldn’t see or hear seemed to pass between them. They turned back to her in unison and said, "We’re the ones who are gonna choose your nursing home!" and burst into giggles again.

La la LA la la.