This is my first Daria fanfic. I've tried to stay faithful to the characters as they are in the show. I will not be using any other fanfics as background material for my works. My work is mainly concerned with the cast as it stands now, but I reserve the right to add a new character now and again. In fact, I'm working on a character for later stories that I think you're really going to . . . well, more about that character another time.
And so, without further ado . . .
( . . . la la LA la la . . .)
"The More Things Change . . ."
BEGIN ACT 1.
EXT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING.
(We hear the sound of the school bell ringing.)
INT.: LAWNDALE HIGH. MR. O'NEILL'S CLASSROOM.
(Class is already in session. We see the room from the class view. The backs of Daria and Jane are visible where they sit side by side in the second row, Daria on the far left. Jodie sits directly in front of Jane. Kevin and Brittany occupy their normal front-row seats on the right side of the classroom. Mr. O'Neill is sitting on the edge of his desk, facing the class. He is holding a book in his left hand and punctuating his sentences with gestures from his right.)
O'NEILL: (Dramatic.) Marcus Aurelius; Roman emperor, warrior and persecutor of Christians. Yet he was also a philosopher. (He raises the book.) In his "Meditations," Marcus Aurelius tells of his life and of the philosophy by which he lived that life. Can anyone tell me which philosophy drove this great Roman emperor?
(Switch to Mr. O'Neill's view of the class. He is faced with a sea of blank stares.)
O'NEILL: (Time to choose a volunteer.) Brittany?
BRITTANY: Ummmm. (She tilts her head and twirls a strand of hair around her finger.) Romance?
O'NEILL: (Taken aback.) Romance?
BRITTANY: Of course. (She closes her eyes and takes on a dreamy look.) Everybody knows that Marcus Aurelius was madly in love with Cleopatra. I just love a love story.
(Scene shifts to a front view of Daria and Jane.)
JANE: (She smirks and looks sidelong at Daria.) Y'know, I've heard about those two, but I never believed it.
DARIA: (Looks to Jane.) It's such a tragic story.
JANE: (Faux dramatic.) They were two people in love, but their age difference was insurmountable.
DARIA: (Smirking.) He was in his forties and she had been dead for more than a century.
JANE: Yeah. Tough break.
(We return to Mr. O'Neill and Brittany.)
O'NEILL: (Disappointed in an almost apologetic way.) Um, Brittany. I'm afraid you're thinking of Marc Antony.
BRITTANY: (Looks concerned.) Really? You mean Marcus Aurelius and Marc Antony . . . Ewww!
O'NEILL: (Puts his book down and lifts both hands, palms out.) No, no, Brittany. Marc Antony was in love with Cleopatra, not with . . . (Clasps both hands together and looks down.) Oh, dear.
BRITTANY: (Twirls her hair around her finger, perhaps to stimulate long-atrophied brain cells.) Ohhhh. (She smiles, an expression as vacant as space itself.) Okay.
O'NEILL: (Shakes his head and looks up.) Anyone else? Kevin?
KEVIN: (Goofy smile.) Y'know what was cool about the Romans, Mr. O? They'd line up on the battlefield just like a football team and then they'd kick butt. I've seen it in the movies and stuff. And that emperor guy, he was kinda like the QB.
O'NEILL: (Pauses to gather his thoughts and possibly his courage.) Anyone else? (When no one volunteers, he turns to his favorite fallback.) Daria?
DARIA: (Sighs.) Marcus Aurelius lived his life by the principals of Stoicism, a philosophy whereby it is the goal of the individual to follow the path of reason and conduct life in a dignified and self-respecting way. The goodness of the individual is judged by his or her ability to cultivate reason free of emotion.
O'NEILL: (Looks relieved.) Very good, Daria.
JANE: (She lifts a finger to her cheek and looks up, miming depth of thought.) Hmmm. Now why does that philosophy sound so familiar?
(Jane smiles and looks at Daria. Daria gets the joke on her and glares right back at Jane.)
O'NEILL: Now, class. In the first chapter, Marcus Aurelius lists the teachers he had throughout his life and the things he learned from each. Can anyone tell me . . .
(The bell rings, inspiring the class to get up and leave. Daria and Jane remain seated, watching the deluge.)
JANE: Saved by the bell.
DARIA: If that were true, we'd be far away from here.
(Daria and Jane get up and follow the rest of the class toward the door. Mr. O'Neill sees them leaving and gestures to get their attention.)
O'NEILL: Daria? (Daria and Jane look toward him.) Could you stay for a moment, Daria? I need to speak with you.
DARIA: (Turns to Jane.) See you later.
JANE: Sure thing.
(Jane is the last student out the door as Daria walks up to Mr. O'Neill.)
O'NEILL: I wanted to talk to you about your special project, Daria. I spoke with Mr. Telmond and he said that in order to be considered, you're definitely going to have to submit your finished story by tomorrow. If you bring it into class tomorrow, I'll e-mail it to Mr. Telmond.
DARIA: Okay. No problem. I'll have it for you in the morning.
O'NEILL: (Very pleased.) Excellent, Daria. I hope that you appreciate what an opportunity this is for you. You should be very excited.
DARIA: (Face as emotionless as ever.) I understand. (She betrays a hint of emotion, looking to the side.) In fact, I have been looking forward to submitting this story.
O'NEILL: Great, Daria. I'll see you tomorrow, then.
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. FAMILY ROOM. EVENING.
(Jake and Helen are pulling light jackets on, getting ready to go out. Helen is in her usual red power business suit and Jake is wearing brown slacks and a yellow polo shirt. Quinn is standing near the front door. She is already jacketed in a flashy red number over a stylish blue evening dress. Her arms are crossed and she is tapping her foot, obviously impatient. Daria comes walking out of the kitchen wearing her usual green jacket, black skirt, and Doc Martens. She's carrying a can of soda.)
QUINN: (In a pleading/demanding tone) God, come on mom and dad. We're going to be late.
HELEN: Just relax, Quinn. We'll get there in plenty of time. (She sees Daria approaching and turns to face her.) Daria, you just march upstairs this minute and put on something presentable. You are not going dressed like that.
DARIA: (Stops and stands just outside the kitchen doorway.) I'm not? And where am I not going dressed like that?
HELEN: (Sighs.) Daria, we told you about this weeks ago. Why don't you listen?
DARIA: I do listen, but I immediately disregard whatever I don't like. (She glances at Quinn.) I have the feeling I'm not going to like this.
JAKE: (Enthusiastic.) We're going to your sister's fashion show, kiddo.
QUINN: (Insulted.) It's the Lawndale High Teen Fashion Show, daddy. (She turns to Daria.) The Fashion Club is in charge. The school wanted to put on a fashion show and as members of the Fashion Club, we felt it was our duty to take control and lead our fellow students onto the pathway to teen fashion.
DARIA: (Smirking.) In other words, you didn't want to be shown up by a bunch of fashion amateurs.
HELEN: Daria, I hoped we could count on you to be a little more supportive.
DARIA: (Deadpan.) Then you should have known better. (Beat.) I can't go. I have enough trouble seeing Quinn and her fashion cohorts during the day. I refuse to see them at night as well.
JAKE: C'mon, kiddo. You don't want to disappoint your kid sister, do you?
DARIA: Do I have to answer that? (Beat.) As much as it pains me, I have to stay home. I have
some work that I have to get done tonight.
HELEN: (Sweetly.) Couldn't it wait until morning?
DARIA: No. It's due tomorrow.
HELEN: You didn't plan that very well, considering Quinn's show tonight.
DARIA: Au contraire. I think my evil plan worked out rather well.
HELEN: (Her sweet smile turns to an angry frown.) I am disappointed in you, Daria. I realize that you and your sister don't always get along, but I thought that just this once you might . . .
(As Helen talks on, we move to a close up of Daria's impassive face. The scene dissolves in light like a flashbulb going off. When the light clears, we see a younger Morgendorffer family in a different living room. An eight-year-old Quinn is leading the family toward the door wearing a pink leotard and skirt with laced-up dancing shoes. She is spinning pirouettes, her hands over her head, as Jake follows her with the video camera. Bringing up the rear is a ten-year-old Daria in a green t-shirt, black shorts and round glasses. Helen is dragging her along by the arm as Daria digs in her heels.)
QUINN: (Still spinning.) La dee da. La dee da.
JAKE: (Filming.) This is so cute!
HELEN: (Pulling Daria along.) Come on, Daria. You're going and that's final.
DARIA: (Fighting every inch of the way, her eyes closed with the effort of digging in.) But I don't want to go. I can't. I have a paper due tomorrow and a test in math.
HELEN: You're going. (Her voice turns sweet.) We have to show Quinn that we support her, don't we?
(The picture flashes again and we return to the close up of present-day Daria. Her eyes are opened wider, as if the flash had been visible. Her mouth is forming an 'oh' of surprise. We cut back to the all inclusive view.)
HELEN: (She is now by the open front door. Quinn and Jake have left. Helen is just finishing her monologue, her left hand on the doorknob.) That's all I'm going to say on this matter, Daria. I guess I just expected a little more from you.
(Helen leaves, slamming the door behind her. We move to a close up on Daria, who is now standing alone. Her eyes turn angry and she glares daggers at the closed door.)
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. DARIA'S ROOM.
(MUSIC: "Tender" by Monaco. Instrumental only.)
(Daria is working at her computer. We see her in close up, her head and shoulders visible. The
computer screen is reflecting blue onto her glasses. It is dark outside the window and the house
is silent save for the tapping of Daria's fingers on the keys. Over her shoulder we see her digital
clock. The red numbers read 11:58 P.M. We cut to Daria's view as she types on. We only see
the last few words and they disappear quickly as Daria spaces down and types 'The End'
centered at the bottom of the page. Cut back to a three-quarters view behind Daria and to her
left. Daria sits back and sighs. She moves her mouse over its pad and clicks several times. She
looks toward the printer as the machine begins to hum. The printer has clearly seen better days.
It rattles as it starts to work, then puts out a grinding noise. A sheet of shredded paper comes half
way out and gets stuck. Then the machine shudders and falls silent. A puff of smoke marks its
passing. Return to the head and shoulders view of Daria. She looks skyward and heaves a heavy
sigh. The music fades.)
EXT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. MORNING.
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. KITCHEN.
(We see Jake and Helen sitting at the table eating breakfast. Jake is eating cold cereal, Helen a bagel with jam and coffee. Daria walks into the kitchen, her backpack slung over one shoulder.)
JAKE: (Looks to Daria.) What do you want for breakfast, kiddo?
DARIA: I don't have time to eat. I'm going over to Jane's early to use her printer.
HELEN: (Sweet.) What's wrong with your printer?
DARIA: It died last night. It looks like I'm going to need a new one. Would it be all right if . . ?
(Daria is interrupted by Quinn's arrival. Quinn walks into the kitchen and begins talking at a rapid-fire pace.)
QUINN: (Enthusiastic.) Morning all. Mom, I'm really going to need some money. I want to update my web page software so I can show video clips of last night's fashion show. Anyone who missed it could get on and see the highlights and that would really be good for the popularity of the Fashion Club, and for my own personal popularity. Besides, I've been wanting to add some sound bites so I can record my comments and I thought it would be nice to add some cute little animated bunnies and things. And can I get a digital camera, too? That way I can film my very own video messages. Just think of it.
DARIA: (She looks sidelong at Quinn.) I'd rather not so early in the morning. Or at any other time of day.
HELEN: Daria! (To Quinn.) Okay, Quinn. I think we can swing the software update. But no camera.
QUINN: (Distressed.) No camera? That's not fair.
HELEN: Now, Quinn. I think I'm being more than reasonable. After school we'll go out and pick up the software.
(Quinn leaves in a bit of a huff and Helen turns back to her bagel. Daria watches Quinn go, then turns to Helen.)
DARIA: As I was saying, I'm going to need a new printer for my computer. I guess I can go with you and Quinn tonight . . .
HELEN: (Surprised, as if this is the first time Daria has mentioned it.) A new printer? No, Daria. Absolutely not.
DARIA: (Her eyes widen.) What? But . . .
HELEN: (Lecture mode.) Our expenses have been too high for this quarter already. I simply cannot afford to shell out money every time you girls get a whim.
DARIA: I wouldn't exactly consider this a whim. I need a printer for my school work. You just told Quinn that she could have new web page software.
HELEN: (Her voice lower, more serious.) Quinn needs to be encouraged, Daria. Who knows
what sort of connections she might make through that web page. She just needs a
little helping hand now and then. She's not as resourceful as you. I'm certain that
you can make do . . .
(We move to a close up of Daria as the flashbulb effect takes us back in time once more. We see a seven-year-old Quinn standing next to a shiny new bicycle that is decorated with a huge pink bow. Helen and Jake are standing nearby, clapping and helping a happy Quinn celebrate. A nine-year-old Daria in dirty green and black is standing off to the side with a bicycle that is obviously a hand-me-down. The bike's back wheel is off, the chain hangs loose and bolts lay on the ground. Daria's hands and face are dirty and she is holding a wrench in her right hand. She is watching her family with obvious disdain. There is a second flash and we return to the close up of present-day Daria. Then we cut back to the all-inclusive view.)
HELEN: (Finishing up. Her voice is sweet again.) . . . and besides, doesn't that school of yours have a computer lab? You can do your printing there.
DARIA: (Shakes her head as if waking up. Then she frowns at Helen and turns to leave the kitchen. Her voice displays her disgust.) I'm going to Jane's.
EXT: LANE RESIDENCE.
(We see the front of the house. Nothing is moving outside.)
DARIA: Thanks for letting me use your printer, Jane.
INT: LANE RESIDENCE. JANE'S ROOM.
(Daria is sitting at Jane's computer. She watches as pages emerge one-by-one from the printer. Jane is standing by her bed shoving books into her backpack. She looks a bit rumpled yet, perhaps still not fully awake.)
JANE: No problem. Mi casa is su casa.
DARIA: (Voice low, almost a mumble.) If only that were true.
JANE: (Looks up.) How's that?
(The printer finishes spitting out pages and Daria gets up to collect them. Jane is still watching Daria. She looks concerned.)
JANE: Are you okay, Daria. You seem a little quiet. (Daria looks over and they exchange glances.) Okay, a little more quiet than usual.
DARIA: (Returns to her pages. She gathers them up and carries them to her backpack, which is sitting open on the bed. She puts them in.) Everything's okay. At least everything is as okay as it ever gets.
JANE: Which isn't saying much. Anything you'd like to talk about?
DARIA: Nope. (She zips her backpack closed and slings it over her shoulder.) Ready to go?
JANE: (Pauses for a second, meeting Daria's gaze. When she sees that Daria isn't going to open up any further, she slings her own backpack over her shoulder.) As ready as I can get. Let's go.
(Daria walks out the door. Jane watches her go, her eyes saying that she can see that something is wrong. Then she follows Daria out the door.)
EXT. LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING.
(Sound of bell ringing.)
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. MR. O'NEILL'S ROOM.
(The class has just ended and the student's are getting up to leave. Mr. O'Neill is sitting behind his desk. Daria and Jane follow the rest of the students out as usual. Just before they reach the door, Daria stops.)
DARIA: Just a second. I have to drop something off. Wait for me?
(Daria turns and walks to Mr. O'Neill's desk. She plops her backpack down on the desk and unzips it.)
O'NEILL: (Enthusiastic.) Did you finish it last night, Daria?
DARIA: (She pulls out the pages she printed at Jane's and holds them out.) Yep. I have it right here.
O'NEILL: (He stands and reaches out with both hands to take the pages.) This is wonderful, Daria. I just knew you could do it. Just wait until Mr. Telmond sees this. I just know he's going to . . .
(Mr. O'Neill is interrupted by the arrival of Quinn. She passes Jane without noticing her and walks straight to Mr. O'Neill's desk.)
QUINN: Hi, Daria. Hi, Mr. O'Neill. I'm here. What did you want to talk to me about?
O'NEILL: (Distracted, Mr. O'Neill withdraws his hands without collecting Daria's pages. He clasps his hands in front of him, one of his favorite nervous habits. He looks to Daria.) Excuse me, Daria. I have to talk with Quinn for a moment. (He turns to Quinn.) Now, Quinn. I've told you in the past that your grade has been slipping again. Well, its starting to get dangerously close to the failure level.
QUINN: (Dramatic.) Oh, no. I'm not going to have to get another 'A' on an essay, am I? I don't think I can go through that again.
O'NEILL: (Holds out his hands in a calming motion.) Please don't panic, Quinn. It's not all that bad. You see, I think I've come up with a way that you can bring your grade up by just applying a little extra effort. What I think we could do is . . .
(Cut to close up of Daria, her eyes wide. Then cut to her point of view as she looks down at her pages, then up at Mr. O'Neill. He is still talking, but we can barely make out his words. There is a flash and the view changes. Instead of Mr. O'Neill's face, we see Jake's face, a little younger. His face is creased with anger. We hear a younger Quinn crying dramatically in the background.)
JAKE: Not now, Daria! Can't you see that Quinn has a problem?
(The flashbulb effect brings us back to the present and we see Mr. O'Neill's face from Daria's perspective. He is still talking to Quinn.)
O'NEILL: . . . so if you'll just put a little time into an extra-credit essay, I'm sure that your grade will bounce back up in no time.
(Cut back to the classroom perspective. Daria, Quinn and Mr. O'Neill are all within view.
Quinn and Mr. O'Neill talk on, taking no notice of Daria. Daria looks down at her pages and
grimaces. He holds them out and drops them onto Mr. O'Neill's desk. They land together with
an impressive slap on the desk. Daria looks to Mr. O'Neill. He has taken no notice. Daria, her
eyes still angry, shakes her head and walks toward the door. She joins Jane there.)
JANE: (Her eyebrows are raised, her face showing concern.) What was that all about?
DARIA: (Deadpan.) It's no big deal.
JANE: What did you turn in to O'Neill? There aren't any papers due this week. What did you write?
DARIA: (In close up. Her eyes are even angrier as she looks back at Mr. O'Neill and Quinn.) It's nothing. It's not a damned thing.
( . . . la la LA la la . . .)
END ACT 1.
(COMMERCIAL LEAD IN: As Spendora sings us into the commercial break, we see a view of a dirty nine-year-old Daria standing by her second-hand bike, wrench in hand.)
BEGIN ACT 2:
EXT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. MORNING.
STACY: . . . and generally, the show seemed to come off really well.
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. FAMILY ROOM.
(The Fashion Club is gathered for a pre-class meeting. Sandi and Tiffany are seated on the sofa. Quinn is on the love seat. Stacy is standing near the love seat, holding a tablet. She is addressing the rest of the club.)
STACY: Except for Brittany tripping on the runway, the show was incident-free. It's too early for the poll numbers to be tabulated, but I'll report on our acceptance rating just as soon as the numbers come in. That concludes my report on the Lawndale High Teen Fashion Show
(As Stacy sits down next to Quinn, Daria descend the stairs with her backpack slung over one shoulder. She walks up behind the sofa and stands listening.)
TIFFANY: Great report, Stacy.
SANDI: (Face turns cross.) Leave it to Brittany to mar an otherwise perfect show. No wonder we never invited her to join the Fashion Club.
SANDI: Well, that and the fact that she always wears that cheerleading outfit. The Fashion Club could never extend its membership to the fashionably dependent.
DARIA: (Smirks.) Yeah. Wouldn't want to lower your painfully high standards.
(The Fashion Club looks at Daria, Quinn with a look of anger and disgust. Daria ignores their looks and turns for the kitchen.)
TIFFANY: Quiiiinn. Is your cousin, or whatever, still living with you?
SANDI: Yes, Quinn. Why doesn't she live with her own parents?
QUINN: (Defensive, talking quickly.) Well, you know. My parents feel they have to take her in
because she really doesn't have anywhere else to go. I don't think her real parents
want her around.
SANDI: That's understandable.
(Cut to a head and shoulders shot of Daria. She pauses in the doorway to the kitchen, the Fashion Club visible over her left shoulder. The flashbulb effect takes us further into the past this time. It is Halloween. A five-year-old Quinn is at a door with several other little girls. Quinn is dressed as a ballerina in pink and white and her friends are dressed similarly. Daria is standing off to the side, dressed in a brown hooded robe. Her face is done up in white skull makeup and she is wearing her round glasses. She carries a scythe made from a broomstick and foil paper. Daria is a seven-year-old grim reaper. A woman is at the door, holding a bowl of candy and adoring the dancers.
WOMAN: My goodness, aren't you all so cute. (She distributes candy to Quinn and her friends, giving them each several pieces. She glances at the disturbing little Daria.) Is that little girl with you?
QUINN: (Defensive, talking quickly.) We don't know her. I think she's from a poor family and they dropped her off around here someplace so she'd have, like, a place to trick-or- treat.
WOMAN: (Saddened.) Isn't that a shame.
(The woman tentatively holds out a single piece of candy to Daria, as if she's afraid Daria might bite, and drops it into Daria's open bag. Daria looks at the candy in her bag, then glares at Quinn. Flash back to present, the Fashion Club visible over Daria's shoulder. Daria looks back at them without turning her head. Her eyes are angry.)
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. KITCHEN.
(Jake is standing at the counter eating a bagel with cream cheese in a hurry. As Daria walks up to him, Helen breezes in holding her briefcase. She grabs a bagel out of the fridge. With a last look at her frantic father, Daria turns to Helen.)
DARIA: Mom. I though you might want to know that yesterday I turned in . . .
HELEN: (In a rush.) Not now, Daria. I have a deposition this morning and I'm running late. (Helen carries her unadorned bagel out the door with her.)
DARIA: (Turns to Jake.) Dad. I just thought you might want to know that . . .
JAKE: (He finishes the last of his bagel, crumbs dropping from his mouth to the floor.) Sorry. No time today, kiddo. (He swallows the last bite.) I've got a very important meeting with a client this morning. A biggie! (Jake turns and follows Helen out the door.)
DARIA: (Watches them go. She shakes her head and turns to the refrigerator, her voice very dry.) By the way, I thought you might want to know that yesterday I turned in . . . oh, never mind. (She opens the fridge in search of breakfast.)
EXT: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING.
(A few students are still on their way in the doors. A bell rings.)
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. HALLWAY.
(Daria and Jane are walking down the hall past a row of lockers, moving right to left. Daria's
eyes are angry. Jane glances at her. She knows something is bothering her friend.)
JANE: Sooo. What insightful comments do you think we'll hear from Kevin and Brittany in O'Neill's class today? (Daria doesn't reply. She just keeps walking. Jane raises an eyebrow.) Geez, Daria. What's eating you? It's not like you to pass up an opening like that.
(Daria stops and turns to Jane. She is silent for a few seconds, but Jane is patient. Finally, Daria opens her mouth to reply, but she's interrupted by a voice off screen.)
JODIE: Daria? (Jodie walks on screen from the left and joins Daria and Jane. Daria turns toward her.) I'm glad I caught you, Daria. Look, I know you dislike extracurricular activities . . .
DARIA: Dislike doesn't begin to cover it.
JODIE: . . . but I'm in a jam and could really use your help for the assembly next week. We need someone to write a speech. You don't have to deliver it or anything. That'll be my job. But I really don't have time to write it and I thought . . .
DARIA: You thought wrong.
JODIE: C'mon, Daria. It's just a one-time thing and you're such a good writer. (Daria's face creases at this comment.) The subject is . . .
DARIA: (Her face truly angry now.) Don't tell me, because I don't care.
JODIE: (Taken aback.) Daria?
DARIA: Forget it, Jodie. I'm not interested. And don't tell me what a good writer I am because you don't really care. Nobody really cares. I don't even know if I care anymore.
JODIE: (Confused.) Daria, I didn't mean . . .
DARIA: Forget it. Just leave me alone. (Daria walks away, her pace fueled by her anger.)
JODIE: (Watches Daria leave, then turns to look at Jane with confusion in her eyes.) Did I say something wrong?
JANE: (Shakes her head and looks the way Daria went.) I don't think anyone could have said anything right to her today. (She looks back to Jodie.) Something's bugging her.
JODIE: No kidding? (Jodie walks off the way Daria left.)
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. HALLWAY.
(Daria is at her locker, switching books with her backpack. We see her fairly close up.)
JODIE: Look, I'm sorry. Okay?
(Daria looks off to the left. We move back to see Jodie walk up and join Daria.)
JODIE: Whatever I said that ticked you off, I didn't mean it.
DARIA: (Shrugs and goes back to her books.) It's no big deal.
JODIE: So tell me.
DARIA: Tell you what?
JODIE: Tell me what's wrong. Something is obviously bothering you.
DARIA: (Looks at Jodie.) How can you tell?
JODIE: (Smiles.) C,mon, Daria. You may be good at burying your feelings, but you do have them. They have to leak out sometime. (Her smile fades.) And I think they just leaked all over me.
DARIA: (Sighs.) I'm sorry I yelled at you Jodie. It wasn't your fault. I guess I have a lot on my mind.
JODIE: (Her eyes widen. Hopeful.) Want to share it with someone? It's okay to do that, you know.
DARIA: (Looks down.) I don't think so. There's nothing you can do about it anyway.
JODIE: (Disappointed.) Well, if you change your mind, I'm here for you.
DARIA: (Hint of a half-smile.) Thanks, Jodie. I appreciate that. But I'll muddle through on my own somehow. (She closes her locker and turns away.) Just like I've always had to do.
(Jodie watches Daria walk away, a concerned look on her face.)
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. MR. O'NEILL'S ROOM.
(The room is empty except for Mr. O'Neill at his desk. Daria is the first to arrive for class. She starts for her desk.)
O'NEILL: (Sees her enter and jumps up from his desk.) Daria! (Very enthusiastic. He picks up a paper from his desk and carries it over to Daria.) I just received this e-mail this morning. Mr. Telmond said that the entire editorial staff loved your story. They're going to publish it in a future issue of Teen Thoughts Magazine! Isn't that wonderful?
DARIA: (Accepts the paper from Mr. O'Neill. Her voice remains deadpan.) Yeah. That's great.
O'NEILL: (Concerned.) Aren't you excited, Daria? It's your very first publication.
DARIA: I don't know if excited is the word I would use. (She glances at the paper.) I guess I'm okay with it.
O'NEILL: (Taken aback, then smiles.) Okay, Daria. I think I understand. I just want you to know that I'm just as pleased as punch for you. Congratulations.
DARIA: Ummm. Thanks.
(O'Neill turns back to his desk. Cut to a close up of Daria's face. She lifts the paper so the top is just visible and turns her eyes to the text. Very slowly, a Mona Lisa smile forms on her lips.)
EXT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LATE AFTERNOON.
DARIA: Mom. Dad. I have something to tell you.
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. FAMILY ROOM.
(Jake and Helen are seated on the sofa. Helen is buried in a pile of work. Papers litter the coffee
table and she's talking on her cell phone. Jake is reading the newspaper. Daria has just come in
through the front door, her backpack slung over her shoulder. She walks into the family room
and joins her parents. She is carrying the letter from Mr. Telmond.)
HELEN: Just a moment, Daria. Please. (She turns her attention to her phone.) No, Eric. Tell them that their offer just isn't acceptable. They're going to have to do better. (Beat.) Well, that's their problem. Tell them our terms and let them decide. Goodbye. (She turns to Daria, her voice sweet.) Now, what were you saying, dear?
DARIA: (She lifts the letter up.) I just got this letter today. It says that a story I've written is going to be published in Teen Thoughts Magazine.
JAKE: (He lowers his paper and looks up at Daria.) That's great, kiddo.
HELEN: It certainly is. Tell us more about it, Daria. When did you . . .
(Helen is interrupted by Quinn's boisterous arrival through the front door. She comes running into the family room, waving a piece of paper over her head. She passes Daria without noticing her and stands before her parents.)
QUINN: (In a breathless flood of words.) You'll never guess what happened to me today. Remember the math test that I failed and mom, remember when you talked to my math teacher and insisted that he give me a retest? Well, he gave me a retest today, though he was really mad about it. And guess what? I passed. (She waves the paper.) I got a C-minus.
HELEN: (Overjoyed.) That's wonderful, sweetie.
JAKE: (Even more overjoyed.) Yeah. I couldn't be happier.
HELEN: We're very proud of you, Quinn. This is quite an accomplishment. This calls for a celebration.
(They continue to lavish praise on Quinn as we cut to a close up of Daria's horrified face. The flashbulb effect takes us back a few years. We look out from Daria's perspective as a ten-year-old Quinn is being praised by her parents.)
JAKE: (Over-excited.) You got a 'C' in history. That's great Quinn.
QUINN: Well, I just, you know, worked really hard and stuff.
HELEN: Now don't be modest, Quinn. You should feel very good about yourself. This is quite an accomplishment.
DARIA: That's funny. You barely acknowledged my grades and I got . . .
HELEN: (Still centered on Quinn.) This calls for a celebration. Don't you think so, Jake?
JAKE: Absolutely. It's not every day that I have a chance to be so proud of one of my girls.
(The perspective pans down. We see Daria's hand holding a report card. Every grade is an 'A'. We cut to a full view of young Daria. She is looking down at the report card, her face impassive. She looks up to her celebrating family and her face turns angry. Looking down again, she takes the report card in both hands and rips it to shreds. She lets the pieces fall to the floor and turns away. Flash back to the present, the same full view of the present-day Daria. She looks at her celebrating family, then her eyes turn angry as she looks down at the letter. Taking it in both hands, she crumples it into a ball and turns away.
( . . . la la LA la la . . .)
END ACT 2
(COMMERCIAL LEAD IN: The Hallway of Lawndale High. Daria blows up at Jodie, then storms off, leaving her two friends in confusion.)
BEGIN ACT 3
EXT: LAWNDALE HIGH. MORNING.
JANE: DiMartino was in rare form today.
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. HALLWAY.
(Daria and Jane are walking past a row of lockers and an occasional door. Daria makes no reply and Jane glances over at her.)
JANE: Y'know, I really thought that today would be the day that Kevin sent him over the edge. (Again, no reply from Daria.) And I was really shocked when Brittany flapped her ponytails and flew out of the room. (Still no reply. Jane raises an eyebrow.) Oooookay.
(Daria reaches her locker and starts changing books. Jane stands at her side, a worried expression on her face. Their silence is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Quinn.)
QUINN: Daria. There you are. (Daria doesn't turn around, but she stops messing with her books.) Look, I have this make up assignment in Mr. O'Neill's class that's due by Friday and I just can't do it. I have a date tonight. Actually I have two dates tonight and since you're better at this kind of thing I thought that maybe you could help me out. Besides, its not like you have anything to do anyway.
DARIA: (Sighs.) Forget it, Quinn. Find someone else to help you coast.
QUINN: (Looks distressed.) C'mon, Daria. You have to help me. (She gets angry and stamps her foot.) You never help me. It's just not fair.
DARIA: (Something snaps. She whirls on Quinn, her face twisted with rage. Even Jane is surprised.) I don't help you? You don't need my help, Quinn. You have mom and dad for that. They give you everything you want and if they don't have it to give, they'll gladly take it away from me.
(Daria slams her locker and walks away. Quinn looks taken aback, completely shocked. She lifts one hand to her chest as if to say 'why me?' She looks to Jane, but Jane can only shrug. Quinn turns and walks away. Once she is gone, Jane looks off in the direction that Daria went, concern written on her face.)
EXT: LANE RESIDENCE. LATE AFTERNOON.
INT: LANE RESIDENCE. JANE'S ROOM.
(Jane is working at her easel, sketching monochrome figures with a graphite stick. It is a disturbing piece, a pack of vicious semi-humans snarling out from the canvas. Daria is on Jane's bed. She is lying on her back, feet toward the wall. She is bouncing a rolled up ball of paper off the wall and catching it, over and over.)
JANE: (Pauses in her sketching to look at Daria. She watches the paper ball bounce once, then shakes her head.) C'mon, Daria. Are you going to tell me what's wrong or do I have to wait until you go into a full psychotic episode?
DARIA: (She catches the paper ball a final time and lies holding it in both hands. She looks to
Jane.) Oh, what the hell. (She tosses the paper ball to Jane.)
JANE: (Catches the ball. She looks at Daria, confused. Then she unrolls the ball and reads the paper. Her eyes widen in surprise.) Daria! You've been published!
DARIA: (She sits up and reclines while leaning on one elbow. Her face remains impassive.) I will be published. In Teen Thoughts Magazine. It's not that big a deal, really.
JANE: Are you kidding? This is the biggest. (Trent walks by the door and Jane turns to him.) Hey, Trent! Daria's going to have one of her stories published in a magazine.
TRENT: (He pauses outside the doorway. Then he turns and walks in.) Is that right? (He turns to Daria and smiles.) That's really cool, Daria.
DARIA: (She looks down, her face still sullen.) Mmmm. Thanks.
(Trent looks at Jane, a look of concern on his face. Jane shrugs. She nods toward the door, indicating that Trent should leave them alone for a bit. Trent nods and walks out. Once he is gone, Jane looks back to Daria, who is still reclined on the bed.)
JANE: Well, at least now I can understand why you've been so down. (She lifts the wrinkled paper.) News like this would depress anyone.
DARIA: (She sits up. She crosses her legs, indian style, and sighs.) It's my family.
JANE: No kidding?
DARIA: (Looks up to Jane.) I tried to tell them about this, but they're just too damned busy to care. Quinn needs this, Quinn needs that. What's that Daria? You need something? Never mind, you can make do without it. You're the resourceful one. What? You're going to be published? Can't talk now. Quinn got a C-minus and we're dancing on the ceiling. (Daria sighs again.) I could barely tell them about the story at all. They just can't spare the time I need to form a complete sentence.
JANE: (Gives a sly snort.) Like they could understand one anyway.
DARIA: It's been this way all of my life. I achieve something, but they're just too busy helping Quinn squeak by to notice. (Daria looks down at her crossed legs.) The truth is, I don't think they give a damn.
JANE: No, they don't. (Daria looks up, surprised. Jane spreads her arms.) C'mon, Daria. I've seen it, too. It's not like it's an easy thing to miss.
DARIA: It's not an easy thing to live with, either.
JANE: I suppose not. (Jane steps forward and sits down on the chair next to the bed. Holding the letter in her right hand, she points at Daria with her left.) But to hell with them, Daria. This is your moment. You earned it all on your own, without any help from anybody. Your family might not appreciate what you've accomplished, but I do. And I'm sure Trent does too.
DARIA: (Half smile.) Thanks. I appreciate that. But as alien as my family may be, I wish that just once they would appreciate me.
(The sullen mood lasts for a silent moment. Then Jane brightens and swings her fist playfully at the air.)
JANE: C'mon, Daria. We've got to celebrate.
DARIA: I don't think so. (She scoots to the edge of the bed and stands. Jane stands with her.) I don't feel like it.
JANE: (Disappointed.) Are you sure? It could be fun.
DARIA: No thanks. I've got to get going. See ya.
JANE: Yeah. See ya.
(Daria walks out the door. Jane watches her go, concerned. After a moment, her look of concern is replaced by a sly half-smile.)
EXT: LAWNDALE HIGH. AFTERNOON.
(Sound of bell ringing. Some students come out the doors.)
INT: LAWNDALE HIGH. HALLWAY.
(Daria is walking alone past a row of lockers. She reaches her own and opens it up. She starts exchanging books.)
JODIE: Hey, Daria. (We pull back to see Jodie and Mack approach. Daria turns to them.) We just heard about your story being published in Teen Thoughts Magazine. Congratulations.
MACK: Yeah. Congratulations, Daria. That's really something.
DARIA: (Shrugs.) Yeah. I guess so.
JODIE: Aren't you excited? You should be proud of your accomplishments, Daria. And this is a big one.
DARIA: Thanks, Jodie. I appreciate you saying that. I guess it does mean something to me, but I just can't seem to get excited about it.
JODIE: (Her face shows her concern.) Okay. Well, if it means anything, I think what you've accomplished is really great.
MACK: Yeah. I'm really proud of you, Daria. I knew you'd be published some day, but while still in high school? That's fantastic.
DARIA: Well, thanks. (Daria shoulders her backpack.) I've got to get going if I want to meet Jane.
JODIE: Oh, didn't you know? Jane left already. I saw her hurrying out the door a few minutes ago.
DARIA: (Sighs. She closes her locker and turns away.) Then I guess I'm on my own. See ya. (She walks off. Jodie and Mack exchange concerned glances as she goes.)
EXT: SIDEWALK. LATE AFTERNOON.
(Daria is walking home alone, her face impassive. A blue bomb of a car pulls up beside her. Inside we can see that Trent is driving and Jane is in the front seat.)
JANE: (Leans out the window.) Hey, Daria. (Daria turns.) C'mon with us. The time has come to celebrate your triumph.
DARIA: I don't think . . .
TRENT: C'mon, Daria. We have a special night planned. You're gonna love it.
DARIA: (Half-smile.) What do you have in mind? Dinner at Chez Pierre followed by a night of
JANE: Better. Dinner at Cluster Burger. And afterwards . . . (She exchanges a sly glance with Trent.) Well, the rest is a surprise.
DARIA: Well . . .
JANE: C'mon, Daria. Just come with us. You deserve to celebrate a little.
DARIA: (Face impassive.) All right.
JANE: Great. (Opens the passenger door.) Get in.
EXT: THE ZEN. NIGHT.
(We hear the sound of electric guitars being mercilessly tuned.)
INT: THE ZEN.
(The usual crowd is in attendance, a grungy looking bunch if ever there was one, ready for a night of hard rocking. Daria and Jane are standing amid the crowd, each holding a soda and watching Mystik Spiral get set up. Jodie and Mack are standing with them, looking more than a little out of place in a grunge club.)
JANE: (Looks over at Daria.) So, feeling any better?
DARIA: I guess so. (She looks down at her Doc Martens as her three companions turn to her.) Look, I'm sorry I've been so hard to deal with lately. I didn't mean to burden you guys with my problems.
MACK: Hey, it was no burden.
JODIE: That's right. (She smiles.) We're your friends, Daria. You can open up to us anytime. I know that's not easy for you to do. But if you need to, we'll be here to listen.
MACK: Yeah. Anytime, Daria.
DARIA: (Smiles a bit.) Thanks.
JANE: (She displays a sly smile as she leans over to nudge Daria with her elbow.) Of course, that gives us all license to show up at any time of the day or night to pester you with our own problems.
DARIA: (Looks around at them all.) Thanks, guys. It's good to be appreciated. I'm glad you all came to celebrate my story being published.
JANE: (The band stops tuning and Jane looks toward the stage.) And the celebration isn't over yet. In fact, I think it's just about to reach a new level.
(The view changes and we see Mystik Spiral on the stage. Trent gives his guitar one last pre-emptive strum, then walks up to the microphone.)
TRENT: Hi. We're Mystik Spiral, but we might change our name. We're going to start off with a song that I wrote for a friend of mine who just accomplished something very special.
JESSE: Yeah. This is for you, Daria.
(The band cranks up the tune. Trent steps up to the microphone and starts singing. Jesse joins him on the chorus.)
TRENT: Sometimes it seems that life wants to see you drown, So many trying to pull you down, But these deep waters of life I know you can fjord, Because you've got all the words.
Oh, you live you life by the word, As strong emotions as we've ever heard, Streams of consciousness poured on the page, Like wisdom fallen from the mouth of a sage. Oh, you live your life by the word.
You write from inside and you never shy away, From saying the things that you need to say, Some don't listen and they probably never will, But forget about them, cause we've caught your thrill.
Oh, you live your life by the word, As strong emotions as we've ever heard, Streams of consciousness poured on the page, Like wisdom fallen from the mouth of a sage. Oh, you live your life by the word.
(Trent and Jesse draw the last word out, joining it to the last drawn-out note from their guitars. Jesse steps forward and thrusts his fist in the air.)
TRENT: (He looks down at Daria.) Congratulations, Daria.
(The view shifts and we see Daria, Jane, Jodie and Mack all clapping. Jane, Jodie and Mack are all looking at Daria. Daria is looking up at Trent. We cut to a close up of Daria. Her cheeks are pink and she smiles. We cut back to a view of the four of them.)
DARIA: (Turns to Jane.) Did you arrange this?
JANE: You mean the celebration? Yeah, I set it up.
DARIA: No, I mean about the song.
JANE: (Smiling.) No, I didn't arrange the song. That was Trent's doing. Did you like it?
DARIA: (Mumbling.) Ummmm. Yeah. It was nice.
JANE: Great. When we meet the band after their set, you can thank Trent personally.
DARIA: (Blushes.) Ummmm. Okay.
EXT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. NIGHT.
(Trent's blue bomb is idling at the curb. We see Daria climb out of the passenger side, closing the door behind her. She turns back and looks into the window.)
DARIA: Thanks again.
JANE: No problemo.
TRENT: Yeah, Daria. We enjoyed doing it.
DARIA: See you tomorrow.
(She turns and starts toward the house as the car drives away.)
INT. MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. LIVING ROOM.
(Daria enters and closes the door behind her. Helen and Jake are sitting on the sofa, watching TV. Helen is working while she watches and Jake glances occasionally at a folded newspaper in his lap. Daria looks at them from the entryway. She opens her mouth and draws breath to speak, then sighs out the breath, closing her mouth again. She shakes her head as if to say 'what's the use' and climbs the stairs.)
INT: MORGENDORFFER RESIDENCE. DARIA'S ROOM.
(Daria enters her room. There is a large box sitting on her bed. Leaving the door open behind her, she walks up to her bed. The view shifts to a closer view of Daria and the box as she opens it up and pushes aside the packing paper. We see a surprised look in her eyes as she looks inside. Then she reaches in and lifts up a computer printer.)
DARIA: What the hell? I don't get it.
QUINN: It's a printer, Daria. Anyone could see that.
(The scene opens up and we see Quinn standing in the open doorway, her arms crossed.)
DARIA: (She sets the printer down on the bed.) I mean, where did it come from?
QUINN: (Uncrosses her arms and looks sheepish.) Umm, mom and dad got it for you.
DARIA: I thought mom said that she wasn't going to shell out any more money this quarter. She seemed pretty serious about it.
QUINN: (Talking faster.) Well, I guess they felt sorry for you or something. Besides, it's not a new model or anything. It's a second-hand model.
DARIA: (She looks at the printer, then back to Quinn. There is suspicion in her eyes.) Mom bought a second-hand piece of equipment? That's not like her.
QUINN: Ohhh. (She throws her hands up in defeat, the pressure too much for her to handle.) I bought it, okay. There. You made me admit it. Happy now?
DARIA: Confused is more like it. I still don't get it.
QUINN: (Exasperated.) What's to get? Jeffy's parent's got him a new printer and he had his old one to get rid of and I knew you needed one so I bought it from him. It's simple.
DARIA: Yeah, simple. Where did you get the money?
QUINN: (Sighs.) I returned the web page upgrades that mom and dad got me. I decided that I didn't want to bother with all that technical stuff. I mean, I've got better things to do than mess around with a computer. (She meets Daria's eyes, looking sheepish.) Besides, you need a printer for your writing and stuff.
(Daria is dumbstruck. Such thoughtfulness from Quinn? Impossible. But the proof is sitting right on her bed and Daria doesn't quite know how to handle it.)
DARIA: Ummm. Thanks, Quinn.
QUINN: (Smiles a bit.) Don't mention it. (Her smile turns nasty.) To anybody. Ever.
DARIA: Don't worry about it. Who would believe me?
QUINN: Good. (She brightens up.) So, now that you've got a new printer and all, you can help me with my extra-credit paper for English class.
DARIA: (Surprised.) What?
QUINN: My paper for English. Don't you remember? It's due Friday and I haven't got a clue what I'm going to write it on. But you're so good at things like this, I thought you could help me with it. Like, maybe could you write it for me?
DARIA: (Shakes her head. Some things never change.) Quinn, there is only one thing that would convince me to write that paper for you.
QUINN: (Looks suspicious.) And what would that be?
DARIA: Twenty. In advance.
QUINN: (Distressed.) Dariaaaa!
(We move to a close up of Daria. She smirks as her sister's wailing trails away.)
( . . . la la LA la la . . . )
(MUSIC: "Praise You." by Fatboy Slim.)
THE CLOSING CREDITS ROLL AS ALTER-EGOS OF THE CHARACTERS ARE
(So there you have it. My first Daria fanfic, in its entirety. If you liked it, please tell me so. My
ego needs every boost it can get. You can contact me at Sehala@Aol.Com. Feedback,
comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.)
(Disclaimer: Daria and her cartoon cohorts were created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn and are trademarks of MTV Networks, Inc., a division of Viacom International, Inc. All rights reserved by trademark holders under U.S. National and International Law and Convention.)
("The More Thing Change . . ." is a work produced purely for fun, not for profit. The author will be quite vexed if it is distributed in any way that creates a profit for anyone. This story is copyright © 1999 by Jon Kilner. It may be distributed freely to Daria fans everywhere, provided that it is distributed in unaltered form and the author's name and e-mail address remain intact.)
(This is a work of fiction. All characters, settings and situations are fictitious, hence the name 'fiction.')
(Whew. That should about cover it.)